Archive for April, 2010
‘South Park’ has been censored before, but not as blatantly as it was for their two-part anniversary episodes ‘200’ and ‘201.’ Even ‘The Simpsons’ showed their support for the silenced Colorado kids. Tonight is the mid-season finale and the question on possibly everyone’s mind is: will Trey Parker and Matt Stone have any further commentary on the entire Muhammed situation?
My guess is that the issue won’t even be addressed. Trey Parker and Matt Stone said as much with a public statement on the ‘South Park’ website. With only one episode to go until their break, they may not want to stir the pot (although pot-stirring is certainly their forté).
More people will watch the episode just to see if anything is done. ‘200’ and ‘201’ got a 1.9 rating, only second this season to the premiere’s 2.0 rating. With all the media attention, the new episode may beat that.
Tonight’s episode is called ‘Crippled Summer’ and is about Jimmy and Timmy attending a summer camp for “handi-capable” children. If I had my druthers, Jimmy would say at the end “At least we got through this week with nobody mentioning the prophet Muh…Muh..Muhha…” and just end the episode on that.
It’s not uncommon to watch an episode of South Park and wonder, how the heck did they get away with that? What would it take for the show to get censored? Well, it happens every so often, and Sunday, the biggest, longest-running cartoon franchise on TV showed ‘South Park’ its support.
In the opening credits of last night’s ‘Simpsons,’ Bart wrote “South Park — We’d stand beside you if we weren’t so scared” on the chalkboard. ‘The Simpsons’ has taken its share of swipes at political and cultural targets in the past. So what could make Matt Groening and company so scared?
The past two episodes of ‘South Park’ have revolved around celebrities suing the town of ‘South Park’ for all of the wonderfully awful things that have been done to and said about them over the years. The one thing those celebrities (and a militant group of “gingers”) covet is the ability of one particular public figure to avoid being mocked. That public figure is the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
When the storyline kicked off with the show’s 200th episode, the celebrities and Gingers were trying to get to Muhammad for that power, as Muhammad appeared in public but hidden from view in a bear suit and in a UHaul truck. ‘South Park’ creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received a death threat from a radical Islamic Web site, which led to the follow-up episode getting a massive censoring from Comedy Central, which bleeped the name “Muhammad” and Kyle’s entire final speech.
‘The Simpsons‘ has always managed to present its satire in a mainstream show, while ‘South Park’ has never really tried to be the type of show most mainstream parents would watch with their kids. But both shows have upset plenty of people in the past, and they have referenced each other on occasion.
This episode was a continuation of the 200th episode and definitely a treat for those who have been following ‘South Park’ for the past 14 years. There were a myriad of references to several famous episodes and while the ending could have been better (I would have tried to incorporate Imaginationland), the two-parter was satisfying overall.
In fact, thinking more about it, certain aspects of the show’s history were conspicuously absent. But like Tom Cruise avoiding the press, they only had less than an hour to cram in as much as they could.
There is the question of the censorship of both the image and name of Muhammad and whether or not the extremely censored ending was intentional on the part of the creators or yet another case of network interference.
The censorship got worse. Not only did they not show the image of Muhammad … they couldn’t even say his name! It had to be bleeped out. They even bleeped out the entire final “lesson” of the episode. WTF? Were Trey Parker and Matt Stone trying to make a point or was it just a case of screwing with the minds of everyone? Will the DVD have the uncensored version? It’s one of those controversial ‘Sopranos’-style endings that will keep people talking.
The lesson of the episode, had it not been completely censored, was that nothing should be free from criticism. It’s unfortunate that Comedy Central could not apply that lesson. I’m assuming it was network interference that was responsible for all the bleeping. I hope I’m wrong.
Do you think the Christian community will be up in arms about Jesus being shown surfing for Internet porn?
It was nice to see a lot of old faces. Pip became irrelevant after his role was pretty much usurped by Butters, so his death is long overdue. Plus, to have some impact in this anniversary two-parter, someone had to die.
The more I think about it, the more the revelation of Cartman’s father seemed irrelevant. It was unnecessary to pursue that mystery as the audience really didn’t need an answer (although the answer did somewhat go along with Cartman’s dream sequence from ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’). However, as an excuse for the return of Scott Tenorman (taking on the persona of The Joker), it was brilliant. Whomever planned that sequence must have read the graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke.’ And points to me for being enough of a comics nerd to get the reference.
The Super Best Friends Power Cycles were Segways. Pure genius.
Some highlights of great quotes are: “Sorry is just another four-letter word with a ‘y’ on the end.” “Tom Cruise has Seaman on his back.” “Swallow, come.”
The 200th and 201st episodes were a great celebration of the history and cultural impact of ‘South Park.’ It was nice to see Mephisto and Kevin again. And Raisins. And the Country Kitchen Buffet. And Tweek’s Coffee. And the Casa Bonita. And Raisins. And Willzyx. And Santa. And Mr. Hankey. Still, they missed a lot of history: Wendy Testaburger, Imaginationland, Satan.
Comedy Central is not taking a risk of them getting killed by a radical Muslim group so they censored the “South Park” bit which was deemed an insult to the religion’s Prophet Muhammad. Two recent episodes of the satirical animation featured the holy figure in bear costume which Revolution Muslim took as an insult. The group quickly responded with a message on their official website.
The post, written by Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, said, “We have to warn [creators] Matt [Stone] and Trey [Parker] that what they are doing is stupid, and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.” van Gogh is a Dutch film maker who was killed by an Islamic extremist in 2004.
Matt and Trey’s defense was, “It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part.” The duo who is known for working last minutes to gather an episode, wanted to celebrate the show’s 200th episode with every significant characters including Tom Cruise, Barbra Streisand, Jesus, Buddha and Moses. But they had difficulty in bringing the character of Islamic leader so they put him in a bear costume.
Although a member of Revolution Muslim said their posting was a prediction rather than a threat, Comedy Central preferred to play it safe. About 35 seconds of dialog between the cartoon characters of Kyle, Jesus Christ and Santa Claus was bleeped out in the Wednesday, April 21 episode.
Matt and Trey have commented on the censorship, writing on their official site, “Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.”
There are very minor spoilers in the following paragraphs. You have been warned.
For those who watched this past week’s episode of ‘South Park’ titled ‘200,’ you know that the episode ended on a cliffhanger. However, there was no indicator that it would be continued into the next episode as the words “to be continued” nor scenes from next week nor any indicator were anywhere to be found. It would be just like Trey Parker and Matt Stone to pull a prank like this (such as the ‘Not Without My Anus’ gag in the first season).
The good news is that the story most definitely will continue this week in an episode titled “201,” which makes sense since it’s the 201st episode. Ain’t It Cool posted some information about the episode in “inviso-text.” Feel free to hightlight the text and get a clue about what’s going to happen, unless of course you’re spoiler-phobic.
Of course, this could all be another massive prank by the creators. Find out on Wednesday.
Even with forewarning that last night’s South Park would dredge up every celebrity the show had ever bashed, the 200th episode managed to pack in more call-backs and shock value than we imagined.
Parker and Stone couldn’t resist reviving their biggest controversy to date: the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad, whom Stan innocently met back in Season 5 when he required the help of Jesus and his “Super Best Friends.” Back in 2006, another attempt to show Muhammad was deemed “too sensitive” by Comedy Central. But it’s not like the South Park creators, or the boys, to let something like that go.
In this clip, our most outrageous South Park moment of the week, Kyle and Stan revisit the Super Best Friends to try to get Muhammad to come to South Park, because Tom Cruise demands to meet the Prophet so he can steal his “impervious to being made fun of” goo.
But that’s not our favorite part. (The headline and photo should have tipped you off to what was.)
Watch the moment that had us snorting ... with laughter:
Bonus! Watch the Return of the Super Best Friends (Censored Edition):