South Park is as South Park does, and if they were to pick on religions, it was bound to happen they'd pick on Scientology -- and if they were going to pick on Scientology it was bound to happen that they'd be snide about it. So, it's no major shock to anyone.
Which makes Isaac Hayes' (belated) reaction out of place, for me, as a Scientologist. Hey, Chef, you were in bed with them dogs for how many years? And, NOW is when you get up and check for fleas?
Posted by Greg Churilov at 5:46 pm on March 17, 2006
Our friend Greg has been commenting on GetReligion since my earliest Scientology post in late February, and he's been consistent in defending the group from those who raise negative portrayals of Scientology. So to hear this from an avowed Scientologist was interesting, to say the least.
It'll be interesting to see what Matt Stone and Trey Parker do tonight in an episode that is supposed to give the character Chef played by Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist, a grand finale.
There's no word on whether the show will mention Scientology, but after last week's rerun of the famous Scientology episode was pulled at the last minute, it's hard to predict what will happen, especially after this statement from the show's creators:
So, Scientology, you may have won this battle, but the million-year war for Earth has just begun. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!
Fox News' Roger Friedman has said that Hayes couldn't have made that statement regarding the show's "intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs" because he is recovering from a stroke he suffered in January and that someone else was putting words in his mouth.
While the current unproven speculation is that Scientologist somehow got Hayes to issue that statement, we do know that someone else will be putting words in Hayes' mouth tonight:
A Comedy Central spokesman would not confirm or deny that Chef's voice in tonight's episode is provided by Hayes, but he did reiterate that Hayes is no longer involved with the show. However, it would not be difficult to weave together existing dialogue from Hayes. And it is not unusual for creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to deliver episodes at the last minute.
As the South Park creators navigate this legal minefield, I predict that there will be at least a subtle reference to last week's yanking of the Scientology episode. Whether Scientology will be mentioned is another matter.
A two-minute preview of the episode on the show's website gives few answers to these questions (the plot seems to evolve around the attempted mating of a horse and pig), but this is the subtitle: "When the boys are down on their luck with a recent science project, Chef offers a helpful solution."
Overall the media's coverage of this event seems fairly consistent with what similar controversies receive. Speculations on a person's physical capability to make statements -- and thus alleging that the statements come from Scientology -- are a bit much in my opinion, especially considering how easily that can be disproved, but you can't deny Stone and Parker's ability to capitalize on their share of controversy.