Luke Owen reviews the fifteenth season of South Park, which is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK today…
It’s amazing to think that some little TV series I once stayed up late to watch air on Channel 4 in 1997 with terrible animation and crude-but-not-that-crude humour would not only be in its 15th season, but still be relevant. Yes, those four foul-mouthed little bastards are back and they are ruder than ever.
Show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have always had a tough task on their hands. No matter what they do with a new season, they have to do something that can top the last one. It almost felt like they would never top Cartman forcing Scott Tenorman to eat a chilli made out of his own parents, but they keep managing to pull something out of the bag – and this season again does not disappoint. Whether it’s the image of Kyle sewn to a man’s behind because he agreed to the iTunes terms and conditions in ‘HUMANCENTiPAD’ or Cartman claiming he has ‘Ass Burgers’, no stone is left unturned. The latter joke may be a little close to the knuckle for some, but it’s quite clever when you think about it.
South Park has always held a long tradition of sending up famous people and I was glad to see that it was toned down a lot for this season. Usually Parker and Stone got so caught up in their parodies that they almost forgot what made South Park funny in the first place. That’s not to say that celebs get an easy ride in this season, certainly not. Tyler Perry probably gets the most abuse for being the world’s unfunniest man unless you’re black, while Natalie Portman makes a brief (and very odd) cameo and there is a certain wedding from last year that gets a good ribbing in what is probably my favourite episode of the season (anything involving the Canadians gets me).
The season isn’t without its duds however. I think the obvious jokes about the “99%” rallies fall flat (and are carried by a far superior Cartman plot) and ‘The Last of the Meheecans’ is quite a dull episode with very few, if any, laughs. Odd episodes like ‘City Sushi’ and ‘A History Channel Thanksgiving’ provide a few cheap laughs but don’t match up to some of the other episodes and often feel like filler for a week where they couldn’t think of any good ideas.
Highlights of the season include Stan getting old and seeing the world for how it truly is (in an episode I can really relate to), Randy writing a Broadway Musical and getting into a ‘Bro Down’ with Stephen Sondheim (which also leads to a very well executed dig at Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark) and the Canadian Royal Wedding which had me in uncontrollable fits of laughter.
South Park Season 15 doesn’t fail you and if you are a fan of the series you won’t be disappointed. There is nothing really new on offer and aside from Stan’s parents getting divorced in ‘You’re Getting Old’, each episode moves along at a very predictable and insanely funny pace. What you see is what you get and I don’t see it getting old anytime soon.
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.