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Western Animation / 12 oz. Mouse

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"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 ripped-ness?"

Outta my way, I'm drunk as hell!
I'll blow your ass away, like a ring of a bell
Pedal to the floor, and the whiskeys flowin'
I got a porn-shoot, I gotta get goin'
You don't understand, you don't give a damn
(12 oz. Mouse, 12 oz. Mouse!)
(12 oz. Mouse, 12 oz. Mouse!)
Jet car's rollin' all night long, crankin' up the jams and singing along,
Car full o' bitches and brand new bong!

12 oz. Mouse (sometimes abbreviated as ozmo) is an animated series that originally ran for two seasons on [adult swim] from 2005-2007, with a third season premiering thirteen years later in 2020. It is the brainchild and pet project of Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator Matt Maiellaro.

The show's narrative centers around Mouse Fitzgerald ("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 has 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, but they're not telling, and most of them have their own problems.

Though ozmo 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." If you've ever seen the show, it's not too hard to believe him.

A half-hour special aired in October 2018, followed by the announcement of the aforementioned third season in 2019. The third season began airing on July 20, 2020, and ended at the end of the same month on July 31. Sadly, in February 2021 creator Matt Maiellaro confirmed that the show was canceled once again, citing "a new agenda from [as] that the show didn't fall under".

"I've got a lot on my mind and a lot of tropes in my hand."

  • The Alcoholic: Fitz's defining trait. In fact, one of the few pieces of 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. Peanut implies that drinking confers some kind of protection from the powers that be.
  • 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 note  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.
  • Animation Bump: In the 23-minute 12 Oz. Mouse special "INVICTUS", where most of the animation style changes is sleeker and overall, it looks better than before such as the real-world being very colorful such as the background & design, resembling something like a kid's drawing & the cardboard city is used again but is taken from the show's intro, where the animation in those scenes are animated in Live-Action but the characters are still in their animated forms during these scenes.
  • 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.
  • Apothecary Alligator: Liquor has an alligator on a shelf in his store.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Roostre has his hand cut off as part of a conspiracy by Shark and the Square Businessman to keep him from interfering with their plans. He gets a Hook Hand later on, but it doesn't impact his playing guitar.
  • Back from the Dead: Skillet in the season 2 finale "Prolegomenon". And depending on how you see the ending, everyone else who died on the show, Also in the 12 Oz. Mouse Special "INVICTUS", many characters like Shark, Rectangular Businessman, New Guy, Man-Woman, Rhoda (In a Giant Jar) & a few more are all alive with no explanation.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Shark and RBM.
  • Breather Episode:
    • "Star Wars VII", in which Shark spends most of the episode trying to restart his stalled car while his passenger, Rectangular Businessman, wanders off to buy a harmonica.
    • And "Auraphull", of course.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Fitz throws a few of these around in the early episodes.
  • The Chessmaster: Rectangular Businessman
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many. Some of them are debated.
  • The City: Played straight in the first two seasons, averted in the Internet episode.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Due to the bizarre nature of the show's world, you'll probably have trouble telling 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.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Every single conversation from every character in this whole show counts.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Skillet's single frame of animation is adorable, but he speaks in loud squealing noises.
  • Deranged Animation: The first two seasons only.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In "Bowtime", Fitz's wife says that: "We had a baby. When we had her, the time is coming that..... To her.... us.". It is possible that Fitz's daughter had died.
    • In "Prolegomenon", Fitz is seen unconcious, with his head attached to a machine. This scene has the same implications to Animal Testing.
  • Domestic-Only Cartoon: Like many other Williams Street shows.
  • 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: CJ Muff in his orb form and Archeus from the season 2 finale.
  • Eternal Recurrence: It's heavily implied that the town is stuck in a loop that has gone through at least one iteration. Liquor even tells Roostre that's he's "too close to resetting everything".
  • Exact Words: RBM says that Peanut was the "highest" marksman in his class, not the best.
  • Eyeless Face: Rectangular Businessman
  • 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, the show offers no answers about Fitz's past and a number of other plot threads are left dangling. The DVD release is labeled as "Vol. 1", so [adult swim] could've intended to continue the series past the one internet-only episode. (That didn't seem likely at the time, but with both the 2018 special and a 3rd season on the way, that may change.)
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • 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.
  • Green Aesop: "Trees make ox-i-gen. I breathe it. You breathe it."
  • 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: Subverted multiple times in the first season (except for the finale where Rhoda died by the Rectangular Businessman), but the show started to play this trope straight in season 2.
  • "Let Me Get This Straight..., you're...out of beer?"
  • Living Shadow: The Shadowy Figure
  • Magical Realism of a particularly bleak and nihilistic kind.
  • Mind Screw: All over the place. There are two attitudes toward this show: the fans who love it, and the people who literally don't even think it has a plot. At all. They don't mean it as a pejorative—they literally aren't aware of the actual plot.
  • The Movie: Sort of—the show's DVD release edits all the show's episodes together into a single "movie".
  • Musical Episode: "Auraphull".
  • No Indoor Voice: Golden Joe. He's like "a human P.A. machine".
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: The first two episodes present the show as a pretty standard Animated Shock Comedy, with an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist taking on various odd jobs and then flaking on them partway through. Afterward, the odd jobs stop coming as the protagonist is revealed to be an Amnesiac Hero, with a tenuous grip on reality, his put-upon boss reveals that he's more in control than he lets on, and the weirdness of the setting turns from Surreal Humor to Surreal Horror.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Fitz's wife.
  • 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", a another character named the Producer Man, who is a loud, gregarious person who has a habit of walking around bent over backward that hired Fitz as a actor after he got hit by meteor in the first episode and appear some other episodes in the series, His name has been revealed only in a few of the official episode summaries from Adult Swim and also his name is never mentioned in the show at all and Producer Man is also referred as "Talent Scout" on other sources and websites on 12 oz. Mouse.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Amalockh, the season 3 characters and Lee are more detailed, looking more like Aqua Teen Hunger Force characters.
  • 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."
  • 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 Fitz 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.
  • O.O.C. 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Exaggerated when Rectangular Businessman returns from his supposed death in an exploding building by explaining that he's too rich to die.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Signals, Fitz says to "Barney Rubles", to Shark, this is a reference to the character Barney Rubble, from the The Flintstones.
    • 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.
  • Suspicious Spending: "Those are expensive beers. You must have pretty good jobs to pay for those kinds of beers."
  • 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.
  • Terrestrial Sea Life: Shark, although being a non-anthropomorphic shark out of the water, has to drag himself slowly across the floor, and needs a special rig to move around his control room.
  • 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.
      • No. You can't do that.
  • 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?
    Shark: EVERYONE!!!
  • 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.
  • The Voiceless: A couple of them most notably, Skillet, The Hand, Pronto, New Guy (save for Invictus where he has a little version of himself voiced by Mike Lazzo) and Clock.
  • 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.

Now when nights get lonely, I need someone to save me
Tonight is the night. I won't fall, won't break down
Show me your surrender, I'm scared
But I'll pretend I am not
Nothing brings me back down
I am the 12 oz. Mouse!