Like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and other cartoons that have been on the air a long time, South Park may not be as good as it used to be, but it’s still funny and even occasionally has flashes of its old brilliance. What hasn’t changed, though, is how the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD has the same shortcomings as The Complete First Season DVD and all the other seasonal sets in between.
For the most part, the ten episodes collected on the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD follow the show’s usual formula: an idea is taken to a ridiculous extremes, and then another step further, followed by acceptance. Like in the episode “The Cissy,” in which Cartman claims to be transgender just so he can get his own bathroom at school, only to have Wendy try and beat him at his own game. Not only does it spoof how people react to this issue, but it also works as a classic tale of Cartman being a self-obsessed jerk.
Even when they start off with a rather common idea — like the one in “Gluten Free Ebola” that has the Mr. Mackie not shutting up about how he’s now gluten free — it still manages to be a classic South Park with all the scalding satire that implies.
That said, some of the episodes on the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD do one thing that’s new: carry an idea from one episode to the next. Usually, episodes of South Park are self-contained, and thus can stand alone. But some of these have story elements that keep going, like how Randy is actually Lorde, which was a throw-away joke in “Gluten Free Ebola,” but became a major plot point of “The Cissy,” and then came back around at the end of the season in the episodes “#Rehash” and “#HappyHolograms.”
Granted, none of these episodes approach the high-water marks of such early South Park episodes as “Mecha Streisand,” “Cartman Gets An Anal Probe,” or “Scott Tenorman Must Die,” but even the weaker ones, like “Go Fund Yourself” and “Handicar” have moments that are laugh out loud funny.
As for the sound and picture, the episodes on the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD look great, especially since you get to enjoy the show without the digital hiccups inherent in streaming a TV show, or the obnoxious on-screen ads that come when you watch it on Comedy Central.
But the biggest and best thing about watching the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD is that the episodes are uncensored. Or, to be more accurate, they’re fuckin’ uncensored, which is really fuckin’ cool. Y’know, unless you don’t like it when little kids curse, in which case you may be watching the wrong fuckin’ show.
Along with the ten episodes, the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD also has the usual compliment of extras. First up, every episode comes with a mini commentary by the show’s co-creators, writers, voice actors, and so on, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. As usual, they only last a few minutes, and always sound as if they’re being done under protest, but is also always the case, they’re informative and funny.
Also included on the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD are nearly eight minutes deleted scenes, all of which are fully voiced and animated. But while there is some really funny stuff left on the editing room floor, there’s no explanation as to why they were cut, they’re annoyingly all lumped together in one long clip, this video is located on the first disc, and these scenes are not viewable by episode.
The South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray also has an extra that the DVD does not: “#SocialCommentary,” which are basically factoids about each episode that were originally done for Twitter when the episode first aired. Presented as pop-ups, they include behind-the-scenes info, with many of them coming indirectly from Matt and Trey. Why wasn’t this information included in the regular commentary? Who knows. They also include some rather pointless notes, like how any websites shown on the show are made by the art department. They’re also, like the deleted scenes, in a separate section from their respective episodes, but at least they’re each on the same discs as their corresponding episodes. Still, some of these tidbits are interesting, even to long-time fans.
Lastly, the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD has one conspicuous absence: a trailer for the new game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Granted, it’s not going to be out anytime soon, but since the trailer was unveiled this past June, it seems like an oversight to not include it here.
In the end, the South Park The Complete Eighteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD is just like a lot of the other South Park Blu-rays and DVD: it has the episodes as they were meant to be seen, the commentaries are shorter than they should be and better than Matt and Trey think they are, and some of the extras are inconveniently placed. Which is fine, I’m mostly into this for the episodes anyway. But it’s hard not to wish, after eighteen tries, that they couldn’t finally get it right.