South Park: The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: COVID Comes to Town

South Park: The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season is comprised of two extended episodes, which aired on Comedy Central. Trey Parker and the gang set their sights on COVID and the public’s reaction to it in their trademark satiric, sophomoric style.

On “The Pandemic Special” (9/03/20), Randy Marsh is having a Pandemic Special sale at Tegridy Farms to help his marijuana sales. He is the focal point for the episode when it’s revealed he is responsible for the COVID pandemic due to his outrageous exploits in Wuhan, China with foul-mouthed Mickey Mouse. When Randy learns scientists are unknowingly looking for his DNA to make a vaccine, he decides (in what will surely be considered one of the grossest ideas of South Park, particularly for individuals who make those sorts of lists for internet sites) to masturbate and ejaculate onto his weed, believing he is creating his own vaccine. To no surprise, not only doesn’t smoking this Randy-ized weed cure COVID, but it has one interesting side effect.

The other storyline finds South Park Elementary opening back up. Instead of bringing back teachers, the police are tasked with serving in that capacity. However, that isn’t a good choice as a student is shot, which is further complicated because that student is Token, the lone black student. The police blame his injuries on COVID (because the police wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been for COVID), and place the students on lockdown.

The special just came across like two episodes running concurrently and didn’t mesh together until Randy shows up were the boys are at in order to wrap things up. The boys’ storyline interesting as it examined and mocked different reactions to the pandemic. Randy’s story came off as outrageous for its own sake, lacking imagination and cleverness.

On “South ParQ Vaccination Special” (3/10/2021), the citizens are desperate for help in one way or another. Many seek the COVID vaccine, which is being limited to the elderly and the local CVS is treated like an exclusive nightclub. Mr. Garrison returns to South Park after serving as the United States President. He is reviled by some, but his QAnon followers seek guidance and think he is sending them secret messages, which they “decipher” to mean educate the children about the “way the world works.” I don’t know if Parker used real QAnon beliefs or he exaggerated them, but if the former, that is a terrifying prospect.

Stan, Kyle, and Cartman get their hands on some vaccines. They had planned to give them to their teachers so they may return to school, but they grow conflicted about who to give them to as they are about the state of the friendships, which have been strained. They also come up against a group of Qanon-taught children who try to stop them from giving anyone the vaccine.

Mr. Garrison is a very funny character, and it was good to see him return to form after being used by the series as a Trump surrogate. Amid the silliness, Parker’s presents a fair balance to different viewpoints regarding the vaccines. Well, except for the QAnon viewpoints. He also takes time to explore the boys’ friendships as they grow and change (slightly) in a serious matter. This in spite of the fact their relationships will likely reset for the next episode like many a sitcom, and it’s difficult to believe anyone would remain friends with Cartman, much as it’s hard to believe the Three Stooges continue to pal around.

The video is available in 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The colors pop in bold hues. Blacks are inky and whites accurate, assisting in creating a strong contrast. The animators create texture on some items and depth through the way they layer the 2-D objects. The image is free of defect. The audio is available in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Dialogue, except for Kenny’s, comes through clear in the front center channel. The music and ambient effects can be heard in the surrounds. The subwoofer offers limited support. The track shows no sign of flaws. The Blu-ray has no extras.

The two specials, known as South Park: The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season, are what anyone familiar with the series would expect. For those that aren’t familiar, it seems like an odd starting point, but it is okay because no matter if one is new to the series or hasn’t seen it in a while, the relationship dynamics between characters are quickly revealed and one doesn’t need a deep knowledge of the canon. “South ParQ Vaccination Special” is the more successful of the specials because of the writing. The Blu-ray delivers colorful video and enjoyable front-channel-heavy audio.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site.

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