Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

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Mimsy Review: South Park Volume 1 through 6

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, December 12, 1999

That’s right, Mr. Garrison. Christopher Columbus discovered America and was the Indian’s best friend. He helped them win their war against Frederick Douglass.

Special features

Introduction6

I was first introduced to South Park through the movie (which also kicks ass). The television shows are amazing. Variety, of all things, calls it “gloriously subversive art”. Yeah, whatever. It’s great shit that you must eat. I recommend buying the collected three-DVD sets. Make sure you check the pricing, however: at Amazon, the sets are more expensive than buying the individual disks! The first set, at least, contains nothing but the individual disks: there is no bonus to buying the set. (In fact, now that the second 3-pack is out, the pricing is all fucked up for South Park, so pay attention.)

RecommendationPurchase
DirectorTrey Parker
WritersTrey Parker, Matt Stone
Movie Rating9
Transfer Quality7
Overall Rating6
Formats
  • Television Format

These reviews were written about the original “volume” sets, which consisted of four shows per DVD. Nowadays, you’ll want to get the full season sets. Volumes 1 through 6 were all of season one and a bit of season two.


South Park Volume 1

The first four episodes of “South Park” are “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe”, “Volcano”, “Weight Gain 4000”, and “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride”.

“Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” involves aliens trying to contact the most intelligence species on planet Earth in order to give them a special gift. “Volcano” has the boys going hunting while the South Park geologists try and figure out what the big pointed mountain is shakign and spewing smoke. In “Weight Gain 4000”, Cartman gets his big chance to be on television and must buff up for the event. And episode four is where Big Gay Al first utters the phrase “I’m super, thanks for asking!” This one is most influenced by, of all things, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Remember the “Island of Misfit Toys”?

Each show has an introduction by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. I don’t have any idea what it’s a send off of, but they are absolutely hilarious. They introduce these episodes as if they were youthful evangelists describing sweet, touching stories. Which I suppose is true, but what they’re touching is sweet!

South Park Volume 2

The second four episodes of “South Park” are “An Elephant Fucks a Pig”, “Death”, “Pinkeye”, and “Damien”.

Kyle gets into a bet with the local mad scientist’s kid, and has to breed an elephant with a pot-bellied pig. Meanwhile, Stan also has to deal with his tyrannical sister.

In “Death”, in a prelude to the movie, the parents all leave to protest the Canadian television show “Terrance & Phillip”. And while mom and dad are gone, Death visits South Park and gets angry when the show is taken off the air. Stan’s grandfather wants Stan to kill him, because he’s too old to kill himself. Public-Access Jesus won’t touch that one with a forty-foot pole!

“Pinkeye” is the Hallowe’en special, with a bit of a takeoff from Michael Jackson and “Night of the Living Dead”. Everyone in town is turning into brain-eating zombies, which means that no one is left to hand out candy to the kids. Horrors!

Finally, the son of Satan is transferred to South Park in preparation for his dad’s return to Earth to battle Jesus. The battle, televised on Pay-Per-View, upstages Cartman’s annual huge birthday party. And Damien learns a lesson about acceptance.

Each show has an introduction by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The first two continue the “fireside chats” of Volume 1. The second two switch to a western-style kids-show introduction, where Matt and Trey play two television cowboys afraid of snap-pistols. And, of course, their Indian companion named “Indian Companion”. Look out, someone’s coming!

South Park Volume 3

From “Starvin’ Marvin” through “Tom’s Rhinoplasty”, this includes episodes 9 through 12 of South Park. While it does not include the infamous “Christmas Card” episode that you can see at animation festivals, it does include the hilarious “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo”. Order now for Christmas!

Volume 3 of the South Park television series includes three of the best South Park episodes ever: Starvin’ Marvin, in which the kids adopt an Ethiopian Kid over television; Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo, in which Kyle extols the virtues of a high fiber diet; and Tom’s Rhinoplasty, in which the kids fall in love with their substitute teacher and learn to lick carpet.

Rounding it out is “Mecha-Streisand”, a strange take on transformer-style shows such as the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, in which Barbara Streisand is the evil villain.

This show reminds me of Donna Barr’s “The Desert Peach” in one important respect: it is unbelievable that the creators have managed to stretch out a one-horse joke so beautifully!

The introduction before each show continues to be the children’s western started in Volume 2.

South Park Volume 4

South Park kicks ass. It kicks more ass than a barrel full of four-assed monkeys! Volume 4 includes not only four South Park episodes, but also the much-reviled “Not Without My Anus”. “Not Without My Anus” aired as an April Fools’ joke between the two-part “Search for Cartman’s Father”. South Park fans tuning in to find out who Cartman’s father was got hit by “April Fools” and having to wait another week. Fan outrage, apparently, reached new heights. Honestly, folks, we know who Cartman’s father is. It’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Anything else is just a joke.

The first two episodes on this DVD are “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut”, and “Cartman’s Mom is Still a Dirty Slut”, the two-part search for Cartman’s father. There’s a special father and son celebration coming up, and Cartman has gone round the deep end. He finally gets up the nerve to ask his mother who dad is, and discovers that there’s a pretty wide selection to choose from. Genetic testing at the Genetic Engineering Ranch outside of town solves the riddle, but creates more questions than it answers.

“Chicken Lover” is my favorite episode, South Parketeers. Officer Barbrady resigns after confessing that he doesn’t know how to read. He deputizes the children (“night sticks for everybody”) and Cartman takes it seriously.

In “Ike’s Wee Wee”, the children discover that Kyle’s little brother is going to undergo a late circumcision--and they believe that a circumcision means chopping the whole damn little fireman off! So of course they try to save Kyle from a snip worse than death. Meanwhile, Mr. Mackey (“drugs are bad, mkay?”) loses his job and descends into a drug-filled horror, which ends in marriage and the A-Team. It’s a horrific example of what happens when you give in to the depression of life. Or something like that. The stoners are introduced in this episode as well. We’ll see them later in the Planet Arium episode.

These are great episodes. It isn’t really that great of a DVD. It was obviously set up for VHS and then the VHS parts were transferred to the DVD product as well. Don’t get me wrong, the transfer is fine. But you end up with things like the “Comedy Central” preview talking about how you’re going to be “fast forwarding” through it to get to the real movie. The Comedy Central preview is just a separate menu item on the chapter list.

The DVD also includes introductions by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. They’re in sets of two: apparently, the VHS tapes include two episodes each, so every even intro mentions the previous episode as well as the upcoming episode. In this DVD, the introductions all take place at an old folks’ home, where Matt and Trey “entertain” the residents with guitar playing and light-hearted games. The sound level on the introduction is significantly quieter than the sound level on the actual episodes. When I turned the sound down to a reasonable level for late-night apartment viewing, I could barely hear the intro.

This DVD collects some of the better episodes. If you’re only picking and choosing which South Park collections you want, this is probably one for your list. Otherwise, you should consider the Volume 2 3-pack, which, depending on whether or not Amazon has figured out their pricing scheme, should be cheaper.

South Park Volume 5

This DVD includes episodes 17 through 20 of South Park (if you don’t include “Not Without My Anus” in the count, which apparently they aren’t).

“Conjoined Fetus Lady” is probably the most “normal” of the shows. It has a clear moral and even a speech explaining what that moral is! Nurse Gollum, the school nurse, has a dead fetus attached to her head: her twin died before childbirth. South Park’s queen of movements, Sheila Broslofski, decides to raise the community’s awareness of this horrible disfiguring disease. In practice, of course, this means parading the nurse around like a circus freak, exactly what she doesn’t want.

“The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka” pits Stan’s uncle Jimbo in a ratings war against Jesus (of “Jesus and Pals”).

“Flashbacks” lets the busdriver, Ms. Crabtree, fall in love, and also affords the kids with the opportunity to reminisce about old times as they hover on the verge of death. Everything ends in ice cream.

“Summer Sucks”, because fireworks have been banned. Ned and Jimbo try to smuggle some up from Mexico. (“Everything’s legal in Mexico.”) And the mayor hires out for the best “safe” fireworks show ever, the world’s biggest snake! Fourth of July will never be the same for South Park. This episode has possibly the best ending line of any episode so far.

The introductions on this DVD continue from the nursing home for the first two, and then go to a cooking show, “Makin’ Bacon with Macon” for the second two. This is probably the most disgusting of the intros so far: every recipe is almost all bacon, with a bit of processed cheese and eggs thrown in. But the disgusting part is that “Macon”, the “mascot” for the fake show, is a pig, and they keep feeding Macon bacon! It’s like cannibalism or something, man, totally gross. The recipes themselves, if you like bacon and cheese, sound like they’d work. I’d take the baking temperature and cooking times with a grain of salt, however.

South Park Volume 6

This DVD includes episodes 21 through 24 of South Park. These are all good episodes, filled with cheap humor, bad puns, and very, very strange ideas. Did you know that chickenpox is a form of herpes? South Park is a very educational show.

In “Chef’s Salty Chocolate Balls”, Park City, Utah, has become too much like Los Angeles, so Robert Redford moves the Sundance Film Festival to the quiet mountain town of South Park. This episode marks the return of Mr. Hankey, the Disney Poo. And Chef tries to strike it rich with his many fudge and chocolate concoctions.

“Chickenpox” is possibly the strangest because it comes so close to being true. The kids’ parents deliberately expose them to the chickenpox virus to ensure that they’ll get it young. So the kids decide to get even…

“Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods” only tangentially mentions Roger Ebert. Cartman gets the opportunity to sing the Cheesy Poofs theme song on television, while the rest of the kids have their minds eaten away by an evil planetarium director.

It’s time to play “Truth or Dare”, and the girls won’t play without a clubhouse. So Stan and Kyle get together to build one while Stan’s parents get a divorce, and Cartman and Kenny build one to meet older women. In the end, Kenny dies. (Oops, did I ruin it for you?)

The introductions on this DVD continue from the cooking show, “Makin’ Bacon with Macon”, and Macon the pig chows down a lot of pork. If you decide to follow the recipes, remember to take the baking temperature and cooking times with a grain of salt.

As far as I can tell, this DVD is not available separately from the 3-pack. I’ve put in an e-mail to Amazon asking for confirmation.

Recommendation: Purchase

DirectorTrey Parker
WritersTrey Parker, Matt Stone
Spoken languageEnglish
SubtitleEnglish
Special FeatureIntroduction
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