By now I would hope most of you have seen the latest episode of South Park, entitled “Dances With Smurfs” (if not, you need to go HERE right away and do so!). The episode follows in the show’s great tradition of intelligent inappropriateness, this time lampooning such things as school shootings (really pushing it there), the current political landscape (hilarious) and, in a twist-turn in the final 1/3, James Cameron’s upcoming sci-fi epic, Avatar.

So what do all those random things have in common? Only the minds behind South Park know for sure…

[SPOILER ALERT!!! WATCH THE EPISODE BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!]

What basically happens is this: Cartman uses his manipulative talents to take over the school announcements job and quickly becomes a Glenn Beck clone, tearing into class president Wendy for being a “Smurf hater” who is trying to turn the school into a “socialist regime” (Beck himself thought the lampooning was pretty funny, BTW). Of course Cartman has no real political agenda – he’s simply trying to use controversy as a form of self-promotion. When President Wendy gets savvy to Cartman’s game, she turns the tables, selling off film rights to a story about Smurf oppression before Cartman can cash-in on it first. The name of Wendy’s movie? AVATAR.

What?” says an angry Cartman, staring up a theater marquee (see above), “It’s just Dances With Wolves…with Smurfs!

[END SPOILERS]

Cue me laughing ’til tears are coming out of my eyes.

Poor James Cameron – he’s been touting Avatar as an “original work of his own creation,” but ever since the full trailer came out, and people have gotten a better look at the film’s plot and story, criticisms have been tossed at Cameron left and right, ranging from “Dude, you’re totally re-hashing ideas from like 5 other movies,” to “Dude, you straight-up stole this idea.”

Whatever peoples’ gripes about the story, James Cameron has been working on Avatar for a decade and a half, pretty much just trying to bring us something new and fresh – or at the very least, rekindle that spirit of excitement and awe we remember from the first three Indiana Jones flicks, the first two Terminators or the Star Wars trilogy. And, at the very least, the acclaimed director has (once again) created some revolutionary filmmaking technology likely to bring CGI F/X one step closer to reality. I almost feel bad to see him getting so much flak for his efforts: innovation sure ain’t easy…

Then again, what’s the point of crying about it? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: None of us is safe from mockery so long as South Park exists to slap us down a peg. And, given the show’s history for going to the EXTREME, I say Avatar got off easy.

Avatar will be in theaters on December 18, 2009. South Park airs new episodes on Comedy Central Wednesdays @ 10 p.m. Check out “Dances With Smurfs” and then let us know what you think. Here’s a clip to get you started:

Source: South Park Studios