Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Aqua Teen Hunger Force (also known by various alternative titles), sometimes abbreviated as ATHF, or known more simply as Aqua Teen, is an American adult animated television series created by Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro for Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim. It is about the surreal adventures and antics of three anthropomorphic fast food items: Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad, who live together as roommates and frequently interact with their human next-door neighbor, Carl Brutananadilewski.
|Aqua Teen Hunger Force|
|Also known as||Alternative titles:|
|Narrated by||Schoolly D|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||11|
|No. of episodes||139 (1 unaired) (list of episodes)|
|Production company(s)||Williams Street|
|Original network||Cartoon Network (2000)|
Adult Swim (2001-2015)
|Original release||December 30, 2000 –|
August 30, 2015
|Preceded by||Space Ghost Coast to Coast|
It was created as a spin-off series of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. The show had its first broadcast as a stealth airing in the early hours of December 30, 2000 and later made its official series debut as a member of Adult Swim's initial lineup in September 2001. Every episode was written and directed by Willis and Maiellaro, who also provided several voices. Seasons 8–11 were each given a different alternative title, accompanied by different theme music, as a running joke. The series ended on August 30, 2015, with a total of 139 episodes over the course of 11 seasons.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, a film adaptation of the series, was released in theatres on April 13, 2007, the first adaptation of an Adult Swim series into a feature-length film. The series airs in broadcast syndication outside the United States and has been released on various DVD sets and other forms of home media, including video on demand streaming. It was the longest-running Adult Swim series until it was surpassed by Robot Chicken.
The series centers on the surreal adventures and antics of three anthropomorphic fast food items: Master Shake, a selfish, pathologically lying milkshake; Frylock, an intelligent, well-meaning box of French fries; and Meatwad, a shapeshifting, simple-minded ball of ground meat. They live together like relatives and rarely get along with their human neighbour Carl Brutananadilewski, a balding, middle-aged, sex-crazed sports fanatic. The protagonists also interact with various villains or other individuals in each episode; these interactions are often restricted to one episode, with minor characters rarely reappearing in the following episodes. Some episodes feature the protagonists interacting with celebrities, historical figures, or professional athletes.
The Mooninites are two aliens from the Moon who frequently appear, serving as primary antagonists and wreaking havoc through a series of illegal or destructive actions. The Mooninites appear more than most characters outside the main cast. Other recurring characters have made several appearances, including Oglethorpe and Emory, MC Pee Pants, Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, and Dr. Wongburger. Episodes often end with the non-canonical deaths or injuries of major characters, or destruction to their property, only to be restored without explanation in the following episode.
In the show's first seven seasons, the protagonists live in a suburban neighborhood in South New Jersey. During the eighth season, the location was changed to Seattle, Washington. The Seattle neighborhood appears identical to the protagonists' neighborhood from the first seven seasons, but each episode begins with the caption "Seattle" on the bottom of the screen. As of the ninth season, the same neighborhood is in the fictional location of Seattle, New Jersey.
The three main characters—Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad—were originally created for an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast called "Baffler Meal", where they were the corporate mascots for the fictional fast-food chain "Burger Trench". The original versions of the trio were prototypes that resembled the future characters, but both Master Shake and Frylock differed in appearance, personality, and voice from their ultimate design. The original name "Teen Hunger Force" refers to the squad's mission to conquer hunger in teens.
"Baffler Meal" went through a number of drafts but was not animated or produced until after the series became popular. Instead, the Space Ghost episode was initially rewritten as "Kentucky Nightmare", while the trio, along with Carl Brutananadilewski, debuted in "Rabbot", the pilot episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. A full season consisting of 16 episodes, including "Rabbot", was put into production shortly thereafter. The series was one of Adult Swim's most popular shows.
In early episodes, the trio was identified by Master Shake as the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which solved crimes for money. After a few episodes, this premise and the characters' use of the name were dropped. The premise was a trick that had been added to appease Cartoon Network executives, who "didn't want to air a show about food just going around and doing random things". In the show, Frylock says they stopped fighting crime because "that wasn't making us a whole lot of money".
Writing and directionEdit
Every episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force was written and directed by series creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro and produced by Williams Street. Much of the dialogue was supplemented with ad-libs and improvisation by the voice talent. The show was fully scripted but ad-libs are included in the final recordings and the shows are animated to include this improvisation. Many of the crew and cast members formerly worked on Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
|List of alternative titles for Aqua Teen Hunger Force|
|Alternative title||Season||Original season run|
|Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1||8||May 8, 2011 – July 24, 2011|
|Aqua Something You Know Whatever||9||June 24, 2012 – August 26, 2012|
|Aqua TV Show Show||10||August 11, 2013 – October 20, 2013|
|Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever||11||June 21, 2015 – August 30, 2015|
In 2011, for the eighth season, the series' title was changed to Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1; Maiellaro later explained that he and Willis were getting bored with the former title and wanted to "come up with a new fresh open and a whole new show, just to try it out". Despite the title change there were virtually no changes to the show's characters or tone. In 2012 Maiellaro announced that each subsequent season would have a different series title, making it a running gag. Willis later said the alternate titles were just an unsuccessful stunt to generate buzz.
Each season that is branded under an alternate title features a different opening sequence and theme music written by different artists. On most television listings and digital download sites, the alternatively titled episodes are formally listed under their alternative titles, not as episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. On most legal digital downloading sites that feature the series, the first 7 seasons are presented as Aqua Teen Hunger Force while the alternatively titled seasons are listed separately and treated as if they were each a completely different, one-season series.
The main cast of the series consists of Dana Snyder as Master Shake, Carey Means as Frylock, and series co-creator Dave Willis as both Meatwad and Carl, as well as Ignignokt. In addition to the main cast series co-creator Matt Maiellaro voices Err and Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future. Members of the main cast and Maiellaro also voice several minor and one-time characters in addition to their primary roles. All three main characters appear in almost every episode. They are all absent from the season five episode "Sirens" and the season ten episode "Spacecadeuce". In the season five episode "Robots Everywhere", Frylock and Master Shake only make brief unseen speaking cameos, while Meatwad is completely absent.
Voiceover artist George Lowe has made several appearances throughout the series. Lowe previously starred as Space Ghost in Space Ghost Coast to Coast and the original incarnation of Cartoon Planet, from which several cast and crew members moved on to work for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Lowe made his first appearance in Aqua Teen Hunger Force in the season one episode "Mail Order Bride" and went on to make several other cameos. He had a prominent appearance as himself in the season four episode "Antenna", and reprised his role as Space Ghost for a quick appearance in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. Lowe was later considered a member of the main cast in 2011 during Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1; he announced the title of each episode and continued to make cameos. Lowe later made another prominent appearance in the Aqua Something You Know Whatever episode "Rocket Horse and Jet Chicken".
Series animator C. Martin Croker, known for his interpretation of Zorak in various shows and specials, provided the voices of both Dr. Weird and Steve during the cold openings for the first two seasons and "Allen Part One". Croker also voiced several birds in the season seven episode "Eggball". Andy Merrill has portrayed Oglethorpe alongside Mike Schatz as Emory in several episodes. Merrill is also well known for his interpretation of Brak in several shows and specials and provided the voice of Merle in "Escape from Leprechaupolis" and "The Last One". MC Chris, who has a history of voicing characters on Adult Swim programs, has provided the voice of MC Pee Pants in several episodes. Chris also provided the voice of eight-year-old Carl in "Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future" and returned for a musical role in the season seven episode "One Hundred" after a long absence. Tommy Blacha joined the recurring cast with the introduction of his character Wongburger in the season four episode "Dickesode". With the exception of Tommy Blacha, the entire recurring cast reprised their roles in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.
Various comedians, athletes, and other celebrities have made guest appearances, usually credited under pseudonyms.
|Dana Snyder||Carey Means||Dave Willis||Matt Maiellaro||George Lowe||C. Martin Croker|
|Master Shake||Frylock||Meatwad, Carl, Ignignokt, Boxy Brown, Various||Err, Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, Markula, Various||Season eight episode announcer, Various, himself||Dr. Weird, Steve, Various|
Rapper Schoolly D performed the Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme song used in the first seven seasons. An extended remix version of the theme was used in the 2007 film adaptation and in the soundtrack for the 2011 video game Saints Row: The Third. After a multi-year absence, Schoolly D returned for the season seven episode "Rabbot Redux", performing a different theme song used exclusively in that episode. The special intro to "Rabbot Redux" featured the exact animation used in the regular intro. Each subsequent season featured a different theme song by a different artist with a different animated intro. The eighth season was written and performed by Josh Homme and Alain Johannes. Schoolly D returned for the season nine intro for Aqua Something You Know Whatever, writing and performing it with Mariachi El Bronx. The season 10 theme song was composed by Flying Lotus, an artist whose work has been featured in several bumps for Adult Swim. Every episode features an opening sequence, with the rare exceptions of the season two episode "The Last One", the season nine episode "The Granite Family", and the season ten episode "Spacecadeuce".
In November 2006, Schoolly D and Cartoon Network were sued by Terence Yerves, a drummer who claimed he had co-written the theme music with Schoolly D in 1999 while working at the Meat Locker Studio. Yerves was aware the song would be used for a television series, but did not approve of its being used for Aqua Teen Hunger Force; however, he did not file the copyright to the Library of Congress until May 2006, after the series' fourth season had already started. In the lawsuit, Yerves demanded $150,000 for every time the series aired after the lawsuit was filed, that all existing copies of the series' DVDs be impounded, and for Aqua Teen Hunger Force to cease broadcast.
During the first two seasons, episodes cold-opened with a glimpse into the laboratory of Dr. Weird. He and his assistant Steve use the first several seconds of the show to create monsters, disasters, and various things. In earlier episodes of the first season, the monsters or creations usually form the basis of the plot, but as the crime-fighting element of the program disappeared, the Dr. Weird segment became a non sequitur opening gag.
In the third season, the Dr. Weird openings were replaced with segments from the pilot episode of Spacecataz, an unaired spin-off created by Willis and Maiellaro. Six episodes were planned for production, but Adult Swim felt there was little that could be made into five more episodes since all the characters were destroyed at the end of the pilot, despite the parent series being predominantly not canonical. These segments featured the Mooninites and Plutonians trading insults, gestures, and practical jokes. The full Spacecataz pilot is available as a special feature on the Volume Four DVD box set. The Mooninites appear to outsmart the Plutonians for much of the series including tagging the Plutonians' ship and reversing a prank that involved 50 million large pizzas.
Cold openings were eliminated completely starting with the fourth-season premiere, "Dirtfoot". A one-off cold opening featuring Dr. Weird and Steve was used once again in the season eight premiere "Allen Part One".
In 2015, it was announced that Adult Swim had cancelled Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The cancellation went against the wishes of Willis and Maiellaro, who first learned about it from the animation studio halfway through the production of the 11th season. Willis said that Adult Swim president Mike Lazzo made the decision to end the series because "he was ready to move on from it". The double-length episode "The Last One Forever and Ever (For Real This Time) (We Fucking Mean It)" was falsely promoted as the series finale and aired on August 23, 2015. The actual series finale, "The Greatest Story Ever Told", was quietly released early online on August 26 before airing on August 30, with virtually no advertisement. At the time of its conclusion, Aqua Teen Hunger Force was Adult Swim's longest-running original series.
During an interview about the series' cancellation, Maiellaro said there are no plans to revive Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but that it could return someday. In 2017, Adult Swim was asked why they don't make more episodes, to which they responded "we might" during a bump.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Alternate title|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||18||December 30, 2000||December 29, 2002||N/A|
|2||24||May 25, 2003||December 31, 2003||N/A|
|3||13||April 25, 2004||October 24, 2004||N/A|
|4||13||December 4, 2005||December 22, 2006[N 2]||N/A|
|5||10||January 20, 2008||March 23, 2008||N/A|
|6||10||March 29, 2009||May 31, 2009||N/A|
|7||12||December 13, 2009||May 2, 2010||N/A|
|8||10||May 8, 2011||July 24, 2011||Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1|
|9||10||June 24, 2012||August 26, 2012||Aqua Something You Know Whatever|
|10||10||August 11, 2013||October 20, 2013||Aqua TV Show Show|
|11||9||June 21, 2015||August 30, 2015||Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever|
A feature film based on the show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, was released on April 13, 2007. The movie follows the origins of the Aqua Teens, which includes an exercise machine, Neil Peart of the band Rush, a watermelon slice named Walter Melon, and an appearance by a heavy metal band Mastodon in the opening sequence. The film also introduces a fourth Aqua Teen, a chicken nugget named Chicken Bittle (voiced by Bruce Campbell). The Plutonians and the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, recurring characters, both make appearances in the movie, as well as the Mooninites, Dr. Weird and MC Pee Pants (this being his last appearance in the series).
In a 2010 interview, staff members of Radical Axis stated that a sequel entitled Death Fighter is in production, and mentioned the possibility that the film might be made in 3-D. When asked if the film was designed for a theatrical release, a Radical Axis staff member responded yes, but stated: "We're not sure if we have a distributor yet". This was then followed by the statement "Adult Swim will never make another movie ever again".
By 2014, the script for Death Fighter had been completed and approved, however, Willis indirectly stated that the project was scrapped, soon after announcing the show's cancellation. He later mentioned on Reddit that it would cost $3.4 million to produce, and expressed interest in doing a Kickstarter to fund it.
The pilot episode "Rabbot" originally aired on Cartoon Network unannounced on December 30, 2000, at 5:00 AM, as part of a special preview of upcoming Adult Swim shows. Other shows in the preview block included Sealab 2021, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Aqua Teen Hunger Force later made its official debut on September 9, 2001 on Adult Swim, where the series has since aired exclusively, in the United States. The final episode "The Greatest Story Ever Told" made its television debut on August 30, 2015, after first being quietly released online on August 26, 2015.
In Canada, Aqua Teen Hunger Force previously aired on Teletoon's Teletoon at Night block and later G4 Canada's ADd block. In 2010, the series was picked up for rebroadcast on BiteTV. The series currently airs in Canada on the Canadian version of Adult Swim. It began airing in Australia on SBS2 starting April 2013, ceased airing, and returned in July 2016 as part of a version of Adult Swim on 9Go!, with the series airing from the beginning.
Several pieces of merchandise have been made for the series, including T-shirts, caps, wristbands, patches, and buttons featuring characters in the series. Master Shake and Carl Halloween costumes for adults are also available. There is also a series of collectible action figures and plush toys available along with car decals. Several pieces of custom merchandise were available on the Adult Swim Shop before the site quietly shut down in March 2012. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters Colon the Soundtrack, the soundtrack to the film, was released in stores on April 10, 2007. On November 3, 2009 a Christmas album sung by characters from the show was released entitled Have Yourself a Meaty Little Christmas was released in stores.
In September 2010, Adult Swim Shop introduced a full scale, functioning hot air balloon in the likeness of Meatwad at a cost of $70,000. The purchase includes a piloted, one-hour ride anywhere in the continental United States, and the buyer got to keep it although a pilot's license would be required to actually fly it. The balloon was the most expensive item on Adult Swim Shop, surpassing the Metalocalypse "Dethklok Fountain" fountain, which was released early in 2010 for $40,000. The hot air balloon is no longer available.
The first eight seasons have been released and distributed on DVD in Volumes by Adult Swim and Warner Home Video. Each set was also released in Region 2 and by Madman Entertainment in Region 4. The movie was released on a DVD set titled Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for DVD, with the season four episode "Deleted Scenes" as a special feature on August 17, 2007. The season five episode "Robots Everywhere" was also released as a special feature on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am video game on November 5, 2007, months prior to official television debut on January 20, 2008.
With the exception of the season four episode "Deleted Scenes", episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force are also available on iTunes, the Xbox Live Marketplace, and Amazon Video, with seasons five and up available in HD on iTunes and the Xbox Live Marketplace, and with seasons six up on Amazon Video. The movie is also available in HD and SD on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The season five episode "Boston" has never been released in any form of home media.
The series has been made available for on-demand streaming on Hulu Plus, as part of a deal made with Hulu and Turner Broadcasting. Every episode from all seasons is available for streaming. Almost every episode from seasons 1 to 11 is available for free on Adult Swim's website, along with the film. As of May 27, 2020, the series is also available on HBO Max.
|1||2000–02||18||November 18, 2003|
|July 20, 2004|
|November 16, 2004|
|3||2004||13||December 6, 2005|
|4||2005–06||13||January 29, 2008|
|5||2008||10||December 16, 2008 (excluded "Boston")|
|June 1, 2010|
|October 11, 2011|
|8||Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1||2011||10|
There have also been video games created based on the series. Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Destruct-O-Thon, a mobile game based on the series, was published and released by Macrospace games in 2004. In 2005 Oberon Games released Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Studio Shakedown for PC. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am, a golfing/kart racing/fighting game, was developed by Creat Studios and published by Midway Games, and released for PlayStation 2 on November 5, 2007. An online Flash game based on the series entitled The Worst Game Ever was released, but was eventually taken down. A game entitled Carl's Freaking Strip Poker was also available on Adult Swim Games, but was eventually taken down.
Reception and legacyEdit
In January 2009, IGN listed the series as the 39th best in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows. The series was nominated for Teen Choice Awards in 2007 and 2008. In 2011 Willis and Maiellaro received Annie Award nominations for writing in the season eight episode, "The Creditor". In 2013, IGN placed Aqua Teen Hunger Force 19th on their list of Top 25 Animated series for adults.
James Rolfe, best known for creating the Angry Video Game Nerd, has cited the show as an influence on Nerd as well as shaping his sense of humour. YouTuber Jason Gastrow, better known as Videogamedunkey, has also cited the show as a comedic influence.
2007 Boston bomb scareEdit
The series received national attention in 2007 because of a publicity stunt that became known as the Boston bomb scare. On January 31, 2007, as part of a national guerrilla marketing campaign for the series, Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens installed Lite-Brite-like LED displays depicting the Mooninites in eleven different cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. In Boston, the authorities considered the LEDs suspicious, prompting the closure of major roads and waterways for investigation. Turner Broadcasting System later admitted to placing the LEDs and apologized for the misunderstanding.
Berdovsky and Stevens faced charges for "placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct"; in spite of the uproar, the two mocked the media and critics in interviews. All criminal charges were dropped in exchange for Berdovsky and Stevens apologizing during their court date and accepting a plea bargain that consisted of community service at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center. Turner Broadcasting paid the Boston Police Department $1 million to cover the investigation's cost and an additional $1 million for good will. This was designed to settle criminal and civil claims, while the general manager of Cartoon Network stepped down because of the incident. Of the eleven cities in which the displays were placed, only Boston saw them as a matter of concern. The installations had been up for weeks before the panic.
An Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode from season five, "Boston", was produced as the series creators' response to the bomb scare, but Adult Swim pulled it to avoid further controversy. The episode has never aired or been formally released to the public legally in any format, but it was illegally leaked online in January 2015.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: |
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
- Video Interview with Dana "Master Shake" Snyder at Swigged! – September 5, 2009
- The Sound of Young America – interview with Dave Willis April 24, 2007
- interview with meatwad on Synthesis.net
- The Kittenpants News at the Wayback Machine (archived August 28, 2010) – interview with Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, December 5, 2004 on Kittenpants.org
- "Master Shake on New Movie". Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-02. – interview with Master Shake, Dana Snyder, April 20, 2007
- The Swimcast – interview with Master Shake, Dana Snyder, Part 1 April 2, 28, 2008
- The Swimcast – interview with Master Shake, Dana Snyder, Part 2 April 2, 28, 2008
- The Swimcast – interview with Dave Willis, December 12, 2008