Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Surprise Party)

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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 Everybody Loves Gibbons!  Everyone except Tom of course, but by the end of this episode you might feel the same way!  We start with good ol’ Tom Peters trying to manage his family’s finances (not an easy task considering he’s perpetually unemployed AND currently renting out a bounce house for his step children) when he starts getting IMs from Gibbons; his just as perpetually unemployed best friend played by Brian Posehn who is staying with him at the moment.  Somehow the second level he put on Tom’s house back in his introductory episode is not present here so I’m guessing he’s either sleeping on the couch or sleeping in Tom’s bed while Tom sleeps on the couch.  SO MUCH FOR CONTINUITY, but then again Tom’s house DID collapse under the weight of the second story in that episode, so it’s less a continuity issue than a continuity stalemate.  In any case, Gibbons is e-pestering Tom regarding this totally badass sword being sold at the Jefferton Mall while CASUALLY reminding him that his birthday is next week; a fact Tom is keenly aware of because his own birthday falls on the same date.

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“Happy Birthday to me!!”     “You know Gibbons, I was thinking-”     “Geez, Tom.  Way to kill the mood!  Not everything’s about YOU!”     “Well, fair enough.  Even though it’s my birthday too.”     “I’m getting real tired of your sass, buddy.”

This sword by the way has a current MSRP of $800, and if one of MY friends was trying to prod me into buying this ridiculous (and tacky) thing for them, I’d shove their head straight up their ass as a point of principal!  Tom doesn’t go with that approach however and instead tries to fulfill Gibbons’s second request which is to set up a surprise party for the big day.  Not a joint-surprise party either!  Tom isn’t getting shit this year despite being a more than reasonable friend to Gibbons, what with him staying in his freaking house rent free!  Anyway, Tom has to fill out a Surprise Party Authorization form and hand deliver it to The Mayor (because of course he does) but in doing so finds out that The Mayor himself has already got one of his own planned.

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“Celebrate good Gibbons, COME ON!!”     “Where did you get that shirt?”

Well that’s great!  Now Tom can go back to taking care of his family instead of worrying about Gibbons’s party, right?  Yeah, of course not.  If there’s one thing we know about Tom Peters, it’s that life continuously puts thematic road blocks in his path to teach him lessons he never quite grasps!  So how has the universe screwed him over this week?  Well it looks like Tom isn’t currently on Gibbons’s guest list (not even under his maiden name Tom Pickle) which would be bad enough, but due to The Mayor’s connections the party will be attended by many of Jefferton’s biggest Big Wigs!   City Council, The Chamber of Commerce, something called The Entrepreneurial Society, all in one place which will make it one of the biggest network events of the year!  Being an aspiring young(ish) entrepreneur himself, Tom can’t afford to miss such an event and needs to find a way into the party.  Well I guess he’s gonna have to bite the bullet and get Gibbons that sword!  I mean he COULD just ask the guy who is supposedly his best friend for an invite, but I guess this is a more roundabout (and expensive) way to go about it which is something Tom is much more comfortable about.  While contemplating his financial situation at the mall, staring longingly at the overpriced sword from his spot at the water fountain, he starts to hear a familiar voice talking to him but he can’t quite place it and isn’t sure where it’s coming from.  He looks in the fountain and sees his younger self staring back at him who suggests he starts stealing all the coins that are thrown into the fountain as a way to supplement his income so he can afford the sword.  Setting aside the fact that I highly doubt he’d get THAT much out of the fountain (sure the Trevi fountain in Rome averages about four thousand bucks a day, but this one’s in a crappy mall in the middle of nowhere), it’s worth pointing out that it IS in fact illegal to take money out of it; similar to how someone finding lost money on the ground can TECHNICALLY get you charged with larceny or theft.  It’s a bit more clear cut when it comes to fountains though because they are usually owned by the government or by private enterprises; both of which by the way collect and keep the money you toss in there.  With governments, they’re usually used to pay for cleaning services for the fountain which is fair enough, but I’d be a bit more skeptical about tossing your nickels into a private fountain.  From what I understand, the money USUALLY goes to charities or cleaning the fountain too in those cases, but they can do whatever the heck they want with your money once you give it to them, and unless they SPECIFICALLY tell you what they’re doing with those coins, I’m sure that seven cents would be better used to put in someone’s tip jar instead.  Anyway, Tom ends up agreeing with his younger self and takes his first handful of coins, though he just BARELY gets away with it as there are some other familiar faces visiting the fountain as well!

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“You’re the thin blue line between order and chaos, aren’t you little fella?”     “It isn’t an easy job, but someone has to collect that paycheck.”

It seems that The Mayor got Gibbons a job as a security guard at the Jefferton Mall which certainly puts him a step above Tom who’s just wasting his time snatching pennies from a water fountain instead of finding work himself, though it seems like Gibbons spends most of his time eating Caesar salads and pestering Tom about the useless sword rather than protecting and serving the people at the mall.  Even with this new obstacle though, it’s clear that Tom has no choice in the matter and must do what he can to afford that useless junk that Gibbons wants.  This begins a stealing montage which is actually the best part of the episode as it has some interesting editing in it as well as some funny bits where we see the various steps of Tom’s plan; including how he steals the money, where he’s storing it, and how he dries his sleeves using the hand dryer in the men’s room.  As impressive as this sequence is (the song they wrote for it is pretty decent too!), Tom proves that he’s no master thief and eventually gets the attention of Gibbons who’s shocked and appalled by what he is witnessing.  Right as Tom manages to get enough money to afford the sword, Gibbons request a meeting in one of the men’s room stalls to chew Tom out for his misdeeds.

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“Are you looking at me?  Are YOU looking at ME!?”     “Well I guess I am.  There’s not much else to look at besides pee stains and inappropriate graffiti…”

Now he COULD send Tom to jail or at least get him banned from the mall, but instead Gibbons shows his true colors and decides to pull a Gin from Bad Santa; i.e. demand half the profit as a bribe to keep his mouth shut.  Tom is rightfully peeved about this but doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on and agrees to give Gibbons half of his ill-gotten gains; not that it stops Gibbons for even a MINUTE from reminding Tom that he wants him to buy the sword, but I guess if you’re as terrible a person as Tom you’re likely to have terrible friends as well.  The day of the party soon approaches and Tom seems to have found a way to buy the sword despite having to pony up the rest of the cash on his own (that or he went back to the fountain when Gibbons was off duty), and he does indeed get an invitation to the big event.  He puts on his best tuxedo, grabs his best (albeit typo laden) business cards, and does his best to network with the other party guests.  However, Tom’s revelry comes to a screeching halt as Gibbons gives his speech to the crowd; after taking Tom’s gift of course.  See, it turns out that Gibbons has done a complete about face and is righteously infuriated with Tom about stealing that money (probably because he ALSO got a sword from The Mayor and his was a much more expensive model), and takes this opportunity to rat his supposed friend out to everyone there.  Apparently he had a hidden camera in the bathroom stall (okay…) where he recorded Tom’s flustered argument about stealing the money which is sufficient evidence to get his sorry ass arrested.  Nothing is mentioned about how Gibbons took half the money for himself by the way!  He gets away scot free while Tom gets six thousand consecutive hours of community service; all because his best friend wouldn’t invite him to his party.  Well okay, Tom could have punched Gibbons in the face and kept his dignity instead of trying to butter up to the jerk with expensive merchandise, but Gibbons and The Mayor certainly didn’t help the situation!  And so the episode ends with Tom performing his court ordered civic duty of picking up trash on the highway; noticing a coin at one point that no one else seems to want, but deciding to let it be.  He has learned his lesson, damn it!  For ONCE he actually learned something!!

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“Is this what ‘growth’ feels like?  It’s really tingly!!”

I have never had a particularly high opinion of Tom as almost all of his troubles are of his own creation, but episodes like this and Rats Off To Ya make a strong case that those around him is just as horrible and selfish as Tom himself can be; albeit the inextricable forces of societal pressures tend to have a much higher success rate than Tom ever manages when he tosses his principals aside.  Tom’s miserable lot in life can’t simply be traced back to him being a “bad person” as we’re all made who we are by a complex combination of choices, our environment, and societal expectations, but the show also knows enough to not let Tom get away with his misdeeds because of this.  Tom is a great example of how we can understand where someone’s coming from while still not letting them off the hook for what they’ve done, but even that isn’t always a set in stone rule for the series and I appreciate episodes like this that still have the consequences but at least acknowledge the unfairness of the situation and provide even a glimmer of hope that Tom is aware of his own failings.  Not a bad juxtaposition with the last episode that straight up sent his ass to hell for murdering a crap load of people!

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The Recap Recap!!

Celebrities Galore

  • Brian Posehn returns as Gibbons, the man who is supposedly Tom’s best friend but constantly treats him like garbage!

Here’s Bobby!

  • No Bob Odenkirk in this episode I’m afraid, as awesome as it would be to hear his rendition of the montage song!

Tom Who Now?

  • Tom gets a birthday card from a random realty firm that misspells his name Tom Petress.
  • At the party Tom is handing out the same business cards he had printed up in Rebirth that say Tom Petres Business Consultation.

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 speculates that Tom may have married Joy to take her surname as Peters looks better on a Résumé than Pickle.
  • The song played over the montage was written by Tim & Eric and was performed by Denise Bonis; violinist and backup vocalist for The Zydepunks.
  • Because it’s hard to show wetness in this art style, they made arm’s sleeves extra blue to show that they are soaked from the fountain. However, this ends up implying that the fountain water is filled with blue dye as a way to make it look better than it actually is; an implication that Tim & Eric find quite amusing.
  • The final scene of the episode where Tom contemplates picking up the penny originally had dialogue, but they decided to instead use the score and Tom’s body language to convey what’s happening.

The Bonus Screenshot

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“I’m here to announce the commencement of the Jefferton Purge sanction by The Mayor.  Start picking your victims while you can!  I sure know who MINE’S gonna be!”       “Aw geez…”

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