TV Preview

On 'Lil' Bush,' It's the Laughs That Are Tiny

Comedy Central's new animated mockery
Comedy Central's new animated mockery "Lil' Bush" serves up a plateful of political shots and crude humor, but not much laughter. (Comedy Central)
By John Maynard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Talk about your easy target.

With President Bush's approval ratings at historically low levels, Comedy Central goes for some broad-based Bush-bashing with its new animated series "Lil' Bush." It depicts "The Decider" as a rascally little boy living in the White House who pals around with his buddies Lil' Condi, Lil' Cheney and Lil' Rummy.

The show's premise is about as funny as it gets. "Lil' Bush" aims for the political satire of "The Daily Show" and the crude-but-smart humor of "South Park" but fails to live up to both standard-bearers. Most of the political jokes sound like rejects from a Jon Stewart news segment, and the gross-out humor comes across as strictly immature.

This is not Comedy Central's first whack at Bush. The live-action show "That's My Bush!," produced by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had a short run in the spring of 2001.

"Lil' Bush" takes liberties with history's timeline as Bush and brother Jeb (depicted as an absolute idiot prone to getting his head stuck in the freezer) live in a White House where George H.W. Bush serves as president. But we're clearly not back in the Bush 41 days: The current Iraq war rages on in tonight's first episode.

In the first segment (the show consists of two 10-minute segments), Bush and friends travel to Baghdad in search for peace in Iraq -- which Lil' Bush figures would make a nifty Father's Day gift for the president.

Lil' Bush is encouraged when he lands in Baghdad. "Baghdad," he says. "It's got 'Dad' right in it!"

He and his pals stumble upon the Green Zone -- which, when the gates are opened, reveal that it is actually "Halliburton-Land." "The Wealthiest Place on Earth," a sign there declares.

That's about the scope of the political humor. And when "Lil' Bush" is not taking lame shots at the Prez, the show tries out its more risque stuff.

In the second episode tonight, Lil' Cheney has a "Graduate"-like affair with first lady Barbara Bush and somehow winds up . . . actually, it's better left unsaid, but the result is not at all funny.

The depictions of Lil' Cheney as a snarling psychopath who likes to bite the heads off live birds, and Lil' Condi as a freckled lass who's smitten with Bush grow old fast. Somehow, aging punk rocker Iggy Pop signed on as the voice of Lil' Rummy, who is depicted here as having severe Daddy issues.

More amusing is a plump, leather-jacket-clad Lil' Bill Clinton, who is caught by a seething Lil' Hillary carrying on with the Lewinsky twins in the school cafeteria.

"Lil' Bush" premiered last fall on cellphones as five-minute "mobi-sodes" distributed by the company Amp'd Mobile, but this phone-based political satire is not ready for prime time.

Lil' Bush (30 minutes) premieres tonight at 10:30 on Comedy Central.

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