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Tick Fanfiction

The Tick Vs. The Late 70's by hujhax

[Black screen. Music. The theme-song ‘da dwee’ scatting is made to sound like a wah-pedalled guitar. Fade in on silhouetted shot of the TICK and ARTHUR, walking towards the camera in slow motion. A deep voice speaks up over music that sounds vaguely like the theme from Shaft.]

VO: Who’s the nigh-invulnerable man that’s got the City in good hands?
BACKUP SINGERS: [as TICK and ARTHUR step into the light] Tick!
VO: Darn right.

[Optical wipe to – TICK jumping across housetops, ARTHUR flying behind.]

VO: Who’s the superhero guy that jumps across the city sky? [Freeze-frame on the TICK]
SINGERS: Tick!
VO: Right on.

[Wipe to – TICK pursuing the MAD FLAMINGO down an alleyway]

VO: Who’s big and blue, an’ always lookin’ out for you and the City?
SINGERS: The Tick!
VO: Spoon.

[Cut to TICK holding the bomb on the dam from the original intro sequence]

VO: Yeah, that cat the Tick, he’s one bad super-

[The bomb explodes; in front of the fiery background, a 70’s-font, chrome-edged “The Tick” logo quickly fades in, gleams. Wipe to a TV showing the ‘Action News.’ BRIAN PINHEAD sits at the anchor desk.]

BRIAN: Our top story tonight: [Cut to a madman running through the streets waving gobs of money. Lowlife teens watch, bored. BRIAN continues as voice-over:] the City has absolutely no crime. [TV cuts to an electronics store (‘Angry Hank’s Electronics Superstore’) with its merchandise on the sidewalk and a cash box; large sign says “Take what you want -- pay by the honor system.”] The anti-crime wave has the police twiddling their thumbs, and the City is now the safest place to live, anywhere, ever. But for some, no crime spells hard times.

[TV cuts to a series of interviews. First, the two guards from “The Tick Vs. Brainchild.”]

GUARD 1: We got fired.
GUARD 2: Again.
GUARD 1: There was no crime. What could we do?
GUARD 2: But you know who I feel sorry for? The superheroes.

[TV cuts to ‘The Mighty Spork,’ a superhero with a ‘The Rake’-style spork and a blue suit with the word “Spork!” written across the chest. Caption: “The Mighty Spork – Superhero.”]

TMS: I moved here from Detroit. What was I thinking?

[Cut to a silhouetted figure who is obviously CHAIRFACE CHIPPENDALE. Caption: “‘Charlie’ – incarcerated arch-villain”]

CC: I am incredibly disappointed in my fellow criminals. They simply aren’t doing their jobs. Poor show.

[Cut to a silhouetted figure who is obviously DIE FLEDERMAUS. Caption: “‘Billy’ – superhero”]

DF: I mean, without crime, I’m just some crazy guy in a bat suit – er – hey…

[Cut to TICK sitting despondently on the couch, lit by the glow of the TV.]

DF (soft, filtered VO): Um – are you going to use that?

[Doorbell ding-dongs. In the background ARTHUR walks by with a broom, sweeping.]

ARTHUR: Are you getting that?
TICK: [“Hmph.”] Is it a villain intent on wreaking havoc on our fair city?
ARTHUR: [crossing to door] Probably not.

[Cut to ARTHUR opening the front door, revealing DOT and DINOSAUR NEIL, who are dressed in 70’s attire.]

DOT: [smiling] Arthur, you’re coming with us!
ARTHUR: You’re going to that stupid 70’s club, aren’t you. [walks away, picks up a feather duster, starts dusting.]
DOT: [following him] It’s not stupid! [Neil follows, warily.] There’s been no crime, you’ve been cooped up in here – you need to have fun.
ARTHUR: Do not!
DOT: Do too!
NEIL: [tentative] Just hit the town for one night. No big deal.
ARTHUR: I don’t want to.
DOT: Arthur, put down the feather duster.
ARTHUR: [holding it defiantly] I’ll put it down when I’m good and ready.
NEIL: The place is spotless, Arthur.
DOT: And, we know you don’t go out much.
ARTHUR: Oh, thank you, Dot.
[TICK looks out the window; quick POV shot of a woman walking diagonally through an intersection. DOT and ARTHUR continue in the background]
DOT: But you’ve got to get out of this apartment!
ARTHUR: We’re doing fine. [DOT reacts doubtfully; TICK is in the background]
TICK: Jaywalking fiend! [leaps out through the window, lands with a crash; everyone stares at the window, stunned]

[Cut to a city street. TICK has made two Tick-foot-shaped potholes in the pavement, and stands directly in the path of a frightened jaywalker.]

JAYWALKER: [screams] What… what do you want?
TICK: Ma’am, you’ve crossed paths with the shady side of the law!
JW: Here! Take my wallet!
TICK: You must understand our city’s pedestrian by-laws, because – my God, woman, the safety!
JW: What?
TICK: [shocked whisper] You walked outside the crosswalk lines!
JW: [humoring the crazy guy] Okay, fine. Won’t happen again.
TICK: Walk on, duly corrected citizen! Weave yourself into the civic fabric of a law-abiding society. [As she walks away, TICK looks a bit disappointed.]

[Cut to TICK entering the apartment. He looks sad, bored. The argument continues in the background. ]
ARTHUR: Dot, I’m not going, and you can’t make me.
DOT: But –
ARTHUR: No!
DOT: Tick! [TICK looks up warily] I know we’re not great friends.
TICK: We’re not?
DOT: But you saved Neil’s life. And there’s more to life than fighting crime.
TICK: Yeah, there’s doing crime. But nobody’s doing it lately.
NEIL: Would it help if I got some parking tickets?
TICK: Oh, Neil. It just wouldn’t be the same!
ARTHUR: What would I do at a dance club? I don’t dance.
NEIL: Hey – you never know, there might be a crime there.
TICK: [looks up; suddenly NEIL has his undivided attention] Really?
ARTHUR: Tick? Tick, he was kidding.
TICK: Crime? Really?
DOT: There’s always a chance of crime.
ARTHUR: Dot! Stop enabling him!

[Cut to NEIL driving Dot’s station wagon up to a club. The club is decked out in garish colors and psychedelic patterns. A large sign reads “The Romper Room.” TICK has a goofy grin on his face. ARTHUR, exasperated, stares out the window.]

ARTHUR: Great. [Shot of DOORMAN, floating in front of the club front door. His costume features a mask and a door insignia on his chest] It’s ‘Door-man.’ [pronounced like ‘Batman’ or ‘Spiderman,’ only with a ‘Door’]
DOT: You know that guy?

[Cut to DOORMAN, floating, arms folded, looking irritated. DIE FLEDERMAUS stands before him, pleading angrily.]

DF: Oh, come on!
DOORMAN: I’m sorry, you don’t have ‘the look.’
DF: The look? I’ve so got ‘the look!’
DOORMAN: You look like a crazy guy in a bat suit.
DF: But hey – check out the moves…. [He essays a bit of disco dancing. DOORMAN grimaces, then looks away.]

[Cut to ARTHUR, TICK, DOT, and NEIL walking up to the club. DF gets hurled to the ground nearby.]

DF: Gah!
DOORMAN: And stay out!
DF: Oh, yeah? I’m just too hot for you to handle! [DF notices them.] Tick! Arthur! Wouldn’t think
you’d waste time at a dump like this.
ARTHUR: [To DOT] See? It’s a dump.
TICK: Well, Die Fledermaus, Dot and Neil have invited us to the intrigues of a ‘nightclub.’ If you’ll excuse us, it looks like I see an old friend. [Walking on] Doorman! We meet again.
DOORMAN: [exasperated] Hmm?
TICK: [pointing to himself] It’s the Tick! Sorry about the explosions when I visited your last place, there, I…
NEIL: Um – they’re with us, Gary. [DOORMAN takes a pained look at the Tick and Arthur, motions the four of them in with a tilt of his head.]

[Cut to the four of them walking through the interior of the club. Everyone dressed in loud period costumes. DOT and NEIL are happy. TICK looks around with wonder. ARTHUR is still annoyed.]
DOT: Look! A lava lamp!
ARTHUR: Yeah. Great. I’d find it fascinating if I had the brain of a –
TICK: [Looking at lava lamp] Ung.
ARTHUR: Tick. Stop drooling.
TICK: [entranced – lava-lamp-pattern eyes] Yes, master.
ARTHUR: Oh boy.
TICK: [shaking out of it] This is amazing! [ARTHUR shrugs; TICK ignores him] We’ve been magically transported back in time! Now we can fight evil in the mid-to-late-70’s!
ARTHUR: It just looks like it’s in the 70’s – it’s just a club.
TICK: But it’s a nightclub, Arthur! It’s all seedy! Who knows what this one holds – a deranged mentalist? a part-time electrician with plans for anarchy?
ARTHUR: Nothing is going on here!

[They stop near a small stage and a DJ’s booth]

TICK: That’s just on the surface, Arthur. To the practiced eye, there’s a man concocting a cocktail of green deadliness! ARTHUR: Tick, he’s mixing a drink. There are no villains here, so don’t… do anything. [ARTHUR walks away]

[The music to I Will Survive starts up; [more] lights flash. The DJ motions to TICK from his booth.]

DJ: Nice costume! C’mon up!
TICK: [walking up, perplexed] What costume?
DJ: [Holding microphone] Let’s have a big round of applause for… [moves microphone to TICK]
TICK: Wha? – [feedback noise] Oh, ‘The Tick!’
DJ: [Taking back microphone] Yeah!
TICK: What? What do I do?
DJ: Just read off of the prompter.

[Quick shot of the prompter, which shows the lyrics with a bouncing smiley-face ball. TICK starts to sing along hesitantly]

TICK (VO, talking): At first I was afraid. I was petrified.

[Cut to the TICK, on stage, standing still carefully reading the prompter as he sings]

TICK: [melody coming into his voice] Kept thinkin’ I could never live without you by my side.

[Cut to DOT and NEIL, who notice him, smile and applaud.]

TICK [nods towards them, sings with a bit more spirit] But then I spent so many nights thinkin’ how you

[Cut to a shadowy, bulky FIGURE in a Panama hat, sitting on a barstool, suddenly noticing what’s going on on-stage.]

FIGURE: Hmm. [He gets up and walks out of frame]

TICK (VO, singing, in background): did me wrong, and I grew strong! And I learned how to get along!

[Cut to ARTHUR, disconsolately toying with a little umbrella in his drink. He looks up, surprised, as the singing continues.]

TICK (VO, singing, in background): Go on now! Walk out the door!
ARTHUR: Oh… [buries face in hand] no.

[Cut to TICK, who is now singing with gusto and dancing goof-ily]

TICK (singing – the audience is now clapping along): Just turn around now, ‘cause you’re not welcome anymore.

[Cut to the shadowy FIGURE, now walking up to the DJ booth, his face still shadowed by his hat]

TICK (VO, singing, in background): Weren’t you the one…

[The FIGURE takes off a gold medallion and tosses it. Insert of it flying through the air. Shot of it landing in a corner of the club with a clang. Shot of the DJ noticing this, and exiting the DJ booth, scratching his head.]

TICK (VO, singing, in background): … who tried to hurt me with goodbye? [The FIGURE enters the DJ booth] Did I crumble?

[Cut to the TICK on stage]

TICK (singing): Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I!

[Cut to the FIGURE, who, in the DJ booth, yanks out a coax cable. Cut to the teleprompter, which suddenly goes blank.]

TICK (singing): I will survive! [Cut to TICK on stage, thinking fast] You know your evil ways aren’t gonna get through this alive! Beneath a superhero’s gaze, you’d better stop your evil ways, [Cut to DOT and NEIL, who clap along, perplexed] and stay alive! [cut back to TICK] I will survive! Hey hey!

[Cut to the FIGURE, who unplugs a second cable. The music goes dead.]

TICK: Hey! [Crowd makes complaining noises.] Who stopped the music?

[Cut to DOT and NEIL walking up to where ARTHUR sits. The shadowy FIGURE is getting out of the DJ’s booth in the background]

DOT: Arthur? Do you know who that guy is?
ARTHUR: Tick! [he gets up and walks towards where the FIGURE is headed] Stop!

[Cut to TICK leaving the stage and standing in the way of the FIGURE; ARTHUR stands to the side. We can see the FIGURE is a large man wearing a Panama hat and aviator’s glasses]

ARTHUR: Tick, uh… is there a problem?
TICK: [pointing at FIGURE] This mystery man stopped everybody from getting their groove on! [turning to FIGURE]
[Character’s theme music plays as he takes off the hat and glasses, revealing himself to be…]
TICK: Hey!
ARTHUR: [pointing] It’s Taft! [Background singers: “Taft!”]
TICK: Say, uh, Taft, you’re not going to dress like my mother and try to beat me, are you?
ARTHUR: What?!
TICK: Therapy, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Wow. He must have been one bad mother –
TAFT: Shut yo’ mouth!
ARTHUR: [scared] O-o-okay.
TAFT: And keep cool.
TICK: What’s going on?
TAFT: There’s a criminal here at the club, and I don’t want superheroes here drawing attention to themselves.
ARTHUR: You fight crime? I thought you were a psychotherapist’s assistant.
TAFT: I’m also a private detective. And this is my gig, dig?
TICK: Oh I dig.
ARTHUR: Yes. We both dig.
TAFT: [sarcastic] Uh-huh.
ARTHUR: Who’s the criminal?
TAFT: Somebody who wants to destroy the city.
TICK: [“yes!”] A super-villain!
TAFT: So promise me you’ll stay quiet [TICK covers his mouth] – and stay out of my way.
ARTHUR: Okay. [TAFT walks away]
TICK: Oh, curséd fate! A villain is in the building, and we promised Taft we wouldn’t do anything about it!
ARTHUR: Well, we didn’t say that.
TICK: I didn’t?
ARTHUR: We just have to stay quiet and stay out of his way. That doesn’t mean we have to sit around here doing nothing.
TICK: I dunno…
ARTHUR: It’ll be fine. We’ll split up, and we’ll get to the bottom of what’s going on.
TICK: I feel just like Sam Spade! [Excited] I’ll go this way…

[With exaggerated caution, TICK sneaks along the wall. ARTHUR casually goes the opposite way. Cut to TICK sneaking up to the bar, eyeing the BARTENDER distrustfully. BARTENDER looks back, bored, cleaning a glass. DOT and NEIL sit beside him. Cut to ARTHUR casually walking past a door marked ‘Employees Only.’ He passes it, and it opens behind him, and a SAILOR and CONSTRUCTION WORKER emerge. They grab Arthur and drag him back through the door.]

ARTHUR: Tick! Dot!

[Shot of the club. Loud music. Everyone dancing. Arthur’s voice is only barely audible.]

ARTHUR: Somebody!!

[Cut back to Arthur being dragged through the doorway. The door slams shut.] Help!

[A MAN IN LEATHER and a NATIVE AMERICAN walk up to the door. The MAN IN LEATHER locks it. They stand in front of the door, arms folded, with a bit of menacing music in the background.]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[TICK sits at the bar with DOT and NEIL.]
DOT: I dunno, Tick.
NEIL: This doesn’t seem like the place for a supervillain.
TICK: Did you hear that?
NEIL: What?
TICK: Arthur’s in trouble!
NEIL: What?
TICK: [looking around, worried] Where is he?
DOT: [stands up; while looking around, points] He was over there. [TICK heads through the crowd.]
TICK: Excuse me. Pardon me. Excuse me.

[He runs into the NATIVE AMERICAN.]

NATIVE AMERICAN: Stop right there, friend. This is for employees only.
MAN IN LEATHER: Yeah. Get back down to Groovetown.
TICK: Step aside, noble Native American friend. Man in leather, you face a disco inferno of justice! [finger pointed skyward; disco ball in the background] SPOOOOON!!!

[Cut to ARTHUR being shoved into a dark room. The SAILOR and CONSTRUCTION WORKER are silhouetted in the door behind him for a split second, then the door slams shut.]

ARTHUR: Hello? Anybody? [quiet] Um…help?

[Suddenly the room is filled with a bright, strange light. ARTHUR turns around, faces the camera.]

ARTHUR: Oh that’s not good.

[Cut to TAFT, watching the TICK]

TICK: Unblock that door in the name of justice!
MAN IN LEATHER: It’s employees only!
TICK: But my sidekick’s back there! [big, theatrical accusation] What have you done with Arthur?!

[TAFT quickly walks up]

TAFT: There’s not really any problem here. Right, Tick?
TICK: But – I – oh, man!
TAFT: [significantly] We’ll just be quiet.
MAN IN LEATHER: All right. Move along, now, before – [suddenly TAFT knocks the MAN IN
LEATHER out cold with a single punch to the face, accompanied by ‘Taft’ theme music.]
TAFT: I didn’t say anything about not knocking you out. [Background singers: “Taft!”]
TICK: Wow!
TAFT: You go do what you gotta do. I’ll take care of things here. [TICK opens up the door]
TICK: Arthur! [running inside] Hang in there!

[Cut to ARTHUR, sitting transfixed, staring at the light. Reverse shot shows a wall composed of a million lava lamps. Shot of ARTHUR, his eyes filled with lava-lamp shapes, spellbound by the lamps. The scene begins to swirl and fade to….]

[Shot of ARTHUR sitting in a Mexican restaurant]

ARTHUR: Uh… [looks over the menu] Do you have fresh guacamole?

[Shot of the waiter. It is a large capybara named SPEAK. He talks with a faint upper-class-British accent.]

SPEAK: Of course, sir. Our guacamole is made fresh daily.
ARTHUR: Oh, good.

[cut to the TICK running down a hallway]

TICK: Arthur!

[cut to TAFT, now dressed in the man in leather’s costume, manning the door. The NATIVE AMERICAN walks up to him.]

NATIVE AMERICAN: Did you have any problems with that big blue goon?
TAFT: [shaking head] Mm-mmm.

[cut to the imaginary Mexican restaurant; SPEAK is standing on a small stage, holding a trumpet. A bassist and pianist play behind him. Everything in the restaurant sways faintly with the music]

SPEAK: [singing] Un blues calibre douze Est braqué dans mes reins Dans le banlieue de Toulouse Où j'attends mon destin. [Music finishes with a slow wave of cymbals. Applause.] And now it is time for posthypnotic suggestion. There is a suitcase here that you must take home.
ARTHUR: [entranced] Okay.

[Cut to TICK, rounding a hallway and seeing….]

TICK: Arthur!

[ARTHUR stands insensate, with little lava-lamp shapes in his eyes. He is holding a small metal briefcase.]

TICK: Arthur? [shakes him slightly] Arthur! Talk to me!
ARTHUR: Er – wha? Aah!
TICK: You’re all right! There’s something really strange going on here. There was a man in leather and this mean Indian and… say, chum, where’d you get the briefcase?
ARTHUR: I dunno. I just know that if I put it down my eyes will start bleeding and my brains will explode.
TICK: Ooh! One of those briefcases!

[Sounds of someone making a loud speech in the distance.] TICK: Now, how do we get out of this villainous maze?
ARTHUR: [Puts hand to his ear] There’s voices that way!

[They walk around another corner and find themselves in a massive underground hall. CAPTAIN FUNK stands at a podium, addressing a crowd of arch-criminals.]

TICK & ARTHUR: Wow….
CAPTAIN FUNK: … these people are too unfunky to live! [crowd cheers] We will destroy the cit-tay, and it will not be pret-tay! [crowd cheers] And at last the Funksday Device is ready! They will get down with it, whether they like it or not! And it will start with those classless goons, the Tick and Arthur! [huge cheer]
TICK: Spoo— [ARTHUR puts a hand over his mouth.]
ARTHUR: Tick!
TICK: But – Arthur! [Pointing] E-vil!
ARTHUR: We promised Taft!
TICK: [holding himself back] Gah!
CF: The only cat groovy enough to catch on to our plan is in my club as we speak! [Projection-display shows TAFT, dressed as the man in leather, standing by the employee entrance.]
TICK: Taft!
CF: Taft! Now, watch, as he is eliminated.
TICK: They’re gonna…
ARTHUR: … ‘eliminate’ Taft?
TICK: We gotta help him! [They run out of the hallway, through the compound. Inset of a laser-beam detector that they trip. Alarms start going off – cheesy multicolored rotating lights, with a deep VO saying “Intruder Alert. Mmm-hmm.”]

[DOT and NEIL at the bar.]
DOT: I hope he’s all right.
[Alarm starts going off.]
BARTENDER: All right everyone, that’s a… uh… fire alarm! Everyone clear the club! [screams of “fire?!” – pandemonium breaks out]

[Shot of a police car pulling to a stop in front of the club.]

POLICE #1: [VO] Hey – looks like something’s going on there.

[A roomful of bored police officers. One of them is balancing an egg on a table.]

POLICE #2: See? You can stand it on end. [POLICE #2 smiles as another officer reaches for his wallet]
POLICE #3: [entering] Bob says there’s something going on at the Romper Room! Could be a real crime!

[Shouts and hollers as the room clears out.]

[TAFT waits by the door, checks his watch. Someone taps him on the shoulder. He turns around to see the
NATIVE AMERICAN, the CONSTRUCTION WORKER, and the SAILOR, armed with menacing weapons.]

SAILOR: Looks like somebody’s been sticking his nose where it don’t belong.

[Someone taps the SAILOR on the shoulder. He turns around, and sees…]

TICK: Ahem. Spoon.
POLICE #1: [VO] All right! [everyone turns around] Everybody out!
SAILOR: Yeah, not until I’m finished with – [he turns around; TAFT isn’t there any more] – hey! Where’d he go?

[Cut to later on, out in front of the club. There are about fifty police cars there, lights flashing, with more arriving. TICK, ARTHUR, and DOT are standing around waiting.]

TICK: Chalk up another evening gone curiously awry!
DOT: [glaring at ARTHUR] Hmm. [looks off in the distance; waves] Over here, Neil! [She walks away]
ARTHUR: [To TICK – softly] That Funksday Device sounds like it will destroy the entire city! We’ve gotta find Taft!
TICK: But where?
ARTHUR: Well, we know where his day job is… [NEIL pulls up in the car]
TICK: Oh, no. [dramatic music] No! [rotating crane shot of TICK bellowing at the heavens, with melodramatic, cliffhanger music.] NO!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Shot of THE EVIL MIDNIGHT BOMBER WHAT BOMBS AT MIDNIGHT (EMB) raving.]

EMB: That’s what I say, baby! Down with the man! Boom, baby, boo – [at this point he is knocked out of frame by a large cartoonish bomb with arms and legs] No! The bomb goes, boom, baby! Bad is good!

[Cut to CAPTAIN SANITY, a disembodied head floating in what looks like a water cooler, watching and taking notes.]
SANITY: No, Harvey. Sometimes bad is bad!

[Cut back to EMB, struggling back upright]
EMB: There is no ‘Harvey!’ I am the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bo – oof! [he gets knocked down again]
SANITY: Hmm. Bomb treatment showing potential.

[Ext shot of “Captain Sanity’s Superhero Sanitarium”; sign out front reads “Electro-Shock – 2 for 1 Sale!”; Dot’s station wagon is parked outside.]

ARTHUR: [VO] What’s the big deal?

[Cut to TICK and ARTHUR walking down a hallway in the sanitarium. They pass mock-‘Successory’ posters, with peaceful nature photographs, accompanied by captions like “Paranoia: If they were out to get you, they’d have gotten you a long time ago,” and “Guilt: Remember – you can always blame it on the other guy.”]

TICK: Well, the thing with therapy… er, I mean –
ARTHUR: You said he works here, so –
TICK: He does, but…
ARTHUR: Tick, are you afraid of Sanity?
TICK: Not scared, but he is kind of… creepy. [As TICK says this, they reach the door marked “Sanity – Therapy Room.”]
ARTHUR: [entering] Oh, he can’t be that bad….
SANITY: [peevish] May I help you?
TICK: I, uh…
ARTHUR: Ew….
TICK: Um…
ARTHUR: We’ve got to talk to Taft!
SANITY: I’m sorry, you can’t do that. We’re in the middle of [in the background the large bomb takes a flying leap at EMB, knocking him again to the ground] some rather delicate therapy right now.
TICK: But the City is at stake! If we can’t talk to Taft, it might be destroyed!
SANITY: Hmm, so only you and Taft can save the entire city?
TICK: We stand between this City and total destruction!
SANITY: [taking notes] “Clearly delusional…”
TICK: What?
SANITY: You still have issues; remember, you can’t argue with sanity.
TICK: But I’m saner than ten sane men!
ARTHUR: Look, we just need to talk to Taft for five minutes.

[The ‘Taft’ background music plays. The man in the bomb suit removes the headpiece of the costume, revealing himself to be…]

TAFT: Somebody asking for me?
ARTHUR: Hey!
TICK: [points] It’s Taft!
BACKGROUND SINGERS: [VO] Taft!
EMB: [in background, breathless] Baby… [collapses; background music finishes]

[TICK, ARTHUR, and TAFT sit at an outdoor table by a hamburger stand. It’s out in the country, like the Sanitarium. Dot’s car is parked nearby. Some other, less intrusive 70’s-style ‘Taft’ theme plays in the background. Cut to closer shot of the three of them.]

TAFT: I’ve only got twenty minutes for lunch before Harvey’s tranquilizers wear off.
TICK: If the clock’s ticking, we’ll make it quick, since a private dick can’t afford to waste any time. We’ve got the lowdown on the criminal mastermind behind the Romper Room.
TAFT: [Puts some ketchup on his burger; backup singers: “Puttin’ on ketchup!”] I told you: stay out of my way.
ARTHUR: We saw the guy – he was giving a speech; he had sunglasses, and a big, shiny suit, and –
TAFT: Captain Funk.
TICK: [“wow!”] ‘Captain Funk!’
ARTHUR: He said he had something called… the ‘Funksday Device.’ [TAFT is visibly shaken]
TICK: Is that bad?
TAFT: [nods] My day job is going to keep me from doing anything.
TICK: Never fear, citizen! We’ll track down the –
TAFT: [raising a hand to stop him] I have people who can take care of this.
ARTHUR: People? What people?
TAFT: Top people.

[ext shot of the Sanitarium. Dot’s car drives away. Cut to TAFT, watching the car depart and producing a cell phone. Cut to three glamorous women (CANDY, TRUDI, MINDY) in a room with a speakerphone. Cheesy glam music plays in bkd. One of them answers the speakerphone.]

TRUDI: Hello?
TAFT: [VO, filtered] It’s Taft.
ALL THREE: Hi, Taftie!
TAFT: We’ve got a problem.
CANDY: Awww, a problem?
TAFT: With Captain Funk.
MINDY: Oooh. He’s mean.
TAFT: He’s got something called the Funksday Device. Figure out what it is, and where it is, and how he plans to use it.
ALL THREE: Okay!
TRUDI: I’m gonna need hairspray!
MINDY: And little spangly bracelets!
CANDY: Yeah!
TRUDI: And of course, we’ve got to get our hair and nails done before we can go anywhere –
TAFT: Get whatever you need; but get into that club!
MINDY: Okay Taftie!
TAFT: And the name is Taft! [background singers: “Taft!”]

[Cut to AMERICAN MAID (AM), who is visibly annoyed.]

AM: What?!

[Two-shot shows DOORMAN floating placidly in front of AM, arms folded.]

DOORMAN: Sorry, new club policy. No superheroes allowed.
AM: But you’re a superhero!
DOORMAN: Sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.
AM: What kind of quisling are you?
DOORMAN: Don’t make me call the authorities.
AM: Fine. [she walks away]

[Walking bass line plays over ext shot of the roof of the club, late afternoon/early evening. AM hoists herself up on to the roof, then makes her way down an air vent.]

[Pizzicato ‘sneaky’ music plays over int shot of a catwalk near the ceiling of the club. AM drops silently on to it, and walks carefully along it, coming up to a large picture window. AM notices the window, freezes next to it, makes to carefully sneak under it.

Meanwhile, we notice that there is a zip wire attached to a point just above the window, and that CANDY, MINDY, and TRUDI are hanging on to a handle and sliding towards the window at great speed. Shot along the catwalk of the three of them bursting through the window as AM looks on, alarmed. Cheesy theme music plays as they pose with their weapons in completely pointless directions.]

[Cut to GOONS, shocked at what happened, but recovering. GOON #3 carries a big stick.]

GOON #1: Get them! [GOONS #2 & #3 run out of frame.]

[CANDY, MINDY, and TRUDI look back and forth (mainly to swish their hair around) for a few seconds, and then start daintily running along the catwalk, out of shot. AM looks on, shocked.]

GOON #2: ‘Ey! There’s one of’em!

[close-up of AM, looking annoyed with being “one of ‘em.” She throws a shoe off-screen.]

GOON #2: Oof!

[ext shot Arthur’s apartment building.]

TICK: (VO) I just can’t take it, Arthur!

[Int shot Arthur’s apartment. The briefcase sits beside the TV set. ARTHUR reads a magazine. TICK is visibly agonizing]

ARTHUR: This is Taft’s job.
TICK: We can’t just sit here!
ARTHUR: Taft said –
TICK: But Arthur! EVIL! A threat to The City!
ARTHUR: But how are we going to get to this guy?
TICK: I have an idea! [triumphant musical sting]
ARTHUR: Okay.
TICK: Brute force! [higher-pitched triumphant musical sting]
ARTHUR: Brute force?! That’s your big idea?
TICK: Simple, yet effective.
ARTHUR: Last time it almost got us arrested!
TICK: No need for raised voices, chum.
ARTHUR: We’ll just let Taft figure something out.
TICK: But… that’s not the Arthur I know! You’re just full of ideas and plans and stuff!
ARTHUR: Like what?
TICK: Well… we could sneak in!
ARTHUR: Then we’d have to blend in…
TICK: Yes! We’ll blend in!
ARTHUR: No we can’t! Look at how we look. Look at how we act. We can’t possibly fit in at a 70’s nightclub!
TICK: We can do it! We’ll be the swingin’-est guys the Rumpus Room has ever seen! [ARTHUR looks doubtful.]

[Cut to CANDY, MINDY, and TRUDI in a hallway in the nightclub]

CANDY: Do you see anything, Mindy?
MINDY: [looks all around] Nothing. The coast… is clear.
AM: What are you doing?
[AM was standing right next to them; they hadn’t spotted her. CANDY, MINDY, and TRUDI are all shocked, and quickly rearrange themselves into a mock-threatening tableau facing AM.]
CANDY: Who are you? We may have to [Shatner-esque beat] destroy you.
AM: I’m American Maid. I’m here to stop Captain Funk’s fiendish plan to destroy the city.
TRUDI: I’m Trudi!
MINDY: I’m Mindy!
CANDY: I’m Candy!
AM: Well I’m angry! You can’t just [imitating their moves mockingly] wiggle around while people try to beat you with sticks! [CANDY giggles] What?
CANDY: You’re funny!
AM: You’re in a lot of danger here.
MINDY: Well danger is my last name.
AM: It’s your middle name. Don’t you… fine. Just follow me and I’ll get you out of here before any of you get hurt.
CANDY: [cheerily] Okay!
GOON #1: [VO, from around a few corners] They’re over here!
AM: Quick, follow me!

[AM runs away. Cut to slow motion shot of TRUDI, MINDY, and CANDY running in slow motion along the hall, cheesy theme music in full force. Cut to AM running around a corner. TRUDI, MINDY, and CANDY follow; we see that it’s not in slow-motion – they’re just running really really slow.]

TRUDI: [sotto voce] Wow. We look so much cooler than she does.

[cut to AM running up to a locked door, getting ready to kick it.]

AM: Stand back, girls, this… [looking around; she’s lost them] girls?

[Cut back to MINDY, TRUDI, and CANDY, who are now encircled by GOONS. They all face outwards, doing faux-kung-fu moves.]

GOON #2: What do we do boss?
GOON #3: Do we hit them with sticks?
GOON #1: They’re harmless. Just chloroform them.
GOON #2: That’ll just put them to sleep!
GOON #3: [wanting to make sure everyone understands this key point] I want to hit them with sticks!
GOON #1: Put on your mask, Ned. [They put on gas masks; GOON #1 sets off a canister of chloroform.]

TRUDI: [stumbling] Oh… I feel… woozy.
MINDY: [about to pass out] Oh, this’ll mess my hair…

[AM tears into the room, immediately starts coughing, staggering back. The GOONS drag the three girls through a doorway. Dramatic music.]

CANDY: Get Taft!!! At Captain Sanity’s! [as she passes out] Please!

[The door slams shut. Medium shot of AM collapsing in the smoke.]

[Arthur’s TV set. SALLY VACUUM and BRIAN PINHEAD, as teenagers, face the camera. Video is really old, lousy quality.]

BRIAN: With these simple lessons and the magic of this new “VCR” technology, you too can learn to be super-cool!

[Cut to ARTHUR and TICK, sitting on the couch watching. TICK is enthralled. ARTHUR is bored.]

SALLY: So let’s get started!
BRIAN: First off, fellas, let’s talk about talkin’ with “the ladies.”
SALLY: Just repeat what Brian Pinhead says, guys, and you’ll be the hippest cat on the block! [Thumbs- up to the camera; cheesy wipe to next scene.]
BRIAN: ‘My, you’re looking foxy.’ [A caption at the bottom of the screen reads the same.]

[Cut to ARTHUR and TICK.]

ARTHUR and TICK: My, you’re –
SALLY: C’mon! Like you mean it!
TICK: My! You’re looking foxy!
BRIAN: ‘Hey, baby! What’s your sign?’

[Ext shot of Arthur’s apartment building.]

BRIAN: .. and remember, the key to being a happening guy in the 70’s is…
SALLY and BRIAN: Dancing!

[Dancing silhouettes in the windows of Arthur’s apartment as disco music plays. One of them stops.]
ARTHUR: (VO) This will never work.

[Cut to ext shot Captain Sanity’s Superhero Sanitarium. Small sign out front: “Superman filling you with feelings of inadequacy? Just talk to us!” Cut to a large courtyard at the Sanitarium. A few mad scientists do odd but harmless things. One runs around with a butterfly net. A man in tights up a tree shouts “Captain Ordinary to the rescue!” jumps, plummets, lands. Several superheroes act like mimes trapped in boxes. TAFT walks across the grounds, with background music. AM, holding an ice pack to her head, walks up behind him.]

AM: Excuse me? Are you Taft?
[close-up of TAFT, turning around, taking of his sunglasses, the music in full force.]
TAFT: Uh-huh. [Background singers: “Taft!”]
AM: [blinks a few times, smiles] Um… hi.
TAFT: What’s a fine, foxy lady like you doin’ ‘round here?
AM: Foxy? [regaining composure] I mean, thank you. Citizen. I need your help. A supervillain has captured three friends of yours.
TAFT: Three ladies? Big hair?
AM: Yeah, and one of them knew you.
TAFT: [sighs] They got themselves caught.
AM: Rest assured, I intend to –
TAFT: I should have let the Tick handle it. But Captain Funk would have a… violent reaction to those two.
AM: Now we need a plan to get them back!
TAFT: [nods] Come with me.

[Ext shot outside the Romper Room. Dot’s station wagon pulls up. Da-dwee scatting starts up. In slow motion, TICK and ARTHUR, in full disco-suited regalia. Music kicks in with horns as they walk up to the club. ARTHUR, looking the other way, hits something and falls down.]

ARTHUR: Owww… [We see that ARHTUR ran into TAFT]
TICK: Uh, Taft! Fancy meeting you here!
ARTHUR: [getting up] American Maid, is that you? [she’s dressed in a red white and blue 70’s costume, her hair down]
TICK: Lookin’ cool, American Maid!
AM: [uncomfortable] It’s not regulation.
ARTHUR: Well, what are you doing here?
AM: We’re taking down Captain Funk and his diabolical plan to destroy the City.
TICK: Oh.
ARTHUR: Oh.
TICK: Well, we’ll just be going. [TICK and ARTHUR start walking away. TAFT puts a hand on their shoulders, stops them.]
TAFT: Stop. [They turn around; close-up on TAFT] I shouldn’t have told you to stay out of the way. We gotta fight this together.
TICK: [tearing up] That’s so right on!
TAFT: Let’s go! [They walk towards the club front door together.]
DOORMAN: [VO] Stop!

[Cut to shot that includes the four of them looking at DOORMAN, floating imperiously before them in front of the door.]

DOORMAN: I’m sorry. The club is closed for a private party.
ARTHUR: Not again! [AM rolls her eyes; TICK moves to the front of the group]
TICK: What would your mother say? When Mrs. Doorman finds out that her superhero son is working for a villain intent on destroying the City, how will she feel then?
DOORMAN: [shedding a single tear] I’m… sorry.

[Cut to the two GUARDS from the news story, in front of the club, getting out of their car with coffee and donuts.]

GUARD #1: [watching them] What?
GUARD #2: What’s up?

[Cut to shot of DOORMAN floating aside and allowing the four crimefighters to pass.
GUARD #1: [VO] He’s just letting them in.

[Cut back]
GUARD #2: Great. There go our jobs.

[Int shot of the disco. Empty. Dark. The four walk in. The door creaks shut behind them.]

ARTHUR: Hello?
TICK: Looks like somebody cancelled the party!
TAFT: Stay quiet.

[grind of machinery]

ARTHUR: What’s that?

[shot from high up reveals a large disco ball descending into the room.]

TAFT: Whatever you do, don’t look up.

[cut back]

TICK: [looking up] Don’t look up at what?
TAFT: Tick, no!

[The disco ball lights up. A million spots of multicolored light fill the room. Cut to close up of TICK, whose eyes go funky.]
TICK: Oooh. [Insert of the glittering disco ball] Shiny…
[AM throws a shoe towards it without looking, misses.]

AM: [putting shoe back on] My aim’s no good if I can’t look at it.
ARTHUR: Tick! [To TAFT] What’ll we do? The Tick has become the mind slave of late-70’s decorations! TICK!
TAFT: He’s too mellow to hear you now.
ARTHUR: Not on my watch! Tick! Remember when they cancelled ‘Justice: American Style’ just to have a special report on the weather?
TICK: Unggg… eeeerrrrggh….
ARTHUR: Or last week, when Ben’s Diner was all out of bacon?
TICK: Well…
ARTHUR: No BLT’s at all!
TICK: That was… bad….
ARTHUR: And don’t you really, really hate how there hasn’t been a single arch-villain on the loose for three whole weeks?
TICK: [blinks repeatedly] Why, yes, Farrah, I’d – hey! Where am I?
TAFT: We’re good.

[Cut to TICK, AM and TAFT following ARTHUR down a hallway in the hidden compound; they face a fork in the road.]

AM: Where did they take you next?
ARTHUR: Then… the guy with the big nose threatened to hit me with a stick, and they threw me… [taking the left path] this way.
TAFT: How long were they pushing you around?
ARTHUR: And after that the Tick found me.
TICK: Wow! Then Captain Funk’s innermost lair must be right around that corner! [rushing off] Spoon!

[TICK exits; the other three react and follow.]

[Cut to the giant hall from earlier. We now see that the floor is made of glass tiles of various bright colors.
TICK enters, followed by the other four.]
CF: (VO) Ha! If it isn’t my main mean arch-nemesis man, Taft! And the squares without compare he dares to hang out with in my secret lair.
TICK: Wow! He’s a poet and he doesn’t even know it!
CF: Yeah, you’ve gone groovy on the smooth B, but it just ain’t enough!
AM: Tell us where the Device is, and nobody gets hurt, Funk.
CF: Oh I couldn’t let you destroy the Funksday Device. No, I think we’re gonna have to see how much funk y’all can take! [villain laugh]

[Beat-heavy music kicks in. The four turn around. Cut to the SAILOR, the CONSTRUCTION WORKER, the MAN IN LEATHER, and the NATIVE AMERICAN facing them, ready for a fight, as the floor lights up in colored patterns beneath them.]

TICK: Looks like a distinctive male cross-section of American society is looking for a fight! [cracks knuckles; he begins unconsciously moving his hips a bit with the music] It’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to pummeling evil again – whoa! [The hip-sway had gotten more pronounced, until it finished in a spontaneous spin move that landed TICK on the floor. Their adversaries advance on them in identical, synchronized moves. Close-up on TICK, who looks worried as he tries to get up, fails.]

TICK: I’m as clumsy as a newborn faun!

[Cut to TAFT and AM, who are dancing slightly]
TAFT: It’s the irresistible beat. Just go with it, Tick!
ARTHUR: But we look like dorks!
TICK: [moving incredibly clumsily] I barely watched the disco part of the video! Whaagh! [He gets grabbed by the SAILOR and the MAN IN LEATHER. One gets the head, one gets the feet. They swing him one way, snap, swing him the other way, snap, repeat. The CONSTRUCTION WORKER takes on AM and TAFT. TAFT fights valiantly. AM keeps reaching for her shoe. Moving involuntarily to the beat prevents her from doing it.]

TAFT: What are you doing?
AM: Can’t quite [grab] get my shoe [grab].

[Cut to ARTHUR, who activates his wings, but flies erratically, barely staying afloat.]

ARTHUR: I can’t fly! This is screwing up my rhythm!

[The NATIVE AMERICAN grabs his foot.]

ARTHUR: Nooo!

[Cut to the TICK. The SAILOR and the MAN IN LEATHER let him go, and spin into poses as TICK goes flying into a wall, taking out big chunks of concrete.]

TICK: Ow?

[Cut to TAFT and AM]

TAFT: You’ve got to groove down to that shoe, American Maid!
AM: But I’ll look silly!
[As TAFT pays attention to AM, the CONSTRUCTION WORKER knocks him down with a rhythmically- timed punch, and pulls out a wrench, which glimmers menacingly.]
AM: NO! [She does a very fancy move that ends with her removing her shoe, and hurls it.]

[Close-up of the CONSTRUCTION WORKER looking shocked]

[Insert of the shoe flying through the air with a whooshing sound.]

[Shot of the CONSTRUCTION WORKER getting knocked cold by the shoe and passing out]

[Shot of TAFT crossing the room, tapping on the shoulder of the NATIVE AMERICAN (who is still holding ARTHUR’s foot as he tries to fly free), knocking him out cold.]

[Shot of the MAN IN LEATHER and the SAILOR walking up to TICK, who lies in the rubble, dazed and moving slightly with the music.]

MAN IN LEATHER: Two against one looks like bad odds.

[They turn around to see TAFT, AM, and ARTHUR facing them]

AM: How about two against four?

[They quickly incapacitate the two henchmen. Cut to CAPTAIN FUNK looking at what’s going on from an observation room – he escapes through a side door]

TAFT: We’ll keep these goons from following you. You take on Captain Funk.
TICK: But… where is he, Taft?
CF: He is bringin’ the funk to you!

[Everyone reacts to his sudden appearance]

CF: Taft! How could you? [TAFT reacts with raised eyebrows.] The coolest cat in the City, and you’re trying to take me down? You want to live in a city where people dress like that? [pointing at TICK and
ARTHUR] A city that’s boring?! I don’t understand!
TICK: I think you don’t understand, captain! A plain storefront can hide a time-traveling disco! A floating head’s assistant can be a keen private eye! Villainous fiend, this city is only as boring as you make it!
CF: Join me, Taft! Join me, and together we’ll bring the City down to its no-dancin’, bad-dressin’, boy- band-listenin’ knees!
TAFT: [shaking head[ Destroying the City is not cool.
AM: Tell us where the Funksday Device is!
CF: Why not? It’s in your apartment, little rabbit guy!

[Cut to Arthur’s apartment. The suitcase, sitting on the coffee table, is now beeping and blinking. The latches pop open, one at a time.]

CF: [VO] And it should be deploying any second now!

[tense, cliffhanger music]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CF: You’re all too late for the Funksday Device! [villain laugh]
TICK: Arthur! We gotta get home before that device destroys the whole city!
TAFT: You’ll need this. [TAFT tosses car keys to ARTHUR, who catches them.]
ARTHUR: What’s this?
TAFT: [theme music starts as TAFT smirks slightly] The fastest way home.

[Cut to ext shot of a ’78 Corvette roaring down the street. Cut to int car. ARTHUR is driving and has a maniacal grin. TICK has his hands over his face, occasionally peering through his fingers, and is trying to crumple into the fetal position.]

TICK: Arthur, slow down!
ARTHUR: We gotta get there fast, and [hard turn – screech! – TICK gets plastered against the passenger door] y’know, I’m getting to like this. [horn blares]
TICK: That was a red light!
ARTHUR: Dark orange.

[Cut to ext shot of the Corvette barreling down the street]

TICK: [almost sobbing] We’re gonna die-e-e-e!

[ext shot Arthur’s apartment building. ARTHUR flits around by the window.]

TICK: Do you see it?

[shot of ARTHUR reacting to it]

ARTHUR: Oh, no.

[POV shot, through the window, of a disco ball with a blinking red LED protruding from the top emerging from the open suitcase.]

[Ext shot of ARTHUR trying to open the window.]

ARTHUR: It won’t budge!
TICK: Are you sure?
ARTHUR: [In the background, the blinking and beeping gets faster and faster until it becomes a steady
light and tone] Tick, do something! [sound & light stop. ARTHUR looks inside, flies away from the
window, down towards TICK.] It’s gonna blow!

[Shot of Arthur’s apartment. A bright flash of light, and then a cloud – maybe a mirage? – slowly emanates from the disco ball. Cut to TICK.]

TICK: Noooo! [TICK runs into the apartment building and disappears. We hear him ascend the stairs really fast.]

[Cut to Arthur’s apartment. As the cloud expands, things inside of it change. The carpet becomes a bright green shag rug. The wallpaper gains a paisley pattern. Arthur’s CDs all turn into vinyl LP’s. The TV gets rotary dials. TICK bursts through the front door.]

TICK: Huh?

[TICK looks around a bit, sees the device, leaps forward. Slow motion. TICK leaps in through the emerging shock wave, and gains an Afro, a variety of medallions, and a shiny new suit as he flies into the zone. The cloud expands faster and faster, but TICK brings his fist down on the ball, shattering it. Normal speed. ARTHUR comes in.]

ARTHUR: Tick! Is it too late?
TICK: The City… is safe.
ARTHUR: [perplexed and disgusted] What happened to my apartment?
TICK: Evil did some redecorating, and [preening a bit in his new suit] it’s time to hit the town!

[Shot of Dot’s station wagon. ARTHUR and TICK are in front. TAFT and AM, both in sunglasses, get in back. Beat.]

TAFT: Let’s go.

[ARTHUR hits the gas and the car rolls out of frame. Cut to a high, high shot looking down on the car as it drives along a highway, and slowly, slowly panning up to the City skyline as the Taft theme from the opening montage fades in.]

ARTHUR: Do we even know where we’re going?
TICK: [rising in volume and intensity throughout] Y’know, Arthur, sometimes it’s about the journey. ‘Cos when you’ve given evil a good, solid pummeling, and scared it away to its secret lairs and hideaways, the ever-vigilant can take a ride out on that big highway called Life. And it may not have any destinations or clearly marked road signs, but it’s got wondrous sights and smells along the way. So let’s hit that road and take a good whiff! Feel the funk! Hit the floor! Shake your groove thing!

[Background singers: “Taft!”]

[Fade out]

TAFT: Mm-hmm.

[music finishes.]


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© 2002 Michael Legg unless specifically noted.
All Tick images are owned by New England Comics, Fox, and Ben Edlund