Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Written and directed by
Aqua Teen Hunger Force, sometimes abbreviated as ATHF, or known more simply as Aqua Teen, was an animated television series that aired on Cartoon Network's late-night block, Adult Swim.
The show is about three human-sized anthropomorphic fast food items named the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and their quick tempered neighbor having crazy adventures in New Jersey. The characters are Shake (a milkshake), Frylock (a box of french fries), Meatwad (a piece of ground beef), and Carl (an actual human being). The show has undergone lots of format changes, including the detective aspect of the show being wiped out almost completely. Continuity between the series is virtually non-existent, and every major character has died at least once.
Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad were originally created for a previously rejected episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast entitled "Baffler Meal." The episode was eventually produced after Aqua Teen Hunger Force became popular. Voice cast members Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro also are the co-creators and producers of the show. Keith Crofford and Michael Lazzo are executive producers.
ATHF is one of four original Williams Street series that debuted on Cartoon Network in December of 2000. Along with ATHF, other three shows included The Brak Show, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and Sealab 2021.
The title of the show is a decided misnomer: The characters have no major affiliation with water (though many episodes involve their neighbor's pool), they aren't teenagers (although their ages are never really established, it has been revealed that Meatwad isn't old enough to smoke or drink, however this has been challenged on multiple occasions such as Meatwad having been stated to be 37, Shake being in his mid-fourties and when Frylock is shown with Dr.Weird, the Doctor has brown hair and in the cold openings he looks like he is in his late seventies to early eighties which would align with their creation), and they are rarely shown as any kind of a force. "Hunger" seems to be the only word that has a bearing on the characters' lives.
In "Baffler Meal", their name comes from their mission to battle hunger in teens.
Starting in season eight, the title was changed to Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, then the title changes for every season for the rest of the series.
In the first two seasons, the episodes cold-opened with a segment showing the Laboratory of Dr. Weird. He and his assistant Steve use the first several seconds to unveil monsters, disasters, and random silliness. Many of these episodes open with Dr. Weird saying his catchphrase "Gentlemen, behold" to Steve and, sometimes, their Hispanic janitor Javior, and nobody else. In season 1 episodes, the openings usually had something to do with the episodes. As it progressed, however, they just started becoming gags in the episodes, having no use at all.
In the third season, a segment called Spacecataz was used. Spacecataz was originally supposed to be a spin-off series featuring the Mooninites and the Plutonians playing gags and pranks at each other. Obviously, the creators, Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis could not get a plot, so the Spacecataz pilot is seen occuring throughout the third season. The full episode of the pilot is available on ATHF Volume Four DVD Box Set as a special feature.
Since season four, cold openings were dropped for the rest of the series with the exception of Allen Part One.
In the United States, Aqua Teen Hunger Force airs exclusively on Adult Swim. In Canada the show aired on Teletoon At Night, Teletoon's late-night block and later on G4 Canada's ADd block. In Australia the show currently airs on The Comedy Channel and SBS2.