Note: these are informal reviews that were written at various intervals over the course of the season.
04/10/15 (After Episode Three, “The City Part of Town”)
This has been a fantastic season so far, and it seems this time that they’ve really planned everything out continuity wise. I loved season 18 but you could tell that the continuity wasn’t fully planned out, and I actually read somewhere that Trey and Matt (the creators) ended up doing it completely randomly – and that showed (despite the episodes themselves being great). Really enjoying this season though, and if they can keep this quality up it has the potential to be one of the most well rounded seasons they’ve done imo.
Also, that moment with Kenny and Karen (his sister) at the end of episode 3 was legitimately touching, they don’t do emotional moments like that often but when they do they pull them off exceptionally well. Brilliant episode.
31/10/15 (After Episode Six, “Tweek x Craig”)
I’m enjoying this season so much right now; everything about it just seems so well thought out and, in turn, so well executed, including the hilarious jokes, fantastic character development, intertwined storylines, running gags, and pretty much every aspect of the show. I really like how apparent the planning of the season overall is too – for example there has been a lot of lines and moments they’ve done that they’ve paid off at a later date/episode, the Whole Foods arc being the biggest but also little ones like Charlotte (Butters’ Canadian girlfriend) saying she’ll Skype him at the end of episode 2, and that being seen at the end of this episode, and Mayor McDaniels’ quip about Craig being a homosexual also foreshadowing this episode. Writing like that is so intricate and so ingenious, and it really elevates the show as a whole for me (the fact that the show is still as hilarious 18 years in as it’s ever been is just the icing on the cake).
I’ve also noticed how much character development has occurred this season – so many characters have been further fleshed out this year, from Tweek and Craig becoming more fleshed out (both individually, a la Tweek’s boosted confidence, as well as in terms of them as a duo), to Mayor McDaniels’ character development (e.g. the scenes of her mourning over her deceased, what’s presumed to be, husband), to even the development of completely new characters (e.g. PC Principal and the aforementioned Charlotte). All of this just adds an entire new layer to the show past the already stellar humour and satire, and it makes the show feel so much more fresh and fun to watch (especially this far into the show’s run).
I remember Trey Parker (one of the show’s creators) once saying that the key to South Park’s longevity was that the show centered around a town of people, rather than just a few central characters, and this season is proving that statement perfectly. They’ve really hit a stride this season, and if they keep it up I can see this becoming one of my favourite seasons in a long time. So far, it’s been incredible.
16/11/15 (After Episode Seven, “Naughty Ninjas”)
That cliffhanger though. Really like how the PC Principal/Leslie gag, while funny in itself, is actually a build up to something much bigger, and I’m really excited to see where they’re going with it. Loved the character development of Officer Barbrady too, they’ve developed a lot of characters this season (Barbrady, Craig, Tweek, Mayor MacDaniels, etc.) and it really adds to the show imo. This season as a whole has easily become one of my favourites, I think it’s amazing how something as small as continuity and (what feels like) slightly more pre-planning can make the show feel so fresh again, I’m pretty sure I already said something along these lines elsewhere already but I’ve really had that feeling every single episode of this season (not to mention it’s still hilarious).
I like how they’re leaving more time for the finale too (E.G. it already feels like they’re beginning to build towards the season’s climax), as Trey and Matt said in the DVD commentary for #HappyHolograms that they learned from trying to cram too much into a two part season finale, and I think that stance is going to result in a really fantastic end to this season. But yeah, I’m loving this season so much, every aspect of it has been brilliant.
21/11/15 (After Episode Eight, “Sponsored Content”)
Another fantastic episode, the way they’ve incorporated drama in a way that doesn’t compromise the comedy is brilliant, and I’m amazed they’re still finding ways to develop characters this far into the show’s (and season’s) run (this episode it was Principal Victoria and to a lesser extent, Jimmy). Speaking of Principal Victoria, I love how they brought her back this episode, and I’m really intrigued about why she left – elements like that add such a fresh lure to the show, I love it. Great to see Jimmy in a prominent role again too, he’s easily one of my favourite side characters, his back and forths with PC Principal were hilarious.
12/12/15 (Final Review)
Fantastic end to what is now one of my favourite seasons. They introduced so many new aspects and characters to this season while still expanding on what was already there, and how they managed to do all that while still nailing the humour, satire and general intellectual side to it is truly amazing. Definitely gonna be the one to beat, the fact that they managed to hit a high as high as this 18 years and 19 seasons in is really commendable.
Can’t wait for season 20 and The Fractured But Whole, especially after this.