Welcome to another Halloween episode recap! Crazy to think that this is already the 18th installment in the series this month, but here we are. Keeping this week going with another adult-centric cartoon comes a huge hit from the early 2000s: Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It’s crazy how long ago that already is, but what’s even crazier is the fact that this show actually pushed out 11 seasons and didn’t finish airing until 2015! I must have stopped watching after like Season 4 because there is a whole fuckton there that I just have no memory of.
In case you forgot or were too young to remember, Cartoon Network fell into a whole bunch of hits in the early 2000s with their Adult Swim lineup. In addition to ATHF, you had other shows like Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law, The Brak Show and Sealab 2021 which were all blocked together and marketed towards adults that went on to create it’s own niche in the pop culture landscape for a period. I don’t have any facts or data to back up anything, but I can tell you that it certainly felt like Aqua Teen was the most popular. It spawned a ton of merch and, as someone who was spending a lot of time in a lot of bars during that period, it was quoted by a lot of people.
Like everything, it eventually ran its course which is why I was shocked today to discover that it only stopped airing new episodes four years ago when it honestly feels as if it was closer to fourteen. Hey, these things happen. Regardless, the early seasons of ATHF were must-TiVo (yes, TiVo) programming for those few years and this Halloween episode is a standout.
Season 2, Episode 15: The Shaving
Original Air Date: October 26, 2003
Screen Cap Analysis: Meh, that’s just a snip from the opening credits. It’s fun, but not as fun.
After getting our opening joke from the castle of Dr. Weird. He really doesn’t show up outside of these opening bits if I remember correctly. Once we finish with him and the badass theme song, we are welcomed into the home of our heroes.
Meatwad is preparing his costume for Halloween: a purple monster whom you certainly don’t want to see when he’s angry, the Incredible Plum. Master Shake isn’t feeling that so he gets the blender and tells Meatwad to get in that way he can be the entire Boston Philharmonic. Meatwad isn’t in love with the idea, but he does crawl into the blender to make Shake happy until he’s saved by Frylock. Frylock gives Meatwad a fake mustache so he can be “The Bachelor” and then goes to grab candy for the wave of trick or treaters they’re expecting when an onion with spider legs shows up.
He says his name is Willie Nelson and he’s a monster who lives in the attic and wants to know if he has any mail. Frylock said they would occasionally get mail for a Willie Nelson and the he did forward it for a while, but now he just throws it out. The monster responds by throwing their TV out the window as retribution. Shake throws a fit at Willie which includes calling him the “gayest monster since gay came to Gaytown” and I’m here wondering if you could actually get away with making that joke on TV in today’s world.
Shake bets Willie that he couldn’t scare anyone so they all go to Carl’s house next door to put Willie to the test. Carl answers, is immediately frustrated by all these jerks at his door and closes it almost instantly. Willie tries again to scare Carl by turning on an electric razor and saying, “the shaving,” but Carl threatens to call the cops. They all run back to theur own house since Carl will indeed call the cops. Shake tells Willie that his “shaving” gimmick is nonsense and to watch as he scares Carl. He rings the bell again and, as soon as the door is opened, throws Meatwad at Carl causing him to fall back and cry, “get him off, get him off!” Willie is impressed by Shake’s methods. Shake will now teach Willie some ways to be scary.
Shake begins building a backstory and script for Willie to be an actual scary monster, but it’s just not taking. Sure, Willie is horrifying to look at being an onion on spider-legs, but he’s really just too nice to say any of Shake’s scripted lines with any real feeling. Shake sets up a scheme for Willie (now known as “Blood Feast Island Man”) to scare Carl by trying to electrocute him through the door handle and then back a cement truck full of blood on to him. This backfires in dramatic fashion as Carl ends up scaring Shake into being electrocuted by the giant battery he had set up on Carl’s lawn and then being doused in the blood the Willie had dumped thinking he’d get Carl. These things always happen to Shake and they’re always deserved. While Shake is recovering, Willie says he’s going to go back up to the attic to get some juice and recharge his batteries.
Frylock, now armed with some mail for Willie calls to see if he can come up. When Willie turns the light on, Frylock is astonished to see a dumping ground of dismembered bodies that Willie has pulled apart and drained. At that moment, Carl and Meatwad pop out of the shadows trying to scare everyone, but Willie rips Carl’s arms off and yells, “JUICE” before drinking the blood from them. Shake and Frylock immediately shut the attic door and run off as Willie is left to ask, “did you guys want some juice?”
I don’t know if it’s silly in hindsight, but there was most certainly a time when this show was really popular. I even owned a set of inflatables for the three main characters for a long time. The episodes are only 15 minutes each so nothing get bogged down for too long and, honestly, that’s a really good way of keeping the characters from getting overexposed.
This episode in particular was one of my favorite back then and I still lost my shit today when the reveal of Willie’s attic happens. Just a phenomenal job of setting up a huge swerve. The first 14 minutes lull you into a false sense of security just for that last single minute to shake the everliving shit out of you. It’s fucking dynamite and still holds up to me.
Meatwad is still the best. He’s so dumb and naive that you just want to keep him away from Master Shake’s tormenting as best as you can. Hey, I know, it’s a milkshake, a meatball and a box of fries living in a house together and causing shit, but I liked it back then and still enjoyed it today. On top of that, they gave me a fun Halloween episode to write a blog about 15 years after the fact. No regrets.
Until next time.