The Aqua Teen Hunger Force airs as part of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of cartoons, aired later at night and directed at adults. Each episode is about 11 minutes and thirty seconds long, which is nice, because it means that the action isn't interupted by commercials. Perhaps the best feature of the show is its zaniness. Nearly everything that happens to the characters makes no sense, and the show is filled with hilarious dialogue. It is pretty difficult to describe just what makes the dialogue funny, but it is. This show is not for someone who is expecting Masterpiece Theatre, and anyone expecting something more than non-sensical dialogue and action is going to be disappointed.
An example of some of the zaniness--in episode two, Escape from Leprauchpolis, Meatwad makes a speech about rainbows:
You don't need a machine to make rainbows, for rainbows are made of happy thoughts, and dreams, and chocolate unicorns, and gumdrops and licorice sunsets, and fuzzy gumdrop bears, in chicken curly chocolate gumdrop land.
As he gives this insightful speech, he comes into view on roller skates (which is remarkable, considering that he's a wad of meat with no legs). Behind him is a cross-dressing leprechaun, a floating bucket of fries, and a talking milkshake. During the speech, a whale, a lobster, a giraffe, a motorcycling bear, a regular bear, a robot, and a yeti all come into the screen as pleasant music plays. Description can't quite do justice to the scene. The show is filled with these sorts of things.
As it says above, the show centers around the exploits of the crime-fighting team known as the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, comprised of Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad. But because of Shake's laziness and Meatwad's stupidity, they rarely solve any mysteries. In fact, many episodes end with little or no resolution of the mystery. Generally, if they do manage to get something done, it is because Frylock (the only one with any form of intelligence or superpower) goads them into doing so.
Each episode in seasons one through three began with a clip of Dr. Weird's castle on the south Jersey Shore (which, according to athf.com, was a scene from an episode of Johnny Quest). Dr. Weird asks Steve (his assistant) to behold what he has created, such as the rainbow machine, or an invisiblity cloak, or a massive guitar. He generally says something along the lines of:
"GENTLEMAN! BEHOLD WHAT I HAVE CREATED:
Something always goes wrong with "this thing," causing it to be unleashed on the populace. Or on Carl's car. Dr. Weird creates these devices to attack the Aqua Teens, who don't even seem to be aware that he exists (other than a picture of him with Frylock in Frylock's bedroom).
In season four, the standard Dr. Weird beginning was replaced by Spacecataz, which is sort of an Aqua Teen spin-off. It was orginally going to be a separate show, starring the Mooninites and the Plutonians, but seems to have been tacked onto the beginning of Aqua Teen. Each episode of season four will contain a small part of one episode of Spacecataz, presumably creating a whole episode by the end of the 13-episode season four. Perhaps then it will become a separate show, but very little is known at this point (5-10-04).
Beginning with Space Conflict From Beyond Pluto, a story of the genesis of the Aqua Teens was animated into the closing credits. According to ATHF.com, the creators had created this story in case anyone from the network ever asked them about the origin of the characters. Rather than make a whole episode, they decided to just place it behind the closing credits. It begins with them in ancient Egypt, with a carving of the Sphinx (apparently called Drinx by the creators) drinking a milkshake and hieroglyphics of Frylock and Meatwad. Then, inexplicably, they are with Abraham Lincoln, who launches them into space on a wooden rocket (because the FBI was coming, according to the creators). They land on the moon, where they remain until an astronaut shows up and presumably returns them to earth. According to athf.com, they were also enslaved at one point during their stay on the moon.
Another interesting aspect of the show is that there is some continuity between episodes, which is rare for a cartoon. For example, in the first episode, Rabbot, the Rabbot makes a giant hole in the lair of Dr. Weird. This same rabbit-shaped hole is present in later episodes, as well as a similar hole made in the wall of the Powerpuff Mall. Not to mention the fact that there are bunches of little things that are present in each episode that tie them to other episodes and make each episode interesting to watch again. Of course, by the same token, Carl has had his neck broken, his head turned into a connect four board, and has turned into a half-man half-snake... only to return as usual in the next episode. And his car has been destroyed in probably half of the episodes. Oh, and in Dumber Dolls (one of my personal favorites), Shake catches fire at the end. Clearly, there are limits to the continutity.
As of May of 2004, the show is now airing four times per week, and has been greenlighted for thirteen episodes in a new season four. Some of these episodes have already aired, but the bulk of season four will be shown near the end of the summer. Cartoon Network has been advertising the show fairly heavily with the slogan "whet your appetite for crazy as hell!"
- Master Shake: The "leader" of the Aqua Teens, his "power" is a loud mouth and the ability to squirt some milkshake two feet out of his straw.
- Frylock: The smartest of the Aqua Teens, he also has an actual power: the ability to shoot lightning from his eyes. The voice of reason in the group.
- Meatwad: A tragically unintelligent wad of meat. Meatwad is constantly abused by shake. His "power" is the ability to turn into either a hotdog or an igloo... but nothing else (except Wayne Gretzky, and that was one time).
- Carl: The guy who lives next door to the Aqua Teens, and also the one who hates them the most. He is generally hurt in some way by the misadventures of the trio. He has a pool that the Aqua Teens always use (hence the Aqua!). He is a dirty and perpetually single man. Probably not mentally stable
- Ignignot: The head Mooninite, Ignignot is green. Like all people from the moon, his vertical leap is beyond all comprehension, and he is an excellent speller.
- Err: The little purple loud-mouthed Mooninite.
- Escape from Leprauchpolis
- Bus of the Undead
- Mayhem of the Mooninites
- Space Conflict From Beyond Pluto
- Ol' Drippy
- Revenge of the Mooninites
- MC Pee Pants
- Dumber Days
- Love Mummy
- Dumber Dolls
- Bad Replicant
- Mail Order Bride
- Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future
- Super Birthday Snake
- Super Hero
- Super Bowl
- Super Computer
- Super Spore
- Super Sirloin
- Super Squatter
- The Meat Zone
- Super Trivia
- Universal Re-Monster
- Total Re-Carl
- Revenge of the Trees
- Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary
- The Shaving
- Kidney Car
- The Cubing
- Frat Aliens
- The Clowning
- The Dressing
- The The
- The Cloning
- The Last One
- Video Ouija
- Unremarkable Voyage
More episodes to come throughout the summer
Note: the first two episodes of season four have been great, and prove that the show still has it! See the note about about the change in the opening sequence (Dr. Weird has been eliminated!).
The theme song, as mentioned above, is done by Schoolly D, who also provides the narration and the music that goes over the closing credits (which changes between episodes). The lyrics:
My name is...
The mic rulah,
The old schoolah
You wanna trip, I'll bring it to ya
Frylock and I'm on top rock you like a cop
Meatwad you're up next with your knock-knock:
Meatwad make the money, see,
Meatwad get the honeys, G
Drivin in my car, livin' like a star
Ice on my fingers and my toes and I'm a Taurus.
Check, check it, yeah.
'Cause we are the Aqua Teens,
Make the homies say ho and all the girlies wanna scream
'Cause we are the Aqua Teens
Make the homies say ho and all the girlies wanna scream
Aqua Teen Hunger Force,
Number one in the hood, G.
In November of 2003, Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume One was released on DVD. The set has two DVDs, and comes with the first sixteen episodes (up to and including PDA). In addition, it contains some never-before-seen footage and commentaries for Rabbot (Original Cut), Space Conflict From Beyond Pluto, and Mayhem of the Mooninites. As you might guess from the list of commentaries, the DVD also contains the original version of the Rabbot episode, which was aired as an unadvertised "stealth pilot" late one night during Adult Swim. There are some differences between this version and the version that aired on TV, but both versions are included in the DVD set.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume Two is set to be released on July 20, 2004.