Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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I Sez: Less Hubbub About ATHF Advertising, More About Show

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 2, 2007

The Good Dr. has opinions about things. Important things.

So, apparently the Boston police weren’t so fond of the guerilla outdoor marketing campaign Aqua Teen Hunger Force was doing to promote their upcoming feature-length movie. In New York at least, the sight of moononite Err flippin’ the bird is a familiar, comforting one, the stuff of gigantic billboards and the like, but in Boston perhaps the sight isn’t quite so recognizable, and in consequence, the Boston police force spent a million dollars closing down roads and public transportation out of fear that signs featuring Lite Brite-style images of Ignignokt and Err that had been posted around the city were actually bombs of some sort.

Needless to say, there was some fallout. Peter Bedrovsky and Sean Stevens, employees of Interface, Inc., the marketing company behind the incident, have been arrested for violating some law that makes it illegal to place “hoax devices” to set off a panic in the general public. Meanwhile, Boston police are demanding that Adult Swim parent company Turner Broadcast reimburse the officials for the money wasted on deploying the police, which is near a million in expenses. Apparently enough of an incident to get its own Wikipedia entry, the incident is now being referred to as “AquaGate” and has sarcastic fans decrying, “1-31-07, Never Forget.”

(Bedrovsky and Stevens, LOL)

All right, so while it’s easy and probably mostly accurate to fault Boston police for their minor idiocy on this one, it was also fairly short-sighted of the ATHF marketing team to be going around a major city placing suspicious-looking electronic devices in public places. Does that mean that Bedrovsky and Stevens should go to jail or that Turner should have to repay all expenses? Probably not, though I don’t think some sort of penalizing fine would be unreasonable here. Of course, this was one of only ten cities that the ATHF campaign took place in, so you gotta wonder why Boston was the only one that was so slow on the draw.

But all of this ignores the most important point here–that the latest season of Aqua Teen has completely fucking sucked. The surreal, genuinely off-kilter humor of the first few seasons has devolved into mind-numbing gross-out humor and dick jokes, and the once brilliant, satiric characters are now pale, one-dimensional plot devices who only serve to further barely-existent gags. Enough about advertising, enough about the movie, just GET BACK TO MAKING THE SHOW FUNNY AGAIN. Aqua Teen used to be the most intelligent and hilarious part of Adult Swim’s lineup, now it’s only one step above Minoriteam and Assy McGee. And that’s just not right.

That said, this incident is cutlurally worthwhile, if only because it forces major news publications to attempt to explain Aqua Teen to general audiences. Yahoo News describes it as “a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.” Which, when you think about it, is essentially what Aqua Teen is about, but hearing it summarized as such is still hilarious.


2 Responses to “I Sez: Less Hubbub About ATHF Advertising, More About Show”

  1. joe said

    I haven’t been able to watch the World News this week but I’m under the impression that this has been the top story for at least a night or two. I was also hoping that networks would be forced to show clips from ATHF just to show viewers exactly what it was, but judging from the AP and ABC News clips I’ve watched online (which have only shown a promotional still from the series), this hasn’t been the case.

  2. […] I felt a certain obligation to see Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters the weekend it came out in theaters. I’ve written before on this blog about my problems with the latest season, but for at least two years, the show was one of my very favorites, and I probably have more episodes memorized front to back (or close enough) than of any other show since The Simpsons. Moreover, part of me definitely wanted to believe that the reason the last season had been so lackluster was because they’d saved all their good ideas for the movie–at least that was the go-to excuse for the show’s defenders. […]

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