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SOUTH PARK

FEEL THE WHIPLASH
Bigger, Longer and Uncut is the South Park movie, out July 15, 1999 in Australia, but if you want to check out the South Park ethos in the privacy of your own home, the collectors set of Volumes 7, 8 and 9 are now out on video. ANDREW L. URBAN takes a walk in the Park . . .

It may seem odd Ė and it did to me, too, when I first thought of it Ė but South Park actually demonstrates the power of writing. This occurred to me after one of my very infrequent exposures to this enfant terrible of animated television. It is a selectively offensive, satirical and often vulgar cult tv show, and now a movie. It certainly ainít the pictures that drive its fascination among the rebellious.

"Itís smarter than you think"

Here is a television revolution passing oldies by. Much of the action is implanted in the imagination, rather like books do it, supported of course by the crude, simplistic images. Itís almost as basic visually as stick men, but with high grade and hip dialogue, often dealing with solidly human and everyday issues. Which, of course, can be quite dramatic to the participants and humorous to the observers.

The cartoon-inspired voices help link the pictures to the audience, making it all very accessible. Itís smarter than you think, and perhaps thatís why itís so insidious and potentially dangerous, as some moral conservatives believe. On the other hand, it is just good fun with a wicked edge. It certainly resonates with aspects of life.

"An entertaining socio-religious lesson in circumcision"

Previewing Volume 8 was a family experience. Our teenagers didnít think us oldies would enjoy it one bit, so it was something of a shock when we laughed and giggled and generally got into the smutty, the silly, the vulgar and the obscene that pepper the show. Like the story of Ikeís Wee Wee, which is basically an entertaining socio-religious lesson in circumcision, with hilarious and observant dry humour. If the word penis offends you, donít get this one.

"a secret chicken rapist... in the Monty Python direction but without the restraint"

You may find the Chicken Lover harder to go past, its tale of a secret chicken rapist almost sliding into a reverential nod in the Monty Python direction Ė but without the restraint. A series of heinous crimes involving chickens leads to a startling revelation Ė Officer Barbrady canít read. And thereís more, of course, that grabs our funny bone.

Not Without My Anus (Volume 7 - each volume features 2 x 25 minute episodes, rrp $29.95) explores just who is Cartmanís father. On Volume 9, Conjoined Fetus Lady (note the mind-altering titles, part of South Parkís calling card) tells the story of the South Park dodgeball team trying for the championships. Back in tow, the locals declare a Conjoined Twin Myslexia Awareness Week in a misguided attempt to help the school's nurse deal with a strange medical disorder.

The little bonus of these videos is creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker handling the top-n-tail, in the confines of a retirement home, where the audience (at least one old codger of it) is drawn into a running gag of cruel proportions. But it is funny.

"Ohmegosh, am I taking this stuff seriously?"

Time Magazine, with its well-practiced imagery, refers to South Park as "the latest giant asteroid to slam into American pop culture." And itís also slamming into ours. Those who despair at the banality of American television can find a haven of bravado creativity at work here. And its piercing exploration of the layers of American society provide not only a rare moment of Americans laughing at themselves, but through that particular into the very universal. Ohmegosh, am I taking this stuff seriously? I better go watch Neighbours.

AND A F **.. WORD ABOUT THE SOUNDTRACK:
A song about the worst word you can say? Sure, Itís Easy MmmkayÖ As for the ills of society? Blame Canada (well arranged for symphony). Then you can sing along with the team for a rapidfire Kyleís Mom is A Bitch. And so far Iím only at track 5! There are another 15. Get the CD. The F word I had in mind is Funny. If rude words offend you, it isnít. Musically, it owes everything to every musical youíve ever heard, happily, breezily plagiarising all the trademarks of musical theatre, from structure to orchestration. The best part is how the explicit lyrics sit within this musical conservatism, like anarchists on the benches of Parliament.

PS: A word to parents of teenagers who watch South Park (or will from now): get used to hearing it.

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For those who have never visited, South Park is a suburb of SBS TV. It has zillions of fans, and if you donít know why, itís probably because youíre either too couth to watch it, too conservative to like it or too busy to find out about it. Weíre here to help. Read this page and feel the whiplash of a radical animated tv series that is really too adult for children. And thatís one good reason for kids to love it. Theyíre not supposed to watch shows with titles like Not Without My Anus.
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THEY SAID IT:
A few words from the creators, Matt and Trey;
"You could say South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut is about the struggle for basic , inalienable freedoms in the face of oppression, but youíd sound like a jerk."

"When something like the Columbine [shootings] happens, everybody Ė us included Ė is so confused and saddened. People want an explanation and that explanation is some people are fÖ .d up. Thatís the scary answer. When someone older does something sick, itís ĎWhat a psychopath. When someone under 18 does something wrong, we have a huge problem with youth culture."
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SOUTHPARK
Bigger Longer & Uncut
CD SOUNDTRACK
Warner Music

Songs from the film include:
Mountain Town
Uncle F**ka
It's Easy, mmmkay
Blame Canada
Kyle's Mom's a b**tch
What wouldBrian Boitano Do?
Up There
La Resistance

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