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Featured TV on DVD Review: South Park: Season 16

September 22nd, 2013

South Park: Season 16 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

South Park is one of the longest running scripted shows on TV. It has been on the air for 16 years now, which is amazing. However, the past few seasons have been weaker than fans have come to expect. Can the show rebound this season? Or should we accept that the show's glory years are behind it and move on?

The Show

  1. Reverse Cowgirl
    The episode begins with Clyde, one of the groups' friends, getting into trouble with his mother for leaving the toilet seat up. It happens again, and again. The third time, his mother falls in and dies. As a result, the TSA, the Toilet Safety Administration, gets involved with toilet safety and includes installing cameras in every bathroom.
    Toilet seat up... Really? Ugh. The turn around time for a animated episode is usually months, so animated shows can't be topical. With South Park, the turn around time is six days, so they can deal with current events. Jokes about men leaving the toilet seat up are older than TV itself. Even the jokes about the TSA feel stale and dated. It's a weak episode.
  2. Cash for Gold
    Stan and his family go to see Stan's grandfather, who gives Stan a $6,000 gem encrusted bolo tie. It's hideous. He tries to pawn it at a Cash for Gold place, but only gets an offer of $15. They try the next place, but only get an offer of $8, $9 when they mention it is a replica of the same Bolo Tie worn by King Henry V. So who is selling such cheap jewelry for $6,000? The J&G Shopping Network, of course. When the gang investigates the shopping network, they find an even bigger conspiracy.
    This is a better episode than the previous one, but it still has problems. I like the satire surrounding the shopping network and cash for gold scams. However, there were not enough solid jokes throughout the episode, while the parody of the J&G shopping network was too slow, and the grand reveal of the conspiracy went on too long. Overall it is average, but that's it.
  3. Faith Hilling
    The gang perform a prank at a Republican debate based on a new internet meme, Faith Hilling. Despite being warned of the dangers of memetic posing, the gang is still excited to do more Faith Hilling. That is until they learn Faith Hilling has been replaced by a new meme, Taylor Swifting. As the memes rapidly evolve, the gang revolts against the newer memes. Meanwhile, cats. Because... you know. Internet and memes.
    Not a good episode. It is safe to call this one the weakest of the season thus far.
  4. Jewpacabra
    Kyle wakes up to find Cartman in his house talking to his mother about Jewish history. ... This won't end well. It turns out Cartman is hunting the Jewpacabra and needs to know everything about the Jewish faith to hunt it. His quest takes him to Sooper Foods, who are sponsoring the Easter Egg hunt. With a Jewpacabra possibly on the loose, they give Cartman all of the resource he needs to hunt it down. When that doesn't work, they bring in the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. They have a different plan to catch the Jewpacabra: use Cartman as bait.
    Faith Hilling didn't keep the title of Worst Episode of the Season for long, as this one is even weaker. Cartman's hallucination is pretty funny, that's the highlight of the episode, but it is the only highlight of the episode. We've seen too many episodes about Cartman making fun of Jews on South Park and this one adds nothing new to that joke.
  5. Butterballs
    Butters comes to school with a black-eye, for the third day in a row. The kids try to give him advice, but none of it is to his liking. Finally they suggest talking to his grandmother, who is visiting this week. However, when he gets home, we learn it is his grandmother who is bullying him. Meanwhile, Stan gets involved in an anti-bullying campaign, but the pressure to succeed makes him bully others.
    It's better than Jewpacabra but not as good as Cash for Gold. It's average for the past few seasons, which is sadly above average for this season so far.
  6. I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining
    This episode starts as a parody of the I Should Have Died-style reality shows. In it, Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are trying to decide what to do on the last day of their Spring Break. They decide to go Ziplining. Unfortunately, it's much, much more boring than they thought it would be, so they try to escape.
    When you make fun of something that's annoying, repetitive, and boring make sure your end product isn't also annoying, repetitive, and boring. Worst episode of the season. Worst episode from the past few seasons.
  7. Cartman Finds Love
    There's a new girl in town, Nichole, and she's black. So naturally, Cartman tries to play matchmaker between her and Token. However, Nichole likes Kyle, so Cartman pretends to be gay and in a relationship with Kyle to make sure that relationship never blossoms.
    This is a much, much better episode that the previous few episodes. There are quite a few funny parts, including the main plot, but also some throwaway jokes here and there. (Mr. Garrison's history lesson is very funny.)
  8. Sarcastaball
    When Stan's father finds out the school banned kickoffs from football games, for safety reasons, he goes to the next PTA meeting and rants about a super safe sport he calls Sarcastaball. Despite being sarcastic, the school decides to create his sport with him as the coach. Sarcastaball sweeps the nation and for the first time ever, Butters is good at a sport. He's so good that Cartman comes to him for advice, which is when... Spoiler happens. A really gross spoiler.
    There are some funny moments in this episode, and some really, really gross ones as well. However, the overall quality is just average.
  9. Raising the Bar
    Cartman finally admits that he's fat, but instead of doing something to live a healthier lifestyle, he gets a mobility scooter and sues to make sure every bathroom in South Park will accommodate his scooter. This pisses off Kyle to no end, as he's ashamed of people who are not ashamed at living unhealthy lifestyles. He goes completely mental when he learns about Honey Boo Boo.
    This doesn't feel very topical, nor is it very funny.
  10. Insecurity
    Gerald and Sheila Broflovski are engaged in a little sexual role-play with Gerald dressed up as a UPS man. However, Ike, their youngest son, sees this, he draws a picture and shows it to Kyle. They think their mom is having an affair with the UPS man. He tells his friends (and Stan's dad overhears). All of them are devastated, none more so than Cartman. Of course, Cartman takes it in a different direction. He thinks Kyle's mom was raped, so he buys a home security system. Meanwhile, Stan's dad talks to the other husbands in town about whether or not to to tell Gerald about his wife's affair. Then they realize their wives might also be in affairs with the UPS man. This level of paranoia routinely spreads through South Park, so you know it won't end well.
    This is one of the better episodes this season, but the single word from the plot summary that stands out the most to me is "routine". It doesn't do enough to stand out after 16 seasons.
  11. Going Native
    Butter is having anger issues beating up a student and yelling at his friends, except for Kenny. He even yells at his parents when they come in to discuss his behavioral issues with the principal. While his parents are at first shocked, they soon realize what is truly going on. Their son has reach the age of Panua. You see, Butters is Hawaiian. He must return to Hawaii for the ceremony of Hapa Noa and he must travel alone. His friends try to stop him sending Kenny, his only true friend. Instead, Kenny travels with him to Hawaii.
    The setup isn't very interesting and the execution is worse. It's just dull.
  12. A Nightmare on Facetime
    Randy Marsh announces to his family that they are rich, because he bought the local Blockbusters for $10,000. Needless to say, his business is a dud. It is such a dud, that it slowly drives him insane. Actually, it takes less than week for that to happen. Stan's not too upset by his dad's insanity, but he's pissed off that his dad is making him work on Halloween. The plot kicks into gear when the gang goes Trick or Treating without Stan and become witnesses to the Redbox Killers.
    Well... it's better than Going Native. To be fair, it's better than most episodes this season, but it is still merely average for the last few seasons. I keep waiting for a truly great episode and this one had potential, but it is just not as funny as it should be.
  13. A Scause for Applause
    The world is shocked when traces of HGH are found on the Shroud of Turin, leading many to conclude Jesus was a juicer. Everyone is removing their What Would Jesus Do? bracelets, but Stan couldn't do it. By standing up for what he believes in, Stan becomes a hero and people start wearing brown bracelets to stand with him. However, soon Stan is the target of rumors that he cut off his bracelet and glued it back on. When the tests say he did cut his bracelet, Stan decides to sneak into the head scientists home to prove he's innocent, but he's not the only one there.
    There are some good elements to this episode, like the Dr. Seuss inspired segment, and the social satire was more on target than in most episodes this season. But overall, it just average.
  14. Obama Wins!
    The episode begins on election with Cartman traveling across the nation to swing states pretending he's lost his mother, so he can get close to the voter boxes so he can steal them and make sure ... Obama is elected. What? (On a side note, according to the people who made this episode, Idaho was a swing state. Idaho hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1964.) Cartman was working with a General Tsao to swing the election for Obama, so that General Tsao can later blackmail Obama. But what does he hope to get in the end?
    It's good, but not great. Then again, there wasn't a truly great episode this entire season.
Like I mentioned last time, the last instant classic episode of South Park was Make Love, Not Warcraft, which was from the tenth season. That's a long time ago. Even worse, there wasn't a single truly great episode either. The last truly great episode is arguably the Coon Trilogy from Season 14. Season 16 is weaker than Season 15, and I wasn't really happy with Season 15. I don't know if it will last till season 20, which is how long the show is currently renewed to.

The Extras

Every episode has a mini-commentary with Matt Stone and Trey Parker. There are also a handful of deleted scenes on disc one.

I feel like cutting and pasting from last time when it comes to the technical presentation. There are not a lot of fine details in the show, but that's the way it is animated, so you can't fault the transfer for that. There's never any issue when it comes to fine line, so it is a good representation of the source material. The colors are excellent and the blacks are very deep, so that's good news. The audio is strong as well with clear dialog and enough activity in the surround sound speakers to feel active.

The Blu-ray costs $8 more or 31% more than the DVD, which is acceptable for a TV on DVD release.

The Verdict

I would hold off on buying Season 16 of South Park. Season 17 is only ten episodes long, so hopefully they will be able to concentrate and give us ten great episodes, instead of a handful of good episodes mixed in with mostly mediocre ones. If it does rebound, then contining to buy the show on DVD or Blu-ray is worth it. If not, perhaps it is time to say goodbye to the show.

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Filed under: Video Review, Trey Parker, Matt Stone