The Tick
Airdate: 12-05-01 9:30 P.M. PST

It happens to everyone, really. You become secure in a relationship, then you start to notice things. The way he clicks his spoon on his teeth when he eats, the way she laughs like a live horse in a meatgrinder, how unreasonable both of you become over it.

In a regular relationship, it's troublesome. But when the couple in question is actually a crack crime-fighting team, it can only mean trouble.

Out on their nightly patrol, The Tick and Arthur chase down your standard City thug, only to be distracted as Arthur makes a less than graceful landing. (Will there ever be budget enough for Arthur to really fly?) The thug almost gets away, only to be stopped by a sheet of flame. From behind that sheet steps Fiery Blaze, an overbearing but confident hero in orange and red. Flipping over a parapet, his sidekick Friendly Fire appears to strike a pose.

The Tick is dazzled. Arthur remains just happy to make new friends.

Only after hanging out with the confirmed single heroes Bat-Manuel and Captain Liberty does the terrific two start questioning their relationship. Have they grown too comfortable and begun making excuses for each other? Admittedly, it is disturbingly funny how easily Arthur mothers his big blue buddy. They even finish each other's sentences, but cannot decide if that's a bad thing.

Of course, all is not what it seems with the flaming team, either. Out with The Tick and Arthur, they bicker like an old married couple, with Friendly Fire seeming just a bit too friendly. When the fiery sidekick shows up at Arthur's doorstep with a suitcase, it comes as no surprise.

For fans of Bat-manuel and Captain Liberty, they get a fair amount of screen time, too. Contrasting the "safe" lifestyle of a hero team, they realize that being solo isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Liberty goes so far as to buy a dog, the closest this show will come to having Speak as part of the cast.

Focusing on the old Bruce and Dick rumors, the show has a few great comic moments. In particular, a support group of sidekicks provides an excuse to reel off a bunch of joke names that will have Rob Liefeld cursing that he hadn't thought of them first. Like the pilot's Apocalypse Cow, it may be even funnier that we don't get to see the actual heroes.

The show has not yet found its balance between domestic and workplace sitcom, but it works so far. Watch it tonight and then ignore Survivor tomorrow night at 8:30 for another new episode. The Tick is too good to let Fox kill it with a bad time-slot.


Derek McCaw





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