SOUTH PARK: SEASON ONE
Review by Michael Jacobson
and Voices: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 310 Minutes
Release Date: November 12, 2002
years for South Park? In
some ways it doesn't seem that long...in others, it seems like it's always
been with us; that's how ingrained into our popular culture it's become.
Comedy Central first aired our favorite foul-mouthed 4th graders, it
was an unusual sight and sound. Different
to look at because of the obscenely (and admittedly deceptively) simple cut-out
construction paper animation style. Different
to listen to, because these kids were saying things we weren't used to hearing
on television outside of pay movie channels!
Kyle, Cartman and Kenny made a modest television debut by all considerations.
In fact, co-creators, writers and voice talents Trey Parker and Matt
Stone animated the entire first episode by themselves, and were so certain that
their creation wouldn't last, they agreed to star in the movie BASEketball just
to have something to fall back on!
word of mouth spread as ferociously as one of Cartman's flaming farts.
Those original episodes aired, then re-aired, and re-aired again as the
country began paying more and more attention.
Soon, Comedy Central commissioned a Halloween special, and later a
Thanksgiving and a Christmas special, then even MORE episodes to round out a
full first season, ending with a hilarious cliffhanger!
Park was raw
in language and subject matter, but more importantly, it was also smart.
In fact, it probably offered the most scintillating satire on television
this side of Michael Moore! Everything
from body image to homosexuality to euthanasia was kidded out of the gate, and
by the time the season was up, Barbara Streisand, Judaism, Christianity and more
fell by the wayside as Parker and Stone considered no topic too taboo to tackle.
of course, the weekly untimely demise of one of the four boys led to a national
rallying cry: "Oh my God, they
killed Kenny!" As an added bonus,
each of the three discs in this set even has artwork depicting some of Kenny's
deaths...as Cartman would say, "Sweet!".
Rounding out the fun are the parents, the teacher Mr. Garrison and his "sidekick" Mr. Hat, and of course, Chef (Isaac Hayes), the show's soul and
sense of reason.
thirteen episodes of Season One are here, including all three original holiday
specials. It seems most fans,
despite the longevity of the series, still pick the premiere episode, "Cartman
Gets an Anal Probe", as their favorite...I guess nothing beats the experience
of seeing South Park for the first time!
But if I had to select a top pick, at least out of Season One, I'd have
to go with "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo".
It has to be seen to be believed, and includes a pair of the show's
best original songs: "I'm a
Jew" and "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch".
And keep an eye out for that "commercial" as well...it'll floor
one complaint SP fans used to have was the scattered way the episodes
were released on disc. Warner Bros.
has answered, finally opting to release the shows a full season at a time for
better collectability. Apart
from the packaging, though, there's no real difference in the
presentation...the episodes all still contain Trey and Matt's introductions,
and there are still no chapter stops within the individual shows.
But subtitles are here, at least...that's an improvement.
looking forward to the continued collection of the South Park seasons
(particularly Season Two, so I can see the continuation of "Cartman's Mom is
a Dirty Slut" again!). This is
the way the shows should have been offered in the first place, and fans should
be placated at last.
before, the video releases are perfectly fine...good strong colors with minimal
bleeding, clean prints and no noticeable grain or distortion.
Animation normally looks good on DVD, even when it's primitive, and
these shows are no exception.
mostly dialogue oriented, the 2 channel audio mix is clean and clear, and bring
out a nice tone in Trey Parker's music as well. Dynamic range is fairly good...no complaints.
the set lacks in quantity, it makes up for with quality...a number of South
Park rarities are included that may not be known to the general public, but
embraced by the die-hard fans. You'll
laugh yourself silly watching Cartman's hapless rendition of "O Holy
Night", or Ned's take on "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (yep, it sounds
just the way you imagine). Plus
there's the short that aired on The Tonight Show for Thanksgiving,
featuring Jay Leno as himself, the boys' appearance on the 1997 Cable ACE
awards, and some of the original TV promos for SP, along with ads for
other Comedy Central shows.