On June 4th, HBO announced that the network was not going to renew its uncomfortably brilliant underground comedy The Life & Times of Tim for a third season. Or, to put it harshly, Tim has been cancelled. The show, a crudely animated Curb Your Enthusiasm for twentysomethings, revolves around a gullible New York City nebbish who’s perpetually falling into awkward circumstances.
“The reality is that we’re not True Blood,” says creator, head writer, director and the voice of Tim, Steve Dildarian, referring to Alan Ball’s smash HBO vampire series. “We never were.” Instead of sexy vamps, Tim storylines have seen the show’s protagonist agreeing to take his boss’ daughter to senior prom to score a promotion and telling a woman breastfeeding her child at a cafe to cover up, which leads to friction with his girlfriend.
Though the show has a fiercely dedicated fan base — one loyal viewer recently recognized Dildarian by his voice alone on a Whole Foods check-out line — promoting it may not have been a network priority. “We have a lot of die-hard fans that said, ‘Oh, my God I didn’t even know that Season Two started already!’ That¹s a problem when your core audience isn¹t aware that you’ve come back,” Dildarian tells Rolling Stone. “Clearly we weren’t communicating with our fans.”
The Life & Times of Tim got off to a slow start, but other smash animated shows have similarly been slow out of the gate. “We’re hoping that Tim‘s suitors will take into account the show’s growing viewership from Season One to Season Two, the fervent online fan movements, as well as past animation successes like Family Guy that needed time to incubate in pop culture before it could really take off as a big time hit,” says Joe Hipps, VP of Production and Creative Affairs at MRC Television, who produces The Life & Times of Tim.
After getting off the ground, the show began featuring big-name special guests like Bob Saget, Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Jeff Garlin and Saturday Night Live‘s Will Forte and Chris Parnell. “We just started putting feelers out there and they just kept saying yes,” Dildarian says. “It was almost a joke at some point because we were like, ‘Oh my God, so and so said yes? Well, let’s just keep trying!’ “
Despite the bad news from HBO, Dildarian is hopeful Tim will live on — on another network. “There’s a big enough fan base that’s still growing, and we’ve received not just good reviews but rave reviews from prestigious publications. It just seems obvious that we’re on to something here and it has to be promoted properly and given the right home.”
Comedy Central, TBS and even Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim have all shown interest in the offbeat animated comedy. When asked what fans can do to help, Dildarian suggested hitting up the Save The Life & Times of Tim Facebook fan page made by the show’s staff, which in one week already has added over a thousand members. And of course, supporting the show on DVD and iTunes.
“Ideally, another cable channel will pick us up and we’ll just get right back into production and nothing will really change other then we’ll be on a different channel,” Dildarian says. “I can’t picture it being over, to be honest.”