Celebrating New Life for "Tim"

Saving of quirky animated show marks a victory for the losers – and for the comedy of the awkward

By Jere Hester
|  Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 PM CDT
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Good, Bad and Ugly: The Decade in Reality TV

The Life & Times of Tim/HBO

"The Life & Times of Tim" will go on.

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HBO proved this week that it's no Omnicorp, the clueless, borderline evil fictional company that employs the hapless title character of "The Life & Times of Tim."

The cable network thankfully reversed its decision to cancel the quirky animated comedy, which will return for a third season, Deadline Hollywood reported.

The saving of "Tim" marks a victory not only for fans, but a win for the losers of the world – and for the comedy of the awkward.

Tim, created and voiced by Steve Dildarian, is an uncomfortable-in-his-own-skin twentysomething office drone whose passivity, malleability and uncertainty about his place in the adult world allow him to be bullied into trouble.

He gets pressured into partying with his overbearing boss, only to face a drug test at work. He lets a firefighter pretend she rescued him – only to be branded a sexist wimp when he reveals the truth. He ends up babysitting a circus elephant when his buddy takes off with a cute animal rights activist.

You might say that Tim is the youngest generation in a triumvirate of current comedies featuring male characters who create humor of the uncomfortable via escalations of the mundane.

Louie CK, star of FX's new comedy "Louie" could be Tim in his early 40s. The bald, paunchy and divorced stand-up comic is resigned enough to his fate to all but give up (“I know too much about life to have any optimism”) but still possesses enough residual anger to declare verbal warfare on a comely heckler.

He's only 63, but the granddaddy of this style of humor is Larry David, who's been around long enough that he doesn't care about offending anyone with his outbursts of outrage over the absurdity of the ordinary (last season on HBO’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm," he literally wrestled Rosie O'Donnell for a restaurant check – and lost).

We’re still hopeful that some brave network will pick up the recently cancelled "The Sarah Silverman Program," an often hilarious, always irreverent showcase for the undisputed queen of the comedy of the awkward (are you listening HBO?).

It can take time for an audience to find certain shows, particularly ones that don’t fit familiar molds, like David's classic co-creation "Seinfeld" and two other animated comedies that rebounded from cancellation: "Family Guy" and "Futurama."

So we salute HBO for giving "Tim" another chance – which is more than he’ll ever get from Omnicorp.
 

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.


 

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