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Comedy Central
The animated Lil' Rummy, Lil' George, Lil' Condi and Lil' Cheney in Comedy Central's "Lil' Bush."

That "Lil' Bush" will air on Comedy Central is something akin to false advertising.

There's next to nothing comedic about this mean-spirited, ugly, amateurish, vulgar and unwatchable new animated series that takes aim at the current occupant of the White House — and misses.

Given that members of the George W. Bush administration are enormously easy targets these days, that's saying something. And not something good.

To call "Lil' Bush" (Wednesday, 11 p.m., Comedy Central) heavy-handed would be an understatement. It's not cleverly written, it just bashes Bush & Co. with a sledgehammer and leaves viewers feeling like they've been knocked upside the head as well.

The first time Lil' Cheney rips the head off a bird and sucks out the innards isn't funny. And repeating that gag-inducing gag over and over again doesn't make it any funnier.

"Lil' Bush" follows the misadventures of elementary-school age George W., who lives in the White House with his parents. He hangs out with his pals, Lil' Rummy (a k a Donald Rumsfeld), who is an abused child; Lil' Cheney (a k a Dick Cheney), who is a violent, almost nonverbal, idiot; Lil' Condi (a k a Condoleezza Rice), who suffers from unrequited love for Lil' George.

They have various misadventures, as when they go to Iraq to look for good news in the first segment of Wednesday's premiere.

Each episode contains two stories, each running about 11 minutes. And if the first two segments are any indication, no, the writers can't keep an idea going for 11 minutes.

There is so much humor that could be mined out of politics in general and the current situation in Washington, D.C., specifically, and yet this is lowest-common-denominator stuff from start to finish.

Yeah, we get it. Lil' George is dumb. But the writers and producers of "Lil' Bush" are under the impression that saying so in various ways is funny. It's not. And they are under the impression that mere tastelessness is humor. It isn't.

Which is not to say that there aren't some very funny things that are also tasteless and vulgar. Hey, Comedy Central is the home of "South Park" and "The Sarah Silverman Program," among other things.

But when the writers can't come up with anything that's actually funny and all you've got is the vulgarity, it's impossible to get past. (OK, it is kind of funny that younger brother Lil' Jeb is dumber than dirt. But only kind of.)

The makers of "Lil' Bush" are making a political statement, but I'm not. Even if you're counting the days until the real George W. Bush leaves office — even if you tune in salivating at the thought of a show that makes fun of the current commander in chief — this show is so poorly executed that it's painful to watch.

The second segment in Wednesday's premiere is indescribably vulgar and utterly disgusting. When first lady Barbara Bush can't get her hubby, President George H.W. Bush, interested in, um, romance, she seduces pre-teen Lil' Rummy. And, given that this is a family newspaper, I won't even attempt to describe where the story goes from there.

There's a bit of bipartisanship — Lil' Clinton and Lil' Hillary are also lampooned (badly) in the second segment on Wednesday. And, gee, it's a real knee-slapper when Lil' Hillary and Lil' Condi share a passionate kiss.

Wow. Somebody actually sat down and wrote this stuff. Hard to believe.

What remains utterly unbelievable is that a show that has as much comedic material to mine as "Lil' Bush" could come back so empty-handed. What a waste.

MY FAVORITE interpretation of the much-hyped series finale of "The Sopranos" came from a co-worker.

Tony's dead. (Creator/executive producer David) Chase didn't fade to black. The series ended with an immediate cut.

Tony is the one character who was never absent from a single episode. He's the heartbeat of the show. With him gone, so ends the series. Abruptly.

I like that a whole lot more than my interpretation, which is that Chase couldn't wrap everything up, because he's looking at making a "Sopranos" movie.

Or that Chase knew that he needed to end the show with a surprise, and that the surprise was that, after manipulating viewers into believing something would happen, nothing did.

Ah, well. I still believe he was in the impossible position of trying to live up to ridiculously high expectations.

I tried to take the advice I doled out in Saturday's column — try to hold down your expectations. It's always better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.

I wasn't expecting a whole lot ... and I still ended up feeling at least a bit disappointed.

HOW LONG SHOULD we feel sorry for Isaiah Washington, who lost his job on "Grey's Anatomy" because of his homophobia?

OK. That was more than long enough.

Without rehashing the whole thing all over again, let's imagine for a moment this situation had been reversed. Instead of Washington using the slur during a heated on-set argument with a castmate, imagine a castmate had used a racist slur aimed at Washington.

I dare say that, in that case, there would have been no argument. The offending cast member would have been out the door before he had a chance to lie about using the slur, then go into "therapy" in an attempt to make it appear that his bigotry was the result of some sort of curable disease.

On the other hand, Washington released the following statement — with no elaboration — through his publicist: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

Odd. Very odd.

As for "Grey's Anatomy," I'm sure the show will go on just fine without Washington. His character, Dr. Burke, had already exited the show, as a matter of fact. And it will be interesting to see how Cristina (Sandra Oh) deals with his departure.

QUOTABLE: "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien:

"ABC announced it's firing Isaiah Washington from 'Grey's Anatomy' for making an anti-gay slur last year on the set. A spokesperson for ABC said, 'When someone makes a slur like that, it's our policy to fire them ... eight months later."'


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com