Western Animation: Aqua Teen Hunger Force
"Dancing is forbidden! It's mystery time!"A weird, crude, and often completely random original series from Williams Street Productions, Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000 - 2015) is a show which has nothing to do with water (save their neighbor's pool and the occasional beach trip), teenagers, or whatever a "hunger force" is, and instead covers the adventures of three amateur detectives/superheroes (only for the first few episodes, though - the rest of the series has them reduced to bums; this is commented on at least twice later in the series) living in New Jersey. The Aqua Teens first appeared as one-off characters in a formerly unaired episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast (also a William Street production), but were eventually given their own show — with changes to their appearances and personalities.The eponymous "heroes" are Master Shake, a lazy, insulting, anthropomorphic milkshake who is the self-proclaimed leader of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force; Meatwad, a dim-but-lovable blob of raw meat who is frequently bamboozled, teased, and/or tortured by Master Shake; and Frylock, an intelligent box of french fries who is the extremely competent and halfway-morally-decent member of the force (except during his own moments of amoral behavior).Their "adventures" are usually limited to making each other's lives hell or doing the same to their next-door neighbor (a fat, bald, slovenly Joe Average named Carl) by borrowing his stuff or swimming in his backyard pool without permission. The Aqua Teens occasionally have run-ins with bizarre monsters or aliens who turn out to be more obnoxious than they are evil. The best examples are two sets of recurring nuisances: The Mooninites (Ignignokt and Err), two aliens from the moon with an uncanny resemblance to sprites from an Atari 2600 game, an unshakable belief that they are superior to everyone else, and a predilection for tobacco, alcohol, petty larceny, and flipping people the bird; and the Plutonians (Emory and Oglethorpe), two spiny, cone-shaped aliens with designs on world domination and nowhere near enough competence or common sense to pull it off.As noted above, the show is notable for a heavy dose of slapstick, surrealism, lots of Stuff Blowing Up, the Aqua Teens' belongings being destroyed (often through explosions), and stream-of-silliness dialogue. ("Ever since my son was...never conceived because I never had consensual sex without money involved, I've looked at you as a... a thing I could live next door to, in accordance with state law. [...] Whoa, let's not put people on the spot here! WHO ARE YOU TAKING TO THAT FRIGGIN' SUPER BOWL?!")For the first two seasons, the show featured teasers starring Dr. Weird, a Mad Scientist living in an abandoned New Jersey insane asylum (along with his long-suffering assistant, Steve), who may or may not have had a hand in creating the Aqua Teens (fans have long speculated over the meaning of a picture, seen in Frylock's room on occasion, that shows Frylock with a much younger Dr. Weird). While the earliest episodes of the series showed Dr. Weird revealing his latest invention (only for it to escape and cause mayhem for the Aqua Teens), later teasers had nothing to do with the episode that followed (compare the creation of Mothmonsterman to Dr. Weird ripping his own brain out over Steve not bringing him lunch...with the brain demanding fries and firing lasers at Steve immediately afterward). In the third season, the Dr. Weird clips were replaced with "Spacecataz", a failed pilot (split up into multiple parts) that followed the story of an escalating prank war between the Plutonians and the Mooninites. (The full, uncut pilot is an extra on one of the DVD sets for the show.) Episodes in the following seasons had no opening clips.After the seventh season, the series changed its name while the producers said they planned to reboot the series from the ground up and revisit the notion of the characters being detectives. As you might expect, the show didn't change squat: in each successive season past the seventh, the show received a new title and opening/closing sequence, but remained otherwise unchanged in terms of content. The name changes are as follows:
— Master Shake
- Season 8 (2011): Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1
- Season 9 (2012): Aqua Something You Know Whatever
- Season 10 (2013): Aqua TV Show Show
- Season 11 (2015): Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever
This show provides examples of:
- 65-Episode Cartoon: Parodied on their 100th episode, as it meant they would be make tons of money from syndication if they could avoid a monster that eats characters that hit this milestone. Since each episode is only twelve minutes, though, it takes two episodes to count as a single episode toward the syndication cutoff, meaning it would take at least another hundred episodes to reach the cutoff.
- Aborted Arc: The "Spacecataz" shorts were intended to be the first of a three-part miniseries, but the plans for it were cut short before the other two could be made. The full-length short was cut up for use as the third season's cold openings, but the season ended before they could get to the ending (though it's available in full on the volume 4 DVD).
- Actually Pretty Funny: In "Total Re-Carl", Frylock ordered a crate of spare body parts to reconstruct Carl's body. Meatwad gets into the crate and comes out covered in eyes, claiming he's Sean Cassidy.Shake: What the hell are you talking about!
Meatwad: Well, he was a Hardy Boy, and they were private eyes...and he had, like, ten eyes in his head...
Shake: (beat) Okay, I'll give it to you.
- Adaptation Distillation: The change in personalities from their initial Space Ghost Coast to Coast one shot, starting with Frylock being some sort of weird manboy that fit Meatwad better, and Meatwad being less idiotic (and a lot more depressed). Oh, and the voices. Can't forget the voices. (SG!Frylock had Err's voice, while SG!Shake had Ignignokt's voice and sounded very suave and sophisticated.)
- Adolf Hitlarious: The plot of "Der Inflatable Fuhrer", in which Adolf Hitler is reincarnated as a talking balloon.
- Aliens and Monsters
- Aliens Steal Cable: The Plutonians do this literally. They use the Fargate to run a cable cord into the Aqua Teens' basement, where they attach a cable splitter to the Aqua Teens' cable line.
- All Just a Dream: "Super Birthday Snake" and "Global Grilling".
- All Trolls Are Different: In the final episode of Aqua Something You Know Whatever, trolls must spend time perched anally onto a person's head for survival purposes.
- American Accents:
- Although the action takes place in New Jersey, Meatwad has a mangled Southern accent for some reason. Carl understandably has a Joisey-ish accent.
- Also Frylock sounds black, as pointed out by Master Shake once. "Come on dawg, you're into this. You're black. You sound black. [pause] Where are you from?"
- Amusing Injuries:
- Shake attempts to get out of military recruitment by shooting himself. Not only does this not work, even though his entire head was blown away, in the next scene his mangled head is attached to his neck by band-aids.
- Carl has this happen to him a lot. Him getting shredded by Frylock's eco-friendly toilet is just one of many examples.
- Anal Probing: Frylock indirectly offered an interesting theory as to why aliens may do this. When dealing with a Puppeteer Parasite alien that was controlling Shake, Frylock said it probably recycles its waste (it didn't). Therefore, one reason for anal probing may be that aliens lack anuses and are curious as to their purpose.
- And I Must Scream: The Broodwich sends you to to a hellish dimension where a guy will attempt to chop you to pieces with a giant axe. Oh, and the guy trying to make you eat it is really irritating. Probably more so than the prospect of getting chopped to pieces.
- Though some people spend their whole lives training to go to a dimension with H. Jon Benjamin.
- Animate Inanimate Object: All three main characters — and sometimes Dr. Weird's various body parts.
- Animesque: The season 11 opening is basically a parody of anime intros.
- Anti-Hero: Master Shake is one of the most vile, lazy, obnoxious "heroes" to ever walk the face of the Earth... and he's supposedly team leader. You won't find him leading anything, that's for sure. Meatwad means well, but is too stupid to be of any use. Carl is a gross, misogynistic slacker who verbally abuses everyone and drives an alternate self into suicide after talking him into abandoning his family. Even Frylock gets his asshole on at times.
- Anti-Villain: Most of the "villains" are more obnoxious than evil, especially the Mooninites. Or just really stupid...or both. The only villains that were actually threatening in any way, shape or form only managed to be considered so either due to dumb luck or by being uncharacteristically brutal in their methods...and even then, that didn't save them from being stupid/obnoxious.
- Anthropomorphic Food: The main cast.
- Ascended Meme: Shake saying Boosh in "Rabbot Redux."
- Art Evolution: Subtle, but as the series ages, more frames of animation are given to newly-introduced non-human characters.
- Art Shift:
- During "The Broodwich," to trippy, deranged, even simpler animation.
- Also during "Episode 100" when the show turns into a "Scooby Doo" parody. It's lampshaded and mocked to Hell and back.
- As well as during The Movie's Opening credits and the fight between Dr Weird and Frylock.
- The majority of "Rocket Horse and Jet Chicken" is the titular story and is animated rather badly and with crayons since Meatwad made the book.
- Asshole Victim: Master Shake. Inverted with Carl, as some of his Jerk Ass behaviour can arguably be traced to self-awareness of his Butt Monkey/Chew Toy status due to living next door to sentient fast food.[After reading Shake's suicide letter detailing his plan to mess with Meatwad.]
Carl: Fryman, I am so sorry that uhh... I can't press charges here.
Frylock: Yeah, me too.
- Ass Pull: In "100", Shake invoked it by name on Frylock's random 100-related ramblings.
- Awesome but Impractical: Mooninite attacks, which supposedly will disintegrate anyone and anything, move at a rate of a minute per inch. And can get swatted away. The only person they successfully attacked was Carl, and in the end, all it apparently did was teleport him to the Moon.
- Bad Ass:
- Boxy Brown: I'm just a WHAT, bitch?
- Y-You're the duke of New York! You're A-Number one!
- The Bad Guy Wins: The ending to "Broodwich". As a reward for passing the last temptation of the Broodwich, Shake is given a skeletal bride which he promptly turns down. The voice then says his real prize is free brain surgery and forces Shake to eat the picked off sun-dried tomatoes. He is sent to the other dimension and the episode ends with him getting attacked by an axe.
- Bait and Switch: See Literal-Minded.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Steve. Poor, poor Steve..
- Berserk Button
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Meatwad is abused by Shake a great deal, but will occasionally rebel - usually with disturbing results, as seen in "Super Model" and the endings of "Total Re-Carl" and "Carl".
- Hand Banana. He's loyal to the Aqua Teens, knows CPR, and can bake. Then he rapes Carl."Tonight... You!"
- Willie Nelson, the very polite monster living in the attic comes down asking if he has mail. The Aqua Teens think they can get along pretty good until he tears Carl's limbs off and proceeds to drink his blood. At least he was thoughtful enough to say 'oh sorry guys, do you want some juice?' and offering up some of Carl's blood.
- Beware the Silly Ones: The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future is normally a rather goofy robot that goes off on tangents that make very little to no sense at all as they go on. However the movie shows him as being perfectly capable of being a threat if he wants to be one.
- Big Damn Movie: The plot involves the trio trying to save the world from an ancient evil exercise machine. Not only do they and the rest of the cast get distracted, but the entire plot blurs into a whirligig of Ass Pull plot twists, with only Meatwad still caring in the end. In the DVD version, there is a second movie, the one not for theaters. There it is revealed to be: Meatwad, playing with toys. Which includes the Burrito mom. Also there is a milkshake. Also, Doctor Weird lives in the house, and Frylock is in drag. It is implied ALL Aqua Teen stuff maybe Meatwad playing with his toys, and making it up. Which, makes sense, in a disturbing fashion..
- Bigger Is Better in Bed:
- Carl (after admitting that he isn't particularly well-hung earlier in the episode) uses the shrinking/enlarging ray in "Unremarkable Voyage" on his...well, guess:Carl: Hello, ladies. I'd like you to meet my little friend there...Goliath. We had to order special elastic pants for him on the Internet.
- Deconstructed - now he can't move and giant crab lice are leaping off his tree-sized dick.Carl: Ah, they're harmless. If they get near ya, hit em with the shampoo.
- Subverted in the case of Meatwad, who was stated to have a huge "dick". That is, Meatwad turning into Dick Nixon. Ol' Tricky Dick. Who looks just like Wayne Gretzky. And is easily mistaken for Samurai Abe Lincoln.
- Carl (after admitting that he isn't particularly well-hung earlier in the episode) uses the shrinking/enlarging ray in "Unremarkable Voyage" on his...well, guess:
- Black Best Friend
- Boxy Brown... sort of.Meatwad: Frylock, I'm friends with a toilet paper tube, an apple, and a box. I'm crazy in the head.
Boxy Brown: Well! You gonna diss me, boy, diss me to my face!
Meatwad: Boxy, please, don't take it like that—
Boxy Brown: Well how am I supposed to take it, then?
- Frylock, maybe...Shake: You're black, right? You sound black... where are you from?
- Hilariously, Shake turns into one after an accident, and, as a consequence, turns far less assholish. Frylock changes him back because even he found it too weird.
- Boxy Brown... sort of.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Against Boost Mobile. See Take That.
- "Interfection" is practically one long Take That directed at Turner's (and therefore Williams Street's) then-sister company AOL (when the episode was first released, the parent company was called AOL Time Warner), including references to "Instant Pestering", billing plans that can't be cancelled, and a riff on AOL's slogan at the time ("It's no wonder I'M NUMBER ONE!")
- Meatwad: Standards and Practices? What are Standards and Practices?
- Black Comedy: The various gruesome ways characters on the show have died.
- Black Comedy Rape
- Carl's victimization by the title character of "Handbanana."Carl: See, you don't know what rape is like. For years, I thought it was funny. Oh, yeah, rape. It's so funny. Until you been raped.
- "All I know is... 'ball', and 'good'... and rape."
- And again in the 100 episode with the Velma Expy.Number 100: Well...can I at least take her into the woods, rape her, and behead her, possibly not even in that order?!
- It's later mocked when it turns out the entire episode turned out to be a pitch by Shake's voice actor, Dana Snyder. The Williams Street producers are not amused with the line.
- Steve's encounters with corn.
- Carl's victimization by the title character of "Handbanana."
- Bland-Name Product: In The Movie, one of the snack food musicians is a box of "Ice Caps" (the theater candy Sno Caps)
- Blatant Lies
- Shake is very fond of telling these, even when it is of no profit for him to do so.
- Meatwad has told his fair share in his occasional attempts at revenge on Shake.
- A rare example of Frylock blatantly lying occurred in "Super Birthday Snake," when Frylock repeatedly denies killing Shake, Meatwad, and Carl, despite that they have come back as zombies and are "living" proof that he did kill them. The episode "Fry Legs" has Frylock lying all over the place.
- Body Horror: Too many instances to count.
- Dr. Weird: I have genetically spliced the double helix of a fried pork chop with that of my roommate, Randall!
Dr. Weird: Hell yes, "whoa"! Come here, Randall...(lifts up porkchop-Randall)AND PAY YOUR HALF OF THE UTILITIES!!!
- Dr. Weird: My ass has finally decided to eat my hand! *crack* IT HUNGERS! For more...
- Another episode:Dr. Weird's arse: "GENTLEMEN, I AM DR. BUTTOCKS! Gentlemennnnn... WHERE ARE YOUUUUU..."
- Yet another episode, Dr. Weird's giant floating cannibalistic head.
- Basically, almost every idea Dr. Weird comes up with involving other people...and himself, considering that he tried expanding his body with barbecue sauce at one point.
- The entirety of "Total Re-Carl," the various new "bodies" Carl gets after getting annihilated via an experimental toilet, including a deceased elderly black man, one made entirely out of eyeballs, and a remote controlled dump truck.Carl: "Which button sorta turns me to the lawyer, and makes me sue the hell out of you?!"
- The one with the Egyptian magical T-shirt where Meatwad brings Santa Claus over and he gets set on fire, resulting in all of his flesh being destroyed, and he uses elf-crafted soccer ball fabric for skin instead.
- The episode where the Aqua Teens go on vacation where Carl and Shake get their own skin ripped off.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick
- This is your left, that's your left
This is your left, that's your left!
This is your right, that's your right
This is your right, you're gonna die!
- How about this one from the 100th episode:100 Kisses from the angels on my tummy.
100 Kisses from my Mommy when I'm crummy.
100 sins leave you dead within!
100 nails that pierce your skin!
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The episode "Gee Whiz". Special props go towards the ending (after Carl explodes, emitting a rainbow as opposed to blood - all thanks to Ted Nugent's flaming arrow)
- Frylock: "Well, I'm sure glad that it wasn't blood (turns to camera and gives a shit-eating grin), or I would have been offended out of my mother*HONK*ing [unintelligible].
Shake: (while looking at the screen and Flipping the Bird)'' Me too, you mother*HORN* *clink* suck!
George Lowe voiceover: (as a giant check mark comes across the screen) ACCEPTABLE!.
- Brick Joke: In one opening, Steve impersonates Dr. Weird, shouting "Fill me with BBQ sauce because I'm dumb as hell!" A few episodes later, Dr. Weird actually does inflate himself with BBQ sauce.
- Broken Aesop: Pretty much every damn episode ever. Example:
- Frylock invests in a new plasma TV...Meatwad: "But I thought you said TV was bad!"
Frylock: "It is...but we fu(bleep)ing need it."
- Meatwad's speech on individuality and equality...which is then punctuated with "if you're a Sasquatch, the rules are different."
- Frylock invests in a new plasma TV...
- Bumbling Sidekick - Meatwad and Master Shake.
- Bury Your Gays - Shake's short-lived roommate Dirtfoot. Literally.
- Butt Monkey - Carl has it just as bad as Kenny McCormick.
- The Cameo
- Glenn Danzig as himself in the first season finale. Hilariously, his animated counterpart is drawn to be a lot taller than Danzig actually is (ATHF!Danzig appears to be about 5'10 at the very least; the real Danzig is 5'4).
- Zakk Wylde as himself for "Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary".
- Cameo (the band) and Mastodon (as the food band in the beginning) in The Movie.
- Andrew W.K. - as himself.
- George Lowe, in multiple episodes as himself, or as other characters.
- Canada, Eh?: In the episode "The Marines", Frylock goes to Canada in lieu of joining the Marines with Master Shake and Meatwad, and ends up captive in a barn with "CANADA" painted on it, with, oddly enough, a Saw reference.
- Captain Ersatz: The debt collector after Shake. He's pretty much a talking Predator.
- Cargo Ship: Dr. Weird with a lawnmower. Dr. Weird: Gentlemen...BEHOLD! I have made love to this machine! And now, upon retrospect, I ask, WHY?!
- Carl Can Breathe On The Moon: And so can Frylock, apparently.
- Catch Phrase
- "Gentlemen... BEHOLD!"
- "X is forbidden" was originally supposed to be Shake's catchphrase, but it never really caught on. Same with "Dracula called and he's comin' tonight!!" (or any variation on that), however that lasted longer than the "X is forbidden" one, dying out somewhere in the first/second season.
- "Tonight!" is a favorite of Carl.
- THOUSANDS of years ago... (always accompanied by smoke, which is referred to as "smooth and menthol-y" by Err).
- The Chew Toy: Carl is either this or a Butt Monkey, depending on your point of view.Carl: I don't know if I believe in God, but...I think he must hate me.
- Christmas Episode: "Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future".
- T-Shirt of the Living Dead could be called one as well, as it involves Santa Claus and the team helps Santa deliver presents ( after accidentally summoning him and burning him alive). Though it should be noted that neither of these episodes took place around Christmas. The former was noted by Carl as February, and the latter took place "in the middle of fucking July" and only cut to Christmastime at the end of the episode.
- "A Public Enemy Christmas". For once, it actually takes place on Christmas. It also involves identity theft. And Eel Diarrhea for some reason.Shake: (stomach rumbles) "OOOHH! What did I eat in Chuck D's dumpster?!!" (eels explode out of his ass, killing him)
- "Mail Order Bride" takes place on Christmas as well, and it came even earlier than "A Public Enemy Christmas".Meatwad: *pretending to wake up after mistaking Carl and Shake trying to break into the former's house for Santa* "Shoot, that was a good sleep that I had!" [beat] "WHERE ARE THE DAMN PRESENTS?!"
- Clone Degeneration: In "The Cloning", the television that Frylock clones turns evil. Later in the episode, the Aqua Teens end up making George Washington out of dollar bills...who then gets shot in the face. Repeatedly.Frylock: "Ah, we should have cloned twenties. Jackson wouldn't have given a shit."
- An earlier episode spoofs the trope with a physically mutated and clearly failed clone of Shake. Not only are the clone's attempts to pass himself off as the original pathetically obvious, he also turns out to be much kinder and more rational than Shake, and Shake's friends actually like him better than the Jerkass original.
- Master Shake, Meatwad, and countless supporting characters.
- Every character except for Frylock can count as this. But special mention goes to the Cybernetic Ghost.
- Well, and maybe except Carl.
- Cluster D Bomb: Dickesode. In some syndications (and in the bumper for the original airing for the episode), there was a counter to show how many times the word "dick" was said.
- Cluster F-Bomb:
- Played for Laughs in "Gee Whiz." Also a Crowning Moment of Funny. (skip to 01:25)Meatwad: Whoa...boy I apologize. My hormones are going nuts! Now please.. if you would... Get the (elephant trumpeting) out of my way. I mean how many times do I have to gotta (fire alarm) write "ice cream" on this (rubber ducky squeak) list before someone gets his (horse neigh) in gear and brings home some (owl hoot) ice cream? Maybe I should get a STEAK KNIFE, and etch it in your mother(plunger thrust) forehead! HOW HARD CAN IT (squeaky toy) BE? ICE-MOTHER(drum hit)-CREAM! I guess that's the price I pay for living with two (dial tone) MORONS!
Shake: ...What happened to courtesy? Did it just... disappear?
- In Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future:Danzig: "Listen to me as hard as you f***ing can. The fucking robot came with the f***ing house and now he's fucking gone. If you see that mother—"
Shake: Yeah...uh, we'll tell him that.
Danzig: You f***ing better. If I find out he's over here I'm gonna be eating my cereal from the bottom of your f***ing skull. Verständlich?
- In a rare occurrence for him, Frylock dropped an almost disturbingly prolonged...everything-bomb when calling out the eponymous alien in Allen, Part 2.
- In the originally aired version and DVD release of Total Re-Carl, this lovely little paragraph can be seen on Fylock's computer when he has Carl's head hooked up to it: "Oh man, I swear to fucking God, Fry-man. I'm so fucking pissed right now. Oh, and by the way, I hope you enjoy your own shit, because I'm about to rip your motherfucking throat out, and shove it up straight up your ass, so that you have to fart to fucking breathe, fucker."
- Played for Laughs in "Gee Whiz." Also a Crowning Moment of Funny. (skip to 01:25)
- Colon Cancer: Lampshaded. The Movie was called Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters. The soundtrack added "...Colon The Soundtrack," and the video release added "...Colon For DVD" to that, in all cases spelling out the word "colon."
- Comically Missing the Point: In "Juggalo", Carl calls out Shake's lie about being offered the role of Thor by saying that Shake isn't Greek.
- Companion Cube: Meatwad's "dolls," Vanessa (an apple), Dewey (a toilet paper tube), and to a lesser extent, Boxy Brown (a box - but don't let him catch you hearing that). The latter is actually sentient.
- Completely Missing the Point: Dr. Weird finds an adhesive bandage in his banana pudding and asks for it to be removed, but when Steve says he can probably get it for free, Weird assumes he means the bandage, and not the pudding.
- Contest Winner Cameo: Adult Swim had a contest for the role of Carl in the live action episode. One of the participants was a girl...who actually wasn't too bad in her impression.
- Continuity Cavalcade:
- The Last Fucking One of 2003 has all of their previous Villains trying to kill them but instead arguing and dying for the entire episode. In the Scooby-Doo parody in 100, Dr. Weird, Handbanana, billywitchdoctor.com, & Willie Nelson are briefly seen in the haunted house. The Movie features many of the the "villains" making returns, with several having roles as prominent as the Aqua Teens themselves, and some of them in "blink and you'll miss it" cameos.
- Continuity Nod:
- In "The Last Fucking One", the brownie monsters end up adopting a highway, and call the villain group "CLICK CLICK CLICK...." This results in a sign with "This highway adopted by CLICK CLICK CLICK..." This sign is later seen in the Boost Mobile parody episode.
- The Power Puff Mall still has a Rabbot-shaped hole in its wall from the first episode.
- When Carl is selling the Aqua Teens' house to a couple, he warns them about the attic and brings up the fact that the Aqua Teens have no bathroom. Apparently, the pile of clothes they were using rotted through the floor, and they continued to use it, however they left pizza around it to cover up the smell.
- The first episode of the show's rename, Allen, featured a small appearance by Randall. And he's still spliced with that pork chop.
- The new name of the show, and location change to Seattle are nods to the episode "100".
- In the movie, when the Insanoflex destroys the Aqua Teens' roof, Willie Nelson can be seen crawling out, after being locked in the attic.
- Also in the movie, Balloonenstein can be seen in the clouds (blink and you'll miss it) when the shot pans up to the Plutonians after Frylock calls the number on the Insaneoflex "website".
- Control Freak: Frylock and Shake. The former is usually more grounded in reality; the latter is a leader in name only, however he still acts as if he's in control of everything.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Too many instances to count, usually involving Carl or Master Shake, but subverted because of the Snap Back nature of the show. Not to mention its just hilarious.
- Cyberspace: Involved an Internet "Wwwyzzerdd" (pronounced "w-w-w-w-izard-d") causing thousands of pop-up windows to materialize in the real world, filling the ATHF's house to the point where they couldn't even find each other.
- Deadpan Snarker: Frylock, Meatwad in his more lucid moments, and even then, unintentionally.
- Shake and Carl have their moments too, albeit more rarely than Frylock or Meatwad.
- Delicious Distraction: "The Broodwich" and "Lasagna".
- Dick Nixon: Meatwad thinks he's Abraham Lincoln. Or, Wayne Gretzky.
- Dogs Are Dumb
- Handbanana acts like this, so everyone will think Carl's just being nuts when he starts accusing Handbanana of rape. Barring his pastry mastery and knowledge of CPR, which the Aqua Teens still pitch off, thanks to those traits being written into their dog-making software. They only believe him when they see Handbanana and Spaghetti raping Carl...and then Shake starts jacking off (or whatever sentient cups without genitalia do) to it.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Oglethrope prank calls the Mooninites in the "Spacecataz" shorts. In a rare instance of success, he pulls off the joke itself flawlessly and immediately botches the explanation while still talking to them.Oglethrope: Hello, I'm looking for a Mr. Hunt, first name Mike. Get it? Michael Hunt!
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Steve mocks Dr. Weird in one opening, unaware that the Mexican janitor is trying to tell him that Dr. Weird's experiment actually succeeded for once. Dr. Weird's giant, disembodied head proceeds to bite off Steve's head...and causing Steve's body to fall forward, where the blood gushing from his neck explodes on contact with said janitor.
- It's also not a good idea to call Rudy the giant baby a "big gay baby", as seen in the season 7 episode "Eggball"
- Driven to Suicide: In the "Multiple Meats" episode, Shake chops Meatwad up into smaller and smaller pieces until he can't take it anymore, then asks Frylock to help kill them all. Frylock gets them all to start singing "Three Millions Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and tells Shake he's on his own before leaving. The Meatwad pieces spend the next 27 years singing the song, during which time Shake puts his own eyes out and chops his ears off. When they finally finish singing it, they decide to start singing again, prompting Shake to finally shoot himself.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe example: When Shake's VA, Dana Snyder, tries to pitch the 100 episode to the Williams Street animators, Nick Weidenfeld brings up the "Can I rape her and behead her? Possibly not in that order." joke (see Black Comedy Rape) in a tone like a "No. Just... No" Reaction.
- Dumbass Has a Point: See Oh Crap! below.
- Ear Worm: In "MC Pee Pants," Carl explains how it works In-Universe, taken Up to Eleven:Carl: "Which one of you guys has been playing "I Like Candy" for a frickin' week?"Frylock: "It was your other neighbors-"Shake: "Meatwad."Carl: "Y'know what? At this point, it doesn't matter! 'Cause it keeps runnin' inside my head and it won't leave unless I blow it out - with a bullet!"
- Early Installment Weirdness: For one thing, at the start of the series they were apparently some kind of private investigation agency. Much of the characterization, but especially Frylock, is noticeably different.
- The Eeyore: Happy Time Harry in "Dumber Dolls" takes this to absurdly dark extremes.Happy Time Harry: "You know, sometimes... I like to take this knife and just... cut myself. See how hard I can do it before I just...pass out, y'know?"
- End of Series Awareness: Parodied in "100".
- Epic Rocking: Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary, an epic "happy birthday" song featuring guitar by Zakk Wylde and Geddy Lee (actually Matt Maiellaro) providing lead vocals.
- Even Evil Has Standards Or more like Shake does. He and Meatwad are shocked that Frylock has taken a job that entails putting poison gas in children's birthday balloons. Frylock is quick to scoff at Shake's sudden possession of a moral compass.Shake "See? it's unethical, it's immoral, I have standards"
- He also seemed genuinely horrified when Meatwad implied that he was molested by a security guard in "Star Studded Christmas Spectacular Starring Rhon Geremi".
- Evil Tastes Good: The Broodwich.
- Explosive Decompression: Most obvious in Spacecataz.
- Eye Beams: Frylock.
- Eye Scream:
- The episode "Laser Lenses." Nuff said.
- What everyone not Master Shake does to Master Shake's eyeball in Unremarkable Voyage.
- Carl eventually has a whole body made of eyeballs. Moving or standing causes him considerable pain.
- In one episode, Master Shake and Meatwad decide to play indoor baseball with raw chickens (!), and they contract an absolutely horrifying case of conjunctivitis that gets progressively worse as the episode wears on.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong:
- Moth Monster Man may not be an alien, per se, but he laid all those eggs in Carl somehow.
- In the first episode of Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 Shake is "effed in the face" by an alien bug in a freezer tube. For nine years. And the bug itself looks like a wing-wong...
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Carl at the very end of "The Dressing" where he's confronted by a huge flock of Turkatrons aiming laser socks (yeah...) at him.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Unremarkable Voyage", which gets sidetracked after Shake keeps hijacking the shrinking ray for his own purposes. Frylock, Meatwad, and Carl eventually get back by going into Shake's brain and forcing him to beat himself to death.
- Feet of Clay: Most of the "villains" aren't as vicious as they seem though still disturbing. But the Plutonians... well, Frylock said it himself: "You guys couldn't take over a damn bowl of jello!"Emory: What, is that like an important place or something?
- Fist Pump: Carl pumps his fist whenever he shouts "Tonight!"
- Flipping the Bird
- The Mooninites (most especially Ignignokt) love to do this, typically after Frylock sends them running back to the Moon. In their first appearance, they try to get the ever-gullible Meatwad to do it, despite him lacking opposable digits of any kind.
- "I hope he can see this, Err, because I'm doing it as hard as I've ever done it before."
- Master Shake in several of the later episodes.
- Meatwad actually manages to do this in one episode, transforming into a giant fist and then raising and lowering the middle finger while near a busy highway.
- Carl flips the bird with both middle fingers during his "little brother's" soccer game in Aqua Something You Know Whatever.
- Fratbro: The "Frat Aliens" (Donkey Puncher and Skeeter), who are aliens that behave like stereotypical fratboys, except From Space. Their very names are lewd sexual terms ("Donkey Punch" means to punch someone in the back of the head during doggystyle coitus, and "Skeet" means to ejaculate on someone).
- Gainax Ending: The Movie, once the comically-numerous plot twists start appearing.
- Gargle Blaster: Sort of. Frylock makes beverages made of mustard, vinegar, and oyster sauce for Meatwad, hoping he'd vomit up a microchip. The first one failing, Frylock makes another, adding his own urine. Unfortunately, Master Shake grabs it, chugs it, and promptly vomits.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- I am Sofa King We Todd Ed
- Literally, with the first appearance of the Plutonians. Oglethorpe refers to Emory as a "scheisse kopf" (bad German for "shit head)." The Network noticed it, after it aired.
- In multiple episodes, most noticeably "Shake Like Me," African-American characters such as Boxy Brown can actually say "shit" uncensored. However, in a strange variation on N-Word Privileges, white characters get bleeped.
- Gigantic Gulp: In the notorious "Dickesode" episode, Shake gets a soda from Wongburger that's literally the same size as him. He claims he needs that much soda on a daily basis.
- Gilligan Cut
- As Carl is mutating into a giant clown:Frylock: Stay calm, Carl, I know what I'm doing!
Frylock: [outside with Shake and Meatwad] "I have no f*** ing idea what I'm doing.
- In Wi-Tri, early in the episode, Shake and Meatwad are trying to get Frylock out of his room. They consider contacting him by phone and ponder who has one:Master Shake: "Who has a phone? Hmmmm..."
[Cuts to Carl who's having a conversation with his mother on the phone. After a short while, it cuts back to Shake and Meatwad]
Master Shake: "Nah, I guess no-one. No-one owns a phone."
- As Carl is mutating into a giant clown:
- Gone Horribly RightDr. Weird: (triumphant) "Yes! It worked! I am one can short of a six-pack!" or "Yeaaaahahahaha!! Take it to the BANK, DADDY!!"
- Good Fortune from God: Parodied and Lampshaded to hell and back in "Gee Wiz." When Meatwad believes he is pregnant through, um, divine intervention, the gang throws him a baby shower. Carl, naturally, is skeptical and readily tells them so:Carl: Look, your baby wants a car, make him yank out a freakin' Lamborghini out of midair!Meatwad: I'm afraid that would be a vulgar display of his power.
- Great Offscreen War: The Lunar War was mentioned by Ignignokt, who's Uncle Cliff was a veteran of, in "Remooned".
- Ha Ha Ha No: Carl does this a lot.
- "Heheheheheh...yeah, we're not doing that."
- "Heheheheh, that's funny. Go ahead and hand me the phone so I can call the police."
- Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: Averted with Carl. In a flashback to Christmas 1968, we see Carl as a young boy and his hair is already receding.
- Helium Speech: Justified when both Frylock, Carl and Meatwad are shrunk down to a small portion of their size.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Everything Ol' Drippy did for Master Shake. (It wasn't appreciated, though).
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The three may qualify, but the main culprit is Master Shake. Constantly abusing his roommate Meatwad, racing and destroying Carl's car, and generally committing all sorts of mayhem and remaining indifferent of his atrocities.
- High-Pressure BloodDr. Weird: Gentlemen, chop off my head with such velocity that my blood will rocket through my neck and propel my lifeless body all the way to Phoenix!
Steve: Wow. Aheh... Eh, what's in Phoenix?
Dr. Weird: Why it's your momma, Steve! Get the axe!
- Homage: The Broodwich dimension is a tribute to the cult short "Rejected".
- Hostile Terraforming: Oglethorpe and Emory tried to do this in the episode "Universal Remonster".
- Humans Are Morons: The Mooninites believe that they are superior to Earth in every possible way; however, the logic and reasoning they use to enforce their position is very, VERY flawed. Truth be told, they're probably dumber than all life on Earth—human, food product, or otherwise.
- Implausible Deniability: Master Shake lives and breathes this.
- Incessant Music Madness: In the episode, "Multiple Meats", Shake splits Meatwad into several dozen pieces - each of which survives and becomes a mini-Meatwad. Frylock gets them to sing "Three Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall" (and then leaves), driving Shake insane and causing him to cut his (non-existent) ears off and eventually commit suicide.
- Informed Profession: In the beginning the trio were detectives. Lampshaded at least twice since then.
- Insane Troll Logic
- When wanting Frylock to grow Shake some "medicinal" marijuana, Frylock says no. Shake then responds with this little gem of logic: "I won't tell on you, we're roomies man! But if you don't grow it... I'm gonna tell on you!"
- Also, when a cashier at a convenience store refuses to cash a check for Shake, he shouts "Well I'm gonna sneak into your country, and do this job there, AND THEN NOT CASH ANY OF YOUR FREAKIN' CHECKS! How will you like that?! You won't! BECAUSE YOU'LL BE HERE!"
- Made even funnier by the fact that the cashier was American.
- From "The Shaving", while trying to provoke Willie Nelson (not that one), Shake hangs this little gem of a lampshade:No! Let's get down to it! What I say is very baffling!
- He then follows it up with a good minute or so of baffling pseudo-homophobic insults in Willie's direction. Willie's response is simple confusion.
- Instrument of Murder: Ignignokt and Err had the Foreigner Belt, a guitar-shaped belt that causes damage effects according to Foreigner lyrics.
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: The Mooninites and Plutonians, being the harmless villains that they are.
- It Came from the Fridge: "Ol' Drippy", a sentient fungal being that arose from Shake having left the kitchen in a messy state for so long.
- Joker Jury: Happens when Shake is called into Tree Court for dumping a huge vat of grease in the woods, then burning down a tree. Even his defense attorney is a shrub, who immediately squeals "GUILTY! GUILTY! MY CLIENT'S PLEA IS GUILTY!."
- Karma Houdini: Frylock in "Total Re Carl". As a matter of fact, Master Shake is KILLED in that episode in spite of being completely innocent of the central conflict and doing nothing in particular to deserve it.
- Master Shake in "Reedickyoulus" manages not only to get away with killing both HIS AND MEATWAD'S cats, but he also killed all their other pets the same way. Granted they do come back as zombies thanks to Carl's radioactive poop and manage to zombify him, though he doesn't see it as a punishment, rather he remains completely indifferent to his situation. The only thing really different about him other than the obvious zombifying is he develops a craving for brains and gay zombie sex. Plus he's virtually immortal, especially since here Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain doesn't work. Frylock ends up giving Shake exactly what he wants to get rid of him, a gay zombie ape party bus.
- Kill 'em All: "She-Creature" is the first episode to feature all 4 main characters dying.
- Kudzu Plot
- Parodied in the movie. The plot is extremely complicated, involving the revelation of how the Aqua Teens came into being, the fate of Chicken Bittle, what the hell Dr. Weird's deal is, the secret conspiracy of the Insano-Flex, and whether Frylock is a lesbian in a man's body in the body of a box of fries, but by the end, no one cares because of the insanely complicated plot.
- And by "no one" we mean the characters. A giant burrito claiming to be the Aqua Teens mom shows up for the first time ever out of nowhere at the very end of the movie and Meatwad is the only one even remotely excited about it.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In the episode "Super Sir Loin", Meatwad takes all the food in the house and sends it off to a rapper named Sir Loin, who is actually MC Pee Pants, who's returned from Hell again, including a duck ā l'orange that Shake was going to eat. Shake, of course, is not happy about that, and Frylock actually agrees with him.Shake: Do you know how much that duck cost!? HIGHER THAN YOU CAN COUNT!Frylock: I'm sorry to say this, but Shake is right, Meatwad. Charity is one thing. But this is getting way out of hand. I mean, WE don't have anything to eat now!
- Juggalo: In the episode "Juggalo". Features an appearance by Insane Clown Posse themselves.
- Lampshade Hanging: "The Cloning," among many other episodes.
- Large Ham
- Dr. Weird. Aside from being plain loud, his intonation is all over the place.
- The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future: "Thousands of years ago..." His variations for other holidays, as well.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The immoral actions Shake performs eventually come to bite him in the ass.
- Leg Cling: Parodied in the poster for The Movie.
- Leitmotif: Disco music plays whenever Boxy speaks.
- Limited Animation: To the point that on the rare occasion when Carl is given a proper walking animation, it looks out of place. Most of the time, Shake bobs back and forth, Frylock floats, Meatwad rolls, and for Carl usually they just zoom into the top part of his body as it moves across the screen.
- Literally Shattered Lives
- Carl in "The Clowning."
- Also happens to Dr. Weird in a cold-open:Dr. Weird: Gentlemen, BEHOLD!! My time-space contin-(freezes mid-sentence)
Steve: WHAT!!(beat) Uh, Dr. Weird?
(Steve touches the frozen Dr. Weird, tipping him over and shattering him into a thousand pieces)
Steve: See ya, later! Have a good weekend!
- Literal-Minded: Meta-example. Pressing "Play All" on the season 4 DVD literally plays all the episodes on the disc simultaneously.
- Long Bus Trip: On an Eye Catch that aired before the debut episode of "Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1", the creators told [adult swim] that the episode would be the last time that Dr. Weird and Steve would ever appear on the show.
- Loser Protagonist: The Aqua Teens and Carl: perpetually poor, unemployed, starving, unlucky in love, and generally unlucky in life.
- Luke, You Are My Father:
- Ezekial shows up at Shake's doorstep claiming to be his son. It's revealed later in the episode that Ezekial isn't his son, and is actually much, much older than Shake.
- "I'm four-thousand years old!"
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Weird.
- Made of Explodium
- Pretty much anything, especially when Master Shake throws it to the ground.
- Eventually justified when it's revealed that everything in the house has been destroyed and cloned so many times that the slightest contact destabilizes the molecular structure and causes it to explode.
- Made of Iron: In the movie, Carl survives having nearly every muscle in his body removed with a large hunting knife. In the same movie, Dr. Weird survives shotgun-style blasts to the chest from Frylock and being literally cut in half a short time later. He seemed rather nonchalant about the whole affair.
- Made of Plasticine: The Universal Remonster.Oglethorpe: You could poke him with a pillow and kill him.
- The Mafia: In "Working Stiffs", Carl hires Shake and Meatwad as hitmen to kill the leader of one. Shake and Meatwad, being who they are, fail the mission and leads the mafia to Carl's house, killing him.
- Mail-Order Bride: Carl and Shake try to share one.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin
- "Oh, [Handbanana]'s not a boy anymore. He's a man. BECAUSE HE JUST RAPED ME!!"
- Fun fact: the mermaid in Carl's pool has slept with everyone in the cast but Shake, as they explode from having a thousand mermaid eggs impregnated in them. Yes, including Meatwad.
- Media Watchdog: The entire episode "G-Wiz" is a huge Lampshade Hanging and Take That at these people.
- Medium Blending: The live action episode.
- Milestone Celebration: 100.
- Moment Killer: Overlaps with the Title Drop belowCarl: Truly they were...an Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Shake is driving a moving truck away from their old house...but he's not moving very far or very fast and there's a horrible grinding sound.)
Carl: YOUR EMERGENCY BRAKE IS ON!
Shake: Don't tell me how to drive, jackass!
- The sample of Shake's voice in the end credits ("Dancing is forbidden," spoken in the first episode) has been variously captioned and subtitled - even on the DVDs - as "dancing is forbidden," "dancing is stupid," "dance finger puppets," or "Danzig is morbidity."
- That last one is Hilariousin Hindsight, as the real Glenn Danzig appears in one episode to buy Carl's haunted and elf blood-soaked house.
- Mood Whiplash: Oddly enough, the episode where Frylock gets cancer. Even the whiplash parts are Played for Laughs themselves.
- More Dakka: Carl pulls this on a pair of robots who have been testing him (in more ways than one) and who are about to kill him. He tells them that he has a test for them: Count the bullets.15,943. Do more! MORE! They're like vitamins to us.
- Motor Mouth: George Lowe just can't seem to shut up during his cameo.
- The Movie: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters.
- Mr Seahorse: Meatwad somehow gets pregnant in "Gee Whiz" after randomly saying that he is pregnant in middle of a non-sequitur and attributes it to Gee Whiz himself. After an ultrasound by Frylock, it turns out the belly bump is filled with enough spider eggs to fill up the entire house when they hatch due to a spider laying its eggs in Meatwad.
- Mundane Utility: The Plutonians using a
StargateFargate to steal the Aqua Teens' cable.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Frylock in "Super Birthday Snake" after trying to free Shake & Meatwad after it ate them. He attempts to cut open the snake with his laser vision but ends up just blowing them all to gooey bits. One wonders why he didn't just use his fry-knife, which he uses later to dice up Carl, but maybe one shouldn't try to apply logic to this cartoon...
- New Job as the Plot Demands: The recurring character Terry has different jobs every time he appears; the only thing the jobs have in common are that they are all very illegal. His connection to Carl keeps changing, too; he's either someone Carl knew from high school, his cousin or someone in the mob Carl owes money to.
- New Season, New Name: To Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, in a sort of parody of this. And now the new season, "Aqua Something You Know Whatever". And now the newest season, "Aqua TV Show Show". And now the final season, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever".
- Nice Guy: Frylock, though he has his moments.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Lasagna" features a parody of the Sham-Wow guy, including his pointed hairstyle and earpiece microphone. He works for the Scam-Wow company.
- Averted with Boost Mobile. Tellingly, it's one giant Take That at the company.
- No Ending: Episodes frequently end abruptly and with little or no closure.
- No Indoor Voice: Dr. Weird.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Master Shake tries to commit suicide to mess with Meatwad by taking sleeping pills, dropping a toaster into Carl's pool, which is filled with piranhas, and adding a hose attatched to the exhaust of Carl's car.
- No Respect Guy: Frylock.
- No Talking or Phones Warning: In The Movie. Performed by Mastodon
- Not So Above It All: Frylock, when given the chance can prove to be just as bad as his peers. He even got some pretty harsh stares from Shake and Meatwad after killing off MC Pee Pants. (He got better. Kind of.)Frylock: Look, he was never gonna make it in the outside world. He was brutally insane. Besides, he was an eight-foot spider wearing a diaper!
Master Shake: Who am I talking to? Because I don't KNOW you.
- Oh Crap!: Shake's reaction after a replacement body for seriously-pissed-off Carl is a giant mecha suit bristling with advanced weaponry:
- Only Sane Man
- FRYLOCK. And even he has his occasional bouts of insanity.
- Carl may fit a bit better, and he's still pretty eccentric.
- Ol' Drippy is portrayed as the nicest, most sane character in the show.
- Major Shake manages some pretty normal conversations with Frylock during his episode.
- Willie Nelson seems like one initially until he turns out to be a serial killer.
- Once an Episode: Explosions.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The Chess Dragon,
- Overly Long Gag
- "Super Birthday Snake": The zombies of Shake, Meatwad, and Carl saying Frylock killed them, and Frylock denying it. Repeat variations of this for about a minute.
- Adult Swim's flash game, Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Worst Game Ever. A side-scroller with only one direction key and long stretches of nothing, interrupted by a harmless obstacle to jump over. The teleport key moves Shake all the way back to the beginning, and the Alt-F4 key...probably does your sanity a favor.
- Overly Polite Pals: In the episode, "Multiple Meats", Shake splits Meatwad in half with a sword. The two Meatwad halves survive, and pull an Alphonse And Gaston Routine going into the front door of the house - that apparently lasts for several seasons (as we see sun, rain, leaves and snow fall while they continue "after you"-ing each other), driving both Shake and Frylock crazy.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted with Major Shake, the Plutonian's "replicant" replacement for Master Shake. He only looks somewhat like Shake, but in a show this weird, you expect that everyone would just go along with it. Not so much: Frylock and Meatwad aren't fooled for a second.
- Averted in Super Hero - Meatwad immediately makes "The Drizzle" as Shake, despite "The Drizzle" being in silhouette in the posters - posters that depict a cup-shaped superhero. Another obvious clue - Shake is shilling "The Drizzle" and the gist of it all fits with his typical insanity.
- Paying in Coins: Carl tried to pay for a hooker's services with a giant jar of pennies, since there was nothing saying he couldn't. He gets knocked out a moment later by the Phlebotinum of the episode. The hooker leaves, dragging the jar of pennies with her.
- Perpetual Frowner: Frylock and sometimes Carl.
- Power of Rock: The Belt of Foreigner.
- In the movie Neil Peart's Drum Solo of Life.
- In the game, overlapping with Musical Assassin, the Red Electric Guitar. Which you get in a course made entirely of cake.
- In an intro:Dr. Weird: Gentlemen, behold! Are you ready to rock?
Steve: I- I'm ready to rock.
Dr. Weird: Then I'm gonna blow your hair to the back of this auditorium! 1-2-3-4! [Plays rock song]
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: After a few episodes, the detective premise was dropped in favor of the cast just plain dicking around for fifteen minutes.
- Reportedly, the only reason they had jobs in the first place was because an executive thought episodes would be too hard to write otherwise.
- Product Placement: "Boost Mobile." Subverted because the entire episode mocks the company and their service. It probably still improved the company's sales.
- Quarter Hour Short: As funny as fans say it is, most people would agree fifteen minutes is enough per episode.
- Reality Warper: Although it's limits weren't really tested, Meatwad became one when wearing Osiris' T-Shirt, and by extension so would anyone else.
- Rogues Gallery: The Aqua Teens have quite a few mainstay "villains" including The Mooninites and the Plutonians.
- Running Gag
- Anything thrown will explode (usually if Master Shake does it), and no one says anything about it. A very subtle acknowledgment comes in the form of Meatwad backing away in shock from cloned money as it explodes after floating to the ground after being lightly tossed.
- It was acknowledged again in "The Clowning" after Shake tried to throw a toilet brush on Carl's front yard but lands on their own yard. The Aqua Teen back away in shock when it exploded after a few seconds.
- They somewhat try to address this by saying the use of the cloner causes the objects in their home to be so unstable. Lord knows why they even bothered.
- It started happening after The Drizzle, where Shake rolls around in radioactive waste. Any variations where other characters throw things and they explode (if that even happens) are later in the series and a play on Master Shake's 'ability.'
- At one point, Shake knocks over the reclining chair in the living room, which then explodes as it falls onto their game console, which then explodes aswell, taking the TV it was plugged into with it.
- Rule of Three: Three roommates.
- Also in The Movie opening credits (and by extension similar adult swim bumpers) are parodied as first a shot of the Williams Street logo appears with ominous sounding music, both fade out. A few seconds later the same music and background fade in with "Presents" written in the middle, and these fade out. A few seconds later the same thing happens with "This Movie" written on it, which gets yanked off after only five seconds.
- Satan: Shown punishing MC Pee Pants' various incarnations for failing him.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Shake and Frylock have done this. Steve too, to Dr. Weird:Steve: (after orders to behead Dr. Weird, reads) "Await further instructions from talking hole in neck." (looks at Weird's corpse, tosses paper away) Uhhh, Screw that.
- Played for Laughs. The evil doctor Doctor Weird tells his assistant "Gentlemen! I have decided to lose weight... manually!" And he promptly pulls out a chainsaw and begins cutting away at his fat.
- Other instances include: removing his head, twice, once on his own and once via his assistant Steve; injecting himself with gallons of BBQ sauce and only realizing it's a bad idea about a second and a half before he explodes; doing something that turned himself into a giant head that spat laser beams; and various other things that can't even be explained as being done "For SCIENCE!"Dr. Weird: Gentlemen, BEHOLD! I have made love to this machine! [Points to a lawn mower.] And now, upon retrospect, I ask why?
Steve: I'm sure someone thinks that's pretty neat. So, uh, you do that for science? Or...
Dr. Weird: NO! It was free! And she was drunk, she didn't know what she was doing [Lawn mower cracks in two, revealing some sort of robot mower hybrid.] My METAL BOY!
- Master Shake tries to give himself a penis extension after Carl's cousin Terry refuses to. He just tapes a wiffle bat to his lower regions.
- Sentimental Music Cue: Parodied from time to time.Meatwad: Listen to me, Randy. It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside. Whether you're white, or black or sasquatch, even. As long as you follow your dream no matter how crazy or against the law it is. Except for sasquatch, if you're a sasquatch, the rules are different.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Almost all episodes amount to this to take advantage of [adult swim]'s 10-minute episode format.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ignignokt's uncle Cliff.Err: Is he alright?
Ignignokt: Cliff hasn't been "alright" since the Lunar War.
- The Powerpuff Mall that was featured in the first short, "Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins", shows up a few times. Craig McCracken returned the favor by putting ATHF on a TV screen in The Movie.
- The Fargate from "Universal Remonster."
- And now it looks like Oglethorpe actually did rip off somebody, or somebody ripped him off.
- From "Kidney Car":Carl (to Meatwad): Hold on there, Jeff Gordon, I am keeping the graphics.
- "iAmaPod" is basically a weird remake of Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers.
- "Juggalo" features an angel that flies using repulsor beams.
- "The Creditor" is an obvious spoof of Predator.
- The creature in Shake's cryotube at the end of "Allen, Part 1" is clearly the facehugger from Alien...but with a pompadour...and the voice of Steven Wright...
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis
- Carl, who usually gets the short end of the stick.
- He's less anyone's arch nemesis as it is that Shake is simply a colossal asshole to everyone all the time, and Carl simply is tired to terrible things happening to him whenever the Aqua Teens get involved.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The Mooninites, especially Err.
- Smoking Is Cool: As Err says, "We smoke as we shoot the bird!"
- The Smurfette Principle: The show's cast is 99.9% male. None of the very few female characters are ever named, and the few that don't end up dead by the end of the episode typically kill the entire main cast themselves.
- Snap Back: Many episodes end with Carl or one of the Aqua Teens (Especially Shake) being killed or mutilated.
- Averted when the Aqua Teens are stolen by a giant spider in the Sahara. Carl tries to sell the house several times, with disastrous results, but played straight: the house's new inhabitants disappear by the next episode, for Carl to get harassed again.
- Something Completely Different
- Sound Effect Bleep: The actual [BLEEP] sound was used extensively during the earlier seasons. Nowadays, it's mostly a fart sound, or an effect relevant to the episode.
- Space Whale Aesop:
- El Spanish O: Shake does it in "Remooned", when he thinks a convenience store clerk is Mexican. "Get back there-o and cash-o the check-o, amigo."
- Spinoff (Type 3): One episode featured the Bible Fruits, a trio of religious fruits who, despite their generally cheery disposition, are still battling a few "personal demons" of their own. Later, a series of shorts came out called Soul Quest Overdrive, which was basically the Bible Fruits morphed into sports equipment and with a Scottish soccer ball added for the hell of it.
- Stealth Insult: In "Freedom Cobra", Shake claims that every woman who isn't interested in him is a lesbian. Meatwad replies, "So basically, all women are lesbians?"
- Stock Footage: Earlier episodes make liberal use of scenes from old Hanna-Barbera cartoons (as per usual for Williams Street productions). For example, the exterior shots for the Dr. Weird segments come from two different Jonny Quest episodes created 30 years apart. Meanwhile, the cityscape BG seen in every episode, the street seen in "Rabbot", the black hole in "Balloonenstein", and the passing helicopter in "The Cubing" were recycled from SWAT Kats.
- The Stoic: Frylock
- The Stoner: "Moonajuana" had the Mooninites come off as this by claiming to have taken many hits of the titular drug.note They convince Master Shake, Meatwad, and Carl into using it with predictable results.
- Story Arc: Uncharacteristically for the show, it actually did play around with having a brief Arc for a few episodes. It involved the Aqua Teens' previously unintroduced landlord Markula, a gas leak, military spiders, and the Mojave Desert.
- Straight Man: Frylock. And he's not perfect either, even using his clone machine to duplicate money (To his defense, it was after Shake started doing it, and he would have used at lest some of the money to end world hunger... by starting a chain of family-style restaurants).
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Shake and his failed replicant refer to ordinary pipes are "amazing spage-age tubes".
- Stuff Blowing Up: As mentioned above.
- Stupid Crooks
- The Mooninites once stole their uncle's welfare check so they can cash it on Earth and go on a shopping spree... except the welfare check was actually a payment bill for home care and it emits radiation when it's overdue, which is two months overdue. Plus, they kept trying to cash it at a convenience store, even after the clerk clarified that such stores don't cash checks. And to truly show how stupid they were, on the way down to Earth, Err kept telling Ignignokt that the check was bill, but Err thought Ignignokt knew something about the bill he didn't know.Ignignokt: Why are we trying to cash a bill, Err?!
Err: On the way down I kept saying that this is a bill. Just figured you knew something I didn't.
Ignignokt: I did know something I didn't. But it wasn't that.
- That same episode begins with Igignokt spray-painting graffiti on a school, which Err quickly points out is just a rock.
- Their first appearance saw them stealing whole assortments of electronics equipment. They also encouraged Meatwad to swallow an entire rack of DVDs, believing he could then walk out of the store with it; Meatwad couldn't do this and tried to carry it instead, which sees him immediately trip the store's alarms while the Mooninites take the opportunity to escape.
- Emory and Oglethorpe attempt to defeat the Aqua Teens by replacing Shake with a replicate that fools no one, then videoconference with it while the others are in the room, watching.Frylock: Did they not see me sitting here?
Major Shake: No, I'm sure they did. It'll come to them later.
Oglethorpe: OH DAMN IT!
- The Mooninites once stole their uncle's welfare check so they can cash it on Earth and go on a shopping spree... except the welfare check was actually a payment bill for home care and it emits radiation when it's overdue, which is two months overdue. Plus, they kept trying to cash it at a convenience store, even after the clerk clarified that such stores don't cash checks. And to truly show how stupid they were, on the way down to Earth, Err kept telling Ignignokt that the check was bill, but Err thought Ignignokt knew something about the bill he didn't know.
- Suck E. Cheese's
- Pizza Potamus, in "MC Pee Pants" and "Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary".
- Wong Burger's. One out of every three customers will get their dicks ripped out. It doesn't get much suckier than that.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Frylock - see Straight Man.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Dr. Wongburger is one for MC Pee Pants.
- Take That:
- Boost Mobile once had Master Shake dressed in ghetto bling for [adult swim] eyecatches on Comcast On-Demand... and then there was an episode dedicated to mocking Boost Mobile, killing some irritating sentient cellphones from said company, and Master Shake getting killed by the overdemanding cellphones.
- "Where you at, dog?"
- "Now we're too damn cheap to receive it. You want to watch Futurama, you go the hell over to Carl Central. He didn't even want it, until we started to watch it."
- In "Working Stiffs":Meatwad: I could buy all the cable TV I want.
Carl: Wait, you're out of your mind? You pay money... for cable.
Carl, Master Shake, & Meatwad: (to the audiences) You're stupid.
- Take That Me:
- In "Jumpy George", a woman leaving her kids with Meatwad says: "They're allowed to watch half an hour of television, and only cartoons. Which means no Cartoon Network."
- In "The Granite Family", they meet a time traveler who warns people about things. His name is "Time Warner". Essentially they get mad at him for being a copyright Nazi and not letting them do anything related to time-travel related because he owns all the movies in which they travel through time, and for not letting them do anything related to The Granite Family/The Flintstones.
- Tastes Like Feet: The aforementioned Gargle Blaster in "Unremarkable Voyage." Shake's response after vomiting:Master Shake: My teeth feel gritty, and I'm gonna lie down.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Shake manages to create a tape of him rambling on randomly (including listing a soup recipe) that predicts to the second when Carl (who is listening to the room the tape player is in via microphone) starts suspecting something isn't right. What's even more impressive is that he somehow manages to do this days/weeks/months in advance, seeing how he is dead before the tape is even started. The tape even knew how he'd be killed, since the tape continues on perfectly from the shots that kill him.
- Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: Spoofs the concept, although the reason that they're talking food items is never explained. And they don't actually fight crime.
- The "The" Title: Most of the second half of season 2 (ie most of volume 3) has the episode titles start with "The", and one of the last is just "The".
- The Something Force: Uh..
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In "Video Ouija", Shake commits suicide by downing a bunch of sleeping pills, sucking on a hose of carbon monoxide, and throwing himself into Carl's pool, which he filled with piranhas and plugged-in toaster ovens.
- They Killed Kenny: Everyone, but especially Shake and especially Carl. In Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, Frylock dies more regularly.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
- Frylock: "You're liquefied, bitch!"
- I just a WHAT, bitch?
- Title Colon The Adaptation: Parodied with the movie.
- Title Drop:
- "Truly, they were... an Aqua Teen Hunger Force."
- Made all the funnier by the fact that even at this late point in the series, the name still doesn't have any actual meaning...just like the show.
- This Loser Is You: Carl
- Token Human: Carl
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Frylock, occasionally. Mostly justified - it's usually against Master Shake, who's taken a bigger level of Jerkass than could be matched by anyone else on the show. Yes, even the Mooninites aren't as big of assholes as he is.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In "Shake Like Me" Master Shake is noticeably nicer and less cruel when he's black.
- Trailer Spoof: The trailer for The Movie went so far to identify itself as Spider-Man 2 in the text crawl while the narrator read the correct name.
- Unrelated Effects: Anything thrown to the ground explodes. It's occasionally lampshaded, but usually ignored.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Master Shake or Carl, depending on the episode.
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: Parodied in "Super Birthday Snake," where the entire episode is revealed to be a simulation given to Meatwad by Frylock to see whether or not he's capable of raising a pet rabbit... and then that is revealed to be a simulation given to Frylock by Meatwad, after which Meatwad says Frylock needs to listen when Meatwad tells him what to do.Meatwad: Frylock, please. That was a computer simulation program, and it proved to me that you don't know what I like and what I like to do, and that is to tell you what to do, and you need to listen to what I say because I'm gonna eat your brains!
- Vague Age: The Aqua Teens, themselves. Shake describes himself as "thirty, or forty years old" note , and Meatwad has been identified as an actual child on more than one occasion. In any case, Word of God says Dr. Weird is their creator, so they must be around the same ages. Probably.
- Vandalism Backfire: Master Shake puts a cat in the microwave. Meatwad and Shake stare at each other, and through sticky notes, talk to one another. Shake, being the idiot he is, forgets that he already microwaved Meatwad's kitten, and Meatwad has to remind him that it was his own.Shake: Mr. Sparkles!!! *boom*
- Viewer Gender Confusion: One [adult swim] bump shows a fan asking whether Meatwad is a guy or girl. [adult swim]: "Um, guy? Duh? Who could be confused by this?"
- Villain Protagonist: Shake is either this, or a plain Nominal Hero; the Plutonians and Mooninites in the failed "Spacecataz" pilot, and its sequel, "Spacecadeuce".
- Voluntary Shapeshifting
- Meatwad. It's suggested that the only shapes Meatwad can take are the two he exhibits in the title sequence of every episode: a hotdog and an igloo. Although in the pilot episode, he was also able to take the form of a "meat bridge," and during his brief time as a circus attraction, he managed to take on the shape of a Samurai Lincoln (which he insisted was supposed to be Wayne Gretzky) after repeatedly shifting back and forth between the hotdog and igloo forms was starting to get old.
- In the movie, he can also shift into a large building. He never changed into it before because no one asked.
- He can also change into a fist and flip people the bird.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Up to Eleven in "Unremarkable Voyage", when Shake drinks a vile concoction made for Meatwad so he'll puke up a computer chip. The first shot lasts for over ten seconds, while the second involves Shake getting drenched in his own vomit due to him lying down.
- Wasn't That Fun?: Quipped by Carl after returning from another dimension with gigantic hands.Carl: Well, that was fun. I'm gonna take a nap now, and then I think I'm gonna call, uh, some hospitals.
- Webisode: "Carl's Stone Cold Lock Of The Century Of The Week" during the NFL season.
- Werewolf: Who wants to blow up the moon. Turns out to be a shaved wookiee who's also a werewolf... that apparently beams to a Star Trek ship.
- Weirdness Magnet: The Aqua Teens' house attracts aliens, robots, vampires, a polite onion-spider who feeds on human blood, weirdos who had a mummy in the crawl space, giant humanoid roaches, sirens, grim reaper salesmen, homeless people, and the Aqua Teens.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Allen is a subversion. He's only doing it because he's a "Well Done, Son!" Guy.
- Wham Episode: Last Dance for Napkin Lad, in which Shake and Frylock are killed by Meatwad. Also, all three of them plus Carl and the titular Napkin Lad are shown to be top-secret assassins working a complex double-cross on each other. It ends on the ominous note of Meatwad assuring that he WILL see Carl later.
- When Trees Attack: The stupid, imbecilic trees in "Revenge Of The Trees".
- Who Even Needs a Brain?: Jingle toy or not, Meatwad is not seriously affected without his.
- The same also occurs with Steve in the very same episode. The only problems it causes for him is that he's no longer able to read.
- Widget Series: IN AMERICA.
- Wipe: Lampshaded in The Movie: "Staaaaaaaaaaarrrr....wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiipe..."
- Witch Doctor: Billywitchdoctor.com, hired by Frylock to resurrect Shake. He expresses problems doing anything bigger than a chicken, however. Or, for that matter, anything that isn't a chicken.
- Word Salad Title: [adult swim] actually lampshades this on their website:"First of all, they're not teens. Secondly, there's no water involved. The whole Hunger Force thing? That's probably misleading too."
- Would Hurt a Child: If one considers Meatwad a child, then Shake definitely counts as this. Even some of his more apathetic moments have shades of this:Shake: I should not walk, so a child may live. [Beat] THAT'S WHAT IT DOES!
Frylock: Get up!
- You Have Got To Be Friggin' Kiddin' Me: Uttered by Carl after coming face to face with the army of Turkitrons in "The Dressing".
- Your Head Asplode:
- "Kidney Car" ends with Carl's head exploding for no reason.Meatwad: Why'd he do that?
Shake: Why wouldn't he?
- Happens several times in "Gee Whiz" due to shotgun blasts and Ted Nugent's arrow in Carl's shoulder. However, because of Standards and Practices, they gush out pretty rainbows instead of blood.
- "Kidney Car" ends with Carl's head exploding for no reason.