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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Comedy,censored

Irreverant,dark and very,very funny-that’s how one can describe South Park,the animated satire that has sparked quite a bit of controversy since it first went on air in 1997.

Written by Pooja Pillai |
May 11, 2009 1:49:30 am

South Park finally arrives in India,with a few nips and tucks

Irreverant,dark and very,very funny-that’s how one can describe South Park,the animated satire that has sparked quite a bit of controversy since it first went on air in 1997. The show which has had a successful run of 12 seasons (and counting) in the US,has finally reached Indian shores courtesy VH1,which will air the very first episode on May 11.

Set in a fictitious American town of the same name,the show revolves around the adventures of four boys — Stan Marsh,Kyle Broflovski,Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick; however it is noted for its unrestrained use of expletives and ability to poke fun at anything,from the presidential elections to religion to global warming.

“We’d been toying with the idea of getting the show to India since VH1 first started,” says Ferzad Palia,VH1 India associate GM,“but we didn’t feel that Indian audiences were ready for a show like this back then. Now,however,I feel that viewers can handle the kind of humour that the show offers and that they’re craving for something different.”

He couldn’t be more right. Ad executive Rishiraj Verma says he’s only watched a few episodes of the show on the Internet but they were a good enough teaser and now he’s very excited that South Park has finally come to India. He says,“More than just being extremely witty and funny,the show has strong undercurrents in terms of social commentary. There’s this whole new trend there,if I may call it that,of social awareness — political,environmental; in short,everything.”

India is known for being heavy-handed with censorship; so considering that the show takes pride in not just poking fun at religious figures like Jesus Christ but also in its use of profanities,will it pass unscathed in India? “Practically every other word on the show is an obscenity so I don’t see how they can bleep out the words and make the show work. In fact,there’s one episode called It Hits the Fan,where one particular profanity is used all the time and they have a counter running to show how many times it’s used. Censoring episodes like that is going to be quite a task,” says Shailesh Prabhu,another fan of the show.

Palia however reassures that it was not as difficult as it sounds. “We have bleeped out profanities; we don’t think viewers should be subjected to that kind of language. Moreover,while we’re showing the entire series from the start,we’ve had to pull out a few episodes with taboo subject matters. There are some instances where certain communities are made fun of and we don’t want to give offence to anyone. But that doesn’t mean that the humour gets affected.”

Palia is,in fact,confident that the show will definitely pick up in the country; it’s because of this confidence that the build-up has been low-key. “South Park is such a show that it’s an advertisement in itself. It’ll make a bang with its very first episode and it’s definitely here to stay.”

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