As someone who plays disc golf, I would like to see the sport continue to grow and hopefully, one day, get into the mainstream.
It’s a fun sport, but it needs work to be sure. It’s not perfect and it has a lot of growing to do.
Still, it has grown leaps and bounds from its start several decades ago.
And, with the disc golf community watching, the Professional Disc Golf Association trumpeted disc golf being featured in a prime-time sitcom this past Wednesday.
In a release on it’s website, the PDGA said:
Disc Golf Hits Prime Time TV
The PDGA was contacted by Paramount Studios in early August to submit PDGA branded items for use as product placement on the ABC television show, “Happy Endings”. The sitcom places a fresh and comedic spin on modern friendship, focusing on six lifelong Chicago-based friends in their 20’s and early 30’s navigating various stages of work, relationships, marriage, and dating. The disc golf themed episode is currently set to air on Wednesday, September 28th following “Modern Family”.
While increasing interest and popularity of this sport is evident in the worldwide participation and growing membership of Disc golfers, portrayal of this sport in the media is imperative for prosperity and awareness on a global level. Television is a monumental step in securing our place in sports history.
So Disc Golfers and “Frisbeeterians”, spread the word and Tune in to ABC on September 28th. If not for the sake of the sport, then to ensure that you will never have to explain the definition of Disc Golf again.
Then the show came on.
First things first. If one is going to get upset about the way a sport is portrayed in a sitcom, then one must really look in the mirror. For starters, outside of having Elisha Cuthbert to look at, I thought Happy Endings was quite stupid. I’m sure it has a following, but I didn’t like it.
With that out of the way.
Disc golf — well, Frolf (Frisbee golf) was mentioned several times through the show. It wasn’t in the most endearing ways, but it’s not like they took a pile of discs and the PDGA logo, put them outside, took a leak on them and set them on fire.
No, they called it Frolf.
And, at the end, one of the gals noted that “Frolf” isn’t a sport.
And people were up in arms.
OK, before I get into all the things I found on Twitter and message boards, allow me to share with you what happened in this show.
First, it was shown early when Cuthbert’s character and her ex, Dave, were starting to be honest with one another. This was at the pressure of another gal pal.
Cuthbert: “You know your friend Glazier? He didn’t actually steal my bra and sell it on Craig’s List. I just couldn’t spend another Sunday watching you two play Frolf.”
Other gal pal: “Frolf?”
Cuthbert and Dave together: “Frisbee golf.”
At the end of that argument, it was mentioned again when the gal pal noted they can do the things they each like now and to Dave…
“You can do your things … like play frolf…”
So far, I’m not peeved. If anyone fully believed that a stupid sitcom was going to portray disc golf like some amazing sport, they were nuts. Seriously. It’s a dumb comedy.
I’d also like to note that they made fun of Vibram’s Five Fingers shoes, calling them “running socks” or something like that. When showing a couple of close ups of them, if you know the Vibram logo, it was easily noticeable.
I haven’t heard an uproar from Vibram Five Finger people. Of course, it’s probably because they realize no matter what, these shoes were shown and even if they were taking jabs at them, well, people might get interested in the shoes.
Anyway, later in the show, Dave comes in and chats with Cuthbert and another dude. He puts his feet on a table — showing off those Five Fingers — and this chat happened:
Dave: “I am going for a run with Jane. Oh, and I called Glaze earlier. Good convo. Tough. Yes there were tears because of your lies. But I am going to play some Frolf with him later to make him feel better.”
Cuthbert: “I wish I could go watch you nerds, but I’ve got to make more jambalaya because people are going crazy for it at the store.” (he made fun of her Jambalaya in the first confrontation).
The next scene showed some actual disc golf as Dave, Glaze and the gal pal were in the park. She was going over her day (and was highly frazzled) and says to her, maybe husband:
“Morning started with Frolf. Dave, Glaze and myself…”
As she said that, one of the dudes throws a disc — which looked like a lid (larger, Frisbee-like or Ultimate Frisbee-like disc) — and clanked the gal in the head. I have to be honest, it absolutely cracked me up.
To note, there was an Innova portable basket in the scene.
Later, at a party, one more confrontation when Dave said to Cuthbert:
“… Things have been going pretty awesome for me, too. I’ve been frolfing and jamming. … “
The gal pal, who had encouraged Dave to record a bad song, finally came clean and went off on these two for being so damn honest with one another (which was her idea!)
That left for this final dialogue that included Frolf:
Gal Pal: “OK, I love you but that song is really bad. Those running socks are hideous and Frolf is not a sport.”
Glaze: “Hey, we have a newsletter.”
Gal Pal: Shut up, Glaze.”
And that was it.
People got all upset over this. Seriously.
Here’s some things I found today on Twitter:
“Oh dear. She said frolf. Oh dear. The other one said frolf. This isn’t good.”
“frolf sounds like your mouth is taking a dump. plus I don’t associate with frolf players. Bros play frolf”
I don’t mind the word frolf, but when @PDGA says ‘this will be a monumental step for #discgolf’, I expected more. Another #PDGA letdown..
So I checked out a couple of disc golf message boards. It seemed like a mix bag of reactions. Some were very peeved. Others were in the middle. Others didn’t care.
Some made a valid point about the only part that really was stupid was that they (the show) actually contacted the PDGA and made it sound like they were going to do things a little better. That, of course, allowed the PDGA to get the word out.
Then disc golfers got this pie in the face.
The PDGA posted this on its Facebook on Thursday:
I think we can all agree the “frolf” episode of Happy Endings on ABC last night was not what we were hoping it would be. We were told by ABC that the episode was centered around disc golf, and they even asked us to send them some PDGA stuff to use on the set. We’re sorry if we built it up without knowing exactly what the episode would entail, but the idea of disc golf on prime time television definitely had us excited, understandably.
Bad press is sometimes better than no press, but in this case no one benefited. Our biggest hope for the episode was that if someone watching didn’t know what disc golf was, they would at least have an idea after. Unfortunately for all parties involved, that was not the case.
When I was a wee-bit student in journalism classes and public relations classes, we were told there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
The benefits here are that, no matter what, I guarantee there are a few people out there who are interested in “Frolf.” It’s my hope that they’ll stumble upon someone who can tell them that it’s disc golf and explain things.
Look, would I have rather seen the show glow a little more about disc golf? And not call it Frolf?
But it’s a two-bit sitcom that made fun of it as well as Vibram Five Fingers.
In my shoes, I’d be more worried for ABC knowing that they possibly lost a lot of potential viewers than I am about what it did to the disc golf.
Disc golf will survive just fine.
As for that stupid show, well, let’s just say that I’m pretty sure that disc golf will survive loner than the lifespan of that show.
Speaking of disc golf, Frolf, Frisbee… whatever you want to call it. I have a contest going on! At stake is a LED flying disc! The contest runs from Sept. 25- to 12:01 a.m. Oct. 2. You can see all the details on the contest post. Enter for your chance to win!
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