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A Scholarly Dissection of Babylon Park by Learned Authors, Part One • Babylon Park

Possibly one of the weirdest things I came across googling “babylon park” was this: a 2003 media studies book focused on the animation boom of the early 00’s called “Prime Time Animation: Television animation and American culture.”

The book tries to be very serious business by putting all the fart jokes in the back of the book in the chapter titled “Travels in the South Park Cybercommunity.” Chapter author Professor Brian L. Ott disappoints in the fart joke department, instead devoting his pages to examining in minute detail hypertextuality, nascent social networking and internet marketing in relation to Comedy Central’s South Park. In the section titled “Originality,” Babylon Park gets a mention:

The Web authors at Comedy Matrix (formerly Babylon Park) write and produce digital cartoons that combine South Park with various other media texts. In 1998, a simple internet joke, “Oh my God(sic), They killed Koshi!” gave birth to the sci-fi spoof Babylon Park, which in the words of its creators, “is the ultimate crossover epic, blending the labyrinthine story line of Babylon 5 and the limitless fart jokes of South Park” (www.infinicorp.com/babylonpark/). The first two episodes of Babylon Park — “Spoohunter” and “Episode 000” — were both available free for download as RealVideo in 1998. Within a year, Babylon Park became so popular that the authors released “Frightspace,” a spoof of the Babylon 5 made-for-TV-movie, “Thirdspace.” “Frightspace,” which could be purchased on VHS for $24.95, sold out quickly, and the authors created still other videos, such as the recent title “Grudgematch,” which, for a mere $21.95, pits the crew of Drek Trek: Forager against the characters of Babylon Park. The characters in the “Grudgematch” video are a cross between the flesh and blood actors from the sci-fi television series Star Trek: Voyage and Babylon 5 and the characters of South Park; the videos are animated in the crude stop-motion “style” of South Park.

Mr. Ott goes on the theorize that Babylon Park and other websites that parodied South Park are a postmodern response to entertainment composed of “intertextual allusions and sound bites” instead of a typical narrative. He then goes off on a tangent on how teenagers with South Park-themed websites measured their ePeens (for the record, not something I took part in) and comes to the conclusion that “the television show and its online fan following are intricately interwoven, neither one existing ‘outside’ or ‘before’ the other. They simultaneously function to cross-promote and cross-animate one another.” A veritable zen master is he.

It’s somewhat gratifying to get a mention in an overpriced college text considering how many I had to buy to get my degree. And Mr. Ott does makes a good argument that shows like “South Park” are essentially burritos made with sketch comedy filling with a thin wrapping of plot that can cause consumers to fart out works that go one, two or three steps further in both homage and as creative media works in their own right. It’s interesting to note that 8 years after this book was published, this whole idea circles back on itself with the “Family Guy” Star Wars specials, where the original content producer is creating an intertextual work on its own instead of by a third party fan.

Really though, it was just hella fun to do at the time and no one in their right mind was worried about how postmodern their allusions were being.

But you don’t have to take my word for it:


Is it petty to pick on the small errors? Because the production company name I used at the time was called Infinicorp Transgalactic, not Comedy Matrix, and the original quote was “By G’Quan, they killed Kosh!” which was later changed up for the show.