This show is still on the air. I almost couldn’t believe. Of the original Adult Swim shows (Sealab 2021, Space Ghost, Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman), Aqua Teen is the only one still on the air, with new episodes planned through 2014. Honestly, I jumped ship around season 7, but I have some fond memories of the earlier episodes.
The Aqua Teens are comprised of Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad, all fast food item. They live next door to Carl Brutananadilewski in the suburbs of New Jersey. Their antics are completely random, with many of the 11 minute episodes ending in one more multiple deaths and/or property destruction. The show has almost no continuity, as the following episodes have all the pieces reset with no mention of how.
The trio was created for an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast where they were mascots for “Burger Trench”, and their mission was to conquer teen hunger, hence the name. This incarnation was very different from what they ultimately became. Early episodes of the show had the premise of them being more like detectives, with Master Shake leading the group. This was quickly thrown out too, in favor of the randomness.
I do admire the freedom creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro have earned. Having written and directed every episode, they’ve made the show into one of Adult Swims most successful (hence the reason it’s still running). Now, they can do anything they want with the show, which is evident it just how random it’s become.
The first two seasons showed the laboratory of Dr. Weird, somewhere on the coast of New Jersey, with is latest experiment. It was meant to set up a threat for the episode, but quickly devolved into a gag. “My hair heater!” Season 3 showed clips from the pilot of Spacecataz, a show never picked up involving a fight between the 4-bit Mooninites and blobby Plutonians, which mostly amounted to insults and pranks. After this, cold openings were dropped.
In season 8, a lot changed on the show. By now I had stopped watching, so I don’t know much other than what I’ve read. The team moved from New Jersey to Seattle, Washington, into the exact same house. Then they move back to the same neighborhood in Seattle, New Jersey (not real). I think the most creative change came this year as well, they renamed the show. First it was Aqua Unit Patrol Squad, then Aqua Something You Know Whatever. This year it will be Aqua Tivo Avoidance Plan and Aqua TV Show Show the following year. The creators have said they will keep the gag running from now on.
I really think Willis and Maiellaro are the Trey Stone and Matt Parker of Cartoon Network. They have a long running, successful show that continues to thrive, along with the freedom to do what they want with it. ATHF is so successful it spawn a theatrical release in 2007 with Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. I think they’ve gotten better with titles since then. The same year saw a game release for the Playstation 2, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am. The game was a golf simulator with some racing sections. It received abismal scores.
The show’s had an insane amount of celebrity guest appearances. One of my favorites introduce the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, where he caused the walls in Carl’s house to bleed Elf blood, and Glen Danzig (who didn’t wear a shirt), bought the house. They’ve had David Cross, Tera Patrick, Patton Oswalt, Andrew W.K., and Idris Elba on providing voices. One episode was live action, where the winner of a contest played Carl (who did an awesome job), while Jon Benjamin (Archer) played Shake and T. Pain played Frylock. Meatwad was a yoga ball.
A smartly written episode at the end of season 2 had the Mooninites gather most of the ATHF villains to organize an attack (they left out the Plutonians). What I think is the best episode was “Bible Fruit”, which had a group of born again Christian recovering drug addict fruits come over for a party. Burt Banana was voiced by David Cross, who did an amazing job.
Again, I have zero knowledge about the last half decade of Aqua whatever. I stopped watching after it stopped making me laugh. The first 5 seasons are amazing, with way more hits than misses (not all of it’s perfect). Picking a season, I’d say it was best during 2. Just about any episode from there is worth the time.
Are you still watching Aqua something? What’s your favorite episode? Comment below!