|The Tick vs. Season One (2006)
Starring: voices of Townsend Coleman, Micky Dolenz, Rob Paulsen, Cam Clarke, Kay Lenz, Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings
Director: Art Vitello
“I am mighty. I have a glow you cannot see. I have a heart as big as the moon. As warm as bathwater. We are superheroes, men, we don't have time to be charming. The boots of evil were made for walkin'. We're watching the big picture, friend. We know the score. We are a public service, not glamour boys. Not captains of industry. Keep your vulgar moneys. We are a justice sandwich. No toppings necessary. Living rooms of America, do you catch my drift? Do you dig?" ~The Tick
Oh, we dig, baby. We dig.
Have there been any superhero parodies as across-the-board successful as “The Tick”? In all its forms – comic books, animated series, and live-action sitcom – “The Tick” managed to take aim at the entire superhero genre, occasionally getting specific with its targets (Die Fledermaus = Batman, American Maid = Wonder Woman, Bigshot = The Punisher) but generally just offering jabs at larger concepts within your favorite comic books.
The Tick is as prone to delivering offering lofty speeches filled with mixed metaphors as he is unwittingly abusing his trusty sidekick, Arthur, who wears a moth costume – complete with wings – but never ceases to be accused of sporting a bunny outfit. (To be fair, the antennae do look suspiciously like rabbit ears.) The Tick is a big believer in destiny and how it led him both to his career in crime-fighting as well as to Arthur. “That finely-shaped engine of the universe with the warm hands and the tasteful footwear, pushed Arthur, wings and all, into my path,” he has observed. “We were meant to be together, friends to the end. He has a three-pound brain, and it's all smarts.”
Evil comes in many forms, be it a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin, and the Tick’s rogues gallery is considerable. There’s Chairface Chippendale, who has a chair for a head; El Seed, who’s basically a walking sunflower; and my personal favorite, the Evil Midnight Bomber (What Bombs at Midnight), whose deranged conversation with no one in particular has to be experienced to be appreciated. (Example: “So he says to me, 'You wanna be a baaaaad guy?' And I say, ‘Yeah, baby! I wanna be bad!’ I SAYS, ‘SURF'S UP, SPACE PONIES! I'M MAKING GRAVY WITHOUT THE LUMPS!’ Aaaaaa-hahahahaha!”) Fortunately, the Tick and Arthur also have dozens of fellow superheroes…many of whom are, in fact, completely useless. There’s the Bi-Polar Bear, who’s heard to say, “This looks like a job for Bi-Polar Bear…but I just can’t seem to get out of bed this morning.” Or Captain Lemming, who leaps into action by leaping off the side of a building…and plummeting rapidly to the cement below.
By the way, the reason the set is called “The Tick vs. Season One” as opposed to “The Complete First Season” is, well, it isn’t the complete first season. It’s missing one episode: “The Tick vs. The Mole Men,” written by Christopher McCulloch, aka Jackson Publick, creator of “The Venture Brothers.” The big mystery, however, is why it’s missing. Disney’s official word on the subject is that, “due to creative considerations episode 11 is not included. However, we hope to include it in future ‘Tick’releases,” but I think we can all agree that that’s pretty much a non-answer. Some have said it was a case of disc space restrictions, that Disney wanted to keep the set down to only 2 discs but couldn’t do that if they included all 13 episodes of the season; it’s been suggested that “Mole Men” was the least funny episode of the season and therefore was the easiest to cut. Neither of these holds water, however; Disc 2 contains four episodes to Disc 1’s eight, so there’s plenty of extra room…and funny or not, diehard fans are prone to being completists, and you know they’d rather have all the episodes in one handy package. My personal favorite theory, however, is that the episode was excluded because Cindy Crawford was mocked – it features a character called Mindy Moleford – and, since she has no sense of humor, Crawford demanded that the episode be kept off the DVD release. Please, GOD, let that be true!
Some of the episodes are funnier than others, but the show’s batting average is still mighty high. “The Tick vs. the Breadmaster” and “The Tick vs. Arthur’s Bank Account” are particularly brilliant, but, really, all of them include enough laughs to make them worth watching.
In closing, I have but one final thing to say: SPOON!
If you don’t get it, you should clearly go buy “The Tick vs. Season One” immediately; if you do get it, you’ve probably already bought it.Special Features:
None. Not unless you consider the “collectable ‘The Tick’ lithograph” to be a special feature. And you really shouldn’t. I really can’t believe Ben Edlund couldn’t be brought in for audio commentary…or that some of the many high-profile fans of the show (prominent example: Joss Whedon) couldn’t find an episode to talk about. It’s pretty embarrassing, really.