Thursday, February 07, 2008

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Volume 5

So a few days ago I get contacted by the m80 marketing firm, who are doing publicity for the latest AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE DVD set. They offer to send me a copy in exchange for posting a promo video, I decide to do one better and actually review said copy- fortunately I also had a good excuse to post one of the videos (see last post.) So, while I don’t normally review TV shows on DVD, I’ll give it a shot.

AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE Volume 5 consists of 14 episodes from just before the movie was released (the last two are a two-part special hosting scenes cut from the film.) A weird period even for this show, it’s a season with its ups and downs; I remember it getting a bit of criticism at the time, at least in early episodes, and while the first couple were shaky it did regain its footing quickly. More importantly, the worst episodes here are still enjoyable, and the set has lots of extra silliness as well.

We start off with “Dirtfoot”, in which Master Shake throws himself down a well in order to meet women, and “Boost Mobile” in which Shake gets an endorsement deal with a mobile phone company, which means inviting a giant talking mobile phone over and basically annoying everyone with it. Both solid entries. “Dickesode”, in which Carl loses something very personal to him as part of a fast food contest, was notable when broadcast for the optical censorship of, well, several thousand or so (unattached) dicks, and the episode is available here in broadcast or uncensored version. It’s basically a whole lot of dick jokes, some better than others, and the visual of thousands of dicks being piled together in an attempt to make some kind of dick-spaceship for King Dick to pilot back to the dick homeworld has... an unusual surreal effect, even for this show. “Hand Banana” and “Party All The Time” are squarely in the “okay, not great” category, but “Bart Oates”, in which Carl attempts to bootleg Giants merchandise and is visited in his dreams by the legendary player (voiced by himself) gets engagingly crazy. “Global Grilling” is a kind of issue episode, but with snot creatures, and “Grim Reaper Gutters” starts out as a clip show, turns into something more Carl-centric, throws in a cameo by Tera Patrick (seen here eating a hot dog), and eventually gets around to something related to the title. “Moonajuana” features the return of the Mooninites, and though it’s not quite as good as their other appearances it has some good psuedo-pot humor. “Ezekiel” might be the best one of the bunch, a brilliant episode in which Master Shake discovers his long-lost “son” (voiced by Patton Oswalt) and spends the rest of the episode proving just how horrible a father he is. It’s brutally hilarious and probably focuses the most on the characters. “Antenna” and “Carl Wash” are both fun traditional episodes, while the two part “Star Studded Xmas Spectacular” showcases deleted scenes from the ATHF movie. At the time I assumed that this was actually material completely unrelated to the movie, but having seen the film in the meantime this does seem to tie into the plot somehow. The framing material, hosted by Master Shake and Meatwad, is pretty funny on its own as well.

Most of the special features are promotional, from the musical ads for the “Favorite Episode” marathon hosted by the creators, to a slew of material connected to the movie including the internet-broadcast premiere hosted by Space Ghost. There are also some psuedo-animated deleted scenes, an episode of “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” that ties into Carl Wash, some voiceover recording footage (including the aforementioned Tera Patrick scene), a promo for the Aqua Teen video game “ATHF Zombie Ninja Pro-Am”, and finally, “The Worst Game Ever”, a parody of bad internet/DVD/DVD-ROM promotional games- I couldn’t actually get this to do anything at all, so it may be a DVD-ROM thingy or else just a very good satire. Also, there are stickers.

ATHF fans should obviously have this in their collection, although they hardly need my encouragement. Generally speaking, it’s a pleasant few hours’ worth of surreal bad-taste comedy, some episodes standing out more than others, but all designed to pleasantly fill up 15 minutes (for certain definitions of the word “pleasant”.) The show’s been better, but on a less relative scale it still delivers. I say a solid recommendation for anyone into this kind of humor, though if you’re not sure you may want to rent or watch a few episodes first.

Grade: B

Order ATHF Vol. 5 here or click on the image above.

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