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Western Animation / Tom Goes to the Mayor

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Jefferton a-LIIIIIVE!

Tom Goes to the Mayor is an animated comedy show on [adult swim] by Tim Heidecker and Eric Warheim, the creative team that later did Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! The show revolves around Tom Peters, resident of Jefferton, and Jefferton's Mayor. Nearly all of the show's plots revolved around an idea Tom wanted to implement for the city of Jefferton, or for seeking help with the Mayor, whom he considers a friend, for personal problems. However, the Mayor has other plans, whether intentional or not, and usually things don't work out for poor Tom Peters.

Tom Goes to the Mayor was unique for its animation style - instead of using more traditional methods, pictures of live actors would be taken, and then be filtered through Photoshop to look like mimeographs. These "mimeographs" would then be "animated" in what was in effect about a frame every two seconds. All other objects and backgrounds were typically animated using stock clip-art, and shows within the show would be live-action.

Lasted about 30 or so episodes before Tim & Eric decided to go for Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! instead, though some elements and characters were essentially transferred to the new show, such as Channel 5's "Married News Team" and various skits. The Awesome Show episode "Pepperoni" opened with a live-action mini-sketch based on Tom Goes to the Mayor.

This shows provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Dr. Ian Black constantly calls Tom Steven. This may be intentional, as "Steven" is also slang for a potential prank target. The Mayor never remembers Tom's name at the beginning of episodes.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Tom, when he becomes a model for anti-arousal pills in "CNE".
  • Adults Dressed as Children: "Undercover". This includes shortening Tom's legs and altering his vocal cords.
  • Almost Kiss: Tom and Barb in "Pipe Camp".
  • Ambiguously Gay: The Mayor with just about every man he interacts with, most of all Dr. Ian Black. They even have a special handshake-dance they do every time they see each other.
  • Art Shift: Any character seen on television is done in live action.
  • As Himself: Yes, that is indeed Sir Mix-A-Lot doing the theme jingle for My Big Cups.
  • Big Bad: In many ways, The Mayor is this. Virtually everything he does has some vaguely sinister cast to it, and he at times actively goes out of his way to torment Tom and sabotage his ideas.
  • Big Eater: Brindon, one of Tom's sons. It eventually kills him.
  • Berserk Button: Whatever you do, do not touch Terry's inhaler.
  • The Ditz: The Mayor, but at times this crosses over into being more Chaotic Stupid.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Tom. The dude's such a doormat.
  • Character Action Title
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Several.
    • The Mayor is the most salient example — it's either this or he's just that that mean-spirited and cruel.
    • Dr. Ian Black, who complements The Mayor's ridiculousness perfectly.
    • Saul, the ex-husband of Joy who paints with cow diarrhea.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Tom, Tom, TOM. The universe just seems to hate the poor guy; he genuinely means well with his ideas, but due to a combination of the Mayor and everyone else often going to absurd lengths to screw him over, circumstances beyond Tom's control, his own Extreme Doormat attitude, and just plain bad luck, everything that can go wrong for him does go wrong.
  • Crapsack World: Jefferton seems to be an unpleasant mix of Suburbia and Industrial Ghetto. Word of God says not only is it an amalgamation of every real-life crapsack town the creators had been to, it is actually the titular character's own personal Hell.
  • Death of a Child:
    • The Mayor had the park completely covered with bear traps, causing the deaths of many children. Ironically, a bear that happens to come by remains unharmed.
    • Tom's stepson literally explodes from eating too much at the buffet.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The Mayor sings "Me, me, me, me, me!" to the tune of the theme song in "Vice Mayor".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When he accidentally knocks Terry's inhaler away in "WW Lasers", Terry beans Tom in the head with a brick hard enough to put him in a coma for several weeks.
  • The Eeyore: Joy Peters. Nothing she says is ever positive. Especially when talking to Tom.
  • Failure Hero: Though Tom is a loose definition of "hero", the fact that he's the only character with his heart in the right place and he never succeeds with his ideas can certainly qualify.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: As said above Tom's goals never really seem to come to fruition.
  • Gonk: Several characters, most notably Joy and her sons. On top of being unattractive in a real-world way, their appearances are slightly edited—usually their mouths are too high up on their faces.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Tom. Even referring to the town Dam as a 'Darn'.
  • G-Rated Drug: Garry Friendly tricks Tom into signing a bogus development contract by getting him drunk on...cheese fries.
    • Tom hallucinates his dead son by eating large quantities of pudding.
  • Henpecked Husband: Tom, in spades.
  • Hobos: While the trope questionably applies to Jefferton's sizable homeless population, the Mayor infiltrates them by wearing a bunch of patches and carrying a bindle on a stick.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Joy Peters in "Rebirth" and "Zoo Trouble".
  • Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Tom and Joy.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Because the animation technique involves filtering photographs of the actors, all characters inevitably look like the actors voicing them.
    • With the exception of Joy, who is voiced by Stephanie Courtney but played by Michael Q. Schmidt.
  • Jerkass: The Mayor, along with most of the residents of Jefferton.
    • Gibbons is possibly the only person who can rival the Mayor in that regards.
  • Karma Houdini: Anyone who isn't Tom.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: Parodied with the intro, which is scored and edited like a low-budget Chamber of Commerce infomercial (specifically of the sort that runs on an infinite loop on a lot of resort towns' cable systems).
  • Limited Animation: Characters hop to completely different poses with no in-between frames...usually. The few occasions where the humans are fully animated are extremely creepy.
  • Manchild: The Mayor.
  • Mayor Pain: The Mayor, of course. He's actually both types, with the Incompetent type being the more obvious and with some subtle shades of the Evil type (as mentioned under Big Bad above).
  • Negative Continuity: Each episode is the first time Tom and the Mayor are meeting. At least, as far as the Mayor is concerned. Tom's too weak-willed and passive to ever call the Mayor out on anything (up to and including his forgetting who Tom is, even part-way through an episode). The Mayor just really is just so far off in his own world that he legitimately thinks it's the first time he's ever met Tom, each time. Tom just never has the insight or backbone to realize that including the Mayor in anything is begging for disaster. This is lampshaded in an episode wherein both reminisce to past times, Tom thinks back to events of past episodes and the mayor thinks back to only a few minutes prior.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Tom when it comes to Joy.
  • Older Than He Looks: Terry looks, sounds and acts like an 8 year old due to his inhaler use, but he's actually 27 years old.
  • Once per Episode: Every time Tom mentions his plans to improve Jefferton, someone will respond with an expression of disdain or disgust.
  • Only Sane Man: Poor Tom. Although, his "sanity" is just in comparison to everyone else.
  • Permanent Elected Official: The Mayor, of course.
    • With a very brief interlude from interim mayor Zynx.
    • An Adult Swim interstitial once claimed that he had been mayor for twelve years due to two factors: a very large number of family members who all voted for him, and a bizarre local law that gives mayors thirteen year terms.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Par for the course for [adult swim].
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Listen close and you'll hear a lot of musical cues that would be carried over into Awesome Show, Great Job!
  • Running Gag: Absolutely nobody can spell Tom's name correctly.
  • Sanity Slippage: The Mayor gets weird (well, weirder than usual) during the balloon trip in "Boy Meets Mayor".
  • Scotireland: Irishland, mentioned in "Boy Meets Mayor", complete with Bob Odenkirk doing an obnoxious Oireland accent.
    • Later, in "Jeffy the Sea Serpent," the Loch Ness Monster is said to live in Scotchland.
  • Serious Business: Anything the Mayor gets involved in gets an automatic Serious Business upgrade.
  • Severely Specialized Store: This was a common gag; Tom opened a store called "Big Cups", which only sold big cups. There was also a store that just sold bear traps.
    • And that bear trap store was inexplicably located next door to another bear trap store. The mayor seems to be the only client to keep them both in business.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Despite Tom Peters being such a simple, obvious name, it will get inexplicably misspelled at every single occasion shown onscreen.
    • A rare aversion occurs with the giant 200 dollar check from the Mayor to sponsor "Pipe Camp". There's a high probability that it's spelled correctly because the Mayor wanted to be sure to frame Tom for providing tobacco to kids when the police inevitably cracked down on the camp.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: This is what Tom's historical-themed restaurant project becomes after he slumps into a coma for several weeks and the Mayor's nephew turns it into the "WW Laserz" fast-food joint.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tom. No matter how dangerous most of his plans become due to The Mayor making them needlessly complicated or outright sabotage he'll always go through with them regardless, usually ending up wrecking Jefferton, killing people, or even himself.
  • Uncanny Valley: The animation style deliberately evokes this. Characters rapidly switch between static poses that generally only vaguely connect with the emotion they are meant to be conveying, and their expressions and/or features are often exaggerated through editing to look even weirder. Even Tom is almost always contorted in some kind of bizarre and unfitting way. The fact that all character designs are taken from photos of actual people makes everything look slightly unsettling at all times.
  • The Vamp: Barb in "Pipe Camp", despite being nothing remarkable in a pair of mom jeans, uses her sex appeal to manipulate Tom into getting children to smoke pipes.
  • The Voiceless: Apparently Tom's Stepsons rarely speak but they can be heard crying in some episodes.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tom vomits onto the camera in "Boy Meets Mayor". At least it's not very detailed.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: One episode has Tom trying to do this to his estranged father. Course thanks to the Mayor, it only leaves their relationship worse off than before.
  • What Does He See in Her?: Why Tom married Joy is a mystery.
  • You Meddling Kids: Tom and the Mayor do this as they expose the city zoo's competing attraction, Bernie Fusterillio's Real Live Animal Experience. As they expose him in a Scooby-Doo-style Dramatic Unmask, the conclusion turns into a Gambit Pileup of successive costume reveals.