“Breezy” Review

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Original Airdate: June 4, 2014

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan & Derek Ballard

Breezy is the episode that completely broke Adventure Time’s audience, and the show’s fandom was never the same again. Many fans have viewed this episode as a turning point for its failure to break the status quo, its somewhat pretentious nature, and its implications of horrible circumstances happening on Finn’s behalf. It only makes sense that an episode stirring up this much controversy would be written and storyboarded by Jesse Moynihan himself (with assistance from Derek Ballard, who would later assist Jesse with Nemesis). On his own Twitter, Moynihan described Breezy as “a deeply personal episode, based on things that have happened to me in my life. I hope people find transcendence and beauty in it.” Given that he practically had a visible mental breakdown on his account following the criticism directed at this episode, it can be concluded that Moynihan dug deep and threw all of his emotional scars into this one. And, after years of rewatching this episode countless times, I can’t say I don’t understand why people don’t like Breezy. It is uncomfortable and at times, creepy. And the years of build up that surrounded Finn losing his arm, only for it to regenerate a couple episodes after he lost it, is admittedly a major bummer. Yet, this is a very special episode to me, and one of my all-time favorites at that. When it originally aired, I had been at a very fragile state of mind after suffering from depression for almost an entire year. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t really know where my life was headed or what was in store for me ahead. Then Breezy came along, and I resonated with it entirely. By its end, this episode left me with a beautiful and empowering message that effectively propelled my life forward. I don’t want to say something as ridiculous as “an eleven minute episode of a cartoon cured my depression,” because mental illnesses are much more complicated than that, yet Breezy at the very least showed me something so personal and so beautiful, and unlike anything that I had ever seen on television, that it really helped shaped my view on life as a whole and helped lead me to a much brighter path. Adventure Time in general was an absolute savior during this period of time in my life, and I attribute Breezy as being the breaking point of that period. Yet, I’m not gonna lie, putting this episode into context and talking about it is gonna get pretty fucking weird. Strap yourselves in for this, I ain’t holding back.

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Where The Tower dealt mostly with Finn’s anger and aggression, Breezy focuses almost entirely on Finn’s sadness and lack of feeling. And while the previously couple episodes dealt with the trauma that followed Finn getting his arm torn off by his father, this one throws in the added bonus that he’s still not completely over his break-up with Flame Princess. Finn has lost a lot throughout the past few months, and it seems like he has finally come to a point where he can no longer cope with it. This is Finn’s absolute breaking point, and instead of being defined by a complete mental breakdown, it’s treated much, much sadder. Finn is simply numb to everything occurring around him. He no longer has the motivation and willpower to go about his day normally because he’s lost so many things that brought him joy, and is left only with sad truths about his present self. It seemed as though he was likely to reach this point from his break-up alone, though the dad and arm aspects only added to his pit of despair. A constant reminder of Finn’s sadness and deteriorating lifestyle is his wilting flower, yet Finn doesn’t even have the mental strength to keep it alive any longer. Finn has cared about so many things and people that have left him, so why should he care about this flower any longer? That’s his mindset, at least, and it doesn’t help that Dr. Princess offers nothing but nonsense in in return.

Instead of giving Finn legitimately helpful advice to cope with his unending sadness, she simply orders him to have fun, which shows how dangerous a message like that is. So often, people who suffer with depression will be told to “look on the bright side” or to “not be so serious,” yet these instructions only result in an increase of depressive feelings, as the sufferer is left only with false expectations and a feeling as if they can indeed control their feelings, and just simply are not trying hard enough.

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This transitions into a sad, yet simultaneously humorous music sequence where Finn sluggishly drags his body across a forest. “Lost in the Darkness” is one of my favorite songs in the series; it’s a melody quite beautifully carried across by Jeremy Shada’s vocalization, and that of Ashly Burch, who voices Breezy. Breezy is one of my one-off characters; being an adorable creep, Breezy is given life through Burch’s terrific voice acting. Ashly Burch herself joined the story writing team of Adventure Time during the show’s seventh season, and this was a terrific introduction to her presence in the series. Anywho, Breezy’s attraction to Finn’s flower comes across as often obsessive and somewhat disturbed, though I think it can easily be connected to Finn’s previous infatuation for Princess Bubblegum, which also had its darker elements involved. Breezy’s hypersexual behavior comes from her ultimate desires as, well, a bee, though with any desires that a being may possess, there’s often attachment that comes along with it, and Breezy experiences first hand what that means.

As a result of his former break-up, Finn does not want to deal with the emotional weight of a relationship in the slightest, and simply wants to makeout with princesses (a kidified version of having sex with multiple women) and wants nothing to do with them afterward. As Finn acknowledges that he didn’t feel much from making out with Crab Princess, he then concludes that making out with many different princesses must be the solution to his lack of emotion. This is where Breezy assists in Finn’s pursuits: as a wingman (or woman) who helps to set up these makeouts. The connection between Finn and Breezy is certainly dysfunctional. Breezy does not know Finn’s current state of mind, nor does she understand his emotional fragility, so she simply helps him as best as she can to try and get closer to the thing she desires most, to deflower him of sorts. And though her motivations are undeniably manipulative, she is helping Finn in his endeavors, in a misconception that if she helps Finn, he in return will meet her needs. Breezy feels entitled to Finn, or at least his flower, and puts herself in a self-destructive position because of it. Where Breezy’s affection for Finn generally grows throughout the episode’s run, Finn remains entirely centered on fixing his own issues at hand. As he should, as he really isn’t obligated to respond to Breezy’s feelings that he probably isn’t even fully aware of. Finn continuously attempts to fulfill his own needs by kissing other princesses, including Lizard Princess, Muscle Princess, and eventually Frozen Yogurt Princess.

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Though, Finn’s efforts are a failure. He masks his feelings of overarching sadness by using random one night stands (I’m just gonna go all out with the sexual metaphors here; we all know what Jesse and Derek’s intentions were) as a means of getting over his old love interests, but this backfires when FYP comes into the mix, and Jake notes that her appearance is reminiscent of Flame Princess and Princess Bubblegum. Though Finn’s hang-up on FP is obviously, I think it’s really interesting that they still went the extra mile to display that Finn isn’t over his original crush either. Infatuation for someone rarely ever goes away completely, especially someone you’re in regular contact with everyday. Finn’s love for Flame Princess was enough to alleviate his feelings for Princess Bubblegum during his relationship, but once that relationship ended, his former feelings began resurfacing. It’s likely that Jake still doesn’t know the full extent to Finn’s pain. Finn is able to talk about his issues to Jake, but likely knows that he won’t fully understand his depression, or even is afraid to tell Jake that he’s experiencing such feelings. Thus, Finn blows up at Jake for bringing up his own insecurities, a rarity in terms of Finn’s behavior. It’s nice that the show was able to squeeze some “teen angst” in down the line, and even nicer that it’s only a smaller moment in the grand scheme of things.

Still in denial about his feelings, Finn looks for validation and advice from Breezy. As the two bond, Finn contemplates letting his flower die after his prior failures. Finn declares that he’s only trying to have fun, probably implying that he sees relationships only as more opportunities for drama and heartache, and that casual, meaningless sexual relationships are the only means to a prosperous life. Breezy combats this by mentioning her status as a virgin queen bee (I still can’t believe Cartoon Network allowed this without some form of alternative) and that once she drinks of her royal jelly to become a queen bee, she will essentially “lose her virginity” and her life as a free spirit will finally be over. Finn views this as a “bummer,” and that Breezy should stay as she is so she can be with as many different people she wants instead of settling for the responsibility of adulthood and maturity. Take the royal jelly metaphor for what you want, but I’m pretty positive that drinking it just translates to finding a mate in bee logic (which is why this behavior is frowned upon later on). Breezy’s one fatal flaw is that, in her casual behavior in simply trying to acquire her desires through Finn’s flower, she in turn begins to have feelings for Finn. The strength of these feelings is questionable; I’m not entirely sure that Breezy actually loves Finn, though she’s certainly convinced herself of it. Often times sexual feelings can be confused with emotional connections, and it could be concluded that, during Breezy’s time with Finn, this confliction became stronger and less decipherable.

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The budding friendship between Breezy and Finn comes to a halt when a gang of hillbilly bumblebees discover the two and describe their relationship as “disgusting.” Once again, I believe that Finn is mistaken to be Breezy’s mate, which is a nice bigoted viewpoint to throw into this episode that’s already full of misconstrued views on relationships. During Finn’s pummeling, Breezy drinks a bottle of royal jelly, committing to the idea that Finn (or at least, his flower) is the one that she wants to mate with for the rest of her lifespan. Breezy was lost in her desires and came to a conclusion without even ever speaking to the other party about it. Breezy simply bases her decisions off of her emotions and feelings, which is another red flag within the budding of sexuality that can often be lost in translation. During a terrific Sailor Moon-esque transformation, Breezy officially becomes a queen bee, and offers a life of commitment and love to Finn. Finn, however, is understandably taken back by the offer. Finn was not looking for love, he was looking for gratification of his own needs, which he believed to be Breezy’s thought process as well. While Breezy thought she was looking for that same gratification, she found infatuation in the process, and ultimately squandered her own potential in doing so. As she sadly remarks, “but I royal jellied for you…” it’s easy to conclude that Breezy essentially gave up her virginity for Finn, and was expecting more in return, where Finn saw this as a casual relationship in contrast. This moment cleverly avoids making Finn look like an absolute asshole, because he technically didn’t do anything to Breezy to blow her off. Breezy simply gave herself up to Finn, even without his input or approval. Regardless, Breezy leaves heartbroken, knowing that she gave up everything for someone who doesn’t even feel any love for her. As she flies off, Finn quietly remarks, “I’m lost in the darkness, Breezy,” mirroring his tune earlier, and showing the extent to which Finn’s sadness is affecting him. Finn wants to feel love and affection as he believes that Breezy felt for him, but is simply unable to do so because of everything he’s been through. He doesn’t want to go around casually having sexual experiences, but feels as though he has no other choice as a result of his circumstances. Breezy leaving was only another blow to Finn’s confidence and enthusiasm: yet another person left him, and he once again feels as though it was his undeniable fault. Finn feels as though he has very little left at this point.

And, in his ultimate lowest point of existence, Finn travels into the woods to spend the night with Lumpy Space Princess. Given how heavily this topic of conversation has been elaborated on, I’m going to try and be as respectful and diligent in talking about it, since I disagree almost entirely with what was implied. After a brief makeout session, Finn is ready to back out, yet LSP pulls him in, claiming that she didn’t involve herself in such an activity to simply kiss and leave, and leans back in before a quick fade-to-black. Many, many people have called this moment out as being an implication that Lumpy Space Princess raped Finn, and while I can totally see that and sympathize with anyone who was negatively affected or triggered by the scene itself, I really don’t think that’s what they wanted people to get out of this moment. To me, it was, again, supposed to show Finn at his absolute lowest. The scene that follows shows that Finn’s flower wilts a bit more (another allegory that people have compared to Finn being “deflowered”, which I can somewhat buy, though kissing is already an allegory for sex as it is, so that theory doesn’t really hold up for myself) as he immediately places the thought in his vault. I don’t think that Finn felt as though he was violated or attacked by the scenario. Granted, he isn’t in the greatest state of mind as it is, but I think if the pressure was actually there, he would deny such favors from LSP. But, given his situation, he’s willing to go through with it in an attempt to make himself feel better. Only, it fails. Did LSP pressure him into doing something he didn’t want to do? Possibly, it’s up for debate. I totally get the mindset behind this, and understand why people are upset, but I really just don’t think such a dark implication is something Jesse and the staff wanted to get across. It was just as a means of showing Finn’s debilitating mental health, not to antagonize LSP more than she already has been throughout the past six seasons.

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The climax of this episode is really where we find the most audience criticisms. Lumpy Space Princess’s naughty deed is the first one, though the next scene is certainly the one that takes the controversial cake. In a sequence I’d describe as absolutely stunning, Breezy shows up in the forest and she declares her loves to Finn and his flower through song, as Finn begins to imagine her as Princess Bubblegum in his sleepy state. Breezy’s connection to Finn has reminded himself of his past love for Princess Bubblegum. Finn recalls what it feels like to be absolutely head over heels for someone and to literally feel high in a lover’s presence. Through Finn understanding Breezy’s feelings for him, he identifies that his feelings for Bubblegum, and presumably Flame Princess in a sense, saw him at his absolute happiest. This is where dream Bubblegum’s line comes in, as she holds the never-before-seen Finn sword in her hands: “My hero arise, let love be your guide.” Finn now recalls what it is to love, and realizes that casual hooking up does not involve any of those feelings. Finn has been cheating himself by cutting off his strongest emotion: his ability to love and to care for others. Finn thought that shutting off his feelings of love would only lead to more beneficial results in the long run, though he now realizes that he’s only forbidding himself to be, well, himself. And Finn acknowledges that loving and caring for others, as well as himself, helps him gain a part of himself that he lost after being betrayed by his dad in the Citadel. That part of himself that Finn gains back is represented by his arm. Cue the fandom of Adventure Time going into flames.

While I never found myself absolutely “mad” at this scene, I cannot lie, I understand completely why people can see this as a turning point for the series, but I look at it in a way that most people probably do not. I see Finn gaining his arm back in this episode as a flaw with the series as a whole, and not as a flaw of the episode. Because, the way it is presented in the episode works entirely for the metaphorical and allegorical purposes it set out to achieve. The entire arm arc itself was supposed to represent Finn’s feelings and emotions, not just as a means to give him a cool robotic arm. It’s supposed to represent Finn’s journey as a hero and his experience as a human being, and all throughout this season, we continue to get allusions to said journey through the state of his arm and its upholding.

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Yet, from a series perspective, it was absolutely a mistake to promise something so dire through years of foreshadowing, only to return to the status quo episodes later. Whether this was a network decision, a crew decision, or merely a decision on Jesse Moynihan’s part is still unknown to this day, even though many feel as though they know the exact answer. Regardless, it really shows how uncommitted Adventure Time can be in carrying out its most promising plot points. I’m glad the staff realized the errors of their ways and committed to actually having Finn lose the arm entirely, and whether or not this was all planned down the line, it still does not change the levels of disappointment felt by everyone and the lack of excitement when he lost it a second time. I’m still happy with everything that happened following Finn’s re-limbing process; the grass arm arc that eventually leads to the creation of an entirely new character and Finn finally getting that coveted robot arm are both terrific directions that the show took that almost justify the arm returning. However, I, like everyone else, acknowledge that the arm growing back was ultimately a disappointing moment for the show as a whole, as it felt as though the show would never be able to leave its cherished comfort zone. I’m so glad all of us were wrong, but the bad taste still remains a bit to this day.

Back to the actual episode, the arm sequence itself is beautiful. With a large, lengthy tree growing out of Finn’s arm that bursts into a gooey, honey-ish substance. Yeah, yeah, you can make all the honey-jaculation jokes you want, but I still think this is a gorgeously executed scene in its visuals, music, and lush night-time colors. As we actually see the arm, there is a small thorn sticking out of it, reminding Finn that, while he gained a part of himself back, he still has a scar to remind him of all that he’s been through. Regardless, Finn happily celebrates this moment, and stands before Breezy in awe that through all of her help, whether it was intentional or not, she showed him the light. These last few moments are remarkable, as Finn utters “Breezy…” and watches his former flower float onto Breezy’s head. Breezy kisses the flower, and it’s a lasting humorous moment that further shows Breezy’s misconceptions. Once Breezy receives Finn’s flower, she’s able to realize that it’s all she’s ever wanted. She certainly cares about Finn and likes him, but once she is able to separate the flower from Finn (separating sex from the person) she’s able to have a more rounded perspective and realize that she didn’t lose her one, true mate. Now she’s able to take on her responsibilities, gratified with her desires that are met. And she can be thankful for the lasting impressions that she left Finn with, as he once again can return to living life a little bit happier.

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Woof. There’s a ton to take in with this one, you guys. And I totally get why people are left so angered, or even just confused by the episode’s end. But really, this is one of Adventure Time’s most unique and personal endeavors. I love how unapologetic it is with showing some of the harsher and darker sides of sexuality, and some of the darker sides of humanity as a whole. Breezy and Finn are two flawed beings trying to get their needs met in one way or another, and fall into the common circumstances that so many others experience when trying to meet these same needs. It also shows the dangers of choosing certain paths in life as means of finding happiness, and how trying to protect one’s self from getting hurt is essentially a paradox. I know this one is certainly one that feels more aimed at adults, but I think there’s a good amount of decent lessons that the kiddies can follow along with this one too. I know they probably won’t follow each allegory completely through till the end, but they’ll at least acknowledge that Finn was trying to get with multiple girls to fix his sadness, which ultimately did not work. And of course, through its dark nature, this episode manages to give off a convincing beautiful message about the importance of love and affection. Again, it’s not enough to just force one’s self to love in order to effectively “cure” depression, but I think it’s pretty clear that the implication isn’t that love cures sadness, but that love is the way to finding one’s self. Through loving yourself and loving others, you’ll be able to make the most rational and beneficial decisions, and be able to find yourself in a much happier and rewarding place in the end, rather than trying to make it on your own and resist falling into a genuinely helpful emotion. Breezy may not have the greatest reception overall, but it’s one that I always find quite enlightening on a personal note, and I think that’s just the way that most AT episodes go. Of course, there’s the episodes created that everyone is capable of enjoying equally, but the more personal episodes will chime with some and won’t for others. And that’s the real beauty of this show: having it see you through in some of life’s toughest dilemmas. You didn’t know you wanted it, you didn’t know your were looking for it, but God damn, Adventure Time will always be there to drop the shit that you absolutely need. I love this weird, manic series.

Favorite line: “But I’ve been pounding pickle juice like I was preggos!”

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