Cartoon Wars Part II
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2011)|
|"Cartoon Wars Part II"|
|South Park episode|
Title card shown in lieu of the episode's climax.
|Episode no.||Season 10
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||April 12, 2006|
"Cartoon Wars Part II" is the fourth episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 143rd episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on April 12, 2006. It is the second part of a two-episode story, which focuses on Cartman's efforts to get the TV series Family Guy cancelled, by exploiting fears of retaliation by Muslims to an impending Family Guy episode in which the Muslim prophet Muhammad will appear, in violation of some interpretations of Muslim law.
At the beginning of the episode, it is announced that Part II of "Cartoon Wars" won't be shown. Instead, an episode revolving around Terrance and Phillip will be broadcast (in reference to the "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut" cliffhanger from seasons 1-2 of the show). 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. Terrance and Phillip complain, saying that Family Guy will be showing Muhammad uncensored later, but the head of CBC replies that that does not matter, as somebody is probably on his way right now to stop it.
Cartman arrives at the Fox Network studio, where he pretends to be a sickly Danish kid with a broken leg, telling the Fox executives that his father was killed by terrorists during the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy (even though a terrorist attack never happened) 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 arrives at the Fox Studio to foil Cartman's plans, but is knocked unconscious by an ally of Cartman's, a kid resembling Bart Simpson who, also wanting to destroy Family Guy, restrains Kyle in a supply shed.
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush tells reporters that Family Guy's writers cannot be persuaded to change their mind about the episode, since they are protected under the First Amendment. The incredulous press exhibits complete ignorance of the First Amendment, acting as if the Bush Administration originated it.
Cartman is introduced to the Family Guy writing staff, who turn out to be a group of manatees. The staff, who live in a large tank, pick up "idea balls" from a large pile of them, each of which has a different noun, a verb or a pop culture reference written on it, and deliver them, five at a time, to a machine that then forms a Family Guy cutaway gag based on those ideas. 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, making censorship an unfeasible practice with them. They are also, a Fox staffperson tells Cartman, the only mammals unaffected by terrorist threats. Cartman secretly removes a ball from their tank, causing them to stop working, and then convinces the Fox president that the manatees are spoiled, and abusing the executives' generosity. Cartman convinces the president that they need to show them who's boss. The president decides to pull the new Family Guy episode shortly before airtime. Cartman feels victorious, but Kyle shows up, saying he convinced the Bart-like kid to set him free.
After a physical altercation between Cartman and Kyle, they both go to the Fox president's office. Kyle tells the president that Cartman has duped him into pulling the episode, and despite Cartman's brandishing of a gun, Kyle implores the president not to censor the episode. 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. The Family Guy episode airs, and features Muhammad in a cutaway gag, handing Peter a "salmon football helmet", but the scene with Muhammad was cut by Comedy Central, and is replaced by a black screen and a title card reading, "In this shot, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy. Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network."
Despite President Bush's observation that the use of Muhammad was not inflammatory, terrorist leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, reminding America that it was warned not to show Muhammad, initiates Al-Qaeda's retaliation - a crudely animated video depicting President Bush, Carson Kressley, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Jesus Christ defecating on each other and the American flag. At the end of the video, al-Zawahiri declares victory over the United States, asserting that the video was "way funnier than Family Guy."
Real-life censorship 
On April 13, 2006, Comedy Central issued a statement confirming that the network prohibited the show's creators from airing an image of Muhammad, saying, "In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision." Kyle's impassioned plea to the President of Fox was directly taken from the creators' own arguments against the censorship of Muhammad. Kyle even calls the president 'Doug', a reference to Doug Herzog, a Comedy Central executive.
Muhammad had previously appeared in the episode "Super Best Friends" and has appeared briefly in the opening sequence since that episode, including in both episodes of "Cartoon Wars", despite the controversy surrounding the two-parter.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone have clarified their opinions on Family Guy on the DVD audio commentary, Parker stated "we totally understand that people love it, that's why we put it in the show, we understand that it speaks to some people and it can just be a simple laugh and that's great and we certainly don't think it should be taken off the air or anything like that, we just don't respect it in terms of writing", later referring to the writers behind the show as "smart" but emphatically criticizing their overuse of "gag-humor".
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. William Anthony Donohue, of the Catholic League, criticized writers Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Stone and Parker subsequently made Donohue a villain in "Fantastic Easter Special". In an interview on IGN.com, the creators claimed that they were highlighting the double standard by which they were allowed to show disrespect to Jesus, while depicting Muhammad is forbidden.
Q: Have you heard any reaction back from Seth MacFarlane or anyone from Family Guy over the jokes you made about them on "Cartoon Wars"? And is it safe to say your feelings on Family Guy are the same as Cartman's?
Matt Stone: We haven't heard anything. I think they're just swimming around in their [tank].
Trey Parker: I think he's a Scientologist, actually.
Matt Stone: What I know about Family Guy, I'm sure they have a sense of humor, so...
Trey Parker: What I can tell you that was pretty interesting, was the day after that episode aired we got flowers from The Simpsons. We got calls from King of the Hill, saying we were doing God's work. It's not just our opinion.—IGN interview
The creators of Family Guy have made references to the episode in the commentaries on the show's season four DVD box set, stating that South Park's depiction of them moving random jokes around was accurate, and have pointed out occasions in which they addressed episodes that ran too long by moving gags within them to subsequent episodes. They have also taken to referring to cutaway 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.'"
Eric Goldman of IGN gave the episode a perfect review, 10 out of 10, saying, "The really ironic thing here is that South Park actually already did show Mohammed prominently, in the "Super Best Friends" episode in 2001. Clearly Matt and Trey are also commenting on how times have changed, and how the acts of select extremists can create such specific fears in the powers that be; hammering home their point was the episode's conclusion, which featured terrorists responding to Family Guy with a cartoon of their own, showing Jesus defecating on George W. Bush and the American flag, which pointedly was shown without being censored." This episode also won an IGN Editors Choice Award. The fact that Muhammad had previously been shown with no controversy was commented on in the fourteenth season episode "200".
See also 
- ‘South Park’ takes on own network over ban - TV comedy - MSNBC.com
- South Park Libertarians - Trey Parker and Matt Stone on liberals, conservatives, censorship, and religion
- "Super Best Friends". South Park. Season 5. Episode 68. 2001-07-04.
- Ryan j Budke. "South Park's been showing Muhammad all season!" TVSquad.com; April 15, 2006
- Parker, Trey, and Stone, Matt. Audio commentary. South Park The Complete Tenth Season. Dir. Parker, Stone. DVD. Paramount Home Video/Comedy Central, 2007, 1:07, "We can tell that Family Guy writers are intelligent, but we have no respect for them because they tend to over use 'gag-humor'"
- Bozell, L. Brent III (April 20, 2006). "South Park and Popetown". MRC.org. Creators Syndicate. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- Goldman, Eric. "South Park: Matt and Trey Speak Out, Part 2" IGN.com; Page 4
- Goldman, Eric. "South Park: Matt and Trey Speak Out, Part 1". IGN.com. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- Eric Goldman "South Park: 'Cartoon Wars, Part 2' Review" IGN.com April 13, 2006
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