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LIL' BUSH (Comedy Central)
(Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c starting tonight)
The network's description: "Ever wonder how legends are made? Find out on Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States, the animated series that takes you back to the playground days of our 43rd president, George W. Bush. Enjoy the antics of Lil' George and his Lil' White House posse, including Lil' Condi, Lil' Rummy and that unintelligible, foulmouthed wisecracker, Lil' Cheney. They're like the Little Rascals with access to the A-bomb -- getting into mischief, learning stuff and meeting friends (Lil' Tony Blair) and foes (Lil' Kim Jong Il). Plus, they're always ready with a song. And some influential alternative rockers are grabbing the mic to provide guest voices, including Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Jeff Tweedy, Colin Meloy, Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Dave Grohl. Creator Donick Cary has written for The Simpsons and Just Shoot Me, and now takes Lil' Bush from its cult following on Amp'd Mobile to your TV screen. So join Lil' George as he leads his lil' cabinet and takes this dream team to elementary school political glory."
What did they leave out: There's "Lil'" everybody - Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, you name it.
The plot in a nutshell: "Lil' Bush," as you've no doubt figured out, reimagines the present-day White House as modern-day "Little Rascals." Lil' Bush and his mentally challenged brother Lil' Jeb live with their parents - Bush Sr. and Babs - and go to Beltway Elementary School. There Lil' Bush runs with Lil' Cheney (who only speaks in brief grunts), Lil' Condi (who possesses an unrequited love for Lil' Bush) and Lil' Rummy (who's portrayed as a secretly abused child) where they get into all kinds of "mischief." Each episode of the series is broken into two shorts - in the pilot's case "The One Where I Go to Iraq for Some Reason," in which the gang goes to Iraq to find some good news for once, and "The One Where Pop's Got to Smoke Lil' Cheney Out of a Hole," in which the gang bets who can kiss a girl first. Each installment is then just an endless repetition of the same jokes - Bush is a loveable idiot, Jeb is literally retarded, Condi harbors a crush on Bush, Cheney drinks the blood of live animals and Rummy overcompensates because he was abused. Really, that's pretty much it.
What works: If it the above feels like an unfunny, expanded version of one of Robert Smigel's "TV Funhouse" cartoons from SNL...
What doesn't: ...you're not far off the mark. While all of the current administration's members are ripe for caricature, it's just sad to see such lazy, one-note characterization. That tied with lazy, one-note jokes like "the army will take any recruit no matter how silly nowadays" or "Haliburton is stealing money from the taxpayers" make the show a chore to watch. It's almost embarrassing that this series leads into "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," two shows that have written the book on political comedy. And have I mentioned how painfully bad the animation is? In an era where "South Park" can churn out episodes in a week's time, it's cringing to see such crudely done work. I realize "Lil' Bush" originated as a cell phone show, but Comedy Central couldn't spring for a few extra Macs?
The bottom line: Some things are best left on cell phones.