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Our commander in chief is fair game for jokes and mockery these days, and well deserving of such satire: the man's the embodiment of folly and hubris. But there was a time when making fun of Bush was off-limits - the days immediately following 9/11. After the tragic events of that day, late-night comedians and pundits came together as one to give W a pass, and this was probably a wise decision, as the country understandably was in a very sober mood. However, in the days leading up 9/11, Bush provided ample fodder for joke material. His first months in office were marked by ineptness, stasis, and a general disbelief that he had actually been elected (sort of, by the Supreme Court, anyway).
In these first few months, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, saw a situation wrought with humor and promptly exploited it. That's My Bush!, their live-action endeavor for Comedy Central, only lasted 8 episodes, but they were over-the-top, irreverent, and offensive - and thank God they didn't take a polite approach. While the show was critically lauded, it wasn't exactly a ringing success for the network, so its days were numbered. Fortunately, it's now available on DVD - the finally resting place, the equalizer, for television great and small. The 2-disc set features all eight episodes with additional commentary tracks from Parker, Stone, and the cast of the show.
Starring Timothy Bottoms as a dead-on Bush, Carrie Quinn Dolin as Laura, and Kurt Fuller as Karl Rove, the show was actually more a send-up of the traditional sitcom than of the Bush legacy, although potshots were leveled at W at every opportunity. Characters such as Larry, the wacky neighbor, and the sassy maid popped in and out of ridiculous situations with smarmy quips. In the tradition of Married with Children and Full House, an audience laugh track accompanied the show, with appropriate whoops and "oooh's" in sexy situations. Characters are applauded upon their entrances, and Three's Company-style plot confusion reigns. Bush even has a trademark Honeymooners line: "One of these days, Laura, I'm gonna punch you in the face!" Episodes tackled serious ideas such as abortion (with an aborted fetus that survived and visits the White House) and the death penalty (where Bush's frat brothers visit him and he stages a mock execution).
Yes, many of the jokes and situations on That's My Bush! are groan-inducingly bad. But that's the point; many sitcoms are groan-inducingly bad. As for the politics, it's hard to view the show in an extremely partisan way. Parker and Stone would have skewered a Democrat just as easily as Republican. It just so happens that our current two-termer Republican is a shadow of a man and pretty much an idiot - you'd be stupid not to shoot jokes at this target.
Although That's My Bush! was actually cooked up during the 2000 presidential race, before Bush was even appointed president, six years later it still rings stupidly funny and true. In his final two lame duck years, with a newly-elected Democratically-controlled Congress, it isn't exactly essential viewing, but it's an amusing way to spend 22 minutes. SEE ALSO: www.comedycentral.com
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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