“Mama Said” Review

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Original Airdate: November 5, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Kris Mukai

Despite the fact that it continues to focus on King of Ooo’s reign in the Candy Kingdom, Mama Said feels classic. It’s a light and silly Finn and Jake adventure episode, and a refreshing one at that. Granted, I don’t think this episode completely emulates the energy of a classic Adventure Time episode, but it makes up for it by being extremely pleasant and laidback in its tone.

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KOO’s antics in this one are humorous, per usual, as he proves to be all levels of extra by making Finn and Jake sit on stools, only to further his desire of having his own mobile mushroom. It was also fun to see him have such a unique and comical aspiration; I had mentioned that I thought his tendencies toward greed in Bonnie & Neddy were a bit too predictable and uninteresting, while his desires in this one are so absurdly specific that I can’t help but get behind it.

This episode is really nice on an expressive level. Kris Mukai is back once again to lend her distinctive boarding efforts to the series which provides for some truly appealing drawings of both Finn and Jake. It’s cool how her style can work for a more dramatic outing, like Varmints, but also translates to the zany atmosphere that this episode works off of. Kent Osborne also provides his likably malleable designs of Finn and Jake once more, that only seem to get rounder and cuter as his time on the series progresses.

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Speaking of Osborne, a lot of the nice, quieter moments that he included in Jake the Brick also end up in Mama Said, which is really what contributes to the calmer tone overall. I always like moments when Finn and Jake practically talk about nothing; Finn’s line of, “actually, I’m kinda glad we’re walking in this direction. We never walk in this direction,” is so mundane and not complex in the slightest, but there’s something so genuine and natural about it that it just comes off as nice piece of random dialogue. The episode is chock full of little moments like this, both humorous and somewhat bland, but all in the best possible way.

And keeping in the spirit of calm and cool, we’re reintroduced to Canyon! I had a feeling that Billy’s Bucket List wouldn’t be the last that we saw of her (especially because she mentions this) and it’s a true delight to have her, as well as Ako Castuera, back once again. I also really dig her redesign, as she still feels mystical, though more relaxed and casual in her everyday environment. Similar to her last appearance, Canyon isn’t especially interesting or complex, but she provides a certain tranquil aura that makes her welcomed regardless. I was somewhat confused at first as to why a silly episode like this would be the episode they brought Canyon back for, but it actually feels quite fitting, given the ambiance that the episode seeks to accomplish.

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Aside from being chill, this episode also features the most bizarre Adventure Time villain I’ve seen in a long time: the Mother Mushroom. The Mother Mushroom is a well-designed, slightly terrifying, and also hilarious antagonist. The fact that it merely utters what sounds like a Wikipedia entry of mushrooms was also insanely amusing. We’re even treated to a fun and decently animated fight sequence that utilizes Finn’s persistence to kick butt, Jake’s stretchiness, and Canyon’s rad attitude to their fullest abilities.

While I love the conclusion that features KOO kicking Finn and Jake the fuck out for not directly following his orders, I think the Banana Guards singing “Mama Said” is easily the weakest part of the episode. It’s relatively humorous that this episode’s name derives strictly from a minuscule gag that isn’t even related to the story, but the song sequence itself was just a bit too random and out of no where for my liking. In addition to that, I’m not really a fan of somewhat modern songs being used within the world of AT. It works in an episode like Simon & Marcy, that is specifically set in the past, but a tune such as “Mama Said” would strike me as something that should have been lost in translation in this world. It also just kind of feels like padding rather than a legitimate conclusion to the episode.

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One other minor quibble I had with this one is that it feels like it’s trying to have some kind of an underlying theme with Finn and Jake choosing to have fun and ignore their responsibilities, but it never fully comes into fruition. Canyon’s line, “if you don’t like your job, maybe it’s time to find a new one,” is framed in a way that seems like it’s going to have some kind of effect on how Finn views his position within the Candy Kingdom, but all of that is ultimately scrapped when KOO immediately fires the two boys. I’m reaching a bit, considering that it ultimately has very little focus in the episode, but it is something that always felt lacking in how it was elaborated on.

But overall, Mama Said is nice and fun. Certainly not as funny or intriguing as some of the other breather episodes are, but it really is just that, a breather. It’s relaxing, mildly amusing, and carries with it Adventure Time‘s brand of weird.

As an added bonus, here’s one of my favorite stories (by K.L. Ricks) from the Adventure Time Comics series, featuring Finn and Canyon.

Favorite Line: “Did you notice he was wearing Princess Bubblegum’s clothes?” “Yeah, that was sort of cool.”

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