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May 5, 2006
MTV Pogo Pope cartoon gets court go-ahead despite bishops' fury
by Gulliver

The Pope has swopped his Popemobile for a pogo stick - in a controversial new cartoon 'Popetown' to be shown by music channel MTV.

The irreverent cartoon features corrupt cardinals, a buxom nun and an infantile pope who bounces around the Vatican on a pogo stick.

But angry bishops in Pope Benedict's home state of Bavaria in Germany are not amused by MTV's plan to screen the cartoon, which has already been rejected by the BBC.

The move provoked a belt of the crozier from the outraged bishops who filed a legal injunction to halt the first episode of 'Popetown.'

However, a court in Munich, Germany, has decided the parody was "too dumb to be insulting" and MTV has been given the go-ahead to broadcast it.

The injunction said the cartoon was insulting to Catholics since it showed the Pope bouncing through St. Peter's Square in Rome on a cross-like pogo stick and satirised religious ceremonies.

"In this way, the Catholic Church are exposed to ridicule, which is justified neither by the freedom of opinion, of art, of the press nor of broadcasting," the Archdiocese of Munich and Friesing said.

MTV which gave the world the car makeover programme 'Pimp My Ride' and dating show 'Dismissed' plans to show one episode and then gauge viewers' appetite for more.

The station was also attacked by German bishops for an ad campaign showing Jesus apparently getting down from the cross to sit in an armchair and watch the program. "Have a laugh instead of hanging around," the advert's tagline read.

While MTV was prepared for resistance to 'Popetown' it admitted it had been surprised by the extent of the opposition from the Catholic Church.

BBC dropped 'Popetown' in 2004 after executives decided it was not funny anough to justify the potential offence it could cause to Christians.

'Popetown' is written by comedian Mackenzie Crook, co-star of Ricky Gervais's highly successful series 'The Office.'

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