Q&A: Dave Wil­lis & Matt Maiel­laro

Animation Magazine - - Q& A - Aqua Teen Hunger Force

The cre­ators of talk about the fi­nal sea­son of the Adult Swim se­ries, which pre­mieres June 21. By Tom McLean.

When Adult Swim de­buted on Car­toon Net­work in 2001, there was no in­di­ca­tion that the quirky, strange and hys­ter­i­cally funny Aqua Teen Hunger Force would sur­vive to the sec­ond episode, let alone 14 years.

But, as with all good things, the ad­ven­tures of Master Shake, Fry­lock, Meat­wad, Carl, the Mooninites and Doc­tor Weird are com­ing to an end with the fi­nal sea­son of the se­ries de­but­ing June 21 at mid­night on Adult Swim.

Af­ter 11 sea­sons, a fea­ture film in 2007 — com­plete with a mar­ket­ing gim­mick turned real-life bomb scare — and an ever-chang­ing ti­tle, we caught up with show cre­ators Dave Wil­lis and Matt Maiel­laro to com­mem­o­rate the end of the Aqua Teen era.

An­imag: Why do you think the show con­nected with an au­di­ence that kept tun­ing in?

Wil­lis: I don’t know. You never re­ally know why peo­ple re­spond to some­thing. I just think Matt and I tried to make what made us laugh, and for­tu­nately that was some­thing that made mil­lions and mil­lions of other peo­ple world­wide laugh.

An­imag: Tell me a bit about the new sea­son and what you have planned?

Wil­lis: It’s the same the show it has al­ways been, just a slightly dif­fer­ent ti­tle. We named it Aqua Teen Hunger Force For­ever and then, of course, we got the call that said this was the fi­nal sea­son.

Maiel­laro: We in­ad­ver­tently found out about half­way through the sea­son that it wasn’t com­ing back, so we started think­ing about spe­cial episodes to make.

Wil­lis: I think the fi­nale is go­ing to be very sat­is­fy­ing, un­pre­dictable and yet in­evitable. I think the way we wrap it up, I think we do the run of the show real jus­tice. I just think it’s go­ing to be a nice half-hour episode. We’re do­ing nine episodes but the last one is a half hour, so other than that, they’re all just stan­dard episodes. I think they’re funny. I think they’re re­ally strong. We haven’t been on the air in a while. We worked re­ally hard to make this sea­son great and I think we’ve done it. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Matt!

Maiel­laro: Oh, yeah! Thanks, Dave! Con­grat­u­la­tions to you, too!

Wil­lis: We’re both con­grat­u­lat­ing each other be­cause it’s so good.

An­imag: Were there any feel­ings of nos­tal­gia or sad­ness as you were work­ing on the last episodes?

Wil­lis: I had a lit­tle mo­ment there in the read just do­ing a Meat­wad line. I don’t want to say which one it is be­cause it’d kind of give away some­thing, but it was sort of weirdly poignant and it made me think for a while. ... When we came up with this show I was in my late 20s and I’m mid-40s now; it’s crazy. I’ve got­ten mar­ried, I’ve had kids, same with Matt, we’ve lived a big chunk of life that has been part of this show.

An­imag: Has any­thing changed about the way you an­i­mate the show this sea­son?

Wil­lis: We’re us­ing the same an­i­ma­tion we used in the pi­lot. We just keep re­cy­cling it over and over and over again. That’s crazy! No­body does that.

An­imag: Look­ing back at the whole show, what’s the high­light for you?

Wil­lis: I think mak­ing a movie was cool, and I re­mem­ber the open­ing of the movie, go­ing around with my wife to all these dif­fer­ent the­aters and just watch­ing peo­ple watch the movie. It was kind of thrilling. I re­mem­ber see­ing an alarmed el­derly cou­ple get up fran­ti­cally dur­ing the open, as soon as they re­al­ized this was not Eyes Wide Shut or what­ever they had come to check out. “Wait a minute, that’s not Sarah Jes­sica Parker! Let me check that ticket … .” And that Bos­ton thing was pretty in­sane.

An­imag: Would you re­visit these char­ac­ters in another movie or spe­cial?

Maiel­laro: We’re try­ing to re­ally push the se­quel to the movie. So hope­fully we can get that hap­pen­ing in the next few years.

Wil­lis: There’s a script. That’s the one good thing about car­toons — they never die. But nei­ther does Bat­man, though. You just put some­one else in the suit. Maiel­laro: And nei­ther does Jason. Wil­lis: Jason Vorhees, that’s right. Can you imag­ine if he was a car­toon? He’d be twice as in­vin­ci­ble! [

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