South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season (Blu-ray)
South Park’s twelfth season aired on Comedy Central in 2008 and featured 14 episodes of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s outrageous, satirical series. This collection of the fourth graders’ outlandish adventures found the creative team delivering one of their better seasons. I didn’t find one in the bunch that disappointed, so for anyone that hasn’t watched in a while, this season is a great place to return, and there’s not much in the way of episode continuity other than Mr./Ms./Mr. Garrison’s changing gender/sexual orientation, so it’s easy to pick up no matter where you left off.
The series provides a compelling commentary on our times while never forgetting crude humor can also provide laughs. “Britney’s New Look,” which finds the pop singer blowing off most of her head with a shotgun, is an interesting paradox because it chastises those who prey upon celebrities and their downfalls, like websites and paparazzi, yet South Park has been guilty as well, which Parker and Stone fess up to on their commentary track. “Eek, A Penis!” has Cartman, speaking with a bad Mexican accent and dressing like Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver, go to the inner city and teach students how to cheat like New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick. “Canada On Strike” has the beady Canucks filling in for the WGA.
No pop-culture event was safe as High School Musical, Twilight, and the raping of Indiana Jones was given the South Park treatment. Nothing was bigger than the Presidential election, and the day after the election “About Last Night…” revealed Barack Obama and John McCain were working together as part of an Ocean’s 11-type scam.
Two of the funniest episodes are film parodies. “Major Boobage” is influenced by the magazine and film Heavy Metal as the hallucinations experienced from getting cat urine shot in the face are minute exaggerations of the emphasis on breasts and violence set to the film’s rock soundtrack. The two-parter “Pandemic” takes on Cloverfield and big animal monster movies as real-life guinea pigs infiltrate South Park’s animated world while Randy runs around videotaping the chaos.
Recorded a week and a half after the season ended, each episode offers a mini-commentary from Stone and Parker who give them begrudgingly. They complain about having to do them, but my question is if you don’t want to do them, then don’t, but quit your bitching about it.
Each disc also has a bonus feature. Disc one looks at the making of the Heavy Metal sequences with commentary from two members of the production team. A four-way comparison shows how the shots were created. Disc two has six crew members discuss and show what takes place over the six days it takes to create an episode, specifically “Super Fun Time”. It is over 80 minutes and is very informative. Curious fans should enjoy it. Disc Three provides a similar look at “About Last Night…”, but only does one day.
The Complete Twelfth Season is presented uncensored (I would still like a censored track option not because I am prudish but because I find the bleeps funnier) and for the first time television series is on Blu-ray. The Blu-ray accentuates the colors, which are extremely vibrant. Even though the series rendered with computers, it appears to still be made out of pieces of paper. Some of the “pieces” have texture as if they were created out of construction paper. The soundtrack is available in Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Stereo. The surround is used by the music and ambiance.
All the episodes now appear online at the South Park website so they can be sampled before purchase or watched for free.