South Park makes its debut on Blu-ray in its twelfth season. Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to use the series to push the envelope of good taste and continue their longstanding tradition of skewering American culture and politics. As always, South Park isn’t for the faint of heart; crass and potentially offensive, Trey and Matt never set out to create a new version of The Flintstones. Never afraid to explore subjects many find taboo (religion, cults, sexuality, drugs etc.), South Park has remained a huge success despite being banned in Russia and decried by several conservative political groups. Stone and Parker are self-described “equal opportunity offenders” and episodes often lampoon all sides of a contentious issue, rather than taking a concrete position. As with previous DVD releases, Comedy Central has released South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season, uncensored.

South ParkWhile the twelfth season of South Park does offer some classic moments, it is one of the weaker seasons of the series. There are still some terribly funny moments but there are also a few forgettable episodes. Perhaps the season’s most disappointing moment comes with a rather weak finale, “The Ungroundable,” an episode that doesn’t focus much on the main characters but rather centers on the series Goth kids, who usually just make appearances here and there. In this instance, they confront the Vamps who are threatening to take over their territory. Given the current Twilight craze, it makes perfect sense for South Park to lampoon this cultural phenomenon but while it’s clever, the episode isn’t the homerun viewers have come to expect of South Park season finales.
My two favorite episodes of the season were “Britney’s New Look” and “Major Boobage.” In “Britney’s New Look,” A television news update on Britney Spears’ whereabouts and latest problems supersedes a debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It seems Ms. Spears has been spotted in South Park and a local man shot a scandalous photo of the pop star and sold it to the local FOX news station for a $100,000. Rumor has it the pop princess holing up inside a local hotel and the gang decides to try and snap a few pictures of their own. Britney breaks down in front of the children and shoots herself with a shotgun. Later, Stan and Kyle find her still alive in the hospital, minus half her head. Now, the boys must save her from a fate far worse than incessant media attention.
In “Major Boobage,” Mr. Mackey lectures the kids on the dangers of choking themselves to get high, as well as other methods that are becoming popular, including getting high off of cat urine. Curious, the boys go to Cartman’s house and confirm it for themselves, by having Cartman’s cat, Mr. Kitty, squirt urine in Kenny’s face. Kenny then experiences a drug trip inspired by the 1981 film Heavy Metal, driving a rocket-powered, 1981 black Pontiac Trans Am through space and encountering a woman with large breasts.
Granted, both these episodes re funny depending on the viewers individual experiences; if you’re a huge fan of Britney Spears, you may be offended by “Britney’s New Look” rather than see it as a source of humor. If you didn’t grow up with heavy metal as an important part of your development, “Major Boobage” might be lost on you. South Park has always been one of those series where one person might find five episodes hilarious and another person might choose another five.
In the end the twelfth season of South Park wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. Unlike past years, there weren’t any truly classical episodes; no moments where people said, “Hey, did you see that episode of South Park last night?” However, fans should still add this latest season to their collections.
The 1080i presentation looks great, given the animation style they´re working with. For fans wondering if the twenty dollar difference in price between the standard and high-definition editions is worth it on a visual standpoint, I´d have to say no. But for fans looking to move towards an all Blu-ray collection, this edition is a must have.
The real standout on this Blu-ray set is the impressive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track. South Park showcases some great sound effects, voice acting, and music. All of which come through perfectly in the aforementioned track as well as the Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo selections.
South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season arrives on Blu-ray with several special features spread across all three discs. Each episode comes with a “mini commentary” track with South Park co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker as they spend several minutes per episode reflecting on the experiences of making the show. Disc one contains The Making of ‘Major Boobage‘ (480p, 13:17), a four-part look at the construction of the episode. The piece features interview snippets with Animation Producer Eric Stough, Art Director/Producer Adrien Beard, and Co-Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, along with concept art, storyboards, computer models, a side-by-side-by-side-by-side look at the various stages of composition of some of the effects shots, as well as a look at some live-action tests. Disc two features Six Days to South Park (480p, 1:22:26), a comprehensive day-by-day look at the creation of an episode from concept to airing, all in only 144 hours. In this case, the piece focuses on episode 1207, “Super Fun Time,” A.K.A. “The Living Museum.” Viewers expecting to see behind-the-scenes hustle-and-bustle may be disappointed; this piece shows the episode in various stages of completion with audio commentary on how it comes together. Disc three offers viewers Behind the Scenes (1080i, 22:01) a condensed version of the Six Days to South Park feature. This feature looks at the episode entitled “About Last Night…” and focuses only on the last 24 hours before airtime, in this case, the day after the 2008 Presidential election. Finally, South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season comes with a digital copy of the show but is only available to Windows users and is not compatible with the Apple iPod.