Almost nothing is sacred as South Park unleashes its eighth season on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures. Over the course of fourteen episodes, we get another look at the unique Colorado mountain town and the characters who populate it.
From a bloody and satanic Christmas episode to a commentary on violence as well as animes, the eighth season skewers Michael Jackson, Mel Gibson, and The Passion of the Christ, and news programmes forgoing news to get ratings. It also uses time travel as an examination of illegal immigrants and workers, questions the logic of celebrity and those who wield it, and has a great flashback to when Kenny, Stan, Kyle and Cartman were in pre-school.
It’s an incredibly brilliant season without a weak episode. It plays to its strengths, focusing on juvenile humour while exploring deeper themes and ideas. It doesn’t hide its cleverness as much anymore, and seems delighted to show off the fact that it can be both childish and provide social commentary at the same time.
Series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker provide commentaries on the episodes, and keep the laughs coming.
There are so many highlights to the season it’s hard to pick out a select few, but I love that Butters has his own episode again, when he gets a robot from Japan, Amaze-O. It’s obvious that the robot is Cartman in disguise, but Butters has no idea. It seems Butters has a recording of Cartman dressed as Britney Spears dancing in his backyard.
The season opener sees the boys coming into possession of some ‘ninja’ weapons, and the animation immediately becomes akin to anime, and it’s incredibly funny to hear some of the typical South Park dialogue coming from characters that look like they stepped out of a Japanese cartoon.
The quest for ratings episode is brilliant. You can see nods to films like Anchorman, but also a very real commentary on the dumbing down of the American public, ignoring actual news for stupid videos, and sound bites. It’s a very smart episode, no matter how much it tries to hide it.
The final episode of the season, the Christmas episode, plays with holiday season tropes, and themes of the circle of life, to bring a hilarious close to the season, and sees Kenny survive to the end.
In fact, lately, Butters seems to be getting the brunt of all the violence, poor fella, especially considering the tap dancing incident.
South Park continues to prove itself full of smarts, laughs, juvenile and crass humour, and it makes for an entertaining watch every time.
South Park seasons one through eleven are now available on blu-ray.