South Park's eleventh continues the raunchy adventures of grade schoolers Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman, who live in a small mountain town. Originally conceived as a small Christmas special that gained fame in Hollywood, the show eventually became the highly controversial Comedy Central show it still is today. Although the show's a bit more inconsistent today (although creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker deserve credit for continuing to come up with material that doesn't seem rehashed eleven seasons later), the new seasons still offer plenty of inspired situations for the kids, great supporting characters and plenty of classic lines.
The season's centerpiece is the feature-length "Imaginationland", which is split into three episodes. "Imaginationland" opens with the South Park kids going through the forest, trying to find a leprechaun because Cartman has made a bet with Kyle that the mythical creatures exist. If they find one, Kyle will have to do something...well, lets just say he really, really doesn't want to do. When one of the little creatures appears, they trap it - although it quickly escapes. However, before disappearing, the creature warns of a terrorist attack.
While they wonder about their encounter with the creature, a man appears and asks them if they've seen the leprechaun. After they say they have, he invites them for a ride on his flying machine. After singing a song in a specific way, he takes them into Imaginationland, which is populated by pretty much every single favorite fictional character from all time. Although the boys are warmly greeted at first, the scene then turns horrifying when terrorists attack. While the boys try to escape on the back of a dragon, Butters is left behind and captured.
Meanwhile, the US Government has learned of the attack in Imaginationland, which was done because the terrorists want to attack our imaginations by breaking down a gate that keeps back the evil imaginary characters. When they succeed, it's up to Stan and Kyle to try and figure out how to get through a gate (which clearly looks like the gate from "Stargate" into Imaginationland. Meanwhile, Cartman chases Stan and Kyle to DC, desperate to try and get Kyle to make good on his bet. Meanwhile, the government takes drastic measures to stop the battle in Imaginationland and Butter learns that he may have the power to put a stop to it.
The trilogy of episodes (pulled together in a slightly extended and uncensored format) does get some good laughs, especially from Cartman's psychotic desperation to make Kyle make good on their bet. "Imaginationland" is also loaded with some amusing references, including some fun goofs on "Stargate" and some of the imaginary characters. Fans will also be pleased with the return of the wholly evil and quite insane cute woodland creatures from the "South Park" ep, "Woodland Critter Christmas".
Overall, I thought "Imaginationland" was an entertaining long episode (and the production value of the feature is higher than the usual "South Park" episode), although I think it lacks the scope of "Bigger, Longer and Uncut", the "South Park" film that did actually feel more like a film than a long episode.
Another highlight of the season is "Guitar Queer-O", a hysterical riff on the "Guitar Hero" phenomenon, where Stan and Kyle get a record contract by breaking a 100,000 points on "Guitar Hero". However, success brings tragedy when Stan has to dump Kyle for another co-op player and eventually winds up hooked on a very different game: "Heroin Hero". Meanwhile, Kyle has taken to playing the game in run-down bowling alleys.
Another episode, "Le Petit Tourette", has one of the funniest moments of the series, as Cartman learns about Tourettes Syndrome from another boy at the toy store. It soon dawns on him how he could use Tourettes for himself, as he sings "I've got a golden ticket" and dances out of the toy store. However, Cartman is shocked after his scheme literally turns against him right before he goes on national TV to do a segment about Tourettes on Dateline NBC. Overall, this season is another fine effort from the creators, as it does offer several highlights.
154. 11- 1 1101 7 Mar 07 With Apologies to Jesse Jackson
155. 11- 2 1102 14 Mar 07 Cartman Sucks
156. 11- 3 1103 21 Mar 07 Lice Capades
157. 11- 4 1104 28 Mar 07 The Snuke
158. 11- 5 1105 4 Apr 07 Fantastic Easter Special
159. 11- 6 1106 11 Apr 07 D-Yikes!
160. 11- 7 1107 18 Apr 07 Night of the Living Homeless
161. 11- 8 1108 3 Oct 07 Le Petit Tourette
162. 11- 9 1109 10 Oct 07 More Crap
163. 11-10 1110 17 Oct 07 Imaginationland
164. 11-11 1111 24 Oct 07 Imaginationland: Episode II
165. 11-12 1112 31 Oct 07 Imaginationland: Episode III
166. 11-13 1113 7 Nov 07 Guitar Queer-o
167. 11-14 1114 14 Nov 07 The List
VIDEO: All of the episodes in this 11th season are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The show's animation is certainly quite basic, but its presented well here. Sharpness and detail are perfectly satisfactory, while no edge enhancement or print flaws are present. Compression artifacts are also not seen. Colors are well-rendered, with no smearing or other flaws.
SOUND: The show's 2.0 soundtrack is perfectly fine, clearly presenting both dialogue and sound effects.
EXTRAS: The show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, provide "mini-commentaries", which are essentially audio summaries that last a few minutes and give an overview of each episode. Previews for other titles from the studio are also offered.
Final Thoughts: "South Park"'s eleventh season is one of the funniest in a while, with "Imaginationland", "Guitar Queer-o", "The List" and others standing out as highlights. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, but little in the way of supplements. Recommended.