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Paramount Studios presents
South Park: The Complete Fifth Season (2001)

"I made you eat your parents."
- Eric Cartman (Trey Parker)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: February 22, 2005

Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes
Other Stars: Mona Marshall, Eliza Schneider, Radiohead, Jennifer Howell, Vernon Chatman, Adrien Beard
Director: Trey Parker, Eric Stough

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, language, crude and vulgar humor and content, sexual references, bestiality, suicide)
Run Time: 05h:08m:34s
Release Date: February 22, 2005
UPC: 097368799042
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-B+A- B

DVD Review

While Season Four ushered in some significant changes for the boys of South Park, Colorado, the fifth season ratcheted things up another notch. Several notorious episodes are included in this set of fourteen from 2001, including the introduction of Towelie (voiced by Vernon Chatman) and the final death of Kenny.

The season starts inauspiciously by trying to push the language boundary by dropping the S-bomb a full 162 times in just over 20 minutes (a handy counter is provided in the lower left corner of the screen for reference). There's an attempt at demystification in the vein of Lenny Bruce at work here, as the word literally brings the world to the brink of destruction. Disabled comedian Jimmy is introduced in Cripple Fight, where wheelchair-bound Timmy gets jealous. There's a lot of Big Gay Al in this episode, as he controversially serves as a scoutmaster. However, what starts out feeling like a liberal-slanted show ends up being a slap at gay rights in the end.

One of the funniest and grossest of the episodes is Scott Tenorman Must Die, in which an older boy tricks Eric Cartman into buying his pubic hair; the rest of the episode is devoted to Cartman's attempts at revenge. While it feels silly, it also gets completely outrageous and can shock even the most hard-boiled exploitation fan. It's a sick and twisted episode, and quite hilarious if you have the stomach for it. Cartmanland features Cartman inheriting a million dollars and spending it on an amusement park for his use only. Kyle on the other hand only gets hemorrhoids, leading to a serious questioning of God's plan, if there is one, and the morality of deities.

Disgusting is the order of the hour again in the completely nutzoid episode, Proper Condom Use, in which sex education is shown to be completely misguided when left in the hands of the incompetent and inexperienced South Park staff (not to mention the perverted Mr. Garrison). Towelie is a strange episode, with a bit of satire of characters created solely for merchandising purposes, but it falls a bit flat since the kids just seem to be bystanders for much of the episode. The 9/11 episode, Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants is a surprisingly critical look at the attack on Afghanistan and the consequences of American foreign policy that also takes swipes at Stevie Nicks, comparing her to an Afghani goat. So rest assured that even when dealing with serious subjects creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone can stilly be entirely juvenile.

That juvenility is best shown in How to Eat with Your Butt, featuring a practical joke that gets out of hand and a family with a most unusual deformity. The last four episodes are fairly weak and don't live up to the vicious comedy of the first ten. The best episode of these last four is Kenny Dies, wherein Kenny, who had been killed every episode for years, finally bites it, ostensibly for good, having reached the end of amusing ways to be killed. His death is kind of anticlimactic, but the final episode, Butters' Very Own Episode brings the stammering and trembling Butters into the clan and incidentally revealing his dad's unusual sexual proclivities.

As always, even though this is an animated series, it is most definitely not for children. Most sensitive people will be offended, but those with thicker skins will find much to be hilarious here, especially if you have a taste for the grotesque and the absurd. Both right and left are equally beaten up here politically, so it's a fairly balanced equal opportunity offender.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame picture looks acceptable. The computer-animated pseudo-cutout characters don't require a very demanding compression system, though the edges betray aliasing fairly often (this is especially bad in the end credits). Colors are vivid and bright. Since it's "filmed" digitally, there's obviously no source element damage.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: A 2.0 track is provided and it's fairly aggressive in the bass. The remixed theme song in particular has a great deal of oomph but there are quite a few moments of deep bass and impressive surround effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 69 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (closed captioning only) with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Team America: World Police
14 Feature/Episode commentaries by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Packaging: Digipak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: As usual for these sets, Parker and Stone provide mini-commentaries for each episode. These aren't terribly serious for the most part, and on occasion I wished they'd talked more about the particular episode (especially the Towelie episode). But it's better than the pointless blathering that one finds on some television series where every single episode has a commentary. What is annoying is that the audio for the commentary is not switchable on the fly. There's a handy "Play All" button on each disc. The only other extra is a trailer for Parker and Stone's most recent movie.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

One of the best seasons of the series since the first one, with plenty of boundary pushing and totally sick and disgusting humor.


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