I was just going through my DVRd episodes of Adventure Time last night. I watched “Beyond the Earthly Realm,” which was wonderfully freaky and inventive. Finn gets trapped (thanks to a cursed lamb statue) in an alternate dimension populated by unpleasant creepies. He meets the Ice King, who exists there and in the real world simultaneously . . . which (in part) helps explain why the Ice King is such a freak.
Which leads to this: The really impressive episodes of Adventure Time aren’t necessarily funny. “Thank You” was a sweet little story about a ice golem befriending a lost fire wolf pup. Then there are the painful episodes about Marceline and the Ice King AKA Simon, and their history together. That’s pretty damn deep stuff for a cartoon.
Adventure Time is truly a Wonderful Thing.
That’s one of the aspects of the show that really raises the bar in my eyes - it respects kids’ capacity for empathy and processing of complex emotions and tragic outcomes alongside their capacity for enjoying wacky hijinx and general silliness.
Kids (and I think people) in general are smarter and kinder than people give them credit for, and it’s nice to see a show that’s already so creative, colorful, and strange take the time and effort to deal with a range of human experiences - happiness and sorrow each in measure. It gives the show real soul.
Gosh I love AT. I’m not so sure it’s really a kids show per se, not young kids anyway, although I’m sure many of them could enjoy it. But they do use the word “sexy” pretty regularly, which makes me think that it’s mostly for young adults and those of us adults who will always be a bit goofy and young at heart.
Two more thoughts on this:
I sometimes wonder if Ice King is based on some painful personal experience . . . specifically, “losing” a relative to mental illness. Ice King fixation on various princesses, his refusal to recognize that they have no interest in him, is certainly delusional.
Jack and Finn can be really, amazingly insensitive and emotionally clueless. Especially Finn. This comes across as a realistic depiction of a brash teenager.
I’m not ashamed to say those episodes (especially “Simon and Marcy”, Season 5, episode 15), make me cry evertim.
Twelve years dungeon!
Given Lemonhead’s voice, that should be italicized and bold.
I swear, I’m starting to suspect you guys are doing it on purpose.
To everybody who is “on the fence” about watching Adventure Time: Do yourself one of the possibly greatest favors of your life and watch the living heck out of it.
It really, really is that good.
It takes a little while - most of the episodes fall into either the “playful, carefree, enjoyable” or the “omg, adventure time has just explained life to me” category and the first two seasons are a little heavier on the former. Around season 3, the latter starts to take a firmer hold and it all culminates in the three episode switchover between season 4 and 5.
I’m still blown out of my mind just thinking about how incredible that three-parter is*. Don’t skip to it, though. Like wanting to hike up a mountain to appreciate the height instead of taking a cable cab up to the top, you should watch every single episode before that. You won’t regret it and if you have any feeling in your heart, you will be brutally ravaged by the genius that is Adventure Time when you reach the top.
I just opened up the wikipedia page to make sure my episode count is right. Just reading some of the episode titles gives me chills. And we’re ten minute cartoons with silly toot jokes here.
Watching Adventure Time has made me a better human. Should I ever meet Pendelton Ward, he will get the most tearful and awkward man hug I can muster.
* And it comes after 'I Remember You'. **JEEEEEZ**.
AT is aimed at the tween/early teenager set. Finn spends a lot of times coming to terms with his sudden feelings for the various women in his life and their rejections. I’m not in the right age group to know how much of that resonates, but it’s gets surprisingly frank at times.
Just like Finn the show is trapped between the carefree adventuring of his youth and the complex world of girlfriends and emotions that’s he’s entering like it or not.
Absolutely. I’m in said age group and the amount of subtle, nostalgic references to little bits and bobs from my 90’s childhood is astounding. Everything from plays on over-the-top 80s/90s cartoon antics to hints at computer games and toys everyone used to own, such as Fin’s grass sword resembling those magic slap bracelets that made you feel like the boss.
It’s not just girlfriend stuff too. There’s the episode “Ocean of Fear” which is a deep examination of people’s most primal fears/phobias. It goes through showing sometimes you just can’t conquer your fear, at least not in one shot. But it wraps up with the idea that you may still be afraid, but your attitude can still be positive. You can treat that fear as a quirk, and you can still be open to conquering that fear in the future.
Then there’s “Simon and Marcy” which is just tragic. It’s showing how it can be preferable to have a surrogate father who’s there for you (even if he has dementia) than having a father who just doesn’t care and is unavailable. It’s wrenching really. Everyone deserves to have a good dad, but Marcelene got the choice of a deadbeat, and a guy slowly going insane and having to lose him too.
I feel that it’s a show truly geared towards both the tween/early teen audience, as well as old people in their 20s and older. And really, the writing and storytelling and themes in Adventure Time are important and compelling for everyone.
season 5 episode 14
I try to get my friends into Adventure Time via the episode “Time Sandwich.” It has almost all of the characters doing character-y things, it sets itself up in a seemingly bizarre way, and the climax is AWESOME!
Never seen the creator of AT before… he looks like I’d imagine he might.
The most surprising two things about AT for me were: That sudden and unexplained shifts in storyline and purpose for the characters are not only acceptable, they’re hilarious and that there are a lot of trippy ideas and visuals that are borrowed from the world of hallucinogenics.
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