“Graybles Allsorts” Review

Graybles Allsorts is a series of shorts that were aired sporadically from July to November of 2015. I never truly understood the origin of these shorts… were they commissioned by CN executives? Was this produced as an actual episode and was soon scrapped into a short series? Or was the AT crew themselves interested in producing a short series? Regardless, Graybles Allsorts came into existence for one reason or another, and it does stay true to its name by incorporating an overarching motif to be hinted at in each short. Today, I’m going to be looking at each minisode individually, and then conclude with a final consensus regarding my feelings on the short series as a whole. Considering that Graybles Allsorts possesses an actual production code, I’ll be judging it as if it were an actual episode as well.

All’s Well that Rats Swell

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Original Airdate: July 6, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard

This one is a slightly amusing BMO episode. I love any effort the series makes towards BMO’s failure to understand social norms, and the beginning of All’s Well that Rats Swell is riddled with ’em. My favorites include BMO aggressively throwing water onto a flower and yelling “drink up” and their belief that plucking all of Finn’s facial hair out will retain Finn’s youth. I suppose that’s why Finn never ends up growing a beard at any point.

While this stuff is silly, All’s Well that Rats Swell is muddled by its latter half that is mostly filled with BMO shouting and murmuring nonsense. BMO’s one of the weirder and more random characters of the main cast, but when that randomness is featured as their sole trait, I think BMO’s charm fades a bit. This is certainly trademark Wolfhard humor, but his episodes are usually much, much funnier than what’s provided here. Wolfhard’s zaniness typically shines through when he’s faced with a good story at the helm, but I think the fact that this minisode is seriously lacking of a coherent story makes for equally incoherent humor. I mean, I know it doesn’t have a ton of time to develop, but the main gist of this one is that BMO finds a rat, tries to thumb wrestle it, loses, eventually wins, and is ecstatic about it. Nothing particularly funny about the premise itself, and its execution is notably weak as well.

Have You Seen the Muffin Mess?

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Original Airdate: August 3, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard

In the spirit of the very first Graybles episode, Princess Bubblegum whips up another insanely complicated substitute for cooking that is a pure delight. Her need to make every simple task as complex as possible is especially hilarious when she’s faced with something as simple as baking muffins, right down to placing a microscopic recipe within the muffin nanite. I remember being absolutely shocked when Princess Bubblegum first lost her arm, but hilariously relieved as she easily makeshifts a new arm with the existing gum on her body. If only it was that easy for poor Finn.

I loved Finn’s sheer dedication to helping PB out even when he’s in an awful condition, and I grew legitimately stressed as his accessories began turning into muffins, which is pretty impressive considering that I knew in the back of my mind that nothing especially impactful would come from these shorts. The ending itself is pure Adventure Time absurdity, and while I didn’t find the monster muffin especially funny, he was silly enough to force a dumb smile on my face. Have You Seen the Muffin Mess? is a delightfully fun bout of fluff.

The Gift That Reaps Giving

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Original Airdate: November 1, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Polly Guo

The Gift That Reaps Giving is likely my favorite of all four shorts. Death is the most obscure star character within Graybles Allsorts, in what is the late Miguel Ferrer’s last performance as the character. It’s fun to watch a character like Death just simply go about his everyday life, and unlike the Cosmic Owl, his mundane nature doesn’t make him any less interesting. I like how Death’s trivial struggle of wanting to record a certain song for his girlfriend leads to extreme ends, such as him nearly killing a child; that was all levels of absurd darkness. It’s also cool to see that, even though Death is an agent of demise, he still has his limits and would be slightly embarrassed by the idea of killing someone who isn’t meant to die. It’s also funny how Finn and Jake unintentionally foil his plans, and instead of reprimanding them, he just tries to stay cool in the process. Death probably has some form of respect for the two boys, and doesn’t want them to know of his shameful deeds.

Death ends up victorious in the end, while surprising his girlfriend Life with a compatible disc format. The design for Life was wicked cool, and even though Hynden Walch is providing her usual inflections, Life’s voicing is made instantly more unique by her double-headed nature. Simply a cool short featuring one of AT‘s chillest side characters. This is also a series first for Polly Guo, who would later become a more consistent board artist from season seven onward.

Sow, Do You Like Them Apples?

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Original Airdate: October 1, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Geneva Hodgson

Definitely the worst of the four shorts. I was actually completely unsure of who Geneva Hodgson before writing up this post, so I googled her, and it turns out she’s one of the main storyboard artists on O.K.! Let’s Be Heroes. Good on her!

This short is limited to one main joke: Ice King and his hunger for food. It was kind of silly to see Ice King’s misled perspective on how food is acquire, but I thought his wrestling with the pig was much more awkward and clumsy than actually humorous, and it takes up almost a full minute of the short. It was nice to see Marceline and Ice King interacting again after so long, and it was also interesting to see Marceline actually do something relatively malicious when she sucks the red from the pig’s skin. I mean, I don’t really think the pig is hurt by it, but I’m also not really sure that Marceline is morally correct for doing so either. Regardless, it was a nice touch, and just reminded me of how much I had missed Marceline by this point in time. But, there’s plenty more of her down the line.

Aside from that aspect, there’s very little that stands out with this one, and it’s remarkably unfunny. There is a very brief “blink-and-you’ll-miss” moment when Ice King is looking through his telescope of Peppermint Butler dragging a body bag and a shovel. Classic Peppermint Butler.

Consensus

Like any Graybles episode, Graybles Allsorts also comes with a hidden theme, that being the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. All’s Well That Rats Swell represents war with BMO’s thumb war between the rat, Have You Seen the Muffin Mess? features Finn’s illness representing pestilence, The Gift That Reaps Giving very obviously stars Death, and Sow, Do You Like Them Apples? revolves around Ice King’s famine. Definitely didn’t know this one when I watched these shorts, nor would I have even guessed it afterwards. It’s really cool how these motifs continue to become more obscure and less clear as time goes on. I also like how the shorts quietly transition from morning, into day, into evening, into night. But as it is, Graybles Allsorts is pretty run-of-the-mill. It’s just like any other Graybles episode, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t really stand out in any which way. They’re simplistic and harmless shorts that provide for some light fun, but nothing really more than that, as most Graybles episodes do play out.

Best to Worst

  1. The Gift That Reaps On Giving
  2. Have You Seen the Muffin Mess?
  3. All’s Well That Rats Swell
  4. Sow, Do You Like Them Apples?

Favorite line: “I hope muffins aren’t easy to make or I’m being an idiot.” (Have You Seen the Muffin Mess?)

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