Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Top 20 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Episodes (20-11)

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is perhaps one of the weirdest things to come out on TV. Sure cartoons are known for their bizarre nature, but they are usually kept rooted by their narrative or demographic. Aqua Teen, on the other hand, loosely ties everything together to revel in a modernization of absurdity which I like to call neosurrealism. This particular brand of neosurrealism is a by-product of channel surfing, stoner comedy, and every single non-sequitor in Western animation to date mixed in with a urban and contemporary paint-job. It follows the story of a mostly noble box of fries (Frylock), a total jerk of a milkshake (Master Shake) and a child-like meatball (Meatwad) who get themselves and their seemingly only neighbor: a misogynistic, perverted, sports-obsessed boozehound (Carl), into all sorts of madness. The heroes are incompetent and the villains are more treated as annoyances or delinquents. The show is a continuity defiler, as inconsistencies run rampant, especially since it starts with a cold open involving Dr. Weird, a nucking futs scientists and his assistant, Steve. Recently they've gotten to the habit of changing the title of the show, as well as the opening, but whatever you see in the opening will not reflect at all what you are about to witness. And to top it all off, it's as cheap as a Hanna-Barbara production. But by god, it was the first stepping stone in creating the [as] that we know today and it's just a ton of fun. So I've decided to count down my favorite 20 episodes. Why 20? Because the show would stop at 100 but since they go for half the time, I have to count 20. SO LET'S GET THIS BALL ROLLING.

20. Chicken And Beans

Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 had already come by to show the shift in style that the show had gone with, which really only amount to a better use of animation allowing for some interesting set-pieces and gimmicks to emerge. Aqua Something You Know Whatever was no different, but it had quite a hilarious selection. This one is certainly no different. Meatwad becomes a musician and invites Carl to a gig in which he sings a song about chicken and beans being his favorite dish. Carl only comes for the beer that Frylock can pay for with the credit card, but Meatwad is at least happy he got someone invested. At the gig, Master Shake tries to make Meatwad choke when singing the song which prompts Meatwad to puke over Carl out of nervousness, making him feel like he blew his chance at being a big shot. Being the tactful friend that he is, Master Shake shows Meatwad a video he posted online of the botched gig, but then it's revealed that the views are astronomical. Meatwad becomes a complete sensation which prompts his ego to elevate itself and causes Master Shake to try and out-do him with a cover of Big City Nights called Bruschetta Nights.

One thing that makes the episode is the songs that are played throughout. Chicken And Beans is pretty much a mockery of white-guy-on-acoustic-guitar songs which only end up getting big for their sound rather than their content. Bruschetta Nights is equally as absurd but Master Shake tries so desperately to become a big hit with the constant exposure of it. The first gig is a great part as you have Carl shouting compliments simply because he's getting alcohol out of the deal, Meatwad talking about a dream and Master Shake jeering Meatwad and coming up with quips when Frylock tells him to stop. Meatwad's egotistical attitude is great as well because it still keeps his character's maturity in check but elevates the jerkiness that he rarely ever plays. It's even better when he gets confronted by Frylock as he eventually reverts back to his old self.

19. The Last One

As previously mentioned, the villains in the show are a complete joke or simply inconveniences in the lives of the Aqua Teens. The Last One makes full awareness of this fact as the Mooninites (probably the most famous characters in the show aside from the main four) try to round up a plethora of antagonists so that they can come up with a plan to destroy the Aqua Teens. Most of the characters were pests to the Aqua Teens or to Carl but a few of them were just people that the Aqua Teens ended up "helping". To say it centers on their plan to bore a single screw into the Aqua Teens' heads (literally, they only have one screw which they dub THE SCREW OF DAMNATION) is about as laughable as their organization. While the Moonitites call themselves the leader, they generally muck about doing pointless tasks and attacking people for arbitrary reasons. They name themselves after the days of the week spouted by a giant robot rabbit aptly named Rabbot, and end up adopting a highway before they proceed with their plan. The way that all the characters bounce off each other with their attitudes makes for a wonderful clusterfuck and the anti-climax becomes all the more reasonable and hilarious as a result. As for the Aqua Teens, you only see them at the end but when they come across the leau

18. Bible Fruit

The show is weird, that's indisputable, but what becomes weirder is when they venture into a darker kind of territory in a somewhat straight fashion. Granted the show is all about blood, explosions, and crassness but at times it tries to get to get you with some uncomfortable laughs. Luckily the scenarios become so over-the-top and nonsensical with the choices placed that you can set it aside. Still, with that said, this episode was probably one of the only times I felt weird in an uncomfortable way. The episode centers around Frylock meeting with a group of born-again Christian fruits who hang out at his place. The leader of the religious group, Bert Banana, is a repressed alcoholic, drug and sex addict and domestic abuser who has a fiancee named Tammy Tangerine and a friend named Mortimer Mango. Bert is the showstealer, switching from a chirpy, faith-heavy Good Samaritan to a vile, paranoid monster. The whole situation is played for laughs and it's made well by how quick the shifts in attitude are as well as how the cracks of the persona fall down to cause havoc in the house. But the things that Bert ends up shouting and the way he treats his fiancee could very well be in a well done second-rate domestic thriller. By far the best part is just how Frylock manages to slink his way out of the situation and tricks the fruits with Master Shake as a distraction.

17. Last Dance For Napkin Lad

One thing that I was hoping to see from the reincarnations of the Aqua Teen was episodes that would semi-reflect the title. I know, how absurd of me to expect that in a show that pretty much doesn't follow itself from the start. But Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 was nice enough to give me this as a sign that it was thinking about the idea. The title opening is one of the best with the Aqua Teens being these badass cops that stop the previous bad guys to a rocking theme and some wonderful renditions of the characters in a better art style. Hell, if I wanted to ask for more it would be episodes that had the animation of the opening with it. But that's beside the point. The episode in question deals with the Master Shake and Meatwad being criminals, Frylock being a double-agent and Carl being a spy who has been tracking the Aqua Teens down to try and arrest the other two. Master Shake goes under the name Flint, Meatwad's Ryan and Carl is the alias of Lars, who in reality, doesn't wear a moustache. The whole confrontation deals with the execution of a "Napkin Lad" who causes Frylock to become entangled in a mess with Ryan and Flint.

Okay so maybe it's not the same premise as the opening but the action-packed nature is still there. It plays off as if it were an intense thriller with better animation gimmicks and all these twists and turns but they still keep to their tone by making nothing add up in the end. You end up asking a lot of questions that you shouldn't ask and you just have to be taken in for the ride. A ride that involves noodle soup recipes and flying submarine cars.

16. Hands On A Hamburger/Dickiesode

It's hard for me to pick which one of these episodes was the better episode to include one of my favorite characters on the show, Dr. Wongburger. For those of you unaware, Dr. Wongburger is a reasonably-educated and incredibly eccentric freak who becomes obsessed with the very thing he takes form of and changes his body constantly much to the chagrin of his family. His debut episode, Dickiesode, involved him running a restaurant where if you pulled the bottom of the cup, you had a chance of either winning fabulous prizes or getting your dick ripped off for his dick ship. That episode does one of the funniest and most suspenseful introductions to a villain and is actually a substantial threat when it comes to Aqua Teen enemies. The rest of the episode deals with Carl becoming a woman and then the Aqua Teens trying to get the dick back, both of which lead to some wonderful moments, but it's Dr. Wongburger who steals the show. Voiced by Tommy Blancha, Dr. Wongburger spouts such great lines as "I have an advanced dickgree in dicknology" and "They crave dick, as we all do" with a deep and disturbing voice that makes them all the more amusing. His minions are also a riot as they abide the mad man's demands.

Hands On A Hamburger on the other hand, mostly revolves around a contest where the last person to have their hand on a giant hamburger gets to keep the thing. Master Shake does his best to get everyone around him out of the game, all with hilarious tactics. Probably my favorite ones are when he gets a little child out by having them count on their fingers, trying to give another guy a handjob, and lighting someone's hand on fire. When it comes down to him and Frylock, he goes full throttle with the tactics which seem to get him nowhere as the seasons turn. It almost becomes futile for the battle to go on as the burger decomposes, but Master Shake is still hesistant. You eventually get the reveal of Dr. Wongburger when Master Shake leaves but not without his hand stuck on the burger. This makes Dr. Wongburger less of a crazy villain and more of a crazy man in general. While he's not as prominent as his debut, the episode still makes his appearance a complete riot. (Also if you're wondering why I didn't put The Creature From Plaque Lagoon it's because I don't think it was as great as these two)

15. Rocket Horse And Jet-Chicken

This is probably one of the only episodes, if not the only episode where there is a different animation style completely throughout the episode. And in keeping with the wonderful craftsmanship of the show, it's done a la kids' drawings. The episode centers around Meatwad meeting Rocket Horse and Jet Chicken, a washed up crime-fighting duo that take signatures at a car dealership. Rocket Horse has no positive words to say about his co-star and Jet Chicken is disgruntled by an operation done by a doctor who already warned him that he was drunk during the ordeal and that he was still forced to do the deed. The whole episode has a bit of an injokey feel as it seems as these characters that Meatwad comes across already have something established in a sense, but it's so much on the surface that you eventually ignore. What you can't ignore is George Lowe playing as Jet Chicken since he really captures that degenerate, disgruntled attitude that comes with someone that really doesn't care much for their craft...whatever it is. The whole experience passes off as a sloppy slippery slope which Meatwad's innocence doesn't seem to register and Rocket Horse plays a great straight-man to the maltempered Jet Chicken.

14. The South Bronx Paradise Diet

Here we have a simple sitcom-like plotline: Carl and Meatwad are locked in a duel to see who can lose more weight, with Frylock betting to buy Carl a case of his favorite beer if Carl wins. A basic premise like this gets a very interesting turn when  it turns out that Carl is losing weight with a special candy bar that ends up being parasites that turn him into an anorexic insect-like being and Master Shake is doing everything in his power to sabotage Meatwad's chances by playing to his weak will power. Meatwad is wonderfully inept at following through with the workout and makes a really good remark about how all the good food ends up not being good enough for you which many can sympathize with. It also gives a glimpse to Carl's psychology regarding working out in the sense that there's really no point in doing so if you're going to die anyways (that eventually becomes this gem of a video.). Really though, it's a very simple premise with some different takes that one has to see in order to truly enjoy it.

13. Revenge Of The Trees

If there's one thing that this show does really well is being able to escalate the absurdity of a situation as the episode goes on. With Revenge Of The Trees, not only does that happen, but the second half truly becomes the icing on the cake. The Aqua Teens have a Labor Day BBQ, with Master Shake opting to flash-fry an entire cow filled with all sorts of fattening junk in a giant fryer. After Labor Day is over, the oil is left outside the Aqua Teens' house to rot and Frylock demands that Master Shake take it to the proper recycling facilities. With the help of Carl, they dump the oil in the woods which then prompts Carl to get in trouble and Master Shake to be summoned twice to Wood Court. Wood Court is another prime example of their brand of a comedy of errors as the system is completely broken and biased and tries so very hard to properly incriminate Master Shake but fails completely miserably. The trees constantly yell how Master Shake is guilty and should be sent to Tree Jail or killed, using Carl's skin as notes but not really having anything properly down when the time comes for it. And crazier yet, their laws are written in a book which is made of trees which is exactly what the whole court is against. It is incredibly accurate to say they are out of order, much in the same way that an elevator is. The only difference being is that there's a lot more laughing and you don't have to be afraid that you might have to end up shitting in a corner if the elevator doesn't descend/ascend with you in it.

12. Space Conflict From Beyond Pluto

I'll be the first to say that I'm not that much of a fan of the Plutonians as much as everyone else is. That's not to say that they aren't really funny when they can be because if such were the case then I wouldn't have put this episode on here. I guess I only say that in comparison with the other space-based characters that are recognized in the show. As it stands though, their introductory episode is great filled with such bits as grilling watermelons, "one man's waste is another man's soap" and Master Shake entering a horse's anus and liking it. The chemistry between Emory and Oglethorpe is a great one as you have Oglethorpe being head-strong and brash and Emory being relaxed and just going with the plan as if he had nothing better to do. Oglethorpe's lines are made much better by the random inclusion of a German accent and how he just wants things to go his way despite his way not being properly planned out.

11. Mayhem of The Mooninites/Revenge Of The Mooninites/Remooned

Much like Dr. Wongburger, it's really hard to pinpoint a single episode that the Mooninites do really well in. In fact, there's a lot more Mooninites for this list to come, but for the sake of the final spot on this half, I have to give it to the first three central episodes involving them. Each episode has the Mooninites inexplicably arrive and disrupt the routine of the Aqua Teens. Ignigknot and Err are a wonderful pair of Atari sprites that act like know-at-all overloads who in reality are nothing more than petty thugs with relatively weak weaponry they hardly use. Each of the three episodes has the two of them trying as best as they can to get the better out of the Aqua Teens and being thwarted by Frylock's powers. The first one, Mayhem, has them corrupting Meatwad into becoming more thuggish, which results in the Mooninites showing off the powerful yet ineffective Quad Laser. The second one, Revenge, involves them using a Foreigner Belt that they obtain by conning Meatwad, which results in some great banter between them and Carl and ultimately results in Carl defeating them as opposed to Frylock. The third one, Remooned, has the Mooninites trying to cash in a check which is in reality a radioactive bill from their uncle. Each episode has their great moments as they revolve around what the Mooninites seek to achieve and the way they react to the Aqua Teens. One of the most noteworthy parts of these episodes is that most of the banter that stems from Err is improvised. It makes a lot of sense when you consider his hyperactive attitude being bounced off by Ignigknot's solemn snark. And probably the best part is just when you see Ignigknot giving the finger to Earth as hard as he can.

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