Tackling the issues

Brutally funny
By JONATHAN SEITZ  |  October 29, 2008

VIDEO: Terry Tate, "Reading is Fundamental"

When Sarah Palin’s interviews with Katie Couric first aired, people rushed to defend or condemn her. But one man opted for the blitz package instead.

“Office linebacker” Terrible Terry Tate, of Reebok Super Bowl–ad fame, has returned to dispense his own brand of justice to the V-P candidate and encourage people to vote. The pitch comes in the form of three new videos, posted online at returnofterrytate.com.

In a video titled “Reading Is Fundamental,” the perennially amped-up linebacker takes a stunt Palin to the deck following the genuine article’s evasive comments on what newspapers she reads, and sums up in signature Triple-T trash-talk style: “You just subscribed to Terry’s Journal of Pain, and the first issue’s free, baby!”

Although Palin is attacked in two of the three new videos, the series’ goal is actually to get out the vote — in a way that would scare even P. Diddy. “Terry’s a nonpartisan character,” says producer Jason Ajax Mercer. “He just enforces the rules, and Sarah’s a great person for breaking the rules.”

Even so, a number of viewers — including those from The New Agenda, a non-partisan group for women’s rights — have claimed the videos are sexist and encourage violence against women.

To this end, Mercer quotes an earlier Terry Tate video, in which the linebacker denies needing sensitivity training. “Hey man, I’m a sensitive motherfucker,” says Terry in that clip. “My tackling knows no race, gender, or creed. So bring it on — I’m an equal-opportunity hitting machine, baby, all day, every day!”

The first group of Terry Tate ads, directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball) and produced by Mercer in 2002, were a hit for Reebok when they debuted. Although Reebok’s license had run out, the original crew got together and shot these new political videos in early October. After an unadvertised release on YouTube on October 16, they’ve already racked up more than a million views.

Terrible Terry is far from finished, says Mercer. There are plans for a feature film, tentatively titled The Return of Terry Tate: The Awesomest Office Linebacker the World Has Ever Known, and to shoot more new videos “as soon as someone says something boneheaded.” Shouldn’t have to wait too long.

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  Topics: News Features , Elections and Voting, Politics, U.S. Politics,  More more >
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