|South Park: The Complete Ninth Season (2005)
Starring: voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Eliza Schneider, Mona Marshall
Director: Trey Parker
The only way to make a review of the ninth season of a TV show stand out from the eight reviews that preceded it is to use interpretive dance instead of words. And it would not be a lie to say that this writer entertained such thoughts after staring at a blank Word screen for an entire afternoon. Let us get some facts about the show out of the way up front:
- Cartman hates pretty much everyone, but he especially hates Jews and hippies.
- “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone fear nothing and no one.
- Cartman + Butters = Funny (tragic, but funny)
- Randy Marsh is the worst parental figure in TV history.
It is a great testament to Parker and Stone that their show is still so wildly entertaining despite the static nature of its structure. Then again, for a show that uses the “Law & Order” ripped-from-today’s-headlines method for story lines, the public, truth be told, does most of the work for them. Until we as a society stop doing stupid things, Parker and Stone will never run out of ideas.
One of the more pleasant things about season nine is that the majority of the episodes involve kids just being kids. “The Losing Edge” features the boys winning their little league baseball tournament and playing in the state finals. The only catch is that the boys actually hate baseball – as do all of the players on the other teams – and have been deliberately trying to lose the entire time. Only on “South Park” can a parent become a hero by fighting with the parent of an opposing player, and getting his son’s team disqualified. Like I said earlier, Randy Marsh (who’s arrested for drunk and disorderly behavior at least four times in this episode alone, and is charged with DUI in the season finale) is the worst parental figure in TV history. You have to admire a show that makes the role models for the children such incompetents; but to be fair, what Randy does in these episodes is nothing compared to what he did in the season 11 premiere.
Butters. The therapy bills he will rack up as an adult would bankrupt Microsoft.
Of the “Law & Order”-type episodes, “Best Friends Forever” (which won an Emmy) is sublimely perverse. The plot is far too intricate to describe in a few words, but suffice it to say that God needs Kenny (the best player of the PSP game “Heaven vs. Hell”) in Heaven to lead the angels in an actual battle against Satan’s army. But Kenny’s stuck on earth in a vegetative state (he was hit by an ice cream truck whose driver was also playing “Heaven vs. Hell” when he hit Kenny), and everyone is fighting over whether they should pull the plug. In a curious bit of timing, Terry Schiavo, the woman on whom this story is based, died hours before the episode aired.
But let’s get to the most essential episode in this set: “Trapped in the Closet.” If you missed it when it aired, well, the only way you’re going to see it is if you buy this set or “South Park: The Hits, Vol. I.” Whatever hyperbole we throw at this episode will not do it justice. It is quite simply one of the most brilliant episodes in television history. Period. Only Parker and Stone could find a way to attack someone’s sexuality without actually attacking it, and the sequence that explains the tenets of Scientology – complete with a super at the bottom saying, “This is what Scientologists actually believe” while the evil Lord Xenu laughs maniacally – is hilarious in its deadpan sincerity.Few thought that “South Park” would make it out of the ‘90s intact. It has not only survived, but also grown in ways that no one could have expected from a bunch of potty-mouthed fourth graders. And as good as “The Complete Ninth Season” is, the 10th season is even better. “World of Warcraft,” manatees with idea balls, and the brutal, bloody death of Chef? Sweeeet.