Out of Phase Reviews Double Feature! South Park’s Beginnings!

Years before South Park launched on Comedy Central, Parker and Stone put together a couple animations, both of which shared the trademark visual style that South Park would be known for.

The reviews are after the jump!

The first short is entitled “Jesus vs Frosty”, and has a group of kids who resemble the South Park kids, but aren’t. There’s a fat kid named Kenny (who, believe it or not, ends up getting killed), a kid in an orange hoodie, and two other kids.

You can tell this was a student project. The quality isn’t that great. In fact, when I opened this file in VLC, the window it opened in must have only been 100×100 pixels.

So let’s get to the story. We’ve got these four kids building a snowman, and it’s nearly done. The kids are singing Frosty the Snowman, and are about to place a top hat on their creation.

Oh hey, you can see that kid in the hoodie’s face!

Suddenly, one of the kids warns the others not to put the hat on the snowman.

Anyway, they put the hat on the snowman, and would you believe that? The snowman comes to life and it’s evil! Betcha didn’t see that coming!

At that point the snowman grows tentacles and starts attacking the kids. The snowman picks up and throws the fat kid, and the kid in the green coat screams that they killed Kenny. This line isn’t followed with the “You bastard!” phrase that it’s always coupled with in South Park, though.

To be fair, though, after the Snowman disguises itself as Santa, then attacks, it does kill the kid in orange hoodie.

So then we have Jesus fighting the Snowman. This fight doesn’t last too long, however; it’s basically just Jesus throwing his halo at Snowman and slicing off the top of its head, at which point Snowman is reduced to inanimate piles of snow. Not much to be seen there.

Then we have the two surviving boys relating what they have learned about Christmas. This element of the story is repeated ad infinitum in South Park, with episodes concluding with someone (usually the boys, but occasionally someone else) explaining an important lesson they have learned through the adventure they’ve just experienced.

This is a somewhat entertaining short. The production values are not that great, but what do you expect from a student project from 1992?

I give Jesus vs. Frosty a 2 out of 5. It’s a neat bit of history for the show, but not that interesting in and of itself.

Now, moving on to our second feature, Jesus vs. Santa!

Here we’ve got the basic ideas of South Park and its inhabitants more developed. The animation style here is not just more colorful, it’s much closer to what we’ll see in South Park itself. The town is named South Park, and we see familiar buildings, including Tom’s Rhinoplasty. The kids have the same style of dress as in the series, and they all have their correct names. Character traits are presented, with Kyle being Jewish, and Cartman having a cruel personality. Even Kenny’s vocal style is there.

So then we have an adult Jesus (as opposed to the bearded baby Jesus from the previous short) appearing and addressing the kids.

Basically, the fight between Santa and Jesus is because they both are associated with Christmas, and are angry over who is being more represented on Christmas.

Familiar elements from the show make an appearance here. Kenny dies during the battle (although the “You bastard!” remark is still not present). The superfluous cursing is present.

The episode ends the same way the previous short did, although this time three of the kids are there for the discussion.

This definitely marks the beginning of South Park. All the elements are in place, the show itself just needs to start.

I give Jesus vs. Santa a 4 out of 5.

Stay tuned next time, when I kick off my South Park review series by reviewing the first episode of the series, “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe”.

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