The Aquabats Super Show! — Season 2
Saturday, June 1
Hub Network, 1pm ET/10am PT
Art imitates life a bit this season on The Aquabats! Super Show! Maybe that’s going a bit deep for a proudly goofy show about five dudes who wear rash guards and goggles while playing ska-infused novelty songs that serve as a soundtrack for their battles with weird creatures in homages to cheesy sci-fi flicks, but there it is.
When we catch up with MC Bat Commander, EagleBones Falconhawk, Crash McLarson, Jimmy the Robot and Ricky Fitness, they have just returned to Earth after being stranded in space at the end of last season. Turns out they have come back as conquering heroes, even though none of them has any memory of what actually took place. So instead of their usual underdog status, The Aquabats have to deal with their newfound fame.
You know, sorta like a cult band going mainstream.
“People have big expectations for us, and that’s not something we’re ready to handle,” says Christian Jacobs, a.k.a. MC Bat Commander. “That’s a little bit of the tone of the series now, that we’ve been given the keys to the Ferrari but we don’t know how to drive stick. It’s fun. I miss a little bit of the Aquabats as underdogs, but I like the whole idea of inept people being given tons of responsibility.”
But those who might fear that success would spoil the Aquabats needn’t worry. The first episode — “The Return of the Aquabats!” — features a prolonged tribute to the beyond-obscure 1978 schlockfest Laserblast, and MC Bat Commander has a form of space madness that causes him to go around spouting Pixies lyrics. So yeah, sounds like they’re still pretty rad.
Formed in 1994, The Aquabats steadily developed a rabid fan base playing shows in their native Southern California. As early as 1997, Jacobs — who worked steadily as a child actor and into his early 20s before segueing into music and creating shows like Yo Gabba Gabba — remembers telling audiences that someday there would be an Aquabats TV show. While it didn’t always look like it would ever happen, Jacobs and the band persevered until they found their spot on Hub Network.
“The uncertainty of The Aquabats has always been there,” Jacobs says. “The fact that we got a Season 1 and were able to do 13 episodes, I think in the band’s mind obviously we want to do more, but there was this relief and satisfaction that was like, ‘If this is it, we walk away with our heads up. We did it! We made it!’ Our fans who have been fans for so long, we had talked about doing a TV show forever, they probably thought it was a joke.”
With this second season, though, comes a greater sense of confidence.
“It has given us more power to do what we want to do,” Jacobs says. “And not diva power, where we’re demanding white roses in our dressing room or anything. It’s more kind of getting recognition and a nod from producers and people saying, ‘OK, you guys can do it now. Go for it.’ That’s always tough about a first season is you’re under scrutiny a lot more from the network. Not that The Hub has been like that — they’ve been very good — but you’re under pressure to try to figure out what the show is. That was one thing about Season 2 is that we were able to not only have more power but know what we’re doing a little more with the characters and with the stories and have a firmer foundation and direction to go, which has been fun. We did leave a lot of stuff on the table that we wanted to do but couldn’t do last season in terms of explosion, car chases and stunts. We definitely had a bucket list that we’re getting to this season.”
Guest stars this season include skateboard legend Tony Hawk, My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way and his brother Mikey Way, Devo guru Mark Mothersbaugh and Freaks and Geeks actor Martin Starr. Should the show — dare to dream! — get a third season, look for the guest-star wattage to increase, as Jacobs says the band started getting a lot of calls from famous fans just as production was winding down.
It’s a lot to take in for Jacobs, who is still trying to find that happy place between cult fandom and mainstream success.
“I guess in a way I’d like the Aquabats to remain anonymous superheroes, but at the same time I’d love to keep doing it,” he says. “I like where we’re at. We’re at a really great spot where we’ve been recognized for what we’ve done, but we’re still special to all the kids and the fans who have liked us for so long.”
Photos: Courtesy of Hub Network