“South Park” Scientology Spoof to Air Again

Comedy Central has lifted its moritorium on airing of “Trapped in the Closet,” the South Park episode making fun of Scientologists generally and Tom Cruise in particular.

Comedy Central is finally respecting Cartman’s authoritay. One week after South Park’s controversial “Trapped in the Closet” episode garnered an Emmy nomination, and nearly four months after it was abruptly pulled from rotation on the cable net, Comedy Central has finally acquiesced and will allow the Scientology-skewering episode back on the air. And clearly not a moment too soon. “If they hadn’t put this episode back on the air, we’d have had serious issues, and we wouldn’t be doing anything else with them,” cocreator Matt Stone tells Variety.

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As it is, Comedy Central’s decision to reintroduce the episode to its rerun schedule seems as arbitrary an action as yanking it in the first place. But the move is putting the network back into the good graces of Stone and Parker, who have said that their relationship with the network has been tenuous since the spring.

“It’s true we are not as big as Tom Cruise, but we’ve done two movies for Viacom and 10 years of South Park episodes, and this has been our home,” Stone tells Variety. Stone explains that the episode’s removal was nearly the final straw for the duo, who had been censored by the network on three separate occasions. “We’ve been through a trifecta of annoyances,” Stone says. “The ‘Bloody Mary’ episode angered Catholics. And we had a big fight when we wanted to show Muhammad.”

The “Bloody Mary” episode is rather raunchy but hardly over-the-top by “South Park” standards. And, while I understand why “Trapped in the Closet” would be offensive to Scientologists, it’s only because it shows the truth about their belief system.

The full video was available on YouTube for months but has recently been removed. A 7:56 video of excerpted highlights is available however:

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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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. “As it is, Comedy Centralâ??s decision to reintroduce the episode to its rerun schedule seems as arbitrary an action as yanking it in the first place.”

    Wouldn’t an emmy nomination be considered a reasonable motive for reintroducing the episode to the rerun schedule. This would be like saying a studio that decided not to release a movie on DVD was arbitrary in deciding to release it to DVD after all when the movie was nominated for an Oscar.

  2. Mark says:

    James,

    The full episode is on there, but it is divided into parts – I believe it is because of a 10-minute video limit or something.

    Just seach with “south park trapped in the closet” and you will find the various sections.

    This, by the way, is how I am able to watch season 3 of Entourage without having HBO 🙂