Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim
Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
Welcome back to another episode of Tim & Eric’s Parks and Rec where we take a look at the show that gave the duo their start! We begin the episode with good ol’ Tom Peters waiting to see The Mayor while he’s in a meeting with City Council over a web cam (The Mayor Cam if you will) to explain his plan for an education grant that the city received some time ago. Sadly, all The Mayor could come up with is putting a monkey inside of an éclair (okay…) which City Council isn’t sold on, and they’re running out of time to use the money or else it will be returned to the federal government. If only someone would walk through the door and give them a brilliant idea…
So as I mentioned when reviewing the original Tom Goes to the Mayor shorts, the opening act of this episode is basically a recreation of the first short that they did as Tom is stopping by to pitch a restaurant idea to The Mayor; complete with crudely drawn pictures of the various entrees. In this version, Tom has recently acquired some World War 2 memorabilia from Not eBay and thinks that they could be used for a World War 2 themed restaurant which The Mayor seems genuinely interested in as does City Council since it could theoretically be educational enough to use the grant money. That said, I’m not sure exactly why they think THIS guy should be in charge of it considering he has no experience and doesn’t even know how to draw French fries, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
The Mayor decides to give Tom a shot with this historical restaurant tentatively called General Paton’s Grille, but only under one condition. The Mayor has a nephew named Terry who’s studying World War 2 in history class and thinks he will be a big help in bringing this project to life, so Tom needs to bring Terry along as he gets the restaurant ready. Terry of course is a little hell-raiser in the Bart Simpson mold of TV brats and spends most of his time being a nuisance to Tom (“I farted in your car!”) who ends up derailing the project rather quickly. Tom breaks out into a song about his dreams for the restaurant but in pure defiance of his elders, Terry cuts in and sings about wanting it to be a Chuck-E-Cheese knock off which is probably not the kind of thing that an education grant can be put towards. Then again, a World War 2 themed restaurant is ALSO probably not something that education grant money can be put towards, and yet it’s at least a better idea than a monkey in an éclair. Tom tries to explain this to Terry but the latter has completely tuned the former out and is just spinning in place in the middle of the unfinished restaurant. Tom tries to calm him down but accidently breaks the strap on the kid’s inhaler, so Terry does the only sensible thing he can think of; throw a freaking brick right at Tom’s head!
Tom immediately collapses and the screen cuts to black. We slowly come back into focus as The Mayor tries to stir Tom from his coma, and we find that Tom is in a dumpster with cat food on his face as well as a crudely put together (and completely unsanitary) bandage over his head wound. The Mayor, in his infinite wisdom and pitch black heartlessness, found Tom and took him to a dumpster instead of to a hospital so he can personally care for him while he recovered. It’s been several weeks since the brick incident and The Mayor has been inexplicably feeding him cat food this entire time, but now that Tom is awake, he needs to go manage the restaurant that Terry finished building for him while he was indisposed.
Tom, either due to his natural tendency to go along to get along or due to his still untreated brain injury, doesn’t have much to say about all this and is somewhat disappointed by what he finds when they get to the restaurant. The place is now called WW Laserz and includes such nightmares as Dunk a Veteran, shitty techno music, and an animatronic band consisting of Roosevelt, Hitler, and Tojo (presumably Mussolini is in the back cooking pizzas). Terry is still running the show here and first orders Tom in the back to microwave some hot wings, but we know better than to think Tom’s decent into Hell will be THAT easy. It turns out animatronic Hitler is having some technical issues which means he has to take his place on stage, and so the episode ends with Tom going from prospective restaurant owner all the way down to Hitler impersonator. To cap it all off, he gets hit in the head one more time before we go to credits; this time from an errant skee-ball.
While the first episode is essentially the mold from which most of the episodes will be built from, I think this one comes off as a better example of the type of humor we’ll be getting from series and the overall tone of things. There’s plenty of creative and absurdist elements regarding the restaurant itself, Tom is much more ambitious in his endeavor here than he was with setting up bear traps in the last episode, and The Mayor’s evil machinations have a grain of logic to them as he’s motivated to do something with the money while also making his nephew happy. My only major issue with this episode is Terry as he’s just not a very interesting character even though his design is interestingly off-putting (in the DVD special features you can see the ways they altered the kid actor’s face to make him much more bratty looking) and only serves as a foil for Tom which is a job The Mayor himself manages to do much better in later episodes. We’re not quite there yet, but the show is getting closer to what will end up being one of the best series in Adult Swim’s already impressive catalog!
The Recap Recap!!
- There are… none in this episode. Seriously, not a single celebrity cameo to be seen. Uh… Renee the secretary is still in the show and she’s played by Stephanie Courtney who was in the first season of Mad Men! She played Marge!
- In one of his smallest appearances in the series, Bob Odenkirk does the voice of the Animatronic Hitler for the one line it has.
Tom Who Now?
- The Mayor is unable to remember Tom’s name when he visits him at his office and has to be reminded of it twice in that initial meeting.
Fun Facts from the Commentary
(NOTE: Since Tim & Eric are… well Tim & Eric, anything said on the DVD commentaries should PROBABLY be taken with a grain of salt)
- The Mayor Cam at the beginning of the episode was an idea they had to save time by putting both the City Council meetings and Tom’s frequent visits to The Mayor in one scene, but they ended up not using it in subsequent episodes.
- The opening title sequence was created by Jonathan Krisel who was an editor, animator, and producer on the show and it was inspired by many city promotional videos that they watched while developing the series.
- The original voice for Terry was done by Bob Odenkirk, but they found his voice to be WAY too annoying.
- Because they used a kid actor for Terry there had to be an on-site tutor who supposedly ended up in the show as a character named Helen. I don’t recall a Helen in this show, but maybe one of you out there can let me know where she is!