South Park: Season 4
February 21, 2004
The boys from South Park are back for another taboo smashing season (their fourth) that has the kids entering the fourth grade and welcoming a new addition to their group—Timmy, a strange, physically handicapped boy. As always, no sacred cows are spared from Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s satirical attacks.
In the episode, “Timmy 2000,” we are introduced to Timmy, whom doctors assume suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) after he is unable to sit through an entire reading of The Great Gatsby (a little nod to Andy Kaufman perhaps?). So, they put him on Ritalin. Pretty soon, all the South Park kids are on the drug and quickly become fans of Phil Collins. In a bizarre twist of fate, Timmy becomes the lead singer for metal band Lords of the Underground who hope to open for Collins at Lollapalooza.
After losing out to Collins at the Oscars for Best Song, it seems only fitting that Matt and Trey go after him on their show. He is depicted as a barely coherent control freak. They also take some clever jabs at MTV and the self-importance of Kurt Loder. This episode actually makes some decent points about the abuse of Ritalin by doctors on children who may not need to be on it.
“Cartman Joins NAMBLA” starts off with an amusing reference as the kids are playing the “A&E Investigative Reports with Bill Kurtis” board game. Cartman, fed-up with his current crop of friends, decides to join an internet chat room—“Men Who Like Young Boys”—innocently thinking that he’ll make some new friends. Then, he meets one in person and the man is busted by the Feds.
This episode outs Mr. Garrison as a man who likes young boys and this results in his dismissal from school. In a surreal turn, Cartman becomes a poster child for NAMBLA. Matt and Trey also set their sights on Kenny’s trailer trash parents and his attempts to teach them a thing or two about birth control.
Boy bands are the target of “Something You Can Do with Your Finger” as Cartman’s desire to make $10 million results in the formation of music group with his friends. They call themselves Fingerbang and even allow Wendy to audition and her song is a hilariously rude little ditty that echoes the funny songs from the movie.
This is a spot-on parody of boy bands like N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys and the surreal devotion of their legions of young girls.
Satan and Saddam Hussein make a comeback in “Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?” and its conclusion, “Probably.” The South Park kids learn all about hell and point out that Kyle, because he is Jewish, will go there as well as Timmy who can’t confess his sins because he only seems capable of uttering his own name.
This is a wonderfully savage critique of organized religion and the hypocrisy of concepts like heaven and hell. Plus, it is great to see Satan and Saddam bickering just like old times.
The only extras on these DVDs are mini-audio commentaries on each episode by Matt and Trey. They basically talk for the first few minutes over each episode before moving on to the next one. They are both very funny and entertaining and manage to pack in a lot of good observations and information during these brief commentaries.
All 17 episodes of the fourth season are now available on this 3-DVD set that features the first appearance of the popular character, Timmy. While the lack of extras is disappointing, it is refreshing to see that Matt and Trey have not lost any of their satirical wit.