Parker and Stone Gaze Earnestly at Their Navels While a Writer from The Hollywood Reporter Looks On
By Ken K. Gourdin
At Mormon Dialogue and Discussion, I ran across a discussion of the above-linked article (that and all other links last accessed September 29, 2016) in which a writer from The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators (along with Robert Lopez) of the smash-hit musical The Book of Mormon Musical. (My title to this post is the same title I gave the above link.)
I have been much more charitable and tolerant of Parker and Stone and of their work elsewhere on the blog. See here:
I was much more frank and less charitable in this discussion. (WARNING: In my frankness and uncharitableness, I don’t mince words here, including using strong language.) Passages from The Hollywood Reporter story are in quotations, followed by my response in bold:
“[Talking about how the play has wreaked pure havoc on their schedules] And yet its [South Park’s] success comes at a price: When they return to Los Angeles, Parker and Stone will have just two months to produce a batch of seven new episodes, followed by seven more after a brief hiatus. Without their usual two weeks of prep before the season begins — and without their habitual five-day writers retreat — they’ll be scribbling ideas on Thursdays and working nonstop till the early hours of the following Wednesday morning, the very day each episode airs, when it is finally locked.”
Awww … cry me a river! Gee, that’s soooo rough! These guys need a serious dose of reality. They should go spend a few days with a sanitation crew or a shift of police officers or an emergency room staff; then I might half-listen about how rough their lives are.
“But it wasn’t until they made a much-talked-about video greeting card for Fox executive Brian Graden that they were commissioned to make South Park some 15 years ago. Other than the two forays into film and a TV misfire, [Title deleted: I’m not giving Parker and Stone’s work more play than it deserves], they’ve remained exclusively with South Park ever since.”
Obviously, this writer has forgotten the little gem [Title deleted: Again, I’m not giving Parker and Stone’s work more play than it deserves]. If I were Parker and Stone, I would be positively livid at the slight! That was Oscar-worthy material, fer shure!
“The Cruise episode was one of many that defined South Park as among the most cutting-edge shows of its era, a creation that made fun of individuals and institutions alike. Which makes it surprising to discover there’s a gentleness and even a kindness about Parker and Stone that’s far from the flipness one might expect.”
Given enough time, we’ll produce enough trash that we’ll somehow offend the entirety of the human race in one way or another, but hey, if we’re “gentle and kind” in our personal lives, that’ll make it all better!
“Even at their most sacrilegious, Parker says, they never plan to inflict pain.”
T’ain’t whatcha actually do that counts; it’s whatcha plan to do! Got it!
“When someone goes, ‘Oh, this group is really p!$$ed off at what you said,’ there’s not a piece of my body that goes, ‘Sweet!’ Parker asserts. ‘That means I did it wrong. I’m just trying to make people laugh.’”
Oh, please! As long as someone keeps signing the paychecks, Trey, the truth is you don’t give a tinker’s dam what happens “in your body” or who(m) you p!$$ off …
“Once you get yourselves into things that are working on a deeper level, you just have to keep going,” Stone reflects. “When you reach that deeper level, you can’t go back.”
“Once you get yourselves to the point where people are signing paychecks this big for you, you just have to keep going,” Stone “reflects.” “When you reach that deeper level, you can’t go back.” And oh, by the way, the point of the piece, in case you missed it, is that we now realize that “it’s ‘wrong’ to offend”: since we know it’s wrong but we do it anyway, we flog ourselves mercilessly for at least 30 minutes every week before cashing our paychecks!