In the South Park episode “Simpsons Already Did It,” Professor Chaos (y’know, Butters) keeps coming up with evil schemes, only to be told by his sidekick, General Disarray, that all of them have previously been done on The Simpsons.
Watching South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season, though, it’s hard not to wish the people who put it together had watched some of The Simpsons DVDs and Blu-rays because, then maybe, they might do theirs like The Simpsons did it.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Comedy Central, South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season contains uncensored versions of all fourteen episodes, as well as mini-commentaries on each, as well as deleted scenes.
As seasons go, this wasn’t a bad one for the animated comedy, but it was hardly the best. Much like Robot Chicken, Futurama, and, well, The Simpsons before it, South Park has settled into a comfortable groove, one that still has flashes of the brilliance they showed on the first couple seasons, but is more even keeled.
If anything, like those shows, the episodes on this collection are actually funnier the second time around. Maybe it’s the familiarity, maybe it’s just because you’re not trying to take everything in, like the background jokes and whatnot, but such episodes as “Raising The Bar” — in which Cartman accepts that he is fat and not big boned since it means he can use a motorized scooter — work better here being rewatched than when they were viewed on TV for the first time.
That said, not everything works. Most notably the dry and unfunny episode “I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining,” in which the kids do go ziplining. But then, if watching that episode stops one person from going ziplining, maybe it’s worth it.
As for the rest of this collection, it’s here that one wishes this was more like how The Simpsons do it.
Like on previous South Park DVDs and Blu-ray, this has show creators and voice actors Matt Stone and Trey Parker doing mini commentaries on every episode. But while the guys clearly don’t like doing them, and refuse to talk for more than a few minutes, the reality is that these commentaries are really entertaining.
There are also times when it seems like they’re ending the commentary not because they have nothing else to say about the episode, but because they feel like they’ve talked too much. But this just leaves a lot of things undiscussed, things that happen later in the episode that might be interesting to hear about.
Admittedly, the guys should do what they want, and it’s never a good idea to explain your jokes. But such shows as, you guessed it, The Simpsons manage to find enough to talk about to fill their whole episode commentaries, so….
South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season also includes deleted scenes from a number of the episodes. But, for some reason, they’re all presented in one long video on the first disc. And because they’re presented this way, out of context, some of them don’t really make sense. Especially if, like me, you haven’t just watched the episode they were cut from, but instead watched that episode a couple days ago.
Again, copying The Simpsons would’ve worked well here, since they give you the option to watch the cut scenes where they would’ve appeared in the episode.
The collection also seems to be lacking a couple extras that, though unessential, would’ve nice to have (they are called “extras” after all). It would’ve been cool had they included the Hobbit parody they did for the Spike Video Game Awards last year, as well as the trailer for the upcoming game, South Park: The Stick Of Truth, that was shown there as well.
But then, none of these “issues” aren’t really that big of a deal. It’s easy enough to watch the deleted scenes later on, having short commentaries is better than no commentaries at all, and you can watch the Spike Video Game Awards video online if you want.
And really, this is more about the episodes than any extras they may or may not have included.
But having seen what a certain other show has done when it’s collected on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s hard not to wish the South Park people — or rather, the people who assembled this collection — had seem them, too.