question of the day: Is ‘South Park’s plagiarism apology plausible?

So, CollegeHumor posts a video parody of Inception. Then Matt Stone and Trey Parker, looking to create their own parody of Inception, turn to that CollegeHumor video as source material, because — they say — they couldn’t find a theater showing the film to refresh their memories of it. Which anyone might have known would be a recipe for disaster, especially given the supposed intent behind the South Park parody, as Stone explained to The New York Times:

Mr. Stone said he and Mr. Parker wanted their “South Park” episode to satirize the verbal complexity of “Inception.” “It was like, ‘Let’s parody the gobbledygook’ — because honestly, that movie — all those explanations, and explanations of explanations,” Mr. Stone said.

Okay, fine. But this?

“We thought their joke was that a lot of those lines [in the CollegeHumor video] were actually in the movie,” Mr. Stone said, “and they were banging them against each other, and showing that the ‘Inception’ characters didn’t even know ‘Inception.’ That was a mistake, and it was an honest mistake.”

Could this really be an honest mistake? It’s hard to see how if the theft was deliberate Stone and Parker ever imagined they’d get away with no one noticing, but it’s also hard not to see their actions here as sheer laziness and stupidity: could they really have thought some of the ridiculous lines in the CollegeHumor video were in the film itself?

Stone’s rationalization for the copying, to the Times really galls:

It’s just because we do the show in six days, and we’re stupid and we just threw it together.

They’re just stupid, okay? We shouldn’t expect anything more from them.

Chris Philpott at On the Box believes that the

plagiarism confirmed something I had suspected for a while: South Park is officially out of original ideas.

Ouch. Could that be true? Is South Park’s plagiarism apology plausible? And even if it is plausible, is it still a sign that South Park has run its course?

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