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The Tick aired from November 2001 until January 2002 on FOX.

Played primarily for laughs ,Patrick Warburton starred as The Tick a simple-minded klutzy super-hero in a cobalt-blue muscle-laden suit complete with quivering antennae, whose commentary consisted mostly of pompous absurdities. He was incredibly noble and naive and took everything anyone said literally. Arthur ( David Burke), his sidekick, a wimpy accountant and wannabe super-hero , wore a white moth jumpsuit complete with goggles and wings. They were friendly with two other "super-heroes"-Captain Liberty(Liz Vassey), a lonely super-woman whose personal life kept getting in the way of fighting crime, and Batmanuel ( Nestor Carbonell), an ineffectual would-be ladies' man and self-promoter who always seemed to find reasons to avoid fighting crime. At night they fought crime in The City and hung out with other super-heroes at a local Chinese restaurant.

The Tick was originally a comic book created by Ron Edlund, who was an executive producer of this series. An animated version had previously aired on Fox's Saturday morning lineup from 1994 through 1997.

An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 7, 2001

Television News
Tick... Tick... Boom?
Is America ready for a sitcom about a crime-fighting critter who'd rather shoot the breeze than chase crooks? The answer to that will determine whether THE TICK takes flight or gets squashed

By Dan Snierson
The Tick
Fox, 8:30-9 p.m.
Debuts November 1

On a toasty August afternoon in southwestern Oregon, dozens of miles down a winding mountain road, well past Hellgate Canyon and Hog Creek, Patrick Warburton, 36, gazes across the Rogue River, clutching his fly-fishing rod. ''You want to do this either at the beginning of the day or the end of the day,'' says the unshaven 6'3'', 240-pound actor, who owns a home just a hop, skip, and a bungee jump from here. ''And you're supposed to do it when it's calm and shady. But here we are -- it's the middle of the day, the sun is beating down, and the wind is blowing. The odds are stacked against us. We'd be heroes if we caught a fish right now.'' He adjusts his hat and turns to his companion. ''So let's be heroes.''

Challenging the laws of Mother Nature? That's bold. Starring as a blue bug-suited crime-fighting freak in a network series to be pitted against the archest of all Nielsen enemies, Survivor? Now, that's downright lunacy. Brace yourselves, citizens of the TV universe, because a most bizarro comedy -- and one of the most intriguing gambles of the fall schedule -- is crash-landing on a tube near you. Based on Ben Edlund's satirical comic-book series and the subsequent Comedy Central cartoon, Fox's The Tick unravels the tales of a man-childish superdude who speaks in absurd metaphors (''Life is your chance, Arthur! Grab it! Squeeze the milk of life into your dirty glass and drink it warm!'') while lumbering around as protector of The City. He's aided in his mission improbable by some not-ready-for-prime-time crusaders -- nerdy accountant-turned-moth-man Arthur, neurotic single babe Captain Liberty, and seedy-suave Bat Manuel, who's got a codpiece that just won't quit. Instead of saving the world, though, these guys spend most of their time battling dating woes, job beefs, who-AM-I identity crises -- and one another. It's as if someone broke into the Hall of Justice and spiked the watercooler with idiot juice.

''There was a certain [sense of] 'Will anybody watch this? Is it too obscure?' '' admits Fox exec VP of programming David Nevins. ''But this is why they pay you -- to take big risks in comedy. Weird is sometimes good. What makes Malcolm in the Middle great, what makes The Simpsons great, and what I think The Tick shares, is specificity of weirdness.'' Or to put it even more specifically: ''We're out on a limb on this thing,'' says Edlund, who joined forces with director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Get Shorty) to adapt the show. ''I wouldn't really want to be elsewhere. Who knows what's going to happen? On one hand, this has dismal obscure failure written on it because of its bravery and oddness. On the other hand, it could be a phenomenon. Phenomena are like that. They're odd. They make a break in the consciousness of the public: 'Wow, we never thought about that.' Or we could be'' -- he clears his throat -- ''a yard-sale item in the pop-culture backyard.''

Fair to say, the transformation of The Tick into a prime-time series was not as simple as Clark Kent ducking into a phone booth and emerging as cape-flapping Superman. Former NBC exec Flody Suarez had been trying since 1996 to develop a live-action version of The Tick as a companion sitcom to 3rd Rock From the Sun. ''Every year, I got politely turned down,'' he says. ''They scratched their heads, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, '' '' When he left the network in 1999 to join Sonnenfeld's production company, they acquired the rights (which were tied up in the animated version and a proposed feature) and sold Fox on the concept. Still, complex legal issues hindered the use of certain characters from the cartoon version, so Edlund wound up having to create new ones. The network and producers also haggled over creative issues (e.g., balancing the Seinfeld-like comedy and Star Trek-like fantasy elements) and finances (the show is budgeted at $1.4 million per episode, which ranks it as one of the more costly new comedies). ''It's the hurdle of going from an animated series,'' says Nevins, ''where you can do anything and there are no limits, to a live-action show, where you have the laws of gravity and physics at work, where special effects and flying and elaborate costumes all cost money.'' Sums up Edlund: ''One of the reasons you don't see a lot of shows like The Tick on the air is because it's wicked hard [to do].... Every part of this was a war and a struggle.''

Except for the casting of Warburton as the Tick. The strapping actor -- who claimed fame with a nine-episode stint on Seinfeld as Elaine's squinty-eyed boyfriend, Puddy, and has since moved on to film (Scream 3, Men in Black 2) -- made an immediate impression when he met with the producers. ''One thing was the dent he left in the couch,'' recalls Edlund. ''He's a big, attractive man. You feel like you're hanging out with a heroic guy.... He came in and had a meeting with us and sat on a couch across from us. And then he got up and left and, oh, geez, the crater! It was great. It was kind of Tick-like.''

Eager to shed his Puddy prints, Warburton was intrigued by the outlandish opportunity. ''I don't see the two as being remotely alike -- the Tick is exuberant and easily excitable and Puddy is none of that,'' he says. ''What I liked about this show was that it was so unique and fun and satirical. And yet as bizarre as the world might look from the outside, once you get in you see that it's all very accessible.''

If a bit uncomfortable. Warburton has to squeeze into a bulky muscle suit with motorized antennae that resembles a steroidal Teletubby, though fellow cast members have yet to hear him complain. ''You see him with paddles up his butt, getting air-conditioned,'' says David Burke, whose Arthur wears a constrictive moth outfit, ''and you realize, 'It could be worse.' '' Or maybe Warburton's threshhold for pain is higher than most mere mortals'. ''We start with a couple tubes of K-Y jelly and then I slide into this rubber thing at like seven in the morning,'' he says. ''That's truly the ickiest feeling because it's cold and it's morning. When you first get into that suit, you can't help but shake. And then your body heat starts making it a little more temperate. I basically spend my days in there making my own soup out of sweat and K-Y jelly.''

Things got even stickier when the series -- which had earned solid word of mouth as a 2000-2001 midseason replacement -- was held off the schedule this spring because Fox wanted to save it for the strikes that ultimately never happened. Then instead of a nice fall Sunday time period, The Tick was slotted on Thursday opposite you-know-what. ''If you're sick of reality programming,'' cheerfully offers Liz Vassey (Captain Liberty), ''then I think that watching the big blue man is a really viable option for you.'' Nestor Carbonell (Bat Manuel) takes it a few hundred steps further: ''We're going to blow Survivor out of the water. We're going to kick their a--es. You should be asking [Survivor exec producer] Mark Burnett if he's shaking in his boots right now because we are going to kill them.'' (Yes, folks, he is kidding.)

Although Nevins insists that the network isn't expecting re-Tick-ulous ratings miracles this fall, he is finger-crossing that the series can still score with young men. ''It's total alternative programming,'' he says. ''You're looking to take a wild show that you're excited about and hope it makes a ripple out there in some fashion, with some audience, with the press. You don't have any delusions of what it's going to do in this time period, but you hope eventually it's going to make a splash.''

Speaking of which, back up in ultra-rural Oregon, salmon bounce around the water as Warburton's line floats in the current. (''The fish -- they mock us,'' he scowls.) Alas, no bounty will be netted today, but as the sun fades behind the mountains, Warburton manages to snatch a tasty morsel of victory from the jaws of defeat. ''We set out to do the impossible and it didn't happen,'' he begins, before assuming his barrel-chested superhero alter ego. ''But isn't the most important fish that you catch the fish of spirit that you share with one another? Not that bony fillet on your plate -- but the fish of satisfaction, knowing that you went out and wasted a few hours on a beautiful day. It's about catching the spirit.'' And, if he's lucky enough this fall, about 15 million viewers will buy it hook, line, and sinker.

A Review from The New York Times

TELEVISION REVIEW; In a Tight Blue Costume, A Bird, a Plane or a Guy?

Published: November 8, 2001

Who says all sitcoms look alike? One that makes its debut tonight on Fox has, for starters, a hero who's blue. And that doesn't mean melancholy.

The show, ''The Tick,'' is among the nuttier concoctions to come along in a while, so much so that you wish you had been at the pitch meeting. What, exactly, does one say to network executives to convince them that the world is ready for a show about a superheroic arachnid?

Patrick Warburton is hilarious in the title role, thanks largely to ridiculous dialogue reminiscent of a hyper Dudley Do-Right. What that tight blue tick suit is doing to his circulation, however, is a thing best not contemplated.

We first meet the Tick at the bus station where he has lived his entire superheroic life, fighting perils like a balky coffee machine. The bus station staff is eager to be rid of him and persuades him that his destiny lies in the city. Whatever city it is, it has a surprisingly large superhero population. Once the Tick gets there, he quickly hooks up with a sidekick named Arthur (David Burke, a Rick Moranis clone) and two other superheroes, Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey) and Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell). They form the core cast of this show, and it's difficult to think of an odder prime-time quartet.

The Tick is a sort of innocent among superheroes. Not until Episode 3, for instance, does he grasp the notion of death. It's not as if he has to match wits with master criminals often, though. The show, at least judging from the first three episodes, is more about the business of superheroics than it is about fighting evil.

And a deceptively complex business it is. In a marvelous second episode, for instance, we learn just how difficult life is for superhero sidekicks when Arthur falls in with some disgruntled ones. ''Superheroes -- they're all on the same power trip,'' one complains. All ends well, though, as Arthur and the Tick come away with a renewed appreciation for each other. ''Arthur,'' the Tick says to close the show. ''I think we learned tonight that nobody wears the pants in this family.'' There are, of course, nothing but tights to be seen.

The writing, comic-book choppy on the surface, is daring in a sly sort of way. Change a few words in the sidekick episode, put it on Lifetime and you have a somber movie about battered spouses. Episode 3, in which Captain Liberty accidentally kills another superhero, the Immortal, during overenthusiastic sex, calls to mind assorted real-life headlines.

But absurdity is the only real agenda here, and ''The Tick'' hits that target. Whether that is enough remains to be seen. The daffiest shows sometimes flame out early, and in its aggressive incongruity ''The Tick'' is certainly a descendant of ''Police Squad,'' an experimental classic that lasted just a few episodes.

The Tick probably realizes this. In his opening voice-over he speaks of fighting ''a never-ending battle between good and not so good.'' Television itself is such a battle, and, alas, good shows like this one don't always win.

Fox, tonight at 9
(Channel 5 in New York)

Barry Sonnenfeld, Barry Josephson, Ben Edlund, Larry Charles and David Sacks, executive producers. A production of Sonnenfeld/ Josephson Worldwide Entertainment in association with Columbia TriStar Television.

WITH: Patrick Warburton (the Tick), David Burke (Arthur), Nestor Carbonell (Batmanuel) and Liz Vassey (Captain Liberty).

To watch clips of The Tick go to

For more on The Tick go to

For a Website dedicated to The Tick go to

For an article on The Tick go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Tue November 14, 2006 � Filesize: 178.5kb � Dimensions: 630 x 400 �
Keywords: The Tick Cast


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