Sunday, June 25, 2006

Super Squatter (from the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

SUPER SQUATTER (episode 208)
Created and Written by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, USA, 2003, 11 minutes
Source: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 2, Disc 1
(for viewing pleasure, Myspace and YouTube)

This animated short film is so hilarious and difficult to analyze that I decided to embed the short, so below is the short minus the Dr. Weird piece and theme song. Also I added another Dr. Weird piece to show how much comedy can be placed in such a small area.

It is quite difficult to say what this short film is about, but here are the basics. There are three food products, a giant milkshake, box of fries, and wad of meat named Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad who live in New Jersey next to their neighbor Carl. In this short film you first see a dark castle and a mad doctor named Dr. Weird who apparently has invented something, the thermostat (his assistant however says, that has been there). Dr. Weird begins to push the temp. to 300 degrees. There is a pause as the assistant asks if it is on, then the doctor bursts into flames, right there the film cuts to the intro to the short film. In the intro, with a rap theme song, there is an introduction to the three food products seen as crime fighters who save the world. As the short film goes on we find out that this is definitely not true, just like how important the Dr. Weird piece is throughout the film.

We see that Shake forgot to pay the bills for the cable, the phone, and the electricity. So Shake, being the shake that is does what needs to be done.....go over to Carl's house and watch TV there. The subplot is that Meatwad is trying to make do without power in the house, by trying to make himself a weenie smoothie. While Shake keeps watching TV, Carl accidentally shoots himself in the foot, and only until Frylock comes in does Carl get the help he needs....but due to a bad HMO Carl's foot goes in the wrong place. In the meantime, Shake siphoned Carl's electricity to power his own house, while Carl's house burns down. Carl doesn't mind however because he took some horse pills. As Shake lets Carl sleep near a pile of ants that begin to cover him, in come the credits.

I selected this film for an animated short because a) Looney Tunes cartoons are too easy to select, and b) this sort of animation is done by a computer program (I think Macromedia Flash). Lots of moving around is done by guided paths. Why I chose this certain episode over all the other episodes in the series, is because instead of fighting crime and saving the world, the only thing important in this world is paying the bills. With all the things that animated shorts can do that normal films can't do, the only things that seem impossible are the three food products. This constitutes the short film as an experimental film as well. All of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes seem to reject a story, or more to the point, reject any real direction, even the title has nothing to do with what they do. There is actually proof of this because in the credits, there is no "directed by". We just seem to watch these characters as they go about their lives, and when there is something interesting like alien invasion, even the aliens seem to have no direction. It is much like the a reality TV show in the realm of animation, with all the explosions and destruction that is found in the animation world (and even if there is a little direction spooned in, it is destroyed near the end.)

The characters themselves seems to show this sense of no direction. (Master) Shake is cocky and cares about nothing around except himself, he certainly wants to be the main character. His sense of "my way or the highway" is even invoked in the way he speaks, where nobody gets what he is saying but himself.

An example is in episode 240, "THE", Shake is asked by Frylock why the house stinks, he says
"Well you know how the flies have been a problem?"
Frylock, knowing there hasn't been a fly problem, says, "No I don't"
"And remember when I left all the meat out because I saw Mr. David Lynch 'I'm on TV' do it and he got on TV doing it and I did it and I didn't get on TV for doing it?"
"No I don't remember that!"
"Well I did, and because of this of course, you get rats."

Frylock is the intelligent one and the only character in this animated TV show that has the most, but not much, human in him. He even tries to give this show some direction. But of course Shake doesn't listen. Meatwad is like a retarded child, who doesn't know everything and tries to understand but can't, an easy target for Shake to beat up and do bad things to.

Overall this short may not be funny to some because of its absence of directed humor, but it still makes a mark in animation films and short films.

ATHF-Super Squatter

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FilmKidzzz said...

There's a contest for a short film sorta like this weird one about food. With cash prizes. Check out

ltpalm said...

The problem with Aqua Teen Hunger Force is that it is not only trying to purposely break expectations and real story, but it is also trying to be irrelevant; therefore, I laugh here and there, but ultimately lose interest. What makes it interesting is the novelty of it: food products do crazy, sometimes absurd things. Though sometimes it does appear as if we are viewing quality satire, at other it seems as if we're just watching the late night antics of college kids. I think it is interesting however, that other animated shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy are funny and successful for some of the same things here: purposely breaking story and almost bitterly satiric parodies. I used to find it odd how The Simpsons usually started with one story line, then switched to another: the real story line. There, however, you feel as if the switch had a point, in Aqua Teen Hunger Force I'm often wondering if there is one besides the pursuit of funny.

Unknown said...

Interesting! I have time and I can add this to my watch list along with the shows by Andy Yeatman. Every weekend I plan something new for my kids but this time I am thinking of keeping them indoors and such movies and series are going to be perfect for the day.