"Oh my god, they killed Kenny."
South Park is a small, podunk town in Colorado. It's home to four third graders; Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny. Stan is the lovable good guy who has a crush on his classmate, Wendy, but vomits every time she talks to him. Kyle is the Jewish one, who enjoys a nice game of "Kick the Baby" every so often with his little brother, Ike. Cartman isn't fat; he's just big boned. He's also the biggest jerk in South Park, and his mom so happens to be on the cover of Crack Whore Magazine. Kenny, always in his orange hooded jacket that makes his dialogue almost indecipherable, mumbles profanities, is dirt poor, and dies in every episode. Alongside the four kids is a cast of other eclectic characters, most notably Chef (Isaac Hayes), who offers the boys advice through song, which always spirals into something sexually explicit.
South Park, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is more than meets the eye. Some people just discount it as a cheaply made cartoon that's just filled with foul language and jokes about bodily functions. Granted, I agree about those two, but to ignore the spoofs on society and social commentaries would be an egregious mistake. The episodes are very topical, and the "morals" at the end are often well thought out, and make interesting points. But seriously, this show is a comedy and one of the best ones on television.
There are 13 episodes included in this set (the first season spanning from 8/31/97 to 2/25/98). All of them are my favorite. They are as follows: Cartman Gets an Anal Probe, Volcano, Weight Gain 4000, Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride, An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig, Death, Pinkeye, Damien, Starvin' Marvin, Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, Tom's Rhinoplasty, Mecha-Streisand, and Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut.
The cuss words are intentionally bleeped out by Matt and Trey, so don't expect uncensored episodes. If you've ever laughed at an episode of South Park, you need to get this set now. The packaging is great, except for the fact that the spine labeling is upside down (possibly intentional). Here's to hoping Warner Brothers releases more of these sets, with commentaries next time (more on that in the Extras section).
The episodes are presented in full frame 1.33:1. They look great.
The audio is presented in Dolby 2.0. Episode one (Anal Probe) has some popping sounds throughout it.
Each disc has a different menu background that comes to life when you select an option (Halloween, Mecha-Streisand, and Anal Probe). You have the options of "Play", "Episodes", "Promos", and "Languages."
I have never seen the original Rhino releases, so I'm unaware if any of these extras have been around for awhile. Before every episode, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and their loveable pet Scratch do a brief introduction. These introductions, which are all my favorite, run just a few minutes in length, but are quite possibly funnier than the episodes themselves (a few of them left me nauseous from laughing so much).
On Disc 3 are the special features. The first one is Jay Leno appearing in South Park Elementary School, and everybody rags on his humongous chin. The next is Cartman attempting to sing "O Holy Night" while Kyle shocks him with a cattle prod every time he makes a mistake, even sometimes when he doesn't. Funny, funny stuff. The third is Ned and Uncle Jimbo performing "Little Town of Bethlehem." Not so funny. The fourth one has the boys presenting a Cable Ace award. Every disc includes the original South Park promos (one for Cartman, Kenny, Kyle, and Stan), as well as a slew of commercials for Comedy Central hosted by Lewis Black. All in all, counting the episode introductions, there's a little over half an hour of bonus material here.
I have to say that I am EXTREMELY frustrated with Warner Brothers for not including the commentaries. For those of you who want them, buy the DVD set, send in your original receipt, $3.50 for s/h, and a proof of purchase tab (inside the DVD case, not the one with the UPC code on the outside) to Comedy Central (the address is provided on comedycentral.com).