Perhaps the most outrageous and offensive South Park episode of all time (and that's really saying something), "Bloody Mary," which first aired Dec. 7 as this season's finale, was pulled from the network schedule last night.
Its plot involves a statue of the Virgin Mary, which appears to be miraculously bleeding from its rectum. Pope Benedict XVI is called in to investigate, and upon discovering the statue is instead hemorrhaging from its vagina, says, ahem, "A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time." Then the Catholic League got a look at it, and the Immaculate menstrual blood really hit the fan:
Somewhat predictably, the Catholic League was incensed by the satirical portrayal of the Virgin Mary and the pope and by the fact that the episode aired on the day before the Catholic Church celebrated its Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The conservative group demanded an apology from Viacom, Comedy Central's parent company, to Roman Catholics everywhere and "a pledge that this episode be permanently retired and not be made available on DVD."
The Catholic League also sought a personal condemnation from Viacom board member Joseph A. Califano Jr., who the group noted is a "practicing Catholic."
Califano was only too happy to oblige. After viewing the episode, he released a statement calling the episode an "appalling and disgusting portrayal of the Virgin Mary."
"It is particularly troubling to me as a Roman Catholic that the segment has run on the eve and day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day for Roman Catholics," Califano said.
Califano also pledged to have Viacom president and CEO Tom Freston review the episode.
It would appear the Catholic League managed to accomplish what Tom Cruise couldn't. As to how Freston will apply his laid back executive style to put out this particularly incendiary fire, that's anybody's guess. It is worth noting that his recent staff e-mail managed to give nearly every property under the Viacom corporate umbrella its own bullet point, yet Comedy Central was almost completely glossed over. Perhaps in the midst of all the self-congratulatory hoopla, it would have been awkward to suddenly read, "And Comedy Central managed to blow $50 mil on a no-show comedian while still having enough energy left over to offend a billion Catholics worldwide. Thanks for nothing, assholes!"