Trey Parker and Matt Stone Agreed to Pull This ‘South Park’ Episode but Soon Regretted It
South Park has faced plenty of controversy, but so far every episode Trey Parker and Matt Stone produced has aired, at least once. Season 9 brought the South Park creators their first brush with censorship at Comedy Central, and it spiraled from there.
On the South Park Season 9 DVD, Parker and Stone discuss each episode of the season in commentaries. The season’s finale led to Parker and Stone agreeing to pull the rerun. Soon, it became a much bigger issue than one rerun.
The ‘South Park’ episode Comedy Central refused to air twice
The South Park Season 9 finale, “Bloody Mary,” is a satire of Virgin Mary status appearing to cry around the holidays. Of course, South Park’s take involved bleeding out her rear end. The episode first aired Dec. 5, 2007, so Comedy Central broached the subject of pulling the rerun.
“Even though ‘Trapped in the Closet’ became this big news story, this episode got pulled first,” Stone said, referring to the Scientology satire earlier in the season. “We got a call from Comedy Central. And they did a good job, by the way, of selling us on it because they knew we should’ve hit the roof. But, we had just finished the season. It was the last day, we’re just exhausted.”
Comedy Central hit Parker and Stone at their most vulnerable. Having just finished a season of South Park, their guard was down.
“We got a call and they basically said we’re going to pull the rerun of ‘Bloody Mary’ which was supposed to air on the 27th of December or the 23rd, right around Christmas,” Stone said. “They’re like, ‘We just don’t want to be lame around the holidays and offend people.’ I was like, ‘You know, that makes sense. We don’t need to go out of our way to offend people.’ They made it sound like this one time thing when really I think it was a for all time thing.”
Matt Stone had a theory on why this ‘South Park’ episode was under the microscope
South Park has taken aim at everybody at some point. Stone believes somebody got to an executive at Comedy Central’s owner.
“There’s a member of the Viacom board who’s a prominent Catholic and a couple of Catholics got to him,” Stone said. “This one really vocal Catholic who I won’t name because I don’t want to give him the credit, he got it pulled off the schedule. Then people noticed it was gone on the internet.”
Trey Parker and Matt Stone realized they had opened Pandora’s Box
Once word got out that Comedy Central was pulling a South Park episode, other groups came out of the woodwork demanding the same.
“So then all of a sudden it was like okay, what kind of precedent have you set?” Parker said. “Now all of a sudden the Scientologists were like, ‘Well, we want that episode pulled.’”
Isaac Hayes would ultimately quit the show. He was a scientology until his death in 2008.
“We had just gotten done with a meeting with Isaac saying we don’t pull episodes off the air because it sets precedent,” Stone said. “Then Comedy Central went and did it.”
Parker and Stone had to deal with this well into season 10. Their two parter “Cartoon Wars” promised to show a picture of the Prophet Muhammed, which is against the Islam religion to depict. Comedy Central ultimately censored South Park’s rendering, though still aired the episode.
“Then it just started this sh*tstorm of stuff,” Parker said. “Basically all the next season we had to deal with all the fallout from them pulling that. Therefore the Scientologists now wanted that show and then trying to do Muhmammed and them wanting to pull that episode.”