Original Airdate: October 18, 2010
Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Somvilay Xayaphone
Many comedians will agree that comedy almost always derives from tragedy. That if we weren’t laughing at something, we’d most likely be crying. This very principle applies to the Ice King, who, if you think about it, is primarily funny because of how miserable he is. While it can be used for a tearjerker convention in a handful of cases, here it sort of borders on the middle. I’m not really sure if the intention for this episode was to sympathize with the Ice King or laugh at him, but I felt a little on both ends, which is a sign of great writing.
Kent Osborne & Somvilay Xayaphone are a terrific pairing for this hilarious romp, making it one of the funniest episodes of the season. There’s a ton of memorable lines and sight gags in this episode; the poo-brained “horse”, the snakes in Finn’s underpants, the constant bickering between Finn and Jake and the deterioration of their sanity throughout, and so much more. This is one of Somvilay’s best examples of unconventional humor. There’s a lot of terrific gags going on in the background, including Jake randomly stretching his arm to say “yo” when reaching for his viola. Also, Peppermint Butler totally killed that goblin! Jesus Christ!
It’s actually kind of nice that after however many adventure filled episodes we’ve gone through so far, this is just an episode where Finn and Jake simply want to sleep. Humor and misery go hand-in-hand in these sequences as well; Finn and Jake’s descent into hopelessness is both hilarious and somewhat pitiful to watch. While I laugh, I still really just want these two to go to bed for the sake of their own sanity.
Of course, the real emotional core of this episode is Ice King disguising as the horse to learn how to find happiness. There’s a great bit of foreshadowing at the beginning of the episode when the IK shouts “I just wanna be happy!” in the flashback sequence. At this point in the series, Ice King just wants to be loved and be happy, and there’s a sweetly melancholic moment at the end of the end of the episode when IK and the boys snuggle up and he declares that he still isn’t happy. It’s admittedly hard to decide on whether I should laugh or “aww” at this statement, but it’s clear that the Ice King will remain unhappy until he finally finds someone to love and, more importantly, someone to love him. Happiness certainly doesn’t involve dressing up like or horse and stalking a boy and his dog at night, or using your ice powers against them (that was a terrific fight scene, by the way).
If I had one thing to nitpick about this episode, it’d be that Somvilay’s drawings can look a bit wonky at times. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of his art style, but a lot of storyboard artists who were welcomed to the AT storyboard team this season had a bit of trouble transitioning into drawing the characters on model, as we’ll see with some others later on. Finn’s body can appear to look incredibly small and disproportionate at times and both Finn and Jake can look a bit flat. Other than that, it was a hilarious, spunky, and sad episode coming off the heels of an equally energetic and emotional episode.