March 21st, 2006

Smiley

The Return of Chef!

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Soul singer Isaac Hayes1 may have quit his job as the voice of Chef on South Park after a disagreement over religion, but his character will live on2 when the satiric cable TV cartoon returns to Comedy Central this week, the network said on Monday. … The tenth season of South Park will launch on Wednesday with a new episode titled "The Return of Chef!",3 marking the "triumphant homecoming"4 of lusty school cafeteria cook James "Chef" McElroy to the show, the network said in a statement. … The network statement announcing Chef's return for the South Park season premiere this Wednesday was a clear sign that Parker and Stone planned to use the Hayes imbroglio as further grist for their comedy.5 "Knowing these guys as I do, I can't imagine that they're not going to do just that," Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox6 told Reuters.7 He added that the producers routinely "turn around" new episodes in just six days, leaving them ample time to incorporate last week's dust-up into their season debut.8 Fox said he assumed someone besides Hayes would supply Chef's voice. Details of the new episode were vague.9 But a network synopsis said the fictional town of South Park, Colorado, is "jolted out of a case of the doldrums when Chef suddenly reappears," leading to new antics by the group of foul-mouthed fourth graders who are the show's stars. "While Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman are thrilled to have their old friend back, they notice that something about Chef seems different. When Chef's strange behavior starts getting him in trouble, the boys pull out all the stops to save him."

1I actually heard the theme from Shaft on the radio last night. South Park isn't the only one that's going to benefit from all this publicity.
2Voiced by David Tomlinson Phil Hartman Eddie Murphy (to be announced).
3I figured they wouldn't be able to resist bringing this up in the show ASAP.
4I wonder where he's been coming up until now? I had noticed that he wasn't doing much on the show lately.
5But will they be kept on a leash regarding any mockery of Scientology?
6Spokesman like a Fox!
7The full story is here; I clipped out some of the rehashing about Isaac Hayes quitting and Tom Cruise allegedly forcing Comedy Central to cancel a planned repeat of the "Trapped in the Closet" episode.
8I've been impressed in the past about how quickly they were able to create and air topical episodes, often while the brouhaha they were mocking was still ongoing (perfect example: the endless Al Gore recounts).
9I don't watch TV, but I will be downloading the new episode the day after it airs.