‘Aqua Teen’ Joins Hipster Racism Force

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

athf1

Look, I don’t expect anything progressive out of Adult Swim. But when it’s good, it can be really good (“The Venture Brothers,” “Metalocalypse”) and when it’s bad it can be really bad (“Squidbillies,” “Tim And Eric”).

And then you get Sunday night’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Again, I don’t expect anything, you know, intelligent out of this show. But “Shake Like Me” … well, my roommate put it best once it was done: “You didn’t need those brain cells, anyway.”

athf2The episode started “normally” enough: for whatever reason, a construction company was dumping radioactive waste near the titular trio’s New Jersey pad. While he was complaining about it, Master Shake was bitten by an irradiated black man. At which point his tone changes to brown, an afro grows atop his head, and his pink straw grows to a disproportionate length. In no time, Shake greets people with “all heezy in the sheezy.” And he can’t swim.

See, it’s funny because he was “turning black,” and that’s what black people say and do! Get it?! LULZ

At the urge of another afro’ed character, Boxy Brown, Shake forgoes his “slave name” in favor of Mocha Shaka Khan, and sees marked improvement as both a rapper and a basketball player. It’s only thanks to a “Blackcine” cooked up by Frylock, the brains of the outfit that he’s restored to his normal ridiculous state.

Defenders of the show will point out that the episode is “okay” because Frylock is voiced by a POC, voice-actor Carey Means, and that it was “obviously” satire. My problem is, like the other instances we’ve highlighted over the past month or so, it’s not good satire. It made “Family Guy” look nuanced and thoughtful by comparison. Was there humor in Master Shake being reduced to a stereotype? Possibly. The problem was, nobody reacted to him like he was one. The show took more half-assed shots at Frylock’s liberal guilt while accepting Shake’s “blackness.”

Which, from the impression I’ve gotten over the years, is perfectly fine for what I’ve imagined to be the show’s target demo: kids who ran around quoting the “porch monkey” bit from “Clerks 2” to their black friends asking, “It’s funny, right? Isn’t it funny?” It’s not absurdist, it’s not smart, it’s not comedy. It is, as the kids say, EPIC FAIL. And to that line of comedy, only one response is appropriate:

athf3

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health

OMLN

Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives

Tags

Written by: