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South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season(TV) (2010)
South Park revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick—and their bizarre adventures in and around the titular Colorado town.
For more about South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season and the South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray release, see the South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 20, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Isaac Hayes, Mona Marshall
Director: Trey Parker
» See full cast & crew
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray Review
Secrets are revealed, lines are crossed, and nothing and nobody is safe -- just another season for "South Park."
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 20, 2011
South Park, Colorado is the most insensitive, racist, and bigoted place in this country!
For a show that's built its reputation on outrageous story lines, censor-pushing visuals, and dialogue that bleeps more than R2-D2, it's safe to say that the fourteenth season has outdone even the most notably notorious seasons in South Park's illustrious and still-going-strong history. There's no subject too taboo, no visual too disgusting, and no dialogue too repulsive -- except for the mystery words that make up a gross-out novel that's central to one of the season's top episodes -- for either series Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker or for Comedy Central, the host TV station that lets pretty much anything go, pushing the FCC, it sometimes seems, more so than the boundaries of taste. Nevertheless, Parker and Stone met their match with the season's now-famous/infamous "200" and "201," episodes that sparked worldwide controversy with the visual "depiction" of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (and never mind that Muhammad made an appearance, uncensored, in the fifth season's "Super Best Friends"). In other words, it was just another episode for Parker and Stone. It's not "uncensored" for the Blu-ray release -- the "black bar" still covers the sacred figure -- and is in a way reminiscent of the whole ""He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" angle from the Harry Potter universe, playing sorta-kinda like a "visual version" of J. K. Rowling's famous plot line. Still, it's serious business, and agree with the decision or not, there's no denying that this really is the furthest the show has ever gone in terms of sparking a backlash that goes beyond the usual call for a more general censorship of the show's themes, visuals, and dialogue, usually by people who fail to see the show's real purposes that lie beyond the superficially tasteless stories.
Aside from the Muhammad controversy, this is still a bonafide crazy season of South Park. Once again, no celebrity is safe, no issue is too taboo, no pop culture reference is off-limits, and political correctness is still not in Matt and Trey's vocabulary, all of which helps to retain the series's edgy, insulting, and undeniably fun structure that's partially responsible for making the show such a success. Where South Park really shines though -- and this season is certainly no exception -- is through the way in which Parker and Stone so smartly and, seemingly, so effortlessly capture the inaneness of pop culture, modern politics, a celebrity-obsessed society, and trends in technology and the 21st century way of life. Indeed, all are well-represented. The season begins with an unforgiving but somewhat uneven look at the Tiger Woods sex scandal, and it moves on to poke fun at the Facebook phenomenon but also comment on the near insanity of basing one's life on digital rather than real relationships. The BP oil spill, the rise in the use of medicinal marijuana, the emergence of the government "nanny state," and various stereotypes are all lambasted with an evident playfulness combined with an underlying serious message that counters the absolute ridiculousness of the plots. That's where South Park really finds its place in modern society; it's not only a source of humor, but is also a pointed and sometimes scathing look at the world as it really is, for better or for worse (and usually the latter), and taken to extremes that really aren't all that far from reality. South Park far more often than not manages more insightful commentary than the modern media seems capable, or at least willing, to offer, hence its continued relevance and reverence, praised even by many who might otherwise find offense in the series's always over-the-top antics.
Highlight episodes include:
"The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs"
In Mr. Garrison's class, the boys are assigned The Catcher in the Rye, the book that supposedly inspired John Lennon's killer and that has been banned from schools -- including South Park Elementary -- for decades. Cartman, who usually despises reading, grows ever more excited to read it after Mr. Garrison shares with the class its shady history. Much to their dismay, the core four boys don't see anything offensive or obscene in it. In response, the boys set out to write their own obscene book. When Stan's mother finds the manuscript buried in her son's sock drawer, she can't get past the first page without throwing up her lunch, but she also recognizes its brilliance as a modern sociopolitical work of art. Fearful of parental retribution, the boys concoct a story that Butters actually wrote the book. Things go south when Butters earns a lucrative book deal and the novel is praised as one of the greats in the history of literature. In response, the boys set out to prove that the novel is, in fact, not a brilliant work of metaphorical art but instead just the crude, rambling imaginations of a group of fourth-grade boys.
"Medicinal Fried Chicken"
Cartman skips out on sports at school thanks to a made-up stomach ailment, but as soon as practice is over, it's off to KFC for some tasty fried chicken. There's only one problem: the store has been converted to a medicinal marijuana outlet. Stan's father Randy is stoked at the sight of all that weed for sale, but when the clerk informs him that he needs a doctor's permission slip to buy it, his excitement turns to depression. When his doctor won't write a prescription for weed -- it's only for sick patients who need to take the edge off the pain -- Randy sets out to give himself cancer so he can buy legal pot. Meanwhile, Cartman learns that Colorado has recently passed a law banning KFC as a health hazard. Desperate for a fix, he falls in with a dangerous underground crowd in an effort to get his hands on some of the Colonel's famous fried food -- no matter the cost.
"You Have 0 Friends"
Facebook mania has finally made its way to South Park. Adding digital friends and farming digital crops has become an obsession all around town, except with Stan, who refuses to become "sucked in" and participate in the frenzy. Stan's friends make him a page, which he angrily agrees to maintain. However, things spiral out of control when his page becomes popular, and his real life falls apart when he fails to update his digital existence and keep up with nearly one million friends. Can Stan find a way out, or will he be reluctantly pulled into the grid and forced into high-stakes games of Facebook Yahtzee? Meanwhile, Kyle takes pity on a third grader, Kip Drordy, who has yet to make a single Facebook friend after six months on the site. Kyle's decision costs him most everybody on his friends list; the association with the otherwise friendless Drordy is too much for his "cooler" friends to handle. Will Kyle allow his Facebook status to drive his life, or will he be able to go on, knowing he's done a good deed by befriending a boy in need of a pal, even if the relationship doesn't exist beyond the computer screen?
"200" & "201"
The boys are visiting a chocolate factory on a school field trip. They spot Actor Tom Cruise working as a "fudge packer" at the end of the line. Angered by the "insult" of calling him by his job title, the Scientologist threatens to sue the boys for defamation of character. He gathers together every celebrity who has ever been insulted in the town of South Park and, together, they file a class-action lawsuit against the town. The town would be ruined if the suit were to go through, so Cruise agrees to dismiss it if the residents can somehow make the Prophet Muhammad appear in South Park. Little do the residents know that Cruise and company have plans far greater than suing the town in mind; they instead intend to kidnap the religious icon and use his superpower "goo" to ensure that they will forever be impervious to mockery, just like the prophet himself. However, a group of radicals threatens to blow up South Park if they don't get their hands on Muhammad. Meanwhile, Cartman infiltrates the celebrity's Legion of Doom headquarters by pretending to be Jennifer Lopez, a move which may finally bring to light the true identity of his father.
"Poor and Stupid"
Cartman has been assigned a "what I want to be when I grow up" essay, and it has him in pieces. He reveals that he wants to be a NASCAR driver, but he knows he can't, not because he's out of shape but because he's neither poor nor stupid enough to succeed in the sport. Though Kyle and Stan demean him, he only uses their insults as inspiration to become the best driver he can be. He gives Butters his life savings so as to become poor and watches reruns of "Two and a Half Men" while hanging upside down to lower his IQ. When he sees an ad for Vagisil, which the commercial warns may lead to short-term memory loss, he eats as much of it as he can. Unfortunately, it's still not enough. He finagles his way into a car, but wrecks and lands up in the hospital. The doctor claims he's plenty stupid, but Cartman is convicted he didn't win because he still has too much money. He buys merchandise on credit he can never pay back, and is surprised when the founder of Vagisil rewards him with his own race car, which he plans to drive in the next NASCAR event.
"It's a Jersey Thing"
A family from New Jersey has moved in next to the Marsh's. Unfortunately, they're neighbors from hell: rude, opinionated, and loud. More and more folks from Jersey show up, and slowly begin taking over the town. Jersey has conquered everything east of Colorado, and with South Park next in its sights, the town decides to do something about it. Unfortunately, a well-established resident admits that she's from New Jersey, too, but even that doesn't prevent the town from taking up arms to resist the encroachment. In fact, it might just take one of Jersey's own to win the day for the sleepy Colorado town.
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season arrives on Blu-ray with an outstanding 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer that's really only marred by occasional banding and very minor blink-and-miss-them traces of aliasing and jagged edges. Otherwise, this is a reference-quality animated release that thrives on an incredibly bold color scheme and strong details that are visible even through the deliberately flat animation. Colors truly leap off the screen with regularity, whether Wendy's purple jacket and pink hat, Kenny's orange parka, Kyle's lime-green cap, or Cartman's red jacket. Detailing is fantastic; the Blu-ray easily picks up the nuanced construction paper-like textures that makes up most of the primary elements, and the image is further enhanced by exceptional crispness and a naturally sharp, crystal-clear façade. This is an outstanding presentation; it's all about the colors and the stability of the image at most any home viewing size, both of which are incredibly impressive with every moment in every episode.
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season features a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack that's nearly as good as the show's high quality visuals. Certainly, it lacks the precision and high-dollar feel of a major Action blockbuster, but the show does feature, with some regularity, plenty of high-energy sound effects -- explosions, raging fires, or the heavy mechanical footfalls of Mecha-Streisand, for instance -- that play with vigor; wonderful clarity; and a potent, but not punishing, low end support. Music, too, is well spaced across the front and through the rears; whether Primus's thumping end credits music or various instrumental and Rock tunes heard throughout the season, the TrueHD track handles everything with excellent precision. The show doesn't really bother with atmospherics, which leaves the back channels relatively quiet save for the more action-packed segments. Even then, there's only sporadic back channel information, and there's also little in the way of directional effects where sounds traverse the listening area, rising and falling from one speaker to the next. Fortunately, dialogue is crystal-clear and nicely focused in the center channel. This isn't the sort of track that will make the demo rotation, but South Park fans should be overjoyed by the clarity and the resultant subtle details the lossless track provides.
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season features Matt Stone's and Trey Parker's famed "mini commentaries" for all 14 episodes, including an extended "bleep" of their comments in "201." Disc one features a collection of deleted scenes (1080p, Dolby TrueHD 5.1, 6:08) while a bonus episode, "The Coon" from season 13 (1080p, Dolby TrueHD 5.1, 22:16), may be found on disc two.
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season is the most controversial season yet, which is why it's also one of the best seasons yet. It certainly sparked more outrage than any season before it, but count on Matt Stone and Trey Parker to outdo themselves once again and take the series to even further heights (or deeper lows, depending on one's perspective). Fans might be disappointed that this Blu-ray release of South Park isn't completely uncensored; only "201" remains "cut," but every other episode is full-on foul language with every visual -- whether greatly enlarged scrota or buckets full of vomit and blood -- almost perfectly captured by the splendor of the included 1080p transfer. A strong lossless soundtrack and a South Park-average assortment of extras round this set into must-buy form. Highly recommended.
South Park: Other Seasons
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