South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have apologized for borrowing heavily from a College Humor parody of Inception for their “Insheeption” episode that aired on Wednesday. Earlier today, that parody’s co-creator Dan Gurewitch, noted several similarities between "Insheeption" and his video, “Inception Characters Don’t Understand Inception,” which he’d made with David Young and first posted to the College Humor website on Aug. 2. In fact, as he pointed out, many lines seemed to be lifted almost verbatim from their sketch, which made fun of a scene in Inception where a team of extractors attempts to explain the process of moving in and out of dreams to an outsider. Gurewitch posted those dialogue comparisons on his blog:
We need to move to the next dream level before these projections kill us. / We need to move them to the next dream level before the projections kill them.
If we die, we go to limbo / …we can protect them from getting to limbo.
What’s that? / What’s that?
Shared unconstructed dream space. / Empty scary dream space.
So it’s a nightmare. / So like a nightmare
That doesn’t sound so hard. / That doesn’t sound very difficult.
It is. / It is.
Why? / Why?
Aaarrgh! / Aaarrgh!
We don’t have time for this! / We don’t have time for this!
Okay, fine, so next we’re going into Arthur’s dream, and then what? / Okay, fine. So you’re gonna take my son to a dream within the dream, then what?
Then we go into Fisher’s dream. / Then we go into your husband’s dream.
Okay got it / Okay
But Fisher will think we’re in Browning’s dream / But your husband will think you’re in Hasselback’s dream.
Okay. Wait, who’s Browning? / Okay wait, who’s Hasselback?
Sorry that’s my bad. Sometimes my thoughts of my dead wife manifest themselves as trains. / Sometimes thoughts of my dead wife manifest themselves as trains.
In an interview conducted this afternoon by the New York Times, Stone admitted that they had intended to “parody the gobbledygook—because honestly, that movie—all those explanations, and explanations of explanations,” but when they couldn’t find a theater playing Inception or get access to a DVD screener, they turned to the web, where they soon found the College Humor video. Stone explains:
“We thought their joke was that a lot of those lines were actually in the movie, and they were banging them against each other, and showing that the ‘Inception’ characters didn’t even know ‘Inception.’ That was a mistake, and it was an honest mistake… It’s just because we do the show in six days, and we’re stupid and we just threw it together. But in the end, there are some lines that we had to call and apologize for.”
Gurewitch has since updated his blog to say that their apology was accepted, and that he and Young plan to “meet up with Matt and Trey when they’re in New York." We would have at least demanded a pizza party or something.
Here’s side-by-side video of the College Humor parody and a scene from “Insheeption."