Season 1 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force premiered on December 30, 2000 with its pilot episode "Rabbot". It ended on December 29, 2002 with the episode "Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future".
Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis had an idea for an episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast entitled "Baffler Meal" in which Space Ghost sells out his show to fast food mascots. These mascots later became the Aqua Teens, but their personalities, design, and voices would change drastically. Master Shake and Meatwad were voiced by Dave Willis, while Matt Maiellaro provided the voice for Frylock. The episode even explains the name Aqua Teen Hunger Force as the characters considered themselves crime-fighters of teen hunger. This episode wasn't made; though, different sources give different reasons for the rejection. The episode was retooled into "Kentucky Nightmare."
Matt and Dave later decided to use these characters for their own series. Master Shake retained a large deal of his original personality, but his design was changed and Dana Snyder became his new voice-over actor. Shake was given hands, but no arms, as staff members state that it was much easier to animate. Frylock no longer has distinct arms and legs, and Carey Means became his new voice-over actor. Meatwad retained his shape and voice, for the most part, but he seems to be less depressed yet also less intelligent. A human being named Carl was also included in the series as a straight man, but his personality would greatly change early on. Many backgrounds were re-used from Hannah-Barbara cartoons, and it was intended early on that backgrounds would be realistic, giving a small sense of realism in such a strange show. According to a DVD commentary, Matt and Dave realized the concept of the show would be a difficult pitch, so they had to directly state that the Aqua Teens were detectives three times within the first episode.
The episode "Rabbot" premiered at 5 PM in a time slot labeled as "special programming" on December 30, 2000; however, the episode was largely altered after this airdate, and the original broadcast version has never been released in any format after its premiere. Missing scenes can be found in a rather rough state in the Volume 1 DVD exclusive special feature "Rabbot - The Original Cut." On the DVD commentary for "Mayhem of the Mooninites," it was mentioned that "Escape From Leprechaupolis" and "Bus of the Undead" were also considered pilots.
It wasn't until News Years Day 2003 that "Baffler Meal" became a finished product. Surprisingly, the episode was made as it was originally intended, even including the original designs and voices of the Aqua Teens. By this point, however, Aqua Teen Hunger Force had become quite popular, with the first season completed. "Baffler Meal" can be viewed in its entirety on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume Two DVD box set.
|1||1||"Rabbot"||December 30, 2000|
|2||2||"Escape From Leprechaupolis"||September 9, 2001|
|3||3||"Bus of the Undead"||September 30, 2001|
|4||4||"Mayhem of the Mooninites"||October 14, 2001|
|5||5||"Balloonenstein"||December 23, 2001|
|6||6||"Space Conflict From Beyond Pluto"||April 7, 2002|
|7||7||"Ol' Drippy"||April 21, 2002|
|8||8||"Revenge of the Mooninites"||May 5, 2002|
|9||9||"MC Pee Pants"||May 19, 2002|
|10||10||"Dumber Dolls"||November 3, 2002|
|11||11||"Bad Replicant"||November 10, 2002|
|12||12||"Circus"||November 17, 2002|
|13||13||"Love Mummy"||November 24, 2002|
|14||14||"Dumber Days"||December 1, 2002|
|15||15||"Interfection"||December 8, 2002|
|16||16||"PDA"||December 15, 2002|
|17||17||"Mail Order Bride"||December 22, 2002|
|18||18||"Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future"||December 29, 2002|
- At one point in development, Frylock was supposed to turn upside and walk on his fries to get around, but some of the crew members, including Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis found this to be "scary," so they instead decided to "just make him float around like a Powerpuff Girl."
- "Space Conflict From Beyond Pluto" and "Ol' Drippy" were intended to be one episode, but Matt and Dave were told it was too long, so the episode was split up.