Idol Chatter

Life in elementary school is hard. Even if you’ve got Lil’ Condi Rice to do your homework, Lil’ Dickie Cheney to growl at your enemy cafeteria workers who are trying out a multicultural menu, and parents who live in the White House. And maybe especially when it’s “Dan Quayle Elementary School” and your name is “Lil’ Bush, Resident of the United States.”

Now you get an inside look at the (imagined) pre-adolescent life of George W. Bush, which includes hallway bully Lil’ Kim Jong II stealing Lil’ Bush’s MP3 player and Laura the new chubby nerdy girl. (The screen below links you to the pilot, but I also recommend the “Nuked” episode.) Comedy Central has ordered a six-episode season of the show, which now exists in small, five-minute episodes on Amp’d Mobile.

As you might expect, the broad stereotypically comedic tropes–Cheney’s aggression, George’s simplicity, George Sr.’s alternate pride and frustration in his son, Condi’s devotion to George at all costs–are present in combination with a debt to animations as diverse as Josie and The Pussycats, Scooby Doo, and South Park/Team America. I found it LOL-funny.

But the show–and the general attitude of taking comedic shots at the president–prompts a larger question that we might ponder. This is the second series to poke fun at the figures in the Bush White House (some may remember Comedy Central’s “That’s My Bush” (2001), which gave South Park’s creators their shot at playing with some of the same stereotypes but with live action and a laugh track instead of animation).

Without the second season (oops, I mean presidential term of office) of Bush, it’s possible that the Daily Show would have waned in popularity and never have birthed the Colbert Report, which any member of the “Stewart/Colbert 2008” Facebook group would agree would have been a great tragedy for our nation. But is our current president inherently more comical than the ones who came before him? What is it about him that courts laughter? And if poking fun at the president creates a legacy of laughter and derision instead of respect, what is the impact on the mood of our country, and what is the impact on history?

We could ponder that. But most of us will probably just watch (and enjoy) “Lil’ Bush,” with a chaser of TV Funhouse’s “The Ex-Presidents,” and a nice gulp of Chevy Chase falling down some stairs as Gerald Ford before saying “Live! From New York! It’s Saturday Night!”

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