'South Park' vs. Lucas and Spielberg: Too far?
Never mind "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," the most welcome Comedy Central program this election season just might be "South Park."
The series has been on a roll for the past four/five seasons, and whether turning an alien invasion into an examination of immigration, or leprechauns into targets of terrorism, "South Park" has been presenting relatively reasoned examinations of cultural issues.
Until, perhaps, last night. "South Park" has missed out on skewering this summer's pop-culture events, and last night, the episode was on the attack. As dark and twisted as "The Dark Knight" was, "South Park" was just as aggressively over the top.
Returning with new episodes as part of its 12th season, "South Park" didn't level its aim at presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain (fingers are crossed for such an episode to be forthcoming). Instead, the series had Hollywood heavyweights George Lucas and Steven Spielberg directly in sights.
Oh, there was also a paranoid Cartman convinced that China's Olympic opening ceremony telegraphed an attack on the United States, but Cartman's mockery of Chinese stereotypes was almost an afterthought after Matt Stone and Trey Parker completely dismantled the worldwide hit "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
"We all saw it happen," says the handicapped Jimmy, discussing "The Crystal Skull" as if it's a personal tragedy. "Do you remember that scene with Indiana in the refrigerator? It didn't make any sense, Stan."
From there, an excited Stan sits down to watch the latest film in a dream sequence/nightmare, but soon has to warn Indiana Jones that Spielberg and Lucas are nearby. And then in a series of film parodies, Indy's pants come off.
The boys of "South Park" spend much of the episode struggling to come to grips with the raping of Indiana Jones. In its rave review of the episode, IGN wrote that "South Park" went "beyond offensive and into some sort of hyper-offensive stratosphere," all of it hilarious.
Indeed, each scene builds upon the other, with Spielberg and Lucas eventually becoming two rednecks in the woods who demand Indy "squeal like a pig" as the pair humiliates and degrades a cinematic icon. A Stormtrooper gets it even worse, prompting the "South Park" police to lock up the directors to prevent such travesties from happening again.
Not that anyone didn't see this coming. Parker and Stone tried to warn Spielberg and Lucas from even making a fourth "Indiana Jones" flick. Back in 2002, the series took the two to task for re-editing their films for the worse, hoping to prevent a ruining of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
But was continually -- and graphically -- having Spielberg and Lucas violently rape Indiana Jones too far? "He's gonna do it right there!" shouts a cartoon Spielberg in one scene, holding back Indy's hands over a pinball machine. Or was seeing a Stormtrooper completely defiled still easier to swallow than having to watch Shia LaBeouf swing like a monkey, or worse, inserting aliens into the film?
Show Tracker put a call in to Lucasfilm to try to get their thoughts (ha!), but in the meantime, do you side with "South Park," or those behind the "Crystal Skull" on this one? Coming a few days after The Times' Hero Complex wrote that "Indy 5" is still a possibility, it might be time to make your voice known.
-- Todd Martens