Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

South Park is now on HBO Max—with five episodes missing

Illustration for article titled iSouth Park/i is now on HBO Max—with five episodes missing
Screenshot: South Park

All 23 seasons of South Park are now available on HBO Max—absent roughly two-and-a-half-hours. According to Deadline, five episodes of the naughty Comedy Central cartoon have been consigned to the vault, where they can hurt no one.

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You might remember an incident from way back in 2010 when a radical Muslim group threatened the lives of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Their crime was depicting Muslim prophet Muhammad as a cartoon in a season 14 episode, a choice that forced terrified Comedy Central brass to slap black bars and bleeps all over it. The full episode eventually resurfaced online, but it’s remained absent from all reproductions, including the show’s DVDs.

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That remains the case on HBO Max, but a few other episodes join it in hiding. In total, the removed episodes include season 14's “200" and “201,” season 10's “Cartoon Wars Part I and Part II,” and season five’s “Super Best Friends.” All of the episodes either feature or reference a character based on Muhammad. The season 14 and season five episodes were previously removed from the South Park website and the show’s old streaming deal with Hulu, but “Cartoon Wars” is a new exclusion. As of this writing, the two “Cartoon Wars” episodes remain available on the show’s website.

Parker and Stone haven’t stopped poking the bear following their brush with death. Just last year, the duo saw the show banned in China after it criticized President Xi Jinping. Expect more of this in the future, too, as South Park was renewed last fall for three more seasons.

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Editor’s Note: The headline on this article has been updated. The original version— “HBO Max removes all episodes of South Park referencing the Prophet Muhammad”—was misleading. The five episodes were not made available for streaming by Comedy Central and South Park Studios. 

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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