on Comedy Central
Wednesdays @ 10:30 p.m.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Ever wonder what President Bush was like as a toddler? Fret no more, because Comedy Central can do better than tell you – it will show you.
The brainchild of Donick Cary, whose writing credits include “The Simpsons” and “Just Shoot Me,” “Lil’ Bush” is a show centered around a cartoon version of our nation’s president. It was picked up by Comedy Central for a much-hyped six-episode run, which began last Wednesday.
In the half-hour show, Lil’ Bush and his buddies Lil’ Cheney, Lil’ Rummy and Lil’ Condi maraud around their elementary school and wreak havoc on the Middle East and Middle America.
The show is a landmark, in a way: No other president has had an entire television show devoted to spoofing him. The audacity of the show is riveting at first, but in the end, the comedy runs out and all that’s left is a handful of unsavory toddlers killing civilians with semi-automatics.
“Lil’ Bush” doesn’t seem to fit in with Comedy Central’s other shows, and this may be due in part to its origins. The show is not a Comedy Central original – Cary’s cartoon was initially a 2006 short series sponsored by Amp’d Mobile. What’s more, the dumb humor of “Lil’ Bush” seems to patronize viewers of Comedy Central’s other smart political satires like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” by spoonfeeding them jokes and lampooning political leaders to the point of excess.
Not that the show is entirely devoid of wit: The Lil’ Cheney character steals the show. It is his behavior, not Bush’s, that elicits the loudest laughs in each episode. The wee version of the vice president bites off the heads of unsuspecting birds and proceeds to drink the blood from their bodies like wine from a carafe. Cheney doesn’t speak in the show, but rather grunts and yells, making a grating “wah wah wah” sound interspersed with certain key words, such as “Binaca!” during a kissing game and “Adrian!” during a scene which required him to wrap his shirt around his forehead like a hard ass.
Cheney’s character is funny because it’s so extreme – conversely, the humor of Bush’s character falls flat because his depiction is so decidedly true to life. Lil’ Bush is overbearing, misinformed and makes outrageous claims. Anyone who has watched Bush’s State of the Union addresses (or any televised appearance by the president, for that matter) has witnessed the same.
Unfortunately, the show quickly becomes tiring and resorts to promulgating stereotypes early on. The jokes Lil’ Rummy makes about his dad beating him with a belt? Played out. Barbara Bush finding Lil’ Cheney lodged in her uterus after a night of wild sex? Unfunny and revolting, even for a cartoon on Comedy Central.
It’s this kind of exhaustive humor that ruins what could have been a hilarious show. In the end, “Lil’ Bush” leaves viewers feeling insulted and bored. After the initial shock of witnessing such a shameless parody, there’s nothing left to laugh at. Unfortunately for Lil’ Bush, hearing his real-life counterpart mangle a speech on C-SPAN is far more entertaining than anything Donick Cary could have dreamed up.