South Park (season 8)
release year: 2004
genre: animated comedy
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/18-25/18
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...well, you can look at the episode briefs below to see. 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. This show is basically a way to satirize and make fun of whatever's in the news each week, and then wipe the slate clean for the next episode. Episode briefs:
(1) (episode 112 overall) the kids imagine themselves as anime characters, but end up injuring Butters
(2) Cartman schemes to enter and win the Special Olympics, while Jimmy finds a way to cheat
(3) Kyle and Cartman have different reactions to Mel Gibson and the Passion of the Christ
(4) the kids get served and end up in a dance-off
(5) Cartman disguises himself as a robot in order to fool Butters
(6) Michael Jackson spoof
(7) people from the future come to town and begin taking all the jobs since they'll work for less
(8) an election is held for the school's new mascot
(9) the evil mega-corporation Wall-Mart comes to town
(10) a bully from the kids' past is paroled and begins menacing them
(11) the kids' school news show is in trouble
(12) Paris Hilton tries to buy Butters from his parents so she can dress him up like a little baby bear
(13) Cartman becomes a psychic detective
(14) (episode 125 overall) Stan finds himself in a weird Christmas adventure involving a bunch of woodland animals
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...though with the bold and brash nature of this show, it's a lot easier to find.
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