Few shows have bigger balls than â€œSouth Park.â€ No subject is too sensitive to the showâ€™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? Weâ€™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 prophetâ€™s name shrouded by bleeps.
Long time â€œSouth Parkâ€ 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. Thatâ€™s right; Mohammed came and went without so much as a media flutter in a bit part as a member of the â€œSuper Best Friendsâ€ back in 2001.
So, why all the higgledy-piggledy now?
Muslim extremists, thatâ€™s why. RevolutionMuslim.com 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, Iâ€™m not going to spend the rest of this space angrily pointing out how ridiculous death threats against Stone and Parker are. Itâ€™s pretty much a given that these extremists are exactly that â€“ 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 â€œSouth Parkâ€ has ever done is depict Mohammed in the back of a U-Haul.
Iâ€™m mad about something much worse â€“ 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 Mohammedâ€™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 Iâ€™ve always relied on â€œSouth Parkâ€ for that.
â€œIn the 14 years weâ€™ve been doing â€˜South Parkâ€™ we have never done a show that we couldnâ€™t stand behind,â€ 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 Kyleâ€™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, thereâ€™s a good chance Iâ€™ll never get to see Tom Cruise with Sea Man on his back again.