Aqua Teen Hunger Force, sadly, reached its end in 2015. Lasting a whopping fifteen years, the 11-minute cartoon has for the most part held up its quality and remained funny. As a way to say my goodbyes, I decided to spend several days marathoning the entire series. All 139 episodes from eleven seasons. 139 episodes about three food people and their disgruntled next-door neighbor having to put up with each other while slumming it in an even more Hellish version of southern New Jersey.
Now that that’s done with, I’m ranking my favorite 50. This is not counting the movie, natch. That just wouldn’t feel right. But it is damn enjoyable and you should watch it if you haven’t already. There are several notable episodes that I couldn’t bring myself to include. “Last One Forever and Ever” never lived up to the potential of making the characters live action, even if its version of Carl was on point. “Boston” has its moments, but it’s mostly an exercise in bitter whining. I really wanted to like “Carl Wash” more than I did since it uses Carl Brain from one of my favorite Space Ghost: Coast to Coast episodes, but it never clicked. Then there’s the ever-popular “Hand Banana,” but an episode where the joke is that a dude is continually raped and nobody believes him is too gross for me no matter how absurd it’s painted.
So let’s get on with the list already.
50. JUMPY GEORGE
Carl and Shake meet a single mother and fight over her. There’s a whole subplot in there about her true identity and her connection to the Mooninites, but that’s the weak point. The true greatness comes from Carl and Shake being the absolute worst in every way and yet she still doesn’t show any signs of thinking them repulsive. Carl talks to her bluntly about his diarrhea and has stains from it on his shirt and she still doesn’t bat an eye.
The following season would revisit the same basic idea with “Big Bro” and improve on it, but we’ll get to that later.
Watching Shake get his just desserts doesn’t happen all the time, and even when it does, it’s usually at the end of the episode. This is just 11 minutes of Shake digging a hole through sheer idiocy and his inability to understand gambling and paying for it every step of the way. The fact that Meatwad is able to become an expert at it to the point that he’s beloved by the mob and Carl is his right-hand man only enhances how screwed up Shake is in all of this. The ending ties back into the beginning (where Meatwad shows off his magic tricks) in the best, most cathartic way.
48. RABBIT, NOT RABBOT
There was nothing really wrong with any of Season 11, but it’s such a short set of episodes (only nine) and I feel bad that this is the only one to make the cut here. It’s such a bonkers 11 minutes. Shake has his brain switched with a sinister rabbit, which leads to a wonderful piece where the main cast and some pet store animals pee in a mall’s water fountain in the name of science. The logic is completely off the wall, yet makes sense in its own fictional logic. While I usually like the random, quick-cut endings, I wasn’t too keen on Meatwad’s sudden fate here. The ending was strong enough without it.
47. LARRY MILLER HAIR SYSTEM
The meat of this episode is Carl looking at a video of what his life would be like if he had hair. The real Carl is disgusted with how square his healthy, Christian, happily married self is and is inexplicably able to communicate with him. He drives him down a horrible spiral in record time, which is just dark as hell. The opening, where Carl meets Larry Miller and the ending, which includes a cameo appearance by a certain regular guest character, are very welcome in adding flavor to this strange episode.
46. LAST DANCE FOR NAPKIN LAD
In a way, I feel that this is the ultimate punchline for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The very joke of the show is that after doing this action-packed opening credits where the team fight robots, have space adventures, and so on, we get our whacked out characters existing in a less exciting, suburban setting. So after years of this gag, finally there’s this big payoff where everyone is secretly a spy and everyone is betraying everyone through chase sequences, gunplay, and espionage. In other words, the entire series loops around.
45. MERLO SAUVIGNON BLANCO
Shake is allergic to shellfish but still goes out on benders anyway as a tamer version of alcoholism, which is great. Frylock tries to get him help by sending him to a hypnotist named Merlo Sauvignon Blanco, but that guy’s shady as hell and merely hypnotizes Shake into being his minion in getting revenge against all who have wronged him. It’s merely okay for the most part, but it takes a wonderful turn in the final minutes as we see each Aqua Teen’s separate take on “friendship.” This gives us one hell of a final line by Carl and if this was in an earlier season, we’d have a million t-shirts printed by now.
Seriously, it’s up there with, “I don’t NEED no instructions to know how to ROCK!”
44. VIDEO OUIJA
The second half of the episode is kind of lame and doesn’t really make much sense, as why would anyone want Shake resurrected? It’s the first half that gets me. Meatwad uses an Atari video game to speak to the dead and Shake – in his infinite lack of wisdom – decides to commit suicide in the most over-the-top fashion as possible in order to enter the game and potentially make fun of Meatwad. It’s such a wonderful setup, even if the whole Billywitchdoctor.com bit falls flat for me. Even if having him trick the others into saying, “We are sofa king we Todd Ed,” gives it some points.
Ah, the pilot. If feel obligated to include it on the list, but I can’t rank it too high. They were definitely finding their footing during this episode about Dr. Weird’s Rabbot causing havoc throughout New Jersey. Frylock is too stiff and the action detective motif (which they needed to sell the series because “food guys do nothing” wasn’t going to work) doesn’t feel right. There’s still many flashes of brilliance in there (“Why is anything anything?” and, “Grant?! What is that? Shut up.”), but it has to be graded on a curve.
42. THE CYBERNETIC GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST FROM THE FUTURE
While I like the Cybernetic Ghost character, the whole backstory gag with the different art style kind of wears thin on me and isn’t all that funny outside of people calling him out. Luckily, this episode has more going on, what with Carl’s house being cursed with elf blood and his priceless reaction to it all. Everything from how he refuses to use the Aqua Teens’ shower because he doesn’t want to be nude in their house to how he’s totally chill about making amends with an ape Santa Claus until he finds out it’s a sexual thing. The episode is mainly a winner because of the ending where Danzig shows up, sans shirt.
41. DER INFLATABLE FUHRER
Frylock does some freelance science work and it turns out that his benefactor “Radolf” is in fact Adolf Hitler, who has been reborn as a balloon. I mean, that’s as high-concept as you can get. The episode has a lot of fun with the idea, especially when Balloon Hitler converts Meatwad into a Jew in order to kill him and Meatwad kind of enthusiastically half-asses it by yelling random Jewish terms. Then things get hilarious when Frylock tries to change Balloon Hitler’s mind by showing him how many talented Jews there are who he’s looked up to over the years. Realizing that he loves The Waterboy, Hitler is devastated at his past behavior.
40. THE SHAVING
This is another episode that holds together because of its amazing ending. One Halloween, the Aqua Teens find out that there’s some kind of spider onion creature named Willie Nelson living in their attic. Shake gets disgusted at how chill Willie is for a supposed monster and tries to have him scare/murder Carl to prove himself. It’s not a laugh a minute, but it’s a smooth ten minute setup into one hell of a punchline.
39. THE GRANITE FAMILY
It’s a wonderful thing when TV and movies can make outright idiocy look smart. Shake has been watching The Granite Family, a Flintstones pastiche, and is frustrated by his inability to connect with the show. Rather than take up Frylock’s offer to use a time machine so he can spend time in the Stone Age, Shake instead has a plan where he wipes out billions of lives via nuclear annihilation to bring humanity to a new Stone Age. All so he can make “It’s a living!” jokes. This episode is full of great stuff, such as the Aqua Teens and Carl sharing a bunker, but is hurt by a subplot involving a Time Warner time traveler.
38. MAYHEM OF THE MOONINITES
The very first appearance by the Mooninites. I mean, I would have to include this one by principle, even if there are better Mooninite episodes. Ignignokt and Err show up to live with the Aqua Teens after Shake rents out Meatwad’s room. The two aliens spend their time being self-important assholes to everyone, which allows them to get along with Shake. While fine on its own, “Mayhem of the Mooninites” wouldn’t be nearly as good without the gags of their slow, square laser bullets and their unwavering confidence in them. Probably the best little moment is when they unleash the Quad Laser and it’s so slow that Shake comes out to ask a question, notices that they’re in the middle of a fight, and leaves the scene…all while the bullet has barely moved at all.
Shake sells Meatwad to the local circus freak show, unaware that it’s run by a creature who is secretly disgraced alien royalty. This one isn’t quite laugh-a-minute, although Randy dramatically reading a flier for furniture as if it’s a magic spell is worth a chuckle, but it’s an episode that really gives the cast something to do. Everyone has their own thing going on and gets time to breathe, from the individual Aqua Teens to Carl to Randy the Magnificent. Then there’s Inside-Out Boy, who is never explicitly shown, which is rare for a show that revels in horrific imagery.
There’s a trope called “Just Eat Gilligan” which means, “Why don’t they just do the simple thing that will solve their problems?” Why doesn’t Batman just kill the Joker? Why don’t Al and Peg Bundy get a divorce? It’s ignored to keep the series going, but sometimes they need to actually explore it in-story. That’s what this episode is, where Frylock decides to move out and leave Shake and Meatwad to suffer in their own stupidity. Frylock learns that life without them is lonely as nobody else wants anything to do with him and he even tries to hang out with the Mooninites for a moment out of desperation. With the show’s lack of lasting continuity, the ending ends up throwing us a delightful curveball.
35. RABBOT REDUX
The live-action Season 6 finale “Last One Forever and Ever” was meant to be the actual final episode and ended with an animated segment of the Aqua Teens moving away. Then they got renewed for another season, so that wasn’t happening. Rather than just ignoring it, they did an episode about the Aqua Teens actually moving away…two houses down…on the other side of Carl’s place. The episode isn’t really about the pilot episode, but it features tons of references to it as the three move in and make themselves at home. It’s a solid episode on its own, but the opening punchline makes it even better.
34. BIG BRO
Frylock uses the Big Brother program to mentor a boy named Gerald. Then Frylock and Carl begin warring over the affections of Gerald’s nasty mother Darlean. As I mentioned earlier, this one is more or less a better version of “Jumpy George,” mainly because it feels more grounded. Darlean and Gerald seem like actual people, so there’s more substance to it than just deciding, “Oh, she’s an alien.” Plus they go out of the show’s comfort zone by having Carl score some actual consensual sex with Darlean, leading to the horror of Carl realizing that he’s going to get tied down into a family. That’s when the plot is really allowed to have some fun.
33. GRIM REAPER GUTTERS
Ah, the clip show. It wouldn’t be a long-running TV show without one. The three sit back in their house and talk about old times. The Aqua Teens appear to have a zest for discussing old times, including Shake and Meatwad completely coexisting and being friendly with each other (“So what’s up with you? We don’t ever talk anymore!”). Like most things in the Aqua Teen universe, there’s something dark going on underneath it all and we – as well as Carl – are soon to discover just why the three are holed up in their house. Oh, and porn star Tera Patrick is there too for the hell of it. Cute episode, but the ending is a bit too random.
32. ONE HUNDRED
The series hits its 100th episode, causing Frylock to obsessively see the number 100 everywhere he looks while Shake’s voice actor Dana Snyder tries to get the show in syndication. Those plots I can honestly take or leave. What makes this classic is the second half, where it suddenly becomes a Hanna-Barbera production with nearly everyone having cartoon stubble. The parody is right on the money (“And I would have succeeded too, if not for the fact that I failed!”) and also gives us one of the most unsettling villains on the show with the number 100 as an actual monster with an angry French accent.
31. THE LAST ONE
Another hallmark of cartoons is the villain team-up episode. The finale for Season 2 is one of those, but it’s all completely absurd because the Aqua Teens don’t really have villains in the traditional sense. Just weirdoes that they’ve stumbled across. Our heroes only show up for about a minute and the rest is the Mooninites trying to put together the ultimate team in wiping them out for…reasons. Most of it is an exercise in various villains killing each other one-by-one or even taking themselves out by accident. It’s also notable for giving us the first glimpse at the rivalry between the Mooninites and the Plutonians, leading to Season 3’s Spacecataz openings.
30. THE CLOWNING
Carl gets a wig that increases his spirits and luck with the ladies, but comes at a horrible price due to its demonic tendency to slowly transform him into a clown. There’s a lot of fun stuff here. Partially the idea that Carl bringing home his “hot date” and romancing her is considered a big win for him. It adds an extra layer of humor and sadness to the character. The symbiotic curse of the wig gets more ridiculous by the minute and we’re left with one of the most memorable episode endings where we get to see the Aqua Teens decades into the future…where there’s a zombie apocalypse for no real reason.
29. BAD REPLICANT
I love the Plutonians. Emory and Oglethorpe are simply the best and Oglethorpe’s constant, quarter-assed megalomaniacal plans never cease to amuse me. This time, their plan is to take over the world via a single replicant by having one of their friends mold himself, badly, into a copy of Master Shake. “Major Shake” proceeds to not fool Frylock at all and just kind of chills out with him, explaining how stupid Emory and Oglethorpe are. This gives us one of the best Plutonian moments where Major Shake talks to them on a video conference and the two dopes don’t seem to notice that Frylock is hovering around in the background, glaring at them, until well after the transmission is over and they start freaking out.
28. LASER LENSES
The episode before this one, “Hoppy Bunny,” is completely all over the place and it briefly plays with the idea of Shake stealing Frylock’s powers. Then it proceeds to do nothing with it. “Laser Lenses” is where we finally get some payoff as Shake steals Frylock’s contacts and it inexplicably gives him his laser eye powers. As expected, it completely goes to his head and he starts bullying everyone, even when his powers dwindle. Meatwad tries to steal the contacts back while he’s sleeping and that’s when things take a turn for the weird and terrifying. By the time we’re at the final shot of the episode, it’s basically telling us, “This show is strange and you love us for it.”
27. HANDS ON A HAMBURGER
TV shows tend to occasionally have episodes about contests where the last person to keep their hand on a car wins it. Does that ever even happen in real life? Regardless, Aqua Teen Hunger Force has its own unique spin where instead of a car, it’s a giant hamburger. Rather than win it for the team as a whole, Frylock and Shake oppose each other, because that’s their nature. As they hold onto the burger and much time elapses, the show starts to have fun by pointing out every single hole in the concept. It finally breaks into a fantastic payoff featuring a recurring character that I should have seen coming, but totally didn’t.
26. BUS OF THE UNDEAD
Despite having watched all of Dr. Katz, this was the moment when I was 100% all-in on Jonathan Benjamin and his habit of doing the same voice no matter the character. Mothmonsterman on paper is one of the weaker “villain” characters on the show, but it’s his friendly, down-to-earth, deadpan delivery of every single thing that puts a smile on my face. That’s the heart to an episode that features everything from Dracula being celebrated as Elvis, Shake’s belief that a bus is a vampire, a bunch of brownie monsters being cloned just because, and a live-action movie called Assisted-Living Dracula. On most other shows, Assisted-Living Dracula would be the most memorable thing, but here it’s just buried under all the funnier jokes.
This is the fifth episode and it’s the perfect time to finally get some payoff on the Shake/Meatwad relationship. In a story involving a vortex that is completely ill-explained but whatever, Meatwad is tossed into the dryer by Shake and spends so much time in there without Frylock around to save him that he gains static electricity powers. Seeing Meatwad finally turn the tables on Shake is fantastic, especially with how Shake can’t even give into his demands because he literally can’t understand them. I’d also say that the giant Meatwad showing up at the end is the first truly great final moment of the series.
24. DUMMY LOVE
The episode starts off so dry and meh, but gradually builds. The trio get a murderous ventriloquist dummy that won’t stop saying, “KILL!” and just go with it, ignoring every horror trope setup that the writers give them. The moment they finally acknowledge the dummy as a threat, things pick up and go to some amazing places. It feels more streamlined than most episodes in the sense that there are no subplots or callbacks to earlier scenes. It just moves from spot to spot and gets increasingly ridiculous, yet never really feels forced.
23. UNIVERSAL REMONSTER
Honestly, nearly everything involving the Aqua Teens is relatively forgettable in this episode. It’s all about the Plutonians, off doing their own thing by trying to steal cable and legally get away with ripping off Stargate…all while being paranoid from being high on weed. There’s a bit where Frylock reveals that their sinister creation, the Universal Remonster, has been killed. Oglethorpe’s gradual transition from melodramatic disbelief to casual acceptance is not only one of my favorite exchanges from the show’s history, but it also paints the character really well. He wants to be a major supervillain so bad, but his plots are sub-half-baked and he eventually devolves back into being a regular guy who happens to be a space alien with a German accent.
22. STORAGE ZEEBLES
Season 11’s “Sweet C” (where Carl is shrunken down and convinces a bunch of bees to work for him) almost made the list, but “Storage Zeebles” uses the same basic premise and does it way better. That premise being Carl giving into white trash megalomania. Power goes to his head and his imagination is a bit lacking.
This episode is so delightfully mean. Carl finds that his storage locker is a portal to a Narnia-like fantasy dimension run by peaceful elves named Zeebles. Carl proceeds to ransack their magical land bit by bit and the Zeebles go from cautiously polite to incompetently desperate. Carl does get his comeuppance, but it’s quick, at the very end, and only there for closure. The real magic is watching to see how far he’s willing to go with callously making the lives of these creatures a living Hell in the name of personal gain.
21. MC PEE PANTS
I’m not sure if MC Pee Pants needed so many appearances throughout the show, but his first one is gold. I mean, for one, it has a scene of Carl happily rapping. That alone is phenomenal, as is the novelty of seeing Carl and Meatwad acting like peas in a pod by scrubbing the paint off Carl’s car because they’re so amped up on expired candy. The payoff here isn’t so much MC Pee Pants being some kind of diaper-wearing spider psychopath with a complicated, evil plot, but Frylock finally being terrible after various episodes showing him to be the voice of reason. Despite what seems like compassion, Frylock pulls a total asshole move to have MC Pee Pants killed. Even Shake is disgusted with his actions, though he’s probably just saying that to antagonize Frylock.
This one is rather sad to watch in just how pathetic it is. Carl has spent three seasons being pestered by these food mutants next door and when they go off on vacation, we’re given an episode dedicated to him…and he has nothing going on. At best, Carl exists in a suburban purgatory, having nobody to talk to because of his terrible habits and personality. He gets so desperate that he wishes to speak with his neighbors because at the end of the day, he needs them. Then the episode gets really weird in the last couple minutes because it’s freakin’ Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
19. LOVE MUMMY
“CURSE! CUUUUUUURRRRRSE!!” is one of the most infectious quotes from the show and it’s enough to carry this episode. Frylock discovers a mummy in their crawlspace and the ancient one mostly communicates by either growling what he wants or threatening to curse whoever he’s talking to. All three of them have their own dynamics with the creature. Frylock suffers from the mummy’s demands, Meatwad finds a strange kinship with him, and Shake is able to mouth off without any repercussions. Kind of surprised the mummy never showed up again outside of being a background gag.
18. PARTY ALL THE TIME
By this point, the series has lasted a few years and has become at home with being absurd. Then “Party All the Time” anchors it by going really serious, which in itself is absurd. Frylock has cancer and becomes lethargic and weak. All the while, the other three suddenly become completely serious in the way they react to the reality that Frylock’s likely going to die. It’s touching but also silly because it’s touching, especially because Shake gets killed and it’s played as cartoonish.
Meanwhile, the brief instant where Andrew WK kicks the cancer-ridden Frylock in the face before rocking out does not get enough love. That, and Carl doing finger guns in place of dancing.
17. ESCAPE FROM LEPRECHAUPOLIS
This was the first episode to be shown on Adult Swim and it’s a better introduction to the series than “Rabbot,” mainly because it’s fully embracing its goofiness. There’s barely any exposition and instead we fully understand everyone’s role by diving headfirst into a story about leprechauns mugging people with a rainbow machine. What really makes it is the one leprechaun blatantly voiced by the guy who played Brak on Space Ghost, who gets really defensive about not being Irish and randomly brings up how he’s half-Korean. This was the first episode I saw and it came out swinging.
16. MOONINITES 3: REMOONED
When Ignignokt and Err come to Earth to get some help cashing a giant check they stole, Shake and Meatwad join them on their quest and we’re blessed with four distinct idiots being stupid together and it’s pulled off quite well. Frylock thankfully gets minimal screentime, allowing the other four to play off of each other in an exercise of the blind leading the blind. Plus they have a master plan that involves knocking out Carl, shaving him, and using his horseshoe and mustache as a disguise for Meatwad. It wasn’t until many rewatches later that I realized that they unnecessarily shaved his entire body rather than just his head.
15. OL’ DRIPPY
With Master Shake being such an unlikable jerk of a character, it only made sense to create an anti-Shake. Someone who’s not only loving and selfless, but even Carl is kind of warm to. And so, we get Ol’ Drippy, a creation of mold and garbage who befriends Meatwad. The contrast gives us a strong little adventure, with highlights including Drippy willfully letting Shake eat his head while Shake screams that he’s going to horrify Meatwad into a coma, as well as the subplot about Carl being so pathetic and creepy that he has sexual relations with a headless cardboard cutout of a bikini model.
Without a doubt, this episode is the deepest and saddest one. We’ve had ten seasons of Shake being a pretty basic asshole, but this installment cuts him down to his core. Frylock programs a robot to be Shake’s girlfriend and to have the same interests (ie. blowing up ducks at the lake). Shake is happy and complete for the first time ever, but Freda becomes self-aware enough to realize that he’s a horrible sociopath and leaves him in the dust. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very funny episode, but the credits play over a scene of Shake sort of coming to grips with what a pitiful, lousy person he is and it’s actually kind of heartbreaking.
13. T-SHIRT OF THE DEAD
Oh God, this episode is just cruel. Who knew a Meatwad-centric episode could be so nightmarish and dark? Shake steals a magical t-shirt from a museum, Meatwad wears it, and he’s gifted with the ability to warp reality as he sees fit. We’ve already seen what Meatwad would do with excessive power back in “Balloonenstein,” but this goes deeper into the horror direction. He uses his power to summon Santa and due to his godliness and idiocy, he badly mutilates St. Nick by accident. Santa’s harsh responses to every little thing are really uncomfortable, though not nearly as much as his ultimate fate. Cripes…
12. SHE CREATURE
Even in absurdist comedy, you sometimes need to explain your situation to really make it work. You can have things happen just because, but it’s more rewarding to give us an actual explanation. That’s why this episode works. Carl has some kind of bloodthirsty swamp monster living in his pool and he keeps trying to feed people to it while showing that he’s genuinely afraid of what’s in there. So why doesn’t he just have it killed? Why is he so frantic when the Aqua Teens seemingly do have it killed? A lesser writer could have handwaved it away and said, “Because this show is wacky!” but here, they give us an explanation that builds into a perfect payoff. The final few minutes, where we discover the monster’s true nature, are some of the funniest minutes in the show’s history.
11. SPACE CONFLICT FROM BEYOND PLUTO
The Plutonians’ first appearance is also their best. There’s so much to love. Oglethorpe’s constant incompetence in the name of unnecessary supervillainy, the “happy birthday” button that they inexplicably have on their ship, Shake’s matter-of-fact claim that Frylock “doesn’t own space,” and every little thing relating to Oglethorpe’s obsession with melting people. The ending leaves a little to be desired, but Emory and Oglethrorpe’s initial outing completely justifies every appearance they made in the years that followed. Seriously, every other line out of Oglethorpe’s mouth is gold.
“Plans are for fools! When he gets here, we melt him…and laugh…on into the night!”
10. SUPER BIRTHDAY SNAKE
Shake buys Meatwad a pet snake for the sake of having it eat him and we’re off to an okay start. Then things reach a whole other level once Frylock destroys the snake and accidentally murders Shake and Meatwad as well. Frylock’s breakdown from his actions is entertaining enough, but the reason this episode is so memorable is the stupid, stupid scene where the zombie versions of Shake, Meatwad, and Carl argue with Frylock over whether or not he killed them or not (“You so freakin’ did!”). As Frylock admits that the story kind of wrote itself into a corner, we’re treated to a very random, yet very hilarious, final scene that wraps everything up.
9. UNREMARKABLE VOYAGE
Here’s a completely textbook example of how to make a great Aqua Teen episode. You start with a high-concept idea – in this case, Frylock inventing a shrink ray – and then give all four main characters their own pitch perfect reactions to it. Frylock is the responsible straight man who wants to use this invention in the name of science, Meatwad is unhelpful and disruptive due to his lack of intelligence and grossness, Shake goes mad with power and terrorizes the rest of the cast, and Carl just wants to put the shrink ray in reverse so that he can make his junk bigger. The story practically writes itself and never meanders.
8. SUPER HERO
This is everything a Shake episode should be. Feeling the need to become a superhero, Shake spends the episode making a ton of bad decisions while refusing to believe he’s in the wrong. His actions are harmful to himself and others while at times making little sense to anyone but himself (such as his overly-busy superhero logo and black-on-black stationary). His attempts to make The Drizzle a household name do more damage than anything else and all come to a head with a final moment where his whole world has essentially collapsed upon itself and he finally realizes it. It’s 95% Shake setting himself up and 5% Shake being knocked the hell down.
Escalation can be everything at times and that’s what makes “eDork” a classic. Shake invests in a giant headset telephone when Frylock immediately points out that cell phones leave that product in the dust. Shake keeps doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on the technology by getting add-ons that are like what cell phones have, only more cumbersome and old school. Like having an early 20th century camera attached onto it. Carl, interested in using the phones to watch endless bestiality porn, joins in with Shake as their obsession goes out of control. It’s great because despite Shake being completely stubborn in his decision, he’s still smart enough to access the situation and tries to work his way out of it as long as it doesn’t involve simply removing the tech.
This episode has a bunch of gross stuff in it, like kittens being exploded in a microwave and a part where Shake eats Carl’s shit, but it builds into the hardest laugh I’ve ever had from this show. Due to some penis-enhancing machine, Carl’s poop is radioactive. Meanwhile, Shake keeps using the microwave to kill Meatwad’s pets (and his own pets by accident). All the dead pets from over the years, including a circus gorilla, rise from their backyard graves and try to kill Shake. When Frylock and Meatwad try to get them to leave because the ape is trying to spread the virus (which can be done via saliva, blood, and unprotected sex), Shake puts the kibosh on it. As he points out, these creatures are offering FREE SEX and Frylock wants to turn them down. Yes, Shake is so sexually frustrated that he’s willing to become a zombie and bang a decaying gorilla just because it’s sex and it counts. I love it.
5. TOTAL RE-CARL
This episode’s so brilliant from start to finish that I barely even know where to begin. Frylock’s outdoor toilet invention accidentally sucks in Carl during the flush, tears his body to pieces, and leaves only a head. The remainder of the episode is based on trying to find a replacement body for him. The only thing I can say against it is that as great as the second 2/3 are, it doesn’t compare to the setup where Frylock tries to convince Carl to take a dump in the middle of his lawn while the others watch, as well as a passing bus full of children. It’s also mentioned that the Aqua Teens don’t have a bathroom in their home and have simply spent years peeing on a pile of clothes in the hallway. That sounds about right.
Shake comes across an irresistible, yet cursed, sandwich that transports him to some demonic plane whenever he devours some of it. I mean, even if it wasn’t magically irresistible, Shake’s the kind of guy who lacks the common sense to not eat it anyway, so he’s doubly doomed. There’s a lot to love here, mainly the banter between the sinister, omnipresent voice that represents the Broodwich and the Aqua Teens. That whole dialogue where they discuss Frylock reading Vogue kills me every time, as does Meatwad – who has had very little involvement in the episode – randomly referring to this as the worst day of his life.
The ending is so good because it goes too fast for you to really notice how none of it makes any sense. Why does the Broodwich (or those associated with the Broodwich) want Shake to marry a skeleton? If Shake realizes that something’s up with the free brain surgery, how did it even happen? No time to think about any of that! Shake’s got an axe in his head in a differently-drawn dimension of massacre! Roll credits!
3. GEE WHIZ
There is so much going on, it somehow all comes together, and it all rules. There’s a billboard for a gun store that looks like it has Jesus’ face on it. Meatwad visits it and becomes pregnant through what appears to be divine intervention. Shake tries to disrespect the billboard and is attacked with fiery arrows from the sky. There’s a lot of talk about television standards and practices, which means they have to describe Jesus as “Gee Whiz” and explain that he’s the guy who looks like Ted Nugent. It’s completely batshit, yet makes sense with its own febrile logic. That, and the part where Meatwad claims his water broke has some amazing comedic timing.
You already have a gimmick that can sell itself: an entire episode where everyone talks about dicks and only refers to them as “dicks.” Luckily, they’re able to completely fulfill any potential in that concept by making such a funny and surreal episode to support the idea. As part of giant penis alien Mr. Wongburger’s plot to return to Dick Planet, Carl peels off a game piece on his fast food drink cup to discover that he “won” having his dick ripped off. What follows is nothing but stupid/wonderful jokes existing for the sake of saying “dick” an extra lot and separate, clever jokes about the situation. There are plenty of gimmicky episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force that aren’t all that brilliant once you get past the basic premise, but this one nails it by expertly mixing great gags and cheap gross-out humor.
Oh, and Master Shake eats a penis. Just for the sake of having a scene where Shake eats a penis.
1. REVENGE OF THE MOONINITES
This is the eighth episode of the show. The seven before it are all on the list and they’re all good. It’s just that this is the instance where I was not only certain that Aqua Teen Hunger Force was for me, but that it deserved to last a long, long time. The Mooninites return to Earth and take Meatwad under their wing as they cause havoc. The first half is solid, but forgettable compared to what follows as they earn enough arcade tickets to buy themselves the Foreigner Belt: a belt that gives you powers based on all the song titles of the rock group Foreigner. Not only do they get a lot of juice out of this concept, but it’s completely awesome when Carl stands up to the Mooninites and gives them a taste of their own medicine.
This is the moment where Carl went from being a supporting character to earning his spot as one of the real stars of the show. It’s also when I decided I should probably listen to more Foreigner.
Don’t you judge me.
So what episodes do you feel are missing from the list? Do you think I ranked some too high or too low? Was the porridge just right? Sound off in the comments!