South Park 3

The day “South Park” first appeared on cable’s Comedy Central is considered a holiday in our house. We gather for a feast of Snacky Cakes and Cheesy Poofs, and worship the animation Gods known as Parker and Stone.


southpark3That’s Trek Parker and Matt Stone, the two politically incorrect Colorado guys whose crudely animated Christmas Card for a studio executive landed them a deal with Comedy Central. Parker and Stone were young and hip, but most of all had a twisted view of life and a talent to showcase their ideas. Gifted musicians and artists (not really, their first efforts used paper cutouts), Parker and Stone used their talents to skewer every institution and icon they could dream up, including religion, incompetent officials, the poor, celebrities and sexuality. No one was safe from parody in “South Park,” and Volume Three of the show on DVD features four of the show’s most outrageous yet beloved episodes. I won’t contest those who find the show sophomoric and vulgar. It’s both. That’s why I like it.

I believe there’s room for both high brow and low brow entertainment, and “South Park” more than fulfills my need for something base and outrageous. I have a friend who refuses to watch an episode. He says he doesn’t find humor in kids swearing. Since he’s a substitute school teacher, he probably gets enough of that during his day job. Personally, I find it extremely funny when the characters, especially the children, in “South Park” say things that would make a Republican blush. Here’s a brief rundown of each episode on Volume Three: “Starvin’ Marvin” is the first “South Park” Thanksgiving episode that finds Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny (who usually dies in each episode) attempting to get a sports watch by sponsoring a starving Ethiopian child and winding up with the child instead.

To make matters worse, Cartman winds up in Ethiopia, where he ends up fighting spokesperson Sally Struthers for a hidden supply of food. In “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo,” Kyle learns what it’s like to be Jewish while the rest of his friends celebrate Christmas. Kyle is comforted by “Mr Hankey,” his fecal friend who visits everyone with fiber in the diets on Christmas and hands out gifts. When the other kids doubt Kyle’s sanity, they have him committed. Meanwhile, religious differences make a shamble of the school Christmas pageant.

My favorite episode, sort of a dark and twisted take on “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Where else can you root for a singing and dancing turd? Great songs and lots of laughs. “Mecha-Streisand” pokes fun at the superstar, portraying her as a megalomaniac intent on ruling the world. She hopes to achieve this by using the strange medallion Cartman finds during an archeological dig. When Streisand gets her hand on the medallion, she completes the set she needs to become a monster intent on destroying “South Park.” It’s up to a famous actor, a noted film critic and a famous rock musician to save the day.

This take-off on those cheesy Japanese monster movies is hilarious. Finally, “Tom’s Rhinoplasty” finds teacher Mr. Garrison leaving the school after he has a face lift that makes him look like David Hasselhoff. Enter substitute teacher Ms. Ellen (think lesbian), who turns the heads of the “South Park” boys and upsets young Wendy. There’s a lot of outrageous sexual innuendo in this episode, so listen closely as Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny learn the fine art of licking carpet. “South Park” is and always has been an adult cartoon. It’s not for kids, even though most kids I know love it. Still, the humor is adult in nature, and some of the things the kids say will cause your jaw to drop more than once. That’s the beauty of “South Park,” it’s ability to entertain and outrage all at once. The DVD, like the cable show, is rated TV MA.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: [ X ] 20/20 [ ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

Delivered in the show’s original full frame ratio (1.33:1), the DVD is bright, colorful eye candy. The twisted animation looks sensational, with vibrant reds, bold blues, dazzling yellows, gorgeous greens and much more. Due to the pristine nature of the original tape, the digital transfer is clean and sharp. The color saturation is bold with no overt bleeding or strobing.

HEARING: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

The Dolby Digital Surround Stereo is pleasant, but the actual episodes are less expressive than their coming attraction on the Comedy Central reel. Most of the emphasis is placed on the front speakers, with very little rear speaker action. The sound is crisp and the clarity is clean, but there’s nothing here that screams definitive stereo. I wasn’t expecting much, so I wasn’t disappointed.

ORAL: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ X ] Poor

Closed captions in English for the hard of hearing.

COORDINATION: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

Aside from the four unedited episodes, the DVD also features corny yet appropriate introductions from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The intros are shot in grainy black and white, and feature the two guys as cowardly cowboys on a kiddy show. The two guys have the patter down perfectly, and their side kick, an Indian guide, is excellent at dead pan. There’s also a colorful main menu.

PROGNOSIS: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Fit [ ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

“Howdy Ho!” Four of the most hilarious “South Park” episodes on one DVD. What more could you ask for other than a game of “Kick the Baby!”

VITALS: $19.99/Rated TV MA/100 Minutes/Color and B&W/4 Chapter Stops/Snapcase/#36596

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: SOUTH PARK VOLUME 3

BIRTH DATE: 1997

HMO: Rhino Home Video



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