At this point, it feels like companies are erring on the side of caution when it comes to offensive material, and when it comes to South Park, there's more than enough of that to go around. And while HBO Max has made all twenty-three seasons of the beloved animated series available to subscribers, it did exclude five episodes from the batch -- all of which feature depictions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
Tibrina Hobson/Getty ImagesAccording to a report from Deadline, the decision to cut the episodes was made in advance. For those wondering, the episodes in question are season 5's "Super Best Friends," season 10's "Cartoon Wars Part I" and "Cartoon Wars Part 2," and season 14’s "200" and "201." The reason for the cut stems from an Islamic belief forbidding the depiction of Muhammad, as well as other prophets.
Of course, this isn't the first time South Park's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad has landed creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker in hot water. In 2010, the pair were met with death threats from a group of Muslim extremists, prompting Comedy Central to censor and eventually pull the episodes from their television rotation.
Though the vast majority of the series remains untouched, it's likely that HBO Max's decision to ax the aforementioned five episodes will ruffle the feathers of die-hard South Park completionists, though others will understand the motivation behind the decision. Either way, South Park continues to reign supreme as one of the longest-running scripted television series of all time, its twenty-six seasons putting it just behind The Simpsons in the animated category. And that's not ending anytime soon; in 2019, Comedy Central renewed South Park for another three seasons, a run that will stretch into 2022.