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self. Meanwhile, to get Saddam off his back, he manages to convince God
to let Saddam into heaven, which otherwise turns out to be open only to
Mormons. This does not, however, mean that God is a Mormon. In fact, we
learn in the episode that God is actually a Buddhist.
Mormons, incidentally, frequently figure in South Park, which typically
makes the point that Mormons are, as a whole, good people, even though
their religion is based on false premises. The most extensive treatment of
Mormonism in South Park occurs in the episode “All About the Mormons?”
(November 19, 2003). Here a Mormon family moves to South Park and proves
to be so ultra-nice that the Marshes are nearly won over to Mormonism.
However, the more Stan learns about the history of Mormonism, the more it
is clear to him that the religion is preposterous, based on forgeries and lies.
He manages to win his family away from the seductions of Mormon nice-
ness, though the Mormon family continues its nice ways.
South Park’s ongoing satire of the Catholic Church continues in “Red Hot
Catholic Love” (July 3, 2002), which responds to the ongoing public rev-
elations of the high incidence of sexual abuse (especially of young boys)
among Catholic priests—and to the Church’s attempts to hide evidence of
that phenomenon, protecting the priests, rather than the children. In this
episode, it turns out that Father Maxi is apparently the only Catholic priest
in the world who doesn’t sexually abuse young boys. Meanwhile, revela-
tions about this phenomenon cause all of the Catholic parents of South
Park to turn away from the Church and to declare themselves atheists. In
keeping with the tendency in South Park to satirize both sides of any given
issue, these atheists are represented as ridiculous figures. Meanwhile,
Father Maxi carries his fight against sexual misconduct all the way to the
Vatican, where it turns out that secret Church documents actually require
priests to sexually molest young boys. Indeed, the Vatican itself turns out
to be the seat of a collection of bizarre high Catholic officials who worship
You Can’t Do That on Television: The Animated Satire of South Park
147
a giant spider instead of God and who are completely out of touch with the
outside world. Maxi manages to get the document changed (destroying the
Vatican in the process) and to pave the way for a new era of Catholicism,
though the principal message in this episode (much like the show’s judg-
ment about Mormons) is that Catholics are mostly good decent people and
that Catholicism itself is not necessarily bad, even if it has long been ruled
by bad men enforcing bad policies.
Speaking of bad Catholics (at least according to South Park), one of the
show’s most vicious personal satires occurs in the episode “The Passion of
the Jew” (March 31, 2004), which lambastes both the 2004 film The Passion
of the Christ and its maker, Mel Gibson. Here, Kyle’s viewing of the film
(which has in fact been widely criticized as anti-Semitic) makes him feel
guilty to be a Jew. Stan and Kenny, however, are merely revolted. Declaring
that the movie is nothing more than a disgusting snuff film, they demand
their money back. Refused, they head for Hollywood to demand a refund
from Gibson himself. Cartman, of course, is already anti-Semitic, if largely
only to irritate Kyle, so the film only inflames his existing tendencies.
Cartman had already dressed as Hitler for Halloween in the first-season
episode “Pink Eye” (October 29, 1997); here he dons a Nazi uniform and
becomes the leader of a local group dedicated to exterminating all Jews.
Cartman’s efforts, though, are thwarted by Gibson himself. It turns out
that the actor-director is an insane, sadomasochistic freak. When Stan and
Kenny grab their $18 and head for home, he chases them all the way back to
South Park, where he makes such a preposterous spectacle of himself that
his credibility and his film’s popularity are ruined once and for all, causing
Cartman’s group to collapse.
Such antics clearly set South Park apart from such wholesome predeces-
sors in the cartoon tradition as The Flintstones, though the series (which
engages in parodies of and dialogues with a variety of works of popular
culture, much like The Simpsons) frequently nods to its cartoon predeces-
sors. In the very first episode, for example, the aliens use the probe in
Cartman’s ass to send signals that cause him to start dancing and singing
“I Love to Singa,” a song by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg that formed
the basis of a classic Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies cartoon short of that
title in 1936. South Park is, in fact, consistently conscious of its relationship
with the cartoon tradition, even if that relationship is usually subversive.
Sometimes, as with the spoof of Hamlet in “Terrance and Phillip: Behind
the Blow,” South Park even engages in dialogue with high culture. In
“Scott Tenorman Must Die” (July 11, 2001), one of the most outrageous
of all South Park episodes, Cartman is humiliated by an older boy, Scott
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Tenorman, and gets revenge by arranging it so that the boy’s parents will
be killed. Cartman then steals the bodies and gets his revenge in a way
that echoes predecessors such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, but most
directly recalls Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, perhaps filtered through
Julie Taymor’s 1999 film adaptation of that play, Titus. Cartman, having
failed in his efforts to train a pony to bite off Scott Tenorman’s penis, uses
the flesh of the deceased Tenorman parents to make chili, which he then
tricks Scott into eating. Yet this horrifying episode, which is Cartman’s [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]