"Who wrote, 'Da moon rulz, #1... On my car, with a key?!"

In what quite possibly could be the best display of cartoon writing ever seen, Aqua Teen Hunger Force has introduced the latest in nemesis technology in the form of: the Mooninites. They're square, 2-D, pissed off, emit Atari 2600 noises, and most importantly: they're from the moon. I suppose this all sounds a bit far-fetched, but if you've already accepted the plot to the show which is centered around a group of animated food products who "fight crime", the leap really isn't all that great.

The Plot:

(deep breath) So there's this evil Doctor: Dr. Weird. He likes to create odd weapons of destruction such as giant robotic rabbits. The only ones that seem fit to battle these creations are this force...this teenage force. Also: They could be said to battle hunger. Do you see where I'm going with this? This group consists of:

Each episode brings some sort of confrontation which is greated by the force with apathy, irritation and an occasional resolution.

Enter: The Mooninites

Ignignokt and Err seem to be the only Mooninites in existence. Regardless, they spend their short stay on earth talking smack about anyone/anything that is not the moon. They addict Meatwad to whiskey and cigarettes, leading up to the all out battle against Frylock. Ultimately, Ignignokt and Err resort to using their Quad Laser; they spin in midair and lock together, thus combining their fire power. Though they manage to produce a giant square of a bullet, it moves so slowly along its 2-D path that Frylock moves a step to the left, evading certain destruction. Frylock then shoots "real" lasers out of his eyes, sending the Mooninites reeling back towards the moon.

Ok, ok, so maybe it's not the traditional quality programming that we all search for, but damn if it's not funny to see a tetris looking shape with an english accent declare, "...smoke while you are doing so. Encourage him in his bad habit, that's a good smoker."

The Mooninites are Ignignot1 (ig-NIG-not), Err (pronounced "ur," not "air"), and Cliff, all hostile alien creatures from the inner core of the Moon. They have appeared in the following episodes of the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force:

  1. "Mayhem of the Mooninites"
  2. "Mooninites' Revenge"
  3. "Super Computer" (in a cameo)
  4. "The The"
  5. "The Cloning" (during the intro only)
  6. "The Last One"
  7. "Mooninites 3" (also known as "Re-Mooned")
  8. "Moon Master" (also known as "Mooninites: Final Mooning")
  9. "Deleted Scenes"

The Mooninites also appeared in a promotional video shown at the San Diego ComiCon and included as a special feature on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 1 DVD set. In the spin-off series Spacecataz, the Mooninites are pitted against their long-time rivals the Plutonians (Oglethorpe and Emory).

Ignignot and Err were the first two Mooninites to be introduced. Cliff, Ignignot's uncle, is a cyan-colored roofer who went crazy during the Lunar War and periodically receives a gigantic bill (which Ignignot thinks is a "check") from the government "for being crazy." Cliff was introduced in "Mooninites 3" which first aired on August 16, 2004. In "Moon Master," which first aired on September 19, 2004, we are introduced to the Gorgatron, a large creature who is the Mooninites' only known predator.

The Mooninites look and sound like Atari 2600 characters. Their bodies are heavily pixelated right down to their perfectly horizontal mouths and jagged diagonal outlines. As they walk, they echo the walking sound of Donkey Kong for the 2600. Their weapons make sounds from Space Invaders as they travel and from Pac-Man upon impact. According to an interview in Flak Magazine, co-creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro originally wrote that the Aqua Teen Hunger Force's house was built atop the landfill where Atari dumped millions of unsold E.T. cartridges. Ignignot and Err would have simply risen from the landfill to wreak havoc on the world. "But then it got to be such an involved story that it was hard to tell in 11 minutes," explains Maiellaro. Willis adds: "We've come to realize that if you have to tell too long of a backstory, just bring 'em in from space. Then you don't have to explain anything."

Weapons and Abilities

The Mooninites' technology is about 20 years out of date, but they gleefully inform Carl that their race is "hundreds of years beyond" that of Earthlings. The Mooninites have a few abilities that are noteworthy albeit primitive.

Ignignot and Err can spin and glow at will. This doesn't do anything productive, although it does distract Master Shake quite effectively.

Ignignot and Err claim to be able to jump very high, with Ignignot offering this flawless explanation: "The Moon has one-third less gravity than your Earth. I don't know if you can understand that, but our vertical leap is beyond all measurement." Of course, their vertical leap is well within measurement on Earth, whose gravity is roughly six times that of the Moon's. Thanks to avalyn for reminding me about this one.

Ignignot and Err claim to have excellent spelling ability. This has never been proven true.

Despite the fact that cigarettes are tiny compared to just a few of their pixels, both Ignignot and Err smoke. They encourage Meatwad to do the same in "Mayhem of the Mooninites." Their other drugs of choice are whiskey, marijuana, and nitrous oxide.

Ignignot wields "Mr. Laser," a pistol-sized blaster that fires a square yellow projectile at enemies such as Carl. The projectile moves at about a foot per second, but it can bounce off walls at an angle (like the "ball" in Breakout) to hit enemies from behind. Mr. Laser blasts cause the victim to be teleported to the Moon, where they (like all nerds) have their pants pulled down and are spanked with moon rocks.

The Quad Laser is a special weapon wielded by both Ignignot and Err at the end of "Mayhem of the Mooninites." Err "locks in" by placing his upside-down body into the Err-shaped cavity on top of Ignignot's head. The unified Mooninite pair then flips over placing Err on the bottom, draws four blasters and fires them at the same time. The resulting blast ("The bullet is enormous! There is no escaping. Jumping is useless!") is very large but moves about an inch each second.

The Quad Glacier has been fired only once on the air, at Ol' Drippy during "The Last One." Ignignot gives the command to "reunite, duplicate, and unihilate!" The Mooninites form a gigantic pistol-shaped structure out of themselves, with Err on the very bottom. The resulting bullet is several stories high but does not move a detectable distance during the five minutes we see it on screen. In order for the Quad Glacier to be effective, the victim must remain perfectly still for several hours.

The Mooninites also run a pyramid scheme in which they distribute an Atari 2600 game called "Moon Master." In this game, introduced in the episode of the same name, the player must complete three extremely easy levels to defeat the Gorgatron. The Mooninites then "recruit" the newly-crowned Moon Master (à la The Last Starfighter) and goad him/her into buying lots of crappy merchandise.

Future Plans

During "The Last One," the Plutonians revealed that they went to high school with the Mooninites. Despite the Plutonians' offer of friendship, the Mooninites openly despise Oglethorpe and Emory. "Plutonians are teh s uck,"2 says Ignignot, echoing the unofficial Adult Swim mantra "cus anime is teh s uck." This sets up a rivalry, explained by Willis and Maiellaro on the DVD commentary for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, that can only be settled on the spin-off Spacecataz.

As of April 25, 2004, Cartoon Network has not announced a pilot of Spacecataz as a stand-alone show. Spacecataz short cartoons (about 30 seconds in length) air at the start of each fourth-season episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, replacing the Dr. Weird and Steve shorts of previous seasons.

1 Some on-line sources claim Ignignockt or Ignignokt as the proper spelling, but the Season 1 DVD uses "Ignignot" in the captions.

2 The space between "s" and "uck" does not cause a change in pronunciation. The word is written that way to defeat the primitive language filters on the AdultSwim.com message boards. One poster's exhortation "cus anime is teh s uck" was shown on the air during Adult Swim one night, and has since become so popular among anime-haters that Cartoon Network now sells it on a t-shirt. See http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/shop/category/aap/shirt/SPC01ASW5012.01.html .

Sources: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&selm=1004926574.787480%40nnrp1.phx1.gblx.net&rnum=1, http://flakmag.com/features/aquateen.html

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