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Tom Goes to Mayor: The Complete Series

There is a movement in comedy that values going for odd over being all that funny, and at its best it's called Dada-esque — at it's worst, well… it's simply unfunny. Perhaps the status that sarcasm and ironic detachment have attained in pop culture means that, for many, the act of setting up jokes and delivering punch-lines is just too old-fashioned. The worst examples of this movement are found in animation: "The Family Guy" and its string of non sequiturs are the most accessible, but Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" programming has nearly patented this approach. With Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's Tom Goes to the Mayor, one gets the sense that the creators want to fit in with this Jackson Pollock-splattering of comedy, but they also are straining to tell real jokes and stories. As such, the show feels like a non-starter. In the sleepy town of Jefferton, Tom Peters (Heidecker) spends every episode introducing himself to the mayor (Wareheim) — usually with some scheme or ploy to make money. Tom is a pathetic loser who has a hag of a wife, while the mayor is usually so self-involved that he patronizes Tom and never gets his name right. Each week the two go on modest adventures, usually dictated by Tom's new business plan. For a show by two people with no previous credentials, there's a lot of guest stars, but that has everything to do with Heidecker and Wareheim being mentored by Bob Odenkirk, who also wrote for and produced the series. As such, the special guest roster includes Jack Black and Kyle Gass, David Cross, Sarah Silverman, John C. Reilly, Judd Hirsch, Patton Oswalt, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Ian Black, Fred Willard, Robert Loggia, Gary Busey, Brian Doyle-Murray, Bob Balaban, Janeane Garofalo, and Paul Reuben (among others, believe it or not). With all these heavy hitters, it's too bad the show's not all that funny. There are moments, but even though the stars have a sense of comedy, they seem still on the road to finding their voices, which they may have gotten with their next show. Obviously, Bob Odenkirk sees something in them, and when he's on the show there are usually some pretty hilarious moments (a favorite has him playing a musician who briefly parodies Eric Clapton's "Tears from Heaven" in a metal song), and the boys every once in a while cause a serious chuckle, while the ringers tend to ring. But it's an uneven series that was rightfully canceled. Warner Home Video presents the entire series, labeled "The Businessman's Edition," over three discs in full frame transfers (1.33:1) and 2.0 stereo. All episodes come with commentaries featuring a revolving set of guest commentators (including Bob Odenkirk), anchored by Heidecker and Wareheim, while Disc One offers "That's Amazing!: How Do They Make That Show?" (22 min.), "The Night of 1000 Stars: Celebrity Sessions" (12 min.), "A Look Behind" with optional commentary (12 min.), and the 2002 (4 min.) and 2003 (7 min.) pilot versions of the show. On Disc Two there are eight deleted scenes (7 min.), a jukebox with 18 songs from the show, "Here's the Scoop: Married News Outtakes" (9 min.), and "Bob Zone: A Tribute to Bob Odenkirk" (7 min.). Disc Three includes the faux-documentary "Boiling Point!: Behind the scenes, Season Two" (24 min.) and six promo spots, and the set is rounded out by "An Artist's Touch: Artwork from the Show" (8 min.). Three-DVD slimline keep-case.
—DSH



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