South Park: Season Sixteen [Blu-Ray]

South Park: Season Sixteen [Blu-Ray]
7
Pound for pound, South Park is still the most scathingly insightful comedy on television. Held to its own exceptionally high standard though, season 16 shows signs of weariness. The creator fatigue is especially noticeable in the slimness of bonus content on this 14-episode Blu-Ray collection, which is comprised only of obligatory, but plenty funny deleted scenes and the customary lean, to-the-point episode commentaries by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. It's all worthwhile, enriching the viewing experience, but a letdown nonetheless after the probing look into the creative process included on last season's package. Still more consistently capable of tap-dancing all over the line of appropriateness and taste while incisively cutting to the heart of current events than its peers, South Park kicks off its sweet 16 with a bout of toilet humour. Specifically, Parker and Stone address governmental coddling and the indignant entitlement of litigation-happy Americans by way of the Toilet Safety Administration. As is their unique gift to humankind, the warped minds behind this brilliant series once again elevate simple potty humour to reflect serious societal issues. And, let's face it, two heavy-set African-American women that "just gotta check yer asshole" after every dump is hilarious. A little front-loaded, many of the best episodes of the season come early. "Cash For Gold" tackles morally indefensible moneymaking schemes with all the uncompromising, caustic wit the writers can muster — encouraging predators on the home shopping network to kill themselves for the good of society is priceless and the investigative journalism applied successfully breaks down the cyclical blame game of the perceived offenders. Another excellent episode takes the piss out of flash-in-the-pan viral memes and another, the sudden cheap attention of the anti-bullying "movement." "Jewpacabra" doesn't fare quite as well as social satire, nor does "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining," but both contain more than enough laughs to keep them from being considered misfires. The same can be said of a late season episode about tourists that "go native." That still leaves the majority of offerings this season as unmitigated successes. Rampant cynicism, mobility scooters, reality TV trash (you knew they'd get around to Honey Boo Boo eventually), the slow death of Blockbuster and the desperate need of shallow, lazy people to validate their egos by wearing a coloured wrist band to "support a cause" instead of actually doing something about it are all addressed with Parker and Stone's trademark, unsentimental yet compassionate wit. It may be the weakest batch of episodes put forth in some time, but to still be head and shoulders above the competition after 16 years is nothing short of astonishing. (Paramount)