South Park: The Complete Tenth Season - DVD review
Since I've been informed that I'm taking care of the future South Park reviews for TV Squad, I thought I'd jump the gun and review the last season (the second half of Season 11 begins on Wednesday October 3rd). I'm a long-time fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's work and, with one exception, I felt every episode of this season was a home run.
It amazes me how quickly the production team of the show can turn around an episode. I feel it is under these rushed circumstances that Matt and Trey produce their best work. The best example of this is the first episode of the season, "The Return of Chef", which was a direct result of the controversial departure of Isaac Hayes from the show resulting from his association with Scientology.
The only extra that comes on the DVD set (or indeed, any of the South Park season DVDs) is the mini-commentaries by Matt and Trey in which they explain the inspiration behind each episode. Probably the single most important attribute that sets South Park apart from most other television is the creators' willingness to take a side of an issue that diverges from the traditional liberal Hollywood view (and this is not to say that Matt and Trey are conservative or libertarian or any other political affiliation. I would describe their politics best with "down to earth").
"The Return of Chef" deals with yet another stab at the Church of Scientology and their brainwashing techniques that took their friend away. The second and third episodes, "Cartoon Wars Part I" and "Cartoon Wars Part II" respectively, deal with their take on the whole Mohammed censorship issue from last year.
"A Million Little Fibers" parodies the James Frey controversy and we learn the startling secret of Oprah's minge (one of the funniest and sickest secrets in the South Park universe). Kyle, Kenny, Stan and Cartman have an adventure with Al Gore in "ManBearPig" and Cartman is actually taught to behave by the Dog Whisperer in "Tsst".
The second half of the season begins with "Make Love, Not Warcraft", for which the graphics for half the episode were created by Blizzard Entertainment (the makers of the fantasy simulated game World of Warcraft). "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce" is inspired by all the 9/11 conspiracies that propagated after the event (and also has one of the funniest Hardy Boys parodies I have ever seen). "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy" deals with the double-standards of child molestation (or, as the police officers in the episode say, "Nice").
"Hell on Earth 2006" deals with Satan's Sweet 16 party and the dangers of saying Biggie Small's name three times in a mirror at Halloween. "Go God Go" and "Go God Go Part XII" (no, that isn't a misprint) is Trey and Matt's editorial on religion and the sources of war. Finally, there is "Stanley's Cup", which I consider to be the only bad episode of the bunch. This was one of their "filler" episodes that didn't have an external recent event influencing it (part of it was created in advance to give the creative time time off in the middle of production) and was intended as a parody of those feel-good sports movies. It felt flat and uninspired to me. I suspect that has something to do with it being the last episode and the production team was probably feeling the wear of the season.
Still, one episode does not a season make. The DVD set is definitely worth buying (as I already have). I look forward to reviewing the rest of Season 11.