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Comedy Central receives backlash from South Park fans after Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus airs

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Fans taking shows way too seriously is nothing new...

On April 1, 1998, the first episode of the second season of South Park, “Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus” was shown instead of the expected Season 2 premiere, “Cartman’s Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut”, the conclusion to the cliffhanger Season 1 finale “Cartman’s Mom Is a Dirty Slut” about who Eric Cartman’s father is, as a deliberate April Fools’ Day prank. Fans were furious, and Comedy Central had gotten 2,000 complaints by email in a single week afterward.[1]

Reception

Critics were divided over their reaction to co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s prank on their fans. Newsday’s Diane Werts observed how “[s]ome [fans] jumped ship and never came back” and claimed they were sending a clear message to Parker and Stone: “Pay off our expectations, or you'll be sorry.”[2] On the other hand, Jon Casimir wrote in The Sydney Morning-Herald that he considered it to be “gratifying, in an entertainment world dominated by market research and common denominators, to see a program that obviously doesn't care if you like it or not.”[3]

Response

Comedy Central moved the scheduled premiere date of “Cartman’s Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut” up when fans reacted badly, but ran a commercial containing some of the angry responses they had received after the prank episode aired.[4] When asked about the fallout over the prank by Entertainment Weekly, Stone replied, “If you get that pissed off because you don't know who a little construction paper kid's father is, then there's really something wrong with you.”[5]

In some countries, like the United Kingdom, "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus" aired as the finale to season 2 with the disclaimer about the cliffhanger at the start of the episode removed.

11 years later, South Park poked fun at the "Not Without My Anus" incident with the Season 13 episode "Eat, Pray, Queef", where the boys tuned in to watch the conclusion to the cliffhanger of a Terrance and Phillip two-parter, only to find out it had been replaced by another show, The Queef Sisters, as an April Fools joke, leading to plenty of backlash.

References

  1. Feran, Tom (1998-04-04). "‘Tom Jones’ big, bawdy, well done". The Plain Dealer. p. 1F.
  2. Werts, Diane (2000-07-13). "Do viewers need closure after canceled show's cliffhanger?". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 3E.
  3. Casimir, Jon (1998-08-31). "Off to a False Start". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 70.
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEtXBJf9vfE
  5. Bickley, Claire (1998-12-26). "The television year in months; hello to CablePulse24, Goodbye to Seinfeld and have a good thought for Michael J. Fox". Toronto Sun. p. 137.

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