The tenth season of South Park was released on DVD recently, and a few brief clips from the season featuring commentary from Matt and Trey have been posted on Comedy Central. I've placed them below for your enjoyment.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who saw the episodes "Cartoon Wars" and "Smug Alert!" that neither Matt nor Trey have much fondness for Family Guy or San Francisco. The fellas also reveal that part of the reason for making "Cartoon Wars" a two-parter was because they wanted more time to convince Comedy Central to let them show Mohamed. And we all know how that worked out.
At a recent speech given to students at Stanford University, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane alluded to the "Cartoon Wars" two-part episode of South Park which ruthlessly took aim at Family Guy for using easy humor and being written by manatees. Anyone who has read interviews with McFarlane has probably guessed that he didn't really have a problem with the episode, stating, "they sh*t on everybody like we do." Spoken like a true satirist, says I. Besides, I'm looking forward to a Family Guy where they take a few shots at South Park. I'm not here to root for one team, I just like watching the battle.
In the same speech, McFarlane also spoke about censorship, and that the interference of family advocacy groups would only get worse. Despite their different approaches, this seems like one thing both South Park and Family Guy have in common.
[via South Park Studios]
(S10E04) This episode of South Park, like the last one, was so densely layered that if I were to start picking it apart for the purposes of this review I would risk becoming lost in my own navel, so I'm not going to do that, because it would bore both you and I to death. Also, to be perfectly honest, I haven't made up my mind about the episode. So what you're going to get is my random reflections.
First of all, revealing that Family Guy is written by a tankful of manatees who push "idea balls" into a "joke combine" was the quintessential South Park gag, and the reason I still keep watching even after ten years. Not only was it a clever and irreverent jab at Family Guy, it also makes a point about freedom of speech, as the manatees refuse to write if they're denied to use even one idea. Speaking of freedom of speech, I loved the scene in which President Bush has to explain to reporters what the First Amendment is.
I also loved the irony of Cartman using terrorism to try and get Family Guy off the air, and the sissy slap fight between him and Kyle was the perfect embodiment of the pointlessness of arguing over the merits of Family Guy, or any other cartoon. The final scene, in which the terrorist retaliate by making a cartoon in which President Bush, Jesus, and others crap on themselves and the American flag was a clever way of saying that everything and everyone is fair game, not just Muhammed (who was never shown, but whatever, the point is still taken).
The opportunity was there, and I missed it. You see, the most recent episode of South Park focused on an episode of Family Guy which (didn't) show an image of the Prophet Muhammed. In the episode, Family Guy, at least on one level, became a kind of symbolic representation of South Park. By the end of the show the question wasn't whether Family Guy would show an image of Muhammed, but whether South Park would (as many people pointed out, this was made clear in the last line of the episode: "If Comedy Central doesn't puss out").
I didn't focus much on that aspect in my review of the episode, choosing instead to examine the episode's negative assessment of Family Guy. My prerogative, of course, but by doing so I missed the chance to mention something that was staring me in the face the whole time: South Park already has shown an image of Muhammed, and they did it almost five years ago. The episode was called "The Super Best Friends" and featured Jesus and all of his religious super hero pals, one of which just happened to be Muhammed. So yeah, I could have sounded smart, but I didn't. My only consolation is that this will only happen about twenty more times today.
Note: I went back and read the comments on my previous post and noticed Elliott alluded to this, as well. Nice job, E.
Update: YouTube has the relevant portion of the episode available, embedded below.
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