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Trey Parker
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, April Stewart
Writing Credits:
Trey Parker

Cartman’s deeply disturbing dreams portend the end of the life he knows and loves. The adults in South Park also wrestle with their own decisions as the advent of AI turns their world upside down.

Rated TV-MA.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 49 min.
Price: $25.99
Release Date: 6/11/2024

• None


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-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
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South Park: Joining the Panderverse [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 19, 2024)

South Park’s six-episode 26th season ran across February and March 2023. While we await Season 27, the crew produced three specials, the first of which emerged in October 2023 via Joining the Panderverse.

Eric Cartman (voiced by Trey Parker) suffers nightmares in which he and his pals all have been replaced by racially diverse women. These visions prove accurate, as Cartman ends up transported to an alternate universe.

Stuck there, his female counterpart (Janeshia Adams-Ginyard) winds up in Cartman’s world. Both Cartmans find themselves in unpredictable circumstances.

In the meantime, Randy Marsh (Parker) realizes he doesn’t know how to fix anything around the house and that he and other white collar workers end up at the mercy of increasingly wealthy handymen. This leads to a rebellion.

As my reviews indicate, I think South Park has struggled to create quality material for a good chunk of time. While creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone occasionally pull out a winning effort, too much of their work feels heavy-handed and without real wit.

From 2020-21, Season 24 gave me some hope. While it didn’t live up to the highs of the series’ best years, it let us see some life in the old dog.

Which never reappears during the painful Panderverse. Rather than create an insightful and sharp satire, Parker and Stone simply rely on cheap insults and clumsy commentary.

That doesn’t really surprise me, for so much of more modern South Park follows that path. Stone and Parker find a point they want to make and they then beat the viewer over the head with it.

Panderverse concentrates on two concepts. It looks at Hollywood’s obsession with “diversity” as well as the notion that people today – mainly men – no longer no how to do the kind of “blue collar” work needed to maintain their own homes.

Both prove accurate – to a degree, at least. In an overcorrection for decades of focus on straight white people, media does now go too far out of the way to depict other groups – even when it makes little sense – and as a whole, modern men do lack the same “do it yourself” skills of their fathers.

While these notions enjoy merit, Panderverse never explores them in a satisfying manner. Instead, the program simply makes the same points over and over.

Indeed, Panderverse often forces the characters to literally express these notions. We get no subtlety at all, as Panderverse apparently thinks viewers must be told exactly what to think.

Sometimes I wonder if South Park always seemed so heavy-handed, but a viewing of 1999’s Bigger, Longer & Uncut soon after my screening of Panderverse dispelled that notion. That film displays real inventiveness and offers actual nuance along the way as well as the usual crude humor.

None of these positives appear in the one note Panderverse. As always, I hope subsequent South Park projects bounce back, but this one becomes a tedious dud.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus F

South Park: Joining the Panderverse appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As usual, the visuals looked great.

Sharpness worked well at all times. This meant accurate, well-defined elements throughout the episodes.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws remained absent.

The series went with the usual basic palette of primary colors, and these looked solid. The tones appeared vivid and bright.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. The Blu-ray replicated the program well.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio, no one should expect particularly expansive soundfields. Outside of a few action-oriented scenes – which occurred infrequently – the audio aimed toward music and general atmosphere.

In those domains, the soundscapes seemed satisfactory. Though never memorable, the material worked fine given the parameters.

Audio quality felt good, with dialogue that remained natural and concise. Music showed good pep and clarity.

Effects came across as accurate and rich, without distortion or other issues. Nothing here impressed, but the sound suited the program.

No extras appear on the Blu-ray.

An attempt to deal with some hot button topics, South Park: Joining the Panderverse comes up empty. The program lacks subtlety and beats the viewer over the head with its banal points. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals and good audio but it lacks bonus materials. Panderverse shows South Park running on fumes.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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