Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Volume I, 2 Discs. 2000

Creators: David R. Willis & Matt Maiellaro

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

With the first & second episode, I was beginning to think this wasn't going to be as much fun all in one big bite as it had been caught at random on cable's Cartoon Network.

But the episodes on Disc 1 soon caught fire & I watched both discs of eleven-minute episodes completely captivated. These are great fun, even though Space Ghost's talk show in the clutch of Adult Swim cartoon shows is even better.

The Aqua Teens are not teenagers & they're a Hunger Force only insofar as if you could manage to eat them, they might be tasty. The characters consist of the following interesting housemates:

1) Meatwad, who is a one-toothed mentally retarded actual meatball who has the super-power of turning his meat-self into any shape that takes his fancy. 2) Frylock, a self-levitating & self-absorbed order of french fries with mystic eyes & a more rational view of the world than the others but no desire to be responsible for anything. 3) Master Shake, a happy go lucky milkshake with a straw sticking cockilly out of his cup-lid, who rather believes he's the leader of the Hunger Force, if only by default. They live next door to the grubby & crabby human, Carl, always in his t-shirt.

They live in a suburban house in Jersey, & personality-wise, they more resemble the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers than any superhero figures. But they do have powers & they do battle such foes as Dr. Weird who for no discernible reason wants to bring them down, aliens from outer space, giant robot bunnies, & a suicidally depressed doll that sucks the happiness out of anyone it comes in contact with.

Trying to behave like superheroes, the ATHF tracks down thieving leprechauns, or tries to rid the crawlspace under their home of an annoying mummy. But usually they're just getting in & out of trouble of their own making, as when Master Shake sells Meatwad to the circus.

The limited animation is certainly surreal, the characters off the wall & ridiculous, but what makes it really good is how the unlikely trio are somehow recognizable as the same sorts of wackos most of us have in our lives or families or workplaces.

They're funny fellows not because they're sentient fast-food items, but because despite so much that is absurdist, they're surprisingly real in their fuck-ups, joys, moronic dreams, self-delusions, & journeys.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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