Lil’ Bush: Resident of the United States - Season Two
Directed by Donick Cary
Studio: Paramount/Comedy Central
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 220 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
MSRP: $ 26.99
Release Date: October 14, 2008
Review Date: October 9, 2008
The satire is much stronger and more solidly on the mark in the second season of Lil’ Bush: Resident of the United States. Presuming to involve grade school versions of the current administration bumming around together during Bush Sr.’s years in the White House, Lil’ Bush might not always reach its satirical comedy goals with each episode, but the best ones do exactly what they should: make one laugh while understanding the fundamental follies behind some major political agendas currently at play in Washington, D.C.
Lil’ George Bush has three loyal playmates: best friend Lil’ Chaney (who’s blisteringly angry all the time and bloodthirsty to boot), Lil’ Rummy (who gets to bear the brunt of blame for all the group’s shenanigans that go wrong), and Lil’ Condi (who worships Lil’ Bush from afar since his heart belongs to another). This season, the Lil’ Cronies (as they call themselves; their adversaries are the Lil’ Dems) stage their own surprise Mardi Gras in New Orleans using money rightly earmarked for Katrina victims, manage to make St. Patrick’s Day even more exclusive by rerouting the big parade out of the country, and become hooked on the very pharmaceuticals which the big drug companies use to lobby for millions in kickbacks. Big Oil, the Middle East, and China all get major kicks in the rears once the Lil’ Bush crowd get involved in their activities.
The cast has gained a few hilarious new characters this season. The Lil’ Dems have much stronger work from Lil’ Hillary and Lil’ Al Gore this year (seeing Lil’ Al stuff himself with cookies during the season premiere had me howling), and naturally Lil’ Barack is also front and center during some episodes. On the Crony side, we see some solid cameo appearances by Lil’ Fred Thompson (with a hilarious Law & Order title screen), Lil’ Karl Rove, and Lil’ Giuliani. As was the case last season, the voice actors including Chris Parson (Lil‘ Bush, among others), Dave Mitchell (Lil' Jeb, Big Bush, the announcer, among others), Donick Cary (Lil’ Chaney, among others), Iggy Pop (Lil’ Rummy and Big Rummy), Mara Cary (Barbara Bush), and Kari Wahlgren (Lil’ Condi) do excellent work. As in season one, music plays a key role in many episodes (Lil’ Karl rapping is quite funny) though not always to positive effect.
The writing is still erratic, of course, but much more consistently on the mark than during season one. When one decides he’s going to chance satire, the results can pay big dividends or wind up falling totally flat. I didn’t find all that much amusing about Lil’ George finding himself dating three different girls at the prom, but when the gang decides that just too many different strata of society can be included in St. Patrick’s Day and decide to do something about it, the writing really gets pointed and funny. There's also a marvelous adaptation of Weekend at Bernie's that's a scream. And that opportunity for fun is what keeps one coming back for more. Through the season, the writers take some merry swipes at the likes of Sean Penn, Courtney Love, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Stephen Baldwin, and Neil Diamond.
Here are the ten episodes which constitute this season’s box set:
1 - St. Patrick’s Day
2 - Big Pharma
3 - Crony Break-Up
4 - Katrina
5 - Three Dates
6 - Weekend at Saddamy’s (my favorite episode of the season)
7 - Afghanistan
8 - Wedding
9 - Pooty-Poot
10 - Anthem/China
The series is broadcast in 1.33:1 on Comedy Central, and these transfers replicate the network broadcasts. With no anamorphic enhancement, there is line twitter and aliasing in every episode, often to very distracting effect. Color is pleasant, and sharpness is apt, but there are traces of color banding in several of the episodes. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track is loud, and while the music can sometimes be distorted at normal volume, the dialog is always well recorded and delivered, and there is even occasionally some directionialzed dialog which opens up the listening space a bit.
Six of the ten episodes (# 2, 6-10) feature audio commentary by members of the production staff. They do often mention jokes that were deleted due to standards and practices and ideas they attempted that didn’t work, but often they laugh at their own material or go silent altogether, so the discussions are really hit and miss.
There are 6 Web Clips which run a total of 6 ¾ minutes. These appear to be outtakes from episodes but aren’t identified as such. They (and all of the video bonuses) are presented in 4:3.
“Lil’ Bush Girl Viral Video” is a 2 ½-minute music video of the song “My Lil’ Bush.”
There are 8 animatics available for viewing, rough pencil animation of various scenes from the first two seasons of the show with vocal tracks present (but sometimes temporary tracks without the regular cast). These shorts run a total of 20 ¾ minutes.
Comedy Central Quickies are lifted excerpts from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, South Park, and Reno 911!
There are previews for the Comedy Central programs South Park - Season 11, TV Funhouse, and Kenny Vs. Spenny.
An improvement from its freshman season, Lil’ Bush makes for an entertaining animated satirical romp. After two seasons of their silly antics, the quirky personalities of the Lil’ Cronies do, in fact, grow on a viewer.