Million-year war for Earth begins tonight

imageNYET2South 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!

chef4Fox 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.

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  • Stephen A.

    Oh. My. God.

    Let’s just say 1) Scientology wasn’t mentioned (by name) in the episode 2) The show is UNSPEAKABLE and 3) the Chef character was kind of brutally killed off…. or WAS he? ;-)

    I’m sure Greg is not that pleased just about now.

  • Stephen A.

    …and if Mr. Hayes really did have a stroke and never said he was leaving the show – and still “loves” the show (as the Fox article noted) – he may have another stroke when he sees his character portrayed as a brainwashed child molester (yeah, that’s how bad it was) and torn apart by a lion and grizzly bear.

  • D Rathan

    Oh My God.

    I’ll say that again.

    Oh. My. God.

    Only in America, only in this time and age, could a badly animated cartoon turn out to be the finest foe a famously Orwellian cult had ever faced in its short history. Wow. Dont mess with South Park, is the lesson of the day. Stone and Parker go into the history books for this one.

    The show itself is full of symbolism.

    By seeking “adventure” and a “fullfillment” in his life, Chef joined a “fruiy club” that ended up brainwashing him. The kids try to rescue him, but the group wont let him go, and proceed to tie him up to a bed while a club member audits, er, “reads to him from the Founder’s manual”. (The Founder, we learn, was a lunatic whose ambitions of success in the secular world are foiled by his own incompetence, and thus turns to pioneer into crime and religion. The legend “this is what the Super Adventurers Club actually believes” was just brilliant, when describing the thetans er, the little swirly things the Founder believed to be in children bodies. )The “fruity club” tries to brainwash the kids too, but their childish methods simply dont work on them, perhaps because they know where they lead to, and aren’t “pot committed” yet. They try to save Chef, but his hesitation results in him “burning his bridges” and “falling to his death”, except that the “fruity club” may still revive him, (or a twisted, dark version of him) for their own uses. Brilliant.

    And thats not even counting all of the hillarious voice mashups that indoubtably were designed to give Hayes a stroke. They killed the Chef character in more ways than I can count, what with the fat stripper, etc. It was just nasty, brutal, hillarious. And all under 20 minutes and while being funny at the same time, how does Trey and Stone do it, and in just a few days? I’m simply wow-ed. Hayes, and his Scientology minders… I bet they are regretting ever having messed with South Park. They would have been better off if they had just put the other cheek. Cant wait for the episode to be put online.

  • Avram

    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.”

    Hm. That sounds like an episode from the first season (though it was an elephant, not a horse).

  • Meg Q

    Nope, it’s an all-new episode. You can get it in parts on You Tube.
    Chef Returns Part I
    Chef Returns Part II
    Chef Returns Part III
    Chef Returns Part IV
    Chef Returns Part V
    Chef Returns Part VI

    Indeed, Mr. Hayes might well have another stroke from this show. I thought Stone and Parker were expressing, through the children, their love for Hayes and their anger at Scientology and the situation. In the usual South Park manner. Just my interpretation, but it’s pretty obvious.

    Best quote:
    KYLE: The reason Chef has been saying those terrible things about us is because he’s been brainwashed by this fruity little club!
    [Other boys react with SHOCK]
    ERIC: Oh son of a bitch!

    Then there’s the whole eulogy (Part VI).

  • Stephen A.

    Avram’s right re: the elephant (and he apparently is ALSO a faithful viewer!) That was a maguffin of sorts, if some were led to believe THAT would be the show last night.

    D Rathan’s right. These guys are brilliant, if extremely vulgar. I missed the “burning bridges” symbolism. Interesting. It was obvious where they were going with the “club,” though.

    I thought the also obvious borrowing of old voice clips for the Chef character were even exaggerated a bit in their choppiness to avoid implying that Hayes actually voiced the things his character said in this episode.

    Remember that Matt and Trey came up with an episode on the Elian Gonzalez situation within DAYS of the event. And it was extremely funny, regardless of how you viewed that.

    The mp3 that D Rathan linked to is interesting. (Is that Penn *AND* Teller talking? I know they have a show on pay cable called “BS**” that exposes frauds, etc. and this sounds like a podcast based on that. I just didn’t know the *other* guy ever spoke.)

  • D Rathan

    Hi Stephen.

    That was just Penn, his radio partner is Michael Goudeau. This is their show’s website:

    Penn is famously atheist, but apparently he’s done a lot of research on Scientology.

    Interestingly, the reason why the South Park duo took on Scientology, to begin with, is Penn Jillette. According to this interview, they were piqued by Showtime’s desicion to veto Jillette’s attempt to cover Scientology in his show BS.

    Maybe now Showtime will grow some.

  • Beth

    I echo the chorus: Oh. My. God.

    It was interesting to compare this episode with the 2003 Mormon history episode, done as a piece of music theatre. While the satire of Mormon beliefs was sharp, the show’s portrayal of the final speech left no doubt that its creators were ultimately espousing a “whatever works for you” kind of laissez-faire pluralism:

    “Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life. And a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don’t care if Joseph Smith made it all up…I still choose to believe in it….”

    To which Cartman (!) replies: “Damn, that kid is cool, huh?”

    But the Chef episode seems to me to be suggesting that hey, maybe there are objective external standards to which one can hold a religion accountable, beyond “it’s working for me.” The Super Adventure Club guys, like the Mormons in the 2003 episode, claim their members are better off by belonging. Trey and Matt are asking here: but are they really?

  • Molly

    When do you suppose this add for Potato Chipswas made? It has just begun running. As a matter of fact, I think I saw it the day after reading about all the South Park shenanigans online. I assume it was made before Mr. Hayes had the stroke.

  • D Rathan

    Conspiracy Theory.

    I dont know. This may remain in the realm of who killed JFK and the fake moon landing, but… its just interesting to see this chronology of events.

    The original South Park Scientology episode is made in November.

    In January 4, the Onion AV Club interviews Hayes about it:

    AVC: They did just do an episode that made fun of your religion, Scientology. Did that bother you?

    IH: Well, I talked to Matt and Trey about that. They didn’t let me know until it was done. I said, “Guys, you have it all wrong. We’re not like that. I know that’s your thing, but get your information correct, because somebody might believe that shit, you know?” But I understand what they’re doing. I told them to take a couple of Scientology courses, and understand what we do. [Laughs.]


    A couple weeks later, January 17, Hayes is hospitalized for “exhaustion”. Hmm.

    On March 13, which happens to be Hubbard’s birthday, Hayes quits the show through a statement. Compare his statement then, with his statement to the Onion some months before, about the scientology episode.

    What happened? “The New York Post says fellow Scientologist Christina Kimball — a fashion exec for designer Craig Taylor — is responsible for issuing the release.”. Hmm. Then we have Fox New’s friedman, saying that it wasnt “exhaustion”, but a stroke, and that Chef did not quit on his own free will. Hmm..

    We havent heard of Hayes yet. Yet another spokesman for Hayes, claims

    the Fox News report was “definitely not true” and that Hayes’ decision to quit was “his and his alone.” She added that Hayes was never hospitalized with a stroke, but rather “spent a few days in a hospital because of a high blood-pressure condition with medical complications.”

    And also:

    “He’s finished talking about it. Basically, his feeling is, if [Stone and Parker] felt the need to do episodes like this one, then that’s fine,” Harnell said. “He’s done with it, and he’s already turning his attention to a series of upcoming commercial projects.”


    Which leads, obviously, to the conspiracy theories. The message below comes from “very reliable inside sources”:

    According to a very reliable inside source. DM gave an ultimatum to Isaac Hayes:

    “Resign or get declared” and Isaac was really angry about the
    situation and resisted their order. That’s why it took so long for him
    to finally leave South Park.

    Isaac is very much a ‘churchie’ and has no idea what is going on
    inside the Cof$ and this was not a personal decision but a
    ‘management’ decision because “they are SPs”!

    At first he was labelled PTS and was ordered to ‘handle or disconnect’.

    Isaac was furious that the Cof$ was trying to order him about his career
    but he finally gave in and left SP (South Park)

    I also heard he tried to appease them by donating thousands of dollars
    to Scn but DM did not budge.

    As we all know this has caused a really bad PR for the Cof$ and for
    Isaac as well, but we also know that DM is an expert at bad PR.

    Poor Isaac he really is not a hypocrite he is simply PTS and he has
    the wrong item. Thanks to Davey his PR in Hollywood now sucks.



    Hmm. Interesting, interesting.