Sometimes, you tell what a character’s type is just by looking at them. Sky, with his charismatic poses and million-dollar smile, looks like the golden-hearted leader. Riven, with his hunched over, closed-up pose and sulky expression, looks like the rebel. Helia, especially in his season two art, looks like the gentler, more sensitive guy in the group.
Timmy’s type couldn’t be more obvious. He’s the nerd, and he hits as many stereotypes as Steve Urkel: oversized glasses, tacky clothes (in the early seasons), and a cheesy grin. (He’s handsome, but you know I’m right. 😛 ) Rainbow wasn’t trying to be different with him.
But who doesn’t love nerds? I sure do! Timmy’s a very likable character — dare I say, “adorkable” 😛 —and he and Tecna make a perfect pair. They’re practically the male and female versions of each other. (That’s true of most, if not all, of the couples, but it’s very obvious with them.)
Timmy wasn’t always just the nerd, though. Like Tecna was for the Winx Club, he used to be the Specialists’ tactician. His friends respected him because of this role. In fact, in season two, when Tecna starts insulting him after he lets Icy go free in Red Fountain’s Codex room, Sky and the others come to his defense. She thinks he’s a coward and doesn’t trust his strategies anymore. They know him better, and they believe in him. (This was a rare time where I didn’t like Tecna. She had more of an attitude and a temper in the early days than she does now.)
To be honest, I think Timmy has a lot more potential than he seems to. I think he’d be a good leader for the Boys Club, maybe even better than Sky. Let me explain.
Some leaders lead by presence. Their charisma and strength attracts people to them. More wicked leaders lead by manipulation. They use intimidation and displays of power to control the masses and “prove” they deserve to be in charge. We tend to call these guys “villains” because they don’t normally care as much about their followers as they do about their ultimate goal.
Other leaders lead by intellect. They’re not always at the front of the battlefield, but they’re still calling the shots. And sometimes, they’re more powerful than their charismatic counterparts because they can see their opponents’ moves before they make them.
An example from a Japanese anime I watch is Shiroe from Log Horizon. The show’s about 30,000 players who are stuck in an MMORPG called “Elder Tales,” and Shiroe’s the master of a guild called — drumroll, please — Log Horizon. He’s socially awkward, physically weak (his class is Enchanter, which is mainly a support class), and stands in the back during a battle.
But he’s not just hiding. He monitors the stats of his party members and enemies, comes up with perfect battle formations, and tells everyone when to strike and when to fall back. The members of his guild are amazed by him, and the leaders of other guilds fear him a bit. He’s so good at reading people and using his information and wit to manipulate his opponents — and the politics of “Elder Tales” — he earns the nickname “The Villain in Glasses.” (Yep, he’s the good guy. 😛 )
By the way, Log Horizon‘s a good anime, and it’s got one of the coolest theme songs ever. Check it out! Shameless plug over. 😛
I think Timmy would be that kind of leader — not a “villain in glasses” 😛 , but someone who uses information and intellect to control the battle. He could even take advantage of other people’s opinions of him. In some ways, he shows this in “Danger in the Wildland” (ep. 2X22). The entire trap for the Trix is his idea, and he manipulates them by using their perception of him being weak. It works.
I actually feel the same way about Tecna. People gravitate toward charismatic folks like Bloom and Sky, but behind them is always a brainiac feeding them information and coming up with the plans. Think of any war, political campaign, or any social movement in history. Chances are the person associated with the movement was not the strategist who made it successful.
But that person rarely gets the credit. They’re only noticed when the leader’s unavailable or gets taken down. Then when they step up, everyone knows who the real leader is.
Unfortunately for Timmy, he’s lost even the characteristics that made him important to the group. He’s more of a comedic character now. His clumsiness and lack of confidence outweighs his brain power.
In season five, after his and Tecna’s relationship reset (I’m still bitter about that), he became the socially awkward weirdo who knows nothing about girls. This is the guy who built a sensor to find his girlfriend, even after everyone told him she was dead. What powered this sensor? His feelings for her! And it worked.
This is also the guy who couldn’t keep his hands off of her in season four. (That sounds more risqué than I meant it to.) I think they had more kissing scenes than Bloom and Sky!
And you expect me to believe they’ve never dated, they can’t even talk to each other face-to-face, and Timmy has to take dating advice from Riven?! No, Nickbow! No! Go home, you’re drunk!
Sorry about that. 😛 I’ve grown to like Timmy and Tecna, especially in the later seasons, so this sideplot really bugged me. “A Perfect Date” (ep. 5X21) was a cute episode, but dates should be routine for them by now. They’ve been an established couple since season one. This is like retconning Brandon and Stella’s relationship where King Radius decided she can’t marry a commoner, so four seasons later, they go on a secret date to a pancake joint! (Or something ridiculous like that.)
Where was I? Oh, right. Timmy as a comedic character.
“Mystery of Calavera” (ep. 6X15) really confirmed it for me. While I love the windsurfing scene — his back-and-forth banter with Nex is pretty silly — I don’t understand A) why he’d think building a raft would be a good idea, and B) why he and Tecna left their brains in season five and were suddenly on an eco-friendliness kick again. (Technically, Aisha’s Morphix boards were eco-friendly, too.) It felt out of character for both of them.
It was obviously for laughs. We all knew the raft was gonna sink. Expected punchline is expected.
Something else I don’t like is Timmy doesn’t seem to have a close friend in the Boys Club. Sky and Brandon are best friends, Riven and Nabu were best friends, Nex and Thoren are friends (they don’t seem very close, probably because Thoren’s older), and Riven and Nex have awkward rival/frenemy relationships with Sky and Roy.
That leaves Helia for Timmy, but they’ve never interacted much — at least not that I can remember. Timmy’s Winx Wikia page says they’re best friends, but I don’t know where that information came from. (It could be another fact from an old version of the website.)
Timmy, instead, seems to be the guy everyone likes, but no one’s particularly close to. Helia seems the same way, hence why they might be best friends. But his true best friend is Tecna. He himself says so in season three, among the many sweet things he confesses to activate the sensor.
Bottom line: Timmy’s a great guy, but I feel like his potential’s being wasted now. I’d like to see him and Tecna regain their status as the strategists of their groups. That’s where they really shined in the earlier seasons.
And Timmy needs a guy friend to talk to. I hope he forms a closer bond with one of the guys in a later season.
Four guys left to talk about! Next up is the trio of Aisha’s love interests (give this girl a break, Rainbow), starting with everyone’s favorite fallen hero: Nabu. Stay tuned!