201 (South Park)

"201"
South Park episode
SouthParkCensored.jpg
Kyle gives a satirical speech about the effectiveness of threats and violence. During the original broadcast and DVD release of the episode the speech is completely obscured with a continuous audio bleep. Muhammad is visually obscured by a black box. Comedy Central was responsible for censoring the audio, drawing heavy criticism from audiences who felt the network did so in response to Muslim violence threats.
Episode no.Season 14
Episode 6
Directed byTrey Parker
Written byTrey Parker
Featured music"Time of the Season"
by The Zombies
Production code1406
Original air dateApril 21, 2010
Episode chronology
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"200"
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"Crippled Summer"
South Park (season 14)
List of South Park episodes

"201" is the sixth episode of the fourteenth season of South Park, and the 201st overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on April 21, 2010. The episode continued multiple storylines from the previous episode, "200", in which a group of angry celebrities demand South Park produce the Muslim prophet Muhammad. In "201", a superhero-like group of religious figures team up to save South Park from the celebrities and their monster Mecha-Streisand, while Eric Cartman learns the true identity of his father.

The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker. Like "200", it alludes to several past storylines and controversies from previous South Park episodes, especially Comedy Central's refusal to show images of Muhammad on the network following controversies in 2005 and 2007 when cartoons depicting Muhammad ran in European newspapers, resulting in riots and threats. Prior to the broadcast of "201", the radical Muslim organization Revolution Muslim posted a warning on their website that Parker and Stone risked being murdered for their depiction of Muhammad. Comedy Central modified Parker and Stone's version of the episode, obscuring all images and bleeping all references to Muhammad—to the effect of disruptively obscuring the entire two-minute moral conclusion of the story. Nevertheless, both "200" and "201" were nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 2010.[1]

The censorship drew strong criticism of Comedy Central. Critics said that the network's action would encourage further threats from radical groups. "201" was not shown in repeats, has not been made available on the South Park website, and has not been shown in Sweden, Hungary, Australia or the Netherlands. In most places the episode "Sexual Healing" was shown instead of episode 201. In the United Kingdom, some parts were removed, and a short on-screen message appears, stating the outline of the removed parts and "MTV (on Viva)" or "Comedy Central" "...has refused to air an image of Muhammad on their network". According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was seen by 3.5 million viewers, making it the most watched cable television program of the night.

On January 31, 2014, the original uncensored version was leaked when it was pulled from the South Park Studios servers and was posted online in its entirety without approval by Comedy Central.[2]

Plot

The episode opens with Cartman, as his hand-puppet persona Mitch Conner, narrating a flashback to Connor's 1972 medical discharge from his Vietnam War tour of duty in a parody of a scene from the film Apocalypse Now as the song "Time of the Season" by the Zombies plays in the background. Back in the present, Mr. Garrison refuses to reveal the identity of Cartman's father, and instead sends Cartman to Dr. Mephisto. Meanwhile, the Ginger Separatist Movement and the townsfolk are negotiating the handover of Muhammad when Mecha-Streisand begins to attack South Park. Muhammad, who is visually obscured throughout the entire episode by a black box superimposed with the word "CENSORED", is taken by Stan, Kyle, and Kenny to Dr. Mephisto's lab. The Gingers arrive and take Muhammad and Cartman captive. The Super Best Friends are called to South Park to help; after their powers fail to subdue Mecha-Streisand, they pacify her by having Krishna adopt the form of Neil Diamond and providing her the opportunity to perform a duet with him.

The Gingers contact the celebrities and offer to share Muhammad in exchange for access to the celebrities' "goo transfer machine", which transfers Muhammad's power to remain free from ridicule to a target individual. Tom Cruise is the first subjected to the process, gaining a "CENSORED" box identical to Muhammad's, but further transfers are interrupted when the Super Best Friends arrive to free their comrade Muhammad. Meanwhile, Cartman is taken to the Ginger lair to meet Scott Tenorman, the Head Ginger. Depicted as a melodramatic madman, Scott has decorated his lair to represent the Chili Con-Carnival in which Cartman gained his revenge on Scott by tricking him into eating his own parents. He reveals to Cartman that they shared the same father, former Denver Broncos player Jack Tenorman, meaning that by his act of revenge against Scott, Cartman had killed his own father and fed him to his half-brother.

The fight between the Super Best Friends, celebrities, and Gingers spills over into the Ginger lair, and Tenorman escapes in the confusion. During the fight, Seaman leaps upon Cruise's back, leading Stan to observe, "Tom Cruise has Seaman on his back." The "CENSORED" box over Cruise disappears, and all present continue to make jokes based on the fact that the words "Seaman" and "semen" sound the same. Cruise questions why they are able to do this, which leads to a monologue from Kyle, Jesus Christ, and Santa Claus explaining that the goo does not exist, and that threatening people with violence is the only true answer. In the censored version, this explanation is completely obscured by a continuous audio bleep.

As the town begins to rebuild following the Mecha-Streisand attack ("for the 39th time", according to Mayor McDaniels), Stan, Kyle, and Kenny find Cartman crying – not because he learned that he murdered his father, but because he is "half-ginger". Mitch Conner reminds Cartman that he is "half-Bronco" as well and tells him that makes him "pretty cool" and departs. The boys find Cruise crying for a place in which he can live without fear of mockery. Stan, Kenny and Kyle promise to help Cruise get to such a place. The episode's closing shot is of Cruise's corpse lying on the Moon's surface alongside the corpse of the orca featured in "Free Willzyx".

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