The publicity piled up when Comedy Central planned to rerun the anti-Scientology episode in question, and then suddenly developed a bizarre case of censorship, reportedly under pressure from Scientology A-lister Tom Cruise. That move led to a wave of cable news programs devoted to the rich irony: Comedy Central has a conscience about disturbing the sensibilities of a bizarre cult, but has no reservations whatsoever about insulting Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and airing programs such as last December's "Merry F--ing Christmas."
But the whole controversy doubled the ratings for the expected Scientology rerun that never aired. When a new "South Park" episode appeared, the producers did what any group of arrested adolescents would do: They went completely over the top. Chef is brainwashed by the "Super Adventure Club," an obvious Scientology reference. He comes home telling the children he wants to "make sweet love" to them. The other characters were angry at "that fruity little club for scrambling his brains." It ends when Hayes' Chef character is struck by lightning, impaled, shot, mauled by a mountain lion, and eaten by a grizzly bear.
Speaking of cartoonishly overdone death scenes, let's not ignore the season finale of "Drawn Together," another vile "adult" late-night cartoon that airs right after "South Park," in which cartoon characters from different eras and genres are thrown together in a house like a reality show. Predictably, the producers brag on the Comedy Central website that they're doing the same humor they enjoyed in "tenth grade."
The finale was a "clip show" of previous episodes, putting all of the most shocking cartoon sex and violence in one intense package. One clip mocked the "Veggie Tales" cartoon for Christian preschoolers. The cucumber character goes on a shooting rampage, killing nearly all the show's major characters, shooting most of them bloodily in the head. Behind the killings, a laugh track howls.
Another clip features the "Veggie Fables" characters singing a song called "God Is Watching." The lyrics predictably associate Christianity only with condemnation. The happy vegetables sing about how God watches you shower and touch yourself, and they then turn angry and promise, "Your flesh will burn, your bones will churn, your soul will be torn asunder. You wretched, heathen, heretic, burn in Hell! For eternity!"
Comedy Central is pathetic, a naughty channel for Lost Boys who don't want to grow up, both the arrested adolescents who make these ugly, filthy shows, and the arrested adolescents who enjoy them.