Who knew that when a RT Forums thread popped up last month — drawing suspiciously eerie parallels between upcoming Johnny Knoxville flick, "The Ringer," and a recent Special Olympics episode of "South Park" — our boards would spawn the beginnings of a national media war between "Ringer" scribe Ricky Blitt and "South Park" creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone?
When the promos first came out for "The Ringer," we thought there was something familiar in the story of a man who pretends he’s mentally disabled in order to win the Special Olympics…because last season on "South Park" episode "Up the Down Steroid," little Eric Cartman did the very same thing. When it was suggested on the RT Forums that Parker and Stone should sue the writer of "The Ringer" for copyright infringement, it was only a matter of time before Ricky Blitt spoke up not only to defend himself, but to claim the Special Olympics idea was his — and that Parker and Stone were the intellectual property thieves. Click here to read Blitt’s postings.
The "South Park" guys, of course, insist they’ve never heard of Blitts, let alone pilfered his idea. But in his posts, Blitt tells a different story: that back in 1999, the comedy writer pitched his fake-retard-cons-Special Olympics story to Parker and Stone’s production company (through a third party producer), although he ended up going forward with the Farrelly brothers (resulting in "The Ringer"). Blitt backs his claims with some evidence, as it does appear his idea was in studio development since at least 2000, with the "South Park" episode airing in 2004.
As promised in his RT posts, Blitt went nationwide with his claims this week with articles in Entertainment Weekly and Variety. "Ringer" producer Peter Farrelly has also chimed in, calling Parker and Stone "creepy" just for airing the Special Olympics storyline knowing that "The Ringer" was forthcoming. They, for the record, have adamantly denied copying Blitt’s idea and chalk the story similarities up to different people having the same idea at the same time.
Fox Searchlight will release "The Ringer" nationwide December 23.