Aqua Teen Hunger Force and
Space Ghost Coast To Coast
accepting shows as diverse as Trigun and Futurama
into the line-up, Cartoon Network's Adult Swim had a pretty
homogeneous sensibility. That is, deadpan humor full of awkward
pauses followed by lines straight out of left field, revolving
around situations that were just plain bizarre. As Kyle Baker
commented about Cartoon Network, it was cartoons that don't
are they funny.
only appropriate that for the first Adult Swim home video
release, Cartoon Network went to the granddaddy of the concept
- and then threw in the strangest of its children. Both Space
Ghost Coast To Coast and Aqua Teen Hunger Force
debuted last week, in collections subtitled "Volume One."
For fans of either series, they're a must.
collections focus on the shows themselves, with minimal extras.
The expected episode commentaries are here, but with the cultish
nature of Adult Swim's fanbase, I can't say if they offer
anything new. Certainly over the Aqua Teen Hunger Force
episode "Rabbot," there's a lot from the creators about shaping
the concept, and they take the task fairly seriously. The
Space Ghost commentaries not so much.
"Rabbot" commentary actually comes over the original cut of
the pilot, much longer and cruder (in style, not content)
than the aired version. In some scenes pencil sketches instead
of full animation illustrate the soundtrack. Considering the
nature of the show, it's just possible that that was a joke
considered and discarded.
you watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the more hypnotic
it becomes. Of all the shows of the original Adult Swim block,
this was the one I dismissed out of hand. But watching three
episodes in a row, it started to make a strange sort of sense.
At the network's insistence, these animated fast foodstuffs
became detectives, and though the creators execute that begrudgingly,
it allows everything to fall into place. If a sentient Rubik's
Cube can solve crimes (as it did, without irony, on Saturday
mornings in the early eighties), then why not Master Shake,
Frylock, and Meatwad?
an appreciation of this concept is wrong, I don't want to
also includes a promo done for the San Diego Comic Convention
in 2002. If, like me, you were not a big fan of the show,
watch this extra only after you've fallen under the spell
of a couple of episodes. It makes more sense that way.
than any extra promos, the Space Ghost DVD includes
an art gallery. It's probably for completists only, but it's
still cool to see the original Alex Toth influence. Rounding
it out is a holiday music video by Zorak, sort of singing
Jingle Bells. Sort of.
of Space Ghost Coast To Coast feels like a strange
time capsule, as would any talk show. The rhythm of the show
is, in a way, timeless, but seeing the guest list for the
first couple of seasons definitely makes an unspoken comment
on the uncertainties of fame. If pressed to describe who the
show attracts, it might be easiest to describe as B-Level
celebrities. And yet, in the first episode a pre-icon Ashley
Judd shows up to utter just one confusing line (played over
and over) about making chocolate pie. (She's also badly made-up
- definitely a pre-fame appearance.) To make it more surreal,
the headliner of the episode is …Judy Tenuta. Scratch your
the episodes, the one that should touch the hearts of Fanboys
is "Batmantis," featuring Adam West and a pair of catwomen,
Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt. Threatened offstage by a villainess
calling herself "Your Mom," Space Ghost wilts. Luckily (?),
Zorak dons cape and cowl to fight the menace, though he instead
spends more time trying to pick up Meriwether.
taste, perhaps, and the animated chat show is really more
strange than offensive. Donny Osmond serves as a guest, for
gosh sakes, even though he clearly only thinks he knows what
he's doing there.
anybody you know who's sense of humor is the slightest bit
out there, these DVDs should be a gift right up their alley.
Teen Hunger Force Volume 1
Ghost Coast to Coast Volume 1