2 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2001 APPLAUSE THE SALINA JOURNAL Tfiofs My Bush'': The White House, complete with laugh track By ROB OWEN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, heartless facist or bleeding heart, viewers of eveiy political stripe will be offended by Comedy Central's "That's My Bush!" Created by the guys who did "South Park" (TVey Parker and Matt Stone), "That's My Bush!" gleefully sends up sitcom conventions along with political issues of the day. It's ravmchy, dumb and oftend hilarious, but only those with an appreciation for the absurd and politically incorrect will laugh at the joke. "Wow, look at you Mrs. Bush, you look like a hooker," a housekeeper tells Laura Bush in the show's first scene, "an expensive, high-class hooker." That gag is likely to tick off conservatives. Later, when a pro- choice leader is depicted as an overweight, butch woman, liberals will scream foul. Viewers with a sense of humor who can't stand extremists at either end of the political spectrum will have a good time throughout. Timothy Bottoms excels in his role as George W. Bush, portrayed here as the well-meaiung but bumbling leader of the free world. As in prefab sitcoms of the past, George has a long-suffering and much wiser wife, Laura (Carrie Quinn Dolin). Kurt Fuller plays the only other character with the name of a real-life person in the administration. Bush adviser Karl Rove. The Bush daughters are nowhere to be seen, but the president's ditzy blond scheduling assistant Princess (Kristen Miller) fills the void. Marcia Wallace (Carol on "The Bob Newhart Show") plays the White House's sassy maid. There's even a nosy neighbor, Larry (John D'Aquino). In the premiere show, "An Aborted Dinner Date," George mistakenly schedules an intimate evening with his lonely wife at the same time as a diimer designed to unite pro-choice and anti-abortion leaders. Despite their success with the animated "South Park," Parker and Stone haven't fared as well with their live-action projects ("Orgazmo" and "Baseket- ball"). With its spot-on spoof of sitcoms — complete with cheesy theme song and hooting audience reactions — "That's My Bush!" helps erase the memory of their past failures. But will it hold up? It's one thing to make a couple of intentionally bad sitcom episodes, but vnll "That's My Bush!" still be funny after a dozen installments? In a followup episode — George juggles an execution with a visit firom his college fraternity buddies — gets off to a slow start, but later whips itself into a funny firenzy that involves another ill- conceived plan to do two things at once and an improv comedy team. Some viewers might cringe at the notion of any president being portrayed in a sitcom, fearing it would demean the presidency, but I'm not sure it's possible to dameige the office any more than the last guy who occupied it did. Parker and Stone have said they're more interested in skewering sitcom conventions than in political ideology, which is apparent with the introduction of a George W. Bush catch phrase. The audience echoes George's refrain, "One of these days Laura, I'm gonna punch you in the face," which is sure to horrift^ those who don't understand it's a goof on the old "Honeymooners" lines, "To the moon, Alice!" and "Pow, right in the kisser!" Parker, who wrote the first episode, sends up many political stereotypes, but in the end doesn't take either side. In a "moral of the story" moment, Laura tells George, "Maybe you can't unite pro-life and pro-choice activists, because in a way, they're both right." Zealots from either camp vrill charge the show with wishy- washiness for not taking a stand, but that's not the point. In making an intentionally bad sitcom, Parker and Stone created a superb satire of the genre. ^^Dr. Laura^' felevision show has been cancelled ByLYNNELBER AP Television Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) — Laura Schlessinger's TV talk show, criticized by homosexual rights groups and snubbed by advertisers and viewers, was canceled after one season. "Dr Laura," which debuted in September, taped its final episode last month but could continue to air through the fall. Paramount Pictures Television Group said. Poor ratings had prompted stations in mzyor television markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to move the syndicated "Dr. Laura" firom daytime to the middle of the night. Schlessinger, who was unable to convert her radio popularity into TV success, said she was proud of the program that she called a "true alternative." "I beheve it could have earned a substantial audience in time, but the television advertiser boycott precluded that," Schlessinger said in a statement. Paramount had defended the show as part of a free exchange of ideas in which "hurt, hate and intolerance" had no place. "We commend Dr. Laura, her producers and staff for their desire to create an alternative program for daytime viewers, and are proud of their efforts to do so," Paramount said Friday. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a vocal Schlessinger critic since she labeled homosexuality "deviant" and "a biological error" several years ago, lauded the show's demise. "Paramount firom the beginning said 'Let the people decide.' Viewers and advertisers alike have decided, and they decided to reject 'Dr. Laura's' message of intolerance," said GLAAD exec utive director Joan M. Garry. "We hope that as a function of this media outlets will think twice before giving a platform to somebody who is provocative at our expense," Garry said from New York. Schlessinger, who noted that no specific episode of her TV show generated protests, had toned down her combative radio style and offered an s^ology last October for what she called "poorly chosen" words about homosexuality. But protests against "Dr. Laura," which began as soon as Paramount axmounced the series, were unabated. Advertisers felt the pressure, with Procter & Gamble and other big firms pulling out as sponsors. Media analysts said her relative blandness on TV also worked against her. Chances for "Dr. Laura" to find an audience dwindled when stations shoved her show into the late-night hours. "Dr. Laura" was drawing a fraction of the audience for "Oprah," the daytime talk queen. Schlessinger, who draws her "Dr. Laura" title firom a Columbia RNs ARE you earning $24 per hour? Want more freedom, flexibility and sincere appreciation? Then call 1-877-445-0286 today. "IF VOU-VK WRECKED YOUR INSURANCE, CALL ME.- ASYOURDRIYINO RECORD IMPROVES, YOUR RATES COULD TOO. 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