Comedy Central // 2007 // 132 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Michael Rubino (Retired) // March 26th, 2008
Lil' Bush: Hey rest of my body, we're going to Iraqistan!
Comedy Central's latest political satire, Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States got its start as a straight-to-cell phone cartoon series. Whether you're watching it on your phone or on TV, it's a waste of minutes.
Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States: Season One is set in an alternate universe where George H. W. Bush is president today, and his son George W. is but a wee lad tearing it up around the White House and the Beltway Elementary School. He pals around with his "Lil' Cronies": Lil' Cheney, Lil' Rummy, and Lil' Condi. Together, these kids deal with day-to-day issues like going to summer camp, eating hot dogs, and playing in a Rock 'N Roll band.
Lil' Bush got its start as a series of Amp'd Mobile cell phone videos. It was then picked up by Comedy Central in 2007 for a six-episode season (which was just renewed). Each episode of the show features two 10-minute stories and the occasional guest voice work by rock stars like Frank Black, Jeff Tweedy, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and David Grohl.
A good satire is a comedy that presents a topical, witty, and expository look at modern society or politics. See: Thank You For Smoking, That's My Bush or The Onion. A bad satire is Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States.
What makes Comedy Central's latest Bush Bash less than their usually witty programming? Well, for starters, the show arrives at the tail end of President Bush's presidency, and rather than coming up with any sort of new observations or jokes, it insists on relishing in the kind of tawdry, base humor that should make even the most ardent Bush-hater cringe. Lil' Bush doesn't offer any sort of redeeming comedic value, and instead takes the easy road of "Bush is stupid" and "Cheney is evil" jokes that were tired after the President's first 100 days.
To save you from having to watch this god-awful show, allow me to sum up the kind of lame humor that lies within Lil' Bush: in the first episode of the series, Lil' Bush, along with his Lil' Cronies, have to find a good Father's Day present for H. W. Seeing that the word "dad" is located in the larger word "Baghdad," Lil' Bush gets the bright idea that the gang has to go to Iraq. Asinine plot aside, this episode offers little in terms of laughs (unless you find the pun "Iraq and roll" funny), and ends with a strange ditty by the Lil' Bush Band.
That's right, Lil' Bush and his friends are in a rock band. I'm not sure why creator Donick Cary thought it would be cool to invoke Josie and the Pussycats, but each time the band starts playing the episode comes to a screeching halt. Worse yet, each episode has the kids mimicking the look of various rock bands like Kiss and AC/DC while singing songs that essentially contradict the supposed "character" of Lil' Bush (part of the lyrics for the song "Iraq and Roll" are "This whole trip seems a bit moronical. Damn, I gotta get me hooked on phonical").
It's possible that the show's humor, which seems to borrow from the likes of South Park and American Dad, translated better when it first debuted on the Amp'd Mobile cell phone. The late arrival of Lil' Bush to Comedy Central, however, makes me think it deserves a lower approval rating than the president it mocks. Then again, although I may not be a part of it, there is surely an audience out there for this show -- there has to be since it was renewed for a second season.
Further dampening my opinion of the show is a shoddy DVD transfer. The animation of Lil' Bush is choppy and slow; Homestar Runner has more fluid Flash animation than this thing. It also doesn't help than much of the motion in the cartoon comes at a blurry price, with plenty of pixelation and color-banding to boot. It's a decent-looking cartoon when nothing's moving, though! The same goes for the sound, which, despite some decent voice acting by Chris Parson (Lil' Bush) and Iggy Pop (Lil' Cheney), is muddled and unimpressive. The key musical numbers in the show also come off as a mess with unbalanced singing and instrument tracks.
The first season of Lil' Bush, titled "The Invasion Begins," comes with a stock of special features for those of you who can't get enough of the show. The biggest feature is the bonus episode, which was created in case Vice President Cheney died in real life. The episode, titled "Walter Reed," attempts to make a statement about the medical treatment of Iraqi War Veterans but ends up being grossly offensive and inappropriate. There is also a short video called "Lil' George's White House Tour," which is actually a funny viral video promoting the show; some behind-the-scenes interviews with the show's cast and crew; and a live script reading for one of the episodes.
There are also three commentary tracks featuring Jerry Springer, Ralph Nader, and Tucker Carlson. I wouldn't go as far as to call these "commentary" tracks, as they really just sound like phone interviews between Cary and the guest. Everyone sounds pretty confused as to why they are commenting on the show, and Ralph Nader goes off on a crazed old-man rant. Overall, though, they're very entertaining in their ungainliness.
I can't help but compare this show to Comedy Central's other series about President Bush: That's My Bush. The difference between the two shows isn't just a span of six years, but also a world of intelligence and wit. Lil' Bush merely tries to ride the coattails of dozens of other shows that worked so diligently to satirize the current political situations of the country, but misses the point by dumbing down the message. Lil' Bush certainly doesn't get approval from this court.
Review content copyright © 2008 Michael Rubino; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio Commentary Tracks with Jerry Springer, Ralph Nader, and Tucker Carlson
* "Walter Reed" Bonus Episode
* "Lil' George's White House Tour"
* Cast and Crew Interviews
* Table Reading
* Official Site