Oh my god, they're trying to kill Kenny. And Cartman. But most of all, Mr. Hankey.
Moscow prosecutors have begun legal proceedings aimed at taking South Park off the air and permanently banning the ever-controversial cartoon after proclaiming the show "bore signs of extremist activity."
Although the series has long been running in a dubbed format on Russia's 2x2 network, the episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" that aired in January apparently went too far for officials by joining Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Satan, Adolf Hitler and, of course, the titular friendly waste, for a medley of holiday tunes. (Watch the episode here.)
"It offends the honor and dignity of Christians and Muslims alike," a statement from Moscow's Basmanny regional prosecutors' office said.
As Scientologists might say, welcome to the club.
The episode originally aired in the U.S. Dec. 1, 1999, and even spawned a companion CD.
Needless to say, the soundtrack has yet to be made available in Russia.
"In accordance with the conclusions made by experts from the court investigations committee, a claim has been filed against 2x2 for its broadcast of an episode of South Park," prosecutors' spokeswoman Valentina Titova said.
While the prosecutors' office formally brought the charge against the network, the claim was first requested by the Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith, which asked for the ban after claiming 20 experts had studied the effects the Trey Parker and Matt Stone-conceived show had on young viewers and that the results were less than positive.
And, apparently, not that singular.
"South Park is just one of many cartoons that need to be banned from open broadcast…as it insults the feelings of religious believers and incites religious and national hatred," said the group spokesman, Konstantin Bendas.
"It's one thing if they are on cable TV and viewers pay money and make a conscious choice. But young children should not be able to turn on the TV after school and watch this. They need to be defended."
After hearing the complaint, prosecutors said they agreed the program "could provoke ethnic conflict and spark interreligious hatred."
In 2006, Russia passed a law widening its definition of extremism to include exactly what it is the prosecutors claim against the show—that is, inciting national or religious hatred and abasing national dignity.
Tall orders for characters who started out on Popsicle sticks. The case has since been sent to court.