In the past week, Catholic League President Bill Donohue has condemned the Viacom-owned cable network for airing two Christmas shows that mock Catholicism.
Donohue unsuccessfully sought apologies and/or early retirement for Denis Leary’s Merry F#$%in’ Christmas and the South Park season finale, “Bloody Mary.”
Leary’s special re-airs five times between Saturday and Christmas, while the “Bloody Mary” episode of South Park is set to repeat Dec. 28 as part of a marathon re-airing of the Emmy-winning animated comedy’s ninth season.
The Catholic League remains hopeful, though, that an appeal to Viacom director (and Roman Catholic) Joseph Califano might find more success than past complaints over the years. They previously tangled with South Park over the 2002 episode, “Red Hot Catholic Love,” to no avail.
“We realize appealing to Comedy Central on a moral basis isn’t going to get us anywhere,” said League spokeswoman Kiera McCaffrey.
Appealing to the public isn’t likely to work, either. Two-thirds of the almost 30,000 responses to an online survey at thebostonchannel.com think Comedy Central shouldn’t apologize for last week’s South Park episode, which featured a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary and a parody of Pope Benedict XVI.
Another cable channel, Bravo, calls South Park one of its “Great Things About the Holidays.”
The show grew out of an animated short called “Jesus vs. Frosty” when creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were still Colorado college students. In the original toon, Jesus used his halo to decapitate a serial-killing Frosty.
That film got revised as a Jesus vs. Santa death-match called “The Spirit of Christmas,” which ultimately launched South Park.
The South Park tradition of skewering the holidays began in 1997 with the introduction of “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.” Subsequent years have seen “Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson,” “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics,” “Are You There God, It’s Me Jesus,” “A Very Crappy Christmas,” “Red Sleigh Down,” “It’s Christmas in Canada,” and “Woodland Critter Christmas.”
Related: South Park Studios