South Park (season 14)

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South Park Season 14
Four crudely animated children sport a heroic theme in front of a maroon background, which also features fire. The words "The Complete Fourteenth Season" underline the image.
DVD cover art
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 14
Broadcast
Original channel Comedy Central
Original run March 17, 2010 (2010-03-17) – November 17, 2010 (2010-11-17)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 April 26, 2011 (2011-04-26)
Region 2 September 19, 2011 (2011-09-19)
Region 4 August 11, 2011 (2011-08-11)[1]
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 13
Next →
Season 15
List of South Park episodes

The fourteenth season of the American animated sitcom South Park began airing in the United States on Comedy Central between March 17, 2010 and November 17, 2010. The season was headed by the series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who served as executive producers along with Anne Garefino. The season continued to focus on the exploits of protagonists Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny in the fictional Colorado mountain town of South Park.

The season was the second of three new seasons Parker and Stone agreed to produce for the network under a renewal deal. It consisted of fourteen 22-minute episodes, which aired in two groups of seven episodes separated by a six-month gap. Continuing their practice from previous seasons, Parker and Stone wrote and produced each episode within the week before its broadcast date.

The season lampooned various topics, including the legalization of medical marijuana and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The season also parodied various cultural touchstones, such as The Catcher in the Rye, Tron, Facebook, Jersey Shore, Hoarders, and Inception. The parody of celebrities, a South Park tradition, continued in the fourteenth season, with depictions of Tiger Woods, Kim, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, and the devotion of the entire episodes of "200" and "201" to past celebrities suing the town of South Park for defamation. The original broadcasts of "200" and "201" were altered to censor depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, to protect from threats delivered by radical Islamic extremists, which resulted in strong criticism against Comedy Central.

The fourteenth season received mixed to positive reviews, with some reviewers deeming it as an important season in the series' history, and others regarding it as progressively weak and stale. The season maintained the average Nielsen rating viewership for the series, around 3 million viewers per episode, with a slight decline in the latter half of the season. The episodes "200" and "201" were nominated for the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date[2] Production
code
U.S. viewers
(million)
196 1 "Sexual Healing" Trey Parker Trey Parker March 17, 2010 (2010-03-17) 1401 3.74[3]
The new edition of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of video games incorporates elements of the alleged physical altercations Woods had with his wife regarding his extramarital affairs, and resembles a fighting game more than a golf simulation, which Cartman, Stan, and Kenny becomes big fans of the game. Meanwhile, scientists at the Center for Disease Control determine that sex addiction is a disease reaching epidemic proportions and Kenny, Kyle, and Butters are diagnosed as sex addicts.
197 2 "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs" Trey Parker Trey Parker March 24, 2010 (2010-03-24) 1402 3.24[4]
Disillusioned over reading The Catcher in the Rye, the boys write their own novel entitled The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs, with the intention of making it the most profane and controversial book ever -- and pin the blame on Butters when anyone who reads the book starts vomiting.
198 3 "Medicinal Fried Chicken" Trey Parker Trey Parker March 31, 2010 (2010-03-31) 1403 2.99[5]
New state laws prohibiting fast food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods result in the closure of all KFC eateries in Colorado, much to the dismay of Cartman, who is addicted to the food and starts a fried chicken cartel to get his fix. Meanwhile, Randy Marsh learns a former KFC outlet has become a medical cannabis dispensary, and he attempts to give himself cancer to get a doctor's referral for medicinal marijuana, which he succeeds to do.
199 4 "You Have 0 Friends" Trey Parker Trey Parker April 7, 2010 (2010-04-07) 1404 3.07[6]
Kyle adds a third-grader named Kip as a friend on Facebook, who is a loner and doesn't have any friends on Facebook, but Kyle's current friends erases themselves from being Kyle's friends, causing him to face drastic measures. Meanwhile, Stan has a Facebook account created for him against his wishes, and Randy becomes brash towards him for not having already added his family as friends.
200 5 "200" Trey Parker Trey Parker April 14, 2010 (2010-04-14) 1405 3.33[7]
Part one of two. Stan accidentally insults Tom Cruise again by calling him a "fudge packer" during a field trip. Cruise then recruits 200 other celebrities that have been ridiculed by the town of South Park to bring a class action lawsuit against the town.
201 6 "201" Trey Parker Trey Parker April 21, 2010 (2010-04-21) 1406 3.50[8]
Conclusion. It's a tense situation in South Park as Muhammad has become the pawn in the game to save the town. The Ginger kids are threatening to destroy the city if Stan and Kyle do not hand over the Prophet and the celebrities have met violence with violence by unleashing Mecha Streisand. In the midst of all of this, all anyone really wants to know is, who is Eric Cartman's father?
202 7 "Crippled Summer" Trey Parker Trey Parker April 28, 2010 (2010-04-28) 1407 3.55[9]
The drug addiction of Towelie is growing so overwhelming that the South Park children make attempts to help him. Towelie's history is shown, using head interviews and on-screen captions (in a parody of "Intervention"), starting with years of drug addiction to marijuana, crystal meth, heroin and crack cocaine as he works at a summer camp for handicapped children. Meanwhile, as Timmy and Jimmy are attending the camp for the summer, a fellow camper plots to kill Jimmy but his attempts backfires due to his dim-witted associate causing havoc and issues, which backfires the plans.
203 8 "Poor and Stupid" Trey Parker Trey Parker October 6, 2010 (2010-10-06) 1408 3.14[10]
Cartman tries to becomes poor and stupid so he can live his dream as a NASCAR driver, with Butters' help and angering Kenny.
204 9 "It's a Jersey Thing" Trey Parker Trey Parker October 13, 2010 (2010-10-13) 1409 3.25[11]
The town begins a war between New Jersey because obnoxious New Jersey residents visit and annoy the South Park residents. Meanwhile, Kyle is unable to control his actions because Sheila reveals that she is from New Jersey and Cartman criticizes him.
205 10 "Insheeption" Trey Parker Trey Parker October 20, 2010 (2010-10-20) 1410 2.89[12]
Stan and Mr. Mackey suffer from compulsive hoarding, and a group of experts try to find out the reasons for this, which leads to Stan getting trapped in Mr. Mackey's dream.
206 11 "Coon 2: Hindsight"
"The Coon 2: Rise of Captain Hindsight"
Trey Parker Trey Parker October 27, 2010 (2010-10-27) 1411 2.76[13]
A three-part episode. Part one of three. The Coon now leads an entire team of crime-fighters, which includes Mysterion, Toolshed, Iron Maiden, Tupperware, Mosquito, Mintberry Crunch and Human Kite, although Cartman is intent on taking all the glory. A fire breaks out in a local apartment building, and Cartman gets his mother to drive them over. Before they can take any action, though, Captain Hindsight, a renowned hero, arrives at the burning hotel, to a standing ovation, although all he does is tell them of safety measures that should have been taken, and then leaves. People are thereafter all relieved and promptly abandon the burning building, leaving fourteen people remaining in the apartment to burn to death. In the aftermath, Cartman concludes that they will need to get Captain Hindsight to join them in order to regain what he believes to be their "former glory".
207 12 "Mysterion Rises" Trey Parker Trey Parker November 3, 2010 (2010-11-03) 1412 2.85[14]
Part two of three. Led by Mysterion, Coon and Friends are working together to help the people in the Gulf who are at the mercy of the dark lord, Cthulhu. The Coon, scorned by his fellow super heroes and now working alone, is out for revenge.
208 13 "Coon vs. Coon and Friends" Trey Parker Trey Parker November 10, 2010 (2010-11-10) 1413 2.79[15]
Conclusion. Part three of three. Coon and Friends find themselves at the mercy of Cartman who now has the dark lord, Cthulhu, doing his bidding. Kenny wrestles with the curse of his super power through his alter ego, Mysterion.
209 14 "Crème Fraiche" Trey Parker Trey Parker November 17, 2010 (2010-11-17) 1414 2.49[16]
Randy becomes obsessed with food thanks to the Food Network. Because of this, his family suffers negative consequences. Meanwhile, Sharon orders a Shake Weight, and the boys try to stop Randy (and a slew of celebrity chefs) from overrunning the cafeteria.

Reception[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Season fourteen of South Park had some tremendous ups and downs, but it also had the greatest controversy and greatest challenges the showrunners have ever faced. […] It is often said that South Park is more than just a TV show – it's an American cultural phenomenon. No season illustrates that more than this one.

 — Ramsley Isler, IGN[17]

Ramsey Isler of IGN cited the fourteenth season as an important season, writing that the quality of the episodes are signs that "the future of the series is far from bleak."[17] In a section describing the impact of "200" and "201", Isler asserted that, for a time, "South Park became more than just a cartoon with foul-mouthed kids – it became a symbol of the kind of terrorism and fear that have become so prevalent in today's world." He believed that the heavy-handed censorship brought the series to the forefront of social conversation for a while, but also seemed to have killed some of the enthusiasm during the season's second half.[17] He named the "Coon" three-parter as a highlight, admitting, "The arc wasn't exactly the most hilarious stuff the show has ever produced, but it did have some brilliant ideas that were executed very well."[17]

Many other reviewers found the show dipped in consistency during its fourteen season. Slant '​s Kris King gave the season a very mixed review, attributing it to the show's "forced social commentary," lamenting, "At what point did the creators of South Park stop being the sharp voices of a younger generation and start sounding like ornery parents?"[18] Another Slant reviewer, Chris Cabin, commented that "the amount of laughs overall has negligibly diminished […] the show's durability isn't exactly what it used to be." He believed that the fourteenth season stood as a strong display of the technical advancements the show has undergone since its premiere.[19]

Ratings[edit]

The fourteenth season of South Park generally maintained the average Nielsen rating viewership for the series, around 3 million viewers per episode, with a slight drop-off in the second half of the season. The season premiere, "Sexual Healing", was seen in 3.74 million households, the largest audience for South Park since the third season premiere "Rainforest Shmainforest" in 1999.[3] "Sexual Healing" proved to be the most-watched episode of the season, and the night of its premiere heralded the highest ratings of the entire year for Comedy Central.[20] The two-part episode "200" and "201" also received high ratings (at 3.33 and 3:50 million viewers, respectively), perhaps due in part to their high controversy.[7][8] "Crippled Summer", the follow-up episode, featured the second-highest ratings of the season, at 3.55 million viewers.[9] When the series returned for the second half of season fourteen in the fall, "It's a Jersey Thing" received the highest ratings, at 3.25 million viewers.[11]

The fourteenth season of South Park received its lowest viewership in the episodes "Crème Fraiche",[16] seen in 2.49 million households; "Coon 2: Hindsight",[13] seen in 2.76 million households; and "Coon vs. Coon and Friends",[15] seen in 2.79 million households. The ratings of "Crippled Summer" outperformed those of several primetime network shows the evening of its original broadcast.[21]

Controversy[edit]

An image of the Muslim prophet Muhammad was shown in the 2001 episode "Super Best Friends", but was later banned from the 2006 episode "Cartoon Wars" due to controversies regarding Muhammad cartoons in European newspapers. This contradiction is mocked in the season fourteen episodes "200" and "201".

"200" and "201" celebrate the series' arrival at two hundred episodes, and, as a result feature a heavy degree of reference to past South Park episodes, storylines, characters and controversies.[17] The episodes attempt to feature a depiction of the prophet Muhammed, which Parker and Stone attempted to feature in the season ten (2006) two-parter "Cartoon Wars", but were censored.[22] Shortly after "200" '​s original broadcast, the website for the organization Revolution Muslim, a New York-based radical Muslim organization, posted an entry that included a warning to Parker and Stone that they risk violent retribution for their depictions of Muhammad. It said that they "will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show." Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic extremist in 2004 for making a short documentary on violence against women in some Islamic societies. The posting provided the addresses to Comedy Central in New York and the production company in Los Angeles. Posted by Zachary Adam Chesser (who preferred to be called Abu Talhah al Amrikee),[23] several media outlets and observers interpreted it as a threat.[24]

The following week, "201" faced a heavy degree of publicity.[17] Before "201" aired, the New York City Police Department increased security at the Comedy Central headquarters in direct response to the threats. Law enforcement officials said Revolution Muslim itself was "all talk" and had never engaged in any actual violence but they were concerned that the website post could inspire violence from others.[25] During the episode's first and only broadcast, all references to Muhammad's name were replaced by audio bleeps. Several other portions of dialogue were also censored, including almost the entirety of a monologue spoken by Kyle at the end regarding the moral of the episode (reportedly about "intimidation and fear.") Muhammad's name appeared in the previous episode, "200", without any such censorship. Both episodes obscured all images of what was apparently Muhammad with a black "CENSORED" box. Immediately after the episode "201" aired, the series website South Park Studios posted a notice that said Comedy Central had inserted "numerous additional bleeps throughout the episode" after Parker and Stone submitted their final cut to the network. The network later confirmed they were responsible for the audio censorship, as well as obscuring images of Muhammad.[26][27] "201" has not aired since its original debut as South Park would usually repeat during the week, and episodes from earlier in the season were shown instead. Although South Park Studios generally makes unexpurgated versions of their episodes immediately available to view, the notice indicated Parker and Stone did not have network approval to show their original version, and thus no version of "201" could be seen on the website.[28] The Canadian Comedy Network aired "201" on April 25, 2010, though the episode was censored as the American broadcast was, breaking the network's multi-year practice of airing South Park completely uncensored.[29] In addition, "200" and "201" were not broadcast in the Netherlands,[30] or Sweden.[31]

The censorship of "201" brought strong criticism to Comedy Central. Some commentators suggested because Comedy Central responded to Revolution Muslim's warnings by censoring depictions of Muhammad, the Muslim extremists scored a significant public victory.[32] As a result of Revolution Muslim's statement, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris suggested that many people draw and publish pictures of Muhammad on May 20, 2010, which she dubbed Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,[33] which also resulted in major criticism and controversy. Chesser was arrested in July 2010 after attempting to board a flight to Somalia to join terrorist organization Al-Shabaab, and, in October, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for communicating threats to Parker and Stone, soliciting violent jihadists to desensitize law enforcement, and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.[34]

On January 31, 2014 the original uncensored version of "201" was illegally leaked online without any approval of Comedy Central.[35]

Dutch spinoff prank[edit]

In February 2010, it was announced that Comedy Central Netherlands would begin airing a live-action spin-off of the show called The Real South Park in April 2010. The show was said to feature a cast of Dutch children reprising the roles of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny, with American actors providing English voice-overs.[36] However, this turned out to be an elaborate April Fools' Day joke, with a Dutch television magazine reporting on the filming of the series in Amsterdam being in on the joke.[37] Broadcast on April 1, it showed a short skit of the four boys traveling to Amsterdam and visiting the red-light district, ending with Kenny being hit and killed by a passing tram. The texts "1 april" and "there is only one real South Park" then appeared on screen, after which the first episode of season 14 started.

Award nominations[edit]

Episodes "200" and "201", from season fourteen were nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 2010,[38] but lost to the ABC animated Christmas special, Prep & Landing.

Home release[edit]

Season fourteen was released by Paramount Home Entertainment in the United States on April 26, 2011 on both DVD (as a three-disc set) and Blu-ray (as a two-disc set).[39] Each set includes all fourteen episodes[40] in 1080p video and Dolby TrueHD, as well as brief audio commentaries by Parker and Stone for each episode. The set also includes the season thirteen episode "The Coon", as a special "bonus episode".[41]

While twelve of the episodes are uncensored, episode "200" has the image of Muhammad censored, and the controversial episode "201" is shown in its original broadcast version, preceded by a disclaimer including a statement released by Trey Parker and Matt Stone on April 22, 2010. During the commentary in both "200" and "201" Parker and Stone never mention Muhammad directly, referring to him only as "the prophet of the Muslim faith".[42] Despite the package claiming otherwise, both "200" and "201" were omitted from the Region 4 release and have been completely omitted from the Region 2 release as well.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "South Park; S14". Sanity. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  2. ^ "South Park (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)". epguides. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (March 18, 2010). "South Park Parties Like It's 1999, and Other Wednesday Cable Finals". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 25, 2010). "More Good Numbers for South Park + Ugly Americans and Other Wednesday Cable Finals". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ Seidman, Robert (April 1, 2010). "Wednesday Cable: Real World Hits Lows, South Park Stays High & In Plain Sight Returns". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ Seidman, Robert (April 8, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: CSI: NY Dips Further + South Park, In Plain Sight and More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (April 15, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: In Plain Sight Slips; South Park Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (April 22, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: In Plain Sight Adds Viewers, Loses Demo; South Park Still A Ratings Champ". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (April 29, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: South Park Increases 18–49 Ratings; Plus In Plain Sight, Mythbusters, Ugly Americans, More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 7, 2010). "Wednesday Cable: Yankees/Twins Tops Night; South Park Top Scripted; Terriers Falls & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (October 14, 2010). "Wednesday Cable: South Park Up; Terriers Steady; Ultimate Fighter, Ghost Hunters & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  12. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 21, 2010). "Wednesday Cable: South Park Down; Terriers Has Fallen and it Can’t Get Up & Much More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (October 28, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: Storm Chasers Goes Calm; Terriers, South Park, Ultimate Fighter & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  14. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 4, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: Terriers Rises, Was It DISH?; South Park, Storm Chasers, Ugly Americans & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (November 11, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: Psych Premiere; Terriers Falls; South Park, Ultimate Fighter, Ghost Hunters & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (November 18, 2010). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: Terriers 100% Higher; Psych Steady; South Park Down, But Still Tops Night & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f Isler, Ramsey (November 24, 2010). "South Park: Season 14 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  18. ^ King, Kris (April 9, 2010). "South Park: Season 14 Review". Slant. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  19. ^ Cabin, Chris (May 9, 2011). "South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season – Review". Slant. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  20. ^ Weisman, Jon (March 18, 2010). "South Park a Tiger for Comedy Central". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  21. ^ Seidman, Robert (April 29, 2010). "TV Ratings: Sad Happy Town Premiere; But ABC's Smiling Over Modern Family". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  22. ^ Bierly, Mandi (April 14, 2010). "'South Park' gears up for 200th episode: Will we see Muhammad?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  23. ^ Miller, Joshua Rhett (April 23, 2010). "Road to Radicalism: The Man Behind the 'South Park' Threats". Fox News. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  24. ^ Cooper, Anderson (April 20, 2010). "Radical Islamists Threaten 'South Park' Creators; More Volcano Eruptions Ahead". Anderson Cooper 360°. CNN.
  25. ^ Hosenball, Mark (April 23, 2010). "Security Stepped Up at Comedy Central Following Threats Against 'South Park'". Newsweek. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  26. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 22, 2010). "'South Park' Episode Is Altered After Muslim Group's Warning". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  27. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (April 23, 2010). "Lisa de Moraes: Joe Biden keeps his cool in 'The View' hot seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  28. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 22, 2010). "'South Park' Episode Altered After Muslim Group's Warning". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  29. ^ Weinman, Jaime (April 25, 2010). "Brief South Park Update". Macleans. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  30. ^ Verver, Jody (April 30, 2010). "CC International heeft er met grote tegenzinvoor gekozen om de 2 afl.van South Park niet uit te zenden." (in Dutch). 
  31. ^ "South Park Muhammad joke won't air in Sweden". The Local. April 29, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  32. ^ Cavna, Michael (April 23, 2010). "Comic Riffs: JON STEWART satirizes own network's censorship of 'South Park' Muhammad episode". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  33. ^ Cavna, Michael (April 25, 2010). "Comic Riffs: 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!' grows in reaction to 'South Park'". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  34. ^ Cratty, Carol (February 24, 2011). "Man who threatened 'South Park' creators gets 25 years in prison". CNN. Retrieved Feb 26, 2011. 
  35. ^ O'Neal, Sean. "An uncensored version of South Park's controversial Muhammad episode has surfaced". The AV Club. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  36. ^ "The Real South Park – TV – Comedy Central". Comedy Central Nederland. Retrieved August 3, 2010. [dead link]
  37. ^ "'The Real South Park' is 1-april grap". Algemeen Dagblad. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Complete Emmy lisitngs" (PDF). Emmy Award. Retrieved July 8, 2010.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  39. ^ a b "South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  40. ^ "South Park – 'The Complete 14th Season' Formally Announced; Seems it Really IS Complete!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. July 2, 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  41. ^ Cabin, Chris (May 9, 2011). "South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season". Slant Magazine. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  42. ^ Parker, Trey (April 2011). South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season: "201" (Audio commentary) (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment. 

External links[edit]