Sunday, October 7, 2007

South Park: The Complete Ninth Season

3-disc set; 14 episodes (~308 minutes)

This season is perhaps best known for having two episodes pulled from rerun airings for a spell. In fact, the set was marketed on this notion. Certain groups threw their weight around and put an end to the free expression of Trey & Matt. But thankfully, perhaps with the help of some episodes in the following year, they would not win in the end. There’s a change of direction for one of the characters (again) that opens up our set of 14 shows.

Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina (air: 3/9/05) – The season opens with Mr. Garrison becoming Mrs. Garrison with one vaginoplasty. After failing at basketball tryouts on account of being Jewish, Kyle tells his parents about this development. Kyle’s mom of course has no problem with it, but Mr. Broflovski does, so he heads down to the clinic to give the doc a piece of his mind. And become a dolphin. Ahem. Kyle gets the negroplasty he so deeply desires, but his new kneecaps (see: testicles) are not up to the strains of basketball, and it’s up to the boys and Garrison to go stop him. Feels more like a means of getting to the Mrs. Garrison character now, but the cosmetic surgeon is pretty funny and I’m sure I’m just desensitized to the other gags. Thumbs up.

Die Hippie, Die (air: 3/16/05) – Cartman’s always had a disdain for hippies, but this episode actually pays off all those throwaway lines from over the years. It seems hippies are infesting South Park, and Eric’s the only one taking care of it. When he gets put in jail for kidnapping potheads, a full-blown jam fest breaks out that threatens to swallow up the town. Funny, funny stuff I won’t attempt so sum up; it ends with a good movie parody. Thumbs up.

Wing (air: 3/23/05) – The boys find out Token has a budding singing career and try to represent him as talent agents. Just as he gets snapped up by CAA, the proprietor of City Wok arrives with his wife, Wing, who already has a gig booked in Los Angeles. Trey & Matt admit, more or less, that this episode was made just to work in the incredibly…unique vocal stylings of Wing, which are found at The show comes across as good as it could on second viewing. Thumbs in the middle.

Best Friends Forever (air: 3/30/05) – We start with Cartman trying to get his mom up in the wee hours to buy the new PSP. When he arrives to the store, he finds a long line with Kenny in front. Eric ends up without one as Kenny masters the new PSP title “Heaven vs. Hell.” It turns out God made PSP to test who could command the armies in the real final battle between heaven and hell. But just as he’s about to go to war (on the Golden PSP), Kenny gets a feeding tube put inside him to keep him alive. The Terry Schiavo crossover feels way dated now, as it was an issue I barely paid attention to then. This episode started in stupid silly mode, but went to funny silly somewhere in the middle. Thumbs up. But hey, it won an Emmy, so what do I know?

The Losing Edge (air: 4/6/05) – As a long time purveyor of the “baseball is boring” message, this episode was a godsend. South Park’s in the regional little league finals, and they just want it to be over. Unfortunately for them, winning the title puts them in the postseason. Now the boys have to figure out a way to lose. Only thing is, every team in the playoffs wants out too. This one put “You’re the Best Around” back in everybody’s conscience, had the great sub-story with Randy Marsh fighting in the crowd, and brought back one of my favorite one-off characters, Kyle’s cousin Kyle. Thumbs up.

The Death of Eric Cartman (air: 4/13/05) – What would be the one thing your best friend could do to fall out of favor with you for good? That’s right…eat all the skin off your Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s exactly what Cartman does in this one, and it eventually gets all the kids of South Park to ignore him. Eric figures this can only mean one thing – he’s dead. Naturally, Butters is out of the loop, so Eric thinks Butters can see dead people and works with him to make everything right before he floats off to heaven. Such natural roles for these two characters, there’s no doubt what this one gets. Thumbs up.

Erection Day (air: 4/20/05) – Jimmy develops the problem of getting random boners in class. The big talent show is coming up, which Jimmy usually wins. But with an erection, Jimmy can’t perform up to his usual standards. After a talk with Butters, he determines he has to get his penis inside a woman’s vagina so he can do his comedy and win the talent show. Some great bits in here, like Cartman in Jimmy’s earpiece on a date, the “Italian restaurant,” and the lame talent show acts. Thumbs up.

Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow (air: 10/19/05) – Stan & Cartman play in some guy’s boat, and crash it into a beaver dam. Nearby Beaverton is flooded, and we spiral into a play on Hurricane Katrina. The satire here, which also includes some bits on global warming to the tune of “Day After Tomorrow,” is over-the-top and as such is very funny. I wish they went that route a little more often, the results here were terrific. One you should see. Thumbs up.

Marjorine (air: 10/26/05) – Eric calls an emergency meeting at his house. It seems the girls have a future telling device they need to get a hold of. It’s one of those folded paper things with numbers and colors on it that you move with your hands and then open a flap to get a yes/no answer. The boys eventually decide they need to infiltrate the girls’ next slumber party and steal the device. Naturally, Butters is the patsy. A total kids being kids episode, and if you’ve read my reviews, you know what I think of them. Thumbs up. Trey and Matt said they wish this was a two-parter, so they could’ve done a longer homage to “Pet Sematary,” but I disagree. It was top to bottom funny.

Follow That Egg! (air: 11/2/05) – The fourth graders start a new unit on parenting, and get paired up into mother/father to take care of an egg. Mrs. Garrison tries to get Mr. Slave to take her back, only to find him engaged to Big Gay Al. So she decides to appeal to the governor to get the decision on gay marriage overturned. The governor won’t make a decision unless he has backing, so Mrs. Garrison changes the project to include two same-sex couples of Wendy & Bebe and Stan & Kyle, to prove that two men can’t father a child. Another instance where going over the top, with the satire and the subplots, went a long way. Thumbs up.

Ginger Kids (air: 11/9/05) – Cartman gives a speech in class about “ginger kids” – kids with red hair, light skin and freckles who have no soul. Kyle tries to disprove him unsuccessfully, so he gets Kenny & Stan to help him make Cartman ginger with makeup and hair dye. In true Cartman fashion, he just turns it around and rallies all the gingers to exterminate the rest of the human race. I don’t know, this one wasn’t all that funny, save for the end, which was pretty good. Thumbs in the middle. Oh, and the Airport Hilton guy.

Trapped in the Closet (air: 11/16/05) – The first of our two “banned” shows in air order, although this one isn’t offensive at all per se. Stan’s saving up money for a new bike, so he can’t spend money on anything fun. When he walks by a scientology bureau giving “fun and free” personality tests, he goes in. The scientologists tell Stan he’s depressed and needs to pay $240 for auditing. We eventually spiral into a treatise on scientology. Stan is found to be the second coming of L. Rob Hubbard. And Tom Cruise refuses to come out of the closet. Usually, giving so many straight facts wouldn’t be funny, but the source material here was plenty good on its own. Thumbs up.

Free Willzyx (air: 11/30/05) – This one is completely ridiculous, but oh so funny. It starts a little mundane and makes you think it’ll go a few different ways, but it picks up right after that. The boys go to see a whale at a sea park, and Kyle stays after the show to see it up close. The guys on the speaker make Kyle think the whale is talking to him, with wishes to go home to the moon with all the other zypods. Yeah. So Kyle rallies all the kids of South Park to steal the whale and put it on a rocket to the moon. Good good good. Thumbs up. Another instance of Trey & Matt at the end of their rope with no ideas, but pulling something out in the end.

Bloody Mary (air: 12/7/05) – Here’s the second show that got pulled this run, though the first chronologically to have that “honor.” It was only controversial for the image of a Virgin Mary spraying blood from its ass onto the Pope, which was secondary to the show and why it’s funny. Stan’s dad drives the boys home from karate practice…drunk. He gets a DUI and is forced to attend AA meetings, where they tell him to turn his life over to a higher power due to the crippling “disease” of alcoholism. Then the statue starts bleeding, and Randy has to get there to be cured by the miracle blood. This is a funny teardown of AA, and I think all of us have known somebody like Stan’s dad. Thumbs up. The commentary for this one is really funny too.

The count (up-middle-down):

So a big theme for this season was going over the top, and it worked in spades. An animal rights group supporting the boys taking a whale to Mexico by U-Haul? Dressing up a pig to fake your friend’s death to steal a paper charm from a group of girls? All awesome. Kenny Hotz of “Kenny vs. Spenny,” which I’ve reviewed in full to this point for Top Five, also consulted on a few shows this season.


You get the usual mini-commentaries with this set, although the track for “Trapped in the Closet” is mostly riffing on some of the celebrities profiled therein. Trey & Matt got sick of talking about the show in the media and already gave it a commentary for “The Hits,” a set of their favorite episodes to that point. Stay tuned for more South Park reviews in the future.

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