Published on
the Guardian/UK

Satirist Draws from Life for New Bush Cartoon

Ewen MacAskill

When Mr Bush appeared at the White House correspondents' dinner last year beside an impersonator, anyone other than those at the front tables had trouble telling who was who. A new cartoon due to go out last night on the US cable channel Comedy Central could pose the same dilemma.

Lil' Bush portrays the Bush administration as a gang of children - Lil' Bush, Lil' Condi and Lil' Cheney - running wild in the White House and worldwide. 0614 01

Compare Lil' George speaking about his role in life - "I hate doing what I'm told. I want to be a decider" - with Mr Bush's: "My job is a job to make decisions. I'm a decision - if the job description were, what do you do, it's decision maker. And I make a lot of big ones and I make a lot of little ones."

Lil' Bush began life in the autumn as a series of short cartoons made specifically for mobile phones.

But the first of the made-for-televison episodes was due to reach a much wider audience last night with its debut on Comedy Central, which has about 90 million subscribers. It began with Lil' George visiting Iraq to hunt for some good news as a Father's Day present for dad, the first President Bush.

In the second episode Lil' Cheney, who bites the heads off chickens and sucks their blood, has an affair with Barbara Bush, with scenes that might be too crude for some tastes.

According to Donick Cary, creator of the new cartoon series, the transformation of Mr Bush into a cartoon character proved to be relatively easy: his short, simplistic and often confused statements helped.

Mr Cary, whose credits include the Simpsons, said: "Somehow, this president that we have lends himself to thinking in a simplistic, cartoony fashion. He's always been about soundbites, one-word answers, move ahead, act from the gut."

Mr Cary sees Washington politics as a schoolyard. At one point Lil' George, left unsupervised by his father in the Oval Office, launches nuclear weapons at schoolmates Lil' Hillary (Clinton) and Lil' John (Kerry).

Iggy Pop provides the voice for Lil' Rummy. With the departure of Donald Rumsfeld as defence secretary in November the makers considered dropping the character, but decided against in order to keep the singer.

Comedy Central has since 2001 been a source of tough satire about the Bush administration. Jon Stewart's Daily Show is a riposte to those Europeans who think Americans are not critical of the Bush administration.

The initial reviews of Lil' Bush have been poor, with critics judging it to be too obvious and too crude. Newsday said yesterday: "So. Who knew South Park was such a beacon of taste and restraint? At least it is by comparison with Comedy Central's new animated satire."

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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