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"One of these days, Laura, I'm gonna punch you in the face!"
The series portrayed the President as a likable buffoon who fell into one Fawlty Towers Plot after another, supported by his equally wacky staff and family.
Despite expectations for satire on political events, which had become the hallmark of South Park, the show focused more on being a parody of 1980's sitcoms humorously transplanted into the unlikely location of the White House. For example, the "wacky neighbor" stock character was transplanted unchanged, despite the illogical nature of the White House having a next door neighbor who could occasionally drop by unannounced. Parker and Stone planned the show before the 2000 election under the name Family First, planning to use whoever got elected as the main character. Once Bush was elected, they took advantage of his suggestive name and changed the title to a sexual pun.
Much of the show's humor came from raunchy or shocking humor contrasting or parodying the show's old-fashioned format. The President's Catch Phrase, above, spoofs the classic Catch Phrase from The Honeymooners, drawing attention to the blase disregard many old sitcoms had for domestic violence. One episode employs a double Three Is Company plot: George's canker sore prevents him from performing certain husbandly duties, prompting Laura to conclude that age is starting to show on her anatomy, and when George overhears the Zany Scheme she contrives to address this problem, he mistakenly concludes that she wants him to euthanize their cat. There's even An Aesop at the end: Use your mouth, instead of beating around the Bush. Most episodes had An Aesop that compromised on both liberal and conservative ideals, arguing that both sides have valid points and that neither is completely correct.
The show achieved solid ratings, but failed to match the success of South Park. Few conservatives gave the show a chance, and liberals were disappointed by the lack of satire or simply didn't get it. Ultimately, the network decided that the ratings didn't justify the show's high production costs, and cancelled it after an eight week run. Parker and Stone admit that the idea didn't have long-term potential, and they were already starting to run out of ideas when the show was cancelled. Contrary to common belief, the show was not cancelled in the wake of 9/11, but a good two months prior. (However, the events of September 2001 pretty much ruined any hope of the show being Un Cancelled.) For a while there were rumors of an Action Adventure movie called George W. Bush And The Secret Of The Glass Tiger, but it never came to be.
At the time, a show featuring a sitting president seemed like a novel concept, but it would only be the first of several large productions to feature George W. Bush as the main character. The animated series Lil' Bush re-imagined Bush and his political allies as children similar to The Little Rascals. Oliver Stone went on to make a feature film biopic of Bush before he had even left office. Jon Culshaw took the idea for his short-lived ITV sketch show, which featured a series of sketches titled "My Two Presidents" that parodied sitcom tropes from the 1970's and 1980's.
- Affectionate Parody: Really, Bush is presented in a lovable -- if rather dim-witted -- light.
- Breast Expansion: Princess tries to increase her intelligence with mammary enhancers to a spectacular effect.
- Broke Episode: One episode has Dick Cheney take over the White House, leaving Bush destitute and living off macaroni lamp.
- Catch Phrase
- Closer to Earth: Laura
- The Comically Serious: Karl Rove
- Crossover: A scene in the White House in the mid-2001 South Park episode "Super Best Friends" confirms that this show takes place in the same universe.
- Deadpan Snarker: The maid, Maggie
- The Ditz: Princess, Bush's secretary.
- Drop in Character: Possibly the most obvious clue of the show's intentions, the White House has a next-door neighbor who's always dropping by. John D'Aquino, who played the Drop in Character, later went on to play the President in the Disney Channel series Cory in The House.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: And in the last episode, when Dick Cheney takes over, we get a title sequence that substitutes his name for Bush's to similar effect. One title card near the end calls the show "What a Dick."
- Locked in a Room: Very thoroughly deconstructed in "Trapped in a Small Environment".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Cameos" include Dr Jack Kevorkian and Charlton Heston.
- Oops I Did It Again
- Three Is Company
- Wacky Guy: Larry the neighbor
- What's a Henway?: Larry always greeted George with one of these.
Larry: Hey, George, there's some snoo on your lawn.
George: What's snoo, Larry?
Larry: Nothing, what's snoo with you?
- And in the last episode, when George has to leave the white house:
Larry: (in tears) And, George, there's a kweerdoo on your porch.
George: What's a kweerdoo?
Larry: This! (hugs George)