Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Baffler Meal Complete Collection repackages the previous ATHF releases into a 20-disc set that “Includes ALL 138 Episodes from the Epic Series, Plus the First Theatrical Film, and All the Enhanced Content.” It will at least be “Complete” until 11/8 when the Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm film is released.
Created by Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, Aqua Teen Hunger Force features the 11-minute animated adventures of Master Shake (Dana Snyder), Frylock (Carey Means), and Meatwad (Willis), an anthropomorphic value meal that lives in South New Jersey. A variation of the team first appeared in an unproduced episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. AQTF are a modern-day version of the Three Stooges, so bad together and to each other one wonders why they stick together, especially Frylock who is usually the sensible one. It’s questionable how much they even like each other, particularly Shake who thinks he’s so much better than his roommates, but then who else would fall for (Meatwad) and put up with (Frylock) his ridiculous scams?
While the outlandish plots may say otherwise, the series follows a traditional sitcom template of the past. There’s very little continuity so a viewer can jump right into any episode and won’t be lost. At least not lost due to missing any backstory, but getting lost within an episode is certainly understandable as there are times where there is no telling what’s coming next. They even have a neighbor who frequently gets involved in their high jinks, Carl Brutananadilewski (Willis), an angry, crude fellow who likes prostitutes, drugs, classic rock, and the New York Giants, not necessarily in that order but he wouldn’t wouldn’t complain if that was the order. He’s a guy who peaked in high school and probably wasn’t much even then. Much like Kenny from South Park, Carl has been known to sustain bodily injury and death only to be whole again and no worse for wear by the next episode. They have to deal with the villainous Mooninites on occasion. Plus, the series even has a cool theme song.
But that’s where the similarities end as no show betterepitomizes the Adult Swim brand than ATHF. These demented cartoons venture between silly and surreal, and could easily be screened during Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. Best watched while in an altered state because that’s presumably the same state those who made it were in considering how mind-bending the stories get. Adding to its comedy bona fides, they pulled in a stellar roster of guest voices that includes H. Jon Benjamin, Matt Berry, David Cross, Bill Hader, Seth MacFarlane, and Kristen Schaal.
If you love the show, The Baffler Meal Complete Collection is a great way to have access to ATHF, especially if the cable or internet is out.