Friday, April 14, 2006

South Park vs. Cowardly Central

Comedy Central stuck its head in the sand over the latest South Park episodeHaving been laid out sick in bed for most of the past week, I finally got around to watching the recent, much talked-about South Park take on the Mohammed cartoons. And I have to say that the two-part "Cartoon Wars" episode was undoubtedly the smartest, most biting take on the controversy I have seen--better than any blog, op-ed column, etc. I'd also like to observe that just a few weeks after being ridiculed for pulling a South Park episode that poked fun at Scientology, Comedy Central has again stuck its head in the sand.

In the South Park spoof, America is gripped in fear when Family Guy (the stand-in show for South Park within the episode) decides to broadcast a cartoon of Muhammad. A terrified American public tries to avoid responsibility by burying their heads in the sand--quite literally. The few voices of reason who argue in favor of free speech are ignored. And the airing of the Muhammad cartoon in the U.S. is met by reprisal from Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden--who decide to produce their own offensive cartoon.

(On an unrelated note, the fact that Parker & Stone made a brilliant, funny satire while relentlessly lampooning Family Guy, a show I have soured on for the exact reasons South Park cites, made it twice as sweet.)

Of course, by now everyone has heard that Comedy Central censored the episode, removing South Park's innocuous depiction of the prophet Muhammad, a move anticipated by show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. While the frame with Muhammad was cut out, mirroring in fact the plot of the actual episode, Comedy Central had no problems running a purposely gratuitous scene involving President Bush and Jesus defecating on one another. How's that for a demonstration of the difference in tolerance?

Find a neighbor who Tivo'd it, and watch this episode!


DJC said...

Even as a fan of South Park's satire, I have to say I am very suspicious of this episode. What are the odds CC would censor an episode in the exact same manner the show ridiculed Fox's censorship of the Family Guy? Why was Mohammed out of view when the Family Guy opens the door? Why not have him standing in the doorway? The whole controversial Mohammed scene looks too convenient to me. I believe CC and the South Park creators are scheming together in this case.

ABT said...

Eh, I watched these, found them pretty unfunny and boring. But then I've always enjoyed family guy more anyway. Some of their observations about family guy may be true but to me the show is still funny, while this one was not, and its the end entertainment value I'm interested in.

Jay said...

Man, too bad you didn't like it. Family Guy used to be one of my favorite shows during its original three-season run--back then it was fresh and funny. Ever since it's come back on the air I've thought it's been terrible. Too many random references, no plot or character development, etc. Sometimes it's still funny, but when it's not, you're left watching a whole show about the Fonz or "silly nannies" or whatever. The show is past its prime; they should pack it up.

On another note, did you see last Sunday's Simpsons episode, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore"? You should watch it if you didn't, it was terrific.

Anonymous said...

I know this is kinda late, but I just saw this. Anyways, I think the ridicule of any Prophet be it Muhammad or Jesus (PBUT) is wrong. It just shows what a joke religion has become in this world. I would like to remind you of the time Todd almost threw your god in the trash and how offended you were. So, I think you better think twice before making fun of any religious figure, as unlike a political figure, they represent moral concepts. In fact I see no point in making fun of a religious figure because they come down and reveal moral doctrine seeking to better the world. The point of their message is morality, and they do not even live in the time to defend themselves. We see the actions of political figures on a daily basis and can make fun of them. When you make fun of Jesus or Muhammad (PBUT) or Krishna or Buddha you are mocking the moral code that millions of people follow worldwide. It is a sad day in this world when cheap humor comes at the expense of people who transformed millions of people across generations and who laid the foundations for society upon society. Their "followers" may have made a mockery of the message, but don't make fun of the leader, they are far better people than any of us ever could imagine to be.