The Enduring Genius Of Parker And Stone
Jonah Weiner lauds episodes 200 and 201:
The last time South Park took on the depiction-of-Mohammed issue, in 2006, it did so with a far heavier hand: In one subplot, Americans afraid of violent al-Qaida reprisals for a cartoon of the prophet literally buried their heads in sand, and the script featured several speeches about the slippery slope of censorship. This time around, Parker and Stone take an inspired, show-don't-tell approach: The episodes vibrantly illustrate the ideafascinating both in its political and philosophical implicationsthat a U-Haul van, a bear suit, and a "CENSORED" bar can themselves come to represent precisely the thing they were meant to obscure. And Parker and Stone do this in a way that thumbs a nose at censorship itself, demonstrating that Comedy Central's skittishness actually made South Park's representation of Mohammed more "offensive": In 2001's "Super Best Friends," Mohammed was a hero. In "200" he is stuffed into a piece of moving equipment. Which representation is more sensitive?