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12 oz. Mouse is an animated television series on the Americanmarker channel Cartoon Network aired as part of the Adult Swim late night programming block. The show centers on the antisocial actions of an alcoholic mouse known as "Mouse Fitzgerald", "Fitz," "Butch," or simply "Mouse". The show was created by Matt Maiellaro, co-creator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and produced by Williams Streetmarker for Adult Swim.

The series is animated in the style of crude drawings with limited motion. The usage of firearms, alcohol consumption, and indifferent homicidal acts are common activities of the sociopathic lead character Mouse Fitzgerald.

The plot revolves around a bizarre conspiracy which is constantly building on itself and taking seemingly nonsensical twists and turns. At times the narrative becomes obfuscated or nonlinear, but it simultaneously reveals connections that hint at an objective story. The dialogue is cryptic. Clues and secret messages are hidden throughout each episode, including the credits. Creator Matt Maiellaro has indicated that the development of 12 oz. Mouse was influenced in part by the Theatre of the Absurd, and surrealistic films such as those by director David Lynch. Written in serial format, each episode picks up where the previous one left off.

The series concluded its initial run on Adult Swim on December 18, 2006 with its twentieth episode, leaving the plot unresolved. In February 2007, production began on additional episodes for internet distribution on Adult Swim Video. The first and so far only online episode premiered May 16, 2007.

Characters

Listed below are some of the characters found in the dangerous world of 12 oz. Mouse:

  • Mouse Fitzgerald, an anarchic green mouse who does "all things" and obeys no rules.
  • Skillet, an ever-screeching chinchilla with rocket feet and laser eyes who plays drums. He is Mouse Fitzgerald's best friend.
  • Shark, a ruthless power-broker who manipulates others through fear and mind control.
  • Rectangular Businessman, an arrogant pink square who is preoccupied with his enormous wealth. He is in business with Shark. He wears glasses although he has no eyes, and seems to have no problem seeing where he is going.
  • Roostre, a corn dog farmer with a mysterious past.
  • Eye, a giant eyeball with legs who overemphasizes words and syllables that sound like the word "eye".
  • Man / Woman, a person who can change gender at will as long as no dead turkeys are around.
  • Peanut, an alleged law enforcement officer whose judgment is strongly altered by marijuana and alcohol.
  • Liquor, a liquor store owner who secretly knows a lot about everything and performs stand up comedy.
  • Golden Joe, a teleporting hip-hop artist.
  • The New Guy, a walking umbrella who is obsessed with Skillet and has a taste for lounge music.
  • Spider, a giant piano-playing spider who may know something about arachno-xenomorphentation.
  • Rhoda, The owner and bartender of the only local saloon. Although Rhoda has a low-register voice and is apparently mustachioed it is implied through Shark that Rhoda is female. Rhoda is the first character killed off in the series, surprisingly by the seemingly innocuous Square Buisnessman


Plot

According to the network, the show is about a mouse named Mouse Fitzgerald (Fitz) who is fond of beer and caught in a world of espionage, love, and the delights of odd jobs.

The show employs a serial format, and its ongoing storyline developed from absurdist comedy to include mystery and thriller elements. Fitz begins to recover suppressed memories that he once had a wife and a child who have now vanished. This leads him to seek answers about his past and the shadowy forces that seem to be manipulating his world. Fitz suspects there is a sinister conspiracy which appears to revolve around fields of "asprind" [sic] pills beneath the city, and Shark, Clock, and Rectangular Businessman's attempts to control the nature of time and reality. Fitz and Skillet receive help from Liquor, Roostre, Stoned Peanut Cop and others as they engage in gun battles, blow things up, and try to understand cryptic hints. The show also sometimes contains surreal "subliminal" images that flash across the screen during key plot moments, including skulls, mustached snake beasts and people screaming. The series concludes with it being revealed that Fitz has actually been kidnapped and placed into a simulation, not unlike The Matrix, by the Shadowy Figure. One of the purposes was to extract information from Fitz. What information is not made completely clear, though it is assumed that since Fitz is a Secret Agent in the real world, it could be information that would threaten the Shadowy Figure's power and stature.

The conclusion to episode 20 is ambiguous as to whether or not it is actually the end of the series, as some aspects of the plot remain unresolved, and Golden Joe says "I thought this was done." Fitz replies, "I thought so too. I guess we're not." This could have a number of implications, either meaning that the show was intentionally left open-ended, or that the series may not yet be over, or that Fitz has unfinished business, or personal demons left to deal with. Earlier in the series, Shark states "It's never the end", and the credits of one episode contains the backwards message "Mouse will never end", foreshadowing the series conclusion.

Episodes

The pilot episode for 12 oz. Mouse, "Hired", premiered on June 19, 2005 and became a regular series in the Adult Swim lineup in October 2005. An Adult Swim bump shown with the sixth installment claimed that twenty additional episodes were being produced and taunted viewers who had complained they couldn't understand the absurdist series. On December 31, 2005 the "12 oz. New Year Marathon" aired, replaying all six episodes followed by the premiere of the then unfinished seventh episode "Adventure Mouse." The second season aired on Adult Swim on Monday mornings at 12:45 AM EST from September 25, 2006 to December 17, 2006. On May 16, 2007, the 21st episode premiered on the adult swim fix as a web-only episode.

DVD release

A DVD release of the complete series was released February 29, 2008 exclusively on the Williams Street shop. The DVD cover depicts Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" with the 12 Oz. Mouse cast replacing Christ and the 12 Disciples. However, under a black light, the cover depicts the skeletons of the characters, as well as letters and symbols which made an email address, that, if emailed, as of [July 2008], yields nothing. It was first announced to be in production in an interview with creator Matt Maiellaro. The series is presented as a single, continuous movie, with newly-produced footage bridging the gaps between episodes. It also features production footage, new music, episode 13, "Auraphull", in its entirety, and collected fan art.

Production notes

In early airings, the show is also known as "oz. Mo." In the title sequence, the "camera" was so close to the "12 oz. Mouse" title card that only the characters "oz. Mo" were visible. However, it was later discovered that "Ozmo" is the name of an educational cartoon produced by the BBC.

The animation for the character Shark originates from the Sealab 2020 cartoon, from which clips were used to create the majority of the animation in the Sealab 2021 show on Adult Swim. The shark animation first appeared on Adult Swim on the show Space Ghost, which Space Ghost referred to him as "Old Kentucky Shark." The shark later appeared towards the end of an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode entitled "Escape From Leprauchpolis."

Matt Maiellaro commissioned Lexington, Kentuckymarker semi-professional cowpunk band Nine Pound Hammer to write and perform the opening theme song. Scott Luallen, the voice of Roostre, is also the lead singer of Nine Pound Hammer.

Influence

The hip hop duo DANGERDOOM (who specialize in making rap songs inspired by Adult Swim shows and is occasionally heavily marketed during Adult Swim bumps) has a song inspired by 12 oz. Mouse entitled "Korn Dogz" from their downloadable EP "Occult Hymn". The song uses audio clips from the episode "Rooster", with the line "Corn dogs for the pickin'" being recited by Danger Doom's MC MF DOOM and Mouse Fitzgerald.Footage from the show makes a brief appearance in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film (on the guest monitor on Space Ghost Coast to Coast).

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