Creators: Matt Stone, Trey Parker
Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall, April Stewart
Studio: Comedy Central, Paramount
Review by: Bill Jones
After 15 years on television, it wouldn’t be unfair to assume most shows would be scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Luckily, South Park has evolved into a topical satire (though it often still remains a damn silly show) that hinges on weekly trends and can find humor in the mundane of everyday life. And after conquering Broadway, Matt Stone and Trey Parker don’t seem to be short on any ideas for the South Park universe they created.
Season 15 opens with “HUMANCENTiPAD,” a parody of Human Centipede brought on by the simple notion that we all click “accept” on iTunes terms of agreement way too often without even glancing at the contents. The first half of the season also delves into the absurdity of a comedy awards show (a shot at South Park’s host network), the strangeness of Royal Wedding coverage, penis size, crack babies and competing Asian restaurants.
But it’s the mid-season finale that deserves most of the attention. “You’re Getting Old” created some concern upon its release over whether or not Parker and Stone might be calling it quits in the near future. The episode focused on Stan hitting his 10th birthday, and, all of a sudden, everything around him looks and sounds — quite literally, as is the way of South Park — like shit. It forces him to realize, in what seems like a very self-reflective manner for the show, that the same old same old is starting to tire. The show further shakes things up in its ending, which sees the kids potentially going their separate ways and even more turmoil in Stan’s family. It’s a standout not only for the season but also the series at large.
The second half brings things right back, though, with jokes about the affliction that sounds like “Ass Burgers,” a border patrol battle between Cartman and Butters, an examination of WikiLeaks, the sexual subtext of Broadway, the Occupy movements, The History Channel and being poor. All in all, it’s another solid season that shows that while Stone, Parker and the show may all be getting old, they’ve all still got plenty to offer, and no amount of Tony Awards are going to change what they do best, and that’s make a great animated series.
The main selling point of the Season 15 DVD, aside from the season itself, is that it includes the “6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park” documentary that originally aired on TV. It’s a rare look inside South Park Studios and at the crazy schedule Stone and Parker work to produce the show on a week-to-week basis. This is something that I might have bought marketed and sold on its own, but luckily it’s included in the Season 15 package.
Viewers also get a “6 days to Air: Behind the Scenes of ‘City Sushi’” featurette, deleted scenes and mini-commentaries by Park and Stone on all episodes. As they’ve done with previous seasons, Parker and Stone talk about inspirations and challenges for particular episodes until they’re done, and then move on, rather than providing commentary for the length of the episode. It’s a nice example of not overdoing things, and the insights into each episode are almost universally fun and informative. Ultimately, the DVD offers everything it needs to for a South Park fan, and for a limited time a free redemption code for South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge on Xbox Live Arcade, which is just icing on the cake.
For more info comedycentral.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the DVD courtesy of the studio for review purposes.