Cartoon Wars Part II
The episode opens with an announcement that Part Two of "Cartoon Wars" has been replaced by a Terrance and Phillip special called The Mystery at the Lazy "J" Ranch. The T&P special contains an image of Mohammed riding a horse, which the Canadian Broadcasting Company censors.
Pissed, Terrance and Phillip march into the CBC Network Head's office and demand their episode be aired without censorship. They go on to argue that Family Guy is about do the very same thing, uncensored, in the United States. But the Network Head is unswayed, saying there's probably someone on the way to Fox right now to stop it.
The action then jumps to Cartman, who's just arrived at Fox Studios. There, he runs into none other than Bart Simpson, who says he hates Family Guy too.
After a brief conversation, they agree that Cartman is by far the more evil and manipulative of the two, and is thus best-qualified to sway the network brass. When he's finally allowed to see the Fox executives, Cartman pretends to be a crippled Danish child whose father was killed by terrorist violence. His plea to stop the Family Guy episode proves so compelling that he's allowed to speak to the show's "writers."
Meanwhile, Kyle -- who was left tricycle-less and stranded at the end of the last episode -- hitches a ride into Hollywood. But the moment he steps foot on the Fox lot, he's intercepted, knocked out, and locked in a supply shed by Bart.
Cartman is taken to see Family Guy's writers, which turn out to be a group of manatees in a large tank. The placid aquatic mammals "write" the show by selecting from a vast supply of "idea balls," each with a noun, verb, or pop-culture reference on it. A set of five is used to create each one of the show's set-piece gags.
The animals ignore Cartman's touching story, mostly because they're the only mammals in the world that are immune to terrorist threats. Stranger still, it's revealed that if even one idea ball is removed from the tank, they will refuse to work. Cartman turns this information to his advantage by secretly pilfering an idea ball, causing the manatees to stop working. The President of Fox doesn't know what to do to appease the writers.
Cartman tells the President of Fox that the manatees are screwing with him and that he needs to take a stand. Convinced, the President pulls the Family Guy episode shortly before air time. But all is not lost.
Kyle convinces Bart to release him, finds Cartman, and then battles him in a lengthy slap fight that eventually lands them in the President of Fox's office. Cartman pulls a gun and demands the episode not run, while Kyle makes an impassioned plea against censorship.
Just before airtime, the President decides to stand up to the threat of terrorist violence (and the much-more-immediate threat of getting capped by Cartman) and run the show.
The episode, which features Mohammed in a lame, throwaway gag, airs as planned. The terrorists immediately launch their "devastating" response -- a crude cartoon of their own, featuring George W. Bush, Carson Kressley (from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), and Jesus pooping on each other.
What I Learned Today
"People can get hurt. That's how terrorism works. But if you give in to that, you're allowing terrorism to work."
- "Forgive me Mr. President, but this 'First Amendment' sounds like a lot of bureaucratic jibbery-joo." (Reporter)
- "Cowabunga, motherfucker." Bart Simpson
- "Manatees are very ethical writers. Either everything's okay to write about, or nothing is." (Family Guy Staffer)
- "Don't you know anything about manatees? They're the only mammals that are completely unmoved by terrorist threats." (Family Guy Staffer)
- "I . . . am . . . GOD!" Cartman
- "Let this be our final battle." Cartman
- "No hitting in the balls." Cartman
- "If you look closely at the writing in Family Guy, you will see that the jokes never derive from the plot. And I think that's totally gay." Osama bin Laden
- "Laundry - date - winning - Mexico - Gary Coleman. A perfect Family Guy joke!"(Writer's Assistant)
- "It's time I stop letting these prima donna manatees tell me what to do!" Doug the President of FOX
- "Oh god damnit, you gave him one of your gay little speeches, didn't you?!" Cartman
- "You think THAT'S bad?! Remember the time I got a salmon helmet from Mohammed while wearing a toga?" Peter Griffin
Bart Simpson. He joins forces with Cartman (at least at first) in his plot to get Family Guy cancelled. Also, when Cartman and Kyle fight, they roll through the offices of another Fox animated show, King of the Hill. Staffers from both King of the Hill and The Simpsons contacted Matt and Trey after the first part of "Cartoon Wars"aired and expressed similar feelings about Family Guy.
We also meet the Network President of the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). He denies Terrance and Phillip's request to air the Mohammed episode uncensored, and he will give them even worse news in Season 13's "Eat, Pray, Queef." There's also the Family Guy "Writing Staff" -- aka a bunch of manatees. The head writers we're introduced to are Gretchen, Flubber, Tigger, Pete, and Lucy.
Behind The Scenes
In the scene supposedly containing Mohammed, there is instead a black slate reading, "In this shot, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy. Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network." This is not an embellishment. This scene was fully animated in the show -- Matt and Trey refused to cut it and Comedy Central refused to air it -- so, once the show was delivered, Comedy Central inserted in this slate on their end. In the actual scene, Mohammed looked totally normal and hands a football helmet with a dead salmon on it to Peter.
Where Did The Idea Come From
This is the second part of the previous episode. It spanned two shows in part because Matt and Trey wanted another week to try to talk Comedy Central (without success, as it turned out) into letting them show Mohammed. During Kyle's impassioned speech about censorship to the President of Fox, he even says, "Yes. People can get hurt. That's how terrorism works. But if you give in to that, Doug, you're allowing terrorism to work. Do the right thing here." This is a direct shout out to Doug Herzog, President of Comedy Central.
Ironically, this episode became almost as notorious for ripping on Family Guy -- which, for the record, both Trey and Matt strongly, strongly dislike. Or, to be more specific, they strongly dislike its anything-for-a-gag writing style.
Pop Culture References
The President of Fox gives the code for dropping the Family Guy episode as "zero zero destruct . . ." It's a reference to the "zero zero destruct zero" code used to (almost) destroy the Enterprise in the Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," and to actually destroy her in the 1984 film Star Trek: The Search for Spock.
The title card for Terrance and Phillip's Mystery at the Lazy "J" Ranch is done in a style very similar to that of fictional amateur detectives The Hardy Boys. See "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce" for more on that.
When Cartman tries to convince the Fox executives to pull the episode, he takes on the persona of "Little Danny Pocket," complete with a tiny crutch. This is an homage to Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.
There's a billboard for a show called The IE (The Inland Empire). This is a joke on the hit Fox show The OC, replacing it with a very hot, landlocked area outside of Los Angeles. There's also a billboard for Cold Age: The Smackdown -- a parody of the animated film Ice Age: The Meltdown.
Gary Coleman makes a guest spot in a Family Guy joke -- on a date with Peter in Mexico -- saying his popular catchphrase, "What you talkin' bout Willis?"
The episode starts with what has become a classic South Park April Fools joke: "And now, the thrilling conclusion of Cartoon Wars Will not be seen tonight! So that we can bring you this Terrance and Phillip Special!" This same gag was played on the fans in Season 2's "Not Without My Anus" (much to the displeasure of those same fans waiting to find out who Cartman's father was). The gag is referred to again in "Eat, Pray, Queef."
In The Mystery at the Lazy "J" Ranch, Terrance is still shown as significantly overweight -- a continuation of the events that unfolded in Season 5's "Behind the Blow."
When trying to decide who should go and talk with the network heads, Cartman or Bart Simpson, Bart says he once stole the head off a statue (a reference to a Simpsons episode called "The Telltale Head"). Cartman responds, "Wow, that's pretty hardcore. Geez. That's like this one time, when I didn't like a kid, so I ground his parents up into chili and fed it to him." He's talking of course about "Scott Tenorman Must Die." Later in the episode, Bart is seen writing in chalk: "I Hate Family Guy." It's a nod to The Simpsons' opening credits where he writes something different on the chalkboard every episode.
The Al-Qaeda film at the end of this episode features cutouts of a number of South Park staff members all taking a crap on one another.
What's totally funny, considering the controversy surrounding this episode, is that Mohammed had already been shown during Season Five's "Super Best Friends."