Farrelly Brothers: South Park Stole Special Olympics Idea

Peter and Bobby Farrelly claim that Trey Parker and Matt Stone stole their idea for having a non-retarded person take part in the Special Olympics for a “South Park” episode that ran last year, preempting their about-to-be-released motion picture “The Ringer.”

Farrellys’ “South Park” Smackdown (E! Online)

Is Cartman a crook? Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the gross-out gurus behind Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary are accusing South Park masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone of ripping off a movie idea. Per Daily Variety, the Farrellys claim a 2004 South Park episode, in which Cartman pretends to be mentally disabled to compete in the Special Olympics, blatantly copied The Ringer, the brother’s upcoming movie about, yes, a guy who feigns a mental disability to win the Special Olympics.


“When you think of a premise so radical it’s unmakable, you hang in for seven years to see it through, it is a shock to the system to have people on Websites saying, ‘You hack, you stole this from South Park,’ ” Blitt tells Variety. “I set this up so long before that episode was conceived. It is bad enough to have your idea taken: It’s 1,000 times worse when you are then accused of stealing.” The Ringer, starring ex-Jackass Johnny Knoxville as the faux Special Olympian, is scheduled for release Dec. 23.

There’s been no mention of a lawsuit, but Peter Farrelly, who produces the film with his brother, believes the plot similarities weren’t an accident. “There is no way those guys didn’t know we were making this very movie as they took it upon themselves to do that episode,” he tells Variety. “They know what they did and they know it was wrong. Period. These are guys I have always respected, but what they did was very creepy.”

Blitt says he had shopped his screenplay all over town, including to Parker and Stone, before the Farrellys and their Connundrum Entertainment snapped it up.

This incredibly tasteless plot idea has doubtless occured to many people, myself included, independently of the lame upcoming movie. Similarly, I expect others have thought of the idea of white people pretending to be black to get affirmative action benefits and men pretending to be women to get athletic scholarships. Indeed, coming up with a one-line idea for a comedy movie aimed at adolescents is incredibly easy.

Writing a sellable script, getting financial backing to produce the movie, putting together a team to make the movie, and convincing the public to part with $9 to come see your movie, on the other hand, is hard.

via Ace

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Whereas getting publicity for your comedy movie aimed at adolescents, by accusing a TV show aimed at adolescents of stealing your idea — that is (appropriately enough) a no-brainer.

  2. John Burgess says:

    A “no-brainer” that is sufficient adolescent to maybe work…

  3. Barney says:

    This incredibly tasteless

    I am not sure why you claim this to be tasteless. I see it as social commentary against a liberal interest group. Ever since Pappy Bush signed the dreadful Americans with Disability Act, these people have been asking for special rights. A property owner can’t make improvements to his property without having to deal with all of these ADA bull sheet regulations.

    These idiots claim through crap like the ADA that they “want to be accepted” by society, and then they have these exclusionary faux-athletic events. This whole separate but equal doctrine is a thing of the past.

    We’ve been coddling these liberal disability activists for years–any attempt to call them out on their hypocracy should be applauded.

  4. Nickhac says:

    Stole your idea? Ideas cant be stolen. The presmise that ideas hold the same value as physical property is absurd.

    Southpark has every right to use the same ideas and make a mockery of your movie.

    This happens in technology all the time… if company 1 comes out with an MP3 player, and then their competitor company 2 also comes out with an MP3 player. Did company 2 “steal” company 1’s idea?

    Nick HaC Blog