Tom Goes to the Mayor: The Complete Series - DVD review
Tom Goes to the Mayor began as a couple short short films on creators Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's Web site, and even then it was obvious that not everyone was going to be into it. If anything, the fact that so many people either absolutely loved the series or just found it confusing and unfunny is a testament to its success: one doesn't make a show like Tom Goes to the Mayor with the intention of pleasing everyone. You either grok it, or you don't.
During the audio commentary for the first episode on this three-disc set that contains all thirty episodes of the series, co-creator Wareheim talks about how the first pilot they wrote was three hours long. That may be an exaggeration, but his point was that they tried extra hard from the start to explain exactly who Tom was, who the Mayor was, and what the town of Jefferton was all about. It was executive producer Bob Odenkirk who suggested they just dive right in with no explanation and let the audience figure it out as the show progressed. It didn't take long for folks like myself to comprehend that Jefferton was a funhouse mirror version of every rundown small town in America that tries to make itself out to be much better than it really is, and that Tom represented the kind of overzealous civic pride that never quite overcomes the indifference of the town's citizens.
The audio commentaries start off rather bland but become more insightful as the show improves over subsequent seasons. As simplistic as the show looks, a lot of work goes into melding the sparse animation, backgrounds and live-action elements into a cohesive whole, and the behind-the-scenes extras on the DVD (not counting those bits that are clearly staged) demonstrate just how important it was to Tim and Eric to get their twisted vision across, at least to those tuned in to their absurdist sense of humor.
Tom Goes to the Mayor: The Complete Series (Businessman's Edition) marks the first time Adult Swim has released a complete series on one set. It will hit stores April 3 and will retail for $34.95.