A New Life for “Tim”

"The Life & Times of Tim,” returning Friday, is the latest quirky comedy to come back from the dead.

HBO cancelled "The Life & Times of Tim" a year and a half ago, seemingly ending the comical life and times of the animated anti-hero, whose malleability usually spells his downfall.

But amid some very un-Tim-like pushback, HBO reversed course, leading to the show's return Friday after a too-long hiatus.

The move marks a victory for fans of the loser – and one of the latest heartening cases of a quirky comedy with a small, but devoted audience rising from the ash pile of forsaken shows.

"Tim" follows in the cartoon footsteps of "Family Guy" and "Futurama," both animated programs that made great comeback-from-cancellation journeys. Even more encouraging, the recent news of the TV return (via Netflix) – and impending movie debut – of "Arrested Development" shows even in this increasingly segmented entertainment age that fans of shows straddling cult and the mainstream are occasionally heard.

No one listen much to Tim, whose mild protestations quickly give way to acquiecing to the stronger, louder personalities that surround him – spurring turmoil at work, home and even in the refuge of his favorite bar. Over the last two seasons, we've seen him become mired in compromising situations with his boss' wife and daughter, inadvertently lead boy scouts into a life of crime and get stuck holding an elephant while playing wingman at an animal rights protest.

The twentysomething office drone is one of the funnier examples of the comedy of the awkward, territory expertly trafficked on TV by the likes of Sarah Silverman, Larry David, Louis C.K. and Ricky Gervais.

Unlike his older flesh-and-blood contemporaries, Tim generally doesn't instigate or seek conflict. He's an unconfident, more-passive-than-aggressive pawn who seems resigned to a fate of being buried under scorn as events absurdly escalate out of his control.

In the new season, Steve Dildarian’s milquetoast creation loses his job as a cubicle dweller at the ominously named Omnicorp, and gets involved in a seedy strip club, where, as a preview suggests, he's left to beg for his life. It’s unclear how Tim will muddle through his new travails, but we’re glad his show beat the odds to survive at least one more season. Check out this preview of Tim’s extended lease on life:

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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