The Church Basement: AQUABATS! … If Bruce Wayne were a Monkee.
The Aquabats! Super Show! on the Hub is one of the craziest, most bizarre, most out-there weird shows on television today. And — if there’s even an ounce of deranged inside of you — maybe you should be watching it. If you’re not, then shame on you. Shame shame SHAME ON YOU!!!
Alas, the show is the brainchild of Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz, the co-creators of “Yo Gabba Gabba”, and another of their friends named Jason DeVilliers (who also happens to direct and/or write just about every episode).
It’s also about a band called The Aquabats who I’ve been a fan of for about 20 years now (no old jokes please; not yet, anyway). They were a ska band and then became something bigger and more popular because of the influence and new audience they found from “Yo Gabba Gabba”.
But anyway, here’s all you really need to know:
“If the person is over 30, I’d say it’s like Batman meets The Monkees, with a little bit of Sid and Marty Krofft in it. If they’re under 30, I’d say Power Rangers meets Flight of the Conchords, very sarcastic. If they’re kids…superheroes fighting monsters. And at some point, something will explode.” – Christian Jacobs
Aquabats is, simply, a blast and a half. You should also be watching because it’s kitsch, better than your mom’s keesh, camp, and perhaps the most fun you’ll have on a Saturday morning; or, hell, on a Saturday night, after a few holy wines with a group of pals, kicking each other’s lunchbox. It’s a good ass time.
I’ve run out of ways to preach, so allow me to skip over to my Aquabat rectory.
‘Bats is going to be a cult classic if it gets lost in the shuffle and gets cancelled (because folks just love things that get canceled!). That’s why we’re talking about it here. You know how people talk about the “Batman: The Animated Series” or the “X-Men: The Animated Series” or just about any other.. uh.. “Animated Series” from when they were youth and speak on how great they were and how amazing those shows made them feel?
Mark my words: The Aquabats! Super Show! is that show. It’s not just for kids. It’s a show for adults. It’s a show for people who enjoy laughing and goofing off and just enjoying batshit crazy weirdness on TV.
Every episode has featured a cartoon, oftentimes just oddly placed for no reason other than to break up an otherwise nonsensical moment. The first season featured a cartoon break that was an ongoing adventure for the team, drawn in an anime style, where the team delved inside Jimmy the Robot to save him. The second season has featured a cartoon each episode (one animated like Heavy Metal, one like anime, one similar to the “Money for Nothing” music video by Dire Straits, one in a slightly chibi style, and the most recent was Robot Chicken-esque) all detailing the way that the team started, all completely different stories and all from completely different narrators.
It makes no sense, but that’s the beauty in it all…
You want guest stars to work you up and get some geek cred going? How about Rip Taylor (Wayne’s World 2), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Paul Scheer (from “Human Giant” and “The League” and a million other things), Sam Levine (from “Freaks and Geeks” and Inglorious Basterds), Weird Al Yankovic (from “Amish Paradise”???), Paul Rust (also from Inglorious Basterds), Tony Hawk and Eric Koston (both are video game characters and skateboarders), Mark Mothersbaugh (besides being a founding member of Devo he also did music for a MILLION things including Wes Anderson films and “Rugrats”), Martin Starr (from “Freaks and Geeks”… guess this is where they end up?), and Mikey Way from My Chemical Romance (his brother Gerard from the same band also directed the episode he was in). That’s a ton of professional geek cred right there, in case you needed it.
What else do you need? How about a few episodes broken down? They’ve done riffs on Mad Max, The Thing, Westworld, and a bunch of other late-night films we might have seen on MST3K or Up All Night or Monstervision. These are movies we grew up with when we wanted to sneak downstairs and piss off our folks. And it shows when you watch. It shows that these people are like you and me, goofy clerics who just want to have fun, make an incredibly bizarre show, and make people laugh.
And like I said, it’s going to be a cult hit. It’s going to be so huge after it’s gone that you should get in on the ground floor now. If you like ska, surf rock, punk, pop, electro or anything like that, you’ll find interesting and fun stuff from the music alone. If you like Saturday morning cartoons or remember racing home after school to watch “Power Rangers, you’ll love this show.
If you have kids and want to watch something that doesn’t scream “Life Suckery” (a.k.a. putting six in the chamber for later), then it’s highest suggested you pay attention. Aquabats (as opposed to Bat.. aquas?) feels better than being the first kid picked in Dodgeball, or packing the newest SuperSoaker 600 before anyone else.
I mean, what else do you need to know? It’s sci-fi, it’s fantasy, it’s rock and roll, it’s comedy and drama and a bunch of cartoons and goofy monster costumes all rolled into one weirdo show. If it’s not the definition of Gods-hating-Geeks, at least this Cleric wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now leave me alone, I’m going to go Hi-Five me some Soup.
P.S. Christian Jacobs was in the movie Gleaming the Cube. Now you know you want to watch this show, right?