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STUDIO: Turner Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 173 minutes
• Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
• Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
• 30 episodes on three discs
• Commentary on all 30 episodes
• That’s Amazing!: How Do They Make That Show?
• A Look Behind
• Original Toms: Tom Goes to the Mayor (2002), Tom Goes to the Mayor Returns (2002
• Whoops?: Deleted Scenes
• Tiny Tune Town: Music from the Show
• Here’s the Scoop: Married News Outtakes
• Bob Zone: A Tribute to Bob Odenkirk
• Boiling Point!: Behind the Scenes, Season Two
• Episode commentaries
• Adult Swim and Tom Goes to the Mayor Promos
• An Artist’s Touch: Artwork from the Show
More nonsensical humor from the Adult Swim lineup – but now with Vitamin Odenkirk and a side order of interesting aesthetic choices.
Tim Heidecker, Eric Warheim, and an ever-changing stable of guest stars throughout each episode that would be dickish of me to spoil here.
In the fictional town of Jefferton (which could easily be substituted for any bombed-out, strip mall coated city-suburb in America), Tom Peters is a bright-eyed entrepreneur who constantly pitches his business (usually something vague like ‘Business Consultant’ or homemade T-shirts) to the town’s Mayor (whose office is located in a mostly vacated strip mall) who seems oftentimes to be functionally retarded and usually ends up completely perverting Tom’s ideas to the point of absurdity. Insanity (funny or not, up to you, as it tends to go) ensues.
Shows on the Adult Swim block usually tend to be fantastic (Home Movies, Venture Brothers) or borderline entertainment that can barely sustain their 10+ minute running time and often shift into grating territory (Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Tom Goes to the Mayor was an interesting experience insofar as it starts out for the viewer as a slightly uncomfortable and not-so-funny experience, but then evolves as the show progresses into something funny and bizarre that ends up hitting more than it misses.
Jefferton seems like a town pulled straight out of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, with the denizens seemingly affected by a couple generations of inbreeding (look at the background characters during scenes of the episode, or any children depicted in the show and you’ll see what I mean) and living in a desolate wasteland of strip malls and ridiculous buffet eateries. What makes the show an interesting experiment is not only its animation style but how a lot of ridiculous jokes about ‘trough-style trough lunches’ and ‘Sauceman’s’ (where you dip your meat in a variety of sauces) actually work at world-building and texturing the surroundings of its characters. While most shows of the surrealist ilk would just focus on non-sequitors and nonsensery, this show actually goes so far as to create its own little universe which makes it more endearing than a show like Aqua Teen Hunger Force. This show is packed to the gills with little details that will either amuse (Tom Peters name constantly being misspelt always elicited at the very least a grin from me, at best a guffaw) or annoy (these characters can be grating from time to time). This isn’t to say they mix things up too often, the proceedings are pretty formulaic. And oddly enough, it works in the show’s favor to have the characters constantly repeating the same scenario over and over, it’s like a Dadaist version of The King of Queens or some other similarly generic sitcom.
Not many people opt for elective Muresan surgery.
There are a handful of reasons why this show might be of interest to you (if you’re a fan of animation or comedy), so let me try to lay them out for you. First off (and the main reason I was interested in checking the series out) is Bob Odenkirk’s involvement. We all know and love him for his work on Mr. Show (for me, the pinnacle of sketch comedy) and possibly even enjoyed his directorial debut Melvin Goes to Dinner (a nice low-key indie) . However, with the recent dickpunch masquerading as a theatrical release of Let’s Go to Prison, some people (myself included) might worry that Odenkirk was beginning to lose his comedic touch. Luckily, his work on TGttM eradicates any worry that one might have, as it’s clear Odenkirk is having fun revisiting some of the clichés he utilized so strongly in his Mr. Show days (using the Droopy voice, as well as the horrible British accent and the faux 90’s rocker character), and the characters themselves are funny, making it something a little bit more than a lukewarm rehash of previously used material. He’s having a blast dicking around in front of a green screen, and nobody plays an infomercial moron or ridiculous TV host caricature quite like Odenkirk and it’s good to see him working out of his wheelhouse again.
In Bob I trust.
Another thing this show has going for it is its revolving door of guest stars. Along with the expected cameos (the Mr. Show Repertory Theater is in full effect here) such as David Cross, John Ennis, Sarah Silverman and Tom Kenny. But there’s a whole helping of other guest stars such as (swipe to read) Jeff Goldblum, Michael Cera, Bob Balaban, Gary Busey, Paul Reubens, Garry Shandling and a whole slew of others. These cameos help break up the monotony that would set in if one was left with the Tom and Mayor characters for entire episode-long stretches and helps spruce up the proceedings with a “Who’s going to show up next?” vibe that carries the show through its draggier stretches.
The final thing the show has up its sleeve is its aesthetic. When I passed by the show on television late at night, the still images in succession didn’t work for me at all and turned me off to the point of not bothering to watch the show. However, when watched for a 30 episode stretch it grows on you and is actually an interesting choice to make. It’s like comedy abstraction, eliminating the middle man of people actually speaking lines and supplementing the funny scenarios and dialogue with ridiculous faces and posture. And there’s a weird consistency to what they’re doing that helps make the ‘blue process’ work. By having all of the people on television recordings show up in live action (the majority of Odenkirk’s bits and the Married News team play out in this manner), it helps create a contrast that is effective as well as breaks up what could become an overbearing animation style. As it stands, although the show starts off uneven and works its way towards being a consistent source of comedy as the episodes progress (particular favorites of mine are Undercover, Puddins and Jeffy the Sea Serpent), the animation style and the assists from numerous comedy ringers help it work as something more entertaining than other shows in the Adult Swim lineup.
So while it isn’t a deliriously hilarious experience to watch Tom Goes to the Mayor, it isn’t a strenuous or agonizing one, and I even grew to enjoy the characters and the could-be-us-soon cityscape they inhabit. It’s a show that truly seemed to be finding its voice in the final batch of episodes, but two seasons to finally gel was a bit too long, so this is the entirety of the show’s run. It’s the type of show that takes multiple episodes to get into the cadence of the comedy, which also works against it, but when viewed in a 30 episode sitting it grows on you and the homemade feel of the entire enterprise leaves the viewer rooting for Tim and Eric to succeed in delivering some ridiculous comedy, and hell, they often deliver on that. Recommended for hardcore Odenkirkians or fans of the Adult Swim sensibility.
The cover art is a pretty good encapsulation of the grubby, cluttered and second-hand style that plagues most of Jefferton with little references to most of the episodes contained within. The 2.0 audio and full-screen video is just fine for what it is, perhaps helped out by the lack of movement on display for most of the series. As for extras, this thing is packed to the brim with goodies, making it a must have if you were a fan of the show. All thirty of the episodes have laid-back commentary with a revolving cast hosted by the creators Tim and Eric (Odenkirk is the most lively of guests and he pops in on a handful of the tracks). Talk often centers on the illogical aspects of each episode or the effort involved in bringing the show to life. The rest of the extras are spread out across the three discs.
On disc one, you have ‘That’s Amazing! How Do They Make That Show?’, which is a making-of documentary showing a smattering of behind-the-scenes footage that displays how the show was brought to life at every stage. There’s ‘The Night of 1000 Stars’, which showcases (most of) the celebrities who lent their voices and poses to the shows revolving door of talent. ‘A Look Behind’ was actually utilized as an episode of the show in between the two seasons to show how the show was made and it happens to be funnier and better made than the ‘That’s Amazing!’ featurette (it also comes with an optional Tim and Eric commentary track). Disc one is rounded out by the original shorts that Tom is based on, the second of which has a David Cross cameo. Neither is spectacular, but you can see them developing the style of humor they utilize throughout right from the get-go.
On disc two, you get ‘Whoops?: Deleted Scenes’, the majority of which seemed to be just minor cuts for time that didn’t really merit inclusion in the episodes, for their effect is minmal. Also on board is ‘Tiny Tune Town’ which is a soundboard that plays all of the different ridiculous songs used throughout the series’ run (unfortunately, Tom’s techno theme that always played whenever he was introduced at a public event is not included), as well as a gaggle of sadly disappointing married news team outtakes. Rounding out disc two is ‘Bob Zone’, which is a little tribute to all of the character work Odenkirk does on the show, which is praise well-deserved. On disc three, you get ‘Breaking Point!’ which shows you what TGttM would be like if it was live action and also has the power of an extended appearance from Michael “Arrested Development” Cera to help it along. Also on the third disc are the promos for the series that aired on Adult Swim, the best of which involves a lo-fi cable access version of Star Search with Weird Al Yankovic and ‘An Artist’s Touch’ which helps to show the effort the editors and creators of the show put forth in creating the background elements that helped realize the town of Jefferton. All in all, a really, really packed set and a true treat for any fan of the show.
The Kite Runner is a fucked up book.
7.0 out of 10