Last night, South Park paid off on both of last week’s cliffhangers — the true identity of Cartman’s father, and a power-struggle over the Muslim prophet Muhammad, who will hereafter be referred to in the manner he was throughout last night’s episode: as a BLEEP sound when the name was spoken, and as a blocked-out image labeled CENSORED.
This was a satire of a satire: The episode implicitly addressed the controversy that arose from last week’s plot about a group of powerful celebrities demanding to see CENSORED. After it aired, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were “warned” by a New York-based Muslim website about the potential danger of what could be perceived as their ridicule of a worshiped figure. Of course, this also paralleled the show’s Tom Cruise parody, in which the actor and a slew of celebrities sought to drain CENSORED of his “power not to be ridiculed.”
(Note: If you go to the South Park website to view the episode, there’s a message from the creators saying that “numerous additional audio bleeps” were added “throughout the episode. We do not have network approval to stream our original version of the show.” Thus, we are left to guess which are Matt and Trey’s bleeeeeps and which are the network’s.)
In other South Park news, it was revealed that Cartman’s father was also the father of Scott Tenorman, the subject of one of the most famous Park episodes of all, 2001’s “Scott Tenorman Must Die.” In that episode, Cartman killed Scott’s parents, and so now the squat nine year-old must live with the knowledge that he killed his own father. The episode was practically Shakespearean… with the added bonus of the Denver Broncos as another element of the Tenorman lineage.
But back to CENSORED. Toward the end of the half-hour, Kyle stepped forward to deliver the episode’s moral affirmation: “I learned something today,” he began — and what followed was one extra-long BLEEEEEEEEEEP. Apparently, the lesson was so profane or irreligious or obsessed with CENSORED that it could not be heard by an audience of impressionable South Park fans. Or, more likely, I think: Matt and Trey were just messing with us and took out some harmless pious blather.
Oh, yeah: the Hindu deity Krishna took the human form of Neil Diamond and performed a duet with the Godzilla-ized version of Barbra Streisand, while the latter emitted a “toxic stink ray.” It was all pretty great.
What did you think about how South Park handled its controversial topic? And about the revelation of the identity of Cartman’s father?