By Redditor Trill-I-Am
It’s September 9, 2001. The animated adult comedy landscape is nascent but sparsely populated, and you still (barely) live in an innocent, pre-9/11 world. Both Beavis and Butt-head and Duckman have been off the air for 4 years, and Dr. Katz, 2 years. Home Movies only lasted five episodes before being canceled by UPN. The Simpsons is already arguably in decline. Family Guy has been granted a last minute reprieve of a third season, but is likely to be canceled again as Fox continuously shifts its schedule, and would you really miss it anyway? King of the Hill is going strong, but that’s kind of an acquired taste. Futurama is great, but like Family Guy, Fox is fucking with it’s schedule so you worry. And of course, there’s South Park, but nobody wants to enjoy just 1 show forever.
And then, like a literal light in the nighttime darkness, Adult Swim emerges to carry the torch of animated adult comedy, with five, count ’em, five, great fucking shows: the classic Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Sealab 2021, The Brak Show, the revived Home Movies, and of course…
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Yes, that show you used to watch when you were 15 is still going. Arising out of a one-off joke on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force aka Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 aka Aqua Something You Know Whatever aka Aqua TV Show Show aka Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever are the surreal and absurd adventures of three anthropomorphic food items, Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad, and their slovely and put-upon neighbor Carl. So far it’s given us 10 seasons, 130 episodes, a movie that made just $5 million, a live action episode, a terrorism scare, and an until-recently never aired episode written in response to the aforementioned terrorism scare.
The entire television landscape has changed around it, culturally, commercially, and technologically, but it kept on trucking. Even Adult Swim has changed during its lifetime, introducing live-action programming and at one point even (temporarily) removing all anime all-together. It will have had 11 seasons and 140 episodes. The average number of episodes for an Adult Swim original is 25, the median’s 20. The average and median number of seasons is 2.
It was never heralded as a landmark of transgressiveness like South Park, it was never bemoaned as an celebration of youthful nihilism and apathy like Beavis and Butthead, and it was sure as hell never mythologized as an icon of American entertainment and pop culture generally like The Simpsons. It was just good tv. It gave us moments like this, this, and this. It gave us MC Pee Pants, the [Mooninites], (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T6tL0UdmY4), the Wisdom Cube, and, of course…
It outlasted 30 Rock, Breaking Bad, Chappelle’s Show, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Eastbound & Down, Entourage, Fear Factor, Flight of the Conchords, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Glee, Gossip Girl, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, Jersey Shore, Justified, Lost, Mad Men, Malcolm in the Middle, Man Vs. Wild, Monk, My Name is Earl, Nip/Tuck, Psych, Prison Break, Punk’d, Rome, Scrubs, Skins, Six Feet Under, Smallville, Sparatcus, The Colbert Report, The Hills, The I.T. Crowd, The Mentalist, The O.C., The Office, The Osbournes, The Sarah Silverman Program, The Shield, The Simple Life, The Whitest Kids U’ Know, True Blood, Two and a Half Men, Ugly Betty, Veronica Mars, Viva La Bam, Weeds, White Collar, and Wilfred.
Season 11 starts tonight at 12 am Eastern, 11 pm Central. Join us in /r/adultswim.