The end is near for the Adult Swim cartoon that got its start before Adult Swim even existed: Aqua Teen Hunger Force will begin airing its final season tomorrow. To celebrate those three talking fast food items and the rough-around-the-edges-and-on-everyone’s-eyes human neighbor of theirs, here are some facts about the show with the impressive longevity.
1. MASTER SHAKE, FRYLOCK, AND MEATWAD WERE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AN EPISODE OF SPACE GHOST COAST TO COAST.
Space Ghost writers Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro thought up the three characters as mascots of a fast food chain called Burger Trench that would ultimately annoy the protagonist. After initially failing to get the episode produced despite taking "20 to 30” passes at the script (it was eventually made into the episode “Kentucky Nightmare”), the two scribes pitched a show about their three creations to the network for its own series.
2. THE CREATORS MADE THEM DETECTIVES IN ORDER TO GET CARTOON NETWORK TO PUT THE SHOW ON THE AIR.
The network executives didn’t understand the show, which is why the three main characters were detectives in the first few episodes. By the fourth episode, “Mayhem of the Mooninites,” Willis and Maiellaro were comfortable enough to drop the whole detective conceit altogether—though they have alluded to it on occasion.
3. MASTER SHAKE ALMOST SOUNDED LIKE CHRISTOPHER WALKEN.
A leading candidate to voice the anthropomorphic drink made him sound like Christopher Walken. Other candidates tried to sound like superheros. Then Dana Snyder auditioned ...
4. DANA SNYDER BECAME MASTER SHAKE THANKS TO TWO DRUNKEN VOICEMAILS.
After a night out enjoying some adult beverages with a friend, Snyder followed Dave Willis’ directions and left his audition on his voicemail. Willis loved what he heard, but accidentally erased it and needed to play it for his boss. When Snyder tried it again sober, it didn’t have the same effect for Willis. So Snyder repeated his drunken night out, recorded it again at 3 a.m. the next morning, and won the part.
5. SCHOOLLY-D WROTE THE LYRICS TO THE ORIGINAL THEME SONG ON THE LIMO RIDE TO THE STUDIO.
His version was used for the first seven seasons.
6. THE MOONINITES WERE BASED ON AN INFAMOUSLY TERRIBLE VIDEO GAME.
Ignignokt and Err came about after Maiellaro remembered reading the legend of the E.T. Atari video game. It was such a commercial and critical disaster that the company supposedly buried millions of its cartridges in the desert (some were excavated in 2014). At first, the Aqua Teen house was built on the burial ground of the video game, but that potential backstory for the Mooninites’ proved to be too complex to be properly presented in one 11-minute episode.
7. ‘SPACECATAZ’ WAS A FAILED PILOT.
The Mooninites- and Plutonians-starring cold opens that ran throughout the show's third season were actually chopped-up bits from a full-length (11-minute) pilot of a planned spinoff created by Willis and Maiellaro. Adult Swim wouldn't even commit to a six-episode order.
8. THERE WAS A THREE-SECOND BLOOD RULE.
9. WILLIS AND MAIELLARO WROTE EVERY EPISODE TOGETHER.
When the 10-episode final season concludes, the series will have been made up of 140 installments, and the co-creators wrote them all without an outline. Maiellaro once claimed that he doesn’t watch any television.
10. A PUBLICITY STUNT FOR THE MOVIE BECAME A HUGE BOMB SCARE IN BOSTON.
Lite-Brite-looking LED displays depicting the Mooninites were put in 11 different cities, including Boston. On January 31, 2007, Boston authorities determined the items to be suspicious and closed down roads and waterways in order to investigate. Turner Broadcasting ended up paying the Boston Police Department $2 million and apologizing for the confusion.
11. AN EPISODE ABOUT THE BOSTON INCIDENT WAS PRODUCED BUT NEVER AIRED.
Willis and Maiellaro wrote “Boston,” meant to be the season five premiere, to run about one year after the LED misunderstanding. Adult Swim executives decided not to air it on television nor make it available on DVD, even though the creators claimed it was “really tame” compared to what most fans were believing it to be. (Two months ago, the episode leaked online.)
12. IT’S GONE THROUGH FIVE DIFFERENT TITLES.
In the name of fun, the show was re-christened Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 in season eight. In season nine it was renamed Aqua Something You Know Whatever. Season ten was titled Aqua TV Show Show, and the upcoming eleventh season has the triumphant title of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever.
13. ADULT SWIM RAN THE ENTIRE MOVIE ON APRIL FOOL'S DAY 2007.
As promised, it ran a couple of minutes of the feature film Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters on its airwaves 12 days before its movie debut, before Adult Swim aired the remainder of the movie in a very tiny box on the bottom left-hand corner, muted, while its regular programming took up the remainder of the screen.
14. IF IT WERE UP TO THE CREATORS, THE SHOW WOULD NOT BE ENDING.
Willis has said it was Adult Swim’s decision to move on from the show that helped create its brand. Maiellaro claimed that they found out about the series' cancelation from a friend at the animation studio—and that was when they were halfway through producing its final season.
15. BUT A MOVIE SEQUEL MIGHT BE ON ITS WAY.
Death Fighter has already been written.