South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Adam Palcher (21st April 2009).
The Film

The "South Park" series has been running for twelve seasons now and apparently show no signs of stopping. With 14 uncensored episodes of low rent animation and crude humor the show pushes the envelope further and further every season. I think it’s to the point now that creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker just try and see what they can get away with.

Part of the appeal to some people is the purposeful low-rent 2-D animation, which in turn gives the creators free reign on current issues and stories of pop culture making the show accessible to anyone keeping up to date on the worlds news. Mainly, I think, they don’t really have to spend too much time animating and creating mind bending graphics, but can concentrate on the writing and current issues to stay on that cutting edge.

What people really sign up for is the humor, the "South Park" characters Kyle, Stan, Cartman, Kenny, and Butters bring us into a gruesome and crude world that has made "South Park" what it is today. For me a lot of the humor is really hit and miss. Don’t get me wrong I love crude humor, I strive for it most of the times, but for me "South Park" more often than not misses the mark. Stone and Parker generally have really funny and great ideas but come back to the fact that they have to shock people with crudeness and it results in a finished product of trying too hard.

There is an episode where Kyle and Stan are so distraught from witnessing their friend Indiana Jones getting raped by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas they have nightmares of Spielberg and Lucas literally raping Harrison Ford, on a pinball machine, in the jungle, etc. This happens multiple times, but is proof of my point that the idea of Lucas and Spielberg making such a bad sequel to the "Indiana Jones" series (1981-2008) is the equivalent to being raped is pretty damn funny, I don’t really feel the need to watch it literally happen. There is also a double episode “Pandemic” that is basically just bad writing that reaches a point of absurdity that shows that they were reaching the week this episode was made.

Some of the episodes that are really funny and I genuinely enjoyed watching them are the episode "About Last Night" with Barack Obama and John McCain secretly working together for 10 years to pull off an Ocean’s 11-type heist was great. The episode "Over Logging" where the Internet stops working around the country and people are going through withdrawal because they can’t check their email or look at Internet porn was funny and scarcely relevant for today’s culture.

For the most part a lot of the episodes for this season were just ok or over-the-top attempts to keep pushing that envelope. I know there is a huge following for this show and that following probably loves this season, so they must be doing something right if they weren’t they probably wouldn’t have made it to season 12.

This season includes all 14 episodes over three discs and include:

- "Tonsil Trouble" After a routine tonsillectomy goes horribly wrong, Cartman comes face to face with his own mortality.

- "Britney’s New Look" When the boys help Britney Spears get to the North Pole, they discover the shocking secret behind her popularity.

- "Major Boobage" In a "South Park" homage to the 1981 film, "Heavy Metal", the boys are trying to get Kenny off the latest drug craze that's captured the junior high and under set.

- "Canada On Strike" The head of the World Canadian Bureau leads the country into a long and painful strike and the responsibility of brokering a settlement rests with the boys.

- "Eek, A Penis" While Ms. Garrison is off trying to find a way to become the man he was always intended to be, Cartman is put in charge of the classroom.

- "Over Logging" One day the citizens of South Park wake up and find the internet is gone. When Randy hears there may still be some internet out in California, he packs up his family and heads west.

- "Super Fun Time" While the kids are on an educational field trip to a living museum, Cartman makes Butters sneak away from the class to go to the amusement center located next door.

- "The China Problem" With the rest of the American people haunted by the memory of a recent tragic event, only Butters will stand with Cartman as he confronts the Chinese.

- "Breast Cancer Show Ever" Wendy gets in trouble when she threatens to beat up Cartman after school.

- "Pandemic" While the world struggles to contain an epidemic of epic proportions, the boys find a way to make money off of it.

- "Pandemic 2: The Startling" Giant guinea pigs are attacking cities all over the world. The boys have the key that will save everyone from the onslaught but they're stranded in the Andes Mountains.

- "About Last Night…" While the country celebrates the outcome of the election, the new President-elect catches everyone off guard when he arrives at the White House prematurely.

- "Elementary School Musical" The boys must embrace the latest fad to hit South Park Elementary or risk their status as the coolest kids in school.

- "The Ungroundable" Butters is sure he’s seen a Vampire at school but he can’t get anyone to listen to him. Meanwhile, the Goth Kids are angry and frustrated when the other kids can’t tell the difference between a Goth and a Vampire.

Video

This standard definition season was presented in full screen 1:33:1 aspect ratio. In the above review I talk about how the animation for "South Park" is “low-rent”, that’s not to say it doesn’t look good as most animation does these days, I was more touching on the 2-D non-walking characters and background. Overall the transfer looks fine and the colors are even and plentiful, there are a few fuzzy lines here and there but never distracting. The episode "Major Boobage" has a terrific change in animation where drug-induced hallucination are portrayed and spoofed in the world of the 80’s classic animated film "Heavy Metal."

Audio

Presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, the audio track here is bright and mixed well, with a blend of mostly front-end dialogue and music for limited surround sound. Subtitles are presented in English.

Extras

Paramount has released this season with a series of mini-commentaries, a couple of featurettes, a documentary and a bonus trailer. Below is a closer look at these supplements broken down per disc.

DISC ONE:

All episodes contain mini-commentaries by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. We get 5 minutes or so of commentaries with the creators of the show. Even though these are short in length Parker and Stone give us fun and interesting information about the plotlines they chose and the sense of humor of the show. They’ve done these mini-commentaries since the third season, I believe, so it’s a continuation of that and probably the only extra that is worth your time if you’re a fan of the show.

"Major Boobage: Behind-the-Scenes of Major Boobage" featurette is a behind-the-scenes look at the episode with the "Heavy Metal" dreamscapes mixed into the show. We have the animation director Eric Stough going through each scene discussing how they incorporated their version the "Heavy Metal" movie with this episode. Serving more as a commentary is Stough going through the scenes “Kenny’s Trip”, Gerald’s Flight”, “Kenny’s Rescue”, and “Kenny’s Hot Chick” running a total of 13 minutes and 17 seconds.

Before the menu becomes active on disc one we get a 31 second bonus trailer for "The Cult Of Cartman" DVD to be released as a 2 –Disc DVD coming soon. Looks pretty funny and die-hard fans will love it.

DISC TWO:

All episodes on this disc also contain mini-commentaries by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

"Six Days to South Park: A Day-by-Day Making of South Park" documentary is another making of that is actually more of a commentary, again with Eric Stough and 5 of his crew going through what the 6 day process of animating and creating the show is like. This is more for die-hard fans of the show or die-hard fans of the animation process. Counting down the hours until air time isn’t that fun unless you’re really into the process with a lengthy commentary from storyboards to finished product this feature runs 82 minutes and 21 seconds.

DISC THREE:

As with the previous discs the episodes here also contain mini-commentaries by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

"Behind-the-Scenes: About Last Night" is another similar featurette as the above two with the animation director Eric Stough discussing the specifics and process of the “About Last Night” episode. Since this episode had to do with the election and the airdate was two days after the election they had only 24 hours to finish this process. Serving again as a commentary this extra plays the whole episode running 21 minutes and 59 seconds.

Packaging

This set is packaged in a digi-pack housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: C+ Video: B Audio: B Extras: C- Overall: C

 


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