Orphan Substitute
Season 2, Episode 11b
Orphan Substitute Titlecard
Mission GX777
Historical Figure/Event George W. Bush
Time 2002
Place Washington DC
Aired November 26, 2003
Directed by Dave Wasson
Written by Dave Wasson, Michael Karnow, and Carlos Ramos
Storyboards by Brandon Kruse
Episode guide
Floral Patton
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To see the episode's transcript, click here.


While on a mission to 2002 to stop George W. Bush from building the world's biggest ball of twine, Otto is taken back to the orphanage from which he came by Sister Thornly. Without Otto, Larry and Tuddrussel must once again try to complete a historical mission on their own, but when that fails, they scour many orphanages from the past to find a replacement boy genius.

Plot Edit

Otto and Tuddrussel play video games in the satellite living room while Larry sits behind them, thumbing through Otto's old orphanage scrapbook. Larry tries to strike up a conversation about it with Otto, who seems very bothered about it and gives short responses.

As Larry looks through the book, we see that Otto's life before being adopted was far from pleasant. Photos included in the scrapbook show him abused, bullied, and depressed. When Larry comments on a group photo of the orphans at Mount Rushmore, Otto plainly talks about how Sister Thornly forced him and the other children into traveling across the country to do hard labor for money. He mentions how they also washed the windows of the Empire State Building and cut sugarcane in the Everglades National Park. Larry coos as he sees a picture of Otto "playing with the other children". It shows him beat up and thrown into a trash by a bully, the word "Snotto" spray painted onto the wall right next to him. Otto frowns as he says how much he hated that nickname.

Otto excitedly announces that he's about to beat his own high score in his video game. As he nears the score, Tuddrussel pulls the plug on the TV, causing the screen to shut off. Otto gets very upset and calls Tuddrussel out on his immaturity. In retaliation, Tuddrussel calls him "a Snotto" and throws him into the trash.

The alarm goes off. The Time Squad finds that their mission is to seek out American president George W. Bush in the year 2002. When Tuddrussel audibly wonders who he is, Otto spitefully tells him to figure it out on his own.

At the White House, Bush's cabinet members are attempting to explain financial matters to the president. Visibly distracted, the president derails the meeting in an attempt to get his cabinet to approve a project to create a giant ball of twine. Suddenly, the Time Squad appears in the middle of the meeting, Otto and Tuddrussel apparently having argued the whole way over. Immediately, the president's secret service threatens to shoot the trio. Bush stops the men, recognizing Tuddrussel's Texas accent. He introduces himself and immediately makes friends with the officer.

Outside, a group of children struggle to load cheese onto a school bus. We see that the Time Squad has come to Washington D.C the at the same time as Otto's former caretaker, Sister Thornly. She has taken her wards on a trip to . to collect surplus government cheese. Brandishing a whip, she forces the orphans to work quickly.

Meanwhile, Bush leads the Time Squad on a tour of the War Room, which has now been converted into the Twine Room. Bush explains that he had been trying to figure out a way to keep the spirits of the American people alive, and to give them a symbol of strength and unity. Otto is very much disgusted and pleads with Bush that the American people don't need a ball of twine to have faith in their country. He tells him to give his nation courage through his own presidency. Although his speech works, Otto hurts Bush's feelings to the point where he cries and goes to his father, ex-president George H.W. Bush for comfort.

While Larry praises Otto for a job well done, Tuddrussel insults him. This is the last straw for Otto, and he walks off from them, saying "If you need me, I'll be sight seeing!". Larry attempts to chide Tuddrussel over his behavior, but soon after Otto leaves he gets another call for a mission— this time to see Christopher Columbus in 1492. Tuddrussel insists on going to the mission without Otto, much to Larry's protests.

Outside, an orphan struggles to tie the government cheese to the bus as Sister Thornly berates him. We see Otto just across the street, enjoying taking pictures of the monuments. Sister Thornly hears the "sightseeing racket" and investigates. Surprised to see it's Otto, she storms over and snatches him away as he cowers and tries to escape. She throws Otto into the bus, and he screams for help.

Meanwhile, Tuddrussel and Larry are in 1492. They're trying to help Christopher Columbus, who is now a hot dog vendor. The pair is utterly clueless on how to help Columbus. Larry demands that Tuddrussel goes back and apologizes so that they can all move on, but he refuses and suggests finding another kid, saying, "One orphan genius is as good as another."

Back at the orphanage, we see that Thornly has Otto working on the same miserable jobs he had before. Tuddrussel cycles through children he finds and drags with him, going through a math genius, a violinist prodigy, Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory, and a spelling bee champ. None of the children prove to be useful.

Otto sits sadly, peeling potatoes with bandaged hands. His old bully comes by and throws him in the trash can, callng him "Snotto". Otto sighs but perks up when he hears the sound of Tuddrussel and Larry zapping into the hallway next to him. Tuddrussel ushers the spelling bee champion away, not realizing that they had managed to zap into Otto's orphanage by accident. Otto excitedly calls out to the duo and assumes that they came back to rescue him. Tuddrussel wonders why Otto is back in the orphanage, but plays along and lifts him out of the trash can. Otto hugs him tightly and promises to "be good and let him win at video games and let him steal his dessert". He tells Tuddrussel that he never wants anyone to throw him into trash cans anymore except him.

The two share a sweet moment but it's immediately ruined as Sister Thornly calls out to Otto. She searches for him, demanding that he go out and clean the septic tank. Otto begs to get out of there, and Larry proceeds to tell him that they've been having a terrible time figuring out who Christopher Columbus was. Otto begins to explain that he was one of the first explorers to discover America, but is interrupted when the spelling bee champion comes into the room and finishes his sentence for him. He asks Tuddrussel and Larry if they're going to go time traveling again. Otto glares at a stammering Tuddrussel as Larry hurriedly zaps them away.

As the floor smolders from the blast, Sister Thornly walks into the room. She becomes confused when she sees that there's an entirely new boy in Otto's place, but she shrugs it off and takes the kid with her. Repeating Tuddrussel's own words, she concludes that "one orphan genius is as good as another."

Trivia Edit

  • When this was initially made, Dave Wasson and crew were told that this episode would never see the light of day because of 9/11 censorship. But after the show was cancelled, Cartoon Network eventually let it air with promotion after seven months of no new episodes in between April and November 2003.[citation needed]
  • This is the second appearance of Sister Thornly.
  • This is the only time that Time Squad meets with a modern era historical figure.
  • Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory makes a cameo.
  • The Spelling Bee Champ was voiced by one of the writers, Carlos Ramos.

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