Comedy Central airs an episode of South Park
June 20, 2001 10:26 PM   Subscribe

Comedy Central airs an episode of South Park where the characters say "shit" 168 times, unbleeped. Trey Parker and Matt Stone prove once again that they aren't afraid to take American television where everybody else has already been.
posted by RylandDotNet (28 comments total)
I thought it was funny.
The true genius of this episode was, as it goes on, Matt and Trey accurately predict about where the humor value of hearing everyone say `shit' wears thin, and comment on it.
Worked for me, anyway.
posted by dong_resin at 11:00 PM on June 20, 2001

What about all those live Mtv shows, that couldnt be bleeped fast enough? Or football games and the players saying "fucking shit" and the camera's catching it, on prime-time NBC or ABC etc?

I dont think its that big of television milestone or anything, its not like some kid accidentally up past his bedtime heard the word for the first time or anything....

But I do respect (in a sick kind of way, I guess) what mat and Trey are doing, although it does seem like a publicity stunt.

"Whats a va-join-a?"
posted by Espoo2 at 11:05 PM on June 20, 2001

South Park is often smarter than people give it credit for. Good stuff, but how did they get away with it? FCC rules would seem to apply to basic cable...
posted by owillis at 11:08 PM on June 20, 2001

Which of the following is the most appropriate South Park quote for this particular MetaFilter thread?

A: "Sometimes upholding the law is messy, but you get by... one day at a time." - Cartman
B: "I think that parents only get so offended by television because they rely on it as a babysitter and the sole educator of their kids." - Kyle
C: "This is nothing out of the unusual. Cows turn themselves inside out all the time." - Officer Barbrady
D: "Why is it that everything today has involved things either going in or coming out of my ass?!" - Cartman

Or maybe this one wins hands down. This is from co-creator Trey Parker, when asked about the strange appeal of South Park to millions of fans worldwide: "The show is really funny to us because we think that farts are the funniest things in the world. EVER. In the history of mankind."

Considering all the disturbing ways they've handled everything else they've covered over the years, I think censoring cusswords has always been absurd. Oh sure, you can make fun of homosexuality and people with physical disabilities and you can show very young children being introduced to sexuality, drug use and Patrick Duffy! But we draw the line at profanity!
posted by ZachsMind at 11:15 PM on June 20, 2001

actually, past a certain hour different laws kick in. they can get away with shit. but not fuck.

and definately not shitfucker.

that wouldn't be good at all.

matt and trey are geniuses. anyone here ever see their first movie? "Cannibal: The Musical"

amazing, amazing work.


omg, did i just say shitfucker?
posted by jcterminal at 11:16 PM on June 20, 2001

What's next? Do they actually go all the way and advocate people do their part to piss off the religious right? I'm going to tune in religiously, until I piss my own pants, just to witness when they're actually able to finally pass that milestone.

Furthermore, can anybody cite an episode where you thought they'd finally, actually, succeed in pissing off the religious right, only to fall disappointingly short? Ultimately forcing you to tune in next time to see if once again, they'd finally do it?
posted by crasspastor at 11:17 PM on June 20, 2001

I don't know... if having Jesus as a semi-regular character on your show doesn't do it, what would? Maybe they'll let Jesus and Mr. Garrison have an affair.
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:23 PM on June 20, 2001

Or alternately make Jesus black and/or a woman.
posted by lia at 11:52 PM on June 20, 2001

As offensive as I find the show to be sometimes (about as often as I find it hilarious), this episode really demonstrated the absurdity of *foul* language. It's silly, after all, but...there it is. But if we remove the societal taboo of using foul language, we'll soon miss out on seeing $#&*#@$*!)#$* in place of certain words/phrases, which would really be sad.
posted by davidmsc at 11:52 PM on June 20, 2001

The first time I ever saw #@!^&% was in Q-Bert as a kid. Where did that tradition begin? I'm figuring it wasn't Q-Bert.
posted by crasspastor at 11:55 PM on June 20, 2001

Am I the only person who doesn't find this shit, so to speak, revolutionary? I'm as much for breaking down the Puritanical guard as the next guy and I've been known to enjoy "South Park" from time to time. But saying "shit" on national television 168 times doesn't strike me as particularly inventive or groundbreaking. It's a publicity stunt more than anything else.

I'd sooner applaud the penis if it finally broke the sexist fabric of Hollywood and made its way into a PG-13 film, thereby granting equal opportunity nudity with the ladies and presenting the realistic notion of a man emerging from a bedroom without his underwear on, than grant hosannahs towards profanity for profanity's sake.

Besides, profanity is best utilized in comedy when it's entirely unexpected.
posted by ed at 12:30 AM on June 21, 2001

Well, the 168 times in a cartoon might be groundbreaking, but profanity on Basic and Broadcast television isn't. I can think of many shows/programs/etc. that "broke the barrier".

The first example I remember was when ABC first broadcast the movie ON GOLDEN POND unedited many many years ago. (Or even the recent live version on CBS using the word "shit" - what was funny about that was David Letterman re-ran the clip of that line on his show, unedited, but pointed out he wasn't allowed to repeat the word himself.)

SNL has had a few fucks here and there.

There was also MTV's Scared Straight 99. I also remember SCHINDLER'S LIST being unedited on NBC - which implies it's okay to hear the word "fuck" on broadcast television, as long as it's in the confines of an important film/show. But that's for another thread about hypocrisy altogether.
posted by jca at 1:22 AM on June 21, 2001

Oh you poor babies. DId the nasty words scare you.

Hey, we can say 'motherfucker' on Network TV over here.

There again hardcore pornography is "illegal".
Oh and we can't buy guns.
posted by fullerine at 2:04 AM on June 21, 2001

I guess each country has its own priorities.
posted by redleaf at 2:19 AM on June 21, 2001

I dunno....South park seems to be going the way of Beavis and Butthead.....It's appeal stems from curse words and stupid jokes....Trey and Matt are just dumbass shit-fuckers(goddamn it felt good to hypenate that), and just obsolete shit-fuckers to boot.
posted by ttrendel at 3:01 AM on June 21, 2001

Blame Canada. Foul-mouthed, flip-top-headed fartmavens!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:49 AM on June 21, 2001

Without the ability to broadcast the word "fuck" at 9pm, Big Brother wouldn't be half as successful in the UK.
posted by holgate at 4:11 AM on June 21, 2001

Although they are unable to libellously inform us which celebs are gay.
posted by fullerine at 5:19 AM on June 21, 2001

From Kurt Vonnegut's _Hocus Pocus_:

*I repeated an old story Grandfather Wills had taught me, which was about a town where a cannon was fired at noon every day. One day the cannoneer was sick at the last minute and was too incapacitated to fire the cannon.

So at high noon there was silence.

All the people in the town jumped out of their skins when the sun reached its zenith. They asked each other in astonishment,

"good gravy! What was that?"

My lawyer wanted to know what that had to do with my not swearing.
I replied that in an era as foul-mouthed as this one, "Good gravy" had the same power to startle as a cannonshot.*

---Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus-Pocus."
posted by mecran01 at 5:57 AM on June 21, 2001 [1 favorite]

The genius of South Park (did I say genius? what the hell is wrong with me?) is that the episode is not just about saying "shit" over and over. It's about how it IS fun to say dirty words and ALSO making fun of people who use dirty words to shock.

It's a show using dirty words as a gimmick to boost their ratings, while the show is ABOUT a lame ass network that uses dirty words to boost its ratings and how stupid that is.

Say what you want about them, but Trey and Matt are First Amendment heroes (did I say heroes? what the hell is wrong with me?)

In a time when people are breaking each other's bones with sticks and stones, they remind us that words will never hurt us.

. . .

btw, that would make a great tag line for a movie trailer, "In a time. . ."
posted by ColdChef at 6:25 AM on June 21, 2001

omg, did i just say shitfucker?

Crow, are you posting while crocked again?!
posted by SpecialK at 6:37 AM on June 21, 2001

the realistic notion of a man emerging from a bedroom without his underwear on

Hey now, there's certainly nothing realistic about that in my house.
posted by daveadams at 7:06 AM on June 21, 2001

Reading this thread has me in the mood for a rousing chorus of "Shut Your Fucking Face, Uncle-Fucker."
posted by dnash at 7:27 AM on June 21, 2001

You want to talk revolutionary? This guy's nigger routine blows Trey and Matt out of the water.
posted by ed at 8:28 AM on June 21, 2001

Or alternately make Jesus black and/or a woman.

Dude, that's sick.

posted by jpoulos at 9:14 AM on June 21, 2001

damnit, don't hyphenate shitfucker! it's all one word.

my GF is gonna kick your ass when she does what you did to the word i stole from her.
posted by jcterminal at 10:39 AM on June 21, 2001

As pointed out in another thread, the work of Normal Lear, Carroll O'Connor and the many other talented people behind All In The Family did more to support art and weaken censorship's grip in television than South Park can ever hope to achieve, but they're both fighting the same battle. Just in different ways. Same with the comedy of Lenny Bruce.

Although admittedly even the irreverent Trey Parker and Matt Stone would bow their heads in deference to All In The Family, as well they should, it's also kinda like comparing apples to oranges. They're both soldiers in the same war, fighting with different weaponry. In less subtle ways, South Park attacks many of the same themes and topics that All In The Family did.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:08 PM on June 21, 2001

When the say "fuck" 168 times unbleeped I'll be impressed.

Personally, South Park has become extremely tired and unfunny for this very reason, much like Howard Stern's obsession with plastic boobed lesbians, etc. etc.
posted by dr. zoidberg at 11:24 AM on June 23, 2001

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