That's My Bush!: The Definitive Edition – DVD Review


Available at Amazon.com

Creators:
Trey Parker & Matt Stone

Cast:
Timothy Bottoms….President George W. Bush
Carrie Quinn Dolin….First Lady Laura Bush
Kurt Fuller….Karl Rove
Marcia Wallace….Maggie Hawley
Kristen Miller….Princess Stevenson
John D’Aquino….Larry O’Shea

Comedy Central and Paramount Home Entertainment presents That’s My Bush!: The Definitive Edition. Running time: 176 minutes. Two DVDs. Unrated. Series aired: April 4, 2001 to May 23, 2001. DVD release: October 24, 2006.

The Show

Before the election of 2000, Comedy Central announced that Matt Stone and Trey Parker were creating a live action sitcom featuring the new president. Pundits and viewers braced themselves when George W. Bush won and the duo turned their wit on him. What would be the result of South Park arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? And how big of a hit would it be?

Creating a comic version of the White House isn’t unprecedented. Back in 1962, Vaughn Meader’s audio spoof of JFK’s White House on “The First Family” record sold nearly 8 million copies. How many viewers would hail the Comic in Chief of 2001? In a semi-coincidence, That’s My Bush! lasted 8 episodes. Was it a case of political pressure forcing Comedy Central to yank the show (like Tom Cruise vs. South Park last summer)? Was it too scathing of the new president’s administration? Or was the show mediocre and given a mercy axing?

On the dangerous political comedy scale, That’s My Bush! was an edgier version of Carter Country. Parker and Stone don’t come close to taking true satirical pot shots at Bush. While these episodes might be a bit shocking for the GOP diehards in the red states, it’s not a comic insult to the new First Family. Parker and Stone remained in the shallow end of the reflecting pool compared to Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Nixon on Saturday Night Live.

Their failure can’t be blamed on the source of their material. They had a perfect president to spoof. I won’t go into Bush’s background and neither did Parker and Stone. They constructed a Bush character that was bumbling and a little bit slow on the uptake. His wife Laura was a housewife coping with her First Lady status. Karl Rove was merely a put upon advisor. They even tossed in a goofy neighbor who wandered in at the wrong times with bad jokes. There’s nothing too harmful on the screen. These scripts could easily be adapted to a TV show about a dork son inheriting the family’s corporation. Most of their jokes could have been delivered by Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

The best episode of the batch was “Mom ‘E’ D.E.A. Arrest.” In a made for TV event, Bush will have the millionth drug arrest at a press conference. The busted guy is an ecstasy party kid. Bush’s mom fights with Laura for control of the event. The squabble gives Bush a headache. Instead of popping an aspirin, he absentmindedly swallows the evidence. In the middle of his drug induced freakiness, he throws a rave in the White House. The highlight of the episode is foul mouth Barbara Bush tearing Laura an extra orifice in the Oval Office. It’s cute.

That’s My Bush! had the potential to be a hilarious and biting show. But so many elements were kept off the screen including ex-President George H.W. Bush and the troublesome twins. Parker and Stone seemed satisfied with a show that spoofed 80s sitcoms rather than C-Span. They did come up with a funny title song and montage that rivals She’s the Sheriff. But is that really what viewers were expecting?

It’s hard to imagine the audience for this show even after all these years since it first aired. That’s My Bush! won’t appeal to Red States because they won’t support anything that makes fun of Bush. The liberal Blue States viewers will tune out because it lacked the hard politcal satire found on The Daily Show. This DVD will appeal to hardcore fans of South Park that already own the special edition of BASEketball.

Episodes:
Disc One
An Aborted Dinner Date
A Poorly Executed Plan
Eenie Meenie Miney Murder
S.D.I. -Aye-Aye!

Disc Two
The First Lady’s Persqueeter
Mom “E” D.E.A. Arrest
Trapped in a Small Environment
Fare Thee Welfare

The DVD:
VIDEO:
Presented in 1.33:1 full screen. The show was shot on digital video. The transfer is clean and detailed.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 2.0. There are no subtitles.

EXTRAS:

Commentary Tracks: Every episode features two commentary tracks. The first features Matt Stone and Trey Parker. They barely talk for two minutes before announcing they’re ready to move on to the next episode. The cast commentary brings together all the main acting talent to gab about their experiences. But they go silent about ten minutes into each episode.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for That’s My Bush!
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

7
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

3
REPLAY VALUE

5
OVERALL
6
(NOT AN AVERAGE)