As "30 Rock" sails off into the sunset (holy crap, why not end the once-great "The Office" already while you're at it, NBC), network TV looks increasingly more and more lacking "appointment TV" - that star-driven, must-see show along the lines of "Friends" or "Seinfeld" or - on the drama side, "Lost" or "24". Meanwhile, cable continues to make strides with shows like "Breaking Bad", "Game of Thrones" and even "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (which isn't as good as it once was, but still manages to be funnier than most network offerings.)
Much like "Sunny", "Life and Times of Tim" was initially thought to be heading to a network (Fox), but wound up on cable, finding a home at HBO. The animated series does a fine job walking the line between the real and surreal as it follows Tim, a mild-mannered everyguy who worked for a faceless, generic mega-corporation in New York City called Omnicorp.
As the third season starts, Tim has found work being an assistant for a 7-foot tall WBA player named Tanya. Tim's ability to get pulled into awkward situations continues as Tim's gig requires him to fine clean urine. Not surprisingly, the urine finds its way full circle into Tim's life again when it turns up positive for a number of drugs.
The series could easily grow repetitive as it turns into a "pile on" as Tim falls into one amusingly lousy situation after another (after getting into an argument with a bunch of high schoolers when he tries to become a caddy again, Tim faces off against the high schoolers - even when Tim "wins", he still loses.) In another episode, Tim has to "reenact" an embarrassing animal rescue for a new reality show while his co-workers look-on. In another episode, Tim gets hooked into paying for lunch on his corporate card and runs up a massive bill for lunch - at a strip club ("Beverages are technically part of lunch.") Not surprisingly, it gets worse.
Still, creator Steve Dildarian's low-key performance as Tim and the character's ability to rise above (well, or at least muddle along) makes for a likable lead rather than a character whose humor comes out of continual humiliation and/or being crapped upon. The crude animation (little is animated - primarily mouth and arm movements, as well as some background) also manages to add a touch of personality to the series.
21 3-01 The Model From Newark/Tim's Hair Looks Amazing
22 3-02 Percey Davis Boulevard/Cool Uncle Stu Balls
23 3-03 The Caddy's Shack/The Sausage Salesman
24 3-04 Super Gay Eduardo / The Pros and Cons of Killing Tim
25 3-05 A Tale of Two Rodneys / Keith to the Rescue
26 3-06 Pudding Boy / The Celebrity Who Shall Remain Nameless
27 3-07 Strip Club Hostage Situation / Game Night
28 3-08 Action Packed Heist / Fall Foliage
29 3-09 The Well Dressed Snitch / Pray for the Jets
30 3-10 The Smug Chiropractor / Corporate Disaster
VIDEO: HBO presents the series in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is just fine, with the basic animation looking clear and clean. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: Dolby Digital 5.1, but the series is really nothing beyond dialogue-driven.
Final Thoughts: With clever situations, fine performances and an enjoyably deadpan sense of humor, "The Life and Times of Tim" is a funny little series. Unfortunately, this looks as if it's the show's final season, but for those who haven't seen the series, it's worth checking out in the DVD sets. The third season DVD set offers fine audio/video quality, but no extras.