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Western Animation / The Life & Times of Tim

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The Life & Times of Tim is an HBO animated comedy series, created by Steve Dildarian, about a man in his mid-20s named Tim living in New York City with his girlfriend Amy (Mary Jane Otto), who constantly finds himself in increasingly awkward situations. It was HBO's first animated original series since Todd McFarlane's Spawn, which ended in 1999. It was originally developed for FOX in 2007, but moved to HBO, where it ran for three seasons.

A Spiritual Successor, Ten Year Old Tom, was released on HBO Max in 2021.

This show provides examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Tim is regularly put down around the office by the other employees. They tend to call him "Tim the idiot". Granted, it is kind of true...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: O'Flaherty's Bar has three rules: no fighting, no cursing, no Discover Card.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Season of Death in "Unjustly Neglected Drama".
  • Beard of Sorrow: Tim, after Amy leaves him.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: In "Unjustly Neglected Drama", an actor is interrogated in an attempt to have Tim's alibi corroborated. While his reply actually applies as an answer, the fact that he is only repeating lines from a play in an increasingly hammy manner annoys both Tim and the detective.
    Chipper (Will Forte): He's not my frieeeend. He's not anything to meeeee.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Several episodes just abruptly end without any resolution, often when Tim is in the worst situation of the episode yet.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tim (obviously) and sometimes Stu and Rodney.
  • Camp Gay: The appropriately named "Gay Gary" in Tim's office.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Tim's boss is... interesting.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
    • The DJ in "Rodney's Bachelor Party".
    • "Rodney Has a Wife":
      Rodney: That slut! I am going to kill that dirty whore slut slut slut fuck slut!!
    • "Stu Is Good at Something":
      Stan: Cock, cock, cock, cock!! That cock can suck my COCK!!
      Stu: Just a note—you gotta get more creative with your swear words, Stan.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Tim: Theo said that? I tihnk you should get a second opinion.
    Boss: I did, I asked Theo twice.
  • The Comically Serious: Most of the show's humor comes from the title character's deadpan reactions to the insanity around him.
  • Compliment Backfire: Stu's pot dealer describes his play as "like an Arthur Miller play but much slower".
  • Continuity Nod: In "Rodney Has a Wife", there's a framed copy of the "Saved by the Belle" headline from "Legend of the Month".
  • Couch Gag: Starting in season 2, the opening credits sequence slightly changes to show off any guest stars or significant secondary characters.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Tim's boss, who, among other ridiculous antics, re-fashions Tim as a Latino in order to silence charges of unequal hiring practices in "Latino Tim".
  • Cringe Comedy: The Trope Codifier!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Loads.
    • Special mention to "Amy Gets Wasted":
      Tim: I'm not usually on this side of the "being mad" equation. What do I do? Hands on hips? Angry scowl? Oh, let me get my pose down. I'm gonna go with arms crossed, and uh, refusal to make eye contact.
  • Died During Productioninvoked: In-Universe: The second season finale, "Novelist", entails famous author Norman Walker dying in the middle of writing a novel.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: For every time Tim is forced into a stupid situation, there's another time where he just does not realize when to shut up.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: In "Personality Disorder", Tim claims to his boss and Marie to have Asperger's. Boss and Marie seem to consider the resulting Lack of Empathy a superpower and proceed to use him to insult others vicariously. Even when Tim's psychiatrist tells the boss that Tim was lying, Boss instead decides that Tim is a just a sociopath. Equally useful.
  • Disability Superpower: Played for dark comedy, as mentioned above. Tim's managers refer to Tim's faked autism as a "superpower" several times, because his supposed lack of social skills will mean he can insult others with impunity.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: in "Theo Strikes Back", Tim asks the wrong guy in the IT department to look at his malfunctioning laptop. Theo, said IT guy, photoshops Tim's head into several photographs of the boss and his wife in risque poses and forwards them to the whole company.
  • Double Standard: In "Legend of the Month", the male firefighters are sick and tired of female firefighters getting disproportionate glory just for actually doing their jobs while also being women.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Rodney's story about Tim's escapade at the former's bachelor party in "Rodney's Bachelor Party" turns out to be that Tim was raped behind a dumpster by a bum. Everyone in-universe treats the rape pretty seriously (although ineptly), with the exception of Marie in HR, who has the nerve to crack bum-rape jokes.
  • Downer Ending: Tim is flattened by the giant letter from OmniCorp's sign. Played for Laughs, though, since the credits roll right before the letter hits him. And technically it's a letter O, so it's possible the writers gave themselves an out in case the show was revived.
  • Driven to Suicide: The main character of Season of Death in "Unjustly Neglected Drama".
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe. Marie has a...less than compassionate sense of humor, joking about in-universe examples of rape and crippling alcoholism. Tim tends to call her on it in a uselessly meek manner.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The episode titles.
  • Exact Words: Tim would like to point out that he did go to a "black-tie function" in "Senior Prom".
  • Extreme Doormat: Tim is, among other things, coerced into taking the blame for the crap Boss's dog took on the office carpet. Not the blame for bringing a dog into the office. The blame for taking a crap on the carpet.
  • Eye Scream: Tim accidentally throws a dart into Frank's girlfriend's eye in "Insurmountable High Score".
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Debbie the prostitute is considerably unattractive and regularly tends to dress up in assless chaps and form-fitting shirts.
    • "Stu Is Good at Something" features Stu in nude briefs.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas
  • Felony Misdemeanor:
    • In "Monday Night Confession", Stu may have set a warehouse on fire, the Priest's girlfriend Tina sold all of the Priest's bibles to buy cocaine, and the Priest got a Happy-Ending Massage and ran out without paying. The only one in the group who gets any flak is Tim, who masturbated to his girlfriend and her female family members in a church bathroom after a baptism.
    • In "Tim and the Elephant", an elephant trainer claims that Tim putting his hand in an elephant's mouth to feed him is like raping him.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In "Latino Tim", there's an organization called N.A.M.B.L.A. The Newly Appointed Minority Business Leaders of America.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Tim hopes to get some in "Legend of the Month".
  • Gonk:
    • Debbie, as mentioned previously.
    • Pretty much all the cast, really. The women have bizarrely proportioned figures, the men are all excessively hairy, and everyone has a distorted face.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Tim attempts to make a hockey analogy in "Rodney Has a Wife". It involves curveballs.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The set-up to "Stu Is Good at Something" involves Stan getting banned from O'Flaherty's Bar for hitting a guy with a pool cue and braining his girlfriend with a beer bottle.
  • Halloween Episode: "Personality Disorder".
  • Hates Being Touched: Tim. Unfortunately for him, a lot of characters don't seem to realize that.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Debbie, the eponymous "Angry Unpaid Hooker" is actually not particularly angry and compliments Tim on his clothes and housekeeping.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Pretty much a given in most of the episodes, all of it centered around Tim.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Personality Order", Marie calls Tim to the boss's office over him wearing a penis costume (it's actually a hot dog) for Halloween despite wearing a very slutty nurse costume herself.
  • Identical Stranger: Tim's girlfriend Amy and Atlantic City stripper Aimee.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Several of the characters, as much as the simplistic art style can allow.
  • In-Series Nickname: People have a habit of calling Tim "Timbo".
  • Intercourse with You: The songs that play at the club in "The Comeback Sermon".
  • I Was Quite the Looker: Tim thinks this was probably the case for Amy's grandmother in "The Priest Is Drunk", since her breasts are still pretty great.
  • Jerkass:
    • Tim himself has his moments.
    • Tim's Boss.
    • Omnicorp's IT department.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: In "The Sausage Salesman", Tim and Amy cooperatively lie to her father, Dick, to spite him over all the flak he gives Tim for being unemployed. The lies lead to Dick quitting his job, nullifying his pension and leaving him with no alternatives. Tim points out that it was Amy's lie that was the tipping point in the situation, and she dejectedly admits that she "fucked up".
    Tim: I like hearing the sound of that.
  • Larynx Dissonance:
    • Debbie.
    • The transient woman who appears in "The Girl Scout Incident", who turns out to be a transvestite.
  • Lethal Chef: Tim, as shown in "Marie's Dead Husband".
  • Limited Animation: It improves in this regard slightly from the second season on, but there are almost never any transitional frames between poses and characters often stand still at length only moving their mouths.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: "Unjustly Neglected Drama" has a police detective accuse Tim of this when the latter claims a man named Chipper can corroborate Tim's alibi for a murder (the detective was eating Doritos at the time).
  • Manipulative Editing: Marie's video in "Tim, Stu and Marie". Although it really doesn't make things much worse.
  • May–December Romance: Amy's grandmother attempts to force this on Tim in "The Priest Is Drunk".
  • Mistaken for Cheating: In "The Model from Newark", Tim has to run all kinds of weird errands for the WNBA player he's working for as a personal assistant. Naturally, Amy and Stu think he's cheating.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Rodney's wife mistakes Tim for Rodney's gay boyfriend in "Rodney Has a Wife".
  • Morton's Fork: In "Tim and the Elephant", Tim is forced to choose between stabbing an elephant to make it stop loving him or to pay its trainer $90,000 to keep it. The elephant gets angry and runs off before he can choose.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: In "Rodney Has a Wife", Rodney catches his wife cheating on him with a famous hockey player and is unsure of whether to be mad or giddy about it. Later on, he gets properly angry about it but is ecstatic when it turns out that she's pregnant with the hockey player's baby.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • While pumping himself up in "London Calling", Tim accidentally puts down the restroom attendant at a high-end restaurant and forgets to tip him for the cologne, mint, and condoms Tim is forced to take. When Tim goes to the bathroom a second time and the attendant complains about the lack of a tip, Tim points out that the position of restroom attendant is incredibly inessential. The aftermath, of course, ruins Tim's good standing with the CEO of Omnicorp's main branch.
    • Comes up again in "Tim's Hair Looks Amazing", where a nearby Chinese restaurant and Tim's usual barbershop despise him for his paltry tips and habit of vocally asserting that minor jobs like cab driver and shampoo girl are not real careers.
  • No Name Given and No Last Name Given: Everyone who isn't referred to by just their first name (Such as Tim, Amy, Stu, Rodney, Marie, etc) is known only by their title (Boss, Priest, Amy's sister, etc).
    • Well we know the Boss' name is Percy Davis.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: "Amy Gets Wasted":
    Stu: Tim, where's my hot dog. What's my hot dog's name.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Tim has some trouble getting a new job because of the whole titty-fucking thing from the season 2 finale.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted in "Atlantic City" with a stripper named Aimee...who also looks a fair bit like Amy.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: "Tim and the Elephant":
    Tim: That's the angriest elephant trainer I've ever seen.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Tim is asked to finger the bum who (fake) raped him out of a Police Lineup in "Rodney's Bachelor Party". The officer gets one of the bums to get naked and pretend to rape Tim to see if it'll jog his memory.
    • In "Unjustly Neglected Drama", a cop guarding a crime scene says he won't say what happened, and then tells Tim and Stu exactly what happened. Right after that, Tim becomes a suspect for the murder for a total non-reason and the police refuse to believe his alibi (being at a play) over the actual murderer's ("I was at the laundromat. There are the quarters I didn't use").
  • Police Lineup: In "Rodney's Bachelor Party" with bums that supposedly raped Tim.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: In "Novelist", Tim has never heard of the extremely famous in-universe novelist Norman Walker.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Amy's mother, after at least tolerating Tim throughout the first season, gives us this in season 2's "Marie's Dead Husband" upon realizing that Tim threw out a housewarming present from her:
      Amy's Mom: I'm hanging up now, Tim. Thank you for calling. And for the record, I do not approve of you dating my daughter, you little fucking weasel. Give my love to Amy.
    • "Personality Disorder":
    • "Super Gay Eduardo":
      Tim: Okay, when you [Amy] say "cocksucker", I know you're mad.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Maurice the pimp in "Angry Unpaid Hooker". Tim helps the situation a bit by giving him his clothes.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The wedding in "The Priest Is Drunk" has the band playing the Hokey-Pokey. Oddly enough, the next song they play is "Disco Lady".
  • Sadist Show: The show's formula is basically "Someone suggests an activity, Tim participates, everything goes wrong out of no fault of Tim's, then Tim gets all the blame."
  • Self-Deprecation: "Tim's Beard":
    Stu: Coming to Stu for dating tips. you are in trouble, my friend.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: In "Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Gone Wild", Tim gets in a fender bender. When the paramedics arrive, he's asked if he needs to be helicopter'd to the hospital, and he says sure. Only after the helicopter lands does he realize how insanely expensive that is.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Unjustly Neglected Drama" has a guy who has some uncomfortable similarities to Patrick Bateman.
    • "The Pros and Cons of Killing Tim" has the Boss show up with an air compressor and greeting Tim as "friendo" as in No Country for Old Men.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Thoroughly averted in "Novelist". Tim takes up smoking to look cool, but the ghostwriter calls him on looking like a loser.
  • Status Quo Is God: Amy and Tim break up in the first season finale but get back together a couple episodes into season two.
  • Stepford Smiler: Amy's mother mostly seems to just want to ignore Tim's angry unpaid hooker.
  • The Stoner: Stu. He claims to have been stoned constantly for the 15 years he's been friends with Tim in "Unjustly Neglected Drama".
  • Stylistic Suck: Averted with the show itself. Steve Dildarian says he literally cannot draw better than that.
    • Season of Death, a play in "Unjustly Neglected Drama".
    • "Novelist" demonstrates that Tim has no writing chops.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
  • Tempting Fate: "Insurmountable High Score":
    Tim: Wow. I feel great, this feels like it's gonna be a happy ending.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Invoked. Tim is disappointed that the amnesia gas plotline wasn't seriously pursued in Season of Death in "Unjustly Neglected Drama".
  • A Threesome is Manly: Marie seems to think that Tim and Stu are proposing a threesome when Tim shows up at Stu and Marie's date in "Tim, Stu and Marie".
    Marie: I'm talking about the three of us having wild sex in my studio apartment with my cats and my fake plants.
    Tim: That was the...strangest sentence I've ever heard.
    Stu: The answer is yes.
  • Title Drop: Episode titles are occasionally dropped.
  • TV Telephone Etiquette: In "Tim's Hair Looks Amazing", Tim bungles a call from a prospective employer by hanging up when he thinks the conversation is over. After a pause, the caller continues speaking, not realizing that he's hung up.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Tim tends to make himself sound less painfully awkward when he recounts events.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • In "Angry Unpaid Hooker":
      Amy: Who is Maurice?
      Debbie: Well, he says he's in financial retrieval, but...that just means he's a pimp.
    • Becky always uses initials for swearwords. "You F'd my card", "A-H", "oh my G"...
    • Rodney uses "'nocs" for binoculars.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Stripper Aimee in "Atlantic City" keeps coke between her breasts. Her cellphone, too.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Boss, as revealed in "Percey Davis Boulevard".
  • Wham Episode: Amy dumps Tim in the first season finale.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Someone calls out Tim Once per Episode, whether he is actually at fault or not.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: "London Calling". Tim manages to make a good impression on the head of the entire Omnicorp company and is all set to go to a leadership course in London...and the bathroom guy ruins everything.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Extra characters are often reused. For example, Stan, one of Tim's coworkers, appears as Amy's sister's husband, despite later being revealed to have a different wife and a daughter.

I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive!