Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Jeffy the Sea Serpent)

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

We’re back with another episode of Tim & Eric’s The X-Files!  While this may not be a case urgent enough for Mulder & Scully to pay a visit, Jefferton is certainly about to get a strange lesson in the world of Cryptozology and Freaky Happenstance when Tom and The Mayor get started on their latest scheme!  The episode begins with lovable Tom visiting The Mayor with yet another scheme; this time involving Jefferton’s tourism problem!  You see, Tom was watching That’s Amazing last night (the in-show TV show hosted by Bradley who is played by Bob Odenkirk) and there was a section on their involving The Loch Ness monster.  If the two of them could brainstorm a similar monster to roam the streets of Jefferton, then maybe they’ll get a piece of that sweet Cryptid money too!  Luckily for Tom, The Mayor comes up with a BRILLIANT scheme involving a man-made monster that Tom can pilot inside of the Jefferton Man Made Lake!  He calls him Jeffy!

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“To appeal to the kids, we should probably give him sunglasses and a lot of ‘tude.”     “I whole heartedly agree, Tom.  Let’s start brainstorming some ideas that’ll really show those kids how cool we are!”     “I’ll fire up excel while you get the poster board!”

Now the show never really delves into Cryptology or any of the issues surrounding that, though I guess you COULD argue that it premise alone (creating a fake monster to increase tourism) is in and of itself a harsh criticism of that industry, but really we’re in for a rather light episode rather than drawing attention to something that can be very exploitative which Cryptology can CERTAINLY be.  Instead of focusing on bogus television shows or exploiting gullible people out of their money (things that are really only mentioned in passing here), we get to watch Tom pilot a silly looking dragon submarine; one that he SUPPOSEDLY built himself which I don’t buy for a second.

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“I ended up outsourcing most of the work to some kid named Edward.  He had a REALLY cool hat!”

While Tom is getting acclimated to the controls, The Mayor leaks the story to Jefferton’s Married News team who breathlessly report on the monster’s existence which of course drives up tourism immediately.  The Mayor may be a lot of things but a slouch isn’t one of them as he swiftly has Jeffy themed tour buses and even Jeffy themed boats ready to go so that everyone can get a good look at the sea monster!  The stage is set, the audience is eagerly waiting, and then Tom surfaces from the water; giving everyone a great view of the mysterious Jeffy!  It’s too bad though that Tom is experiencing some technical difficulties and has lost a bit of control over the mechanized beast.  Oh, now what’s the worst that could happen!?

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“I’M STILL PRETTY SURE THIS IS A HOAX!!”

Oh, well who could have seen THAT coming?  It’s not like Tom has a long history of fucking things up and causing the deaths of many citizens in the process!  This is a guy who’s singing skills were so underwhelming that he drowned the entire town in a tsunami of dam water!  We’re LUCKY he only managed to cause devastation and mayhem within the confines of the Man Made Lake!  The Mayor however seems utterly convinced that this is not Tom screwing up once again; rather he believes that Jeffy has come to life and has swallowed Tom whole; filling his belly but not the gaping hole in his soul that forces him to kill without mercy!  Clearly something must be done, which is the consensus that the City Council reaches, but no one other than The Mayor has a plan to stop the sea monster which means they once again defer to his brilliance to solve this crisis.  His great idea is to hire a teacher from the Snakes and Such Institute named Phillip Priest (Fred Armisen) to try and communicate with Jeffy and quell his murderous rage; plus he’s the only guy in town who still has a working boat so he’s the best shot they have.  Can I just say that I LOVE Phillip Priest!?  Like… the show has made it a point to make EVERYONE absolutely terrible, but this guy is freaking awesome!  He loves animals, he loves to teach others ABOUT animals, and while he could do a SOMEWHAT better job of handling them (he has a snake with him that’s not particularly well trained), you can tell that he’s passionate about what he does and always has a positive outlook on everything!  Seriously, if there’s one dude who has a chance to warm The Mayor’s icy black heart, it’s this awesome dude!

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“To properly handle a snake, make sure to never hold it by its head or tail!  You want your buddy to feel comfortable when holding them!”     “You are so wise, good sir!”

While Phillip Priest is showing the rest of Jefferton what a good person looks like, Tom is still stuck in the mechanical deathtrap known as Jeffy as he’s unable to start the thing up after its killing rampage; a rampage by the way that Tom is COMPLETELY oblivious of.  Apparently the thing is either sound proof or Tom has learned out to completely tune out the cries of anguish from his fellow man.  With the help of a friendly dolphin (no, I don’t know how one got into the Man Made Lake but I’m sure it involves The Mayor doing something evil), Tom manages to bring the creature back up to the surface; just in time to meet The Mayor and Phillip on the latter’s boat who also tries to reason with the creature.  It’s all to no avail however as something ELSE within the mechanical monster breaks; causing Jeffy to lunge forward and knock Phillip so hard in the head that he lands in the water dead as a door knob!  That BASTARD!!  How dare Jeffy kill the most noble and heartfelt character in all of Jefferton!  The Mayor feels about the same and proceeds to destroy the monster with his bare hands!  First he jumps on top of it and tries to strangle it, but it causes little damage.  Then he throws a spear he just so happens to have right through its heart (nearly hitting Tom) and it causes a MODERATE amount of damage, though wasn’t enough to be a killing blow.  With his enemy weakened and with nowhere to run, The Mayor pulls out a might sword!  Not just ANY sword I’ll have you know!  This is a bad ass piece of cold steel that summons lightning bolts and transports The Mayor to outer freaking space!   Basically the He-Man transformation poses only with special effects that are SLIGHTLY better than the last Highlander movie.  With his God Killer weapon in hand, The Mayor manages to slice the creature’s head clean off; securing victory and ending the senseless mayhem once and for all!  Okay, maybe not ONCE AND FOR ALL, but at least he’s given the citizens of Jefferton a momentary reprieve before he presumably puts his own fiendish plans of mass slaughter into motion!  Now I know what you’re all thinking!  If Jeffy was just a submersible vehicle piloted by Tom, what happens to HIM once said vehicle has been vanquished?  Well it looks like The Mayor (either through genuine ignorance or cunning malevolence) fully believes that Jeffy had turned into an evil monster and swallowed Tom whole, which means that no one bothers to rip the machinery apart and instead it gets hung up in a museum to commemorate The Mayor’s victory over the vile creature!  I mean I’m SURE Tom could get out of that if he really wanted to (what about the door he used to get into it!?), but at least while he’s trapped in there he’s not causing harm to anyone else.  And so the episode ends with the horrible creature defeated and Tom stuck in a prison literally of his own making; left to subside on foam insulation and to slowly lose his sanity writing letter after letter to his wife Joy.

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After defeating the horrid sea serpent, our beloved Mayor went on to slay the Jabberwocky and score a three pointer from half court!

This one was a hell of a lot of fun!  It was rather light on messages which is a shame considering how ripe the material is for such a satirical takedown, but the premise is engaging, the story turns are hilarious, and it has a pretty great action scene with some interesting animation choices and a rocking soundtrack!  It may not be the smartest episode that the series has to offer, but it’s still one of the best and is one that I often go back to when rewatching the series.  If there’s any real problem with the episode it’s the eleven minute running time which means we don’t really get enough of the cool elements in this like the creation of the hoax, the way the town reacts to it, and ESPECIALLY when it comes to Phillip Priests who’s screen time is very short even if Fred Armisen makes the most of it.  It may feel the strain of its short run time more than other episodes, but that really only goes to show how strong the writing is here and how great Tim & Eric are at creating really great scenarios for our hapless hero to find himself in before inevitably suffering greatly for the effort.

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The Recap Recap!!

Celebrities Galore

  • Fred Armisen plays Phillip Priest, a professor at the Snakes and Such Institute and the frontrunner for Most Awesome Dude in the entire series!

Here’s Bobby!

  • Bob Odenkirk reprises his role as Bradley, the host of That’s Amazing, in the opening scenes of this episode!

Tom Who Now?

  • No one gets Tom’s name wrong this episode, but that’s mostly because no one knows he’s even a part of this; being inside the mechanical sea creature and all that!

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)

  • There was a bowl of fruit loops on the City Council’s table that one of the animators (Jonathan Krisel) was told to remove over and over again, yet it still somehow managed to show up in the episode.
  • Tim & Eric originally wanted to have Paul Rubens play Phillip Priest before they decided on Fred Armisen for the role.

The Bonus Screenshot

 

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“THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!”

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