Wednesday, June 13, 2012

South Park Season 15

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

South Park Season 15 - 5 out of 5

I never thought South Park would make it this long.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE South Park but I just never imagined it would make all this time.  With its emphasis on pushing the envelope, I thought Comedy Central would have caved to the Nazis of Free Speech like the Parent Television Council (who still don't understand that remotes are capable of turning the channel and even turning off televisions) and have cancelled the show (and Comedy Central has a history of cancelling many, many shows).  However, like The Simpsons and Seth McFarlane have done with Fox, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have made the cable network their bitch and can pretty much get away with anything they want.

That's a lot of Canadians.

It's always been easy to write off South Park as cheap toilet humor but if you've actually seen an episode, you know the show is far deeper as it hides extreme wit, multilevel parodies, meta-jokes and social commentary with their toilet humor.  Yes, South Park gets sophomoric but it's smart sophomoric.  Believe it or not, there is a refined air that circles around the show as it can take bottom-of-the-barrel jokes and turn them into something brilliant...something Dane Cook has yet to master.

Turf war ensues as City Sushi moves in next door to City Wok.

Matt Stone...I have nothing else to add
to this caption.
It's clear that Matt and Trey are tortured geniuses who not only like to push the buttons of the censors but also like to challenge themselves in the writing department (and I mean that less in the fact it only takes a week for them and their staff to produce a single episode).  Alongside episodes that saw an unholy union of the Apple iPad mixed with a parody of The Human Centipede and seeing the return of the amazing Lemmiwinks, Matt and Trey broke new ground this season as they abandoned the usual formula of chaos hitting the mountain town only to be "re-set" at the end so more insanity can come next week.  This episode saw Stan celebrate his 10th birthday only to discover that everything he once found about his youthful activities and all that awaits him as he grows older has literally turned to shit.  This unhappiness, cynicism and jaded demeanor (wait, did they follow me for a week to get this attitude perfect for the show?) is mirrored by his parents when his mother grows tired of the weekly craziness of her husband and Stan's parents divorce.  The episode ends without the usual "revert" to the semblance of normality that South Park contains and the departure became something completely unseen in the show's history.  Not only did the episode end on a "downer," the episode ended before the mid-season break and caused an uproar in the media as it became speculated that the show was coming to an end.  However, as explained in the commentary, this wasn't the case as the show returned and, in typical South Park fashion, they made a joke about the ending and the concept of how the show always re-sets itself and then...the episode re-sets itself just after Stan comes to terms with the fact his life is changing forever.

The season comes right out the gates with an episode making fun of The Human Centipede.

Despite the fact Matt and Trey were just coming off their work on the Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, this season was fantastic with, as usual, no sign that the duo's outside projects had any affect on the show that made them stars.  All the excellent writing and offensive humor is here intact and, unlike other DVD collections, Season 15 offers up some bonus features beyond the usual mini-commentaries that Matt and Trey give each episode.  These commentaries offer up a few minutes for the two to talk about each episode and they all consistently offer up more insight into the writing and creation process that most full length commentaries on other shows offer.  For example, try and not slitting your wrists as you attempt to listen to a collection of people laughing at inside jokes and trying to talk over each other as that is what you get in a usual commentary on an episode of Family Guy.  I love Family Guy but the commentaries are enough for me to shove a pencil in each ear and give up the sense of hearing.

Lemmiwinks returns this season to take on his evil brother; Wikileaks.

The documentary offers up a great glimpse of Trey writing and
his voice acting work.
Most seasons are low on extras but this one offered up a short documentary on the production of the show and excellently illustrates how South Park, unlike ALL other animated programs, can create an episode in only six days--unlike the months of work that goes into others.  Even after 15 years, South Park shows they still have it and haven't got to the point where they gave up and used their brand name to carry them from lackluster season to lackluster season (*Cough* The Simpsons *Cough*).

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