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South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season(TV) (2009)
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 Thirteenth Season and the South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray release, see the South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 5, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Isaac Hayes, Mona Marshall
Director: Trey Parker
» See full cast & crew
South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray Review
Hi, Billy Mays here for "South Park" Season 13!
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 5, 2010
You have to learn how to lie correctly someday; it might as well be today.
Has it really been thirteen years already? It seems not all that long ago that "South Park" was the cool and potty-mouthed new kid on the block. With its edgy dialogue, infectious humor, memorable lines, and the draw of seeing how series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone would kill off Kenny every week, it's no wonder that the show grew in popularity and, only a a few short years after its debut, spawned a feature-length animated film that finally let Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny loose, free of the confines of television censors and at liberty to do as they wished for 80-some minutes with a couple of gassy Canadians, plenty of foul-mouthed music, and even a date with Lucifer himself. "South Park" the television show has since only gotten better with time, fine wine and all that jazz. Even at the ripe old television age of 13, "South Park" remains a fresh and relevant show, full of social and political satire that would make even the greats of such endeavors throughout history jealous at Stone and Parker's ability to so effortlessly comment on the world in which they live through characters and settings that have remained essentially unchanged but still spawn plenty of laughter on the surface and, sometimes, offer a deeper and more thought-provoking take on the world at large.
South Park's thirteenth season offers a smorgasbord of delightful -- and only a few forgettable -- episodes that tackle many of the major issues that have come to define American popular culture and the world's political and social landscapes over the past year-plus. The season begins with "The Ring," an episode that lampoons corporate-influenced musical acts while also taking a jab at their terribly-pliable fan bases that can't see past the images on a poster, T-shirt, television screen, or CD cover. Trey Parker and Matt Stone also take on superhero movies in "The Coon," the economy in "Margaritaville," Grammy party-pooper Kanye West in "Fishsticks," pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia in "Fatbeard," recently-deceased celebrities -- including Billy Mays and Michael Jackson -- in the aptly-titled "Dead Celebrities," professional wrestling in "W.T.F.," Japanese whaling and reality television in "Whale Whores," and political commentator Glenn Beck in "Dances With Smurfs." In true South Park fashion, no stone is left unturned, no figure shown mercy, and no side singled out. Trey Parker and Matt Stone see the world -- and not one side of an issue or another -- as their playground, the duo taking liberties with everything from deadly serious issues like piracy one week to poking fun at the deadly dead the next. "South Park," throughout every season, manages to insult just about every viewer on multiple occasions, but it also makes its audience laugh -- and often at the same insulting thing -- which is one reason why the show has so effortlessly withstood the test of time. "South Park" is an equal-opportunity offender, and even at its most juvenile on one end or its most damning to some person, cause, or issue on the other, there's always some way in each episode to see the humor in the worst of situations, and Parker and Stone are masters of manipulating the issues to show the lunacy that exists within every corner of the world in which they so brilliantly tear down on a weekly basis.
"South Park's" brilliance doesn't begin and end with its unique brand of insulting humor and savvy political, social, and cultural satire. Perhaps the series' most impressive feat -- and thirteen years after its inception to boot -- comes in its unique ability to remain fresh, relevant, and funny year after year with what is essentially a group of characters that remain practically unchanged, not only from a visual and vocal perspective, but from an emotional, moral, and psychological angle. Parker and Stone have so wonderfully developed their characters from the outset that there's been no need to alter the playing field beyond adding a secondary or tertiary character here and there; the core of Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny allows the "South Park" creative tandem to fully explore most every issue from most every crucial angle through these characters and those that exist about their periphery -- particularly their immediate families and their school's faculty. Additionally, the show remains a thriving enterprise because of its admirable and incredibly effective "less is more" approach. "South Park" isn't about complex animation but is instead about its weekly stories that tear down the real world within the fictional Colorado town, with the help of the aforementioned characters that never really grow either physically or emotionally and remain fairly predictable but nevertheless maintain an abundance of humor through their unique world views.
Season thirteen highlight episodes include:
Episode One, "The Ring."
Kenny has a new girlfriend, Tammy, a fifth grader that's known for her infamous bout of promiscuity in the parking lot of the local T.G.I. Friday's and as being the only child in school from a family that's poorer than Kenny's. Kenny's excited at the opportunity of calling Tammy his own, but Cartman, Kyle, and Stan try and steer their friend away from a girl they believe to be physically unclean and ridden with disease. Not one that's easily swayed by such minor details, Kenny pursues the relationship, and when he learns that Tammy has the hots for the Jonas Brothers, he picks up a couple of tickets in hopes of seducing her through their music. When the Brothers call Tammy backstage, they share their love of Christ with her and ask her to embrace a life of abstinence until she's married, a plea she accepts, much to Kenny's outrage and disappointment. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers find themselves in hot water with a particularly angry Disney representative.
Episode Two, "The Coon."
Cartman has taken on the identity of a Batman-esque superhero known as "The Coon" to help rid the city of crime in a time of economic trouble and lack of positive change. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have noticed. Doubly unfortunate is the sudden arrival of a new superhero in town. Dubbed "Mysterion," this newcomer to South Park's superhero scene suddenly takes all of the publicity that Cartman seeks. As a desperate final measure to unveil Mysrterion's true identity and regain the former glory he never had, Cartman teams up with an old rival, Professor Chaos (Butters), in a scheme to take back the night and earn one more shot at superhero fame.
Episode Three, "Margaritaville."
The recent recipient of a $100 dollar check from his grandmother, Stan is eager to blow it on whatever his heart desires, but his father Randy has other plans. Stan is forced to deposit it in the bank, but before he's done speaking with his branch's representative, the bad economy has eaten the whole shebang, leaving Stan penniless before the check could draw even a penny's worth of interest. Randy blames South Park's "materialistic heathens" for the financial woes plaguing the town and, indeed, the country, and he begins a movement to convince South Park's residents to live a life of frugality that he soon takes to the extreme. In an effort to please his father, Stan attempts to return a recently-purchased Margarita machine but finds himself forced to travel the country in a search for someone that's authorized to give him his money back, the fourth-grader ultimately coming face-to-face with the powers-that-be behind America's economy. Meanwhile, Kyle finds himself increasingly frustrated at Randy's new cult of frugality, and he begins a counter-movement that promotes free enterprise and smart spending rather than an outright abandonment of the economy.
Episode Five, "Fishsticks."
Jimmy's trying his hand at comedy, and finds himself inspired while in the presence of the ever-eating Eric Cartman. Jimmy's new joke takes the school by storm, and it's not long before it's being told around South Park, the state of Colorado, the United States, and the entire world. It's dubbed the best joke of all time, but only Kanye West isn't laughing. Rather than take the joke in jest, the rapper attempts to dissect it in an effort to find out why he's been labeled a "gay fish" as per the joke's punchline. Meanwhile, Comedian Carlos Mencia takes credit for the joke, much to the anger of Eric Cartman, who as always is seeking fame and fortune on the back of another, leading him and Jimmy to a final confrontation with an angry figure that could cost them their lives.
Episode Six, "Pinewood Derby."
It's the night before South Park's Pinewood Derby tournament. Stan and his father Randy are up late putting the finishing touches on Stan's car. In an effort to finally defeat his snotty neighbors, Randy places in the back of the car a newly-stolen magnet designed for use in the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator. Stan, much to his chagrin, agrees not to lie to the race officials about the foreign substance. The car not only wins the race, but it launches into space at warp speed in the process. Soon thereafter, an alien discovers the car floating in space and contacts Earth in preparation of inviting mankind into the Federation of Planets and expresses his desire to meet the father and son tandem that discovered how to move an object at high warp. Upon landing in South Park, the alien reveals himself to be an intergalactic gangster with a ship full of stolen space money. He holds the world hostage and demands the Marshes build him a new warp drive for his vessel -- or else.
Episode Seven, "Fatbeard."
Cartman is excited to learn about the burgeoning opportunities for Swashbuckling adventure to be found off the coast of Somalia. He envisions a life without homework and rules and assembles a makeshift motley crew of fourth grade pirates to head to the African nation for some plundering fun. When they arrive in Mogadishu, they are taken captive by real pirates -- though they're too into the idea of adventure on the high seas to realize what's happened. Back in South Park, Kyle is excited to learn that Cartman has indeed headed to Africa and is likely to die there -- until he realizes that his little Canadian adopted brother, Ike, has joined Cartman as one of his shipmates. Argh!
Episode Ten, "W.T.F."
The boys have just attended a WWE wrestling match in Denver and have decided to join their school's wrestling squad. When they arrive, they are confused and turned off by the strange uniforms and homosexual overtones. Instead, they create their own backyard wrestling league -- the Wrestling Takedown Federation, or W.T.F. for short -- that's more contrived and scripted drama than it is takedowns and folding chairs to the head. What starts as a game draws a few fans, and then a few more, until it turns into a South Park sensation, and the residents believe every word of the script to be true. As W.T.F.'s fame grows, the WWE takes notice and sends a special envoy to scout the boys, but a "real" wrestler with a grudge is out to sabotage the event.
Episode Thirteen, "Dances With Smurfs."
When the voice of South Park Elementary's morning announcements is murdered in a case of mistaken identity, Cartman seizes the opportunity to serve as his replacement and make the morning announcements his own -- and with a decidedly negative tone. With every announcement, Cartman finds a way to deride school President Wendy Testaburger. As the anti-Wendy sentiment grows, so too does Cartman's popularity. His announcements -- now televised into every classroom -- lead him to pen a hard-hitting book that asks, but doesn't always answer, questions about Wendy's personal life and leadership abilities. Finally, Cartman writes and stars in his own movie about Wendy's evil ways, Dances With Smurfs. Can Wendy withstand Cartman's attacks, and if so, what can she do to get back at him once and for all?
Episode Fourteen, "Pee."
The boys are excited to be spending the day at the local water park. Unfortunately, as they tend to do in South Park, Colorado, things don't exactly work out as planned. Cartman is alarmed by the number of minorities in the park. His calculations reveal that by 2012 -- the year predicted to be the end of civilization by the ancient Mayans -- the world will be overrun by minorities and white people will quickly become extinct. Meanwhile, Kyle is disgusted when Butters urinates in the water. Kyle has a fear of pee and refuses to return to the water. Unfortunately, his worst nightmare comes true when one too many swimmers pee in the water, causing a chain reaction of events that destroy the water park and flood its remnants with liquid human waste, and only Kyle can save the day. Separated from the group, Cartman is rescued -- by a raft full of minorities. Fearing that the Mayan's prediction has come true a few years early and worried that he may be the last white person alive, Cartman begins to contemplate what life might be like for him as the last of his kind.
South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Paramount's Blu-ray release of "South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season" is a sparkling success that's every bit as bright and colorful as fans would expect -- and demand -- of a high definition 1080p release of one of television's great animated series. Indeed, though "South Park" might be made up of basic shapes that form a crude but oddly appealing look, the show's hallmark visual attribute is no doubt its abundantly colorful palette that's evident in most every episode not only in season 13 but throughout the series' entire run. This latest Blu-ray release delivers each and every hue with a strong and eye-catching presentation of the show's myriad of colors, each one stable, bold, and accurate throughout. Whether Cartman's baby-blue winter hat, Kenny's orange parka, or any of the less prominent shades that make up clothing, characters, buildings, backgrounds, and all the little trinkets scattered about the show that help make it so special and a tribute to the less-is-more approach the show employs, this Blu-ray handles the "South Park's" always-bright color scheme with ease. Additionally, as was the case with season 12's release, viewers of this season will note improved detailing and texturing brought to the forefront by the high-powered 1080p engine driving the show on Blu-ray. The construction paper-like texture that's charmingly reflective of the series' meager origins is evident in many places, including walls and clothes, that gives the show a bit of life and feel beyond what is essentially a flat and practically dimensionless image. Lines are generally crisp and smooth throughout each frame, though a few letters and objects display a bit of a jagged edge or, sometimes, a ghosting effect about them. Banding is also evident throughout, but not in abundance. Despite a few issues, this is essentially "South Park" at its visual best; longtime fans of the series in particular will find plenty to explore in every nook an cranny of this highly impressive 1080p transfer from Paramount.
South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
"South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season" arrives on Blu-ray with a quality but sonically routine Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track is consistently stable and handles a myriad of different sonic signatures with ease, and the mix even throws in some surround sound and low end information for good measure. "The Ring" proves one of the better listens of the lot. The Jonas Brothers' pop-influenced music offers a delightful and crisp presentation across the front with a solid flow and realistic feel that has every note pouring into the soundstage with clarity and efficiency. Listeners won't be fooled into believing they are at the concert, and the presentation doesn't match the better dedicated live concert Blu-rays available, but for a 22-minute animated show that's all satire and jokes and not necessarily striving solely for a completely convincing and enveloping sound presentation, it's rather good. Likewise, this track offers plenty of atmospherics; whether giggly girls at the aforementioned concert or echoing voices at a WWE match inside Denver's Pepsi Center in "W.T.F.," the track delivers a solid ambient support where applicable. Surrounds get some extended use in "Dead Celebrities" as the spirits of Billy Mays, Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, David Carradine, and others haunt Ike Broflovski; while a punchy but not overly aggressive low end is also present in several scenes throughout the 14-episode strong 13th season. The show's memorable musical opening never sounded as crisp and natural as it does here, and dialogue reproduction is flawless in every episode. Though not a top-tier soundtrack, this competent mix should delight longtime fans of the series, particularly those enjoying "South Park" on Blu-ray for the first time.
South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, "South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season" isn't as jam-packed with extras as fans might have hoped. Each episode does feature Matt Stone and Trey Parker's patented "mini commentaries;" this feature may be toggled on or off underneath the "setup" menu tab. Each runs only several minutes in length but the duo manages to cover all the pertinent information fans want to know without dragging things out ad infinitum. Disc one of this set contains two additional special features, a collection of deleted scenes (1080p, 7:14) and Inside Xbox: A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of South Park Studios (720p, 4:36), a look around South Park's headquarters and the process of animating the show with "Inside Xbox" host Major Nelson. Other than mini commentaries, disc two contains no additional supplemental features.
South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Season thirteen is quintessential "South Park." The show remains virtually the same, with its foursome core of characters and expanded supporting cast all continuing to sport the same thought processes, actions, reactions, and even clothes. Nothing much has changed in "South Park," except for the real world in which the show exists. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have managed to keep their show fairly identical in theme and context over the course of thirteen exceptionally funny seasons, not to mention the show's now, anyway, not-so-surprising ability to tackle absolutely any person, place, or thing on the planet with ease, humor, and a relevance that resonates long after the credits run. "South Park" remains essential television. Its soft, cuddly, and colorful look is deceptive; this is not a show for children but rather for discerning and mature adults that can separate and embrace in the proper context the show's cruelty, coarse language, and some perverted imagery from the meat-and-poatoes of the show's true identity and purpose as an unabashed look at the world in the microcosm that is South Park, Colorado. Paramount's Blu-ray release of "South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season" is unfortunately a bit short on extra content, but the strong technical presentation and the generally high quality of most every episode makes this a must-buy for fans and a set worth checking out for newcomers to the series. Highly recommended.
South Park: Other Seasons
South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Season 13 of South Park Heading to Blu-ray - December 14, 2009
Paramount Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season' to Blu-ray on February 2nd. This three-disc set will feature all 14 episodes from the season uncensored. Technical specs have not been announced at this ...
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