In the 13 years since The Tick ended its short, but glorious nine-episode run on Fox, fans have wondered when Patrick Warburton would step back into the bright blue costume he wore as the titular hero on Ben Edlund’s superhero spoof. Believe it or not, the wait is finally over… albeit in a way few would expect. See, the Tick’s return isn’t happening on television screens. Instead, Warburton is back in blue for Ted 2, Seth MacFarlane’s sequel to his hit 2012 comedy about a stoner (Mark Wahlberg) and his lifelong best buddy, a talking teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane). “I knew it was going to be fun,” Warburton tells Yahoo TV about reprising — kind of — his cult character. “Every now and then someone will come up to me and they’ll have Tick tattoos. That’s awesome to see. That show was the most fun I’ve had doing anything.”
Warburton previously appeared in the first Ted as Wahlberg’s ultra-rude co-worker, Guy, and the character reappears in Ted 2, having since acquired a steady boyfriend, Rick (Star Trek veteran Michael Dorn). During the film’s climax, which takes place at New York Comic-Con, the couple gets their cosplay on by suiting up as two instantly recognizable geek icons that Warburton and Dorn respectively originated: boisterous, nigh-invulnerable superhero the Tick and Starfleet’s most prominent Klingon officer, Worf. As Warburton explains it, the joke works on two levels: First, it’s just hilarious to see the duo clad in knock-off costumes modeled after characters they made famous. Dorn’s home-applied Worf makeup, for example, only covers about half his face, while Warburton describes his outfit as a “dime store costume version of the Tick. It’s just Lycra; the original Tick costume had [sculpted] muscles and was badass.” (Eagle-eyed fans will be able to spot other differences in Ted 2’s version of the Tick’s costume, including straighter antenna atop his cowl and a more… um, pronounced codpiece.)
What makes the sequence even funnier, though, is that Guy and Rick clearly have no idea who they’re cosplaying as. Bullies by nature, they just wanted to get dressed up and attend the NYCC in order to shove nerds around. “Guy’s too big of an a–hole to have been a fan of The Tick,” Warburton says with a laugh. “Tick fans are evolved and intellectual. He just found this costume and put it on. I imagine him saying, ‘Look at me — I’m a bug!’” To keep that characterization consistent, Warburton avoided any overt Tick-isms, like yelling the character’s famous battle cry, “Spoon!” for instance. “It felt better that Guy didn’t know who the Tick was. He and Rick were like, ‘We’re going to go to Comic-Con and f–k with people because we’re jerks.’”
While it may seem odd that Warburton’s first reappearance as the Tick is happening in Ted 2, Warburton says that it’s an appropriate vehicle for the character’s comeback. “Family Guy is on Fox, and they had an opportunity to make Ted, but they didn’t. So Seth picked the script up and took it to Universal. It’s a huge hit, so that was Fox’s loss. And Fox had The Tick, which they didn’t support. Instead, they supported reality shows like Joe Millionaire. So here we are years later and The Tick will be somewhere other than Fox.”
And he doesn’t just mean Ted 2. Last year, Amazon revealed that they had ordered a pilot for a rebooted version of The Tick with Warburton returning as the actual Tick and not a dime store imitation. (For those keeping score, that’s Warburton’s second show to find a new home via a streaming service; Hulu recently acquired the entire run of Seinfeld, which featured him in a memorable recurring role as Elaine’s on-again, off-again boyfriend David Puddy.) “We’re waiting on Amazon to greenlight Ben’s latest draft [of The Tick],” Warburton reveals. “It’s an amazing place for the show to be.” Now that news definitely has us yelling, “Spoooooon!”
Ted 2 is in theaters now. Episodes of The Tick can be purchased on Amazon and iTunes.