Tom Goes to the Mayor
First of all, enjoy this nice little Christmas video from comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. It's from their upcoming sketch show, and it's kind of confusing. Not to worry, I'm sure when seen in context it's even more perplexing.
Oh yeah, and the complete series of Tom Goes to the Mayor will be out on DVD in April 0f 2007. Since they're calling it the "Complete Series" I'm going to put two and two together and assume the show is over for good. I am equal parts bummed and thrilled by these two bits of news, though I think two seasons is a pretty good run for a show like TGTTM. Rather than follow the trajectory of so many others before it and use pop culture as a springboard, Tim and Eric satirized small town life and overzealous civic pride in an absurdist style that crawled right into my brain, laid out a sleeping bag and whispered softly to me: "Adam, I'm forever stuck in your head now. Get used to me."
All sadness aside, we still have Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! to look forward to, so no reason to commit suicide yet, Tim and Eric fans.
Well, I mentioned earlier that Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the twisted minds behind one of my favorite shows, Tom Goes to the Mayor, were developing a sketch show for Adult Swim. We now know that the name of the new show is Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. According to the duo, the humor will be not unlike the short films the two made before bringing Tom Goes to the Mayor to Adult Swim. Also, Tom Goes to the Mayor will take a break while the two focus on their new show. Hopefully it won't be gone forever, for sad I would be.
If you just can't wait until February 11th for the premiere of their new show, you can always head to Pasadena, California tomorrow for the Doo Dah Parade, a crazy spoof of the New Year's Day Rose Parade. Tim and Eric will be there, will you?
(Left to right: Scott Adsit, Jay Johnston and Dino Stamatopoulos)
Dino Stamatopoulos has written for some of the funniest cult comedy series in the last ten years, including Mr. Show, TV Funhouse, Tom Goes to the Mayor, and most recently Moral Orel, an oft-misunderstood stop-animated cartoon created by Stamatopoulos himself. He's also written for other series, including Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Mad TV.
With the new second season of Moral Orel starting November 12, Stamatopoulos and I spoke on the phone about what fans could expect in the new season, and about TV comedy in general.
Adult Swim, you know I love you, but damn it, you make it so difficult to find information on upcoming series. Nevertheless, there seem to be a few clues floating around the online world of Adult Swim that indicate Tim and Eric, creators of one of favorite series of the last couple years, Tom Goes to the Mayor, are developing a sketch show (working title: Sketch Show) which is currently set to debut on February 11 at 12:15 am Sunday evening (early Monday morning). As I've stated before, this may have been mentioned on the Adult Swim TV bumps, but being a Tivo rider, I often miss those. However, the duo mentioned originally wanting to do a sketch show with Bob Odenkirk in this long and rambling IM interview, and the folks over at the Adult Swim messageboards have been chatty-chatting about it, as well.
I'm going to assume this new series won't be animated, which is just fine with me. I may very well be accused of blasphemy here, but I would love to see Adult Swim become its own 24-hour network dedicated to anything weird and unique, animated or otherwise. It seems to be going in that direction anyway, and if that means a place where alternative ideas can grow and flourish, that doesn't seem like such a terrible thing.
(S02E16) This is an early review.
Avid viewers of Tom Goes to the Mayor know that Tom, no matter how hard he tries, will never be respected by anyone, whether it be his friends, family, or the members of the city council. Of course, it's difficult to blame these people because despite being "full of ideas," the concepts Tom comes up with are usually rather asinine. What I liked the most about this episode is that while Tom still served as the whipping boy, he was actually the voice of reason throughout the entire episode.
(S02E15) This is an early review.
Tragedy strikes Tom and his step-family when his son Brindon dies from a
pudding buffet food overdose. The poor kid actually ate so much pudding he literally exploded at his birthday party. Tom is distraught, but he doesn't get much sympathy from the Mayor or anyone else. Whenever Tom brings it up people just laugh at the hilarious way his son died. Tom has trouble letting go and carries a framed picture of his stepson, and also builds a shrine to him in his front yard.
Ever since getting a Tivo a little over a year ago, I no longer watch TV shows when they actually air. When I'm not catching up with what's on my recorder, I'm either reading, listening to podcasts, or pounding out a blog post about what I'm watching on television. The big deletion from my Tivo Season Pass this year is House. I still admire the show, but for me the magic is gone. The season opener sat on my Tivo for quite a few days, unwatched. When I finally sat down to view it I realized, about fifteen minutes into it, that I had completely lost interest in it. I didn't even finish the episode, and took it off my Tivo for good. Perhaps my attitude will change in the coming weeks, but who knows? Anyway, some of these shows are winding down their current seasons, some have yet to air. All times are Central because I live in Minnesota.
(S02E14) The city of Jefferton has a problem: dangerous levels of starch are plaguing the residents, and Tom Peters is very concerned for his family. He's even purchased an Eez-Zee Stool Strips tester so he can make sure his stepsons don't have too much starch in their system. The machine, as demonstrated in an infomercial, is easy to use. In fact, you can test your stool on a bus in less than ten minutes. All you have to do is lick the tester, stir it around in your stool, enter the number that comes up into the machine, and then hold your thumbs on the special identicators for two minutes (it helps if you have some stool on your thumbs).
It turns out Tom's stepsons do have high levels of starch in their system, which he suspects to be the fault of the food they're eating at school. The Mayor suggests he and Tom go undercover, Tom as a student, and himself as the vice-principal. To fit in with the young crowd, Tom has a special surgery in which his knees and shinbones are removed and his feet are reattached to the bottom of his thighs. Also, his vocal chords are removed and stretched on a tiny rack in order to change his voice. The result is a dwarfish version of Tom with a voice that sounds like he's been inhaling helium.
(S02E14) If you check out the Adult Swim schedule grid, the words "Worst episode ever" are written next to this particular episode. The men and monkeys who run Adult Swim have never been above a bit of self deprecation, but I actually thought this episode was pretty damn hilarious.
The show opens with the Mayor poking Tom in the eye with a sharp metal rod. It's okay, though, because Tom's eye is made of glass. It seems he had an accident while playing with his step-sons. Tom, however, isn't there just to have his eye poked buy the inquisitive Mayor, he's there to sell hoagies for the annual Father/Son Barrel Goat Hunt, in which the father/son teams hunt the dreaded barrel goat, a creature that is driven insane by the scent of pickle barrels. The Mayor has never heard of a hoagie (he pronounces it "hoogie") before, and he can't get enough of the sandwiches. He also takes a liking to Tom's glass eye and buys two for himself, which of course makes it difficult for him to see and move around.
(S02E13) This is an early review.
Tom Peters has a less than stellar marriage, and it's been implied, though never blatantly shown, that his wife Joy might be unfaithful. The real question doesn't seem to be why Joy cheats on Tom, but how an ugly screaming whale of a woman like her would be able to find someone willing to make love to her. Of course, plenty of men dig the rotund dames, but Joy manages to make herself unpleasant in so many other ways that seems like a moot point.
Part of enjoying Tom Goes to the Mayor --and I think by this point those who don't enjoy the show have moved on to other things-- is that it exists in a world pretty much void of any adherence to physical or moral laws. Tom has been killed, gone to hell, inexplicably transported both his father and the Mayor to an airplane in mid-flight, and been trapped underwater with a tiny man trapped inside him. He's also married to a woman who hates his guts, and it's never made clear why they're married. If you start asking these kind of questions, though, you really shouldn't be watching the show in the first place.
(S02E12) This is an early review.
Bob Balaban plays Tom's father in this episode, and I must say he was the perfect choice. He and Tim Heidecker, who plays Tom, have the same kind of soft-spoken, halted delivery, and it seems perfectly natural they would be father and son, even if Walt doesn't seem to care much for Tom.
The episode opens at the airport with Tom waiting for his father's flight to arrive. We assume he's visiting his son, but actually it's just an eleven minute layover (which is, funny enough, also the length of the episode). Tom doesn't let his father's lack of time keep him from making a minute by minute itinerary, which includes a father/son embrace (tentative). Tom's father sells fish coolers called "Coldinizers" and he doesn't want to miss his flight, else he lose all his sales on the Eastern seaboard. Tom insists they have time to do everything on the list, however.
(S02E11) When I watch shows in order to review them for TV Squad, I try to simply sit back and enjoy them as if I were any other fella sitting down to enjoy a TV show. In other words, I try not to get hung up on every little nuance and line of dialogue because I want to appreciate the show as it's meant to be, not turn it into some kind of archaeological dig where I over-examine every detail and completely suck the enjoyment out of the experience. I like to look for little details, of course, but I don't want to lose the whole package. This is my way. Yes, it is.
However, I can't completely neglect the blogger/writer part of me that knows he's going to be typing out something about the show once it's over, and some things I would normally ignore get stuck in my craw because of it. For instance, I thought this recent episode of Tom Goes to the Mayor was very funny, but there were two moments I felt were somewhat beneath the usual bizarre humor I expect from Tim and Eric. The first was a "Benny Hill" chase sequence, which has already been spoofed a million times, and a Scooby-Doo style "unmasking" at the end, which, to be fair, was pretty damn surreal, but I still felt it was a little too easy. These are minor complaints though, and the rest of the episode was pretty funny, I thought.
I've been a fan of Tim and Eric for a long time, even before Tom Goes to the Mayor was picked up by Adult Swim. However, I hadn't checked out their personal Web site in some time, so I was pleased to find they actually have a podcast now. They've made six episodes since May, and when I say "six" I mean "five" because the fifth one doesn't appear to be on iTunes. Oh wait, they do have it here. Okay, well that problem is solved. I was seriously worried there for a moment. I'm just glad you and I were able to get through it together. I think those last four sentences were a tumultuous time for all of us, full of doubt and uncertainty. The podcasts themselves include a lot of older videos the duo made before moving out to LA to do Tom Goes to the Mayor, mixed in with some newer stuff. If you're a fan, check it out. If you're not a fan, don't check it out, because that really wouldn't make any sense.
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