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Featured TV on DVD Review: South Park: Season 14

April 24th, 2011

South Park: Season 14 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

The latest season of South Park hits the home market on Tuesday ahead of the season premiere for season 15, which begins the next day. After being on the air for well over a decade, does the show still have what it takes to entertain? Or has it jumped the shark?

The Show

  1. Sexual Healing
    After a rash of powerful, rich men are caught cheating on their wives, the Center for Disease Control thinks there's an epidemic of Sex Addiction. Possible causes include Global Warming, so they decide to test all kids, just in case. It turns out several of the boys in the fourth grade class have sex addiction. After Kenny dies as a result of experimentation, Kyle and Butters are sent to sex therapy with other sexual addicts.
    The timing seems off in this episode with the punchlines coming a half a beat too late. (And they are using Bill Clinton jokes? That scandal is as old as this TV show is.) Also, if I hear another thing with Charlie Sheen, I will snap. On the other hand, the B-plot with the Tiger Woods fighting game was funny. Overall it is not bad, but more average that anything else.
  2. The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs
    First a cut and paste from my review of A Little Box of Butters. The class is assigned The Catcher in the Rye for school, but when they find the book far less offensive than advertised, they write The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs. Worried that their book is too offensive, they say Butters wrote is so they won't get into trouble. But the book is amazing, and Butters is showered with praise, a book contract, etc. Now the guys try to expose him as a fraud.
    Like I mentioned in the previous review, this is just an average episode.
  3. Medicinal Fried Chicken
    Pot becomes legal in South Park, as long as it's prescribed by a doctor. At the same time, all fast-food restaurants are banned in low-income areas. As a result, Randy, and a lot of the other men in South Park, try to get cancer so they can buy pot, while Cartman turns to organized crime to get his KFC fix, only to turn on his boss and become the new cartel leader.
    A lot of people consider this episode to be one of the best of the season, if not a true classic. However, I though the jokes were a little too obvious to be rated that highly. The parody of Scarface was good.
  4. You Have 0 Friends
    Kyle learns there's one boy in his school, Kip Dordy, with no Facebook friends, so he friends him. However, after he does that, all of his other friends drop him. Meanwhile, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny make Stan a Facebook page, but he wants nothing to do with social media. I know how he feels. After people keep bugging him about his status, friending people, pokes, and Farmville, he gets sick of the whole think and tries to delete his profile. But that merely angers Facebook and he's sucked into the computer where a Tron parody ensues.
    I was looking forward to this episode, as I'm both a fan of Tron and someone who hates most social media sites. It is a good episode, but not as good as I was hoping.
  5. 200: Part 1 and 2
    After the group inadvertently insults Tom Cruise, he organizes a group of celebrities to form a class action lawsuit against South Park that would bankrupt the town. However, they are not after the money, they are after Muhammad, whose power to not be ridiculed is the envy of all celebrities. But before they can get their hands on Muhammad, another group that is even more ridiculed is determined to get Muhammad's power first.
    The episode starts out strong, but the network interference in the second half is incredibly annoying. Also, the B-plot with Cartman really was more interesting.
  6. Crippled Summer
    A parody of the TV show Intervention with Towlie. Meanwhile at Camp Tardicaca, Jimmy is winning all the competitions and Nathan and Mimsy try to eliminate him.
    Easily the weakest episode of the season so far. They are able to mimic Intervention quite well, but the show just isn't a prime target for parody, because it just moves too slowly. The B-plot is better, but not by enough to salvage the show.
  7. Poor and Stupid
    Cartman really wants to be a NASCAR driver but doesn't think he can, because he's not poor and stupid enough. His friends convince him that he really is poor and stupid, so he tries out for NASCAR, with Vagisil as a sponsor. Meanwhile, Kenny's pissed off that Cartman keeps calling NASCAR fans poor and stupid and decides to get revenge.
    Better than the last episode, but that's not saying much. Below average for the season and well below average for the series.
  8. It's a Jersey Thing
    New Jersey is taking over the United States and the folks of South Park are fighting back. It seems to be a lost cause, as no one is willing to help them. Meanwhile, we learn Kyle's mom grew up in New Jersey, so he has a bit of their blood flowing through his veins.
    Another spoof, this time of Jersey Shore with a little Lord of the Rings thrown in. After a couple of misses, we have an episode that's at least average for the season, but it could have been sharper.
  9. Insheeption
    Both Kyle and Mr. Mackey are diagnosed as hoarders, and for once it's not just over-reactive morons. They truly have a problem. In order to solve it, they have to delve deep into Mr. Mackey's subconscious and look at his life as a fourth grader.
    The best episode on disc two, although the second part of 200 probably would have beat it without the unnecessary censorship. It's a good parody of Inception and I get the overly complex nature of the film lends itself to mocking, but I also get the idea Parker and Stone like to make fun of things that are popular, just because they are popular. (And that's not just from the show, but from interviews of theirs I've seen.)
  10. Coon 2: Hindsight / Mysterion Rises / Coon Vs. Coon and Friends
    A three-part episode with Cartoon reprising his role as The Coon, the raccoon based super hero, this time joined by a number of other super heroes to form Coon and Friends. They rush to help people trapped in a burning building only to see another super hero, Captain Hindsight, leap into action. (Oh jeez. Hindsight is what you need to learn from your mistakes. It is in no way a bad thing. Also, 90% of the time when someone says, "No one could see it coming." someone did see it coming. Not enough troops in Iraq, the leaves failing in New Orleans, BP oil disaster, subprime mortgages, etc. were all predicted in advance by experts who were ignored. ... Rant ends.) After being beaten to a fire, and to New Orleans for another BP oil spill, Cartman is determined to recruit Captain Hindsight, by any means necessary. The any means part alienates the rest of the group and they throw him out of Coon and Friends. Thrown out of your own super hero group. You just know he's going to get revenge for that.
    This was very, very close to being a classic episode, right up till the Crunchberry Mint ending. That was too bizarre even for this show. That said, it is still arguably the best episode of the season.
  11. Crème Fraiche
    Randy gets heavily into food porn. Yep, he's become addicted to the Food Network. Because he has abandoned his family for his cooking, Sharon takes up a hobby of her own, the shake weight.
    I wonder if I'm the only one who watched this episode that was disappointed Heston Blumenthal didn't make an appearance? I don't know if there's a large crossover audience between The Food Network and South Park, but whoever is into both will be really happy with the season finale.
There are 14 episodes on this DVD (counting the multipart episodes separately) but I don't think there are any that really rate as classics. There are several that come close like 200, Insheeption, The Coon Trilogy, and Crème Fraiche. On the other hand, there are a few that are below average to just plain bad.

The Extras

Every episode has a mini-commentary with Parker and Stone that last three minute to five minutes. Some are insightful, some run out of steam even with the short running time. There are also six minutes of deleted scenes on disc one, and a bonus episode from season 13, The Coon, on disc three.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but given the relative price between the DVD and the Blu-ray, the latter is likely the better deal.

And one last note, would it kill the people at Comedy Central to include subtitles?

The Verdict

South Park has not yet returned to the heights that was Make Love Not Warcraft and there are no episodes on Season 14 that I would consider true classics. However, there are enough hits that the season is worth picking up. Meanwhile, since it costs only $5 more, the Blu-ray is the better deal over the DVD.

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