Comedy Central // 2007 // 220 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // October 24th, 2008
"Zing! You've just been Lil' Bush-ed!"
Two seasons in and about four years too late, the Comedy Central animated series Lil' Bush takes on the current administration by reimagining the world as one in which George and his gang of "cronies" (Lil' Cheney, Lil' Rummy, and Lil' Condi) are kids running around George H. and Barbara Bush's White House. They go to Beltway Elementary, where they tangle with the Lil' Dems, a group that includes Lil' Hillary, Lil' Kerry, Lil' Al Gore, Lil' Obama (voiced by Tim Meadows), and Tiny Kucinich. Get it? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm about to lose my lil' lunch.
Lil' Bush, Resident of the United States: Season Two has all 10 episodes, uncensored, and spread across two discs:
* "St. Patrick's Day"
Worried that the Lil' Dems are going to use the Beltway Elementary St. Patrick's parade to further their liberal agenda, Bush and his Lil' Cronies decide to have a parade of their own -- one that excludes gay midgets and Mexicans.
* "Big Pharma"
When Beltway Elementary hosts the Drugzall Drug Fair, the Lil' Cronies learn a valuable lesson about pill-popping.
* "Crony Break-Up"
After Lil' George ends up in the hospital thanks to a case of "nickname overload," the Lil' Cronies have a fight that threatens to split up the group.
To punish Lil' George for trashing the White House, George and Barbara send the kids down to New Orleans to help in the rebuilding effort.
* "Three Dates"
It's time for the Beltway Elementary dance, when a young Bush's thoughts turn to love, but who should he take? Lil' Laura, Lil' Condi, or King Fahd's daughter Fatimeh. How about all three?
* "Weekend at Saddamy's"
When an emergency Iraq visit threatens to ruin the spring break camping trip Bush Sr. promised the Lil' Cronies, he decides to compromise and bring the kids along.
Lil' Cheney is kidnapped by terrorists on behalf of Osama Bin Laden, who wants to steal his heart. It's up to his lil' friends to save him. (Be sure to stick around at the end for a special Lost cameo.)
Lil' Bill Clinton invites the Lil' Cronies to his "rainbow party," prompting Lil' George's parents to protect his young manhood with a purity wedding.
Lil' George and his pals are terrorized by Beltway Elementary's biggest bully: Lil' Putin.
Back to the two-story format of season one: To prop up America's falling international reputation, George Bush Sr. and associates decide to hold a contest for a new, rosier, national anthem; and Lil' Bush is outraged when the made-in-China birthday gift he bought for his father is recalled.
The past decade has been a boom for left-leaning comedians who've had their way with President Bush on stage, on TV, in books, and in movies. Heck, Jon Stewart could probably build himself a mansion financed entirely with Bush bash cash. But the presidential election is less than a month away, and the Bush administration is about to become history. Love him or hate him, George W. is on the way out and jokes at his expense are going out with him -- which makes Lil' Bush's second-term timing all the more puzzling.
Had this show come out back in '04, it might have hit a nerve. It might have seemed fresh. In 2008, though, the concept feels dated. I guess there are people who still find Bush jokes funny. I'm not one of them. They're just too easy -- too predictable. "Oh, look. He mispronounced a word!" "Oh, look. He sent us into a costly foreign war without pretext!" Bo-ring. And, unfortunately, Lil' Bush relies heavily on these modern political chestnuts.
Lil' George (voiced by Chris Parson) is the Lil' Cronies' ringleader -- an elementary frat boy (if that's even possible) surrounded by yes men...er, yes "people": Lil' Rummy (Iggy Pop...yes that Iggy Pop), who not only falls in line, he often takes the fall; Lil' Condi (Kari Wahlgren), who dreams of the day she and George will be more than "just friends"; and Lil' Cheney (series creator Donick Cary), who drinks the blood of live animals and peppers his nearly unintelligible speech with plenty of "ruh ruh ruh"s. In that way, he's kind of like the group's Kenny. You know, from South Park -- the show Lil' Bush is in no way ripping off. Yeah, right.
Besides missing the boat on cultural relevance, Lil' Bush is most guilty of blatantly aping Comedy Central's long-running animated cash cow. But where this Muppet Babies-meets-Oval Office concept would be at most a subplot to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Bush creator Donick Cary has tried to stretch a one-note political parody into an entire series. Sure, Lil' Bush isn't the only post-Park cartoon to leech off of the Colorado kids' success, but it's easier to complain when both crudely drawn series air on the same network. Don't worry, though. It's easy to tell them apart. South Park is the funny one.
That's not to say Lil' Bush is entirely awful. The occasional laugh slips through. With a few exceptions -- like Beltway Elementary's "9th Ward Under the Sea Dance" -- most of the legitimate humor is only tangentially related to politics. For example, while seeing Lil' Guiliani wearing a dress or Lil' Brownie holed up in a New Orleans FEMA office filled with cash isn't funny, slapping a pair of sunglasses on the disinterred corpse of Saddam Hussein ala Weekend at Bernie's, or watching two sleeper agents argue over whether "Sawyer" is a good fake American name because he's such a great character on Lost, is.
Unfortunately, those moments of semi-inspired hilarity are few and far between. Mostly, the show relies on grade-school humor about farting, pooping, and vomiting -- or on depicting Jeb Bush as retarded, Dick Cheney Sr. as Darth Vader, and Barbara Bush as a crazed sex addict.
The extras on the set include audio commentaries for the episodes "Big Pharma," "Weekend at Saddamy's," "Afghanistan," "Wedding," "Pooty-Poot," and "Anthem/China"; a "Lil' Bush Girl" viral video; and a series of making-of and parody segment web clips.
I'm sure Lil' Bush has its fans, and if you still find Bush jokes and bodily fluids funny, I guess this set is for you. Everyone else should steer clear of this animated mess. Lil' Bush has not been picked up for a third season. Neither has the real President Bush. In both cases, I'm relieved.
This show puts the "lil' lame" in "lil' lame duck."
Review content copyright © 2008 Erich Asperschlager; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 220 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio Commentaries
* Web Clips
* "Lil' Bush Girl Viral Video"