Western Animation: 12 oz. Mouse
12 oz. Mouse
"Okay now, funny thing is, I have these weird flashes, like I've been somewhere before. Like I've been ripped from somewhere for reasons I don't understand. Does anyone else pick that up? That understanding of rippedness?"
) was a 21-episode animated series that ran on [adult swim]
from 2005-2007. It was the brainchild and pet project of Aqua Teen Hunger Force
co-creator Matt Maiellaro.
The narrative centered around Mouse Fitzgerald (a.k.a Fitz), a green, beer-swilling, chaotic neutral mouse
who lives in a violent, nihilistic town
apparently made out of cardboard. Fitz takes on a series of oddjobs for Shark, a non-anthropomorphic blue shark, and botches each one spectacularly through his propensity for drinking and his inability to focus
on the simplest of tasks. As the series progresses, Fitz begins to have flashbacks
of a lost previous life, including a wife and daughter
he didn't know he had. As he attempts to put together his forgotten past, he runs afoul of several of the town's more bizarre citizens, including a giant eyeball, a one-handed corndog farmer, and a wealthy square. Everyone knows something that they're not telling, but most of them have problems of their own.
is remarkable for its moody story, its brilliant soundtrack, and its breathy, melodramatic voice acting, the series is mostly remembered for its abject visual austerity- most of the characters are rendered in simple line drawings (hand-drawn by Maiellaro) and the backgrounds are rarely more detailed than that. Maiellaro joked
that he pitched the series by telling the network "This will cost about five dollars and will take some of the paper sitting in the copier.", and it's not too hard to believe him.
This show provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Fitz's defining trait. In fact, the only merchandise produced for the show aside from the DVD was a drinking flask engraved with his image.
- The other characters get in their share of boozing, too.
- Alternate Reality Game: Sort of, in a very limited way. One episode ended with a numeric code, and a hint to its decoding was provided on the [adult swim] forums. The fan who decoded it won $5 in loose change, some swag, and a note from RBM. Maiellaro also posted a riddle to the forums in 2007, which was never officially solved.
- Ambiguous Gender: Rectangular Businessman once referred to himself as a woman. Rhoda, who looks and speaks like a male, is sometimes called a "her". The Man/Woman can switch genders at will.
- Anti-Hero: Fitz and Skillet have no problem robbing banks, killing off Red Shirts, and then getting drunk as their reward. But at least they aren't trying to destroy/control the whole world.
- Back from the Dead: Skillet in the series finale. And depending on how you see the ending, everyone else who died on the show.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Shark and RBM.
- Bigger Bad:
- The Shadowy Figure, who's the only person Rectangular Businessman answers to.
- Amalockh. After he's released, even Shark and Rectangular Businessman realize that they can't control him and become worried.
- Breather Episode:
- "Star Wars VII", which is all about Rectangular Businessman trying to buy a harmonica and Shark trying to get his car started.
- And "Auraphull", of course.
- Cerebus Syndrome
- The Chessmaster: Rectangular Businessman
- Chekhov's Gun: Many. Some of them are debated.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Just about everyone. Due to the bizarre nature of their world, it's difficult to tell whether someone is being a Talkative Loon or is actually giving real background info. This is compounded by the cast being frequently attacked by "anti-language gas".
- Cool Car: Fitz's taxi appears to be a yellow jet with no wings.
- Cool Ship: Shark's ship appears to be a giant flying metal shark.
- Crapsack World
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fitz, Roostre.
- Cute but Cacophonic: Skillet. His single frame of animation is adorable, but he speaks in loud squealing noises.
- Cryptic Conversation: Every single conversation ever made by any character on the show. Period.
- The City - in the first two seasons, averted in the internet episode.
- Deranged Animation
- Domestic Only Cartoon
- Dumb Is Good: Contrast the protagonists, especially the stoner policeman, with the far more (relatively) intelligent villains, RBM and Shark.
- Eldritch Abomination: Amalockh
- Energy Beings
- Eternal Recurrence: It's heavily implied that the town is stuck in a loop that has gone on for at least one iteration. Liquor even tells Roostre that's he's "too close to resetting everything".
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Letters in the background of Shark's party spell out the messages, "Roostre knows", "Shark is an asshole", and "Skillet is key".
- The Fool: Peanut Cop.
- Gainax Ending / No Ending: On one hand, the antagonists are killed off and the heroes leave the city behind on the other hand, no answers are given to Fitz's past, and a number of other plot threads are left dangling.
- The DVD release is labeled as "vol. 1" so it's possible that they intended to continue the series past the internet-only episode. Almost four years later, that's yet to happen.
- Government Conspiracy, maybe.
- Guns and Gunplay Tropes: Too many to list here. To say the least, each character carries a signature gun and uses it with little or no provocation.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Rhoda.
- Immune to Bullets: Shark, Liquor. Later subverted with Shark.
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: The hidden cameras in "Spider" which look like bright red dots on a plain white wall.
- It's All About Me: Rectangular Businessman. He can't go one minute without mentioning how rich he is.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
- Killed Off for Real: Subverted multiple times in the first season (except for the finale), but the show started to play this trope straight in season 2.
- "Let Me Get This Straight, you're...out of beer?"
- Living Shadow
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Lotus-Eater Machine
- Magical Realism of a particularly bleak and nihilistic kind.
- Mind Screw: And how!
- There are two attitudes toward this show: the fans, and the people who literally don't even think it has a plot. No, really. At all. They don't mean it as a pejorative, they literally aren't aware it exists.
- Musical Episode: "Auraphull".
- No Indoor Voice: Golden Joe. He's like "a human P.A. machine".
- No Name Given: Some characters are never really given names. The cop is finally called "Peanut" (one of the most common fan nicknames) in the last episode. The annoying woman in the green sweater is never named, until her transformation, after which Word of God called her "Robogirl".
- No One Could Survive That: Rectangular Businessman supposedly dies in an exploding building in the first episode. Later on, he comes back, with the explanation that he's "too rich to die."
- No Pronunciation Guide: Archeus "speaks" through subtitles, accompanied by the sound of a twinkling piano. When she introduces herself to Fitz, he tries several different pronunciations of "Archeus", none of which seem to please her.
- Oh, Crap: Rhoda when he accidentally calls Shark instead of Fitz, thus signing his own death warrant.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Shark becomes one after his Villainous Breakdown. He unleashes all his evil robots into the city and sits back and watches as they all tear the city apart, killing anything in sight.
- Only Sane Man: Roostre and Liquor.
- Ontological Mystery: The show's main story is that Fitz starts realizing that he's in one. He starts having flashbacks to an earlier life, starts noticing that people are hiding things, and realizes that he doesn't even remember ever moving to the town. The story develops into his quest to find the answers to his past.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Shortly after Skillet dies near the end of the series, Peanut Cop says "That's not funny at all..." without even smiling or snickering once, which is something he can't go five words without doing.
- Overly Long Gag: Several.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. "The magnitude of my wealth goes beyond any wall... of China".
- Right on the Tick: The frozen clock.
- Scary Black Man: Halfway through the series, Shark announces, "I'm black now", and starts blowing up everything.
- In "Meat Warrior", Peanut Cop and Liquor accidentally run over a baby carriage that had harmless beer bottles in it. Sound familiar?
- At the end of "Eighteen", Shark has a Villainous Breakdown and demands that Rectangular Businessman activates all the tie-bots and hovervacs to assist him in taking down Fitz, his friends, and Amalockh. The way he shouts out EVERYONE!!! is very similar to how Stansfield said it in The Professional.
- Smug Snake: Shark. He tries to be as smart and witty as RBM, but he clearly isn't, and RBM knows it.
- Stopped Clock: One that's an antagonist, to boot.
- The Stinger: A few episodes end with one; sadly, they're not in the DVD release.
- Surreal Humor / Surreal Horror intentionally toes the line between the two.
- Stylistic Self-Parody: "I don't have any eyes."
- A subtle one occurs when a deadly tiebot attaches itself to Fitz's chest. He can't reach it because his arms don't bend.
- Stylistic Suck: It's not known if it's true or not, but [adult swim] constantly jokes that this show basically came about as a challenge to see if it was possible to create a television show while completely wasted; they still frequently and proudly refer to it when using examples of the crappiest artwork in the world.
- Take That: Some have theorized that this show is a parody (affectionate or otherwise) of The Big O.
- Town with a Dark Secret
- Trailers Always Lie: The episode summaries given to cable providers were completely unrelated to the episodes. In fact, they were the summaries from episodes of Good Times, with the characters' names changed.
- Verbal Tic: The Eye usual-eye speaks b-eye emphas-eye-zing the "eye" sound in ever-eye word he can.
- And then a few he c-eye-n't.
- Villainous Breakdown: Shark finally becomes fed up with everything in "Eighteen" and tells RBM to unleash their entire army all at once.
Shark: "Get me everyone."
RBM: What do you mean by 'everyone'? You want the tie-bots, or the hovervacs?"
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Shark and RBM always insult each other at every turn. And yet, they continue to work together in their evil schemes.
- The Unintelligible: Skillet, among others.
- Wham Episode: The Season 1 finale. Rhoda is sliced in half by Rectangular Businessman, Fitz is drugged and falls into a trap room, Skillet gets shot with a tranquilizer dart and is later captured, and the Eye has his leg chopped off by the Hand and passes out in his own pool of blood.
- Wham Line:
- In "Spharktasm", when Rhoda realizes that he called the wrong person.
Shark: "This is Rhoda, isn't it?"
- And again in "Enjoy The Arm".
Eye: "Someone sounds mad back there."
Evil!Eye: (grows an arm, takes out a gun, and points it at the Eye) "Yes. Someone does."
- Zen Survivor: In the internet-only episode.