“If we don’t hunt, then these animals will grow too big in number and they won’t have enough food. So you see, we have to kill animals, or else they’ll die.”

Comedy Central and Rhino expend little effort to bring four episodes of the South Park show on DVD.

For those unfamiliar with South Park, it is an adult cartoon about the lives and times of four third-graders in South Park, Colorado. Stan is pretty much the leader of the group. Kyle is the persecuted Jewish boy. Kenny is the poor kid, and invariably dies in each episode. Eric Cartman is the big-boned, antagonistic boy. Their exploits push the boundaries of what can be shown on network or cable television. Each episode has earned the TV-MA rating, the television equivalent of an R rating.

Rhino, to date, has published six DVDs with four South Park episodes apiece. The episodes are presented in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. The video is crisp and clear, only marred by occasional edge enhancement and color bleeding. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital Surround. No extras are included, unless you count the advertisement for other Comedy Central shows. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone introduce each episode. The episodes occupy one chapter on separate titles, so there is no opportunity to skip the intros (which can be pretty lame) or to any point in the episode.

South Park Volume 5 includes the following episodes from the second season:

* “Conjoined Fetus Lady”
The boys encounter the titular deformed school Nurse Gollum. As the town recognizes the nurse’s rare disease with Conjoined Twin Myslexia Awareness Week, the South Park Elementary children leave for the dodgeball championships. (It should be noted that I cannot locate the term “myslexia” in any online or offline medical dictionary.)

* “The Mexican Staring Frog Of Southern Sri Lanka”
Jesus’ television talk show is featured again. Jesus is in a ratings war with Jimbo and Ned’s hunting program. Jimbo and Ned are duped by a fake tape that proves the existence of the staring frog, which causes paralysis with one look. Jesus’ producer talks him into changing his show into a “Jerry Springer” format. The kids also get into trouble over a report about Vietnam that includes mostly made-up facts they received from Stan’s Uncle Jimbo.

* “Flashbacks”
This episode was originally titled “The City on the Edge of Forever,” a much more creative title (stolen from “Star Trek”). The kids are stranded on a school bus in the middle of the wilderness. They wile away the time by reminiscing about events from previous episodes (and on things earlier in the episode). Invariably, their memories are warped to somehow include ice cream. Of course, Kenny dies. Later, Cartman tells a story of another time when Kenny was killed, and Kyle tells him, “Kenny just died eight hours ago from that monster. How could he have died back then too?” It’s probably one of my favorite episodes.

* “Summer Sucks”
Cartman learns to swim in a pool full of peeing first-graders. All firecrackers are banned in Colorado (except for snakes), so the town purchases the world’s largest snake firecracker. Of course it goes out of control and burn up half the state. Jimbo and Ned go to Mexico to buy illegal fireworks, but of course they get busted. That’s pretty much it.

Until “Spooky Fish” and “Underpants Gnomes” are released on DVD, these episodes are the cream of the season two crop. “Summer Sucks” is pretty forgettable, but the other three episodes are super-funny. I wish Nurse Gollum would make a reappearance other than in a crowd scene. She’s just about the only “normal” person in South Park. Season two was probably the best period for the show. It had found its legs by this point. However, once the movie was released, the television show had to try to be on par with the movie’s grossness. Season three has degenerated to a point where they are just trying to break any taboo they can, and it’s getting a little old.

This is one of the best DVDs in the entire six-disc line. If you have to pick one disc out of the series, this is the one to get.

THE VERDICT

Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to earn the court’s good graces for their daring and willingness to define the bleeding edge. Comedy Central and Rhino garner stern glares for cutting corners during DVD production, but the judge is too busy laughing to care. Case dismissed.

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