Hoping for a New Life for “Tim”

First Sarah Silverman is canceled, now “The Life & Times of Tim.” Why do we keep losing the funny losers?

By Jere Hester
|  Monday, Jun 7, 2010  |  Updated 5:29 AM CDT
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Cast Aside: Actors Who Almost Had the Part

The Life & Times of Tim/HBO

"The Life & Times of Tim" could be over.

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The title sad sack from “The Life & Times of Tim” probably would accept the news that his show has been canceled with a sigh of resignation. After all, everything he touches inevitably turns against him, despite best intentions.

Fans shouldn’t be so passive.

The disappointing news, which comes less than a month after Comedy Central scrapped “The Sarah Silverman Program,” has got us wondering: Why are we losing all the funny losers?

Both the animated Tim and the live-action Silverman shows are built around misfits who generate laughs through escalating misadventures.

But there are major differences: Tim is an awkward, malleable cubicle drone who is drawn into trouble in a bid to fit in as an adult. Silverman’s childish slacker character aggressively – often obnoxiously – tries to remake the world to fit to her warped, overgrown-juvenile persona.

Tim is the kind of guy who gets stuck minding a circus elephant while his buddy woos an animal rights activist. Silverman is the type who turns a Holocaust memorial into a spectacle out of a circus.

Both shows, which flirt with tastelessness to different degrees, are acquired tastes. But they’re hard to shake after the first uncomfortable laughs.

It often takes time for certain TV comedies – particularly those that are a little off-kilter and/or push boundaries – to catch on. A classic example is “Family Guy,” which Fox cancelled in 2001, only to see it take off in reruns.

“Tim,” which is geared toward a young crowd, probably wasn’t served well by its Friday night timeslot. Mid-way through Silverman's third and final season, Comedy Central moved the show from prime time  to midnight.

The only good news in Deadline Hollywood’s report about the demise of “Tim” is word that the show is being shopped to Comedy Central, Cartoon Network and TBS, potentially giving the cartoon life beyond two seasons and 20 episodes.

We’ve previously suggested that HBO give Silverman’s show another shot. So we’ll humbly proposal a trade of sorts: send “Tim” to Comedy Central and “Silverman” to HBO.

The winners, for once, would be the losers.

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NY City 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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