Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Calcucorn)

TGTTM

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 Mayor Bites Dog; an apropos title as you will see soon enough!  The episode begins with Tom Peters visiting The Mayor as he usually does; only this time around he has a one man camera crew with him; namely his wife’s ex-husband Todd (David Cross) who’s the deadbeat dad of Tom’s step children and currently trying to make a pilot for a reality show called Mister Entrepreneur!  Actually it seems like just an excuse to constantly belittle and emasculate Tom, but hey; you say Tomato, I say He’s a Total Douche!  The Mayor by the way is THRILLED about this new development and goes off to put his face on so that he’s camera ready!

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“LUCY!  I’M HOME!!”     “It’s uh… it’s actually Tom.”

Tom, trying to stay focused despite Todd’s obnoxious directions, tells The Mayor that he’s come up with a new invention called THE CALCUCORN!!  Basically it’s a cement block with a calculator glued to the front of it and a toy unicorn on the top.  Sadly Etsy was still a year away at the time this show was made, so instead Tom wants to film an infomercial and is inviting The Mayor to be his co-host!  Without a moment’s hesitation, The Mayor jumps on the opportunity to be on television and they plan to start filming the next day!  Before that though, Tom and Todd look over the footage compiled and while Todd is more than pleased with the results, our good ol’ friend Mr. Peters has a few objections as Todd’s intent is to clearly paint him as a fool instead of a true entrepreneur.  Jeez, Tom.  You think!?  What part of this guy (ESPECIALLY the fact that he’s played by David Cross) doesn’t indicate that he’s more than happy to laugh at your pain and suffering!?  Still, the spineless wonder known as Tom Peters just keeps on rolling with the punches and hopes that the infomercial will be a chance for him to truly shine!

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“My name’s Tom, and I’m here to tell you all about the Calcucorn, isn’t that right Mayor?”     “Sure thing Tom!  These things get me harder than an Abstract Algebra class!”     “… what?”

I’d say it was a mixed bag, which is better than Tom is used to, as the information DID present the Calcucorn in a very positive light, but The Mayor kept going off script and embellishing the ways this wacky little toy can be used.  Still, even if it CAN’T file your taxes, he does manage to make a few sales and ships them out without much fuss, so all in all it looks like Tom FINALLY has a success under his belt… right?  Yeah, of course not.  The first problem is that Tom discovers some defects in the Calcucorn’s calculations which seem to be off by a few numbers, though I’m not sure how he managed to screw THAT up considering he’s basically sticking a toy unicorn on top of an existing calculator.  I mean even something as seemingly basic as a calculator is not something a dude like this can be making from scratch.  You’ve got to make sure it has the right programing, make sure all the wires are connected, get a plastic mold or make one yourself to house the electronics, all of which seems FAR outside Tom’s level of expertise which means the only other option is for him to buy off the shelf parts. I don’t know, maybe he bought the cheapest ones he could find and just ASSUMED they would work right, but whatever the reason may be, there’s clearly something wrong with them.  Now that wouldn’t be so bad if they were being bought as simple novelties as he had marketed them as, but it turns out that The Mayor in his infinite wisdom had made the initial order that Tom got and had given them to the Jefferton Engineering Department who are using them to make a bridge right in the middle of Jefferton.  I wonder how THAT’S going!!

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“Hey boss, you sure this is right?”     “FOR THE LAST TIME!  WE ARE LISTENING TO THE UNICORN!!”

I’m not sure why they’re building a bridge over Jefferton Park in the first place, but needless to say that whatever those initial plans were have been irrevocably compromised by Tom’s malfunctioning machine.  Heck, maybe The Mayor knew that this bridge was a boondoggle to begin with and set Tom up to take the fall before it became clear that this was a bad project to begin with.  If that WAS his plan, it certainly worked because Tom finds himself at a hearing before City Council trying to explain himself with Todd STILL refusing to get the camera out of his face.  For what HAS to be the first time in his entire life, Tom is pushed to the breaking point and finally stands up for himself as he tells Todd to fuck off and reiterates that he was NOT making advanced mathematical equipment but was simply making a novelty intended for children.  Good for you, buddy!  I mean… it doesn’t fix the fact that you’re ultimately the fall guy for The Mayor’s awful decision making AND that every moment of this failure is being recorded by an unscrupulous asshole with a shitty camcorder, but at least you had one moment where you weren’t a simpering fool!  That’ll come later as Tom is basically forced to do something rather humiliating as a way to make it up to the town for ruining their precious bridge.

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“How’s it hanging, tiger?”     “Oh… uh… not great.”     “Well don’t worry!  We can do this take over and over again if we have to, so just have fun!”

Since they have this completely unusable structure right in the middle of town, Tom is tasked with putting on a silly unicorn suit and diving from the ruined bridge into a pool below; a feat he will perform ten times a day until… I don’t know; the end of time?  I MIGHT have taken my chances in front of a judge instead of immediately caving to The Mayor’s wishes, but let’s be honest.  There is a good eighty percent chance that had Tom gone into a court room that he would have been making his case in front of Judge Mayor, so barring a daring escape from this hell hole of a town, this is probably the best he could hope for.  As far as Todd’s pilot, well I’D certainly call it a success considering how much drama he managed to capture on film!  It I were TLC, The History Channel, or any other trashy as hell channel, I’d snatch this crap up in an instant, but with Todd’s closing monologue (done in a phony British accent of course), it’s clear he has much higher aspirations for this!  Aspirations that do not take Tom’s feelings into considering who has a few reasonable objections to the final product, but when has that ever mattered or made even the slightest bit of a difference?

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“Sundance, here we come!  Failing that, we’re heading to Fantastic Fest!!”

This is rather simplistic episode in terms of the BIG BUSINESS VENTURE, but what that does is give David Cross more room to shine and he is an absolute DELIGHT here.  He is so good playing the part of a big headed and under skilled auteur that I really wish they could have gotten him back for more episodes, but sadly this will be his only appearance on the show.  If there’s one thing I felt was a bit of a missed opportunity here (and something Tim & Eric reveal in the audio commentary was part of an earlier version of the script), it would be that he never interacts with his own children, nor does he have any meaningful interactions with Joy as the episode is laser focused on the Calcucorn and watching Tom fail once again.  The kids never really get a chance to shine in this series which is a big shame overall, but feels especially egregious when they could have played with the idea of Tom being an imperfect dad who is nevertheless there for them, while David Cross only shows up whenever it is convenient.  Now that I say it out loud (or at least type it on the page) I’m BASICALLY just describing the plot to Daddy’s Home, but it would have been nice to flesh it out a bit here; or better yet, THAT would have been a great idea for a SECOND episode with this character since there’s really nothing in the episode I would actually want to cut out to make room for this subplot.  Still, if my biggest issue is that there’s not enough of the show to watch, then you’re probably doing something right, and this turns out to be one of the best uses of a celebrity guest spot in the entire series!

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The Recap Recap!!

Celebrities Galore

  • David Cross is Todd, the ex-husband of Joy, who’s staying with Tom’s family in order to make a crappy documentary about how much Tom sucks.

Here’s Bobby!

  • Oddly enough, the ONE episode that includes his longtime collaborator David Cross is one of the few episodes where Bob Odenkirk makes ABSOLUTELY NO APPEARANCE! What a twist, I guess?

Tom Who Now?

  • Despite Todd being an incompetent tool, he always manages to get Tom’s name right, so no mistakes this time around!

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)

  • They originally planned for Todd to be having a very unsubtle affair with Joy, but it was cut due to time constraints.
  • Tim & Eric see the scene of Tom blowing up at Todd during the Calcucorn hearing as a big moment for the series as it’s the first time Tom truly sticks up for himself.

The Bonus Screenshot

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“YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, DAVID CROSS!!”

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If you like this recap and plan on buying the show, then use the Amazon link below!  I’ll get a percentage of the order it helps keep things going for me here at The Reviewers Unite!  In fact, you don’t even need to buy the item listed!  Just use the link, shop normally, and when you check out it will still give us that sweet, sweet, percentage!  You can even bookmark the link and use it every time you shop!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?

Tom Goes to the Mayor – The Complete Series

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