South Park (season 4)
release year: 2000-2001
genre: animated comedy
viewing setting: home DVD, 1/28-30/14
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, and delving into new material I'd never seen before. This season's satire targets include: hate crimes, ADD, Elian Gonzalez, holistic medicine, changing flags, boy bands, and religion, among other things. There were a lot of science-fiction references this season too. 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) (episode 49 overall) The boys hatch a moneymaking scheme involving the tooth fairy
(2) Cartman gets accused of a hate crime
(4) Stan's family takes in Romanian quintuplets
(5) Cartman's search for more mature friends takes a weird turn
(6) Kyle needs a kidney, but all the parents are mesmerized by the holistic healing shop
(7) Chef protests the town's flag
(8) Cartman gets the others to form a boy band
(9-10) (two-part episode) While the boys get religion and form a cult, Satan has his own problems in Hell
(11) The kids begin fourth grade
(12) Cartman learns that his Trapper Keeper will eventually enable machines to take over the world
(13) (Thanksgiving episode) The school play becomes a fiasco
(14) stupid episode using Pip to retell "Great Expectations", I skipped it after watching a couple of minutes
(15) Cartman goes to fat camp, while Kenny gets paid to do crazy things
(16) The children find a way to get rid of all adults, and take over the town (with nods to various movies and a Star Trek episode)
(17) (episode 65 overall) (Christmas episode) The kids try to figure out why Mr. Hankey is missing
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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