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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits
page added: 3/5/07

Goin' Down to South Park

Doogan's Views - Main Page

Like most of you animation nuts out there, I'm a huge Simpsons fan. But like it our not, the show has seen its best days pass it by. Try as it might, the writers of the show can't seem to blow our minds anymore. Sure, there are a couple of good episodes each year, but there have not been any great ones in my mind. That's why I love it when Comedy Central announces a new season of South Park. This show seemingly gets better and better each year. The animation is nowhere near the quality of Simpsons, but the writing is so much better that it's not even fair to compare them anymore.

So in honor if the eleventh season premiering this week, over then next few days I'll be looking back at the eight DVD sets of South Park released so far, in reverse order. Rather than recapping every single episode, I'll be spotlighting what I feel are the top 5 per season and then citing a "Doogan's fave" sixth for the fun of it.

Let's start off with the last set that came out: numero ocho (we'll add number nine soon).

South Park: The Complete Eight Season

South Park: The Complete Eight Season
2004 (2006) - Comedy Central (Paramount)

The Episodes

Good Times with Weapons, Up the Down Steroid, The Passion of the Jew, You Got F'd in the A, AWESOM-O, The Jeffersons, Goobacks, Douche and Turd, Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes, Pre-School, Quest for Ratings, Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset, Cartman's Incredible Gift, Woodland Critter Christmas

The Top Five

Good Times with Weapons: The first episode of the season made me laugh harder than I'd laughed in a long time. It's not as gut-ripping now, because we've seen the effect done so much since 2004. But when South Park turned into an anime for the first time, it was huge. Trey and Matt tapped into the mind of a child and a genre so well; you can't help but be in awe of them. Here, the kids trick a carnival vendor into selling them cheap martial arts weapons and they go on a journey.

Oh, and Butters shows up as Professor Chaos. What seals this episode as genius though is the end, when you realize that the WHOLE show was just a joke set-up for a comment about the media's take on nudity being worse than violence in terms of acceptance. Utterly brilliant.

Up the Down Steroid: What came first The Ringer or this episode? My guess is The Ringer. I'd heard about that script long before this episode. But no one can own the idea of fixing the Special Olympics. I mean, everyone with a sense of humor has thought about that at some point. I know I have. Anyway, here two storylines converge. In the first, Cartman decides to fix the Special Olympics only to learn that these kids, no matter what their disability, have more athleticism and heart than he could ever hope of summoning. The second follows Jimmy as he bulks up using steroids. Everyone around him, from his long suffering girlfriend to best friend Timmy, feel his wrath. Again, the payoff comes at the end with Timmy's speech about the cheapening of sports by legends that juice up, juxtaposed with famous baseball figures that may or may not have used. And again, brilliant.

The Passion of the Jew: This is an episode so good, it received its own separate DVD release last year. It's the idea of two great things coming together. Take the anti-Semitism of Cartman and add to it the over saturation (at the time) of Mel Gibson's Passion play, and you get this goober of an episode. Cartman, having seen the film 34 times and fueled by what he feels to be an anti-Semitic view point of Gibson's work, guilts Kyle into seeing the film. He also organizes South Park residents to join his Mel Gibson Fan Club and march into downtown chanting "Wir müssen die Juden ausrotten!" (or "We must exterminate the Jews!" for you non-German speaking folks out there). Meanwhile, Kenny and Stan catch the flick and, deciding it's nothing more than a snuff film, head to Malibu to get their money back. The rest is nothing short of slapstick comedy genius, as Gibson himself literally shows his ass to the people of South Park.

Douche and Turd: So many people get satirized in this episode. PeTA criticizes South Park Elementary for having cows as their mascot, so it's up to the school to vote a new mascot in. The boys decide to put a joke in, but can't decide between a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich. Cartman and Butters support the turd and Kenny and Kyle rally behind the douche. But Stan doesn't like either candidate and refuses to vote. Enter Puff Daddy (or whatever he's calling himself these days) with his Vote or Die campaign, where we learn he really means what he says: Vote OR Die. The town is so disgusted with Stan's view of politics that they banish him Beyond Thunderdome style, where he finds himself at PeTA headquarters and he learns the horrible truth about how much they love animals. And then Piddy shows up again. Stan learns an import lesson in the end: Your vote always counts; but not if everyone dies.

Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset: Paris Hilton shows up in South Park and all the little girls go crazy, emulating her to the highest extent. That's just the tip of the iceberg, really. The best part is Butters being pursued by Paris to be her new pet, after puppy purse pal Tinkerbell offs himself with the driver's gun. Dressed in a bear costume and renamed Mr. Biggles, Butters has to come up with 250 million dollars to counter Paris' offer. The whole thing ends with Mr. Slave challenging Paris to a Whore-Off, where Paris ends up deep inside Slave's ass (a la Lemmiwinks in Death Camp of Tolerance from Season Six). This is celebrity demolishment as only South Park can do it.

Doogan's Fave

Woodland Critter Christmas: Before this season came out on DVD, I kept this episode on my DVR. I watched it at least once a month. I don't know why I love it, but I do. Maybe it reminds me of one of my favorite lowbrow art pieces, Hexagram by Andrew Brandou aka Howdy Pardner (look it up, you'll find it online). Maybe it's because of the pay-off at the end. Either way, this story about Stan helping a clan of woodland creatures usher in the birth of their savior is genius. I won't spoil it for you, but if you're not familiar with this one... you should be.

The fact that this season was created while Trey and Matt were knee deep in production on Team America is really impressive. Not every episode knocked it out of the part, but the ones that did hit hit hard. Season Eight isn't my favorite season of the show, but there is a lot of great stuff here.

The video on DVD is presented full frame with nice color representation. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and does its job. The extras are typically light, with nothing but the mini-commentaries from Trey and Matt that fans have come to expect since Season Two. There are a lot of funny moments in the commentaries (their comments on Stupid Spoiled Whore are priceless), but you're not missing much if you don't listen to them. Trey and Matt let their work speak for them... and it speaks loads in Season Eight.

Program Rating: B
Disc Rating (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B-/D

Next up: Season Seven

Atlanta, GA 3/5/07

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