South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season [Blu-Ray]

South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season [Blu-Ray]
After the madly ambitious series peak last season and the massively successful Broadway play, The Book of Mormon, it makes sense that the creators of the most consistently contentious show on television went a little lower key with season 15. Of course, lower key for Trey Parker and Matt Stone means lampooning Steve Jobs and The Human Centipede, equating Tyler Perry to Osama Bin Laden and comparing the NCAA to slavery, by way of Cartman exploiting crack babies. The series also points out the ridiculous self-authentication of airing shows like Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, with an episode where a space pilgrim has to charm his way into Natalie Portman's coy wormhole in order to re-establish a connection with the planet that supplies the Earth's frantic addiction to Stove Top stuffing during Thanksgiving, among many other hilarious absurdities and blunt, incisive satires on contemporary culture. These 14 episodes are more self-contained and feel more personal than the grandiose heights of season 14's three-part superhero opus and heavily censored, feather-ruffling arc about the prophet Mohammad. The one plot arc to extend past a single episode is the season's centrepiece, which manages to balance a poignant perspective on the cynicism that can come with maturity with as many shit jokes as they've ever attempted and some rough, honest and bleak insights on coping with familiarity and recognizing declining standards. Many have taken this episode as meta-commentary from the creators that their time with the show might be nearing an end, but in the duo's traditional mini-commentaries, Parker and Stone are quick to assure us that that wasn't their intention, though when they recognized how the sentiments being expressed might be taken, they deliberately left the first part hanging to mess with viewers. The iconoclastic, funniness-is-the-only-law attitudes of the creators is displayed front and centre with "Making Of" documentary "6 Days to Air," which follows the show's ambitious weekly production schedule (likely why there are increasingly fewer deleted scenes). Starting with footage of Parker and Stone behind the scenes before the premiere of The Book of Mormon to illustrate how little time off these guys take, the documentary crew are given access to every facet of production, from initial spit-balling in the writers' room to Parker directing the illustrators with white-board doodles and recording dialogue with Stone, to the executive producer clearing content with the Standards and Practices board, and the physical delivery of the finished episode four hours before it airs. Threaded throughout the excellent feature are candid discussions about the working relationship between the creative masterminds, a look back at their humble beginnings and a great story, with supporting footage, about the time they took acid and went to the Oscars in drag. To supplement that great look at the show's process, "Behind the Scenes of City Sushi" discusses the use of ridiculous cultural stereotypes with Parker and a few of the Asian animators on staff, in which Parker is as critical of himself as he is everything else. It's this unsentimental questioning of cultural mores of every type that continues to make South Park the smartest and funniest crier of bullshit in the business. (Paramount)