Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late night programming block of cartoons for adults, is notorious for very low budget yet highly original and funny programming. They spoof classic ‘50s and ‘60s Hanna Barbera cartoons, reenvisioning the characters in modern adult situations. Space Ghost, former cartoon superhero, becomes a lunatic talk show host in Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Or, in a recapitulation of The Birdman, the former superhero is now a marginal lawyer in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Adult Swim turned upside down traditional old-school cartoons for an audience that had grown up watching the originals. They also created new programs like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the story of three superhero fast-food items (a shake, a box of fries, and a blob of meat) out to save no one in particular. And they rerun new classics, like The Family Guy, and Futurama. But even the most creative minds in the business release a dud now and then. Tom Goes to the Mayor, however, is beyond a dud. It is without a doubt the most vapid program on television today. It’s worse than the insipid offerings of G4, SpikeTV, and even the Home Shopping Channel. Its stain may haunt Cartoon Network for decades to come.
The backstory is that Tom Peters has recently moved to the small town of Jefferton. Trying to fit in at his new hometown, he develops a plethora of whacky business and community ideas, for which he’ll need the help of the town Mayor to implement. Unfortunately, the Mayor is a rambling idiot. One idea involves Tom selling T-shirts at the local mall with the catch phrase “Rats off to ya!” which is stolen by a competitor who makes a mint. Great. And if the plots couldn’t be any more stupid, the animation is even worse. More a character slideshow layered onto a background image than animation, the characters change position and facial expressions every few seconds as they speak. There is no fluid movement, not even animated lip-syncing, except for those occasions where the production staff insert live action footage of themselves in collage. The animators may think these self-referential winks to the audience are cute, but it’s older than Blazing Saddles, Monty Python, and even Looney Tunes. They’re at least thirty years too late.
The human brain cannot grasp certain measures of scale, as in the vast expanse of interstellar space, the immensely tiny subatomic, or how astoundingly bad is Tom Goes to the Mayor. Like dingle-berries sprinkled liberally upon one’s morning cereal, with a tall cool unrefreshing glass of iced urineade on the side, Tom Goes to the Mayor saps the joy from a spoonful of crunch, while going down smelly and leaving a bad aftertaste. Worse things may have been caught on camera, but likely they were private videos of wrinkly old grandparents doing the nasty, or grisly autopsy photographs printed in medical textbooks. Imagine an alternate reality where the unoriginal and banal ABC television show According to Jim somehow engendered uproarious audience laughter. Truly funny programs like Seinfeld, or Andy Richter Controls the Universe, would thus be banned due to their heart-stopping comedic lethality. But not even there could Tom Goes to the Mayor evoke a chuckle, a snort, or even a grin. If, in that alternate reality people might close their eyes and clasp their hands over their ears screaming “La!La!La!La!La!” to mask the sight and sound from this cartoon abomination, in our universe audience members would literally crush their skulls in a bloody implosion from uncontrolled spasms of their arms. It’s that bad.
Tom Goes to the Mayor is broadcast Sunday Nights (Monday morning) at 12:00am. Be sure to avoid it. Consider programming your Tivo to skip it too, just in case it thinks you might want to try an episode. Doing so may save you an endless life of post-traumatic hell from only seconds of viewing. I have taken on that burden so you don’t have to. Save yourselves!
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Text Copyright ©2005, DaDuh. Image taken from Adult Swim website in Fair Use.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
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