October 22, 2010

UPDATE: David and I just got off the phone with Matt Stone (more here). Matt also spoke to the NY Times about it (South Park Apologizes For Lifted Material in Inception Parody). All is well.


Well, this is odd. It looks as if South Park essentially plagiarized Inception Characters Don’t Understand Inception, a sketch written by me and David Young a few months ago.

I’m conflicted, because I absolutely adore South Park. I admire Trey Parker and Matt Stone more than almost anyone currently working in comedy. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I’d say maybe it’s an homage - I’d be honored - but while our sketch was popular, it wasn’t nearly the national phenomenon it’d have to be for them to parody it. Maybe it was some staff writer, and Matt and Trey aren’t aware of the source material? Or something?

I am VERY careful about accusations like this, because parallel thinking happens all the time in comedy (i.e. the “Tiny Hat” SNL thing, which I didn’t think was an issue at all). And certainly, many people have made fun of Inception’s complicated plot. Even the fact that it’s based on the same scene in the movie, I could ignore. But our sketch is lifted almost line by line. For example (ellipses represent skipped transitional sections; everything else is in a row, as spoken):

We need to move to the next dream level before these projections kill us. / We need to move them to the next dream level before the projections kill them.

If we die, we go to limbo / …we can protect them from getting to limbo.
What’s that? / What’s that?
Shared unconstructed dream space. / Empty scary dream space.
So it’s a nightmare. / So like a nightmare.

That doesn’t sound so hard. / That doesn’t sound very difficult.
It is. / It is.
Why? / Why?
Aaarrgh! / Aaarrgh!
We don’t have time for this! / We don’t have time for this!
Okay, fine, so next we’re going into Arthur’s dream, and then what? / Okay, fine. So you’re gonna take my son to a dream within the dream, then what?
Then we go into Fisher’s dream. / Then we go into your husband’s dream.
Okay got it / Okay…
But Fisher will think we’re in Browning’s dream / But your husband will think you’re in Hasselback’s dream.
Okay. Wait, who’s Browning? / Okay wait, who’s Hasselback?

Sorry that’s my bad. Sometimes my thoughts of my dead wife manifest themselves as trains. / Sometimes thoughts of my dead wife manifest themselves as trains.

I have faith that there’s some explanation, but I still felt like I needed to say something.

(Source: samreich, via benjoseph)

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