The debut of South Park in 1997 was nothing short of phenomenal. I remember hearing about the show practically everywhere I turned, but my cable system did not carry Comedy Central. Literally within a few weeks though, the cable company had added the station. It was an amazing thing to see a program have that much of an immediate impact. It also put creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in an almost untenable position. Maintaining the level of momentum they had begun with was an almost impossible task. To their credit, South Park remains as funny as ever, which is more than evident on the latest DVD release, South Park – The Complete Thirteenth Season.
South Park remains Comedy Central’s biggest hit, but only makes news these days when Parker and Stone tackle a big fish like The Walt Disney Company, which they did in the very first show of season 13.
“The Ring” is a brilliant piece of pop culture satire, and one of the best South Park episodes ever. It features the most unlikely of all the characters, Kenny, getting his first real girlfriend. She is rumored to be the elementary school slut, who gave a guy a blowjob after listening to the Jonas Brothers. This piece of news inspires Kenny to immediately run out and buy tickets to the Jonases' upcoming appearance.
Backstage at the concert, the Jonas boys are rebelling against Disney CEO Mickey Mouse’s dictum that they promote “purity rings.” As the diminutive mouse explains, “The rings let us sell sex to little girls.” I won’t spoil the rest of the episode by revealing how the mouse gets his comeuppance, or if Kenny ever does get his BJ, but this is one of the funniest South Park shows I have seen.
“Dead Celebrities” is another great one. The summer of 2009 saw an unprecedented spate of high-profile celebrity deaths. With their crude brand of animation, South Park Studios can churn out episodes in a fraction of the time it takes other shows. For this reason, South Park was able to present a timely comment on the situation. There are a lot of funny bits in this one, but my favorite has Billy Mays popping up every few minutes to sell comfort products to celebs in purgatory.
Of the 14 shows that comprise the three-DVD set South Park – The Complete Thirteenth Season, there are a host of other highlights. To my knowledge, “Eat, Pray, Queef” is the first animated reference to the feminine phenomenon. Then there is “W.T.F.” where the boys form their own wrestling federation after going to a WWE Raw taping. They get so popular that Vince McMahon himself shows up to check them out. Another classic moment features a high seas battle between the Deadliest Catch and Whale Wars ships.
South Park has always been proudly politically incorrect, and the thirteenth season carries on the tradition in style. There is “The F Word,” where the word “fag” becomes the official designation of bikers, and “Pee,” which features the song, “There Are Too Many Minorities At My Water Park.”
One of the cool things about owning the DVD set of South Park is the fact that it is uncensored. It is so much more enjoyable to watch the shows without all of the four-letter words being bleeped out.
The bonus features include a behind the scenes look at South Park Studios, where each episode is created. Their productivity rate is incredible for an animated show, putting out a brand new episode in just six days. There are also a selection of deleted scenes and hilarious commentaries from Trey and Matt. With South Park all set to move into their fourteenth season this week, South Park – The Complete Thirteenth Season is well worth checking out.