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.
In the episode, everyone in the country is terrified that the Fox animated show "Family Guy" is going to show Mohammad. All in the town of South Park are afraid for their lives at the thought of Muslim retribution.
But in the end, Fox chickens out and censors the Mohammad character, covering him up with a black rectangle.
The show's main character, Peter Griffin, is told by his wife Lois that she doesn't want to cook dinner for his ex-girlfriend. Peter responds that maybe they can just have tea, to which the talking dog Brian responds, "You mean like the time you had tea with Mohammad, the prophet of the Muslim faith?"
Watch the clip.
Lois: But, Peter, I don't want to cook dinner for you ex-girlfriend.
Peter: Well, maybe we can just have tea.
Brian the Dog: You mean like the time you had tea with Mohammad, the prophet of the Muslim faith?
Peter (to censored Mohammad): Come on, Mohammad, let's get some tea.
The "South Park" episode is "too be continued," and next week the show's creators say Mohammad will be discussed again. They dare their own network, Comedy Central, not to censor them.
Original air Date: 2006-04-05
Cartman and Kyle are at war over the popular cartoon, "Family Guy." Kyle loves "Family Guy" and hates Cartman. The two boys embark upon a mad chase across the country and the fate of "Family Guy" lies with the first boy to reach Hollywood.
Some even wondered if it was a rather unexciting subject for a show. One comment on the thread yesterday accused Matt and Trey of running low on ideas :~D
Oh Yee of little faith. The show description being typically bland is just part of the fun :~D
This was a surprising and terrific episode, the same way most of them are, and one that I think will, or at least ~should~ create the same amount of buzz as the Scientology episode. The best buzz about it so far are these two blog entries.
I don't want to make too much out of the fact that they are "doing Islam". I really tired of all the "dares" to "make fun of Islam" from people here at FR who have probably never watched the show, or from those who feel unfairly singled out because SP has mocked ~them~ but don't have the "guts" to mock Islam. I've never known "Islam" to be the litmus test for good comedy.
As a diehard fan of Matt and Trey's work, I resented the dares, and resented the implication. I knew they'd do it in time, and when they did it it'd be funny :~D
I'm sure this episode, like previous ones, will be re-aired this week, and is probably circulating around the internet as well. I wish a script were available, but it's too soon.
I've never watched South Park, but last nite I happened to have the TV on The Comedy Channel when SP came on. I had noticed in the tv listings that this episode was about Mohammad and the cartoon. So I watched it. It was hilarious. Can't wait for part 2.
Does the author realize that SouthPark was using Family Guy as a proxy for themselves? I mean, he does to a point, but does he really?
As for the big wheel bursting into flames, South Park themselves have done that at least 3 times, probably more.
This was a hilarious episode, and I hope Comedy Central doesn't puss out on next week's.
If you censor for Mohammad, then you have to for Catholics and cripples et al. (lol)
BTW, I thought that in "Marjorine" they had a perfect chance to make fun of Cindy Sheehan, having Butters' mom blame the mayor for his "death", only to get scolded for exploiting him for personal publicity.
I saw it that way too... that the criticisms of Family Guy seemed awfully familiar ;~D Not sure many others have found that layer.
SOUTH PARK PING!
For those who don't know how you got on this ping list: the initial ping list was created by copying member names from past South Park threads.
Please ping me with any South Park related articles. Thank you!
If you want on or off this ping list, please FReepmail me.
This is expected to be a low to medium volume ping list.
South Park TV schedule at Comedy Central
South Park syndication schedule - these are older episodes that have been released to broadcast TV and are therefore heavily edited.
South Park sites at South Park Studios and Comedy Central
Search for previous South Park articles at Free Republic by title or keyword.
Create a South Park character of yourself at Planearium.de or SouthParkStudios.com.
South Park products available at Amazon and Comedy Central.
Download South Park episodes in bit torrent format at MrTwig or South Park Complete.
Read scripts of South Park episodes at TWIZ TV.
The South Park Scriptorium, a good all around site for South Park information.
The Wikipedia article on South Park.
Did they get permission from the Family Guy creators?
If they didn't, they are soooo sued.
Not sure :~D - But I bet they have people who would have looked into that.
It wasn't exactly an affectionate representation of the show.
I watch and love South Park and I contended that they've been lax in dissing Islam as a theology. I don't expect them to do what they did to Mormonism or Scientology (that would be derivative and unfunny) but this did make fun of Islam as a religion and as a culture, unlike what they did before.
And it was funny. I just hope there is a part 2. I am sure they will reference the only other time they promised a 2-parter -- when they didn't do the Cartman's dad episode.
I bet they didn't get permission from the Muslim Imam they showed and misquoted ;~D
Depends if Comedy Central pusses out.
FG won't sue. Satirical irreverent comedy shows don't sue for copyright infringment if they are mocked because it makes them look like unfunny prigs.
And the only bad publicity is no publicity.
I don't think they've been "lax" about doing that, because I don't presume to know better than they do what they want to say about it. If they do want to say something about it, they will, and the content will be theirs. It's presumptuous of us to think we should give subject matter advice to one of the most topical and well-written shows on the air today. If it's a popular subject in America, I assume they'll get to it.
I wish I'd kept a ping list of those people.
They've made plenty of fun of the terrorists. The episode with Osama in it that aired shortly after 9/11 was classic.
And then there's Team America...(which I've watched over and over and it just doesn't get old.)
Exactly! not sure how so many people missed that, but I figured it was obvious when at the end instead of saying Fox, they said Comedy Central.
Oh sure, they're willing to rip on The Simpsons and Family Guy. But have they made fun of Futurama yet? They're too chicken to do that, I guess. ;~D
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.