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Cartoon_Wars_Part_II

Cartoon Wars Part II

"Cartoon Wars Part II" is episode 143 of South Park which aired on April 12, 2006. It is part two of a two-episode story, which starts with "Cartoon Wars Part I".

Plot

At the beginning of the episode, it is announced that Part II of 'Cartoon Wars' will not be shown; instead an episode revolving around Terrance and Phillip will be broadcast.

The Terrance and Phillip episode in question, entitled "The Mystery at the Lazy 'J' Ranch", includes an image of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which is censored by their network, the CBC. After the broadcast, Terrance and Phillip go to the head of the CBC to complain about the censorship, saying that Family Guy will be showing Muhammad uncensored later. The head of CBC replies that that does not matter, as somebody is probably on his way right now to stop it (He also mentions how Terrance and Philip have become too preachy and forgotten how to be funny, a reference to South Park itself). This is where the action rejoins the actual story line.

Having left Kyle injured and without a vehicle at the roadside in Part 1, Cartman arrives at Fox headquarters. There he meets a kid who resembles Bart Simpson and, like Cartman, wants to destroy Family Guy. Cartman convinces him to let him do it alone, however, after comparing his own feat of making Scott Tenorman eat his own parents to the kid's theft of a statue's head.

Cartman meets the executives and pretends to be a Danish kid named Little Danny Pocket, saying that his father was killed by terrorists during the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and pleading that they pull the Family Guy episode. His story touches the executives, who encourage him to try to persuade the writers to yield.

Kyle is given a lift to the Fox Studio in a truck, his aim being to save the episode and foil Cartman's plans, but the Bart-like kid traps him in a maintenance closet. Meanwhile, President Bush tells reporters that Family Guy's writers cannot be persuaded to change their mind about the episode, and that it is protected under the First Amendment. The reporters act as if this is something completely new to them, asking questions like "How are you going to deal with this 'First Amendment?'" and "This 'First Amendment' sounds like a lot of bureaucratic jibbery-joo."

Cartman is finally introduced to the Family Guy writing staff, who turn out to be a group of manatees. The aquatic mammals, who live in a large tank, pick up "idea balls" and pop them into a hole. Each ball has the name of a noun, a verb or a pop-culture reference written on it. When the balls travel down a shaft, a group of five forms a Family Guy joke: for example, "Laundry" + "Date" + "Winning" + "Mexico" + "Gary Coleman" becomes a clip of Lois asking Peter to do the laundry, after which Peter recalls winning a date in Mexico with Gary Coleman.

The manatees refuse to work if any idea ball is removed from their tank: "either everything's okay [to lampoon], or nothing is." This is similar to the South Park creators' unwillingness to work if certain topics, like Islam or Scientology, are made off-limits. The manatees are also, apparently, the only mammals unmoved by terrorist threats.

Cartman sneaks in and removes a ball from their tank, causing them to stop working, and then convinces the Fox president that the manatees are spoiled, arrogant and traipsing over the executives. The president decides to pull the new Family Guy episode only 25 minutes before its scheduled airtime.

Meanwhile, Kyle has convinced the Bart-like kid to set him free and wants to rush to stop the Fox president from pulling the episode. He and Cartman meet first, however, and engage in a long sissy-fight which takes them through several studios. With the Bart-like kid's help, Kyle prevails. He and Cartman both end up in the Fox president's office just as he is making the phone call to cancel Family Guy. The boys present to him their two conflicting views: Kyle argues in favor of free speech; Cartman threatens him with a gun. The network president ultimately decides, in spite of threats of violence from both Cartman and Islamic terrorists, that Family Guy should be aired, and without censorship.

Family Guy begins, and Muhammad appears in a cutaway joke, handing Peter a "salmon football helmet". (The scene with Muhammad is censored from South Park, however, by Comedy Central: these few seconds are replaced by a black screen and the words, "In this shot, Muhammad hands a football helmet to Family Guy; Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Muhammad on their network.")

President Bush sees the Family Guy scene and wonders what all the fuss is about - "Hey, that wasn't bad at all. They just showed Muhammad standin' there, lookin' normal". The terrorist leader al-Zawahiri, however, declares by video, "We warned you not to show Muhammad, but Family Guy did it anyways; so, now, here is our retaliation on America!"

They release "an Al Qaeda Films Production", a crudely-animated video showing cardboard cutouts of George W. Bush, Carson Kressley, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Jesus defecating on each other and the American flag. Al-Zawahiri then declares "Oh, yeah! Take that! We burned you! That was way funnier than Family Guy!"

Real-life censorship controversy

  • On April 13, 2006, Comedy Central issued a statement which appears to confirm that the network did indeed prohibit the show's creators from airing an image of Muhammad. The statement reads, "In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision. This was the first time that Comedy Central, as opposed to its syndicators, ever censored South Park. Syndicated airings of "Fat Camp" (for Kenny's gross-outs) and "Red Hot Catholic Love" (for scatological reasons, i.e. people defecating out of their mouths) had portions cut out and replaced with intertitle cards explaining what had been cut out ("for your protection"), accompanied by soothing music. Those episodes were aired on Comedy Central without such censoring and appear uncensored on DVD releases. The Muhammad sequence of this episode, however, remained censored in the 10th-season DVD release.
  • Australian television network SBS has not broadcast either part of this episode.
  • An April 13, 2006 interview with South Park executive producer Anne Garefino (on the weblog The Volokh Conspiracy) reveals that South Park's producers continued to fight Comedy Central's executives over the censored scene right up to the night before the episode aired. According to Garefino, the producers were given the choice to censor the scene themselves or leave it intact and allow Comedy Central to censor it; they chose to write the language of the censoring statement themselves. "We wanted everyone to understand how strongly we felt about this," confirmed Garefino. The network's decision was reportedly based on fear of violent reprisal, rather than a desire to protect what Muslims find sacred. Garefino also confirmed that an internet clip which purported to be the deleted scene was a forgery.
  • Despite censorship, an image of Muhammad has been included in nearly every episode of South Park since the production of Super Best Friends, specifically in the opening sequence This includes both episodes of "Cartoon Wars".

Episode criticism and praise

William A. Donohue, of the Catholic League, criticized writers Stone and Parker. In the April 20, 2006 edition of his weekly column, entitled "South Park and Popetown", Brent Bozell, founder of the conservative organization Parents Television Council, criticized Viacom for celebrating insults to Christianity through the satirical anti-American scene in this episode, as well as another animated series insulting Catholicism, Popetown, which aired on MTV Germany, another Viacom-owned network. In an interview on Nightline, the creators claimed that, by defacing Jesus in the episode, they were highlighting the contradiction in how making fun of Christianity is no big deal while defacing Islam is forbidden.

The creators of Family Guy have apparently taken the episode's treatment of their show in good humour, even making references to the episode in the commentaries on the show's season-four DVD box set, stating that, when South Park depicted them moving random jokes around, "That's pretty much how it is." They point out jokes and state "this was originally for [another episode] but it ran long, so we moved it to this one" on several occasions. They have even taken to referring to cut away jokes as "manatee jokes". On the Fox website, the teaser details for the Family Guy episode "Peter's Two Dads" states, "This week, the manatees picked out topic balls reading 'Peter's real father lives in Ireland and Peter goes there to find him.'"

See also

Notes

External links

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