South Park (season 1)

release year: 1997-1998
genre: animated comedy
viewing setting: home DVD, 1/9-12/14

synopsis: This show revolves around the odd adventures of four kids (and a large supporting cast) in a fictional Colorado town where damn near anything can happen.

impressions: I watched these back when they came out fifteen years ago, but hadn't kept up with anything after early season two from 1998. So here I am catching up. This is one of those shows that you either know about and watch(ed) or else never have and never will. It's loosely-continuous, meaning that someone could die in one episode and be fine in the next, and it's often a biting satire of popular people and events. It's also crude, with profanity and other references that will drive away critics...which I suspect is the point. Episode briefs:
  • (1) Cartman is probed (and Kyle's baby brother is abducted) by aliens
  • (2) Kathie Lee Gifford comes to town, and Cartman bulks up
  • (3) The boys go on a hunting trip, but the mountain turns out to be a volcano
  • (4) Stan's dog has issues and flees to a special sanctuary
  • (5) The boys, with the help of the local mad scientist, try to crossbreed an elephant and a pig
  • (6) Stan's grandfather tries to get the boys to put him out of his misery
  • (7) (Halloween episode) A strong strain of pinkeye infects almost everybody and turns them into zombies
  • (8) (Thanksgiving episode) The kids accidentally adopt an Ethiopian child, while killer turkeys attack the town
  • (9) (Christmas episode) Kyle gets a special Christmas friend, a talking turd that sings and dances
  • (10) Two very prominent religious figures duke it out
  • (11) Mr. Garrison gets a nose job to look like David Hasslehoff, and the substitute teacher captures the boys' attention
  • (12) The boys unearth an artifact that gives Barbra Streisand the power to turn into a Godzilla-like creature
  • (13) Cartman tries to figure out who his father was

  • acting: n/a but it's pretty impressive when you consider that two guys basically provide almost all the different voices. Isaac Hayes is hilarious as Chef, who often spontaneously breaks into song to try and explain something.

    final word: This was groundbreaking stuff, and people typically either love it or hate it. Like Beavis and Butt-Head there's some clever humor and satire hidden there, for those with the patience and intelligence to find it.

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