The Passion of the Jew
|"The Passion of the Jew"|
|South Park episode|
Kyle watches The Passion of the Christ
|Episode no.||Season 8
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||March 31, 2004|
"The Passion of the Jew" is the Third episode of the eighth season of the American animated series South Park, originally broadcast on Comedy Central on March 31, 2004. It was written and directed by Trey Parker, who, along with fellow series co-creator Matt Stone, voiced most of the characters in the episode. "The Passion of the Jew" is a satirical critique of the media discourse surrounding Mel Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. This episode is rated TV-MA in the United States, except on syndicated broadcasts, where the episode is censored and rated TV-14.
The boys are playing Star Trek in Cartman's mother's new minivan and Cartman gives Kyle a hard time about being a Jew as usual. When Kyle tells him to shut up, Cartman dares him to watch The Passion of the Christ, the box-office success of which Cartman holds up as proof that everybody hates Jews. Kyle goes to the film and is horrified by the film's violent depiction of how Jesus was tortured. Soon, he has nightmares about Jews, including himself, killing Jesus. He admits to Cartman that he was right about the Jews; overjoyed, Cartman prays to a poster of Passion director Mel Gibson and vows to dedicate his life to following and spreading Gibson's word. Meanwhile, Stan and Kenny decide that they too must watch the film, but they hate it and declare it a "snuff film". They demand their money back from the theater, but are told that the only way they get their money back is from Gibson.
Knowing that, Stan and Kenny decide to meet up with Gibson get their money from him. They contact the president of the Mel Gibson Fan Club, revealed to be Cartman, who yells at them for hating the film. Cartman slips and tells them that Gibson lives in Malibu, and Stan and Kenny decide to go find Gibson's home. Meanwhile, Cartman dresses in a brown Hitler-esque uniform and prepares himself for the fan-club meeting being held in his backyard, where the fan-club members have gathered to celebrate their rediscovery of Christianity. Cartman suggests that those in attendance each take one more person to see The Passion before they begin "the cleansing", and the fan-club members, naive to what Cartman is truly suggesting, agree with him.
Stan and Kenny hitchhike to Gibson's Malibu mansion, where Gibson refuses to refund their money. When they press him to pay them, Gibson reveals himself to be religious obsessed sadomasochistic sexual deviant with a cartoon like grasp of physics. Gibson insists that the boys torture him, stripping down to his underwear and strapping himself to a rack. When he is rebuffed, he starts chasing the boys around his house with a pistol. The two take their money and eventually board a bus back to South Park, but Gibson chases after them in the tanker truck from Mad Max 2 while screaming "Qapla'!" and wearing face paint from Braveheart. Back in South Park, Kyle talks to Father Maxi about Jesus and how he can deal with his guilt about the crucifixion. Father Maxi points out that the Passion was originally a play used to stir up antisemitism, but suggests that its subject matter can help viewers feel the force of the "atonement" of Jesus. In a rally outside the South Park theater at which The Passion is being shown, Cartman yells antisemitic German at his followers, who mistake it for Aramaic. The members agree to take to the streets, and begin marching after Cartman, who is goose-stepping and chanting German anti-semetic marching slogans.
Kyle goes to his synagogue and suggests that the Jewish community apologize for the Crucifixion. The other Jews are outraged, expressing their concern that the film is provoking antisemitism. The rabbi tries to calm them, telling them that "we live in a rational community, and everyone knows this is just a movie". No sooner has he said this, however, than Cartman and his followers pass the building, chanting again in German.
That night the Jewish congregation goes to the theater and demands they stop showing the movie, when Cartman and his followers arrive. Their argument about the film is interrupted by the arrival of the truck chase. Gibson's truck crashes and explodes in front of the theater, but Gibson emerges unscathed. Cartman rushes over to kneel before him, and Kyle and the fan-club members are shocked at Gibson's behavior, as he starts smearing his own feces on nearby buildings and daring the townspeople to shove large objects into his anus. Stan makes a speech that Christians should follow the teachings of Jesus and not focus on the way he died, and the fan-club members agree and disperse, much to Cartman's dismay. Kyle feels better about being Jewish after hearing Stan's speech and seeing what Gibson is really like. Gibson himself defecates on Cartman's face and runs off whooping in the tradition of Daffy Duck.
The New York Times' Virginia Heffernan praised the episode, writing "Depending on whom you asked, that episode, 'The Passion of the Jew,' proved that the show's still got it or that it's made a comeback or that it's better than ever. In any case, it was good." It was also praised by the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish newspaper The Forward, which called it "perhaps the most biting critique of 'The Passion' to date."
Besides appearing on the South Park complete eighth season DVD set, "Passion of the Jew" is also available as a standalone DVD release (which was released on DVD the same day that the DVD of the Passion of the Christ was released) with two bonus episodes: season six's "Red Hot Catholic Love" and season seven's "Christian Rock Hard".
On the syndicated broadcasts of The Passion of the Jew, the part where Mel Gibson spreads his feces on the wall and the ending where he defecates in Cartman's face (after Kyle says that relieved that Mel Gibson was crazy and was not take seriously) are cut out. The censored scene now shows Gibson running past the camera whooping (though feces still appears on Cartman's face).
Along with this part, the Swastika on the Nazi flag is censored out in parts of Europe, where the symbol is illegal except for historical usage. The swastika was also censored out on the syndicated US verson, as well as the British, Australian, and ITunes versions. The replacement flag was the Nazi German flag without the swastika.
- Virginia Heffernan (April 28, 2004). "Critic's Notebook; What? Morals in 'South Park'?". New York Times.
- Max Gross. ‘The Passion of the Christ’ Fuels Antisemitism — on ‘South Park’ "‘The Passion of the Christ’ Fuels Antisemitism — on ‘South Park’". Forward.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Passion of the Jew|
- The Passion of the Jew Full episode at South Park Studios
- The Passion of the Jew Episode guide at South Park Studios
- "The Passion of the Jew" at TV.com