South Park: The Complete Eighteenth Season (Blu-ray)

Judge Dawn Hunt is penning an ultra-conservative sister show North Drive.

First came The Simpsons. And that show is a cultural institution to be sure, the road the yellow-skinned ones paved led the way for adult-oriented humor to become not only mainstream but expected. But where The Simpsons may have broken down the door South Park went ahead and burned down the house. Eighteen years later some say South Park may have has lost its must-see cutting-edge persona, but what it has stayed true to and what keeps it on the air is its willingness and indeed drive to not produce entertainment merely for entertainment’s sake but rather entertainment focused on the specific issues of the day which form the pop cultural zeitgeist. There are so many adult-focused animation shows out there and while others may feel fresher than South Park none does as eloquent a job of combining entertainment with a distinct voice. No other show holds their ground without apology like South Park when it comes to the side of the issues they’re discussing. As a result no other show is going to endure like they will because their focus serves as an example of the specific issues each generation who has grown up with South Park has experienced. This time around for instance South Park deals with going gluten-free, with being transgender, and with the issue of unregulated drones, to name but a few.

So while there are other shows whose ribald and blue humor may appeal to a broader audience South Park is the show which acts as a time capsule for how the issues of the day affect the people who have to live with them. They don’t always take a popular viewpoint on an issue and the one thing South Park will do for you if nothing else is give you your line. And by that I mean where you find you’re offended when you didn’t realize you were going to be. It could be Kurt Cobain, it could be Bill Cosby, it could be any number of issues but South Park will show you what you hold sacred and where you think the line should be drawn. Everyone has something they don’t think should ever be made fun of and if you don’t think you do watch enough South Park and something is likely to turn your stomach. The show asks you to think and indeed there are soliloquies or monologues from some of the characters which have more than a little editorial bent to them. These 10 season eighteen episodes, aired in 2014, tackle a number of the most sensitive issues of the day.

South Park continues to take popular culture’s temperature and then administer doses of hot-button issues. You may not want to see them skewered or you may have been longing for someone to put your opinion in Cartman’s mouth. Those feelings could occur during the same episode. Though many have come after there’s no denying South Park stands tall and evolves without selling out (unless that’s the context of the episode, naturally.) The episodes and brief descriptions are listed below:

“Go Fund Yourself” — The boys enter the world d of Kickstarter when The Washington Redskins’ name and logo fall out of copyright and into fair use.

“Gluten Free Ebola” — After witnessing an experiment during which someone consuming pure gluten extract goes horribly wrong the whole town freaks out and goes gluten-free. Too bad the boys want to host the most epic pizza party ever.

“The Cissy” — Finally fed up with his inability to get the privacy he wants in the boys’ bathroom Cartman (Trey Parker, Team America: World Police) tells everyone he identifies as Erica now and uses (and abuses) the girls’ bathroom.

“Handicar” — Timmy (Trey Parker) founds Handicar, South Park’s answer to Uber, in order to raise money for summer camp. But not everyone wants to see his new venture succeed.

“The Magic Bush” — Cartman, Butters and Kenny (both Matt Stone) “borrow” Butters’ father’s drone and during their joy ride become little peepers. However when their x-rated footage is released it spurs the town to get neighborhood watch drones of their own to provide vigilance but the situation quickly spirals out of control.

“Freemium Isn’t Free” — Stan (Trey Parker) becomes addicted to the “free” Terrance and Philip app.

“Grounded Vindaloop” — Eric tricks Butters into thinking he’s in virtual reality. But what if Eric is really the one in virtual reality? How would he know?

“Cock Magic” — A play on words leads the boys to what they believe may be their manliest experience yet but a misunderstanding could get Stan’s father arrested.

“#Rehash” — All Kyle (Matt Stone, BASEketball) wants is to spend some time with his baby brother Ike (Milan Agnone) playing video games. But he is horrified to learn Ike would rather watch other people playing and commenting on video games online. Fearing for his relationships with his family Kyle tries to get them all off their devices.

“#HappyHolograms” — Cartman has fully embraced his new online commentator status but when shady entertainment producers hire him to live comment on their epic holiday special they may be giving him more power than they should. Who can save the holidays?

The technical specs are nearly pristine. The video is a 1080p High Definition transfer and there are two audio options, a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and a Dolby Digital Stereo track. There’s a bit more live action footage than I typically enjoy in South Park this go around but I’m choosing to look at that as another gauge of how well the technical specs hold up. The iconic Primus theme song sounds clear and solid, the mix of visuals are blended well so it’s not too jarring going from a live-action to an animated palette and back. Overall there are no complaints from the technical specifications corner.

When we get to the special features we have some deleted scenes as well as commentaries from Trey and Matt on each episode. These appear on the bottom of the screen in what looks like a live Twitter feed, and it harkens back to the pop up video sensation of the 1990s. They’re fun little bits of trivia, sometimes serious facts, but entertaining and educational together.

While South Park may not be your go-to adult animation show anymore, there’s no denying the legacy Parker and Stone have created nor the impact their show has had on those that have come after it. And with Comedy Central recently announcing they’ve picked up the show through Season 20 there’s years of “humble folks without temptation” for us to enjoy.


Screw you guys, I’m Cartman brah!

Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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