Trey Parker and Matt Stone – making a tidy Prophet

I tips me lid to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, whose bastard-child ‘South Park’ celebrated it’s 200th episode last week.

This achievement was well and truly eclipsed (as per usual for the boys) by a controversy regarding their depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Briefly, the episode revolved around a lawsuit by every celebrity the town of South Park has ever slandered. That’s Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, Richard Dawkins, Al Gore… lotsa people. The town offers the celebrities anything they want to drop the lawsuit. But the celebrities want… Muhammad, so they can steal his ability to be immune from ridicule once and for all. The boys find the prophet, but as Muhammad cannot be seen by mere mortals like you, me and Mr. Garrison, much of the episode revolves around ways NOT to show him, the last of which was by doing this:

That's Muhammad in the Bear mascot outfit.

An extreme Muslim website called RevolutionMuslim.com made it very clear that while they weren’t threatening to kill Matt and Trey for their depiction of the Muslim prophet, people had been murdered for less in the past. Like Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker, killed after he made a documentary about the oppression of women in the Muslim culture.

And just to reinforce the fact they weren’t making a threat, they then posted a picture of Van Gogh’s dead body.

Sigh…

Maybe you missed it, Anwar.

Anyways, episode 200 ended on a cliff hanger when the celebrities awoke Barbra Streisand to lay waste to South Park, whilst at the same time Cartman was finally about to learn who his father really is. Thanks to the extremely quick turnaround time producing an episode, Episode 201 managed to actually address many of the criticisms and controversy regarding ‘200’, an episode that aired less than a week previously.

For example… inside the Bear costume… it wasn’t Muhammad. It was Santa Claus, in an elaborate plan by the boys to try and dupe his would-be captors. When Randy Marsh mentions that he thought Muhammad was in the suit, his son Stan tells him “Why would we put Muhammad in a bear costume? That’s just fucking stupid”.

Oh, and the name Muhammad is beeped every time it’s uttered. For the entire episode.

I assumed this some kind of intentional, parodic meta-joke. Even their usual “I learned something today”, moral-of-the-story speech (made by Kyle) is beeped for a solid 20 seconds. Santa Claus then tries to elaborate, only to be beeped for even longer. However it turns out this was actually a decision made and enforced by Comedy Central during post production.

“Yes, we get that the point of the episode is who and what its OK to make fun of… but we’re choosing to censor it anyway”.

Sigh…

See… I learned something today… Parker and Stone have always been very clear that on South Park there are no sacred cows. They’ve targeted Christianity, Catholicism, Scientology, Atheists, Celebrities, the Media without ever pulling a punch. They’re basically 40 year old high school students, sitting at the back of the class and ripping on the teacher and their fellow students. And THAT is the point of the show. Either it’s OK to make fun of everyone, or no one at all. To do anything less would be hypocrisy of the worst kind. Right, Comedy Central?

Yeah.

And even on their worst day, the Park-ies remain infinitely more coherent than ‘Family Guy’. So there.

Plus, in ep 201 they re-introduced one of my favorite television characters of all time… Vietnam vet and conman grifter, Mitch Connor.

"No sir... blood ain't the stuff for an 18 year old kid from Sheboigan"

Yes, that is EXACTLY what it looks like… Cartman making a Señor Wences-style hand puppet.

But that’s a post for another day.

BPM

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