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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States (Uncensored) - Season One: The Invasion Begins
Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States (Uncensored) - Season One: The Invasion Begins
Comedy Central // Unrated // March 11, 2008
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Preston Jones | posted March 12, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Show

You don't realize how tricky good satire is to pull off -- until you're watching middling or bad satire. For my money, one of the great, ongoing animated satires on television is Matt Stone and Trey Parker's frequently brilliant "South Park." Week after week (well, before that pesky writers' strike), Stone and Parker observe the zeitgeist, then ruthlessly eviscerate it, often crafting mini masterpieces that hold up long after a particular pop culture moment (Tom Cruise and Scientology, for example) has passed.

Creator Donick Cary's politically-themed cartoon show, Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States, is certainly topical -- Hey, look! Our president's a moron! -- but having just premiered in June 2007 feels like Cary and company are getting to the party a little late. That wouldn't matter, of course, if the episodes deftly skewered the Bush administration's endless list of transgressions and foul-ups, but Lil' Bush seems content to knock out easy jokes (Jeb Bush is just as stupid as his brother, Dick Cheney is soulless, Condolezza Rice secretly lusts after Dubya) rather than land any real punches.

There's a whiff of "TV Funhouse" to a lot of Lil' Bush -- and not in a good way. Only six episodes (each split into roughly 10-minute story segments) comprise the first season, but the narratives in each never really stick. Cary and his creative team hit most of the expected topics -- the Iraq War, Bush's propensity for malapropisms, the economy, illegal immigration -- and take a shotgun approach to their comedy, firing buckshot in hopes that something hits the target.

While Lil' Bush doesn't have the impact of great satire, you can appreciate the voice work from the talented cast. Chris Parson, who provides life for Lil' Bush himself, is constantly amusing, while Iggy Pop (really, Iggy Pop?) offers up a few highlights as Lil' Rummy. Other cameos include -- bizarrely -- Jeff Tweedy, Frank Black, Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Dave Grohl, all of whom pop up throughout this first season. Lil' Bush has been renewed for a second season (which premieres March 13) so perhaps the kinks of the first season will be worked out and the creative team can sharpen the knives, drawing satirical blood and making this show more than just a poorly animated time filler.

The DVD

The Video:

Presented as originally broadcast on Comedy Central, Lil' Bush arrives on DVD with a 1.33:1 fullscreen transfer. Bright, clean and smooth, these six episodes fairly pop off the screen, as befits a recently created TV show. (Interesting note: From what I've read, Lil' Bush was originally created as Amp'd Mobile content for cell phones, hence the low-grade animation. I'm curious why it wasn't spruced up for TV broadcast.) Nothing to complain about here.

The Audio:

Like the visuals, Comedy Central broadcast the show with a standard-issue Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack, which has been carried over to the DVD release. Again, it conveys dialogue and score with no drop-out or distortion. A perfectly acceptable aural presentation.

The Extras:

The creators of Lil' Bush went all out for the supplements, including cast/creative staff commentaries on all six episodes, as well as bonus commentaries featuring an unlikely trio -- Jerry Springer, Ralph Nader and Tucker Carlson. The men, each covering a separate episode, often seem a bit confused as to why they're even there, but the results are interesting, if nothing else. A "never-before-seen bonus episode" titled "Walter Reed" is on board, running 12 minutes, 50 seconds with an introduction from Cary and writer Opus Moreschi. Additionally, the one minute, 16 second featurette "Lil' George's White House Tour"; six minutes, four seconds of interviews with the cast and a six minute table read are included, as are "Comedy Central Quickies" for "The Colbert Report," "South Park" and "The Sarah Silverman Program."

Final Thoughts:

Creator Donick Cary's politically-themed cartoon show, Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States, is certainly topical -- Hey, look! Our president's a moron! -- but having just premiered in June 2007 feels like Cary and company are getting to the party a little late. That wouldn't matter, of course, if the episodes deftly skewered the Bush administration's endless list of transgressions and foul-ups, but Lil' Bush seems content to knock out easy jokes (Jeb Bush is just as stupid as his brother, Dick Cheney is soulless, Condolezza Rice secretly lusts after Dubya) rather than land any real punches. Perhaps the second season will up the ante. Rent it.

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