South Park: The Complete Fifth Season

This is where things get a little weird. Pot-smoking towels and people with asses for faces, the fifth season of this crude but clever gem was easily Matt Stone and Trey Parker's finest at the time — yes, the series gets even better. The cast was now flowing with quality characters to help support Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman through their politically-driven dilemmas, while the children possessed a rare balance of having more common sense than the adults while being naïve enough to give dogs hand jobs or buy someone else's pubic hair. Timmy and Butters are a welcome return, even though the latter will quickly lose his appeal after this season when he dawns the tiresome Professor Chaos alter-ego. In the meantime he manages to get his very own episode. The wheelchair-bound Timmy has competition when a comedy sensation on crutches joins the boy scouts, resulting in explosive rage surfacing in the shape of a cripple fight — through Matt and Trey's commentary we learn this ultra-violent brawl was actually choreographed based on a scene from Rowdy Roddy Piper's They Live. Season five also brought cult favourite Towelie, a government manufactured beach towel that smoked a spliff one day and wandered off the base, finding his way into the children's lives and continually asking them if they want to split a joint. A walking piece of cloth doesn't seem to phase anyone, but the news of the immortal Kenny being diagnosed with a terminal illness brings everyone to their knees in an overly dramatic soap opera to make up for the hundreds of casual deaths Kenny suffered in the past. Radiohead pops by to taunt the crying Scott Tenorman after hearing the news that Cartman made chilli with his murdered parents and the show manages to say the word "shit" 162 times in about 20 minutes. This season also shows how well South Park has always satirised current events, even when returning from hiatus just weeks after September 11 and managing to turn Osama Bin Laden into an Elmer Fudd-like buffoon. Like most of the South Park DVD releases, the only extras are short four-minute commentaries with Matt and Trey on each episode, which stay fresh, hilarious and informative in their briefness as we learn that they considered killing of Kyle instead of Kenny and that David Blaine started receiving inquirers about Blaintology. A common discussion on these commentaries is also reminiscing about how casual the script-writing process is, piecing together scripts during production and basically coming up with show ideas a couple of weeks before they air. Their creative process is clearly on the right track, especially if we get more moments like Cartman and the U.S. Congress belting out "Heat of the Moment" by Asia. (Paramount)