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Paramount Home Video presents
South Park: The Complete Ninth Season (2005)

Clyde : Where's Cartman?
Stan : We're ignoring him.
Clyde : Why?
Kyle : Because he's a self-centered, manipulative sociopath.
Clyde : Oh yeah.

- Trey Parker, Matt Stone

Review By: Joel Cunningham  
Published: April 27, 2007

Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Other Stars: Eliza Jane Schneider, Isaac Hayes
Director: Trey Parker

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (obscene humor, language, sexuality, violence)
Run Time: Approx. 308 min.
Release Date: March 06, 2007
UPC: 097368509641
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B+B C

DVD Review

Like The Simpsons, Comedy Central's South Park has managed to outlive and outshine its days as a pop culture phenomenon and controversy generator; now in its 11th season, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's animated series about the adventures of four young boys in a Colorado mountain town manages to be as topical and political as The Daily Show and as offensive as all get-out, and no one seems to notice, or take offense.

Unless, of course, you count the little guys, like Tom Cruise and the Vatican.

Once just a funny, filthy animated show, South Park has, in recent years, taken advantage of the fact that, thanks to signature crude designs and intentionally cruddy animation, an episode can be made in a week or so, and become one of the best political and pop culture satires on TV. Targets in Season Nine include the Terry Schiavo controversy, the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and gay marriage; in some cases, the episodes aired just days after the events being mocked made headlines. But the year's most controversial episodes take on the world's two most powerful men: Tom Cruise and the Pope. In that order. In each case, the resulting outcry sparked rumors that the offending episodes would be banned and never re-aired; it turned out to be all talk, of course, but the furor at least proves the series is still relevant.

It's not all shock humor either. Ok, the episode that got Catholics up in arms (Bloody Mary) is about a statue of the Virgin Mother weeping blood, and not from her eyes, but there's a point to the offensiveness, usually. Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow, for instance, spoofs the fact that the finger-pointing post-Katrina seemed to be a higher priority for some politicians than actually helping the thousands displaced by the storm. The Tom Cruise episode (Trapped in the Closet) savages Scientology, both the way the church recruits and it's rather, uh, unusual tenants, and no more must be said about that, because those Scientology people are litigious. Of course, most of the show is spent making a rather dumb joke funnier than it has any right to be: Tom Cruise, his ego shattered when one of the boys says something mean to him, hides in a closet and refuses to come out, even when people keep demanding he, Tom Cruise, come out of the closet.

The show manages to slip in social commentary where you least expect it; thus Best Friends Forever, a bizarre story about the soul of comatose Kenny using a handheld videogame system to control the armies of heaven in a battle against the forces of Satan becomes a brutally honest reaction to the Terry Schiavo life-support debate, eviscerating both sides and the media in one fell swoop.

Not every episode stretches to make a point, however, and Season Nine has more than its share of absurd stories that hearken back to the series' early days as a sort of obscene sit-com. In The Losing Edge, the boys try to lose at baseball so they won't be forced to play in Little League all summer when it's really their dads who enjoy getting into fights with opponents' fathers (unfortunately, their opponents are even better at losing, and the South Park team makes it to the Little League World Series). Cartman pisses off his friends one time to many in The Death of Eric Cartman, but instead of getting the point when they start ignoring him, he comes to the conclusion that he has died and is a ghost. He then enlists Butters to help him atone for some of his past misdeeds from earlier episodes.

Some entries are naturally better than others (despite the controversy, I don't think there's much funny in Bloody Mary), but Season Nine is consistently funny, with some of the series' most outlandish plots to date (my favorite is Free Willzyx, in which the boys are tricked into thinking a whale at the local aquarium comes from the moon and enlist the help of the Mexican space program to send him home, resulting in many, many deaths).

With over 150 episodes in the can, you probably already know whether South Park is for you. Season Nine won't change you mind, but fans should be pretty happy with it.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The episodes look better than I've seen them on cable—bright colors and good detail are about all you can ask for when it comes to this material.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is on par with previous releases. The dialogue comes across nicely and there are decent directional effects across the front mains.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 56 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
14 Feature/Episode commentaries by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: As usual, the only extras are Trey Parker and Matt Stone's brief two- to five-minute "mini commentaries" on every episode. Their comments are always entertaining, but I'd like them to go on a bit longer, especially about the more controversial episodes like Trapped in the Closet.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

The South Park boys return with another strong season. At this point, it's the show to beat when it comes to biting social satire, and Season Nine includes enough lacerating material—including the now-legendary, Scientology-skewering Trapped in the Closet—to choke a space whale from the moon.


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