Observe our digital nards.
This time around, we’re going to turn the writing duties over to our special guest reviewers. They’re the popular Aqua Teen Hunger Force semi-regular guest stars, Ignignokt and Err, the Mooninites. Take it away, guys.
Ignignokt: Greetings, readers, I am Ignignokt and this is Err.
Err: I am Err!
Ignignokt: We are Mooninites. We come from the inner core of the moon.
Err: You said it right.
Ignignokt: We have come here today to tell you about Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Vol. 4. It is an Earth DVD, featuring 13 episodes of the popular Adult Swim series. It’s a cartoon about a milkshake, a carton of French fries, and a wad of meat. They live in a house in New Jersey and have adventures. Fans everywhere enjoy the oddball sense of humor on display. But the real reason this show so popular is because Err and I appear in some of the episodes. Isn’t that right, Err?
Err: Damn straight!
Ignignokt: I must admit, Err, that this is a supremely amusing show, even when you and I are not on screen. The amount of creativity shown here is most impressive. This two-disc set has episodes about cursed T-shirts, chicken-raising witch doctors, mystic billboards, robot babysitters, and talking wrenches. And that’s just for starters. Truly, it is absurdist comedy at its finest.
Err: You really mean that?
Ignignokt: I do. After the show’s third season, many pitiful humans felt the creators lost their way in their attempts to reclaim the comedic glory of the earlier episodes. Some viewers felt the season three episodes relied too much on repeated running gags and weirdness for weirdness’ sake.
Err: They were trying too hard.
Ignignokt: But in this season, the creators found their voice again. Much of the humor relies on the bizarre and the otherworldly…
Err: Like us!
Ignignokt: But the funniest moments come from the characters and their interactions with one another. Master Shake, or “Cup” as I call him, has an obnoxious demeanor. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Meatwad is naïve, childlike, and easily corrupted. Frylock is the level-headed one of the group, and he gets laughs out of his frustration from putting up with the other two. They are the classic cartoon character archetypes—the trio of the nice guy, the angry guy, and the dumb guy. This pattern has appeared throughout the years in numerous cartoons and comics, and has proven itself successful time and time again.
Err: Archetypes? What the hell are you talking about?
Ignignokt: Never mind. Although there is much to enjoy here, I’m afraid not everything is wonderful about these episodes.
Err: Yeah, slam it!
Ignignokt: The Aqua Teens’ fat neighbor Carl has always been a source of great fun as he reacts to having anthropomorphic food items living next door. But now, as episodes progress, the show’s creators have gone out of their way to make Carl as crude and pathetic as possible. These are “gross-out” gags intended to pander to the lowest common denominator.
Err: I like ’em!
Ignignokt: Err, please. We are Mooninites. We have evolved beyond the need for toilet humor and filthy sex jokes.
Err: Not me. Did you see when Carl was peeing in the bottle because he’s too lazy to walk to the bathroom? Hilarious!
Ignignokt: That’s enough, Err.
Ignignokt: Enough! Another important difference between this season and the previous three is that the opening segments featuring Dr. Weird and Steve are no more. They have been replaced by a series of shorts called “Spacecataz,” in which Err and I wage a practical joke war against Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s other recurring alien characters, the Plutonians.
Err: Pluto sucks!
Ignignokt: All worlds suck compared to the moon. “Spacecataz” was originally a pilot for our own series, which was then edited into 13 opening segments for the episodes in this season. For those who are interested, the complete pilot is also included, with an ending not seen on TV.
Err: We should have our own series.
Ignignokt: No, Err. Despite our amazing popularity, you and I are better served as recurring guest characters. Overexposure would put us danger of becoming stale and repetitive. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
Err: I want to be the star. Get me some paychecks!
Ignignokt: The audio and video on this DVD set is quite excellent. For a primitive Earth DVD, that is. On the moon, our DVDs have evolved far beyond…
Err: We get it, already!
Ignignokt: Very well. The picture is bright and colorful, and the 5.1 soundtrack is quite good, although episodes tend to rely more on dialogue than sound effects or music—with the exception of Schoolly D’s rap theme song.
Err: It’s kickin’.
Ignignokt: It is indeed a most kickin’ theme song. There are many bonus features here as well. “Funny Pete Stuff” is a collection of promos for the series. “San Diego Must be Destroyed 2004” is a short ATHF cartoon made for the San Diego Comic Con. A gallery of fan art is accompanied by more kickin’ tunes from the series. The featurette about the voice actors recreates an entire episode with footage from the voice actors at the microphone during production. It is most odd to see what the actors really look like.
Err: What extras aren’t so hot?
Ignignokt: The commentaries were apparently recorded at some sort of Earth party, with several people talking in the background. It would be difficult for humans with their tiny human ears to make out just what the commentators are saying. Then there is “Raydon,” a live-action short film by the Aqua Teen creators. It wasn’t very amusing, was it, Err?
Err: It was crap.
Ignignokt: Because each episode is so short, both discs also feature a “play all” option. We strongly recommend viewers click on this to begin. Don’t we, Err?
Err: Do it!
Ignignokt: And now we have reached the conclusion. Err, how are we to end this?
Err: With a verdict.
Err: This is DVD Verdict, man. You have to end it with a verdict.
Ignignokt: But we have evolved beyond the need for “guilty” or “not guilty.” For on the moon, we have achieved true enlightenment, so that we already know Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Vol. 4 is a hilarious series, and is an instant must-buy.