Tom Goes to the Mayor – The Complete Series – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Created by
Tim Heidecker
Eric Wareheim

Cast:
Tim Heidecker … Tom Peters
Eric Wareheim … The Mayor
Stephanie Courtney … Joy Peters
Craig Anton … City Council Member
Ron Lynch … City Council Member
Bob Odenkirk … Announcer


The Show:

For your late night fix of absolute weirdness, you’d be hard pressed to find a more gleeful lineup of the bizarre than Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. With shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and most brilliantly, The Venture Brothers, the cable channel has cornered the market on animation that’s completely out of the ordinary. Of course, not all shows in the group are absolute winners, as the amount of strangeness in some series is perhaps too much for most tastes. Though they may have interesting ideas and other good reasons to watch, these series simply go too far off the rails to be consistently funny, making you simply feel odd instead of entertained. A perfect example of this would be Tom Goes to the Mayor.

On the surface, the series seems to have some potential for laughs. Show Creators Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim play the series’ two principle characters, Resident Tom Peters and The Mayor of the small town of Jefferton, as well as a host of other characters. The show is a mix of still photos, live action, and animation, giving it a unique and interesting look. The premise is also very simple, as it always involves Tom coming to the Mayor’s office and suggesting something to help the community (i.e., better security for the town’s children) with the Mayor then taking the idea and going in a totally different direction (i.e., placing thousands of bear traps everywhere to protect the kids).

While on occasion this formula will make for a pretty funny episode, such as the episode “Pioneer Island”, in which Tom suggests that Jefferton have a Pioneer Festival to commemorate the reopening of the town’s theme park Pioneer Island. In the episode, The Mayor takes it upon himself to have the town live like pioneers by cutting off power to the entire city, destroying everyone’s food and other necessities. As a capper, a local storeowner named Zynx (Patton Oswalt) decides to take the town over by organizing a mob and rule the streets with violence.

The problem is, is that while “Pioneer Island’s” wacky progression is pretty funny overall; most installments just get so peculiar that the show ends up repetitive and a bit tedious. This is despite the fact that the show gets a plethora of guest stars, including Oswalt, David Cross, Jeff Goldblum, Sarah Silverman, Fred Willard, Zach Galifianakis, Tenacious D, and many others. Then again, I suppose the offbeat tone of the show would appeal to many of the comedians and actors, like a cartoon version of series such as Mr. Show or The State.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the series is that despite its moments of humor, the show is really pretty depressing. While Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen have both mined the same fields of oddity, those shows have walked a fine line to be able to keep the show fun. Tom Goes to the Mayor is almost mean spirited in the way the character of Tom sees his hopes and dreams get crushed every single episode. Spoiler Alert; One episode, “C.N.E.”, features Tom having problems because his wife finds him repulsive, so he has to start taking pills to suppress any sexual appetite he may have. He then eventually becomes the spokesman for the product, but through a series of events gets fired and then has to pay the company back for all the pills he’s taken. The episode ends with Tom in complete embarrassment as the Mayor dances outside his window.End Spoilers

While there are some other things that happen in this episode, it’s also pretty typical of the joylessness of the show. Tom Goes to the Mayor is a series with many good elements, but often just strays too off course to be recommended as a whole. While other Adult Swim series leave you in stitches, this show will leave you befuddled due to so much wasted potential.


The DVD:

The Video
The show looks really great, with this print as crisp as possible in all episodes. There’s seem to be no color distortion what so ever. The Series is presented in Fullscreen with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

The Audio
The Audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is pretty loud during the show’s opening theme, but I’m not sure that isn’t done on purpose. Other than that, the show sounds pretty great throughout, with no problems of overlap with the dialogue and soundtrack.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Music Clips, Original Shorts, Photo Gallery, Outtakes

Whoops?: Deleted Scenes – I can say unequivocally that the deleted scenes here are just as weird as the rest of the show. You get several deletions, most not very long, that look like they were cut for time.

Audio Commentary – This commentary track runs over all 30 episodes of the show. Featuring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim on every installment, other crewmembers will wander in and out; especially Producer and occasional guest star Bob Odenkirk. The commentary is pretty funny and insightful, as the guys go over what changes there were in the show, as well as telling how certain jokes came about. I especially like the little insights into German porn that comes up at one point.

That’s Amazing: How Do They Make That Show? – Aside from its goofy and overdramatic opening, this is a pretty standard fly-on-the-wall-type Featurette that looks at the different aspects of the show from script meetings to voice acting.

Boiling Point!: Behind The Scenes, Season Two – This Featurette talks about a rift between the two creators that may or may not be genuine. I doubt that this is for real, but it’s hard to tell with this show.

The Night of 1,000 Stars: Celebrity Sessions – This Featurette may be the best of the disc’s features, showing the mind-boggling amount of guest stars working on their episodes. The scariest of the bunch is Gary Busey, who does a rant from his episode, but you would swear he was actually mad at someone.

Bob Zone: A Tribute to Bob Odenkirk – This Featurette shows Odenkirk at work on the show, doing his characterizations and voice work, in which he plays a lot of characters. Odenkirk was apparently very important to the show’s development and it’s nice to see him get his due on this disc.

Original Shorts – You get the creator’s two initial shorts Tom Goes To the Mayor and Tom Goes To the Mayor Returns. Neither is very long and both are pretty crude compared to what the show ended up looking like, but each is very much in the same tone as the series.

Married News Team Outtakes – Pretty funny outtakes, but also just astoundingly weird.

Tiny Tune Town: Music From The Show

Adult Swim TV Spots

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Tom Goes to the Mayor – The Complete Series
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

4.5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7.5
THE EXTRAS

8
REPLAY VALUE

4
OVERALL
5.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
I know this series has its fans, I’m just not one of them. The DVD itself is very nice, with all of the show’s 30 episodes as well as a ton of extras, but still this is just too much of an oddity to really recommend.