Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DVD Review: South Park season 12

Ahh, the world of South Park. A place where fart jokes, taking a dump on a desk, and making fun of Canadians is so enjoyable. A place where there is no internet and no Peruvian pan-flute bands. And why shouldn’t this little hamlet in the Colorado Mountains be so enjoyable? After all, in this cartoon world, there is nothing else to do but enjoy a load of sophomoric humor.

But South Park is far more then just sophomoric humor and bodily functions. Yes, South Park is a cartoon that hits on so many levels. This makes it a worthwhile show to study, if not just to watch, for most age levels. From examining the complex issues of AIDS, to discussing the overall reliance on the internet by modern day society, South Park challenges its viewers to see beyond the surface (it is on the surface that the body humor lies) and look at what actually is being discussed in the cartoon. This cartoon is not about the humor or disgusting actions that the ‘actors’ do, but it is about what you take out of it.

Season 12 of South Park is no different, in this regard, then any previous season. Like the rest, it attracts its target demographic (high school males) with body jokes, fart jokes, and lots of cussing. Also, like all previous seasons, season 12 serves this up with intellectual and thought provoking episodes, where the lower levels are what really matters. South Park season 12 is more of the same humor, with newer issues; due to this continuing nature, one must ask, how much longer can this show last?

One of my favorite things about South Park are the random scenes. As most episodes of South Park are forgettable, it's the scenes that stick out to me. From clips about heading to California for jobs, to a giant hamster shooting lasers out of its eyes, the show keeps me laughing. Sure, I don’t remember the whole plot point of Major Boobage, but I remember the scenes of Kenny when he is high. To me, these random scenes are what make South Park so great.

Though most of the episodes in season 12 were forgettable, one really stuck out to me. I really liked the two episode story arch that was told in Pandemic 1&2. Though these episodes were filled with ethnic stereotypes, the overall meaning of the episodes is what was enjoyable. In the Pandemic episodes, the boys of South Park realize that the Peruvian pan-flute bands are raking in some serious dough, and that they want in on the action. The government, seeing this epidemic of bands, quickly arrests and removes all offending bands, the boys newly formed one included. Toss in a few giant hamsters, some hieroglyphics, and ten minutes of fart jokes, and you have yourself a two-episode arc.

Now, it is not the story arc of Pandemic that interested me so much, it was the overall message that the episodes were saying. Sure, the giant hamsters were cool, but they didn’t matter. Pandemic was taking a look at the government’s response to the smallest of things. Far too often, a single incident, or a small series of them, will set the government off and running to fix the problems. Often, these incidents are isolated, and/or are not harmful to the country as a whole. Yet, the government will act, and attempt to ‘fix’ the problem. Pandemic is making fun of this sort of governmental action, and is doing it well. South Park is pointing out that the government over reacts, doesn’t fully analyze, and sometimes makes things worse. These sorts of analyzings are why I really like South Park.

Though most of the DVD extras were boring and dull (who wants to see director’s commentary), I thought that the Making of ‘Major Boobage' was a really sweet feature. Basically, this extra took you from the initial story board phase (unsurprisingly, the art looks about the same) and advances you, step-by-step, through the whole process of making an episode. I liked watching how they plan the show out, that the artists usually do not know all of the details, and how most things are tossed together as it goes. To me, this seems a little odd compared to how most shows are made, but it seems to be working great for South Park. I really love learning about how things are made, and this extra stuck out for that reason alone.

Overall, I thought that South Park season 12 was one of the better seasons that they have done yet. Though the jokes were getting old, the other levels of the show are still fresh and challenging as new things emerge to target. I think that there are a few more seasons left in this show, and then it should gracefully exit the stage. South Park season 12 is a great addition for any highschooler, college kid, or sociology professor. Otherwise, you will probably be offended. You can get South Park season 12 now for only $49.99 at stores across America.

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