"But what does being Hawaiian have to do with me being like an emo chick on her period...?"
Paramount / 308 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: September 24, 2013
I hear lots of folks say that later seasons of South Park have lost some of their luster, lacking some of the “on” factor in comparison to earlier go-rounds. I’m not sure I agree. While this Complete Sixteenth Season set has its share of just-OK installments, when the South Park team really kicks it into high gear, it's hard not to respond with often embarrassingly loud laughter, and even if they do so less often here than in years past, there's fun to be had here.
Whether it's anger about leaving the toilet seat up that turns into an international death plague(Reverse Cowgirl), Cartman's feverish desire to ride around his local mega-grocery in a scooter (Raising the Bar), or the Trey Parker/Matt Stone send-up of what the 2012 president election might have been like in their bizarr-o funhouse world (Obama Wins!), these episodes are zany, smart, off-color, and beyond oddball. In short: classic South Park.
Is this the show's greatest season? I'm not sure that matters. SP is in syndication so often that the act of making sure every episode is in fans' DVD/BD collections is not exactly priority number one, but I find these high-definition sets to be a great way to quickly plow through each fresh season of the show. There may be more lows than highs here, but even if only four or five of these episodes are whiz-bang South Park keepers, it remains such a vital and stinging satire that I'm willing to keep up with it.
Video: How Do The Discs Look?
These episodes have been mastered and encoded at their native 1080p rate, and the images here are gorgeous. Background textures and details in the cut-out animation elements are really impressive. And aside from the occasional example of banding, colors are rock-solid and richly varied. There are a few other presentational hiccups here - aliasing, maybe a compression artifact here or there - but for the most part, these are stunning transfers.
Audio: How Do The Discs Sound?
The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks here are impressive, as well. The mixes themselves are tame and front-heavy - like the other series before this one (with the occasional atmospheric surround element) - but the quality of the audio is fantastic. What I mean by that is the open, natural sound of the dialogue and crystal-clear sound to the music and effects which never sound overly bright or edgy.
A set of English Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks are included, as are English subtitles.
Supplements: What Goodies Are There?
Matt and Trey's mini-commentaries are here, and they make for predictably compelling listening. Straightforward and lucid, they infuse these short tracks with just enough behind-the-scenes information to put a clear context on what they were going for without resorting to gap-filling banter. Also here are some deleted scenes.
Not all the episodes here are extraordinary, but some of them truly might be, and that's just fine. South Park: The Complete Sixteenth Season may not be to everyone's tastes, but if you appreciate the intelligent comic lunacy of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, there's no reason you shouldn't give this TV-on-BD set a shot.