Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume Four

In a parallel universe, far, far away, Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the number one show on television. However, here on Earth, things are a little different and the avant-garde cartoon is merely one of the funniest and zaniest TV programs to ever air, but is appreciated by only a small but dedicated cult following. Easily earning the prize as Adult Swim's weirdest show (a title that has some extremely close competition), Aqua Teen Hunger Force is supposed to be a crime-fighting team comprised of three fast food items, but somewhere along the way they got lazy and just decided to insult and maim each other with mind-boggling, hilarious results. Consisting of Frylock (the sensible, super-sized carton of fries), Shake (the troublemaking, bad-mouthing milkshake) and Meatwad (a childish, naïve, um, wad of meat), not to mention their depraved, wife-beater-clad neighbour Carl, the trio find themselves in some of the most unique and troubling predicaments, such as being haunted by a video game ghost or continually threatened by a satanic force who in this volume takes the form of a bed-ridden, geriatric rapper named Little Brittle. Despite its obvious leftfield, far-out leanings, the scripts are ingenious creations that push the limits of stream of consciousness writing, providing scenarios that make you wonder just how this show ever made it onto television. Standout moments include Ted Nugent being mistaken for Jesus (or in the world where "standards and practices" rule the media he's known as "Gee Whiz"), Santa Claus being burned within an inch of his life by a giant Easter egg monster, and a soap opera/musical concocted in Shake's brain when Mexican jumping beans attack the evil hypno-germs controlling his nervous system. Yes, it's everything you ever wanted in a cartoon but were afraid to imagine. Each episode mysteriously opens with a skit called "Spacecataz," which offers an unrelated storyline featuring two spaceships bent on either destroying one another or simply pulling the best prank, whichever is on the agenda for the day. Of course, the extras allow you to watch them all in a row, making for a more logical viewing that comes dangerously close to making some sense. Other extras include original spots and ads for the show, and a behind the scenes look at doing the voiceovers for the "Spacegate World" episode, which provides an intimate look into the world of creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, and the other vocal talents. Best of all though, and in the true spirit of the show, are the menu options "Play All" and "Play None," which serve up all of the episodes on each disc concurrently to give one of the biggest and funniest headaches imaginable. Try and last more than a minute and you've broken my record. Plus: Raydon, F-art, selected commentaries. (Adult Swim/Warner)