What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the members of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force don't really have much contact with water (except for their neighbor's pool), aren't really teens, and are occasionally hungry but rarely exhibit much force. Mostly, they're shown hanging around their house, which looks more like a bombed-out crack den, and getting involved in side schemes that never turn out well. They sling insults at each other, don't hold steady jobs, and apparently live off welfare. And to top it all off, they're junk food personified.
What's the story?
AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE, the longest-running original series in Cartoon Network's late-night block, flies in the face of conventional comedy, Who would've thought that a milkshake, a meatball, and a container of fries could become rulers of their own cult domain? The show follows this trio of edible friends, who are supposed to be detectives but really aren't: Master Shake, a megalomaniacal milkshake (voiced by Dana Snyder); Frylock, a cerebral box of French fries (Carey Means); and Meatwad, a mild-mannered ball of ground beef (Dave Willis). The story lines are as absurd as the characters; for example, there's the time that Frylock decided to join a mountain biking club, never mind that as a levitating box of fries, Frylock has no legs and can't really ride a bike.
Is it any good?
Some parents might wonder why this show is funny at all, since it really doesn't make any sense. But maybe the randomness is part of its charm. As a programming choice for kids, ATHF isn't the best. After all, the language is loose, the story lines nonsensical, and the Aqua Teens' next-door neighbor, Carl (also voiced by Willis), is probably one of the worst role models on TV. That said, Frylock serves as an oddly comforting father figure whose passion for science and technology sets a positive example for younger viewers. Meatwad, too, usually displays some sense of moral outrage, though it rarely shields him from Master Shake's schemes.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether a cartoon really needs a plot to be funny. (Based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force's popularity, apparently not.) The show also prompts questions about group dynamics among friends with distinct personalities. Why do some people become leaders who get to tell everyone else what to do -- and why do others become followers who get mercilessly pushed around? How many bad decisions does a person have to make before being ousted by disgruntled friends?