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Hankey panky denied

Battle over animated excrement accelerates

Three weeks after “Ren & Stimpy Show” creator John Kricfalusi accused Comedy Central’s animated series “South Park” of ripping off his idea of turning a piece of human excrement into a singing, dancing character (Daily Variety, Dec. 22, 1997), “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker responded to Kricfalusi in a Jan. 9 letter that detailed how his character, Mr. Hankey, dates to his childhood potty-training period.

While Kricfalusi charged that Mr. Hankey — prominently featured in “South Park’s” Christmas episode last month — was directly inspired by his own Nutty the Friendly Dump (who appears in a Web site cartoon short created by Kricfalusi), Parker wrote that Mr. Hankey came into being in tandem with his parents.

“When I was 3 years old, I had a bad habit of not flushing the toilet after I was finished,” Parker noted. “My mother asked my father to have a little ‘talk’ with me about toilet flushing. … He told me that if I didn’t (flush) ‘Mr. Hankey will come out of the toilet and annoy you forever.’

“For a long time after that, I believed that Mr. Hankey would jump out of the toilet and sing to me. … It is my hope that this personal letter will put an end to your attempts to slander me and my poo.”

Kricfalusi responded late last week, “There are still an awful lot of coincidences. … (Parker) ought to just at least admit that he’s inspired by ‘Ren & Stimpy.’ But I will say this: Those guys are doing a really funny show.”