It would have been tough for South Park to top the Scientology-bashing of "Trapped in the Closet," the episode that started the whole fracas in the first place. They may have succeeded, however, with their much anticipated season premiere, titled "The Return of Chef!" As has been reported just about everywhere, Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef and a longtime Scientologist, released a damning statement just weeks ago, announcing that he was abruptly quitting the series after nine seasons. A FoxNews.com report then suggested that Hayes has been recovering from a stroke and that this "decision" was made for him. The plot (spoilers if you haven't seen it yet) accounts for either circumstance: It follows a thoroughly brainwashed Chef returning from an extended absence during which he traveled the world with the Super Adventure Club—a group of monocled and mustachioed Col. Mustard types who just happen, it turns out, to enjoy raping the local children they encounter on safari. Chef speaks in mostly crudely patched-together dialogue, expressing in various ways his desire to "get in kids' butts." If that's not enough of a dishonorable sendoff for the beloved character, then there's the protracted death sequence that culminates in a Grizzly Man-inspired scenario. In the end, however, is this heartfelt eulogy delivered by Kyle:
"A lot of us don't agree with the choices the Chef has made in the last few days," one of the children eulogizes him at a funeral. "Some of us feel hurt and confused that he seemed to turn his back on us. But we can't let the events of the past few weeks take away the memories of how Chef made us smile.
"We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us," the eulogy concludes. "We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains."
While likening Scientology to a "fruity little club" may be funny in a bratty sort of way, we're wondering if perhaps it's giving them too easy a retaliatory target. They are, after all, a club that helped many a conflicted little fruit kick their dangerous anti-psychotic medication habits, resolve their past-life issues, and maximize their life potential.