Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day Ninety - Adventure Time: Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2, "Oh... mah... GLOB!"

Alright, if you're on the internet and you haven't heard about Adventure Time somewhere, somehow, I shudder to think of your cultural awareness.

Adventure Time isn't just a cartoon... it's a bonafide creative phenom!

Set in a plastic future where humans have all but completely died out (really, there's only one left) thanks to "the mushroom war," Adventure Time is a journey through surreal landscapes filled with the impossible and populated by the so highly improbable that you'd think Candy People and Lumpy Space People and Breakfast People would stretch your suspension of disbelief.

...But they NEVER DO.

Adventure Time is cute, irreverent, and just plain awesome.

Each episode lasts fifteen minutes and, even if it they don't continue a solid story arc in an obvious fashion, there are always details that filter through between episodes and build the mythology. Everything from the Enchiridion to the waving/shaking-fist snail has some connection to either the past or the future in Adventure Time.

The first episode dumps you right in the universe with little to no explanation... and you really don't need any. Everything about its fantasy nature just falls into place in your mind naturally.

The first thing you see is the Candy Kingdom where Jake the Dog and his girlfriend Lady Rainicorn are play-flirting outside the city walls. From there we're introduced to the spastic Finn the Human and Princess Bubblegum who are randomly trying to raise the dead Candy Folk. Something, of course, goes wrong and it's up to Finn and PB to race back to the castle and protect those still alive both from the Return of the Candy Dead and from themselves (when Candy Folk get scared, they explode).

The second episode introduces Lumpy Space Princess (yes, it seems like there's a Prince or Princess for every wacked out species in the future). At a bouncing tea party, she accidentally bites Jake and gives him Lumpy Space Sickness all werewolf style (RAWRG-RAWRG-RAWRG). If he doesn't get the antidote, which is in Lumpy Space, he'll turn all apathetic, lumpy, and (most frighteningly) VALLEY. See, the Lumpy Space Folk all seem to act like they're Californian suburbanites obsessed with weekly Prom-Coming Dances, make-out point, and acting like they don't care.

Freaking BRILLIANT satire.

It's weird, it's silly, and it feels like something a ten year old would write, but it's soooooo much more than that. You can feel the love and attention that goes into Adventure Time. All the details, all the light-hearted devotion from every single character.

From Manfred the Talking PiƱata to the Keepers of the Royal Promise, I can't help but laugh and love all at the same time. Even Starchy the Janitor (who looks suspiciously like Scruffy from Futurama), when his sole purpose in the first episode is to be a deus ex'd victim, pleases with his too on the nose vulnerability and exit line ("Don't squeeze me! I'll fart!").

And the character depth... even as Finn is single-minded in his quest for Adventure and Awesome Times, we see he's struggles and cognitive dissonance along the way. We can tell he's got a desperate crush on Princess Bubblegum (the older woman at 18 years of age), but always wants to do the right thing, even as he makes mistakes as he goes.

THIS is how we're supposed to teach our children morality... and it has the added bonus of being funny and endearing as hell even if you don't need to learn the lesson of the day (be it "keeping promises" or "cutting a misguided friend some slack").

I am SO... FREAKING... HAPPY that Adventure Time is finally on Netflix. It's just a pity that it's only the first season. I look forward to the rest showing up and will chomp at the bit till they do.

Also, how freaking awesome is it that Lady Rainicorn only speaks in Korean?!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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