For much of the last 8 years, "Saturday Night Live", "Mad TV", late night hosts and stand-up comics have found oodles (never thought I'd use that word, online or otherwise) of material in the actions of President Bush. But, what about a cartoon show featuring Lil' Bush and friends? While the concept sounded amusing, the series continues to be uneven.
As the title would indicate, "Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States" follows the adventures of Lil' Bush (Chris Parson, although I thought at first it was Frank Calliendo), Lilí Condi (voiced by Ann Villella), Lil Rummy (voiced by Iggy Pop) and Lilí Chaney (Dominick Cary). There's also Lil' Jed, Barbara, George Sr. and occasional appearances by Lil' Hillary, Lil' Barack, Lil' Tony Blair, Lil' Al Gore and others.
The series generally has the characters going off on some sort of Lil' political adventure, such as "Katrina", where Lil' Bush and friends are sent to help clean up the disaster in New Orleans (and instead of helping the people of New Orleans, they help Lil' Trent Lott build a super-sized tree-house) while Bush Sr. tries to sell the White House since he refinanced it with a subprime loan. The episode starts off with Lil' Bush talking about the office poll betting on what is the biggest disaster of his presidency.
The group goes to Beltway High ("Science Classes Optional") and - not surprisingly - George isn't bright, Jeb is even dimmer (in one episode, he's taken to the vet in a carrier instead of a doctor), Rummy is a nutcase (the series was started before he left), Chaney is a mumbling psycho (his father is shown as Darth Vader - that's kinda funny) and Condi is in love with George - who remains clueless to Condi's desires (as well as most other things.) We also find out that Lil' Karl Rove hates the democrats as much as he does because they ended his rap career (an example of one of the show's gags where the creators think the mere idea is enough to coast on for some gags, but without solid writing, it barely gets a chuckle. It's not an idea without potential, but there's not enough effort in the writing to really push the gag.)
A third season could introduce a bearded Lil' Ben Bernake and bald Lil' Hank Paulson to bail Lil' Bush and friends out of an economic disaster (there could even be guest appearances by Lil' Jim Cramer, who could yell on Lil' CNBC at Lil' Ben that he knows nothing.) One of the main issues with "Lil Bush" is that it's the kind of thing that would be best in an hour-long special. As the first season went on, the series started to become repetitive, which doesn't change with this longer second round of episodes.
While the series occasionally connects with a solid laugh or two, the writing in general takes it too easy and isn't as edgy (the series often goes for wacky with occasional touches of slapstick when it should be going darker) as it thinks it is. Some of the gags just fall flat (as do a couple of the episodes, including the finale, where Lil' George goes to China and ruins things at the Olympics). The writing staff of "The Daily Show" manages funnier, bolder jabs at politics on a daily basis.
Overall, "Lil' Bush" is an amusing concept, but the show itself is rather uneven. There's been a billion Bush jokes over the past several years, and while I'm certainly not against a series goofing on and/or pointing out the flaws of this administration, it's a matter of finding a way that hasn't been done countless times before, and "Lil' Bush" doesn't do that quite often enough.
7. 2- 1 12 Mar 08 St. Patrick's Day
8. 2- 3 20 Mar 08 Big Pharma
9. 2- 9 27 Mar 08 Crony Break-Up
10. 2- 4 3 Apr 08 Katrina
11. 2- 5 10 Apr 08 Three Dates
12. 2- 6 17 Apr 08 Weekend at Saddamy's
13. 2- 7 24 Apr 08 Afghanistan
14. 2- 8 1 May 08 Wedding
15. 2- 9 8 May 08 Pooty-Poot
16. 2-10 15 May 08 Anthem / China
VIDEO: "Lil' Bush" is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame. Picture quality is just fine, as the basic animation appeared crisp and clean, with no smearing or other issues. Colors looked bright and vibrant, with no smearing.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack provided crisp, clear music, sound effects and dialogue.
EXTRAS: Audio commentary (on "Big Pharma", "Pooty-Poot", "Anthem/China", "Afghanistan", "Weekend at Saddamy's" and "Wedding"), animatics, joke viral video and web clips.
Final Thoughts: "Lil' Bush"'s second season isn't much different than the first: there are some funny moments and decent stories, but the series remains uneven and repetitive. The DVD set provides good audio/video quality, as well as a nice set of extra features. Rent it.