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Israel Gets South Park-Like Spoof of Al Qaeda

Producer/broadcaster Keshet Formats and will be producing the animated series MILITARY BASE 22 for its Israeli network Bip Comedy Channel, reports C21 Media. The company greenlit 10 episodes of the adult toon with a budget of $2 million. Beginning its run on March 21, 2004, the show is set in a secret nuclear missile base, run by a bunch of "stupid, almost criminal soldiers." Illi Edry, vp of business development at Keshet Formats, said, "It's very dark comedy, very edgy, very SOUTH PARK." Israeli CGI animation and post-production house Short Cuts will be handling the animation.

The satirical series features caricatures of people both side of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The show features a wheelchair-bound Israeli combat volunteer, a womanizing Italian corporal, a sergeant with an inferiority complex and an Arab terrorist named Abed Bin-Jihad, who is the America-loathing son of a wealthy Saudi sheik and an Al Qaeda member, who hero worships Osama Bin Laden.

"Bin-Jihad is not a serious portrayal of Arabs nor is he meant to be Bin-Laden," said Edry. "He's just an extreme stereotype, like all the characters. Military life is embedded in our culture. There's a phenomenal sub-culture of sayings and behavior all related to military service that the show taps into. It's a powerful satire, and takes the mickey out of every holy cow out there, every minority, but without discriminating between cultures. The Iraq war opened up new perceptions of our situation, and this show offers a cool, ironic, often vicious and distributing, take."

Once the show finishes its run on BIP, it will be broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 this summer. Keshet has also hooked up with L.A.-based agency Endeavor about bringing the series to the States. Keshet is best known for producing gameshows and is no stranger to controversy. It's gameshow, HEAVEN OR HELL, now in its third season, stars God as the host.

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Rick DeMott
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