Aqua Teen Hunger Force is one of the strangest shows to grace the alternate television universe know as Adult Swim. ATHF started out as a short addendum to the legendary Space Ghost Coast To Coast, but was quickly picked up as a series in its own right. The incredibly surreal show is now the longest running original program on Cartoon Network.
The premise (such as it is) concerns the adventures of three living, human-sized food items, and their south New Jersey neighbor, Carl. The McDonald’s style box of french fries is the nominal leader, Frylock. His two companions are a large milkshake named Master Shake, and a big ground-beef meatball who calls himself Meatwad.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 7 consists of 11 episodes from seasons six and seven, plus bonus material. The most noteworthy of the 11 programs is “The Last One Forever And Ever.” This was the grand finale of season six, and was done as a live-action show. Rapper T-Pain plays Frylock, Jon Benjamin is Master Shake, and Dave Long Jr. portrays Carl. Meatwad is a big, red, talking medicine ball.
Although the episodes are short (11 minutes), ATHF packs in so many bizarre and sometimes baffling plot twist and situations that it's still very hard to keep up. “Rubberman” is a good example. The Aqua Teens live in a pretty rundown neighborhood, and find a plethora of used needles, condoms, and crack pipes around. Frylock gets the bright idea to build a duck out of the discarded items. When he tops his creation with a magic lamp, it comes to life. They dub their new friend Rubberman, but given the items he was made out of, this duck turns out to be pretty evil. He gets Meatwad to help him on his rampage, and even manages to appropriate Carl’s arms.
This episode has been billed as the most violent ATHF ever, and it may very well be. By the way, the Rubberman theme song is absolutely hilarious, and is the subject of one of the bonus features.
Then there is “Der Inflatable Fuhrer." In this one it is revealed that Adolf Hitler’s soul was transferred into a balloon, and that he has an army of balloon soldiers ready to resurrect the Third Reich. It is up to our heroic foodstuffs to save the world, which they do in a most unlikely fashion.
Rounding out the DVD is a highlight of season seven titled “Eggball.” This is another one that basically makes no linear sense, but is supremely enjoyable regardless. The basic plot sees Master Shake building a pinball machine which runs out of pinballs. The gang then travel to the appropriately named Death Island to collect golden pinball eggs from flightless birds. This is a lure concocted by the birds to entice unwary travelers to the island, where they are to be killed.
Besides the Rubberman song, the bonus section includes a behind the scenes look at what it took to reproduce ATHF as a live action show, as well as a profile of Dave Long, who played Carl in the episode. There is also “Terror Plane II: The Legend Of Rakenstein,” a sequel to “Terror Plane,” which appeared on Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 6.
ATHF is on Adult Swim for a reason — the language and violence make it inappropriate for little kids. The uncensored DVD is even more graphic. But for those who enjoy surreal and boundary-busting animation, ATHF is well worth checking out.