SOUTH PARK: SEASON THREE
Review by Michael Jacobson
and Voices: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: Trey & Matt's "Mini" Commentaries, Previews
Length: 374 Minutes
Release Date: December 16, 2003
must be Eric Cartman. I've heard
about you...you don't respect nature or other people's customs!"
Three of South Park began with a roar but ended with a tear.
In their third year on the air, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone
delivered some of television's most daring comedy, yet had to struggle to
complete the last three episodes after the heartbreaking loss of the great Mary
Kay Bergman. Ms. Bergman had been
the star voice behind most of the show's female characters.
But despite her talent and success, she was suffering from a depression
no one around her was aware of, and she ended her life on November 11, 2001.
still miss her indelible spunk, but for the sake of this review, I'd rather
celebrate her life than mourn her loss. Her
comedic spark helped make South Park a hit, and fans got to share in that
one last time in Season Three.
and Matt always plunged into their Comedy Central staple with the belief that
nothing was off limits and anything and anybody could be ridiculed, and their
third year got off to a brilliant start with the shining satire "Rainforest
Shmainforest". By taking a
deliberately non-PC approach to an endearing environmental cause, fans who got
the joke were left with jaws in laps and tears of laughter in their eyes.
Those who didn't were probably ticked off as hell.
And I'm sure that's exactly the way the boys wanted it.
the highlight of season three was the ‘trilogy'...a series of episodes that
all took place in the same night but focusing on different characters, with some
glimpses of overlapping for those who paid attention. During the night of a big meteor shower, the adults of South
Park all gathered for a night of partying at school counselor Mr. Mackey's
house. Meanwhile, in "Cat
Orgy", Cartman is left alone with Shelly, the babysitter from hell, and her
rock pretender boyfriend. Will this
be the end of our favorite big-boned cowboy from the Wild Wild West?
the same time, "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub" takes us to the wild party,
where Stan is forced to stay in the basement and play with the school nerds.
Upstairs, his father and Kyle's father share an...er, intimate moment
in a hot tub, while the ATF is gathering outside because they think the party is
actually a religious cult who plans to commit ritualistic suicide when the
Kenny follows Kyle and his little brother Ike to "Jewbilee", where Moses
makes an appearance (and he looks a lot like the central computer from Tron),
while the non-Jewish Kenny finds himself saving the Hebrew faith from an anti-Semetic
sect that wants to bring back Haman as their ruler!
highlights include the return of our favorite Ethiopian in "Starvin' Marvin
in Space", where the boys try to save Marvin and his people from...gasp...Pat
Robertson! "Mr. Hankey's
Christmas Classics" brings back the show's holiday icon for a romp through
some hysterical songs and a clever spoof of the famed but awful Star Wars holiday
special. "Korn's Groovy Pirate
Ghost Mystery" has the popular rock band show up for Halloween in a Scooby-Doo
styled episode, and Chef narrowly avoids a hellish marriage in "Succubus".
if I had to pick a single favorite show for year three, it would be "Chinpoko
Mon", a hysterical spoof of the Pokemon craze that suggests something
diabolical was behind it all. Yikes!
And for an even bigger ‘yikes', listen to the commentary if you
don't know what ‘chinpoko' means in Japanese!
always, the series remained crude, lewd, and surprisingly smart.
The fans who got it continued to eat it up and celebrate every laugh.
Those who didn't remained steadfast in their protests.
Those with delicate constitutions probably shouldn't watch, but I'd
still wager if they actually did, and paid attention, they would see just how
much great stuff is at play here.
three is a shining example...and Mary Kay, we'll always miss you.
computerized animation to simulate construction paper cut outs, these shows look
pretty good on DVD. They're
colorful and clean, with no evidence of bleeding or distortions and good crisp
lines and renderings.
stereo soundtracks for these episodes continue to be above average, with clear
dialogue, a fair amount of dynamic range, and of course, some great music and
songs to add to the listening pleasure.
long last, Trey and Matt have their commentaries recorded directly on the DVD
(after being on separate CDs for the first year, and nothing for the second).
They are, as they describe them, "mini" commentaries.
They talk for about the first four or five minutes of each episode, and
then it's on to the next. Their
point being that they don't enjoy commentaries that ramble to fill up space,
so they say what they want to say and move on.
The most amusing aspect may be the boys' admission that they hated
season two of their own show!
There are also some Comedy Central previews on Disc Three, starting with a classic upcoming bit of South Park as Cartman dreams of boy band success!
by the way...at long last and by popular demand, there are now chapter stops
WITHIN the episodes. Bravo, Paramount!