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Western Animation / Bordertown

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Welcome to Mexifornia

Bordertown was a short-lived 2016 American animated sitcom created by former Family Guy writer Mark Hentemann (who also created the equally short-lived MTV animated series 3 South, which explains why the character designs of the people on Bordertown are similarnote ) with Seth MacFarlane as co-producer. The show is about two families living in a Southwest desert town on the United States–Mexico border called Mexifornia. The show revolves around Bud Buckwald, a border patrol agent, and Ernesto Gonzalez, Bud's Mexican neighbor who runs a successful landscaping business.

Debuting on January 3, 2016, it constantly struggled in the ratings. FOX officially said "adios" to Bordertown on May 12.


  • The Ace: Ernesto can pretty much do anything better than Bud, he's more successful than him, and this really angers him.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Bud and Steve briefly become rich by opening up an immigrant smuggling tunnel leading into Buds basement, but at the end of the episode they lose the entire money stash when they're robbed by the 12-year old girl Steve hired to keep an eye on Bud.
  • Ambiguously Gay: "Straight" Uncle Jorge
  • Animal Facial Hair: Furnesto the hamster has a moustache like that that of Ernesto, but not as curved.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The paper clip with arms, legs, hands with White Gloves, eyes, mouth, eyelashes, and short blond hair.
  • Bad Boss: Steve, the head of the border patrol, constantly abuses his authority and pushes Buck around.
    • Pablo Barracuda, the head of the local drug cartel. As you could expect from a drug lord, he constantly has his employees murdered for the slightest infraction, and keeps a mentally challenged executioner on hold to perform the murders.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Furnesto the hamster is dressed like Ernesto, but barefoot.
  • Big Bad: Pablo Barracuda, a drug lord who runs the biggest drug cartel in Mexico. He funnels his products through Mexifornia and has had several run-ins with Bud.
  • Black Comedy Rape: In "The Engagement", Bryce is constantly getting abducted by aliens so they can anal probe him, he even carries a probe whistle with him. He eventually develops Stockholm Syndrome with the aliens when he sees them abduct other people to be probed.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Pepito, who loves playing pranks on Buck and making fun of J.C. for not having a job.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: They tend to do this every episode.
  • The Cameo: Peter Griffin makes a quick cameo in episode 12 when he accidentally drives into the Buckwalds' driveway.
    Peter: Whoops, wrong show.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Because Bud is so incompetent at preventing immigrants from crossing the border, El Coyote keeps him alive to ensure he's not replaced with someone more competent.
  • Couch Gag: Every episode opens with Bud trying to catch El Coyote, and failing.
  • Corrupt Church: The Buckwalds' local church, a Protestant megachurch run by televangelist Reverend Fantastic, who doesn't know a word of the Bible (and thinks "God" is referred to as "Gid"), exploits his churchgoers to fund his luxurious lifestyle and engages in all manner of depraved sex acts. Surprisingly, he's NOT a Sinister Minister, but an unusually happy-go-lucky guy who does morally-depraved things.
  • Daddy's Girl: Gert will always love her father no matter how much he fails and Bud loves her deeply in return.
  • A Day in the Limelight: J.C. and the Gonzalez family get their own episode focus in "J.C. Strikes", revolving around J.C coming to work for Ernesto, and unionizing the employees (there is a subplot involving Buck making friends with an ostrich, but the episode is mostly centered on J.C. and his family).
    • Sanford gets his first own plotline in "Santa Anna Winds", where he becomes hooked on the Mexican energy drink Huevos, and becomes a huge script writer in Hollywood, becoming the new go-to guy to write crappy sequels, remakes and crossovers.
  • Determinator: J.C, in a complete reversal of his normally work shy character, completes the landscaping of an entire golf course by himself in one day. Unfortunately, since he has basically no experience, the work comes out terrible, but he manages to get Ernesto's landscaping firm another chance by pointing out that the golf course is home to an endangered bird species and threatens to reveal this unless the owner agrees to his demands.
  • Deus ex Machina: In "The Engagement", before Steve can discover Ernesto smuggling Bud and J.C. across the border, Steve is immediately abducted by aliens who were previously abducting Bryce.
  • Dirty Cop: Bud's boss, Steve, who is in charge of the border patrol it not afraid to abuse his power to take advantage of the immigrants.
  • Drugs Are Bad: When Pepito is diagnosed with ADHD, Ernesto puts him on medication. While it does make him calmer and better able to focus, it also turns him into a sleepy zombie, and Ernesto decides he'd rather have his son hyper and happy than calm but depressed.
  • Fat Bastard / Fat Idiot: Most of the overweight characters on the show, such as Becky, Ernesto, and J.C, are both nice and fairly intelligent, but Bud is both these tropes in spades.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Furnesto the hamster and the jaguar spirit animal both walk on two legs
  • Fox News Liberal: Parodied; on "The Engagement" (the first episode), Donovan Cobb introduces a little girl as "the liberal point of view" and ends up yelling at her to shut up and be scared of Mexicans.
  • Gonk: Every one of the characters are this thanks to creator Mark Hentemenn's art-style.
  • Greedy Televangelist: The episode "Megachurch" spotlights Reverend Fantastic, the blatantly incompetent and corrupt head of the local megachurch that the Buckwald family attends. All of the money that goes into the collection plates ends up being spent for his personal use on things like a private jet, and later sets his eyes on Ernesto's church for more money when his usual crowd doesn't "donate" as much as what they used to.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Ernesto and Bud go to Mexico to find J.C., Bud comments that Mexicans don't know what it's like to have foreigners come to their country and ruin it. They then stop as three college-aged spring breakers chug beers and puke in a hat vendor's wares, with one of them saying, "I'm not paying for that."
    • Bud assumes Ernesto knows Pope Francis because he's Mexican. Ernesto points out that the Pope is Argentinian... but yes, he does know him, and calls him up on his cellphone.
    • Lampshaded in "Borderwall" when Ernesto complains about all the new immigrants who are showing up and undercutting his business (unbeknownst to him, being smuggled in by Bud), and wishes that immigration had stopped right after he came in. He's suddenly sparkles, and exclaims "Hey, I just became a true American!"
  • I'm Going to Disney World!: At the end of "Borderwall", Ernesto exclaims "The Gonzales are going to Hawaii!" only to be interrupted by a network executive.
    Ernesto: Not until season 3? Okay, what can we do? Okay, The Gonzales are solving a murder mystery with the help of Bones!
  • Jaded Washout: Bud hates his job and his family life, and fondly remembers his Glory Days in high school when he played football (though an audio flashback shows that he once scored in the wrong goal and won the championship for the other team so he might not have been as good as he thinks).
    • He also talks about how good it was when he was "20, single and under 200 pounds", but the photo of himself on the beach that he gazes longingly at tells him he's just imagining it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: "Gold" is probably stretching it, but Bud is willing to look past his own prejudices for his family, like when he went to bring J.C. back from Mexico after he got wrongfully deported because losing him hurt Becky so much.
    • With that said, he loves his daughter, Gertz and he seems to care very deeply about her and would do anything to make her happy.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: J.C. At one point, he quotes a Robert Frost poem, but after no one interrupts him after the first line, he's forced to admit he doesnt know the rest.
  • Manchild: Sanford. Though he doesn't exhibit childlike behaviour, he does have traits of this. He still lives with his parents, has yet to land a job, is unable to grow up and acts rather immaturely for his age.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: A one-off gag reveals the Buckwalds have a hideously deformed son chained up in the basement, who Bud refers to as "the son we don't talk about".
  • Mayor Pain: The mayor of Mexifornia performs his duties from inside the state prison where he's serving a sentence for vehicular manslaughter. He apparently plowed through a kindergarten while driving under the influence.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Sanford sees Ernesto dancing around Bud while wearing daisy dukes and boots:
    Sanford: Hey, mom, dad's gay.
    Janice: (off-screen) I know, dear.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After costing Ernesto a huge landscaping contract by leading a strike against him, J.C realizes what an ungrateful asshole he's been and sets out to singlehandedly make it right.
    • Ernesto has this reaction after he loses patience and spanks Pepito, something he's always avoided because of his own father spanking him as a boy.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: After Buck befriends an ostrich, Gert eventually ends up killing it because it was taking her role as her dad's favorite.
  • Nice Guy: Ernesto is really nice to everyone and he rarely shows any anger, even at Bud who's racist to Mexican. But even he has his limits shown on several occasions:
    • He has shown some frustration with his nephew J.C who refuses to work and constantly pesters everyone with his social justice morals.
    • Surprisingly with Bud himself, in the episode "Wildfire" after Ernesto saved his life, he was constantly pestered by Bud which led to him wanting to avoid him for a change.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: Bud Buckwald the T. rex in one dimension keeps the signature hairstyle and moustache that the human Bud Buckwald is known for.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: J.C.'s real name is Juan Carlos, but everyone refers to him by his initials, including Ernesto and Becky.
  • Oppressive Immigration Enforcement: It features a rare example where one of these as the protagonist, Border Patrol Agent Bud Buckwald, described as "the lowest ranking government employee in the United States", is a bitter, jaded, selfish, spiteful, stupid man who nevertheless convinced he's a brilliant government agent and a respected member of the community (despite the entire town openly hating him), blaming all his failures and his family's loss of status on immigrants. He is so incompetent in his job that his rival El Coyote deliberately keeps him alive, to ensure he's not replaced by anyone more intelligent. His co-workers are hardly any better, being lazy jerks who are more interested in bullying Bud than doing their job; whilst his superior Steve Hermendez is an immature, smug bully who is only marginally smarter than Bud, but also far more openly corrupt, with him regularly abusing his authority to harass immigrants and torment Bud.
  • Pedophile Priest: Hinted at with Reverend Fantastic (on the episode "Borderwall", he's "friends" with a Laotian boy and he mentioned his second wife being born on his jet and building a glass-bottom school for girls so he can look up their skirts in "Megachurch"), but he mostly seems to indulge in hedonistic sex with adults. Averted with J.C's childhood priest, whom Becky assumed was responsible for J.C becoming a staunch atheist by molesting him. In reality, J.C dropped out of the church after he found a dinosaur bone and realized the church's teachings were lies. He actually was molested, but only by the scientist whom he showed the dinosaur bone to.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The Buckwalds come into money in 3 episodes (when Bud found a plane full of drug money in the desert, when he worked for Pablo Barracuda and when he ran a smuggling tunnel), but they always lose the money just as fast.
    • Sanford briefly became a successful Hollywood scriptwriter who specialized in bad sequels, but lost all his money when the Jewish writers who normally got those jobs tried to attack him and he beat them all up. In response, they sued him for every dime.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Maria and Becky gives J.C. this in "J.C. Strikes" when he causes Ernesto's workers to go on strike because he's too lazy to work and he can't support himself.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Bud is constantly trying to catch El Coyote but he's always outsmarted by him on multiple occasions or Bud just has very bad luck. This dynamic is set up a lot like the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Bud for some reason thinks that he's a respected member of the community and blames immigrants for his family loss in status (apparently his great-grandfather had founded the town after chasing off the local native tribes with dynamite).
  • Serious Business: The town of Mexifornia takes their high school football so seriously that they will beat up or try to kill the coach if they lose a game. When Bud accidentally becomes the new coach, he knows this is a death sentence as he has no idea how to coach a football team.
  • Show Within a Show: The FOX News parody Fair and Loud (hosted by Donovan Cobb) and the Bill Maher-meets-Dennis Miller sociopolitical panel show Bob Mothers.
  • The Slacker: Sanford is 24 years old, lives with his parents and pretty much does nothing all day.
    • J.C. is a different variation, he refuses to get a job, only wanting to involve himself in various social justice causes, most of which just include him and Becky.
  • Talking Animal: Furnesto the hamster
  • The Teaser: At the beginning of every episode, Bud is always trying to stop El Coyote from smuggling more immigrants into the U.S. but always fails.
  • Teeny Weenie: Bud apparently has an inverted penis that only leaves its pouch once a year, which is treated like a Groundhog Day event. Its also the only time a year Bud and Janice have sex.
  • Title Drop: In the pilot, when Ernesto, Bud and J.C returns home from Mexico, Ernesto says "it's good to be back in our Bordertown".
    Bud: *annoyed* Don't say the name of the show!
  • Ultimate Job Security: A variation. Bud CAN be fired, but he can't be demoted. As Steve explains, Bud is already the lowest ranked goverment employee of the United States. If he's demoted again, he'll reset at the top and become President. The only person that's ever happened to before is George W Bush.
  • The Unfavorite: Neither Bud nor Janice particularly likes their lazy basement-dwelling son Sanford, though he doesn't seem to be phased by this at all and even embraces his laziness.
  • Your Head A-Splode: When Bud first finds out that J.C. and Becky are not only dating but are engaged, his head explodes.