Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Bass Fest)

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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

We’re back with another episode of The Day After TOMorrow, as this is basically a Roland Emmerich film told in a mere eleven minutes.  Maybe a bit TOO short, but I’d honestly take it over his usually bloated runtimes.  The episode begins with Good Ol’ Tom Peters on a fieldtrip for his Night School course which is PRESUMABLY on Jefferton History (all thirty years of it) because their trip is to the one and only Jefferton dam (or as Tom calls it, a darn; because he’s a pedantically squeamish jackass) which was built by Papa Richardson many years ago!  Well you might be wondering if this is a science field trip where they learn how a darn works, but that would be a very silly notion as the darn they’re at is absolutely awful; essentially made out of rotten wood scraps and Elmer’s glue.  Before we can ruminate much longer on this though, Tom interrupts the FASCINATING lecturer (Sean Hayes) by getting a phone call from Joy who demands that he buy three bass guitars for their sons, something he’s more than willing to do after the field trip is over, but Joy still yells at him anyway for being a joke of a human being.  Not the most UNREASONABLE stances to take if you spent five minutes with the guy, but SERIOUSLY!?  The broke bastard doesn’t even have a job!  How the hell is he supposed to afford THREE instruments that even on the low end go for hundreds of dollars!?  Heck, I’m not even sure how he can afford these night classes!

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“Okay, here’s an idea.  What if, instead of bass guitars… we get them recorders?”     …     “No, I wouldn’t really like to know how well they’d fit up there, but you DO make an excellent point otherwise!”

Why in the heck do his step-sons want those guitars anyway?  Well it turns out that Jefferton is hosting an event called Bass Fest with its special guest being The WizZard who we saw back in Vice Mayor having an impromptu concert for a group of homeless people that were soon to be drugged and dumped in a zoo.  Apparently that show went SO well that he’s back for this even bigger event which will be held at the BASE (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) of the Richardson Family Darn.  I mean, where the heck ELSE would you hold a festival?  A park!?  Please.  It’s not like Jefferton has one of THOSE lying around!  Oh wait…

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“I don’t know how I got in this tiny box, but it’s SO AWESOME!!”

Now you can probably see right away what the issue is here.  ANY event at the base of a darn sounds like a bad idea, but then you throw in the fact that it’s a rickety structure and that bass guitars can create very strong vibrations.  So strong in fact that there’s a decent chance of the darn collapsing and drowning everyone at bass fest along with their terrible snack foods and overpriced merch!  Sadly for the residents of Jefferton though, there’s ONLY ONE MAN who can see this possibility and it is Tom Peters who I guess will be our Jeff Goldblum for this episode.  Unlike in Independence Day though, he doesn’t have any luck convincing the higher ups in the government (which in this case would be The Mayor) to take this threat seriously.  Quite the opposite in fact!  When Tom brings news of this to The Mayor, he instead gets treated to threats of violence since the town has so much riding on this event.  Now personally, I think The Mayor KNOWS of the inherent dangers of hosting a music festival in such an unsafe location and is hoping to drown half the town for his own sick enjoyment, but either way Tom is gonna have an uphill battle if he wants to save everyone from themselves.  Who wants to bet that THE PUBLIC will STILL act outside of their own interests!?

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“If you don’t listen to me, we’re all going to die.”     “Elitist jerk.”     “I’M USING LINE PAPER ON MY PODIUM!”     “Go back to UC Berkeley, you PC Thug!”

Yeah, of course the people are too ignorant to stop this catastrophe from happening, but then again it would have helped if they had a better person to deliver the message as Tom is not the most charismatic person out there and he can’t even convince his own family to skip the festival.  It seems that all is lost for the city of Jefferton which will surely be remembered in generations to come for its proud citizens and slightly above average buffet.  But wait!  Tom has at least one more idea up his sleeve to save the town from its utter doom!  He’s gonna take a paddle boat into the darn’s reservoir and start shouting his protests into a megaphone; hoping that someone will heed his pleas.  Bad news though because The Mayor must have thought ahead and brought his OWN megaphone to counteract Tom’s!  DAMN THAT CRAFTY BASTARD!!    Even with that though, evil still manages to be quashed because The WizZard himself takes control of the situation and ends up agreeing with Tom.  If music is the most powerful force in the universe, why WOULDN’T it be able to destroy a darn!?  Sound reasoning if you ask me and it even quells The Mayor’s ceaseless wrath as even he seems to back down before The WizZard’s spell.  Now if Tom can JUST not screw this up… oh you know he’s gonna screw it up!  Tom opens his big mouth and tells everyone that he has come up with a brilliant plan to keep Bass Fest going.  See, if The WizZard plays a riff on his bass but then Tom follows up with an acapella rendition through his megaphone, the two wavelengths should cancel each other out.  I mean… I GUESS in theory that would work, but Tom doesn’t have the silky smooth baritone of Barry White which means anything he’s contributing isn’t gonna match what The WizZard is putting out!  Why couldn’t you have just taken the victory and walked away!?  Now everyone’s gonna die because of you!

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Damn you, Tom!  You can’t keep up with this man’s sick licks!!

Naturally Tom doo-wop is unable to match The WizZard’s pace and so the darn breaks open; killing everyone which presumably includes his step-sons who were at the festival as well.  Even The WizZard seems to have died despite the power of rock being on his side, which just goes to show how serious this disaster really is!  Tom seems to be the only one left alive because he was lucky enough to have been in a boat, but he does come across a familiar face in this newly formed Waterworld as The Mayor is drifting on some left over derbies.  Then again, he may just be an evil spirit at this point; shedding whatever was left of his humanity now that he’s accomplished his greatest scheme yet.  Oh crap, I’m getting Devilman Crybaby flashbacks!!

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“Oh well.  You win some, you lose some; isn’t that right, Tom?”     “Sure.  I guess…”

There are basically two kind of Tom Goes to the Mayor episodes; goofy episodes and sharp episodes.  While I tend to prefer the ones that have a dark and biting message about the modern hell scape that Middle American consumerism, there are some rather ridiculous high concept episodes that are an absolute blast to watch, and I think this is one of the better ones.  Now sure you can gleam a bit of social commentary by the fact that Tom’s (somewhat) scientific concerns are easily drowned out capitalistic enterprises, but more than anything else it’s just fun to watch Tom and The Mayor play off each other in such an antagonistic way; not to mention one of the best appearances by Bob Odenkirk as well as a surprisingly effective sense of style for the show.  Weather isn’t often a factor in this show, but they do a great job of giving everything a very gloomy feel and the constant presence of rain and thunder sets the mood quite nicely for this slow burn apocalypse.  If nothing else, at least this has a better ALL IS LOST ending than Infinity War!

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The Recap Recap!!

Celebrities Galore

  • Sean Hayes of Will and Grace fame has a very brief cameo as the instructor teaching Tom and the rest of his night class about the Richardson Family Darn!

Here’s Bobby!

  • Bob Odenkirk is the enigmatic and perpetually high bass player The WizZard who ALSO appeared in Vice mayor as well. In that episode though, he had a band called Kandle Krush which isn’t here for whatever reason, so either he’s doing this festival solo or the band had a tragic break up!

Tom Who Now?

  • No one gets his name wrong this time around. Even the Married News Team seems to have gotten their act together when they recap the debate, though Janet’s little freak out there shows they still have room for improvement.

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)

  • Tim & Eric are joined by Bob Odenkirk once again and the latter even makes a point of having them both go over their history of how they met and got into showbiz.
  • Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim both met at Temple University where they were studying film. For one class video assignment about Set Design, they decided to rebel against the system to make something MEANINGFUL by shooting a video about how awesome lobsters are for marketing films.  They somehow got an A on it.
  • After college, Tim became a carpenter while Eric did photography work; all the while making short films and skits whenever they could. One of the first ones they did was the original Tom Goes to the Mayor.
  • Tim put the skits on a DVD and managed to get Bob Odenkirk’s address by contacting the production company behind Mr. Show (Dakota Films) and pretending to be someone important.
  • WizZard is one of Bob Odenkirk’s favorite roles on the show and is basically a combination of Fish and The Spin Doctors.
  • In a stroke of very unfortunate serendipity, this episode about a town being destroyed by a broken darn was in the middle of production when Hurricane Katrina happened.

The Bonus Screenshot

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Best album cover EVER!!

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