Tonight's new South Park episode was a big event. Not only was it Matt Stone and Trey Parker's 200th episode but it was the continuation of a two part event, and the culmination of several plot points that had been presented over the past 10 years only to be brought bac for this individual episode.
Saddly the entire episode was censored during the airing. Every reference to Muhammed was bleeped out as was the entire ending of the episode, the moral of the story. Originally I though it was part of the joke, but now that's turning out to not be the case.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker's controversial show have been part of the media landscape since it debuted in 1997. Often poking fun at controversial poltical and media issues it soon became a sleeper hit and gained strong ratings despite the strong language.
Despite the raunchy topics often introduced more often than not the series contained subtle polical and ethical messages in every episode. The series gained much prominence due to the Cartoon War's series of episodes that lambasted the idea of censorship as a manner of giving in to terrorism. It was itself a victim of that censorship in fact.
As many know the Muslim religion finds depictions of Muhammed to be sacreligious and people have been nearly killed for depicting the prophet as was the case with the infamous mohammed bomb cartoons in Denmark.
The funniest part about tonights episode was the reference to the fact that South Park had previously shown Mohammed, prior to 9/11 without a worry, while lambasting other religious figures like Buddha, Jesus, Moses, and Krishna.
But tonights episode was completely censored, not only was Mohammed's image blocked but so was the uttering of his name and the final lesson. And it appears that Comedy Central was the one doing this, not the creators of the show...
It seems that here Terrorism has won, and terroristic threats made against Matt and Trey have prevailed. They put their lives on the line, yet were censored by the network itself.
"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid, and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
Considering the ratings the show gets, being possibly more popular than anything else on Comedy Central including The Colbert and The Daily Shows this puts the network in a dangerous position having censored the work of two of the networks bigget stars...
Here is a statement from Matt and Trey
In the 14 years we've been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn't stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn't some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle's customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn't mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We'll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we'll see what happens to it.