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South Park: Volume 1

review by Zach B.


Studio: Warner/Rhino

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Retail Price: $19.99

Features: Comedy Central Trailer, Trey Parker and Matt Stone Intros

Specs: 1:33:1 Standard, English Dolby Digial Surround Stereo

No one could account what kind of phenom "South Park" would be when it debuted during August 1997. I must admit, I was one of the watchers who tuned into the first broadcast, and after it ended, I was hooked to the show. I thought it was hilarious, really original too. I taped the episode, and from episodes then and on, and have seen them tons and tons of times. Of course, the show spawned a hit movie and a ton of catchphrases "They killed Kenny!", "Respect my authori-tah!" etc.) I consider myself a fan from the start, and was happy that Warner and Rhino were releasing episodes every year on DVD. Now I could finally replace my worn out tapes.

This first volume of South Park features the first four episodes. The first, the pilot which got me into the show and probably still my favorite, is "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe". We meet the kids of South Park, Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman. Cartman gets an anal probe from aliens who mutilate cows, and even though he thinks it is a dream, Kyle's little brother, Ike, gets kidnapped from them and it's about to them, with the help of their school Chef named Chef and Stan's crush, Wendy Testiburger, to save Ike.

The second episode, "Volcano", follows the boys as they go on a camping trip with Stan's uncle Jimbo and his war buddy Ned. There, Ned favors Kenny more to Stan, and Cartman tries to scare everyone else by dressing up as the woodland creature "Scuzzlebutt". But it turns out the real Scuzzlebutt will help save the day when a volcano near where they are camping is about to eruptt and could kill them all.

"Weight Gain 4000" has Cartman bulking up for a TV appearence after he forges an essay (he basically steals "Walden" and puts his name on it) and Kathie Lee Gifford comes to South Park. However, the children's teacher, Mr. Garrison, has a score to settle with Kathie Lee.

Finally, the last episode on the disc is the Emmy® nominated "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", which features George Clooney as the voice of Stan's gay dog, Sparky. Stan is a bit upset over his dog being gay, and loses interest in playing for the big football game which everyone is counting on him for. However, Big Gay Al comes to the rescue and shows Stan all about homosexuality through history.

These episodes have gone on to become South Park classics, and this disc's offering is sure to please all fans of the show.

This volume of South Park is presented in its original aspect ration for television, which was 1.33:1. First and foremost, there is no annoying Comedy Central logo at the bottom of the screen. As for everything else, the transfer is excellent. Colors are really bright, and detail is also very good. You can really see right into the construction paper.

The sound is fine. You may recall that some of the older discs had a "popping noise". Anyhow, the box claims it is Dolby Digital Surround Setreo. It sounded like perfect stereo to me, no surrounds. There's not much to say about this disc, except the fact the dialogue is clear and easy to hear. My only complaint is that they still kept the beeps in, so whenever someone curses, you don't get to hear it.

Nothing impressive at all. Some commentaries from Trey and Matt would have been nice, but instead we get stuck with exclusive introductions, which when you come down to it, most are good for a chuckle and that's it. These intros were on the VHS releases too. Also, there's a long preview advertising Comedy Central shows.

While this is a disc that should be in any South Park fans collection, I find it a bit disappointing with the lack of features and the average sound (plus the bleeps!). Still, the video is nice and these are good episodes. The price is also right. If you're a fan of the show, make no mistake and pick this disc up.

(4/5 (average of all four episodes), NOT included in final score)




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