HBO Max was finally able to add South Park to its surprisingly robust library of content this week, but fans looking for a few controversial episodes may find themselves disappointed. While all 23 seasons are now available to stream on HBO Max, five episodes are not available due to their sensitive content. Per Deadline, spiking these five episodes was a deal struck between Viacom and South Park Studios long before the show was licensed to HBO Max. These episodes weren’t even available on Hulu when the show was available to stream there, so this isn’t a case of the streaming service pulling a fast one and is actually kind of old news. But if you’re watching South Park for the first time on HBO Max and wondering what’s up, here’s the deal.
The episodes in question controversially depict the Prophet Muhammad, which in Islamic religion is expressly forbidden. The episodes missing from HBO Max are “Super Best Friends” from Season 5, “200” and “201” from Season 14, and “Cartoon Wars Part 1” and “Cartoon Wars Part 2” from Season 10. The latter episodes, you’ll recall, include South Park’s famous skewering of Family Guy, but while you won’t be able to watch them on HBO Max they are still available to be streamed on the official South Park website.
This decision isn’t entirely surprising given the uproar that these episodes caused when they first aired. Trey Parker and Matt Stone began by taking to task the taboo notion of depicting Muhammad in “Cartoon Wars,” but found themselves in hot water when the powers-that-be forbid them from depicting Muhammad on South Park over fear of terrorism threats.
So enjoy South Park at your leisure on HBO Max right now, but go in knowing these five particular episodes will not be available.
For more HBO Max recommendations, check out our list of the best shows on the streaming service right now.