RETROSPECULATIVE TV: The Tick: “The License” (Episode 4)

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Maybe it’s just the week I’m having (Spent most of the last 2 days in the hospital) or maybe it’s just that I’ve also been watching “Running Wilde,” a similarly dead-before-it-hit-the-air, which inevitably and unfairly makes me compare these 13-and-done series, but I find I’m getting bored by The Tick all over again. Seriously: despite not being SF at all, if you have the choice between watching two dead series you don’t give a crap about, go with Running Wilde. Yes, Kerri Russell is annoying and poorly written, but Fa’ad is endlessly hilarious, and there’s more gags per act than there have been in the entire live action Tick series thus far.

That said: the live action Tick is funnier than I remembered it being.

That said: This episode isn’t.

PLAY BY PLAY

Uhm…ok, it turns out you need a superhero license to be a superhero. Tick doesn’t have one, so he applies at the DMV. Turns out he doesn’t know any specific information like “Date of Birth” or his real name, or where he’s from, or anything like that.

Arthur: “Where were you before you came here?”
Tick: “Earth, I assume. Probably the land.”

Arthur gets obsessed with figuring out who Tick really is, so he puts up ‘have you seen me’ posters all over the place, and a woman shows up claiming Tick is really called “Ted Glick” and he’s her husband. Shattered by this, Arthur goes back to normal life as a non-superhero. Meanwhile, Captain Liberty tries dating a normal guy she meets at a dry cleaners, who doesn’t know she’s a super heroine. She doesn’t like to date supers ‘cuz they’ve all got super-ego issues. Batmanuel does some random unfunny thing that nobody gives a crap about and whi…oh, I remember: he hires a publicist. Man, what a waste of Nestor Carbonel!

Anyway, Cap is just about to get some when she gets mugged, and beats the crap out of the attacker, scaring her new beau. Arthur randomly decides to go back into costume, and they discover that the Tick’s wife is, in fact, a crazy lady who keeps turning up and claiming amnesiacs for some unstated purpose. They rescue him. Batmanuel suggests that Tick simply lie on his ID, which he does.

The End.

PLAY BY PLAY

Really not a lot here. The four storylines never really come together. Granted, Liz looks fine in her civilian duds, but her storyline comes to nothing. Arthur’s revulsion at Tick’s (Assumed) past is really forced, his return to the fold is entirely random, Batmanuel’s subplot is only in there to remind us he’s on the cast, and Tick is largely wasted.

Also: none of it makes much sense. I mean, there’s no *threat.* This nefarious woman who claims Tick is her husband? Why is she doing it? There’s no menace, no resolution. Is she crazy? A supervillainess? A woman who legitimately is missing a husband named Ted Glick? Probably not the latter, but they spend a lot of time setting her up, and then they just drop her/it. It’s entirely resolved by Tick leaving a room.

Tick: “Just let me pack my things. [pause] I have no things.”

Cap’s decision to go back into the closet to date normal guys completely contradicts her emphatic insistence that Arthur come OUT of the closet just last week.

This episode was intended to be #4, and it was actually shown as #4. Crazy! Of course episodes 2 and 3 were actually episodes 6 and 7, but, eh, whatever. Incidentally, Arthur mentions that he’s only been a super for “A couple of months” in this one, but in “The Terror” he’s been in the biz for exactly one year. Curiously, this is a problem that only comes about if one watches the eps in the intended order. Fox’s more-or-less random order completely undoes this problem. Serendipitous!

Once again an ep starts moments *after* the action, and then we follow Seinfeldian shenanigans about for 30 minutes. This kind of thing was insanely frustrating to me back then, and it’s still pretty frustrating now. Seriously: if I’d been interested in supers who never do anything, I’d never have stopped reading “Too Much Coffee Man.” Sheesh!

For the record: the Tick's origins are nebulous. In the comics, he's an escaped mental patient, but he *does* have superpowers. In the cartoon he's a superhero wannabee who evidently believes he's an actual tick ("I've got eight legs!" "I suck blood all the time! Wanna' see" [Picks up a straw]). In the comics it turns out he'd been married. He'd gotten drunk, gone to a costume party, fallen in love with a girl, they'd eloped. It didn't work, as he never took the costume off. She thought his name was "Nick." Neither here nor there, but it eventually came about that The Tick wasn't wearing a costume. Well, actually, he *was* wearing a costume, but when he took it off and stood there naked, his body looked exactly the same as the costume. Yeah, I don't get it either. He's like a mutant or something.

They seem to have ditched the whole "Tick is a figment of Arthur's imagination" concept by this point.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Who cares? Go watch "Running Wilde" instead. (But don't watch the episode with Andy Richter. That one is just toe-curlingly cringe-inducingly uncomfortable)

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