Tom Goes to the Mayor
(S02E10) One of the things that has made this season of Tom Goes to the Mayor so great is the guest stars. They haven't just used comedians with the same knack for irreverence as Tim and Eric, such as Tom Kenny and Michael Ian Black, but also actors like Judd Hirsch and Robert Loggia who aren't necessarily strangers to comedic acting, but simply have a different approach. Watching Black act like a goofball is fun and all, but it's not surprising. Seeing Hirsch behave in a similar fashion is surprising because we're not used to seeing him that way, and it makes the show all the more fun to watch.
John C. Reilly, a man known for dramatic, albeit quirky, roles in film, shows off his comedic chops in this episode as a mentally-unbalanced man who befriends Tom through a MySpace-like site called "Friendship Alliance." Tom hasn't even been on the site for more than a minute when John sends him a message to meet at Sauceman's, a "house-style saucehouse restaurant" where you can dip your food into over 3,000 different sauces. Tom was only logging onto the site to add his profile (he's the step-grandpop of a baby wolf-child), but since he's the easy-going sort he accepts John's invitation.
(S02E09) This is an early review courtesy of Adult Swim Fix, so don't read if you want to wait until Sunday night to see the episode.
I love Michael Ian Black, but I'm not in love with him. You know what I mean? A person can have everything you want in a comedian, but somehow he just can't turn you on the way you need. You end up having to sneak out at night to get your comedy satisfaction elsewhere, or even worse, you sneak off to the bathroom after he's finished his routine and he walks in and catches you reading a joke book. With a look of mortification and deep personal shame he shouts, "What, I'm not enough for you?!"
(S02E08) Not everybody likes the same things, and you don't have to spend a lot of time on this blog to know that a lot of people have different opinions about what constitutes a good television program. Tom Goes to the Mayor is so unique in its look and sense of humor that it's perfectly reasonable some would be turned off by it. If you've been reading my recaps/reviews, you know I'm a big fan of the show, but I wanted to try and find a reasonable argument against it. However, perusing the messageboards on the Adult Swim site doesn't offer much in the way of "reasonable arguments," other than "this show sucks" and "this show is totally gay."
I was listening to the archives of Paul Goebel's podcast the other day, and I think he offered an apt critique of the show. Goebel likes Tom Goes to the Mayor, but he does feel it's too "post-modern." In other words, it's sometimes so weird to the point where a person can totally lose interest, and you end up not really caring about the characters or what happens to them. I'm of a different mind, and actually revel in that post-modern weirdness. I splash around in it. I drink deeply of its essence, I do. Goebel references another great Adult Swim show, Venture Bros., which manages to be unique and still have characters you really care about. As a fan of both shows, I think that's a fair assessment of them. Nevertheless, I've always had a very dark and odd sense of humor, and TGTTM taps right into it. I can't help it, it's just how I'm wired.
(S02E07) This episode begins with Tom sitting in a jail cell with another prisoner (Judd Hirsch) who's in jail because he locked his fifteen year old nephew in the cellar over the weekend for pooping and peeing all over his house. Tom, on the other hand, is in jail for killing about four thousand people. His cell mate reacts to this news with, "people are too sensitive these days."
Tom's tale of woe begins when he becomes a salesman for a new device called "Spray a Carpet or Rug," a gigantic machine that emits a foam that turns into carpet instantaneously. The Mayor loves the device because he can carpet all of Jefferton and not have to pay the "lawn mower man" who takes care of the grass and has been pestering the Mayor about a raise. The city council allows Tom to do a test run on Memorial Park, so Tom dons his chemical suit (the foam causes him seizures) and carpets the whole park.
(S02E06) This is an early review, courtesy of Adult Swim Fix. The actually episode will air Sunday evening, as usual.
I never would have thought Robert Loggia and Tom Goes to the Mayor would be a good match, but his role in this episode as the owner of a waterbed store was just one of the things that made this episode probably the best one of the season so far. Loggia plays Lew, the owner of Lew's Waterbed Galleria, a store that's actually on the lake, so people don't pay local taxes. While Tom is hanging out on the boardwalk where the store is located, he runs into a street musician he calls "Saxman" (Tom Kenny). Saxman not only plays soprano saxophone, but he also plays a "digital chime box" with his feet. Tom loves the Saxman's music, and when he finds out the Saxman is going to be kicked off the boardwalk by Lew the waterbed man, Tom decides to let him stay in his front yard in a pup tent, even though his wife is out of town visiting her ex-husband and doesn't like Tom to have men over when she's away.
I Wrestle My Sons HARD --bumper sticker on Tom's car
Gary Busey guest stars in this episode, as, oddly enough, a man who is completely and utterly insane. More exactly, he plays Coach Harris, a man trying to lead the Jefferton Pinners wrestling team to victory using such esteem-building techniques as telling all of his students they're nothing more than little girls trapped in little fat boys' bodies. Meanwhile, Tom, who is the team's "equipment boy" and dresses as if he's an extra in Flashdance, discovers that the kids have been using an illegal supplement called "Flaxamax." Tom discovers this while hanging the boy's jock straps in the locker room and spraying them down with a garden hose.
(S02E04) Tom Peters may be a man who's "full of ideas" but he hasn't held down many jobs. This becomes a problem when he finds out one of his stepsons is having a career day at his school where parents come in to talk about their occupations. Tom decides to pay the Mayor a visit with a fruit basket consisting entirely of bananas, and he slips his resume in for good measure. Tom's resume flashes on the screen for only a few seconds, but his list of "jobs" includes such things as being a spokesmodel for chronic nocturnal emissions ("An illness I know all too well"), his ill-fated job as vice mayor of Hoboton, and his stint as a voluntary zoo guide (it felt like real work).
(S02E03) I think one of my favorite things about this show, besides its overall weirdness, is how calm and collected the titular character of Tom Peters is, even when the aloof Mayor twists his plans around and puts Tom at the risk of physical harm. Tom does have occasional freak outs, but it's funny how far he can actually be pushed before he snaps.
This episode began with Tom telling the Mayor about an episode of That's Amazing he was watching, a show hosted by "Bradley" (Bob Odenkirk) who tells his audience things like, "Balls are fun, but not when you're locked inside of one." Sometime during the show there was a mention of the Loch Ness monster, but Tom forgot to cue it up so he just tells the Mayor about it instead, and wonders if Jefferton has any mythical creatures they could use to promote tourism. The Mayor gets a brilliant idea and has Tom close his eyes for a total of 168 minutes while he sneaks off to draw up blueprints for a man-made serpent that Tom himself will pilot from inside. They'll tell the townsfolk the serpent is real, though.
(S02E02) This episode will air Sunday night on Adult Swim, but you can catch it over at the Adult Swim Fix site now. This episode begins with Tom visiting the town "darn" (he doesn't like to say "dam") while on a field trip with his adult school class. Sean Hayes from Will and Grace does a hilarious turn as a tour guide.
It turns out the dam is also home to Bass Fest (that's "bass" as in the musical instrument, not the fish). I'm actually a bass player myself, so I have to admit all the bass references cracked me up, especially when bass player Wizzard (Bob Odenkirk) announces on TV that he'll be playing a G three octaves lower than anyone has ever played. Tom tries to protest the festival, however, when he discovers that the low frequencies could rupture the dam. He takes his position in his "protest canoe" above the dam, and begs Wizzard to stop playing when leaks start appearing and water begins to pour out of the dam. The Mayor insists it's not the bass playing but Tom's "heavy canoe" that's causing the dam to give.
(S02E01) To celebrate thirty years of Jefferton, the Mayor has decided to hold a contest to see who can come up with the best painting to represent the city. After a slightly modified opening sequence where the Mayor announces the contest, we cut to a scene in his office where he rejects contestant after contestant by knocking their paintings out of their hands with a stick. Like clockwork, Tom Peters shows up with a great new idea that's going to inevitably end up in disaster. This time, Tom has invented something called Big Cups, large receptacles that hold almost two liters (1.8 to be exact). Tom, not one to always think his ideas through completely, doesn't enlarge the cups to house an entire two liter bottle of soda, but instead offers a smaller disposable cup and a plastic bag with which to dispose of the extra soda. Tom Goes to the Mayor is full of subtle gems like that, where even the most absurd moments aren't given much more than a passing glance. A lot of these moments center on the Mayor himself, who always greets Tom in person as if he's answering his phone: "Hello, Mayor's office!" There's also the "one-man band" toward the end of this episode, which is really just a man with a CD player taped to his chest. Also, instead of walking behind the podium to give his speech, two people actually drag the podium in front of Tom. It's hilarious because it's complete unnecessary.
As I mentioned already, Tom Goes to the Mayor is returning with new episodes on June 4. Right now you can check out a couple preview clips over on YouTube. While it looks as if the show will continue with the idea of Tom coming up with not-very-good ideas and pitching them to the vacuous Mayor, based on these clips it seems the show has increased its funny dosage quite a bit, not to mention more celebrity guests. I was rather excited to see Bob Balaban, most noticeable from his roles in Christopher Guest's ensemble projects such as Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, playing Tom's father in one clip. Oh yeah, and ignore the "June 18" at the end of the clip. The season really does start on June 4.
Thanks to Vito, who mentioned this on my other post.
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