Originally airing on September 10th 1994, The Tick vs. The Idea Men is the premiere episode of the short lived and difficult to classify series that did not have a clear audience. Part of Fox’s Saturday Morning lineup, The Tick was an obvious superhero parody, with many jokes above the children’s audience while never quite fully measuring up for an older audience due to content restrictions. This show has a superhero named ‘Bi Polar Bear.’
This episode begins with The Tick and Author being interviewed on a sound stage about their heroic exploits, before segueing into the Tick’s Superhero Audition that sends him to The City. He rides coach, narrating his trip to the dismay of the other passengers. He soon finds Arthur, recently fired for wearing his moth costume to work. “Arthur, you’re making the other accountants nervous. We all find this kind of rampant individuality very disturbing.” His boss informs him.
The main elements of the plot follow the villains The Idea Men, who cannot be heard clearly due to their masks, a running gag throughout the episode.
Big Shot, a clear Punisher parody, also shows up, and ends up crying and hugging Author due to vaguely referenced childhood trauma. This is a great example of how the series was clearly limited in its attempts to appeal and be appropriate for a younger audience. There is much at work here. Ben Edlund even has a writing credit and most of it works pretty well. Even the material that falls flat doesn’t slow down the speed at which the writers are throwing gags at you. This is a solid beginning to a series clearly before its time.