Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Los Angeles In the new sitcom "That's My Bush!" from the creators of "South Park," President Bush plays host to beer-swilling frat brothers, is mocked by a White House maid and henpecked by the first lady.
Bush, as portrayed by actor Timothy Bottoms, also accidentally executes a death-row prisoner and is terrorized by an anti-abortion talking fetus.
In other words, Dorothy, we're not in "The West Wing" anymore.
While NBC's drama celebrates the presidency's power and glory, "That's My Bush!" is a bratty kid gleefully yanking down the chief executive's pants.
The Comedy Central series is juvenile, coarse and impishly determined to offend. As political satire, however, it's a pale New-Age version in which issues don't really count as much as the notion that the system, in general, deserves to be mocked.
Nothing truly personal or political is intended, says Matt Stone, who hatched the show with his "South Park" partner-in-crime, Trey Parker. "That's My Bush!" begins an eight-episode run 9:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday.
In the first episode, "An Aborted Dinner Date," Bush the unifier arranges a White House meeting between representatives of the abortion rights and anti-abortion movements.
Both sides are outlandishly portrayed, with the talking fetus ï¿½ a tiny, unsettling animatronic puppet ï¿½ used to represent an anti-abortion leader who holds a big grudge.
"Apparently he was aborted 30 years ago, he managed to survive and now he is bitter, he is angry and he hates to be canceled on," a Bush adviser warns the president.
Bush doesn't spend much time pondering the abortion debate; he's more concerned that the meeting will force him to miss a dinner date with the first lady. Sitcom chaos ensues.
Series co-creator Stone is unapologetic about playing serious matters for laughs. There's already enough bitter debate over issues including capital punishment and abortion, he said.
"I keep up on the news, I keep up on what's going on, I'm interested in those things, but I think there's enough space for having a little fun with it," Stone said.
The very idea of building a sitcom around the president is somewhat loaded, he acknowledges: "It's our little silly statement on the sitcomization of America politics."'