Monday, September 29, 2008

Number one in the 'hood, G.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If you're looking for well constructed plots, sympathetic characters and a feel-good message with strong Christian overtones ... you've got the wrong cartoon about anthropomorphic foodstuffs.

And don't let the name fool you - the characters are neither aquatic nor teenagers. Lately, they don't even fight crime. Originally conceived as a segment on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the Aqua Teens were only ever allowed their own series because Cartoon Network was desperate for original programming. Execs fully expected the show to fail. Five seasons, a major motion picture, and a huge cult following later they must realize that the Aqua Teens are here to stay.

But I can't mention the ATHF movie without mentioning the Boston Bomb Scare. As part of a "guerrilla marketing" campaign, LED displays of Ignignokt the Mooninite (one of the show's few recurrent villains) were placed around several cities. They had been up for several weeks before someone decided they must be part of a terrorist attack. To apologize, Turner Broadcasting paid the Boston PD $2 million and the Cartoon Network general manager stepped down. Whoops.

Yes, he's flipping you the bird. Deal with it.

Setting aside their poor advertising choices, I love ATHF because it's so character-driven. Entire plot lines will be abandoned, just to fit in more dialogue. In a live-action show this would bug the crap out of me. In a cartoon (and with ATHF's hilarious writing) it's pure genius. You really get to "know" each character, and their personalities play against one another brilliantly.

Plus, the show has a deranged, incontinent, eight-foot-tall spider named MC Pee Pants. How can you go wrong?

No comments: