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South Park - The Complete Twelfth Season - Blu-ray DVD / television series / animation / comedy / Comedy Central DVD review
SOUTH PARK - THE COMPLETE TWELFTH SEASON Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall
Creators: Trey Parker, Matt Stone Studio: Comedy Central / Paramount
DVD release: 10 March 2009 Runtime: 308 min.
(3 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen , Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ration 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), Subtitles (English SDH), Mini-audio commentary all episodes (w/Trey Parker and Matt Stone), The Making of Major Boobage, Six Days to South Park - The Sixth Day (About Last Night), Behind-the-Scenes: About Last Night

In reviewing the solid twelfth season of South Park, I was struck how the show still retains its power to be shocking, offensive, remarkably current, and quite often laugh-out-loud funny. Even though on one commentary track Trey Parker and Matt Stone lament the fact that they feel they're "getting old," Season 12 shows fans of the series that they probably don't have to worry about it going stale for a long time.

Here's a recap of some of the season's hilarious moments, as well as one episode where perhaps they again went too far:
  • Super Fun Time - to me, the funniest overall episode of the season. Mr. Garrison's class takes a field trip to living museum where all the characters reenact the year 1864 and stubbornly refuse to break character-even when Die Hard-style terrorists overtake the museum.
  • Pandemic and Pandemic 2: The Starling - in this two-part episode, Homeland Security devises a plan to rid malls across the nation of Peruvian Flute players - which leads to a worldwide attack by giant guinea pigs in funny costumes. The episodes are a wicked parody of the "shaky-cam" fad, seen in movies such as Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and Quarantine.
  • About Last Night... - this episode, which ran the night after the election, reveals that McCain, Palin and Obama were working together and that the election was actually a giant ruse in order to steal the Hope Diamond. This episode is a funny parody of the recent Ocean's Clooney-Pitt movies (and who knew Sara Palin had a British accent?).
  • Canada on Strike - when the world largely ignores "Canada Appreciation Day," the entire country goes on strike. The highlight of the episode, however, is the funny and accurate parodies of recent Internet "celebrities," such as Chocolate Rain, Dramatic Look Gopher and Sneezing Baby Panda (for those unsure of who they are, these Internet celebs are easily found on YouTube).
As for the times when they go too far? There are moments scattered throughout the season (such as Randy, Stan's father, getting addicted to extreme internet porn, as well as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas "raping" Indiana Jones repeatedly) that push the limits of good taste. However, few episodes of South Park are as polarizing as the episode Britney's New Look (Parker and Stone even admitted on the commentary track that many fans hated this episode), in which the boys find out that Britney Spears is hiding in South Park from the media. When she discovers that they've played a trick on her in order to get yet another picture, she responds by trying to shoot herself.

She does not die but is left horribly mutilated. When the guilt-ridden boys try to sneak her out of town, they learn the shocking truth behind her popularity. The ending, taken from the classis horror short story "The Lottery," does not really go for laughs and is more creepy and intense than funny. Overall, it's not a bad episode, but I can see why some fans were put off by this rather dark, brutal episode (yet the makers correctly point out that the episode is not so much a cruel attack on Britney but more a sharp criticism of the public and media's unyielding obsession with the young woman).

However, even the times that the show goes too far show that Parker and Stone still have the courage and conviction to take chances to make their point. Season 12 proves that South Park hasn't "jumped the shark" yet and remains as irreverent, offensive, satirical and - most importantly - funny as it has always been.

Blu-ray extras:
Each episode features a mini-commentary by Parker and Stone, usually around 6 minutes, but a bit longer for the Britney and election episodes. While I would have liked to have heard their commentary on at least one full episode, they do at least make pointed and clever comments about the key moments in each episode.

Each of the 3 discs includes one making of featurette:
  • Disc 1 focuses on the Major Boobage episode and how the makers emulated the look and style of the 1980's cult animated film Heavy Metal.
  • Disc 2's extra focuses on the week-long process it takes to get an episode from initiation to air. While this long extra is often interesting, it also becomes a bit too repetitive and technical at times as well.
  • Disc 3's extra is an informative (and thankfully shorter) extra that focuses on the last minute changes made to the About Last Night... episode the night before it aired, including how they folded parts of that night's Obama victory speech into the episode.
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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