Wondercon Exclusive: ‘The Tick’ Interview with Ben Edlund, Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman
Good news for fans of inventive, surreal comedy: season 2 of The Tick has finally arrived on Amazon Prime. In season 1 of the superhero comedy (which premiered February 2018) a timid office temp named Arthur discovers that a great evil called The Terror controls his city. While investigating this evil, he meets a big eager superhero named Tick who very much wants to be his friend. In season 2, Arthur and Tick are now a crime fighting team and must defend the city from old and new enemies alike. As Tick exclaims in the trailer, “Miss Lint is continuing the spree of evil. (pause) It’s a spreevil!”
To celebrate season 2 of The Tick, cast and creator appeared at Wondercon in Anaheim to preview the premiere episode. Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick), Griffin Newman (Arthur Everest), and Ben Edlund (Creator/Executive Director) talked to Nerds and Beyond about the “strange” second season, and how Tick and Arthur model a unique form of male intimacy. (The interviews have been edited for clarity and length.)
Nerds and Beyond: What are you looking forward to most this season?
Edlund: This is the season that starts the myth that we’ve always had. So it’s always been the Tick and Arthur meet and then they go off to be superheroes. We had to do a season about who Arthur is, what the Tick is to Arthur. There was a little more psychological groundwork we had to do, I felt… to make it a story we cared about.
Now we’re unleashed, now they’re on the job and the city is free of The Terror and they’re able to just go to work, and other people pour into the city giving us the comedic density we’ve been working ourselves towards. I’m really excited by that…as a storyteller…I’m very excited to see how the story lands. Watching the pilot with a group of people as we just did, felt great.
Nerds and Beyond: If you could describe season 2 in one word, what would you use?
Newman: Very weird. Very very weird.
Serafinowicz: There are things on this show that I would never have imagined that I would see, much less perform.
Newman: When you have a tough day on this show it’s hard to explain. They just don’t get it. Yeah, today was tough, I spent eight hours feeding lobsters.
Serafinowicz: From my own mouth.
Newman: Right. It starts to be normal the things you do. Today was tough, the dog didn’t know his dialogue. There are some things I don’t think I can explain even after we’ve shot them.
Nerds and Beyond: What is the relationship between Tick and Arthur like this season?
Serafinowicz: It’s just like watching this friendship continue. It feels like Arthur in a way rejected Tick’s friendship for most of the first season. That was what Tick wanted more than anything, was for Arthur to be his friends. Now they are friends, and that’s all that Tick wants.
Newman: And season one was so much like the romantic comedy portion of our courtship. All the banter trying to get to the point where we realize we want to be together. And most romantic comedies end with the success that they ended up together and now they’re happy. But in real life, relationships take work whether they’re friendships or your family or lovers, they’re people that you have to put work into. That’s the dynamic in season 2; how do we keep this functional?
Serafinowicz: But they have a pretty functional relationship.
Newman: Yeah, there’s no more resistance on Arthur’s side. He has so fully accepted Tick and what Tick represents and the life he’s going to live now, that the fear of ‘I shouldn’t get involved with this guy, I shouldn’t be on the battlefield’ is gone.
Serafinowicz: It’s a successful marriage. Both think the other is pretty cool.
Newman: Ben said to me once that one of the things he’s tried to do with The Tick in every version is to put a version of male intimacy you don’t often see, where it’s not couched in any jokes, it’s not couched in any sort of machismo, and sort of detachment. That it’s a show about two people who really kind of love each other, and work well together and aren’t too cool to admit how much they mean to each other.
Serafinowicz: It’s a different machismo, that’s a really good point, there are these two guys who are really good friends, they hug each other, but like Tick is like the strongest human being on the planet.
Newman: Yeah, Arthur is the weakest (laughter) but there’s no conflict there.
Serafinowicz: The conflicts these season are about what Tick and Arthur are facing together.
Nerds and Beyond: What dimension do you believe comedy adds to superhero stories?
Edlund: It’s invaluable..it opens superheroes up to a wider audience. The challenge with superhero comedies is how to stay grounded enough so that people want to come back. Having fun with it while not throwing out the story baby with the bathwater so to speak, I think is the secret to a wider variety of people enjoying this art form.
Fans can enjoy season 2 of The Tick now streaming on Amazon Prime.