They've fought Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Barbra Streisand. And now the boys from "South Park" -- Eric, Kyle, Stan and Kenny -- are back for more in their 10th season on Comedy Central, beginning March 22.
Since the animated show's launch on Aug. 12, 1997, "South Park's" Matt Parker and Trey Stone have eviscerated celebrities, politicians and trends with their irreverent, sardonic wit. But the show can be especially vicious when it comes to religion.
The Dec. 7 season nine finale, "Bloody Mary," angered Catholics with a not-so-flattering portrayal of a Virgin Mary statue and Pope Benedict XVI, broadcast on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The show also took pot shots at Scientology last season by animating the faith's science-fiction-like tenets with the legend: "This is what Scientologists actually believe."
Jews get a lion's share of attention on "South Park." And it's the show's central Jewish character, Kyle Broflovsky, voiced by Jewish co-creator Stone, who serves as the lightening rod for such gags.
While many remember Kyle singing about being "A Lonely Jew on Christmas" in the first season, the show's watershed Jewish moment was the season three episode "Jewbilee." Kyle and his adopted brother Ike go to Jew Scouts, where they try to stop Elder Garth of the Synagogue of anti-Semites, who wants Jews to pray to Haman.
In season six, the show knocked the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance with the episode "Death Camp of Tolerance," featuring a send-up of "Schindler's List," complete with black-and-white footage of kids being forced to finger paint scenes of racial harmony by Nazi-like guards.
Other Jewy episodes include season two's "Ike's Wee Wee," featuring Kyle panicking because he thinks his brother will have his penis cut off during his bris; season six's "The Biggest Douche in the Universe," during which Kyle runs off to a New York yeshiva named Jewleeard; and season eight's "Passion of the Jew," in which Kyle hopes to convince his synagogue to collectively apologize for the death of Jesus after seeing the "Passion of the Christ."
In a show that features Jesus as part of a team of religious super heroes and God as a dog-like Buddhist, it's tempting to ponder what faith "South Park" will mock next. But whatever sacred cows they decide to slaughter, you can be sure that at least one of them will be kosher.
"South Park" airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on Comedy Central.