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The Censorship Has Sailed
South Park - Season 14 (DVD)
Member Name: charby
South Park - Season 14 (DVD)
Advantages: Some great episodes, still funny and great written
Disadvantages: Two episodes missing
== South Park ==
South Park is a cartoon revolving around four boys in a small mountain town in Colorado in the United States. It is famous (if not notorious) for being rude with lots of swearing and references to everything under the sun, and so it is often criticised. It is, however, a parody and none of the offensive things said or done by any of the characters are (necessarily) supported by the makers. Over the years they have referenced several religions and celebrities, which has caused offence to some people, but it must be stressed that everything is over the top and tongue in cheek. If you watch South Park with an open mind, you will probably find it to be a very funny and intelligent programme, rather than just a rude cartoon.
== Series Fourteen ==
Series Fourteen is the most recent series to be released on DVD, although Series Fifteen has already been broadcast in full. South Park has changed somewhat over the past fifteen years, with parody rather than character based storylines taking more focus with each passing series. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the quality of the programme, as this series is still as great as the ones that have come before it.
There are some brilliant episodes on this DVD, such as 'You Have 0 Friends' (which takes the p*ss out of Facebook) and 'The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs', in which the four boys write the most disgusting book ever written, which turns into a massive national success. The idea of the South Park children's super ego alteregos, which were firstly explored in the previous series episode 'The Coon', returns in this series in the form of a trilogy of episodes towards the end of the DVD. South Park has done several two or three part episodes in the past, most of which have been very good and have been well received, with the three 'Imaginationland' episodes from Series Eleven even been released on DVD on their own. Series Fourteen's three part episode was true to form and was very entertaining and well executed, which some clever jokes and references to be found as usual. In my opinion, there is only really one weak link on this DVD, which is the episode entitled 'Poor and Stupid', in which Cartman tries to make himself stupider in order to be a NASCAR driver. While there are entertaining elements in the episode I thought it was weak in general and I doubt I'll watch this episode again any time soon.
== The Controversy ==
==HOWEVER== , that is not the only complaint I have with this series of South Park, and the next one I have is one that has been echoed by many other fans of the series. This series should, and in fact does, include the 200th and 201st episodes of South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided that this was cause for celebration, and so these episodes were designed to be special and ones that huge fans of the cartoon would greatly enjoy. In these two linking episodes, there are hundreds of references to previous storylines, jokes and parodies made in the previous thirteen series of the show, from making fun of Tom Cruise and other celebrities, the identity of Cartman's father to the controversy surrounding depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed as a cartoon figure. These two episodes were very well done and were a great success, with many fans (or myself, anyway) appreciating that these episodes and its references were largely for people who had watched the programme and enjoyed it since the beginning.
Not everyone agreed, however. A Muslim organisation stated that Stone and Parker risked being murdered because of the episodes, and so Comedy Central heavily censored parts of the episode '201', which would have shown Mohammed and included one of Kyle's iconic 'you know, I learned something today' speeches. Kyle's speech was bleeped and Mohammed was not shown at all and as far as I can see, it is not possible to find an uncensored version anywhere online. The censored version of '201' and '200' are both easy to find online, but were not included in this DVD release. Why? Fear on the behalf of Comedy Central and those who put the DVD together, I suppose, but how ridiculous and annoying this is for the fans. If you have to go online to watch two of the best and most boundary pushing episodes of the series, why buy the rest of the series at all?
Bizarrely, this series wasn't the first time that South Park wanted to depict the prophet Mohammed in their cartoon, but the first time they did ten years ago, they got away with it. He featured in the fifth series episode 'Super Best Friends' along with other religious characters such as Jesus and Moses, but with no negative connotations whatsoever. This has rarely been mentioned by anyone, including Muslims who oppose to the drawn depiction of Mohammed, and that episode was aired uncensored and also appears on the DVD of Series Five. First broadcast in July 2001, however, this episode did make its appearance into a world pre-9/11 and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so its possible that a changed world context over the past decade was responsible for the completely different response on this front.
It must be stressed that the episodes '200' and '201' didn't set out to portray Mohammed in a negative way, as his appearance in the story was more a reference to previous events in South Park, as were the rest of the storylines included in these episodes. However you feel about featuring the prophet Mohammed in a cartoon, though, I still think that it's a bit of a disgrace for the episodes to be cut from this DVD.
== Conclusion ==
Since I'm not in favour of the omission of two episodes from this DVD, but enjoyed the series in general otherwise, my decision on whether to recommend that others purchase this DVD or not is a difficult one to make. While the episodes which do feature in this series DVD are very good, I don't think that we should accept an edited version of the series. It's a matter of principle, I think, and if we buy the series as it is, we imply that we agree with the decisions made on its content. I would therefore say, no, do not buy this DVD. If you want to see it, however, go to websites such as xepisodes.com where you can see the entire series in full, although the two controversial episodes are still, unfortunately, the censored versions. I would not, however, want to put you off buying any other series of South Park as they too are excellent and have not been censored or edited.
So to sum up, I feel that this series = great; its censorship = bad.
Summary: The incomplete fourteenth series of cartoon South Park
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