Friday, March 23, 2012

March Madness March of the Day: "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut by Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman

Damn those Molson's-guzzling bastards and their terrible closing credits songs for Marvel superhero movies.
"Blame Canada" may not be the best original song from the foul-mouthed 1999 hit South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut--that would be the fart-tastic "Uncle Fucka"--but Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman's Canuck-baiting march is the most prime-time TV-friendly, which must be why "Blame Canada" and none of the other Bigger, Longer & Uncut musical numbers landed a Best Original Song Oscar nomination in 2000. (Plus, it's got a hilarious closing verse.)

'Rock 'n' roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit.'--The Black Keys' Patrick Carney, clearly a Nickelback fan
In the film, "Blame Canada" was sung by several different parental characters. Almost all of them were played by the South Park TV series' immensely talented voiceover artist Mary Kay Bergman, who unfortunately committed suicide a few months before the song was nominated. Despite containing far less profanity than the other Bigger, Longer & Uncut tunes, "Blame Canada" was still too controversial for the musical number portion of the 2000 Oscar telecast.

ABC censors were uncomfortable with the occasional cursing in "Blame Canada," as well as lyrics that referred to the Ku Klux Klan and "that bitch Anne Murray too." They wanted Parker and Shaiman to write a sanitized version of "Blame Canada" for prime-time. Parker and Shaiman refused to change a single word because it would have contradicted Bigger, Longer & Uncut's stance on censorship. However, they settled on having Robin Williams--who entered the stage with his mouth covered in duct tape--turn his face away from the camera and not utter the f-word at the point of the number when he was supposed to say it.

Last year, Parker and Matt Stone's The Book of Mormon hit Broadway with way more curse words than "Blame Canada," and barely anybody was offended. In fact, the same Mormons who might have been too afraid to see Bigger, Longer & Uncut at a multiplex in 1999 didn't care about The Book of Mormon's profane lyrics. They embraced Parker and Stone's surprisingly uplifting musical about their faith and helped make it a Broadway sensation. Times have changed, indeed.

All the other "March Madness March of the Day" posts from this week:
"Attack" from Patton by Jerry Goldsmith
"March of the Beggars" from Duck, You Sucker by Ennio Morricone
"Prelude and Main Title" from Superman: The Movie by John Williams
"Baraat" from Monsoon Wedding by Mychael Danna

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