Kids These Days: 201 episodes of controversy

In Columns, Opinion
Photo Courtesy of Trey Parker (left) and Matt Stone (right), are the masterminds behind “South Park” and the controversy it creates.

Few shows have bigger balls than “South Park.” No subject is too sensitive to the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and there are few celebrities, religions or lobbies that have hidden from the wide scope of their tasteless joke cannon.

Guess what? Someone was offended again.

Who cares, right? We’re talking about a show that depicted Mickey Mouse as a child-abusing-corporate- fear monger, Jesus as a porn addict and all Catholic priests as child molesters.

Well, Comedy Central decided that Stone and Parker went a little too far this time with an episode featuring the prophet Mohammed in a bear costume.

The episode was severely censored, with even the prophet’s name shrouded by bleeps.

Long time “South Park” fans might be scratching their heads in disbelief right about now, remembering a time, not long ago, when Mohammed appeared in an episode censor-bar free. That’s right; Mohammed came and went without so much as a media flutter in a bit part as a member of the “Super Best Friends” back in 2001.

So, why all the higgledy-piggledy now?

Muslim extremists, that’s why. put out a sort-of threat against the creators of Mr. Hanky, warning that if they were to continue, they might end up like Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker murdered for his documentary about Muslim women.

Now, I’m not going to spend the rest of this space angrily pointing out how ridiculous death threats against Stone and Parker are. It’s pretty much a given that these extremists are exactly that – extremists. These are the same people who justified the acts of the terrorists on 9/11, and really do believe that the most offensive thing “South Park” has ever done is depict Mohammed in the back of a U-Haul.

I’m mad about something much worse – the liberties Comedy Central took with their bleep machine. Throughout the episode, I could almost see an executive in a monkey suit break into a sweat every time Mohammed’s name was spoken, feverishly reaching for the big red bleep button under a blanket of fear.

Stone and Parker have never been afraid to say what they meant, especially when the backlash is obvious and soul-crushing. They say what the rest of us are thinking, and I’ve always relied on “South Park” for that.

“In the 14 years we’ve been doing ‘South Park’ we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind,” the comedy duo said in a recent statement. I believe that.

Comedy Central really dropped the ball on this one. By bleeping and censoring the bejeezus out of Episode 201, Comedy Central made Stone and Parker hypocrites. They even wiped Kyle’s final message at the end, obliterating the entire point of the two-part episode. How ironic is it that the speech was supposed to be about intimidation and fear? A statement was made, and that statement was robbed of all impact, bending to the will of an extremist fringe group.

Thanks to the shaking boots of Comedy Central executives, there’s a good chance I’ll never get to see Tom Cruise with Sea Man on his back again.

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  • Eduardo

    I think they should continue making their show. Its fun , hilarious and I don’t like the fact it was censored. Muslims should be able to take criticism and be normal people. My religion gets mocked too and I think is very funny and cleaver the way they do it.

  • Rogue

    The worst thing that I can think of to say about this is… That yes, we have lost the war. The war that we have lost is our own freedom. What Comedy Central has done is…in essence…in just 2 minutes worth of bleeping… What Comedy Central has done is shown that all the years we have spent at war and all of the soldiers who have died and all of the good intentions or bad ones…
    They were all worth nothing. Because we are terrified.

    What would happen if all the journalists and production companies and papers and blogs and magazines and all the modes of expression that we the public view and follow and learn from…just did what comes naturally and printed these things? What if they all posted a picture of Muhammed? What would the extremists do? I mean really…how much power to we GIVE to them? How much power will we continue to GIVE to them? WE are the ones that make them CREDIBLE. We are their advertisers. We give them recruits every time we empower them.
    It is OUR fault.

  • Mine

    It is historical fact that Muhammad was a warlord, a murderer, and a pedophile.(His last wife was 9 years old when the marriage was consummated) The Koran teaches Muslims to spread their religion through violence and lie. I think South Park could have been much worse than they were. Before Muslims get all huffy over a cartoon, maybe they should remember 9/11.

  • iMan

    @Mine: is that what you intend, to use 9/11 as an excuse to call war over anyone? is “remember 9/11” your stock response to any Muslim reactions?

    It is sad, and stupid that Comedy Central bleeped the shit out of South Park – free speech is the beauty of American democracy.

    September 11 was an atrocity, but to blame an entire religion or race for it is absurd.

    Shall I call “Remember WWII” if I want to go after (Christian) Germans?

    Shall I quote “Remember the Crusades” if I want to point out the bloodthirstiness of Christians?

    No – because unless the Pope himself calls for War on all other faiths, I will not hold ALL Christians responsible for the Crusades, or for Neo-Nazi brutality, or Apartheid in South Africa.

    You would do well to remember that.

    Read a Koran, and then read a Bible, then maybe even a Torrah to fully understand that there are so many similarities between them all, the fighting seems pointless.

  • gbert

    Correction: Mohammed did not appear in the episode “Super Best Friends” as the article strenuously claims. Please watch the episode. Instead there was a black CENSORED box that appeared instead of any depiction.

  • Mine

    @iMan….It’s because 9/11 was a direct assault from the same Islamic extremists against the western culture. If you recall it was the second attempt at the WTC from the same radical Islamic group. I have lived in the Middle East to see the violence of the “religion of peace” first hand. So, yes, I would say that 9/11 -in combination with countless attacks world wide against non-Muslim cultures from a pathologically violent religion- is ample reason to “call war” on the culture. Seeing as how they are a continued threat to western cultures and have been for the last 1000 years.
    And BTW I have read the Koran, the Bible, and the Torah. And the Koran stands out for one simple and pointedly obvious reason. The Koran (you must understand how it was written, and that each book written last chronologically supersedes the teaching of the previous books, or surrah’s)the last book written was surrah 9 which commands Muslims to declare war and kill non-Muslims and to show that Allah is merciful Muslims can give westerners (people of the book) second class citizenship if they renounce their faith and subscribe to Islam. Surrah 9 verse 5 is prime example. The Koran clearly states that there will not be peace unless the world is Islamic. You would be hard pressed to find verses that command believers to kill and brutally force their way on other faiths by way of death, in the Bible or Torah. Yet isn’t that exactly what you see coming from the Muslim world every day?…So it really isn’t absurd at all for people who understand what Islam is all about, and to them 9/11 was a victory over America, because even now the fear of violent retaliation is preventing things like this episode from being shown….Ironic seeing as how that’s what the episode was all about.

  • Spencer

    GBert, you must be remembering a different Episode.

    Muhammad was very much depicted in “Super Best Friends.” He flew around and had fire powers, which he used to help stop a rampaging Lincoln Memorial by creating a giant John Wilkes Booth.

    That’s what Stan was talking about in part 1 of this episode when he said “I saw him once.” It was funny, I was thinking the same thing right before he said it. Most fans of the show probably were.

  • G-Force

    GBert, if you are watching the video (season 5 episode 3) on, their official site, it will have a black bar now because as this story should have done enough research to point out, it was pulled and edited within 24 hours of the airing of 201.

    personally, i’d say that’s just as much of a slap in the face to the american public and south park fans thew world over as the editing o 201 is. the past is being covered up and we’re being made to look the fool. we’ve lost a small part of our history thanks to comedy central.

  • Emsicles

    I guess if Mohammed won’t go to the mountain……..

  • Isabelle Gonzales

    Southpark is quite funny but some of the scenes maybe a bit too morbid even for adults.:.”

  • Matt

    Jesus, Mohammed, Allah, Xenu… I’m so sick of all of them. can’t we just be done with these bronze age fairy tales and concentrate on what we really worship? $$$. Religion is bad for business.

  • southpark is great! the best cartoon that i have ever watched*:*

  • elementy kute

    Interesting blog:) I look forward to further information.

  • nice post, thanks for your shareing!

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