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Timely 'South Park'

Friday, April 28, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

As Kyle's mom would say, "WHAT, WHAT, WHAAAAT!"

Wednesday night's "South Park" seemed freakishly ripped from the headlines. The episode featured Romanian quintuplets caught in an international custody battle just like the Elian Gonzalez saga.

The episode featured an Easter Sunday rescue, complete with the image of a SWAT team member holding a gun to one of the quints hiding in a closet. For the raid Janet Reno dressed up as the Easter bunny.

Debbie Liebling, "South Park" executive producer and senior vice president of original programming for Comedy Central, said the animation process for "South Park" allows for quick alterations.

"The technology has been perfected and the level of computer equipment has really fast rendering capacity," she said in a phone interview yesterday. "The show can be and has been animated in a week, but it does involve people working around the clock."

Liebling said "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had begun writing the episode last week intending to parallel the Elian story. After the raid Saturday morning, they rewrote scenes to increase the timely satirical content.

This "South Park" episode will be repeated tomorrow at 10 p.m. Six new episodes of the animated series will air weekly starting June 21.

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