"Slip on this: How George W. avoids the banana peel"
National Review
May 14, 2001
by Rob Long


So if making fun of George Bush isn't where the money is, where, then, is it? Comedy Central's new quasi-political offering, That's My Bush, provides one answer. The show has been billed as an outrageous satire -- and it is outrageous, to the point of being not very funny -- but it isn't really political. The conceit is kind of hard to swallow: George and Laura Bush (and, oddly, Karl Rove), in addition to serving their country in government, also serve their country as stars of their own sitcom. The result is uneven -- but it isn't even remotely "liberal." The true joke here is the tired format of the sitcom. One episode trots out the old two-dates-on-one-night plot. George has promised Laura a romantic dinner for two, but he's also arranged a peacemaking dinner between abortion foes and abortion supporters. So he dashes back and forth between the two rooms, in a send-up of the most exhausted of sitcom cliches. At the end, though, when all is revealed and George and Laura are arguing about which of them is at fault, George says that maybe they both have a good point. And Laura responds, "Kind of like the abortion question." Which strikes me as the first time on American television that anyone -- even in jest -- has acknowledged that, with regard to abortion, both sides have a point. The show isn't conservative, of course -- this is still America, this is still American television -- but it certainly isn't an attack show, either. The show basically ignores politics to make fun of the last true faith of our contemporary culture: television.

For my money, the funniest show on TV is Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Consistently hilarious, consistently outrageous -- and with the liberal whining kept to an absolute minimum -- the show's true target is the news media. In highly clever ways, it skewers the high priests of American culture, TV news personalities. And television news -- actually, the news media in general -- are ripe for the picking: pompous, self-important, smug. You couldn't ask for a better cast of characters to set up for the banana-peel/open-manhole joke. I mean, if you're looking for someone to make fun of, don't pick the guy who's already let the air out of himself. Pick someone still bursting with hot gas.

That is, as it were, a no-brainer.


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Copyright ©2001 National Review. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Tamara for the article.

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