Written, Directed and Voice work: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
I can remember as a kid, when South Park was considered a very edgy show; something that was never meant for kids and that I was never allowed to watch it. Around season 8, I can specifically sneaking upstairs while my parents watched their shows downstairs, and watching it (sorry mom). It was like nothing I had seen before, something that was edgy, rude, crude and hilarious and I’ve been watching ever since.
“Buckle up buckaroos!”
Last year was a pretty rough year for me, for several reasons. Finding my own place to live, and finding my own two feet to stand on, I didn’t have much time to laugh or find solace. It wasn’t until my roommate asked if I had seen the new season of South Park did I truly find happiness. While he was describing the episode, it went something like this: “so Kyle and Kaitlyn Jenner run over people in a car, and then Mr. Garrison f**ks the president of Canada to death.” I had to stop him, cause I was laughing too hard and immediately pulled up the South Park website to watch it. What followed was one of the best seasons of South Park to date.
With the town of South Park finding that current principal Victoria has been fired from the elementary school, the new character PC Principal steps into the ring to try and modernize the town of South Park. How to describe the season as a whole? Incredible. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators/writers/directors have really refined their show and honed in on what current topics America, and for that case, the world are discussing, in a satirical and reflective way that truly stands out from other comedy shows.
The philosophy of this season of South Park deals with several topics [as discussed by Wisecrack on YouTube] with the main one being Neo-liberalism within today’s society and how that relates to PC culture, Ads and the political environment. What that creates is the smartest season of South Park by far, with the laughs being constant and heavy. But that’s not to say that the show lacks a good plot! Each episode is around twenty minutes, plus the intro/credits but what happens is they fly-by and it’s very easy to binge the entire season in one sitting.
As for the episodes themselves, there was only one episode that didn’t speak to me. That episode focused on Yaoi (a slang term in anime and Asian culture used to refer to stories that focus on homosexual relationships, usually between men) a very common part of anime and fandom culture that I have been aware of for years. The topic felt outdated to me since I had discovered it from my anime convention days ten years ago. tThe episode was fine, it just didn’t have the same impact on me as the Yelp episode did since I encounter that every day. All of the topics and discussions in nearly every episode is something I see on a daily basis, such as safe spaces, Yelp, and Ads and Political Correctness. Its nearly a perfect season, at one point I even turned to my roomie and asked “did they make this season just for us?!”
South Park still hasn’t lost its edge, in fact during one musical section, my jaw dropped to the floor that they somehow got this segment on TV and played uncut. I’d love to see the conversations to the censorship board about “oh so in this episode we have *this* going on, is that ok?”
South Park has always been the cutting edge satirical commentator on politics, pop culture and general current events. With the twentieth season soon approaching; we have to wonder will the creators continue what they started in the nineteenth season, or go back to their roots? In any case, I trust their decision in whatever direction they go.
Season nineteen is comprised of the following episodes:
• Stunning and Brave
• Where My Country Gone?
• The City Part of Town
• You’re Not Yelping
• Safe Space
• Tweek X Craig
• Naughty Ninjas
• Sponsored Content
• Truth and Advertising
• PC Principal Final Justice
“There’s only one immigration policy that I believe in, and that’s f**k em’ all to death!”
Presented in a 1:78.1 aspect ratio, South Park looks great for a show that was put together within six days. That’s not to say its bad, in fact its remarkable the level of quality and few animation errors that occur within each episode. South Park having its origins in cardboard stop-motion animation still has its paper aesthetic with great detail of cardboard depending on color and person. The image looks clean and crisp, with the show being extremely colorful with no bleeding issues. Black levels are deep and whites crisp. I did notice some issues with banding, mainly with backgrounds, but nothing in the forefront.
“I’m sorry, the world’s not one big liberal arts college campus!”
Presented in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless mix, South Park is surprisingly active with its sound use. Surround speakers are almost constantly in use with music and other background sounds making the world come to life. LFE usage is strong with PC Principals puffs on the microphone giving a nice jolt to the room. Sound design is never aggressive, but merely enveloping, for example there’s never a moment within the season where they use a specific speaker to deliver a loud sound, which is disappointing, but I never heard any issues otherwise.
Packaging and Bonus Features
“Boogers and c*m! That’s the Yelper Special! Boogers and c*m! Say what’s that on your pretzel?”
The Blu-Ray set contains 2 discs in a dual fold out that contains some nice disc art as well as some nice artwork. The box itself has the main characters as well as PC Principal embossed along the cover.
Bonus features on the other hand are a bit scarce, with some deleted scenes (that were cut for a reason), a trailer for the new South Park game as well as text pop-ups that appear on screen for each episode. The only other thing worth mentioning is the “Season Commentary” where Trey and Matt discuss original ideas for how the season was to go, as well with where the motivation was to do certain topics. While I wish they did a whole season commentary I will settle with one episode length commentary on the season as a whole.
• Deleted Scenes (5:51)
• Season Commentary (26:50)
• South Park: The Fractured But Whole E3 2016 Game Trailer (2:12)
“You can not stop me from getting inside, I am cold and hard and my name…is Reality.”
South Park is poised for a great twentieth season with the nineteenth being one of their best yet, having heart, smart funny social commentary and the balls to go in a different creative direction than in previous seasons. While this blu-ray set has great video and audio, it lacks solid bonus material. But since South Park almost never comes out with a “special edition” of its seasons, it’s likely this will be the only release. Highly Recommended!