|South Park: The Complete Eight Season (2004)
Starring: voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Eliza Schneider, Mona Marshall
Director: Trey Parker
It’s so damn tempting to proclaim this the best season of “South Park” ever. It really is. Check out these titles: “Douche and Turd,” “You Got F’d in the A,” “The Passion of the Jew,” “Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset.” If you’ve seen any of these episodes, you’re already laughing and saying, “Oh yeah, I remember that one.” If you haven’t seen them, you’re thinking, “Dude, I can only imagine.” But despite the urge to throw every last superlative I can conjure up at this Season 8 set, I just know, somewhere along the way, we’ll get a release from Trey Parker and Matt Stone that’ll change my mind. “No, this is the best season ever.” So let’s just say this batch of 14 episodes – featuring satanic woodland critters, Cartman getting kidnapped by a serial killer, and Diddy’s posse wiping out a village full of PETA members – is sweeeet. Super sweet.
Right off the bat, there’s “Good Times with Weapons,” in which the boys battle the evil Professor Chaos with weapons they bought at the flea market and Cartman creeps across a stage in the middle of an auction…butt-ass naked. And there’s anime, only it’s good. You’ll get a preview in the intro of the first disc, though it’s a shame Trey and Matt chose to give away so much, so early. In “Something Wall Mart This Way Comes,” South Park is consumed by consumerism when a new Wall Mart (which in no way is to be mistaken for Wal Mart) lures everyone inside with its amazing bargains; the boys produce a sensationalized morning news show, complete with killer new hairdos, in “Quest for Ratings”; and Mr. Slave, Mr. Garrison’s, um…friend, challenges Paris Hilton to a whore-off in the aforementioned “Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset.”
But, unsurprisingly, Cartman is the star of this eighth season. Before Johnny Knoxville’s “The Ringer,” there was “Up the Down Steroid,” in which Cartman convinces judges at the Special Olympics that he’s handicapped so he can take home what he figures to be a few easy gold medals. Only he didn’t count on Jimmy juicing up for the event. Jeez, is there a more emotionally shallow character on TV? Watch Cartman organize his very own Nazi rally in “The Passion of the Jew” before answering that. Meanwhile, in the mini audio commentary for “AWESOM-O,” Parker and Stone admit that putting Cartman and Butters together almost always leads to comedic gold, and this episode (along with Season 7’s “Casa Bonita”) may be the finest example of that dynamic. Cartman tapes some flashing lights and a couple of batteries onto two cardboard boxes, slaps on some stickers, and convinces Butters that he’s the “A.W.E.S.O.M.-O 4000” robot, programmed to do anything Butters says. Unfortunately for Cartman, his prank goes horribly awry…well, assuming you consider helping someone insert a rectal suppository horrible.
Fact is, there are too many standout episodes here to talk about, including “Douche and Turd,” which has the kids at South Park elementary choosing between a douche and a turd sandwich in an election for the new school mascot. (Gee, sound like any elections you’ve taken part in recently?) One thing Parker and Stone have been able to do perhaps better than anyone else on TV is keep things fresh, and the fact that this excellent collection of episodes makes up the show’s eighth season is remarkable. Does that mean “South Park” is jump-the-shark proof? Perhaps, though you’d think there’s a line somewhere out there that even Parker and Stone shouldn’t cross. Just don’t count on it happening anytime soon. In the meantime, here’s to Season 8 of “South Park.” The best season ever.