'South Park' apologizes for stealing 'Inception' parody dialogue

south-park-inceptionDid the Inception parody that South Park aired last week seem eerily familiar as you watched? Don’t worry, you (probably) weren’t being incepted. The South Park episode lifted significant chunks of dialogue from a video posted on CollegeHumor.com back in August, to such an extent that South Park has had to apologize publicly. “It’s just because we do the show in six days, and we’re stupid and we just threw it together,” South Park creator Matt Stone told The New York Times. “But in the end, there are some lines that we had to call and apologize for.”

According to the Times, it was all a big mix-up: “When [Stone and Trey Parker] could not find a movie theater showing Inception, and were unable to get a DVD of the film (or find a watchable version on BitTorrent), they turned to other parodies of the film on the Web, and found the CollegeHumor video.” Stone adds that taking CollegeHumor’s jokes “was a mistake, and it was an honest mistake.”

Check out CollegeHumor’s “Inception Characters Don’t Understand Inception” after the jump, then visit South Park‘s site to see that show’s “Insheeption” episode. The Inception parody starts around 6:30. Some key shared lines to look out for include “Sometimes my thoughts of my dead wife manifest themselves as trains” and “We need to move to the next dream level before these projections kill us”/”We need to move them all to the next dream level before the projections kill them.”

Do you buy Stone’s explanation for all this? Does this seem like just “an honest mistake” or something worse? Sound off in comments.

Read more:
South Park‘s season premiere review: NASCAR and Vagisil
Inception: Let’s talk about that ending

Comments (161 total) Add your comment
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  • tracy bluth

    Both of those lines have been used in countless Inception parodies…

    • Devin Faraci

      They’re both seriously unfunny.

      • Adam Miles

        Ok Buddy, let’s not jump to conclusions. South Park is one of the main reasons Comedy Central has done so well – look at Comedy Central’s ratings history and you’ll find that South Park basically made CC what it is today. Apparently, in your world, Comedy means unfunny.

      • Joe Average

        I’m not your buddy, friend.

      • John

        I’m not your friend, Guy

      • Matt

        I’m not your guy, buddy.

      • Casey

        He’s not your buddy, friend.

      • Dimitri

        I find your lack of humor disturbing :)

      • Dick Smiley

        1. Funniest thing I’ve read today.
        2. CollegeHumor can suck my hairy balls, they are about as funny as a sliced tomato.

    • Cheri

      The NY Times article better explains what they meant. The lines they copied, they thought were in the movie itself, and the parody had used them. They didn’t realize the parody writers had made up those lines:
      “We thought their joke was that a lot of those lines 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.”

      • DV

        Except the fact that they ALSO ripped off the way collegehumor parodied it (not only the lines they thought were from the movie).

  • Carlos Mencia

    Hey, maybe I can steal their apology!

    • Carlos Mencia

      It should be noted that I stole that quip I just made.

      • LOLZ

        well you name is Carlos Mencia.

      • Shiny

        This is sad. These are the same guys who criticized Family Guy for ripping off The Simpsons. I’m guessing Trey and Matt were so rushed they’ve been relying on that Walrus that writes for the network.

      • Me

        That was a manattee, not a walrus.

      • Andy

        Also when did they claim that Family Guy ripped off The Simpsons?

      • rewod

        @shiny they were absolutely critical of family guy, but simply for being a poorly constructed show.

        the episode related to the simpsons was focused on how difficult it is for any show, specifically their own to not wind up with storylines similar to those that have appeared on two decades worth of simpsons episodes

      • Anya

        @me Manatees write Family Guy not South Park

  • HIlarious

    That College Humor video is absolutely funny. It’s a little sad Matt and Trey had to copy that, but, they at least copied a very well put together video.

    • Darryl Mott Jr.

      Those jerks! How dare they parody the most obvious thing to parody about a very popular film! Just like they ripped off the homoeroticism and THIS IS SPARTA line from 300. That was horrible how they ripped off everyone with that…

      Oh, wait…

    • She’s just conversating

      Yeah I gotta agree. Pretty funny. Especially the end.

  • Jason

    Even if that explanation is true, that means they parodied a film they hadn’t even seen. That might be better than stealing lines, but not a whole lot better. Weak.

    • Josh M

      They’ve obviously seen the film. They just wanted to see it again to refresh their memories while making the show.

    • welshgirl

      Maybe not – they probably did see it when it came out, but when they wanted to do their show, they needed a ‘referesher’ and couldn’t find it. Matt and Trey are two of the most original, creative people working in entertainment today, and it is completely true that they their shows on a ridiculously tight turn around. I buy their apology.

    • LOLZ

      they may have seen it but just needed to watch it again to get some of the lines? So they watched the parody and did not think to check if the lines they lifted were in the film or made up by the parody.

      • susan

        That’s exactly what they said happened in a tmz article. They’re the best. Thanks for sticking up for them!

      • when they talk about actors…

        to make amends, the stones and Comedy Central could look to have the episode they are accused of lifting from included as a bonus feature on that season’s DVD release, with a link on the DVD to the site where other parodies by those creators can be found. If my stuff had been lifted by South Park, that’s probably what I’d ask for.

    • Lumin

      all haters need to
      stfu and gtfo hating and sit down, and take some deep breaths before you start passing out from all of the excitement surrounding the inception and south park parody!!!

      • greg

        Why is it that everyone who starts a comment with “all haters need to…” can’t form a coherent sentence? Dude, did you ever graduate? Is “hating” the extent of your vocabulary when referring to someone who disagrees with you?

      • Kris

        Amen to that Greg. Hater now means “someone who doesn’t love something I love” thanks to idiots like Lumin.

      • sarah

        That would be easy to do is Matt and Trey werent such douches who try and knock Seth McFarlane when they are doing the SAME exact thing, actually worse…PLEASE ” we thought they were lines from the movie” LAME…

  • Mark

    I don’t blame them for not watching the parody. The film is much better and South Park is evidence of that. I liked the original film because it makes my nephew feel good between the legs but I admit it is somewhat confusing. Perhaps the writers could write another parody episode about College Humour, but I would rather they write a sequel to Inception.

    • Traci

      What?

    • greg

      Sick, dude! Why are you interested in what is going on between your nephew’s legs? I’ll bet the FBI is looking for you.

    • Ceballos

      Seriously, WTF?

    • Seifer Kutherland

      hahahaha

      • amsjll

        lmfao..

    • Chris Hanson

      Mark, if you could go ahead and have a seat over there.

  • ZolarKingOfMoney

    Rich people can steal anything and just apologize! Yay!

    • Dominic

      Ha ha ha, so true! And sad.

    • Gaberino

      They created a bunch of publicity for College Humor and sent them a bunch of traffic. What jerks!

  • LOLZ

    why can’t a parody be parodied? But I do not know? Maybe they can rip off the Simpsons again to make amends?

    • SirLizard

      A parody can be parodied, but simply copying something does not make it a parody, and their intention was not to parody the parodies.

      • Kendra

        A taco, inside a taco, inside a taco, inside of a Taco Bell, inside a KFC, inside a mall, inside YOUR DREAM!! Bum bum bummmmmm……

  • Lumin

    if any of your asses had been in the air for over 18 hours from london , i doubt if your ass would be able to stand less on watch. they did what they needed to do and after all neither one of them was trying to own the darn night. they could care less they did their jobs and be jetting off to be back on location soon!

    it could have been much better , but that was good enough for a episode like that one was. it served the purpose and thats all that matters . now no one can say they was mad , are
    upset are nothing of the sort , any ways they only came to support inception and to hell with the rest.

    • Immature

      Huh?

  • HD

    I think it’s time for South Park to pack it in. If they couldn’t find a theater or bootleg (yeah right) of Inception then don’t do a parody. And certainly don’t come with this lame-ass apology, come with ca$h.

    • Wickeddoll

      I agree 100%

    • Todd

      You can buy the script at any bookstore or download it from Amazon.

      Long story short: they got caught stealing jokes.

      Lame, South Park.

  • Lumin

    ALL OF YOU SLOW AND RETARTED BYTCHES, THAT IS THE VERY REASON WHY THAT THE PRODUCER WHO BY THE EFFING WAY PRODUCED SOUTH PARK! STFU HATERS!!!!LET THE PEOPLE WHO HAS FULLY DEVELOPED BRAINS SPEAK AND COMMENT.
    I KNOW THAT YOU HATERS ARE PEEING IN YOUR DIAPERS BECAUSE THEY CHOSE INCEPTION,,,HAHAHAHAHAHAH
    STAY MAD , GET BACK ON YOUR MEDS AND GET ON BED REST BECAUSE ITS OWN . AND NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THIS PROJECT IS GOING TO BRING. ONE THING IS FOR SURE THAT EPISODE HAS DONE REALLY GOOD AND MADE NOTHING BUT MONEY. AND THE MOVIE COULD GO EITHER WAY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY ARE MAKE A KILLING IN BIG MONEY, GUESS WE WILL JUST HAVE TO WAIT., WANT WE???

    • sarah

      Lumin, did you eat paint chips as a child? FYI, only “retarded bytches” use all caps.

    • Wottadoosh

      LOUD NOISES!

    • Rocky

      Whottadoosh, you just made me crack up! Thanks.

    • Jeff D

      Quiet! Your Caps are hurting my eyes!

    • Darrin

      I think we should have a vote…do we rename Lumin as a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich???

    • WTF Boy

      LMFAO – I’ll bet that Lumin is actually Trey’s mother.

    • rickalexander1976

      I didn’t see Inception or “Insheeption”, but somebody needs to learn how to use a spell checker for sure…

    • Todd

      Sound like someone needs to go to their happy place.

    • Wottadoosh

      PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO ME. I’M FUNNY!! CAUSE I’M WOTTADOOSH!

  • Almprin06

    What is “Inception”?

    Never heard of it.

  • Vince from NYC

    Oh Sorry I blatantly but accidentally stole your intellectual property, my bad! That’s weak and lazy, comon I thought they were better than this. If McFarlane did this all the South Park jukies would have their panties in a bunch.

  • Teresa

    Having seen both SP and the college video, the college video is funnier — probably because it’s more focused on being a parody without having to fit the parody into the constraints of the SP characters and plot.

    Although the SP writers probably came up with the concept of their scenes (characters questioning the arbitrary rules in Inception) before they ever saw the college video, it really doesn’t look good that what they ended up with looks so close to it. It’s easy assume that they lifted both concept and dialogue from the video.

    I remember this came up in an episode of Studio 60, where a writer steals a routine from a comic posted on the Internet. The same excuse was given — that the writers were under the extreme pressure of a deadline. But that didn’t make it right or legal.

    It’s good that Stone and Parker apologized. They should. As to whether they legally should do more than that, it’s up to them to negotiate with the people who made the video.

  • What??!!

    They couldn’t find a theater showing Inception in August? In my town, you couldn;t find a theater NOT showing Inception!

    • Excelda

      The CollegeHumor video was from August. Matt and Trey probably wrote the episode only a few weeks ago (hence their “we do the show in six days” comment). I doubt there were many theaters in early October who were still showing Inception.

      • huh what?

        No they do the shows start to finish in 6 days. They often deliver the show on the Monday or Tuesday before the show airs. But I have say No Excuse. (it is like saying I stole a car because I was late for work)

      • BioHzrd

        6 days if they are on the ball, they have done them in 3. Really all they needed to do was put the CollegeHumor or other videos listed in the credits and done, credit given. I think this is a lesson is citing your sources.

  • Teresa

    Larry, I realize you are probably posting these provocative remarks to get attention. And here I am giving it to you, so you succeeded.

    I wish, though, that you would consider posting something thoughtful rather than inflammatory. I would much rather respond to an idea that adds to the discussion, than one that derails it.

    • sal

      Spoken like a true d0uchebag with no retort.

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