SOUTH PARK: SEASON FIVE
Review by Michael Jacobson
and Voices: Trey Parker and Matt
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: Trey and Matt's 'Mini' Commentaries. Previews
Length: 315 Minutes
Release Date: February 22, 2005
breaking my balls here, man...seriously."
Three and Five of South Park both had tragic endings.
The earlier year found the show coping with the suicide of Mary Kay
Bergman, one of its terrific voice talents.
The tragedy of the fifth year was that one of the great all time seasons
of the show was marred by two horribly unfunny and distasteful episodes at the
very end. Sure, South Park was
never loved for its good taste, but come on...a mother distraught over her
husband's homosexuality deciding to drown her own child?
And Kenny's slow, sad, final demise from a terminal disease?
Parker and Matt Stone spent their years on South Park pushing the
envelope of comedy. They showed us
things on TV we'd never seen before, starting with foul-mouth eight year olds
and going on from there, making fun of everything and everyone it their wake
with no apologies and political correctness be damned.
But they always used comedy as their jumping off point.
When they try to take heartbreaking scenarios and play them for laughs,
it just feels mean. And poorly
timed, too...as mentioned, this would have been one of the best seasons ever if
not for these last two episodes leaving such bad tastes in our mouths.
year started with the now infamous "It Hits the Fan" episode, where in
response to NYPD Blue airing an utterance of the S-word in prime time, South
Park decided to do the same, but to the tune of 162 uses of the word (a
counter in the lower corner keeps track for you).
And our beloved boys Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny come to realize
there's actually a good reason why they're called 'curse words' when they
unleash an unholy plague!
Fight" is also infamously funny, when Timmy takes on Jimmy in an epic
battle that closely mirrors the brawl from the movie They Live.
"Super Best Friends" has Jesus joining Buddha, Mohammed,
Joseph Smith and other religious figures in a battle against a cult formed by
magician David Blaine. "Scott Tenorman Must Die" has one of the most
outrageously twisted finales to a revenge tale you're likely to see!
favorites include "Cartmanland", where Cartman gets his own amusement
park with the idea of keeping everybody else out (even running ads on TV telling
people they CAN'T come!). "Proper
Condom Use" takes a no-holds barred look at sex education in public
schools, where you won't believe Mr. Garrison teaching his kindergarten class
how to put on their rubbers...and I don't mean for playing in the rain.
"Towelie" introduced "the worst character ever" to South
Park, a public service announcing talking towel who just wants to get high.
of these are top notch, but two of the season's episodes are true classics.
Just a few weeks after 9/11. Trey and Matt dared to show us we could
laugh a little about the world situation in "Osama bin Laden Has Farty
Pants", a hysterical romp where the boys end up in Afghanistan, and where
Cartman torments the terrorist leader in a series of Looney Tunes styled
escapades. And "Here Comes the Neighborhood" is a clever look
at racism, in which rich people (all black) start moving into South Park to find
hostility from the poor and middle class white residents.
Not because of color, mind you...just because of economic status.
Unless you want to explain the very last spoken word in the episode...
the year ended there, it would have been a four star season.
But unfortunately, Trey and Matt struck out their last two times at bat.
In "Kenny Dies", the duo decided they were tired of coming up
with ways to off Kenny week after week, and decided to bid him a final farewell
by giving him a terminal illness and where the other boys, who saw Kenny die
dozens and dozens of times before, actually cry and mourn for their pal who was
going for good. I'm not sure who
thought this material was funny.
in the last episode, "Butters' Very Own Episode", Butters' obviously
unbalanced mother tries to drown him when she learns her husband has been
experimenting with homosexuality. She
then tries to hang herself. Butters
lives, of course, only to have to make an impossible trek on foot back home,
where his parents have been telling everyone their little boy was kidnapped by
"some Puerto Rican guy", and joining a support group that includes the
Ramseys, O. J. Simpson and Gary Condit. At
the risk of repeating myself, let me repeat myself...I don't know who thought
this was funny.
a fourteen episode season, it was surprising to realize how quickly the steam
could escape in just the last two shows. There's
still enough comic brilliance at play here to merit a recommendation, but it
could have been a more enthusiastic one had the boys not tried to play tragic
situations for chuckles.
TRIVIA: Kenny would return to the
show after a year or so. Yes...alive.
colorful world of South Park, which uses the highest tech computers to
create the lowest tech looking animation possible, keeps on rendering well in
the digital world. Images are
bright, clean and sharp throughout, with rich colorful tones and good levels of
stereo mixes are clear and boast a fair amount of dynamic range as the shows
continue to grow in scope. Spoken
words are clean and clear, and the effects are well mixed and balanced.
continuing feature on these sets remains Trey and Matt's 'mini' commentaries,
where they basically say what they have to say at the beginning of each episode
and then announce they're done so you can skip to the next.
It's not a bad way to go...you can run through the commentaries in pretty
good time, and there's not a lot of gaps or meaningless filler.
There's no track for the final episode, for some reason.
Rounding out are some trailers and previews.