By Caryn James | James on Screens March 20, 2011 at 1:00AM
Last night I saw a critics’ preview of The Book of Mormon, the new, already-sold-out Broadway musical from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and Robert Lopez, co-creator of Avenue Q. I’m sworn to secrecy until the review embargo lifts at 10 P.M. Thursday, but I can tell you this isn’t the first time the South Park guys have dealt with Mormons in song. In one of the series’ funniest episodes ever, a Mormon family moves to town and we get a musical explanation of their religion.
I’m not devoted to South Park, but this 2003 episode, “All About the Mormons,” has much more in common with the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut than it does with the usual shows, including skewering song lyrics set to a bouncy melody: “Joseph Smith was called a prophet,” followed by the chorus, “Dum dum dum dum dum.”
And it turns out the Mormons aren’t villains at all. If you have time on a lazy Sunday, and even if you don’t, you can watch “All About the Mormons” here.
The episode lets you understand why Stone and Parker are promoting the Broadway show by saying even Mormons like it. They were way ahead of the pop-culture curve in their fascination with that subject, predating both Big Love and Sister Wives.
Here are some of their comic yet astute comments.