After doing the show for nearly two decades, it’s not surprising that South Park‘s co-creators, writers, and voice actors Matt Stone and Trey Parker would do something different for their nineteenth season. But it’s also interesting that, in many ways, they’ve also done something different with the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD.
In the ten episodes that comprise the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD, the school has hired a new principal who’s aggressive about being politically correct, which prompts Mr. Garrison becomes a Donald Trump-ian figure. Meanwhile, the town builds an upscale, gentrified neighborhood in hopes of getting a Whole Foods.
What makes this season of South Park different is that all ten episodes form a single, continuing story. It’s subtle at first. Rather than resetting everything back to the beginning at the end of an episode like they usually do, they leave many of the changes intact and allow them to impact later stories. PC Principal, for instance, doesn’t lose his job at the end of the episode that introduces him, he keeps his job for the rest of the season. But it actually ends up being far more elaborate than anything they’ve done before. It’s not like when they did the three “Imaginationland” episodes in the Eleventh Season, or how there were running gags about Lorde that recurred during the eighteenth.
Granted, the end results are as much a mixed bag as they were during previous seasons, and it isn’t until the end of the run that things get truly weird in that patented South Park way, but this cohesion does make these ten episodes rather interesting when watched in rapid succession.
As always, the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD is a great way to experience these episodes, both aurally and visually. Not only are they presented without commercials or those annoying promos along the bottom of the screen, but they’re also uncensored, which means you can hear every “fuck” in beautiful surround sound.
Complementing the ten episodes on the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD are some fun extras, starting with what they called “Social Commentaries.” These are text pop-ups that appear on the bottom of the screen, and include factoids, trivia, and other insights about the episodes. And while they’re not as funny as the audio commentaries Matt and Trey do — which I’ll get to in a moment — they’re actually a lot more informative since they go into more detail, and cover the entire episode, unlike the audio ones.
The problem with them, and it’s admittedly not a big one, is that instead of placing them in close proximity to their respective episodes, they’re located in the “Bonus Features” menu. Thankfully, though, they’re not all lumped together on a single disc; the ones from the first five episodes on the first disc along with those episodes, while the other five are on the second disc with those episodes.
Next, the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD includes nearly six minutes of deleted scenes. As usual, some of rather funny, while others are clearly things that were cut for good reason.
But again, there’s a placement problem, as all of these deleted scenes are lumped together on the first disc of the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD, as opposed to the same section as the episode from which they were cut. Even more annoying, while this does indicate which episodes these scenes were cut from, it doesn’t say from where in those episodes those scenes were nixed, or why they were excised from the episode.
While the inclusion and placement of the “Social Commentaries” and deleted scenes is typical for South Park‘s seasonal collections, the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD — like the episodes it contains — does do something different when it comes to its audio commentaries. Rather than do episode-specific mini commentaries, this instead has a twenty-six-minute video they call a “Season Commentary” in which Matt and Trey talk about how this season’s unique approach came about, while images from these episodes and others they reference are shown on screen.
As these things go, it’s an interesting way to do a “making-of” featurette for a season. And like the mini commentaries they usually do, Matt and Trey are funny and informative. But it’s still a bummer that they didn’t also do the usual episode-specific ones. Granted, those guys clearly didn’t like doing them, and didn’t seem to understand why anyone would listen to them, even though fans (like me) find them informative and funny. Especially since they often talk about how the fans and the subjects of those episode reacted to them. I know I’d love to know how Yelp responded to the episode about Yelpers running amok, and whether Caitlin Jenner or Donald Trump reacted to how they were depicted on the show.
The South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD also does something that so many movie and TV Blu-rays and DVDs fail to: it includes the trailer for the upcoming video game South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Corresponding video games — and books, and comics, and so on — often get ignored when it comes to TV and movie Blu-rays and DVDs, even when the cast and/or crew are involved in their creation, so it’s nice to see the Fractured But Whole be included in this collection.
In the end, the South Park The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD — like the episodes it presents — is a bit different from what they usually do, but not radically so. I just wish they’d gotten even more radical, and also stayed conventional, when it came to the extras.