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Brokeback Mountain wasn't the only script about minority discrimination floating around Hollywood for seven years: The Ringer, Ricky Blitt's sweeping, heartbreaking tale of a guy who pretends to be mentally retarded so he can compete in the Special Olympics, also landed on many a showbiz desk in its long journey to the screen. According to this E! Online report on a story from yesterday's Variety, Blitt and Ringer's producers, the Farrelly brothers, are now accusing Trey Parker and Matt Stone of having read the script and stealing the plot for a 2004 episode of South Park with virtually the same storyline:

"When you think of a premise so radical it's unmakable, you hang in for seven years to see it through, it is a shock to the system to have people on Websites saying, 'You hack, you stole this from South Park,' " Blitt tells Variety. "I set this up so long before that episode was conceived. It is bad enough to have your idea taken: It's 1,000 times worse when you are then accused of stealing." [...]

"There is no way those guys didn't know we were making this very movie as they took it upon themselves to do that episode," [Peter Farrelly] tells Variety. "They know what they did and they know it was wrong. Period. These are guys I have always respected, but what they did was very creepy."

Of course, Parker and Stone flatly deny the accusation, though we must say the similarities are pretty striking. Still, their claims of coincidence are not out of the question, with only so many offensive stories out there to tell (they even got around to the Scientologists this year, risking a disappearance by white van). Some might argue it was really only a matter of time before they stumbled into the rich comic realm of wheelchair booby-trapping.