Marmite. Never been able to stick the stuff myself. Personally I find that it tastes like licking the underside of a cow (not that I’ve ever licked the underside of a cow, your honour).
The advertising campaign really is true, though. You either love it, or hate it. It’s very hard to find someone who just tolerates it. At this point you’re probably wondering why I’m withering on about Marmite and if I’ve finally gone full mental. There is a point to all this, and the talking llama standing over my shoulder will vouch that I’ve not gone mad. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is just like Marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it. Aqua Teen Hunger Force comes from the Adult Swim stable of creations and with merchandise, a movie and even a terrorist bomb scare (honestly) to its name, can arguably claim to be the network’s breakout star. The show is extremely hard to explain to anyone unfamiliar with it. It’s an animated show that centres around three anthropomorphic fast food objects: Frylock (a pocket of French fries), Mastershake (a milkshake) and Meatwad (a kinda meatball thing) with absolutely no explanation to where they came from, and the adventures they get up to. Except, they don’t really get up to adventures. Mostly they hang around their rundown house in New Jersey as chaos occurs around them. There is no real structure to Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes. Things happen that are forgotten about, characters die and reappear next episode with no explanation or continuity and episodes end abruptly with almost no plot points tied up. This all sounds like the worst TV show ever made, but the thing about Aqua Teen Hunger Force is it’s just about one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a good long time. I mean proper gut bustingly funny. This is a show like nothing else on TV and all of the rule books are thrown out of the window. The focus of the show is on dialogue and character relations rather than the plot, and are backed up with probably the finest voice acting outside of a Seth MacFarlane creation.
The surrealist nature of the show throws up some truly inspired characters. In the first season amongst others you’ll meet: MC Pee Pants a giant spider rapper in a nappy, the Prince of Jupiter, Mothmonsterman and the Mooninites. The Mooninites, Ignignokt and Err, are aliens that resemble Atari2600 graphics and love stealing and generally causing chaos. They were also partly responsible for the aforementioned terrorist bomb scare back in 2007 when an advertising campaign for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force went slightly west of wrong and shut down Boston. Something the Mooninites would’ve loved.
All of which brings me to Carl. Carl resembles an animated Dennis Franz (you know from NYPD Blue & Die Hard 2) in a wife beater vest, sweatpants and flip flops and, because he lives next door to the Aqua Teens, generally finds all sorts of horrific things happening to him. Most episodes involve some kind of misfortune occurring to either Carl, Carl’s car, Carl’s house or all three, and because the voice acting (by co-creator Dave Willis) is pitch perfect, everything that comes out of Carl’s mouth is fried gold.
Going back to my opening ramble, Aqua Teen Hunger Force is not for everyone. It’s hard to say who’ll like it and who won’t. I have some friends who think it’s the best thing they’ve seen and others who can’t stand it. Due to the surrealness of the show it sometimes gets unfairly dismissed as a stoner comedy. Other than being untrue, it is also a disservice to the quality of writing and acting that goes into it. You don’t have to be high to find it funny, just be of the right mind set. If you are, then you’re in for a treat.
Hopefully, along with the region 2 releases of the rest of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force seasons (fingers crossed), we can catch up with our American cousins and also get the release of my other favorite Adult Swim shows, the insane Squidbillies and the Daliesque genius of 12oz Mouse.
Extras Not really much in the way of extras. There’s a paltry commentary on one episode, a breakdown of the same episode and an animated introduction to the second series that was shown at comic-con.