In 2007, the boys of South Park, CO returned to Comedy Central for their eleventh season. Creators Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and their staff presented another outlandish collection of comedic adventures that once again ranged from thoughtful to tasteless, provided plenty of laughs and shocks that should satisfy fans of the series.
Parker and Stone are better than most at successfully finding a way to use topical material and references, which could limit the longevity of the jokes, and discovering the universal truth underneath. In “With Apologies To Jesse Jackson” they use actor Michael Richards’ career-ending rant at a comedy club to explore the power of racist words when Randy, Stan’s father, mistakenly uses one on a national game show and becomes known as “Nigger Guy.” In “Cartman Sucks,” they take inspiration from the recent film Jesus Camp to look at the issues of gay teens when Butters is sent to a re-orientation camp because of a trick Cartman played on him.
While the parodies of 24 (“The Snuke”) and 300 ("D-Yikes") need to be seen to get the jokes, many other pop culture references abound and their identification isn’t required for the laughs. When Cartman mocks and fights with a midget, only those familiar with ‘80s infomercials will recognize his opponent. When Jesus fights the new Pope, only those who have seen the movie Krull will recognize his weapon of choice.
The “Imaginationland” trilogy has previously been released on DVD, and could have been the next South Park movie fans have been craving. These episodes might be the most fun as all sorts of famous fictional characters appear throughout the trilogy. Your “Pause” button will get a workout because some only appear for a few moments.
The humor of South Park can be both witty and crude, with jokes in the latter vein occasionally overdone and run into the ground. Unlike the humor of Archie Bunker’s racism which poked fun at his character’s ideas, Cartman’s anti-Semitism is relentless and unfunny. It's the one major flaw of the series.
I have no problem with and make frequent use of profanity, but for some reason I find the episodes funnier when the curse words are bleeped and have no idea why. I wish they offered a censored audio track, and since they appear that way on television, it wouldn’t cost much more to include them on the DVD
Parker and Stone provide mini-commentaries on each episode. They run about five minutes and reveal what went into the episodes’ creation. They are very informative, but the fellows do not seem to enjoy doing them. They put in as much time as they are likely contractually obligated for with an eye on the clock and get out as soon as they can.
While Cartman jumps homeless people this season, South Park has yet to jump the shark. Season Eleven is a welcome addition alongside the others and as a bonus it reveals the connection between Jesus and the Easter Bunny. Well worth checking out.