I’m fairly confident I can say that we’ve all had a moment in our lives when a cartoon swooped in and saved us. It seems unlikely to me that I’m alone in having an imaginary light bulb sprout above head as I watched some after school twenty-two minute adventure. The feeling is akin to that warmth one gets in a cherished piece of art. You know the one. It makes you want to overcome your social anxiety enough that you might just muster the strength to ramble to a friend about how it made you feel. Well, anyone fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of my fervor for Adventure Time knows how much I love it. For good reason too. Seeing what the inhabitants of Ooo are up to has been a refuge from panic attacks and depressive episodes. It’s a reminder of Art’s potential to inspire change, and I truly believe that it has made my life better.
Adventure Time centers around a thirteen year old adventurer named Finn, his dog Jake, and their exploits in the land of Ooo. The show starts showing the duo defending the Candy Kingdom and Finn’s awkward crush on Princess Bubblegum (who is five years his senior). However, as the series progressed it began to widen in scope, having story lines surrounding other characters, including the insane Ice King who seems at times to suffer most from social ineptitude. Themes abound, with the creative team led by Pendleton Ward giving us something fresh like getting over a break-up, surviving the apocalypse while singing the them from Cheers, and raising five half dog/half rainicorn puppies. As silly as this may sound, I can assure you it’s much sillier. It uses elements from Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and other nerdy culture many indoor kids who grew up in the eighties and nineties would really appreciate. I love that it questions gender norms, promotes exploration, looks perfectly gorgeous and grotesque, and often provides the best fart jokes within seconds of achieving breath-stopping poignancy. So, come on and grab your friends. It’s Adventure Time.
I’d like to share some finds from the internet from people as enthusiastic about the series as I am.
For the uninitiated, Oliver Sava over at The AV Club has compiled 10 good episodes to sample that you can find here. The site also has a weekly review/analysis of the show that makes for a great companion piece if you’d like to delve further.
An article that goes wonderfully in depth in the process behind the creators and their show from Maria Bustillos called It’s Adventure Time. The people behind this show are remarkably talented in such unique ways. A great example of that is Rebecca Sugar who not only created her own great show, Stephen Universe, she also writes many of the catchy tunes on Adventure Times.
Finally, a great video from Mike Rugnetta over at the PBS Idea Channel Youtube page. He examines how my favorite character BMO shows gender fluidity in such a casual and accepted manner can be examined from a Feminist perspective.
Do any of you Lab Rats love this show? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show or other cartoons you think are more than meet the eye.