Having done two seasons in which one episode led to the next until the entire season was one long albeit loose story, the masterminds behind South Park decided to take a step back with their twenty-first season by having its ten episodes be stand-alone stories for the most part. Fittingly, it seems they’ve taken a similar approach to the extras on the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD.
Airing from September to December of 2017, the ten episodes in the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD find the kids of South Park elementary dealing with such modern problems as the stress we all feel over the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea (“Put It Down”), statues of controversial people (“Holiday Special”), and fake news on Facebook (“Franchise Prequel,” which also set up what was then the upcoming video game South Park: The Fractured But Whole). Though, as always, they put their unique skewed spin on things. “Hummels & Heroin,” for instance, takes on the opioid crisis, but frames it within a story about old people trading their pain pills for Hummel figurines.
Fittingly, some of the episodes included in South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD harken back to the show’s weird days of old with “Sons A Witches,” in which Randy Marsh, Gerald Broflovski, and a bunch of other adults go out to the woods, get drunk, and do crack while dressed like witches…and then get pissed when one of their pals turns into a witch because, of course, it makes them look bad.
What separates the episodes in the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD from those of the previous two seasons is that, as I said, they’re most unconnected. The only narrative thread that runs through all of them — though in some it’s just a momentary aside — is Cartman’s problematic relationship with Heidi. But even when it drives an episodes — such as “White People Renovating House” (in which their relationship starts to fall apart) and “Doubling Down” (in which Kyle grows annoyed with how Cartman treats Heidi) — one need not have seen the previous ones to understand what’s happening. The exception being the last episode, “Splatty Tomato,” in which it — and many other things that happened this season — all come to a head.
Even so, the episodes on the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD are still similar to those on The Complete Twentieth Season, The Complete Nineteenth Season, and, well, every episode since, well, The Complete Fifteenth Season. Most notably in how none of are as funny as such classics as “Mecha-Streisand” from The Complete First Season, “Make Love, Not Warcraft” from The Complete Tenth Season, or “Major Boobage” from The Complete Twelfth Season. Though they also, as always, have moments of true hilarity and biting social satire, as well as numerous vivid reasons why we should all be glad that Eric Cartman is on this show…and not in our real lives.
As for the extras included on the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD, well, as usual, they’re a bit sparse. Though, in one respect, less so than the ones on The Complete Twentieth Season Blu-ray and DVD and The Complete Nineteenth Season Blu-ray and DVD in that Twenty-First has individual mini commentaries for every episode, as opposed to the “Season Commentary” they did for Twentieth and Nineteenth. Which is good since these individual commentaries, as before, are funny and insightful, far more than the seasonal ones.
Along with the audio commentaries, the Blu-ray version of South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season also has what they call a “#SocialCommentary” on every episode. These are running text commentaries, like if someone on the staff was live tweeting the episode. The irony being that these are sometimes more insightful than the audio commentaries, though only because they’re often scene-specific.
Beyond that, though, there are no other extras on the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD. Which is, admittedly, a bummer. But then, you can’t include what doesn’t exist; if no scenes were cut, then no deleted scenes can be included.
In the end, both the episodes and the extras in the South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season Blu-ray and DVD are on par with those of the past five seasonal collections. Which means that if you’re a fan of this show, you’ll enjoy this collection; if you’re not, well, I’m not sure why you made it this far in this review.