South Park (season 5)

release year: 2001-2002
genre: animated comedy
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/18-23/14

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: censorship, the Boy Scouts, cults, the Superfriends, environmentalists, s** education, the war in Afghanistan, TSA/airline delays, government bailouts, stereotyping, and stem cell research, among other things. There were more 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 66 overall) The uncensored TV airing of a certain curse word sparks total chaos
  • (2) While the local Boy Scout troop has problems, Timmy ends up fighting another crippled kid
  • (3) The cult of David Blaine forces the revelation of the Super Best Friends
  • (4) Cartman goes to war with another kid who keeps outsmarting him
  • (5) The boys try to reunite Terance and Philip for the Earth Day concert
  • (6) Kyle loses his will to live after watching Cartman inherit a million dollars and buy his own theme park
  • (7) The school is forced to teach the kids a tough topic, with disastrous results
  • (8) A weird living towel causes issues
  • (9) The boys meet their counterparts in Afghanistan
  • (10) Cartman's prank causes a deformed couple to come to town looking for their missing son
  • (11) Kyle's annoying cousin comes to live with him for a while, while Mr. Garrison invents a new vehicle
  • (12) Token does what he can to attract more rich families to South Park
  • (13) Cartman finds a source of stem cells, but isn't really using them to save the sick Kenny
  • (14) (episode 79 overall) Butters has a wild adventure

  • 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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