CHARACTERS • MORE
|Premiere||June 19, 2005|
|Finale||July 31, 2020|
|Episodes||31 (2 specials and 1 webisode)|
12 oz. Mouse was an animated television series on the American channel Cartoon Network 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 Street 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. 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 surrealistic films and the Theatre of the Absurd, such as those by director David Lynch.
The series concluded its initial run on Adult Swim on December 18th, 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 only online episode premiered May 16th, 2007.
The June 14, 2018 episode of the Adult Swim streaming series Development Meeting featured a new clip from 12 oz. Mouse, which featured Seth Green as Fitz, hinting at a return of the series, however, on September 18th, 2018, it was announced that the show will return for a half-hour special that will air on October 14th. On the same night October 14th 2018.
It was announced that the series will return for a 10-episode third season which was gonna be aired in the year of 2020, according to someone by the name of Brad Lee Zimmerman on Facebook.
The third season of the show premiered unexpectedly on March 31st, 2020 as part of that year's Adult Swim's Annual April Fools Prank stunt. The first 10 episodes from the third season premiered nightly (except weekends) from July 20th to July 31st, 2020. The ending credits of both "Invictus" and the season 3 episodes featured a song by Amaranthe.
In February 2021, it was revealed that the show would not be picked up for a fourth season.
Listed below are some of the characters found in the dangerous world of 12 oz. Mouse:
- Mouse Fitzgerald - An alcoholic, 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 shark on land that is 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.
- Clock/Industry Man - A Clock that is a wall clock that can slide around on the wall and teleport. In the third season, he was revealed to have a human persona, and the ability to shapeshift into the clock.
- Rhoda - A bartender with one eye and a head whose gender is completely unknown, as the bartender is referred to as a he and she. He serves 12 oz. beer in a bar.
- Man/Woman - A person who can change gender at will as long as no dead turkeys are around.
- Peanut Cop - An alleged law enforcement police 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.
- Producer Man - A loud, gregarious person who has a habit of walking around bent over backwards.
- Eye - A giant eyeball with legs who overemphasizes words and syllables that sound like the word "eye."
- New Guy - A walking umbrella who is obsessed with Skillet and has a taste for lounge music.
- Golden Joe A teleporting hip-hop artist.
- Green Sweatered Woman - An annoying blonde-haired woman who annoys and nags on everyone later becomes a terminator.
- Woman Mouse - A female pink mouse with breasts that is Fitz's Wife, who mysteriously disappeared.
- Baby Mouse - The child and daughter of Fitz, who also mysteriously vanished, aside her mother.
- The Shadowy Figure - A dark, looming human-type being that has a very unintelligible gambled voice.
- Roostre - A corn dog farmer with a mysterious past and a hook for a missing hand.
- Spider - A giant piano-playing spider who may know something about arachno-xenomorphentation.
- Hand - A small severe five-fingered hand that has a mind of its own.
- Pronto - A crudely drawn humanoid with no torso, that is an agent employed for as an Archerist. His weapon of choice are a bow and arrows.
- Buzby - He is a bee exterminator that was originally hired by Fitz.
- Francis - A human reporter who questions citizens to see their skills for his school newspaper.
- Aria - A British scientist who operates a large laboratory, and has a love for music.
- Professor Wilx - An African-American professor that works for Aria, has long blonde hair, and dances to funky music.
- Kiki - A hip hop D.J. and singer that is the love interest of Golden Joe.
- Sirus - An alien-like antagonist introduced that is associated with Shyd Industries, who designed the simulation to be "escape-proof."
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 up things, 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 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." Given the show's history of playing off the audience, 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. 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.
One webisode was made in 2007, showing Fitz and his friends escaping the city to live in a desert. Golden Joe is carried away by hawk, while later one night, Peanut Cop mysteriously disappears. Fitz and Skillet later meet a woman, Lee, who turns out to be a werewolf. Their fate at the end of the episode is unknown.
In 2018, a half-hour special episode aired, which continued the story. Fitz, now with a mustache and suffering from amnesia, is shown to be living in a new city during an unspecified amount of time after the original finale. Shark and Square Guy have returned somehow, and are trying to kidnap Fitz so they can return to the "real" world with the help of exterminator bee, Buzby. Mouse's friends; Skillet, Roostre, Peanut Cop, Golden Joe, and The New Guy (Mike Lazzo) must find and escape the simulation with Fitz before Shark and Square Guy do.
The story is to continue in the third season, which then aired in 2020.
According to Maiellaro, the series was pitched as a table read to the network. He jokingly stated that they accepted it after claiming that production costs would total "five dollars and will take some of the paper sitting in the copier." Maiellaro borrowed inspiration from surrealism and the films of David Lynch. He intended for the series to lack continuity starting from the pilot, but established a serial format after starting to work on the second episode. He had constructed an ending for the series as well as a detailed map of characters; however, the series finale concluded differently from planned. In November 2006, Maiellaro mentioned the possibility of continuing the series with webisodes, and he wrote five additional scripts for ending the series, but finally, he only produced one webisode, entitled "Enter the Sandmouse."
Radical Axis provided animation for the series using Final Cut Pro. Described as "lo-fi animation", Maiellaro crudely designed the characters as a cost-cutting measure, with the exception of Amalockh, a many-armed monster summoned in the season two episode "Corndog Chronicles", which was drawn and animated by Todd Redner at the studio, and Shark, which was borrowed from the Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Kentucky Nightmare". In a behind-the-scenes clip of the show, Maiellaro explained that to animate the series, he would first grab a nearby sheet of copy paper, draw something, and then scan it, followed by him sending the file to an animator. Rhoda, a character from the series, was drawn on the back of a script page for Perfect Hair Forever. A scan of the paper revealed the textual contents behind it, which Maiellaro decided to leave in.
Maiellaro cast people around his office to voice the characters. He provides the voice of the protagonist, Mouse Fitzgerald. He originally only gave the scratch dialogue for the character during production of the pilot episode, but chose himself to voice Mouse regularly after hearing his lines assembled in the final cut. Kurt Soccolich was chosen by Maiellaro to voice Rectangular Businessman, who "already had that sort of smooth arrogance in his voice", making him a "perfect" fit for him. Matt Harrigan was selected to voice Liquor, who is "always looking to make light of a situation", according to Maiellaro.
Nick Weidenfeld provides the voice of Peanut Cop; Melissa Warrenburg portrays an annoying woman in a green sweater, who Maiellaro dubs "Robogirl". Bonnie Rosmarin voices Man/Woman, picked for what Maiellaro stated is a "pouty, stand-offish quality" in her delivery. Nick Ingkatanuwat voices The Eye and Adam Reed plays Shark respectively. Vocalist of Nine Pound Hammer Scott Luallen voices Roostre; the band also composed the opening theme song for the series. Golden Joe is voiced by Vishal Roney; after hearing his first take on the character, Maiellaro explained that he was left unable to write any of his lines. He proceeded to only provide the basic structure of his lines in the script, instructing him to retroscript the rest.
Maiellaro spent three weeks working with Ingkatanuwat on putting together the set for the opening title sequence. The set was filmed with a motion control camera, and was inserted with miniature explosives and smoke bombs for special effect. Nine Pound Hammer composed the opening theme song; Maiellaro sought for a song representing the "carefree" lifestyle of Mouse who "does things like drive drunk, film porno and shoot guns." Maiellaro, who plays the electric guitar in his free time, also composed the song "F-Off", featured in the first episode, which he wrote while working on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Swedish heavy metal band, Amaranthe performed the credits theme song for the 2018 special, "Invictus."
TV Parental Guidelines rating
Very few 12 oz. Mouse episodes are TV-MA, while most are TV-14, however, Meat Warrior was given a rating of TV-PG-DLV. The show's only webisode, "Enter the Sandmouse", being a webisode, was unrated at the time, but was rated TV-14-DLSV until 2014, when it was changed to TV-MA, however, it was rated TV-14-DLSV when it aired on Adult Swim on October 12th, 2018. The special "Invictus" is rated TV-14-LV.
The pilot episode for 12 oz. Mouse, "Hired", premiered on June 19th, 2005 and became a regular series in the Adult Swim lineup in October 2005. An Adult Swim bumper 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 31st, 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 25th, 2006 to December 17th, 2006. On May 16th, 2007, the 21st episode premiered on the adult swim fix as a web-only episode.
On October 14th, 2018, a half-hour special titled "Invictus" premiered on TV after having been released online two days earlier. Simultaneously, Adult Swim announced the series would be returning for a third season.
The third season premiered unexpectedly on March 31st, 2020 as part of that year's Adult Swim's April Fools Prank.
A DVD release of the complete series was released February 29th, 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. 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.
The series is also available on HBO Max since December 31st, 2020.
In early airings of the first episode, the show was 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. To avoid a potential lawsuit, the producers changed the show's opening to display the entire "12 oz. Mouse" title card.
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 Coast to Coast, which 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, Kentucky 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.
Reaction and 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 itself 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 episode "Spharktasm" makes a brief appearance in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Film (on the guest monitor on Space Ghost Coast to Coast).
- Production Credits for 12 oz. Mouse IMDB.com (accessed September 25, 2006)
- A review, including plot description of 12 oz. Mouse About.com (accessed September 25, 2006)
- Matt Maiellaro interview (accessed January 6, 2007)
- A webpage for the Occult Hymn EP, including a downloadable version of "Korn Dogz" AdultSwim.com (accessed September 25, 2006)