Santa Goes to Iraq and Jesus Dies in an Amazing South Park Christmas Episode, “Red Sleigh Down,” (618)

Boy, is Comedy Central getting us in the Holiday Spirit by airing some great South Park Christmas episodes, beginning tonight with “Red Sleigh Down,” perhaps one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed 23 minutes of satire ever to have been created in the history of satire. Do you think that’s saying a lot? I certainly do. Take it as a sign that you’re not going to want to miss this episode.

Santa goes to Iraq in order to spread the Christmas spirit to a part of the world sorely in need of some holiday cheer, but Iraqis, uninterested in his western capitalism and false promises, shoot his sleigh out of the air, take him into their lair, and torture him in an excruciating fashion.

The boys and Mr. Hankey (everyone’s favorite Holiday Season icon), in an attempt to rescue Santa, locate Jesus. Jesus takes them all to Iraq where they burst into the militants’ compound and save old Saint Nick. However, on the way out of the compound, Jesus is shot and killed. That’s right. Jesus is killed on his birthday. Jesus died to save Santa, making Christmas a day on which we should remember how Jesus died in order to save us. The theological implications and real world scenario derived from Christian theology make this a sensational episode – among other hilarious and disturbing moments.

Rather than flee Iraq, Santa steers his sleigh back towards Baghdad and shoots missiles at the capital city; these missiles don’t actually destroy anything, but rather, they explode as holiday decorations, presents and cheer.

What an amazing episode, and boy do I hope you watch it. What did you think of the episode? What was your favorite part?

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April Fools! Trey Parker and Matt Stone Yelled with “Terrance and Phillip in ‘Not Without My Anus,'” South Park Episode 201

Definitely the funniest thing about this episode is why it exists. As you may have noticed, it’s the first episode of the second season. Well, the cliffhanger “to-be-continued” season finale of the first season was “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut,” and was all about learning who Cartman’s father was.

Fans eagerly awaited the second season so that they could learn who Cartman’s father was and when it turned out that this episode was supposed to be aired on April 1st, Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought that a little April Fool’s joke was in order and so they made this totally ridiculous episode that was all about Terrance and Philip and a whole bunch of other nonsense.

The fans were pissed off (I wasn’t a viewer at the time). They were on board when it came to ragging on other people but when the joke-stick was pointed their way, they were not amused. I think that’s hilarious, though if I’d cared at the time I’d probably have been pissed off too.

One notable moment in this episode is Terrance and Philip and the person at the airport having no ability to differentiate between Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Iraq, insisting that they’re all the same. A comment on American (or Canadian?) ignorance about important regions of the world, hmm?

What did you think of this episode? Did you want to see the other one back in the day?

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are Excellent in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies

As far as I know this hasn’t been a critically acclaimed film. In fact, it’s one among many Hollywood attempts to expose the problematic approach of the United States to the War on Terror. Well, we all know it’s flawed but throwing it in our faces when we’ve paid $10 to be entertained is not the greatest approach.

As it happens, this movie was pretty entertaining. It was, I contend, too long, and quite frankly I don’t understand why almost every movie these days is over 2 hours. I wish I could say I thought they were trying to give us our money’s worth, but when it comes to movies, value is not measured in time. It’s measured in the quality of the product on the screen. Now, it’s not that there were a huge amount of scenes that needed cutting, but generally I find long movies to be a problem with ego or intelligence. Either the director/editor thinks that his material is too good to be cut or (s)he’s not smart enough to figure out how to cut material while making sure the story doesn’t fall apart. It’s an art and it’s difficult, I understand, but that doesn’t mean I need to sit there through 30 minutes of bunk material because you can’t get your cut on.

In any case, this movie was good, if a little long. I’m not generally a big Russell Crowe fan, but he did a good job being a character I wasn’t supposed to like much anyway. Leonardo DiCaprio, as always, was spectacular. I often say that he is one of the premier actors of our generation and I stand by that. He is incredible and this performance was great – not Oscar great and perhaps not Blood Diamond great, but he’s great.

I loved the portrayal of certain aspects of Muslim culture in Jordan, including the difficulties between the Muslim woman and DiCaprio’s character, and I loved the defense of the Middle East and Islamic culture by DiCaprio. The Middle East is a great place with great people and this global struggle that we’ve all become embroiled in makes it rather difficult to realize that. Obviously, that’s what Hollywood, in all its glory, wants us to see, but unfortunately it would rather slam it in our faces than subtly demonstrate the fact. What can you do?

I give Body of Lies 7 chocolate salty balls.

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A Military Helicopter as Santa’s Sleigh – Do You Think They Saw South Park’s “Red Sleigh Down?”

I just saw the following picture:

Military Copter as Santa's Sleigh

Military Copter as Santa's Sleigh

Do you know what it made me think of? Nothing other than South Park, and in particular, episode 618, “Red Sleigh Down.” Why?

That episode is one of the most amazing ever. Santa goes to Iraq in order to spread the Christmas spirit to a part of the world sorely in need of some holiday cheer, and Iraqis shoot his sleigh down and then torture him.

The boys, in an attempt to rescue Santa, find Jesus who then busts into the Iraqi compound and saves old Saint Nick. However, on the way out of the compound, Jesus is shot and killed, making Christmas a day to remember how Jesus saved us and then died for us. Truly, it’s a sensational episode.

Rather than flee Iraq, though, Santa turns around and starts shooting missiles at Baghdad, not actually destroying anything, but missiles that explode holiday decorations, presents and cheer all over the city. I was looking at a bunch of “funny” photos from the Iraq War (and yes, yes, I know there’s nothing funny about war but you can check them out yourself by clicking HERE) and since this one reminded me so much of South Park I just had to share. However, I doubt this helicopter was shooting missiles filled with holiday cheer, though maybe it wasn’t dropping presents and aid and not just some sick, twisted joke.

Do you agree with the connection I’ve made between this picture and the episode? Do you like that episode?

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