"South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season" Blu-ray Review
April 29, 2011 by James Harvey
It's amazing how relevant South Park can stay fourteen years into its run. Where other shows falter and sputter to the end, barely crossing the finish line intact, South Park seems to always adapt to the situation, managing to become stronger, sharper, and...just funnier with every season. This latest season is definitely no exception to the rule, either. Nothing is out of reach for this gutsy show, and no prisoners are left behind as they viciously take apart, piece by piece, different facets of our day-to-day lives. However, while South Park strives itself on pushing boundaries, it seems like they may have hit a wall with a particular two-part adventure. More after the synopsis...
All fourteen episodes from South Park's notorious 14th Season are packed into this exclusive three-disc set. Join Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as they dive into social networking, defend against annoying Jersey “muff cabbage” and finally reveal the secret identity of Mysterion in an epic three-part saga. Top that with some never-before-seen deleted scenes and a little crème fraiche, and you’ve got a collection that will leave you drooling. Shablagoo!!
Go get it out of the way, yes, the South Park episode "201" included here in this season collection is the same censored version that was originally broadcast on Comedy Central. The episode was heavily censored when it originally aired, effectively blocking out or bleeping any mention of Muhammad, after the network received terrorist threats from a radical group condemning any depiction of the claimed prophet. Naturally, this raised a fair amount of controversy among the fanbase, many of whom didn't agree with the edits done to the episode by the network. Outside of this, though, all the other episodes appear in unedited form.
What manages to keep South Park entertaining is not only because it’s able to poke fun at itself when need be, but to also remain timely and up with current events. And, like previous seasons, this show remains so up-to-date with current events that it's just...scary at times. True, it dates the show a bit when you watch it again years down the line, such as episodes like "Sexual Healing" or "It's a Jersey Thing," or when they make fun of Justin Bieber or the Shake Weight, but they also got some great 'timeless'-ish episodes, too, like "Poor and Stupid" and "Medicinal Fried Chicken." Still, the more "of the time" episodes don't seem to lose their spark, given how quickly they're able to latch on to current events.
Another big plus to this season is some of the big, big moments for the characters. Whether it's the genuinely surprising revelation of Cartman's real father in the two-part "200"/"201" episode, or the excellent three-part "Coon and Friends," the creators make sure to spend time developing the characters on top of presenting some incredibly outlandish scenarios. And, boy, it gets...pretty out there at times. This really is an absolutely insane season of South Park. All the fun and edginess is there, perhaps even a bit more mean-spirited, but it also seems more...just out there...than usual. The show continues to excel at the humor, thoguh some episodes are unerstandably better than others, but some pretty relevant underlying messages help booster the series past your standard gross-out humor.
In the end there’s little more exciting than watching fourteen episodes of South Park and while they may air in batches of seven on the network, watching them all back-to-back again on the set itself made it feel like more of a complete season. Of course there’s no string that runs throughout the season, but it is still a highly entertaining cartoon. What is really so exciting about the show, however, is that there have never really been any truly horrible seasons. Hit and miss episodes, yes…but the show has yet to succumb to the ways of The Simpsons. Of course South Park has also had shorter seasons and nice, long breaks in between so that may have something to do with it as well.
The episodes included in this collection are "Sexual Healing," "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs," "Medicinal Fried Chicken," "You Have 0 Friends," "200," "201," "Crippled Summer," "Poor and Stupid," "It's a Jersey Thing," "Insheeption," "Coon 2: Hindsight," "Mysterion Rise," "Coon vs. Coon and Friends," and "Creme Fraiche."
Overall if you’re a fan of the show, then the fourteenth season is another strong entry in the line (fourteen seasons...unreal!). A few episodes drag on, but for the most part you’ll be laughing your head off at both the absurdity and genuinely thought provoking nature of some of the shows. Recommended.
Another season of South Park means another great collection, on both DVD and Blu-ray, from Paramount Home Entertainment. This two-disc set, again, doesn't disappoint. Ever since Paramount has started releasing South Park to Blu-ray, the quality has always been just about impossible to beat. South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season features all episodes in 1080p/AVC and mixed in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio. The image is really, really stunning and, at times pretty hard to believe. I still can't believe how far South Park has come since its beginnings, and how it looks this amazing today. And the sound is pretty top-class to match, a solid mix.The colors are deep and striking, the detail shockingly crisp, and the sound nice and clear.
Like previous releases, extras are kinda slim but not underwhelming. Every episodes gets a nice mini-commentary by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, each as informative and witty as the last. They always manage to drop a few interesting tidbits during each, though one of the commentaries features a great gag that acknowledges the controversy surrounding episode "201." Also included are a handful of deleted scenes, in nice high definition, a bonus episode from the last season ("The Coon"), and a code for a free The Book of Mormom song download. All in all...not too shabby. A solid collection for a great series.
Overall this South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray collection is a fantastic ride with great extras. Not much different in terms of past releases, but when you do it right, why change the formula? Some fans may be uneasy to pick this up, given the controversy surrounding episode "201" - some are actually boycotting this release - but I don't think it should be passed up. South Park fans should add this release to their collections, not just based on the strength of content, but the neat historical footnote for the series given the controversy found this season.
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD.