Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 30, 2012)
Time for another year of South Park on home video! Here we’ll check out 2010’s Season 14. I’ll examine all 14 programs in the way presented on the discs, which also is the order in which they were first broadcast. The synopses come from the show’s official website.
Sexual Healing (aired 3/17/10): “The latest in scientific testing reveals that some of the boys at South Park Elementary have a sex addiction problem.”
Like many South Park episodes, “Healing” beats its subject to death, but it still has some good moments. While it makes appropriate fun of the notion that men who want to bang a lot of women is an aberration, it gets a bit stale as it goes. Nonetheless, it boasts more than a few clever moments, so it’s generally a nice start to the season.
The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs (aired 3/24/10): “The boys are given a controversial book to read in school and it inspires them to write one of their own.”
Many of the first episode’s best moments came from Butters, and that continues here. His evolution into a “serious author” is a hoot, and that side of things works awfully well. Some of the social commentary seems heavy-handed – no surprise there – but the show works well most of the time.
Medicinal Fried Chicken (aired 3/31/10): “Cartman's favorite restaurant has been shut down and replaced by a store that sells medical marijuana. Randy is so desperate to get a prescription card to buy pot and Cartman will do anything to get his beloved fried chicken back.”
I find that when episodes revolve around Randy, they tend to be lackluster, and that holds true here. His giant balls are too gross to be funny, and his whole theme gets stale. Cartman's side of things has a few good moments, but overall, this is a mediocre program.
You Have 0 Friends (aired 4/7/10): “When Kyle begs Stan to ‘friend’ him, Stan gets sucked into Facebook.”
Facebook is a subject ripe for mockery, and this episode scores many good hits. It’s less obvious than usual, and it points out the site’s oppressive nature pretty well. (I’ve been there for the “single/in a relationship” thing – minefield, baby!) The show loses its way somewhat when it becomes a Tron spoof, unfortunately; it works better when it stays in the real world.
200 (aired 4/14/10): “The town of South Park faces a class action lawsuit as every celebrity they've ever ridiculed is out for revenge.”
This is the first of a two-part episode, so I’ll save my remarks for the next program.
201 (aired 4/21/10): “Angry celebrities, violent ginger kids, and Mecha Streisand are about to destroy South Park and all anyone wants to know is, ‘Who is Eric Cartman's father?’”
“200”/”201” almost act as greatest hits shows; they include plenty of long-lost characters/themes like Mecha Streisand, the conflict about Cartman’s father, Mr. Hat and many, many celebrities. “201” is also one of the series’ most controversial shows, as it gets into the whole issue about the depiction of Mohammed.
Oddly, Comedy Central censored “201” and deleted any use of the name “Mohammed” even though “200” features his name all over the place. “201” comes from a Matt/Trey disclaimer about the topic; unfortunately, the episode remains censored on home video.
“200”/”201” shoot at so many different topics that it hits inconsistently. Parts are hilarious – it’s great to see “Jennifer Lopez” and “Mitch Conner” again – but the religious bits occasionally feel like they’re provocative just to be provocative. Still, the shows include quite a few funny bits, and I admire their ambition, as they tie together so many prior elements in a clever way.
Crippled Summer (aired 4/28/10): “Timmy and Jimmy head off to summer camp with their handicapable friends.”
Season 14 takes a step back with the generally lousy “Summer”. Its mockery of the handicapped lacks the usual bite, and its attempt to spoof Intervention also doesn’t really go anywhere. I guess after the ambitious two-parter that preceded “Summer”, the guys didn’t have much left in the tank.
Poor and Stupid (aired 10/6/10): “Cartman dreams of being a NASCAR driver and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.”
This becomes a totally one-joke show, and it’s not even a particularly good joke: is the stereotypical notion that NASCAR is the province of dumb rednecks worth a whole episode? No, but despite the restrictions of the concept, the fact that it revolves around the ever-entertaining Cartman and Butters make it amusing. How can I dislike a program in which Cartman eagerly consumes Vagisil?
It’s a Jersey Thing (aired 10/13/10): “New Jersey is rapidly taking over the nation one state at a time and their next stop is South Park.”
I don’t know if “Thing” will go down as the year’s worst episode, but it’s the strongest contender so far. Yes, the proliferation of Jersey-related media has gotten silly, but the show tries to spoof something that’s already absurd; how do you actually mock Jersey Shore? It takes some more questionable than usual paths in other ways and just isn’t particularly funny.
Insheeption (aired 10/20/10): “When Stan is sent to the school counselor because he’s holding on to an obscene number of useless possessions, he realizes that Mr. Mackey has a hoarding disorder too.”
Better South Park episodes provide clever spoofs, and that’s what we get here. While “Jersey” was a feeble parody of its source material, this one takes Inception and has a lot of fun with it. That helps make it a good show.
Coon 2: Hindsight (aired 10/27/10): “’Coon and Friends’ set out to help the victims of BP's latest catastrophic drilling accident in the Gulf. Much to the Coon's dismay, another Super Hero gets there first.”
We first met Cartman’s “Coon” character in Season 13. He created a decent but unexceptional episode then, and the same holds true here. Captain Hindsight is a mediocre addition to the series, and the program’s attempts to mock BP are scattershot. Still, the show has its moments, especially when we find a wink at Clockwork Orange.
Mysterion Rises (aired 11/10/10): “Coon and Friends find themselves at the mercy of Cartman who now has the dark lord, Cthulhu, doing his bidding. Kenny wrestles with the curse of his super power through his alter ego, Mysterion.”
Seriously? We’re going multi-part with Coon and friends? Eep. I’ll hold more comments until the next program.
Coon Vs. Coon and Friends (aired 11/18/10): “Coon and Friends find themselves at the mercy of Cartman who now has the dark lord, Cthulhu, doing his bidding. Kenny wrestles with the curse of his super power through his alter ego, Mysterion.”
One Coon episode is okay, but three straight tax my patience. Some multipart Park shows satisfy, but these three just go on too long and lack the requisite punch. I like the attempt to address Kenny’s immortality, and some other elements amuse, but I think one superhero episode per year would be enough.
Crème Fraiche (aired 11/17/10): “Stan's life is a shambles both at home and in school. Randy's obsession with the Food Network is changing everything. It even forces Sharon to explore a new interest of her own.”
Remember when I mentioned earlier that Randy-based shows tend to be lackluster? That remains true here, as the “Food Network equals porn” theme gets old quickly. The choice to equate the Shake Weight with sex toys also fizzles pretty rapidly. This isn’t an awful episode – at least it doesn’t involve Coon and Friends – but it gives us a forgettable end to Season 14.