The Tick
. 2001

Director: Barry Sonnefeld,
Andrew Tsao, et al

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Tick The Tick started out as a comic book, became a cartoon series, & was briefly a live-action television series. All the half-hour episodes of the live-action version were issued on a twodvd sset in 2001.

When I watched this set, I laughed & laughed. What a pity the Fox network didn't know what they had & let this ultra-charming comedy die prematurely.

The Tick is "the big blue bug of justice," a beefcake guy in blue tights & a pair of antennae on his head. He leaps from rooftop to rooftop nightly, patroling the city, & clumsily wrecking stuff as he goes.

The city is just crawling with superheroes including the horny & Hispanic Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell), sensual Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey), & of course chubby Arthur (David Burke), the Tick's roommate & super-sidekick, who wears big mothwings to fly with though he's a bit budgy & can't often get a good take-off. Additonal superheros pass through the episodes:

The TickThe Cape (William Newman) is a wasted elderly superhero who keeps the company of Lonely Panda. Tiny Man (Kevin Thompson) was rejected from membership in the Leage of Superheroes for being insufficiently tiny. Sissified Friendly Fire (Patrick Breen) is having issues with his dominant butch boyfriend/sidekick Fiery Blaze (Ron Perlman). And so on.

By & large these dorks in tights don't have any actual superpowers & it's rare even to see them fighting crime. But The Tick is the real deal, a bit slow-witted but well-meaning to the ultimate degree, & would save anyone, even fellow superheros if it comes to that, from sundry menaces, domestic crises, & what-not.

He neither acts nor feels superior to his fellow superheroes & doesn't even notice he's the only one with remarkable strength. But then, he's easily pleased & impressed, like when someone makes gravy without lumps.

Being a super hero with a sidekick is very strongly presented as a parallel to homosexual couples, even if someone like The Tick hasn't a clue what sex even is, & the love between him & Arthur is purely platonic. They're lifebonds just the same, & they all dynamic duos live together. A superhero without a sidekick is a lonesome, lonesome thing.

A lot of slapstick happens but it's the deadpan seeming reality of the characters that is its real cause for success. There've been superhero spoofs in the past, but never one as perfect as this. And The Tick is played so well by Patrick Warburton, never did I doubt that The Tick really exists & is exactly as I was seeing him.

In a typical episode, "The Funeral," a great superhero known as The Immortal is coming to visit the city & the other superheroes are beside themselves with joy. Alas, after a night of love with Captain Liberty, The Immortal is stone cold dead in the lovely Wonder Woman wannabe's bed. The Tick takes it in stride, seeing death as "a capricious dance of now-you-stop-moving-forever."

Warburton was born to play The Tick & it's too damned bad he didn't get to play him a good deal longer.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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