The Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a team of anthropomorphic fast food items living in South Jersey. They tried to solve crimes for a few episodes, to appease the network executives who "didn't want to air a show about food just going around and doing random stuff." But the writers quickly dropped the formula in order to concentrate on character development.
I just watched an episode from season 5. The season in which the Aqua Teens themselves are absent because their landlord, Marcula, refuses to fix the gas leak. It stars Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, and former professional baseball star John Kruk.
Carl: Kruk from the Phillies?
Kruk: Uh yeah man that's me.
Carl: Dude I hit you with a battery in 89, you remember? D cell?
Kruk: Yeah I remember you. I still got the scar.
Later Carl wakes up with a shotgun in his lap. He is curled like a child on the 70s couch next to his NY Giants lamp which was free with a year's subscription to Sports Illustrated. His glass coffee table is littered with adult literature. It is a pathetic sight. The absence of moronic commentary from Meatwad is notable. The doorbell rings. The shotgun goes off.
You'd think instant classic, right? Carl gets his dream come true when the Aqua Teens move out and a major league baseball player moves in with two beautiful women. But without Master Shake yelling at Carl and failing to comprehend the action, it just seems like a nightmare, like a velvet painting of Charles Manson playing guitar.
This is the single longest running original series on Cartoon Network. I remember it as a standby, like Scooby-Doo. But now it seems dark and sad and terrible, and kind of boring. Am I too old? As John Kruk says, while the sirens peel off his skin and poke harpoon holes in his stomach, "It's not even painful anymore."