Skip to comments.South Park: Cartoon Wars ['South Park' Goes After Mohammad Censorship]
Posted on 04/06/2006 9:16:57 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
Last night South Park, in a way only South Park can, managed to mix Family Guy and the recent kerfuffle over cartoons involving the Prophet Muhammed into a scathing indictment of both. In the South Park universe, the "offensive Muhammed cartoon" is an episode of Family Guy which the Fox Network decides to censor. Cartman convinces Kyle to join him on his quest to get the episode off the air. It turns out Cartman doesn't care about the offensive episode, he just really, really, hates Family Guy, calling it poorly-written and accusing it of using interchangeable jokes, rather than jokes that actually have something to do with the plot.
I've said it on this blog and elsewhere that Family Guy's humor can be very jarring at times. Whatever plot there is has to be ground to a halt in order to insert as many one-off gags as possible. There's no effort on behalf of the writers to try and weave jokes into the story, jokes simply pop in and out wherever they seem to fit. In that regard, it's not even comparable to shows like South Park and The Simpsons, which take a more substantive approach to their humor and satire, even if South Park appears to delve into the same scatological humor as Family Guy at times.
There's a mistake that a lot of critics make, and that's to judge a show on what you think it should be rather than what it's actually trying to be. Does Family Guy use interchangeable jokes? Yes, it does, and so did the classic Warner Bros. cartoons from which the show takes its aesthetic. Family Guy has never been about depth, it has always been, from the first season on, about getting yucks. It is a CARTOON in every sense of the word, a series of animated drawings packed with as many jokes as possible, plot be damned. Nobody watches Family Guy hoping to hear some profound truth or see some hidden injustice exposed. If they want that kind of experience, they'll watch South Park. Or, if they can wrap their mind around the concept that two cartoons can have vastly different approaches to humor, they might actually be able to watch and enjoy both.
There's a moment toward the end of the episode when Kyle's Big Wheel goes crashing off a mountain, stops, and then bursts into flame. This same joke, one in which something shouldn't catch on fire but does, has been done before by both The Simpsons and Family Guy. In fact, you don't have to watch any of these animated programs for very long before you start to see some of the same gags and pop culture references. When I watched the Big Wheel explode, I thought to myself that despite making every effort to set itself apart from everything in order to have a more accurate satirical vantage point, South Park and its creators don't exist in a vacuum. Many people will tell you that any creative endeavor is just a matter of filtering and arranging ideas which already exist, and this is especially true for comedy writers. If you find something funny, it's likely someone else found it funny as well and has done it before. It's not about who did what first, it's about how you frame the joke and give it your own personal signature. In that regard, I think both Family Guy and South Park do just fine.
I'd say the episode was as much about Americans as it was about Muslims; burying their heads in the sand and such. Stating the obvious, I guess.
Thanks for the ping.
You underestimate Stewie. He is a diabolical genius. He will eliminate Cartman with a weapon of mass destruction that he invented himself.
No one in South Park can withstand Stewie Griffin. Except for Ike Broflovsky.
You mean like they used the Super Adventerers Club instead of Scientology?
For some reason, Seth MacFarlane isn't well liked by other animators. Groening's been very uncomplimentary when asked about Family Guy. Matt & Trey, well, you saw their barbs last night. (Stone once said in an interview when people compare South Park to FG, it's like kicking him in the groin.) Even Kevin Smith took a shot at him in the first half dozen episodes of the "Clerks" animated series.
It honestly wouldn't surprize me if the whole two-part thing didn't happen. I can see Matt & Trey saying there would be a part two and then not doing one.
It amazes me that season-after-season, they continue to make better shows.
I wonder what Mike Judge thinks of him? I know he and Parker and Stone seem to get along.
IIRC, Comedy Central used some of the nastier hate calls in promos for the real Part 2. It was hillarious.
Shh! You mustn't speak ill of the Baghwan! :-)
But Cartman is way cuter than Stewie, in head-to-head, topless competition! :D
I would like to see them take on 24. Yeah, I'm a 24 fan but, come on, way too much stuff happens in a 24 hour period.
Dunno. Judge doesn't seem to get involved in these types of disputes. He's worked with Groening (which caused Matt to remove his name from that episode), Matt & Trey (as Kenny in the movie), and Seth Green on Robot Chicken (who's a good friend of MacFarlane), so he could go pretty much anywhere on this particular issue.
I don't think he'll make any public statements though.
I was thinking crab people.
Mmmmm...Peter and Lois chili! Yummy! ;)
I'd wager it will be jackovasaurs.
They improve with age.
They were more annoying than Towelie.
We all knew SP would address the islam cartoon thing. I've seen the comments here, but not in the press, that this was as much about Scientology, Tom Cruise and Comedy Central as it was about the Mohammed cartoons.
DING!!!! I think we have a winner!
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised to have them show CNN with their heads in the sand doing interviews.
Ah, the worst South park of all time.
welcome to the fanbase! might I suggest the "Scott Tenorman Must Die" episode as for your next viewing? =P
Also, be sure to see the "rainforest" episode. Jennifer Aniston guest-starred as the leader of the "Get Gay with Kids" tour and did an awesome job, it was hillarious.
Why do I have the feeling Matt & Trey are going to do something like a T&P special instead of showing the Muhammad and "blame" comedy central.
Because you're a cynic?
I don't know what they're gonna do :~D
Well. I don't watch South Park, and I didn't read this article, so how can you expect me to know that?
They do social and political satire, push the boundaries of taste, but they also do nice "Traditional" and character comedies. You give a d@mn about Kenny, Kyle, Stan, Cartman and everybody else.
I like that the most unlikeable character on the show, Cartman, is the one everyone likes the best. My favorite part of the Awesemo episode is when Butter's parents ask Cartman's mom if he can go to LA and she replies, "Oh I don't know. He is still supposed to be grounded for trying to exterminate the Jews two weeks ago."
The cartoon is mighty.
Good summation :~D
Nope. There's a parody exception carved out by the judiciary in intellectual property cases. This exception is explained in the Supreme Court's decision dealing with some rap group's vulgar version of Roy Orbison's song Pretty Woman, which was OK - said the court - as a parody. Forget the name of the case, but now you have enough info to google it, if you care.
That's also why Bill Cosby can't sue over South Park's cartoon-within-a-cartoon Fat Abbott (parody of Fat Albert), which is pretty funny.
Season 5. The rain forrest episode is season 3.
Obviously some folk are oblivious to satire. You do it well ;-).
I think there's a good chance that there will BE no Part II. South Park has had fictional "Part 2" eppies a few times, where part of the joke is that there IS no Part 2.
The thing is, Stewie wouldn't care if Cartman made chili out of Peter and Lois. He would beat up Cartman just to lick the spoon!
If it comes down to Cartman vs. Stewie, my money is on Stewie.
Comedy Central just ran a blurb that the conclusion to Cartoon Wars would air next Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET.
'Kick the Baby!'
Stewie is all talk. Cartman is ruthless.
That was the impression I got from the episode. It seemed to me they were continuing the flap with the scientologists. The impression I got is they were voicing their displeasure of having shows edited or yanked of the air because of pressure from the offended groups, be they Muslims or scientologists.
"I'm just a boy, but Family Guy is a cartoon watched by millions of people."
Can you ping me but sort of keep it a secret?
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