Tag Archives: adult swim

Jumping the Soapbox: Top 20 Episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Part 2 (10-1)

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Welcome back to my list of the best Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes of all time!  We covered some great episodes last time, but the best is yet to come!  Well, at least what I think is the best, but then I’m always right about everything and my opinion should DEFINITELY be taken as fact!  Anyway, let’s get to it!

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10) Space Conflict from Beyond Pluto – S1 E6

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Frylock establishes contact with alien lifeforms and is invited onto their spaceship to barbeque and share a six pack.  However, the nefarious Plutonians have other plans in mind once he arrives!  Not fully thought plans, but they tend to involve melting people!  Frylock, realizing that the life he’s come into contact with may not be intelegent, beams off the ship but not before Master Shake somehow finds his way aboard; giving the Plutonians a much less perceptive target to unleash their evil schemes upon!

As I’ve said before, the incompetent conquerors from Pluto are two of the best characters the show ever came up with and this first appearance of them is one of the high points of the entire series.  It’s not just great for establishing the Plutonians and their shtick with the show concept being the melting room which also serves as some sort of holo-deck for Master Shake to explore the wonders of a sea filled with pizza as well as a horse’s anus, but it’s also a fantastic Master Shake episode on top of that with the scam he tried to pull on Carl being sharply written and laugh out loud funny.  The only thing I can say negatively about this episode is that it is in fact an early episode of the series and is at a point where Carl didn’t quite sound right which is a bit distracting, but other than that it’s a great deal of fun and a wonderful introduction to these villains.

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“Pepperoni!?  I wanted pineapple!!”

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Jumping the Soapbox: Top 20 Episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Part 1 (20-11)

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Aqua Teen Hunger Force and all the images you see in this editorial are the property of Adult Swim

If you were growing up right at the turn of the millennium, Cartoon Network was probably as influential to you and your taste in entertainment as YouTube is to everyone else nowadays.  The ingenious thing about that network is how seamlessly it managed to keep its audience intact for YEARS after you’d think they’d drop off simply for having such good transitional programming for those who were getting older.  It started with Toonami which brought anime and somewhat serious drama for those who were getting tired of silly stuff that the likes of Gendy Tartakovsky, Craig McCracken, and Maxwell Atoms were churning out (not to say those shows weren’t substantive; just that tweens aren’t exactly looking to those kind of shows to feel grown up), and then it led seamlessly to Adult Swim which had the naughty shows on that you craved when you were getting old enough to stay up that late.  The greatness of Adult Swim and its monumental effect on animation really cannot be underestimated, and while it’s shine has faded somewhat in recent years, we’re gonna reach a point where it’ll end up with a whole generation of animators inspired by those shows the same way that many of the creators OF those shows were inspired by Warner Bros, the Fleischers, or even Ralph Bakshi.  I really could go on about Adult Swim and so many of its shows, but today  we’re talking about probably its most enduring creatin; Aqua Teen Hunger Force.  Now sure it wasn’t among the FIRST run of series for Adult Swim (it’s somewhat a spinoff of Space Ghost Coast to Coast), it’s one of the shows that gave the programming block its identity and made it a cultural phenomenon.  In fact, it’s such a massive series with so many great episodes under its belt that I couldn’t simply make a list of the ten best episodes of the series!  No, I had to do TWENTY, and we’re gonna start with the first half that list right now!!

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20) Bible Fruit – S5 E9

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Frylock makes some new friends online and invites them over to the Aqua Teen house.  When they arrive however, he is surprised to learn that not only are they fruits but  that they have a dark past that they are trying (and failing) to overcome.

What better way to start this off than with the most disturbing fruit since those Claymation California Raisins?  In an episode that’s actually quite ahead of its time considering Sausage Party wouldn’t come out for another eight years, this hilarious and often unsettling episode looks at three fruits compensating for their problems with drugs and alcohol by having faith in a higher power.  Now the big guest star here is David Cross (along with Kristen Schaal and H Jon Benjamin) under the pseudonym Sir Willups Brightsly Moore who previously had a guest spot all the way back in season one as Happy Time Harry in the episode Dumber Dolls.  While that episode is really good and was just barely cut from this list, I feel that Cross’s performance as Bert Banana in this one is by far the better of the two.  He may have done a great job as that sad and useless piece of shit Happy Time Harry in Dumber Dolls, but the character didn’t have much depth to him and so Cross’s performance is somewhat one note.  Here, he’s given SO much more material to work with as someone TRYING to hold it together but is quick to succumb to his worst instincts.  Now I’m not sure if Cross himself has a history of alcohol dependence (his first book is called I Drink for a Reason which may just be titled that way for a goof), but his feelings on religion have been made VERY clear in his standup comedy and it almost feels like the role was written with him in mind because of that.  It may not be for everyone as making light of people with SERIOUS addition is not the kind of humor that everyone can enjoy, but it’s easily one of the best episodes with a prominent guest star and manages to find that right balance between tragedy and hilarity.

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“I did THREE of those God Damn chipmunk movies!  I’VE EARNED THIS, right Mr. Wrench!?”     “That’s right Mr. Banana!!”     “Burt, you’re talking to yourself again.”     “You know what will help with that?”     “Is it booze-”     “GET THE BOOZE!!”

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An Open Letter to Adult Swim/Toonami

Dear Adult Swim/Toonami:

     Bringing back Samurai Jack turned out to be a pretty fantastic idea. It was an even better idea to allow this to happen by bringing in Genndy Tartakovsky instead of simply taking the rights of the show (owned by Cartoon Network) and hand them to some kind of mercenary with no real understanding of what the show is or what made it interesting in the first place. I think we can all agree that it was a success all around. Critics loved it, fans loved it (except for that one or two things here and there) and the ratings were pretty terrific. I believe I speak for plenty when I say that this is a new standard for what it means to successfully re-boot a long dormant series (Yes, I know calling it a re-boot is a bit inaccurate given that it’s a continuation of the series that Mr. Tartakovsky had always intended to deliver one way or another, but that’s a bit beside the point). It managed to stay faithful to the original series while expanding our understanding of it in exciting, unexpected ways. You have my gratitude, as well as that of many, many fans because of this.

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Samurai Jack: A Retrospective

    It’s only been a week, yet I’m still processing the fact that Samurai Jack is over. That his big comeback has left us as soon as it arrived, and in its wake, it left something spectacular: a revival of a beloved TV show that remains true to the spirit of the original while updating it in all the right ways. Outside of the recent comeback for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this, but even then, the evolution of Samurai Jack is one less of superficial style (all in all, it’s the same), but rather a narrative one. In recent memory, when you see a franchise get a new life, you expect it to draw inspiration and some basic building blocks from its predecessors, but other than that, it feels like a totally different creation. Sometimes that new direction is for its benefit, such as what Marvel Studios has been doing with its movie adaptations. Other times, you end up with something like the live-action Transformers movies. Still, this comparison feels inaccurate. Samurai Jack 2017 isn’t just a revival or a re-adaptation, it’s a continuation of the show’s original continuity with the intention of wrapping up a story that was left open-ended. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve reviewed each episode, covering the in-the-moment developments as they were presented to us. I feel like I’ve covered plenty of ground regarding the show’s evolution and sense of theming, but now that it’s all said and done, we can see how far we came and take a look at the season as a whole so we can appreciate what made this conclusion of Jack’s story such a success. But first, we must take a look at what came before…

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Samurai Jack Season 5 Episode 8 Review (XCIX)

    So now that Jack is back to “classic” Jack as of last episode, having wrapped up his arc about re-discovering himself and coming to terms with his past mistakes, one has to wonder how the rest of the season is gonna play out. Will it be the more traditional structure of the original, episodic run or will we still get to see new developments for Jack before he reaches his final showdown with Aku? Turns out the answer is a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B. This week’s episode might be the most straightforward one we’ve had all season, and the most reminiscent of the first four seasons: the story is driven primarily by action and set-pieces as Jack and Ashi fight a new enemy along their journey to defeat Aku. Even so, it manages to throw in elements that tie into both heroes’ overarching story…

… and oh man is it a doozy.

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