“Hoots” Review

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Original Airdate: May 14, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Andy Ristaino

AT’s special guest star of the week is the Cosmic Owl! I was never really a fan of how the show turned this all-powerful cosmic being into a simple “bro” who wanted to chill in a hot tub and play board games, because I think it really diminishes his overall importance in the series as this deity that has an unspeakable amount of power regarding the dreams over others. I get that Adventure Time likes to approach said powerful beings by giving them a little dose of humanity to show that they aren’t very different from anyone else, which is fine, but I think the Cosmic Owl’s interpretation is a little boring. I mean, there’s already PLENTY of lonely characters in the series, including Ice King, Banana Man, Mr. Fox, and the already established lonely cosmic being, Prismo. So focusing on Cosmic Owl’s simple life as a dude who lives alone and just wants the love of another woman is nothing new, and nothing especially interesting.

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I think Cosmic Owl’s star-aligned motel is truly neat. Going back to my original point, I don’t really know why an all-powerful being like the Cosmic Owl would live in a motel, but it works because it’s well-designed and visually interesting. And I thought the Cosmic Owl’s method of entering other people’s dreams was nicely conceived. Not only is it a duty for Cosmic Owl to fulfill his prophetic endeavors, but it’s done through a coin system and he’s given direct orders as to which dreams he should visit each night. It’s also shown that ANY dream that the Cosmic Owl does appear in is prophesied to come true. It’s a neat little system they set up, and pretty funny that the Cosmic Owl verbally acknowledges that he visits Finn’s dreams a lot. On a side note, the shenanigans between Jake and Shelby were absolutely great. I have no idea how Jake’s class ring ended up within Finn’s stomach, but the two of them engaging in “stomach fishing” while Finn is asleep is just delightful. I get the feeling that outside of the main Tree Fort trio, Jake and Shelby are the closest to each other in their home. They’re both cool dudes who enjoy the occasional party, and likely have the highest amount of common interests outside of Finn and Jake. I love Finn’s half-awake reaction to their behavior as well, and his hesitation to follow a Cosmic Owl dream because the last time he did he “got dumped.”

The dream version of Gunther is… interesting, to say the least. I mean, on the one hand, it’s a unique way of fleshing out Gunther’s personality and psyche in a way that the show is unable to do so. The dream version of Gunther is sturdy-headed and social to some extent, but is shown to be clouded by darkness and raw power, and is unable to shake those negative traits. Though, this form of development is tough for a gag character who rarely speaks or emotes. In fact, the next instance of Gunther shows that he’s full-on evil and doesn’t even consider his own morality as a result, so it kind of feels like this dream interpretation doesn’t really effectively flesh out his character in any way, besides reminding us that Gunther does have a secret malicious side that is just waiting to be unleashed. The twist ending actually did get me the first time around, though going back and rewatching it, I find that there’s very little telling details about Gunther’s character. Again, not that I really need Gunther’s character fleshed out to begin with. That being said, I’m more optimistic toward his revelation as a cosmic being, but we’ll get to that later on.

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I don’t think the relationship between the Cosmic Owl and dream Gunther is very compelling at all, seeing as how it just seems like a story to progressively move the plot forward. I’m never really fully behind the Cosmic Owl’s romantic feelings because of how little I’m invested in his actual character, and aside from the fact that he’s shirking his duties because of it, there’s no real conflict presented that actually has me invested in the situation. Of course, there’s the aftermath of Cosmic Owl’s actions that leads to him directly sabotaging Princess Bubblegum’s role in her kingdom, though it never really has any consequences directly to the CO. In fact, does it even really matter if the Owl slacks on his duties? I mean, it’s presented as if it’s supposed to be a big deal, but what does it really matter? There’s no clear issues presented to the fact that Cosmic Owl is ignoring his job. Even in the case that he was involved in prophesying PB’s morbid dream, doesn’t this stuff happen all the time? Cosmic Owl’s role in Finn’s dream lead the boy to being dumped, which sent Finn on a spiraling path of depression. I just think it’s odd for the Cosmic Owl to actually care about the lives of mortals in this way. I guess he’s more concerned that he directly affected someone’s dream in any which way and reversed the results of the future, but once again, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything that Cosmic Owl directly has to worry about regarding his state of being or his “job.” This also raises another question in my mind, if Gunther didn’t ruin PB’s dream, would she even be replaced as princess? I mean, it’s clear that her citizens are already unhappy with the way she’s been controlling her kingdom, and it only seems natural that their stupidity would lead them to eventually vote-in a manipulative ne’er-do-well. It almost feels like the events of this dream didn’t really need to happen as the plot would progress forward regardless, unless the original state of the dream is supposed to imply that the Candy Kingdom is happy with the way PB is approaching a new leaf. It’s interesting thought fuel.

So yeah, I think there’s plenty of clunky bits, but the episode has its perks. That Jake and Shelby scene is certainly a highlight, and I like any bits featuring Prismo (though it somewhat angers me that he briefly forgot who Finn was… how do you forget the dude that sacrificed himself for you??) and his newly found passion to play the banjo. A small tidbit, but I also love the fact that all of Cosmic Owl’s “oo’s” are represented by an owl call, how clever! This episode is also really cool on a visual note, with a lot of unique dream sequences featuring various major and minor characters. But otherwise, I think it’s a bit of a dull stroll through the life of a somewhat uninteresting side character.

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As a little added bonus, since I love dream interpretations so much, I’m gonna take a quick glance at all the dreams we did get to see throughout the episode and their possible interpretations:

  • Finn’s convergence with Sweet P and Martin is interesting, because I’m pretty positive it was carried out, just not in the literal sense. The most common interpretation is the upcoming anticipation of the comet, as these three beings come together, two of which were once incarnates of comets, and one of which who will join paths with one quite shortly. There’s also Jake muttering “say goodbye,” in reverse, which could represent Finn ultimately saying goodbye to his father, as well as the Lich, since he is now contained by Sweet P.
    • Also, Finn seeing clock bear is a more literal example, as Finn meets him later in Preboot.
  • Turtle Princess dreams of getting a haircut, and changing ones hair within a dream typically represents taking on a new change in life. She later dyes her hair completely black in Blank Eyed Girl!
  • Abracadaniel being laughed at in his underwear is a pretty obvious one, as he simply doesn’t feel that he’s accepted in his daily life by the people surrounding him. These insecurities were touched on in Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe!
  • Peppermint Butler checking his wristwatch could be humoring the idea that Pepbut feels trapped and unable to truly unwind in his environment, as his darker and more twisted side counteracts with his duties as a butler.
  • Have no theory for what Forest Wizard’s could represent!
  • Tree Trunks finding a bag full of skulls most likely represents her subconscious fear of the dangers around her. I’m not sure how cognizant she is of Sweet P’s true demeanor, but I get the feeling that these two bits are somehow correlated.
  • Marceline flying on Hambo was cute. Mostly just saw it as Marcy embracing the freedom that’s around her with an adorable and cuddly friend from her past.
  • Lemonhope being shown in his shackles once more was pretty sad, seeing as how the little guy likely still feels restrained and held back by his past.
  • King of Ooo is appropriately seen in a tub full of water, which typically has to do with a positive change in the upcoming future. Though, he’s also pouring some of it out, which may embody the idea that he’s also sabotaging himself in the process.
  • The next bunch are pretty silly, as Punchy observes a flying kitten, Party Pat has huge thighs, and Mr. Cupcake tries to decide between a sandwich and a human head.
  • Mr. Pig mowing the lawn to no avail was humorous, simply because a dry dude like Mr. Pig would likely dream about such a mundane task. Also, flower heads sprouting from a mowed law imply that Mr. Pig needs to show his softer side, which he hasn’t been doing as of episodes like The Pajama War.
  • Huntress Wizard is seen crawling within a small cave, which could show how she has difficulty expressing herself and truly showing her full personality to the world. This is displayed in her hesitation to express feelings of infatuation in Flute Spell.
  • The snakes in Kim Kil Whan’s dream may embody his unresolved issue of bitterness towards his father Jake and the possible fear that said relationship may never be resolved.
  • Cherry Cream Soda tripping in her dream represents the unexpected challenges that oppose her. She recently lost her husband in Something Big.
  • Banana Man’s is pretty silly and mostly just revolves around his desire to get closer to Finn and Jake.
  • And finally PB’s, which quite obviously represents her downfall as a ruler after working so hard to build up her kingdom.

I doubt all of these interpretations hold true, but hey, it’s fun to take a gander regardless!

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Favorite line: “Cosmic Owl was in it, he was acting all choco-loco.”

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