12 oz. Mouse
"Okay now, funny thing is, I have these weird flashes, like I've been somewhere before. Like I've been ripped from somewhere for reasons I don't understand. Does anyone else pick that up? That understanding of rippedness?"
12 oz. Mouse (sometimes abbreviated as ozmo) was a 21-episode animated series that ran on Adult Swim from 2005-2007. It was the brainchild and pet project of Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator Matt Maiellaro.
The narrative centered around Mouse Fitzgerald (a.k.a Fitz), a green, beer-swilling, Chaotic Neutral mouse who lives in a violent, nihilistic town apparently made out of cardboard. Fitz takes on a series of oddjobs for Shark, a non-anthropomorphic blue shark, and botches each one spectacularly through his propensity for drinking and his inability to focus on the simplest of tasks. As the series progresses, Fitz begins to have flashbacks of a lost previous life, including a wife and daughter he didn't know he had. As he attempts to put together his forgotten past, he runs afoul of several of the town's more bizarre citizens, including a giant eyeball, a one-handed corndog farmer, and a wealthy square. Everyone knows something that they're not telling, but most of them have problems of their own.
Though ozmo is remarkable for its moody story, its brilliant soundtrack, and its breathy, melodramatic voice acting, the series is mostly remembered for its abject visual austerity- most of the characters are rendered in simple line drawings (hand-drawn by Maiellaro) and the backgrounds are rarely more detailed than that. Maiellaro joked that he pitched the series by telling the network "This will cost about five dollars and will take some of the paper sitting in the copier.", and it's not too hard to believe him.
- The Alcoholic: Fitz's defining trait. In fact, the only merchandise produced for the show aside from the DVD was a drinking flask engraved with his image.
- The other characters get in their share of boozing, too.
- Ambiguous Gender: Rectangular Businessman once referred to himself as a woman. Rhoda, who looks and speaks like a male, is sometimes called a "her". The Man/Woman can switch genders at will.
- Alternate Reality Game: Sort of, in a very limited way. One episode ended with a numeric code, and a hint to its decoding was provided on the Adult Swim forums. The fan who decoded it won $5 in loose change, some swag, and a note from RBM. Maiellaro also posted a riddle to the forums in 2007, which was never officially solved.
- Cerebus Syndrome
- The Chessmaster: Rectangular Businessman
- Chekhov's Gun: Many. Some of them are debated.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Just about everyone. Due to the bizarre nature of their world, it's difficult to tell whether someone is being a Talkative Loon or is actually giving real background info. This is compounded by the cast is being frequently attacked by "anti-language gas".
- Cool Car: Fitz's taxi appears to be a yellow jet with no wings.
- Cool Ship: Shark's ship appears to be a giant flying metal shark.
- Cosmic Horror: Amalockh
- Crapsack World
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fitz, Roostre.
- Cute but Cacophonic: Skillet. His single frame of animation is adorable, but he speaks in loud squealing noises.
- Cryptic Conversation: Every single conversation ever made by any character on the show. Period.
- The City - in the first two seasons, averted in the internet episode.
- Deranged Animation
- Dumb Is Good: Contrast the protagonists, especially the stoner policeman, with the far more (relatively) intelligent villains, RBM and Shark.
- Energy Beings
- Eternal Recurrence: It's heavily implied that the town is stuck in a loop that has gone on for at least one iteration. Liquor even tells Roostre that's he's "too close to resetting everything".
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Letters in the background of Shark's party spell out the messages, "Roostre knows", "Shark is an asshole", and "Skillet is key".
- Gainax Ending / No Ending: On one hand, the antagonists are killed off and the heroes leave the city behind on the other hand, no answers are given to Fitz's past, and a number of other plot threads are left dangling.
- The DVD release is labeled as "vol. 1" so it's possible that they intended to continue the series past the internet-only episode. Almost four years later, that's yet to happen.
- Government Conspiracy, maybe.
- Guns and Gunplay Tropes: Too many to list here. To say the least, each character carries a signature gun and uses it with little or no provocation.
- Immune to Bullets: Shark, Liquor.
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: The hidden cameras in "Spider" which look like bright red dots on a plain white wall.
- It's All About Me: Rectangular Businessman. He can't go minute without mentioning how rich he is.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
- Killed Off for Real: Subverted multiple times in the first season (except for the finale), but the show started to play this trope straight in season 2.
- "Let Me Get This Straight..., you're...out of beer?"
- Living Shadow
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Lotus Eater Machine
- Magical Realism of a particularly bleak and nihilistic kind.
- Mind Screw: and how!
- There are two attitudes toward this show: the fans, and the people who literally don't even think it has a plot. No, really. At all. They don't mean it as a pejorative, they literally aren't aware it exists.
- No Indoor Voice: Golden Joe. He's like "a human P.A. machine".
- No Name Given: Some characters are never really given names. The cop is finally called "Peanut" (one of the most common fan nicknames) in the last episode. The annoying woman in the green sweater is never named, until her transformation, after which Word of God called her "Robogirl".
- Overly Long Gag: several.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. "The magnitude of my wealth goes beyond any wall... of China".
- Right on the Tick: The frozen clock.
- Scary Black Man: Halfway through the series, Shark announces, "I'm black now", and starts blowing up everything.
- Stopped Clock: One that's an antagonist, to boot.
- Stylistic Self Parody: "I don't have any eyes."
- A subtle one occurs when a deadly tiebot attaches itself to Fitz's chest. He can't reach it because his arms don't bend.
- Stylistic Suck: It's not known if it's true or not, but Adult Swim constantly jokes that this show basically came about as a challenge to see if it was possible to create a television show while completely wasted; they still frequently and proudly refer to it when using examples of the crappiest artwork in the world.
- Throw It In: The character Rhoda was first sketched on the back of a Perfect Hair Forever script, and several lines of dialog could be seen inside him/her. The makers liked the look and kept it in the show.
- Take That: Behind the scenes, a lot of people at Williams Street and Adult Swim really, really hated The Big O. If you keep this in mind when watching Twelve Oz. Mouse, you will realize is a really mean spirited parody of the show. For example, Replace Corndog with Tomato, and things will begin to come into focus...
- Town with a Dark Secret
- The Unintelligible: Skillet, among others.
- Trailers Always Lie: The episode summaries given to cable providers were completely unrelated to the episodes. In fact, they were the summaries from episodes of Good Times, with the characters' names changed.
- Verbal Tic: The Eye usual-eye speaks b-eye emphas-eye-zing the "eye" sound in ever-eye word he can.
- And then a few he c-eye-n't.
- No. You can't do that.
- And then a few he c-eye-n't.
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The creators have answered this in interviews, pointing out that Williams Street, like all corporations, has a drug policy. Though, when asked if they make the show while drunk, they simply say they're always drunk.
- Zen Survivor: In the internet only episode.