What keeps Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk awake at night? A failed launch of SpaceX’s latest rocket? Falling Tesla Motors Stock? The realisation that electric cars aren’t the transportation utopia that he thought they were?
Or having his big ‘Tesla Model D’ announcement mocked on Comedy Central’s hit show South Park?
If we’re serious for a moment, we’re sure that none of the scenarios above actually make Elon Musk restless at night, but having seen the latest episode of South Park, we’re pretty sure it’s safe to say that Musk and Tesla Motors can now be considered worthy of mainstream media attention.
After all, if South Park — known for its equally brutal and irreverent treatment of everyone from world leaders to religious icons, minorities and superstars — makes Elon Musk’s ‘D’ announcement and a Tesla-Coil-wearing Tesla Model S integral to its latest show it proves that the Tesla Model S has reached mainstream consciousness, right?
This week’s show — which we’d advice you don’t watch if you’re easily offended — involves Elon Musk discovering at the Tesla Model D launch that while his (fictional) Tesla Model D is the most efficient, environmentally friendly car that has ever been made it can’t compete with South Park’s latest ride-sharing service, handicar. Unlike the Tesla Model D, the handicar service, which of course has its own iPhone app, is based on the Uber taxi service. The only difference, without being too insensitive about it, is that the handicar drivers are actually chauffeurs in wheelchairs pulling their customers seated on wooden toy trucks.
(Yes, it’s okay. We’re cringing too.)
In order to prove whose form of transport is the best, the most environmentally friendly and (dare we say it?) the most evolved, Musk takes part in the first Whacky Races that’s been held in fifty years, alongside a Lyft car, South-Park’s Timmy (who is of course driving the handicar), a ZipCar being driven by Matthew McConaughey, a Japanese self-driving car, South Park’s resident grumpy Russian Taxi Driver, a Hummer Salesman, a Canadian whose car is powered by a certain bodily emission, and of course, Dick Dastardly and Muttley.
In true South Park fashion, no-one gets off scott-free and after watching the show you should expect to feel at least a little uncomfortable. Don’t worry though: that’s normal.
Unlike Elon Musk’s upcoming appearance in The Simpsons — in which Musk plays himself — Musk’s appearance on South Park is of course voiced in the usual South Park style by one of the regular South Park voice actors.
So why are we covering it?
For years, the electric car has been something that’s been relegated to the sidelines. Seeing it and Tesla Motors in the spotlight in what is a prime-time satirical show not only shows us that electric cars are now far more than just niche-market vehicles but that Tesla Motors and its super-sexy, self-driving, dual-motor Model S isn’t a car that can be ignored.
Besides, Musk, a confessed fan of South Park seemed to enjoy getting the South Park treatment.
Kinda trippy seeing myself on @SouthPark. I’ve watched the show ever since the J vs SC short. Brian Boitano!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 16, 2014
After all, any publicity is good publicity, right?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below — and if you want to watch it, you’ll find it in HD on Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, XBlox Live, Google Play, Sony Entertainment Network and Vudu.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.