The Old Buzz: This is a show, after all, that once painted God as a gap-toothed rhinoceros-monkey, portrays Satan as a simpering milquetoast and regularly features Jesus as a superhero -- the kind who's not afraid to ignore the peaceful teachings of the Sermon on the Mount to smite his opponents. The show has mocked Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Scientologists and atheists, among (many) others.
The Current Buzz: For its 200th episode April 14 -- the beginning of a two-part story that concludes Wednesday night -- "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker decided to go all-in, creating a plot line about free speech in which most everybody the show's ever offended comes back. Among the episode's characters: the Prophet Mohammed, who is first pictured behind a black "censored" bar and later in a bear suit. That didn't sit well with Revolution Muslim, an Islamic group that objected to Mohammed's portrayal. According to some Muslim traditions, the visual depiction of Mohammed is not allowed.
Well now, I watched that episode last week, and I might be able to sit up late enough to catch the second part tonight.
There was nothing offensive about the show, not even the portrayal of the religious figures. While we're here, if the language of the children on the show surprises you, you might spend a little time in the classroom. Your eyes will be opened.
So Mohammed was portrayed in a bear suit. BFD! If that's all it takes to upset your religious apple cart, you might want to re-examine your reasons for holding that religion. If the portrayal makes you want to murder the cartoonist, you should seek counseling of some kind.
South Park has a long history of holding nothing sacred, and the boundless hypocracies of this world have offered an endless supply of scripts. You should be glad we still have shows like this, the kind that makes us think.
All in the Family used to do the same thing, though those scripts don't translate so well to this newer world.
Frankly, I find it valuable to have personal foibles revealed. What's so easy to see in others is often invisible to the self.
It's called enlightenment, people. Let's get with the program and become smarter for it.
More to the point, your TV surely has an on/off switch.
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