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South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season (2012)

Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/24/2013

All Ratings out of
Show: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/27/2013

If you know anything about Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators and driving force behind South Park, then you know that they come across as very cynical and somewhat apathetic. Given what appears to be their general attitude towards everything, one has to wonder how they've kept South Park going for so long. The series debuted in 1997 and we've gotten a regular round of episodes every year since. Perhaps it would be better stated to say I wonder why they've continued to do the show, as they clearly have other passions, such as their Tony-award winning Broadway production, The Book of Mormon. Perhaps South Park is still their best outlet for delivering their odd view of the world. Whatever the case, South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season has just hit Blu-ray Disc.

South Park tells the story of four young boys who live in South Park, Colorado. Stan Marsh (voiced by Parker) is a "normal", somewhat athletic kid whose father, Randy (voiced by Parker), is constantly doing embarrassing things. Kyle Broflovski (voiced by Stone) is an anxious boy and the only Jewish one in the group. Kenny Marsh (voiced by Stone) is the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks who, oddly enough, dies in nearly every episode. And finally, Eric Cartman (voiced by Parker) is an ignorant, yet loud-mouthed, know-it-all, who will do anything to avoid work and constantly picks fight with Kyle.

South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season contains the following episodes.

-- "Reverse Cowgirl" -- When a local woman falls into the toilet and dies, the Toilet Safety Administration (TSA) must step in and begin enforcing ridiculous rules about keeping the toilet seat down.

-- "Cash for Gold" -- Stan's grandfather gives him a bolo tie which was purchased from a home shopping channel and Stan soon learns that it's not worth anything.

-- "Faith Hilling" -- The boys become obsessed with the latest memes, which including Tebowing, and something new -- Faith Hilling. They try to one up one another with this, while a sinister talking cat poses a threat against the government.

-- "Jewpacabra" -- Cartman puts a damper on the annual Easter Egg Hunt, by claiming that he's spotted a Bigfoot-like creature which he calls the "Jewpacabra".

-- "Butterballs" -- When Butters (voiced by Stone) is bullied at school, Stan makes an anti-bullying video, which gains national attention...perhaps too much attention for Stan.

-- "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" -- The boys decide to get in on the craze of ziplining, but soon find themselves bogged down in a day-long tour.

-- "Cartman Finds Love" -- Cartman decides to play match-maker for the new girl in school. But, as with everything else, Cartman's instincts about love are way off.

-- "Sarcastaball" -- When the rules involving football safety begin too stringent, Randy invents a fake sport which contains no contact and it becomes an instant hit.

-- "Raising the Bar" -- Cartman, who is known for being fat, decides to take the ultimate step and get a personal seated scooter, which causes Kyle to flip out.

-- "Insecurity" -- Kyle's little brother catches his parents role-playing, which leads to a rumor that the UPS man is trying to seduce all of the women in town.

-- "Going Native" -- Butters learns that he is Hawaiian and travels to the islands in order to take part in a ceremony which will explain his recent bouts of rage.

-- "A Nightmare on Face Time" -- Randy buys the old Blockbuster Video in town and forces Stan to work there, which means that he must Trick or Treat via Ipad.

-- "A Scause for Applause" -- When a rumor spreads that Jesus used performance enhancing drugs (?!), Stan must work to restore his friend's reputation.

-- "Obama Wins!" -- Cartman rigs the election so that Obama gets re-elected.

I've been a loyal viewer of South Park since its inception and I can that the show has definitely changed over the years. In the beginning, the series took somewhat universal ideas and filtered them through the eyes of children who were wise beyond their years. The show did a great job of mixing the innocent with the taboo in a way which was laugh-out-loud funny. Today, the show is all about reflecting current trends or recent events from the world. As we learn form the commentaries, the writers have some ideas which are laid out months in advance, but most come up the week before the show airs. Thus, we get a show which is undeniably topical -- the TSA, the overreaction to football safety, the election, etc. ("Going Native" doesn't have a topical main story, but it does include references to Argo, which had just opened.) And the show continues to include many pop-cultural references and "appearances" by celebrities. But, the show simply isn't that funny anymore. I find myself smiling at the "it's funny because it's true" scenes, but most of the jokes are trying so hard to be shocking that they fall flat. It's clear that Parker and Stone still have some passion for the show, I just wish that the could return to the simpler times when the show could be outrageous, but funny as well.

South Park: The Complete Sixth Season forced me to re-visit the news story which lead to the San Diego jokes on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Comedy Central and Paramount Home Entertainment. The two-Disc set contains all 14 episodes from the show's 16th season. The show is letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 10 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain or defects from the source material. The colors look very good, most notably the reds and greens, and the image is never overly dark or bright. This transfer doesn't reveal any defects in the animation and it rivals HD broadcast quality. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The bulk of the sound comes from the center channel here, but we do get some notable stereo effects when things happen off-screen. Surround sound and subwoofer effects are kept to a minimum.

The South Park: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Disc contains two categories of extras. Matt and Trey provide "Mini-Commentaries" on each episode. They only spend a few minutes (at most) describing what went into each show, but some of their comments are funnier than the episodes themselves. Disc 1 offers six DELETED SCENES which run about 4 minutes. All but one of these is fully animated, while the other is in storyboard form.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.