Watch out, incoming first family

TV: The Bushes are in for it now with `South Park' cousin `Family First.'

January 06, 2001|By James Endrst | James Endrst,HARTFORD COURANT

LOS ANGELES - The creators of "South Park" - that adorably rude Comedy Central cartoon - were more anxious than most about Decision/Indecision/Decision 2000.

Nothing to do with politics - it's just that without a winner, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were without a leading man for their next series, "Family First."

Clearing the debris in their Marina Del Rey office, Parker and Stone say the protracted debate over votes put their show a month behind schedule. Now that a chief executive has been picked, production can begin.

And our president-elect can start worrying.

If the series turns out to be anything like Parker and Stone promise, the first great challenge of the new administration could be a sitcom. That means although Gore lost the war, he may have dodged a major bullet.

"When we started off, we were really thinking about `The Al Gore Show,' " says Parker, "because he's such a boring robot you can plug in any personality."

The producer recalls, "The night of the election - especially when they first announced `OK, Bush is the president.' - we were like, `Oh. Whoa. OK, we've got to start thinking about `The Bush Show' now.' "

The idea, say Parker, 31, and Stone, 29, is to merge their "South Park" sensibilities - where little kids indulge in potty-obsessed insults and shenanigans - with a warm, fuzzy "Everybody Loves Raymond" reality.

"It's like when Dad comes home at 6 o'clock and says, `Honey, I'm home!' - it's from then on," says Stone. "That's where it takes place."

With a big-time network budget of a $1 million per episode, still-to-be-cast actors will play the Bush family as if they were the lead characters in "Father Knows Best." On acid.

"We don't want to do the typical thing, the `Saturday Night Live' thing, which is to get a caricature of the president and make him look like an idiot," says Parker. "That's not what a sitcom would do."

And, Stone tosses in, "That would get really boring after five minutes."

"Our big thing that we're really excited about," Parker offers, "is the Bush twins - Jenna and Barbara. Because we are just going to find the two hottest girls and make them always just about to make out for some reason."

Parker, who like Stone, gives voice to many "South Park" characters, stops to play through a for-instance.

In a little-girl voice: "You've got jelly on your lip!" Then, after a barely thoughtful pause, licking his lips: "Ooo. Let me taste it!"

It's true, Parker and Stone, who expect to have their eight-episode order ready to debut in March, never thought Bush would win. And they're not entirely happy about it.

"But," says Parker, "you know the idea of the show wasn't: `We want to do a political show.' It was: `We want to do a sitcom that makes fun of sitcoms. Because we hate sitcoms.' "

Parker and Stone aren't going to over-think this thing, that's for sure. But don't let that dissuade you from believing in their none-too-subtle brand of brilliance.

"Actually, the pilot episode we have in mind that we know we want to do, I can say, without a doubt, is far worse than anything we've ever done on `South Park,' " says Parker.

They, intend, for example, to tackle issues such as abortion.

"The coolest thing we want to do is try to find world leaders of really small countries and really get them to come and guest star on the show," says Parker. "Because you know for 100K, they'll do it."

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