There’s trolling, and then there’s trolling. The venerable satirical series South Park will launch its 18th season this week, and advertising started yesterday with a deliberately placed spot during an NFL game. Not just any game, mind you, but the Washington-Philadelphia rivalry, when Redskins fans would be glued to the tube. That’s exactly who South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone intended to troll with this slap at the Redskins and owner Dan Snyder:
“Look, don’t you see that when you call your organization the ‘Washington Redskins,’ it’s offensive to us?” Snyder says.
“When I named my company Washington Redskins, it was out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” Cartman said.
CBS Sports had a fun time with it:
The gist of the episode is pretty obvious: Cartman’s running a business named the Washington Redskins, which is no longer copyrighted and Dan Snyder finds it “offensive” he’s using that name.
Cartman’s only doing it to “honor” Snyder and the Redskins before him. Brilliant.
In case it’s not obvious, this game aired on Fox, so it’s certainly amusing for CBS now. However, CBS will air the next Washington Redskins game this Thursday when they travel to play another rival, the New York Giants. That game will air one night after this full episode airs on Comedy Central, and I wonder just how amusing they’d find it at that point. Perhaps they’d still find it amusing; Phil Simms has already pledged to avoid using the team name this year, which has their fans pushing a petition to get him banned from those CBS broadcasts. (Broncos fans want him banned as well, but for other reasons.)
Our colleagues at Twitchy didn’t find the South Park ad amusing, quoting tweets that mainly objected to it. As trolling, though, this is brilliant, even if one disagrees about the nature of the name and the need for it to be changed. As a South Park fan generally — but one who quit watching it a couple of seasons ago for lack of interest rather than any offense — I am mildly surprised at the direction the ad takes on the issue. Had I heard that Parker and Stone were tackling this issue, I would have guessed that they would be poking fun at the political correctness that surrounds it rather than picking up the PC mantle. Perhaps the rest of the episode goes in a different direction, but if that were the case, why use this particular scene as an ad during the Washington game? For that matter, why focus on this issue over the domestic-violence scandals that have eclipsed the Redskins name controversy, especially with SP‘s reputation for timeliness? Curious.