Tag Archive | Kent Osborne

“Jake the Brick” Review

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Original Airdate: November 26, 2014

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne

Jake the Brick, like Is That You?, is a concept that just sounds incredibly nonsensical on paper. I mean, Jake shapeshifts into a brick? That’s the best idea they could come up with? Jake the Brick actually derives from a game of exquisite corpse that Tom Herpich doodled up during a writers’ meeting, and Kent and the crew found it so humorous that they decided to make an entire episode out of it. Yet, the idea of Jake being a brick as the main story of an episode is a mere farce; the episode is really about Jake simply narrating the life of a bunny, and how it interacts with its environment. This story sounds even more boring, but it’s executed in such a way that I think is just brilliant. This is Kent Osborne’s first solo-board, and likely his best episode of all time.

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The beginning of the episode is likely one of my all-time favorite AT moments. Finn walking through various areas in the Grass Lands, while we’re treated to some absolutely lovely backgrounds (this episode is chock full of ‘em) and Tim Kiefer’s chill score in the background is the very definition of zen. Reminds me of those lo-fi videos on YouTube that play nice electro-jazz music while a looped AT video rolls in the background. The atmosphere is pure bliss, and it’s always fun to just see Finn breathe and relax in his environment. Despite his anxieties and personal issues, he really does embody the playful, laidback teen that we’ve all come to love so much. In addition to that, he even has his own little motif going on in this one, as he continuously attempts to toss various items into a trash can, though fails at doing so. It could be tied back into the overall theme of failure followed by an ultimately satisfying outcome, but I just like to think that it gives Finn his own simplistic conflict to get through. And just like the somewhat mundane issue presented in the episode, Finn’s unexpected success in the end is just as rewarding.

When coming across Jake, it’s pretty clear our lovable dog friend is in some type of mood, and it borders on the existential side. If Jake was ever shown in partake in some kind of weird, ambitious midlife crisis, I think this would be the greatest example of such a thing. It’s hard to say what exactly Jake wants to experience, as I don’t think his silly desire to be a brick in a wall is something he considered on a surface level. As he states later, “Who cares about being a brick in a wall of a fallen-down shack? There’s something bigger than that, and the bunny has answers.” We all know how calm and welcoming Jake is when it comes to death, and I feel that Jake the Brick finally has him come to terms with his own fascination with the great beyond, as he acknowledges that life is much more than just waiting on the entire world to perish. And for Jake, that’s huge!

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There’s something about Osborne’s take on the characters that just always feels incredibly sweet to me. Osborne really seems to capture the non-cynical nature of the AT world to a tee; I thought it was absolutely adorable how upset and worried BMO is for Jake, along with the little pat on the head that Finn gives him, and the fact that Finn is so impressed and captivated by Jake’s narration that he puts it on air for all to hear. Of course, this could have so easily turned into a “get rich fast” scheme, or an opportunity for Finn to embarrass Jake, but these characters are much too caring and compassionate for such a behavior, and Kent is very much aware of that.

The beginning of Jake’s narration encapsulates more of those delectable backdrops I mentioned earlier. The shift from daytime, to evening, to nighttime beautifies the entire environment. The atmosphere in general is quite mellow, as John DiMaggio reads off a smooth and relaxed description of the woodland area around him. DiMaggio himself should have won some type of award for his role in this episode; he embodies everything that shows like Planet Earth and The Blue Planet set out to do, by showing off nature’s wonders, with a competent, cool voice at the helm. Animation in general is a great medium to tackle such an idea, and I really haven’t seen any other show carry out an idea like this the way Adventure Time does. Granted, I’ve seen spoofs and parodies of such documentary series, though none that are as earnest and dedicated as Jake the Brick attempts to be. And the cinematic moments in these bits are great, using slow fades to transition into some unique, soothing shots.

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As the night continues into a harsher rain, Jake keeps his cool as he continues to narrate the journey of a bunny, with dozens of Ooo citizens now listening in. It’s both hilarious and undeniably sweet that all of these various random characters would listen in to hear Jake talk about a bunny, but it is really nice to see all these various people who are so different in many ways have some sort of common interest, all tied back to our main character. Without even trying or knowing it, Jake has brought together so many people with the simple power of his words. Jake believes that secluding himself as a brick will help to show him the meaning of life, though he’s already proven said meaning by connecting to the people around him in outstanding ways. There’s so many great callbacks here that it would be redundant to mention every single one of them, so I’ll just call out my favorites:

  • Really loved seeing Lady and T.V. playing cards together. T.V. is pretty clearly a homebody, and I get the feeling that Lady embraces that and looks upon him without judgement.
  • Sweet P’s first reappearance since Escape From the Citadel, and his cute little jammies.
  • Colonel Candy Corn listening in with a full globe of Earth in his quarters. Just how old is this guy?
  • Rattleballs rebuilding his motherfuckin’ bros. I would love if this army of Rattleballses came into play in the finale.
  • Abracadaniel having a “Buff Wizards” magazine next to his exercising bike. They’re not even being subtle here.
  • Lemonhope’s wild adventure on an eagle.
  • Betty doing research in a cave with the letters “M+M+S” written on a piece of paper. Great foreshadowing.

The music and visuals during Jake’s narration are also just splendid. Love the uplifting little acoustic guitar tune that plays as the beavers assist the bunny, and the cute animals in general are all just so charming. Also, props to see the sea lard back in action. The lard species takes a big step in prominence this season.

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The ending that ties it all together is also really nice. I love just how extremely invested these citizens get to the point where they’re all wearing “I ♥ Bunny” t-shirts. As a viewer, I could never fully understand the tensity behind the bunny’s situation, though the way everyone reacts to it really draws you in. They care about this one bunny so much that it effectively makes the viewer care about it as well. And, through it all, Jake realizes that his lifelong ambition just simply isn’t worthwhile. There’s tons of life out there and it’s time to experience it just like this one bunny. In the wildness of Ooo, it’s nice to see something so uncomplicated having such a positive impact on this world.

I think Jake the Brick is just terrific. It’s so calming, cool, and enjoyable, and creates an atmosphere unlike any other episode to date. Granted, it’s not an absolute person favorite, but it does everything so well that I have to commend it regardless. It has beautiful scenery and music, features incredible voice acting from John DiMaggio, is overall just a thoroughly pleasant experience, and checks up on most of our favorite characters, some of whom we haven’t seen in quite some time. This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Short Format Animation, and I can’t think of a better standalone episode from this season to win such a category.

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Favorite line: “No, man, bricks don’t stay in touch!”

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“The Prince Who Wanted Everything” Review

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Original Airdate: June 26, 2014

Written & Storyboarded by: Adam Muto, Emily Partridge, Kent Osborne & Bert Youn

Blecch. The Prince Who Wanted Everything is the first stinker of the Fionna & Cake series, and a pretty blatant example of how these experimental episodes don’t really have much of a reason to keep being produced aside from a feeling of obligation based on fan reactions. The first was done strictly as a surreal passion project; I don’t think anyone on the AT crew knew how popular it would be, but as Fionna & Cake was met with practically universal praise, it only made sense for another F&C episode to be created. Two seasons later came Bad Little Boy, which was also well-received and a mostly solid outing, but kind of showcases the problem with Fionna and Cake episodes in general: the characters are basically carbon copies. Fionna has some interesting insecurities that were touched on in her first episode, but every episode that follows has her simply take on the role of Finn-Lite. She’s a good-hearted, laidback hero, and that’s about it. And the other characters, Gumball, Marshall Lee, Flame Prince, and so on are never given enough attention outside of their star episodes to actually have any selection of interesting character traits besides being slightly modified from their counterparts. Cake, on the other hand, is the only character who actually has a stand out presence in all of these entries, yet she’s often only given a small amount of screen time so the “Character of the Week” can hog all of the attention. And this episode’s star character is Lumpy Space Prince: a deeply unfunny gender-swapped version of Lumpy Space Princess that does absolutely nothing insightful or interesting, aside from being another chance to reinforce LSP’s vanity once more, as if that wasn’t already emphasized enough. Cut Rebecca Sugar – who was practically the mom of Fionna and Cake – out of the mix and you don’t really have a competent entry.

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This episode notably starts up with Ice King tied up. Why is it notable? Because it’s freaking Ice King, you guys! We haven’t seen him in what feels like forever, and it’s a shame, because I feel as though he gets the least amount of screentime in season six. It makes sense, as this entire season mostly steps away from the main cast to delve into the lives of some of the lesser known citizens of Ooo, though Ice King doesn’t even get a fair chance to have an actual role in this episode. He’s simply a blank slate at the hands of his kidnapper, Lumpy Space Princess, and isn’t really given anything interesting to do aside from obliging to read LSP’s passion project. Could’ve been a much more enjoyable scenario if Ice King was argumentative about the way LSP wrote for his characters, or that he didn’t agree with where the story went, but he uncharacteristically goes along with it without saying a thing. Pretty lame.

The story itself poses an interesting concept, at least from my initial impressions. Lumpy Space Prince’s tale of running away from his parents and stumbling into Aaa (or Ooo… whatever is cannon at this point in time) could perhaps reference LSPrincess’s first experiences in Ooo and how she came across Finn and Jake, albeit highly exaggerated. Though, the way it’s executed is simply done in a way that we’ve seen so many times in other LSP episodes. Most of this episode just seems to retread the general idea that Gotcha! revolved around, which is that both Lumpy Space Princess and Prince misunderstand the type of people Finn/Fionna and Jake/Cake are and come to respect their simplicity and approaches to life by the end of the episode. The entire episode basically revolves around Lumpy Space Prince trying to understand how to live as a peasant but is constantly blindsided by his own pretentiousness. And God, how many times have we all seen the story of a rich snob who is enlightened by the simplicity of middle-class charm? It’s so overdone, and it isn’t carried out any more interestingly here.

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Lumpy Space Prince’s voice actor (at the Princess’s request, of course), Peter Serafinowicz, certainly boasts a competent performance, but again, I don’t think he’s really given much to work with. Lumpy Space Prince is at his funniest through his expressions; his anime influenced “Handsome Face” is pretty amusing, even if it is a bit overused by the episode’s end. Regardless, it provides for some welcomed diversity among the typically expressive dotted eyes in the AT world. But again, Lumpy Space Prince’s primary character trait is his vanity, and it simply isn’t fun or interesting to watch him. He also has the displeasure of singing one of the show’s worst songs, period. “That’s All I Need” has a pretty awful melody, terrible lyrics, and a less-than-satisfactory performance from Serafinowicz. Feel bad making such a superficial comment about his singing voice, but some actors are simply not meant for said performance. And if the song was actually catchy, funny, or added something to the plot, I could forgive it, yet it does none of those things. Aside from some cool cameos of characters we haven’t seen before in this universe (namely Magic Ma’am), it just feels like it’s there to take up time.

Fionna and Cake are simply in this episode to be observers. Cake has some funny one-liners, as she constantly breaks the fourth wall, but Fionna really just does not do ANYTHING. Aside from giving an unintentional piece of advice to Lumpy Space Prince, Fionna just stands there and occasionally has a line or two. Sad to see she’s given such a boring role after her emotive and passionate presence in the past two F&C episodes. The one cool thing is that she actually is using the Wish Star Sword that she acquired within the Fionna & Cake comic series. Pretty awesome to see that something in the comics was actually adapted into the series, and it’s pretty much just there as a subtle Easter egg for any readers of said series. Also, Fionna’s model got updated to where it seems as though she’s matured more in her stance and body weight, and it looks somewhat off-putting to me. I dunno, the more realistic her anatomy gets, the more awkward and stiff it looks when you pair it with her really simplistic dotted eyes and lack of nose. Just looks kind of wonky to me.

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I guess the ending where Lumpy Space Prince discovers that his indifference to his parents’ disapproval of his behavior is a bit of an introspective moment for LSPrincess, but it only makes me wonder what the point an episode like The Monster has in the grand scheme of things if LSP never truly grows as a character. I understand if the writing staff just wanted to keep her stagnant in her developmental process and never learn or grow as all of the other main characters do, but if you have an episode like The Monster where it seems as though she actually DOES learn something, than the episode merely feels like discontinuity. I can understand if her decision to move back into the woods was based on her stubbornness and belief that she can make it on her own, but it seems as though she merely goes back to thinking her parents are monsters who simply want the worst for herself. Nice to see she’s embracing herself and her own behavior, but silly that she’d view her parents this way after realizing how much they care for her in the past.

And, as the story ends, the book reveals itself as a simple method for LSP to find a man who is exactly like her. Yes, Lumpy Space Princess loves herself and thinks she is the greatest person imaginable. We get it. LSP is at her best in episodes like Bad Timing or the upcoming Be Sweet, where her self-obsessed behavior is shown to be a mere facade that covers up her insanity based insecurities. Episodes like The Prince Who Wanted Everything feel like a rehash of everything we’ve already seen and know about the character. It’s like one of the lesser SpongeBob SquarePants episodes that focuses entirely on Mr. Krab’s absolute greed. We get that he’s greedy, it’s literally his archetype. We don’t need entire episodes centered around this one-note joke about a character’s personality. It makes them seem less two-dimensional and entirely more shallow. Lumpy Space Princess may perhaps be the most one-dimensional of the main cast, though she at least proves herself to be at her most interesting when her narcissism plays a role in her absolute mental instability, or the rare example where she’s actually able to benefit others through her repugnant attitude (such as the Elements miniseries). Yet, this episode doesn’t do justice to her character or the Fionna and Cake series in general. With a whopping four writers at the helm of this one, I’d expect more of a successful outing.

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Favorite line: “Y’all seeing those big floaty faces?”

“Bad Timing” Review

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Original Airdate: March 3, 2014

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Pendleton Ward

Lumpy Space Princess’s vanity and ego make her quite the difficult character to feel sympathy for. While all of the characters within Adventure Time have their fair share of flaws throughout the run of the series, all of them at least have something that gives me a reason as to why I should care for them, that is, all except for LSP. Bad Timing does the unthinkable. It manages to make me care for LSP’s character in a way I really never imagined. And this isn’t an episode that gives a cute or likable side to her character; the episode still does its damndest to show that LSP is crazy and arrogant in her own lumpy way, but it’s exactly that kind of attitude and behavior that directly contributes to the tragedy of her character as a whole. This is all tied together with a unique framing device that includes some delightfully silly creations from Pen Ward and Kent Osborne, and helps to all connect to Bad Timing’s piteous ending.

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The episode is introduced to Princess Bubblegum once again battling the logic behind anomalies and magic in contrast to her deep faith in her own scientific studies. Her method of time travel is also rather complex, but interesting. The back-to-back bickering between PB and Jake is quite enjoyable, as always; I really enjoy this playful conflict between the two. It’s pretty obvious that Jake is more captivated by presentation rather than the deep intervals of the space time continuum. He’d rather just see cool time portals and shit than a big presentation about the construct of time, which PB fails to understand, ultimately diminishing her faith in magic even more. It’s also nice to see one of the Mud Scamps from The Hard Easy back again! I love those quirky little critters.

As LSP enters the scene, it’s already clear what her current state of mind is. After literally sleeping in a gutter for the night (a terrific metaphor for her deranged mindset), she nearly tears PB apart for not allowing her to use the time device to visit her past boyfriend Brad. We haven’t seen a ton of LSP this past season and a half, as her only major appearances were in Candy Streets and Apple Wedding, where her deteriorating mental health is in clear view. And this one does not hold back when showing LSP at her absolute craziest and most desperate. It isn’t devoid of some of her funnier moments as well; Pen Ward gives his all with this performance, showcasing Lumpy Space Princess and her most loud and obnoxious, but also her most passionate.

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While LSP drowns her worries at the Candy Kingdom Tavern, as Tree Trunks softly sings “Slow Boat to China” (a referential moment I actually quite enjoy), she comes across Johnnie, or as she called him in high school: “Ugly Johnnie.” Johnnie is the perfect example of just a likable “nice guy” character. He’s certainly not the most interesting character that has ever starred on the show, but I don’t really think that was the point. He’s just supposed to be this really sweet guy who shows Lumpy Space Princess something that she has probably never received, or at least accepted: care and compassion. He’s also not without his funny moments, mostly stemming from his clear social awkwardness and quirky behavior. I like how corny and kind of stilted his interactions with LSP are. They laugh about using a vinyl record to stimulate a face, and then Johnnie immediately just tells Lumpy Space Princess to sleep on his couch. Talk about a confident and forward man! And honestly, Johnnie is the perfect representation of “that person from high school who went waaay under the radar.” I think all of us who have gone through high school know that one person you look at now and just wonder “damn, where were you three years earlier?” Is that rude? I don’t know.

But the utter tragedy of it all is seeing just how well LSP responds to all of this. She isn’t demeaning, she isn’t arrogant, and she isn’t being vain. She genuinely enjoys the company of Johnnie, and is much happier with herself and her life spending time with someone that not only benefits her own existence, but somebody that she can care and love for as well. Johnnie was able to build confidence and self-esteem through her own actions, and carried those skills over to get a job within the Candy Kingdom. Lumpy Space Princess most likely only dated guys who were physically attractive for a social status back in Lumpy Space, so this is definitely the first boyfriend she has had who isn’t completely materialistic. But of course, LSP’s desire for love is still a very self-centered desire. Though she’s able to give love to Johnnie, anything threatening the love that he gives her ultimately threatens the relationship as a whole. Lumpy Space Princess doesn’t know that love requires trust and flexibility; her only understanding of true love is that it feels good and that she doesn’t want the high to leave. Especially in this case, seeing as how Johnnie is a legitimately kind and loving guy, she does not want to lose him or the way he feels about her for anything.

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During Johnnie’s dinner with Princess Bubblegum, LSP sits sadly outside and utters a monologue that is so raw and passionate that I couldn’t help but include it in this review.

Oh, Johnnie… Ugly Johnnie, through my tender love you have metamorphed into Beautiful Johnnie Butterfly. Every relationship, I gamble with my heart. I go all in because the payoff is true love. I see you when I close my eyes, and thinking of you makes my mind feel light. All my problems fade away, and I can’t help smiling. To let someone you love go into the arms of another takes a big person. I don’t know… if I can be that big.

This is one of my favorite soliloquies in the show, and honestly the best representation about what Lumpy Space Princess as a character is all about. It’s easy to dismiss her as crazy, but even easier to empathize with her viewpoint on love and how important it can make one feel. Yet, it’s important to also realize that LSP isn’t in love… she has only known Johnnie for a day. However, the impact of the brief relationship and the effect it had on her is exactly what makes her feelings so validated. LSP is a person constantly looking for love, and one that struggles so hard to ever find it. For the first time in her life, she’s at least found a genuine person who she could actually see herself with. The thought of mutual love is enough to make her as high as could be, and the only thing that actually threatens her is the loss of that love. It’s a lot similar to Braco’s situation in The Suitor: if the two of these characters were patient and understanding with their alleged loved ones, they would have ended up having a much more positive resolution. Yet, LSP is left with only her paranoia and feelings of heartbreak, which continue to contribute to her own self-destructive behavior. She’s unable to look past her own insecurities because she is afraid of losing everything she has worked so hard to create, even though she’s actively destroying exactly what she wanted in the first place. In a very Lumpy Space Princess-y way, this is a very sad truth when it comes to love and infatuation.

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And of course, let’s not forget the tranch herself, Princess Bubblegum. I think PB is written pretty terrifically in this one, and it’s a nice balance to show her caring and compassionate side after sooo many episode of referencing her more shady and conniving nature (though he use of cyanide laced gum is quite questionable). Even though she initially threatens to declare war on Lumpy Space after a trivial fight between LSP (the chick can be petty sometimes!), her sympathy and understanding of Lumpy’s own self-doubt is exposed in all the right ways. Instead of reprimanding LSP for stealing her material, wrecking her castle, and sort of killing someone, she would much rather put a halt to Lumpy’s suffering, even if it means feeling the wrath of her own hostility. PB is a caring and understanding person when she realizes the emotional turmoil that is going on within other people, and after 800 years of trying to build a happy Utopian society, there’s still the underlying realism that some citizens do deal with deep emotional issues. And sometimes the only way to cope with the heavy issues of her citizens is to have a nice drink at the Candy Kingdom Tavern. Poor gal.

The ending is about as heartwrenching as it gets. Through the outer circle surrounding the episode, we see that these creatures are from an alternate dimension, and that the time machine sent Johnnie here instead of his past timeline. As LSP bawls over the loss of her love, we see that Johnnie can also see exactly what is going on within the Land of Ooo. As she angrily runs out, Johnnie sadly slouches himself, knowing that he’ll never be able to see his lover ever again. Johnnie perhaps receives the saddest fate out of any character in the entire show; he’s doomed to a dimension that he can presumably never escape from, and through everything, he really, really liked LSP. He never doubted his relationship or lost his feelings for his special someone, and Lumpy Space Princess’s failure to understand social cues is what ultimately led to the demise of their individual lives. It’s sad stuff.

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The outer circle is certainly an interesting gag within the episode, with many cute little characters and gags within it. I also think it was delightfully clever to tie the entire episode back to the actual visual gag. Though, I think this is definitely a feature that works much better on rewatches. When I initially viewed this episode, I was quite distracted by the actual circle and actually missed the emotional ending with Johnnie ending up in the circle. Thus, this is one that benefits from multiple viewings, so now I can either focus entirely on the circle, or the events going on within the episode. Each are equally interesting in their own right, and the cute little creatures have Pendleton Ward written all over them. Perhaps my favorite of these doodles are the peanut who splits into two individual nuts and the triangle and square happily see-sawing together.

This one is an emotional rollercoaster, and one that I’m quite fond of. This is the best Lumpy Space Princess episode to date, and it’s one that finds all the right ways for me to sympathize with her. By the end of the episode, she’s still entirely vain and insane, but Bad Timing finds just the right balance to still make her charismatic. One of Ooo’s most unsympathetic characters was able to also become one of the show’s most tragic, and I think that’s just another magical actual of great writing within the scope of Adventure Time.

Favorite line: “Boy, when this evening started, I was feeling so dump trucks, but now it’s like a hundred forklifts!”

“Play Date” Review

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Original Airdate: November 4, 2013

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne, Somvilay Xayaphone & Seo Kim

I fell ill last week, so apologies for the lack of a post. Making up for it by double-posting this week, and in addition to that, I’ll have some more free-time next week! I expect to cover at least four to five episodes next week, most likely from James to Rattleballs, and then we’re in the homestretch of season five, folks. For now, Play Date.

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Play Date and The Pit is perhaps the weirdest two parter Adventure Time has ever put out, mostly because they have very little to do with each other aside from Play Date’s climax. Out of the two, however, I think it’s pretty clear that The Pit is the more structured of the two. Play Date has its moments, but ultimately feels like a handful of ideas that never really form into a completely cohesive narrative. Though I’m glad the series did finally take the time to explore a full length episode focusing on Ice King living with the boys, even if it comes out with mixed results.

I think perhaps the strongest part of the episode derives from the first few minutes. Some of the best comedy the show has to offer is how genuinely disgusted and distraught Finn and Jake can respond to the IK’s behavior, such as episodes like Hitman or Still, and the first half is chock full of these moments. Love the bits that emphasize just how annoying and disgusting Ice King is, namely his line “don’t forget the bread!” and the repulsive way he consumes his cereal while wearing nothing but underwear. This leads to some fantastic reactions from Jake, including a hilarious eye-twitch and him actually contemplating murder. On the other hand, however, I do enjoy Finn’s treatment of Ice King in this one. I think the destruction of the Ice Kingdom is a clear point to where Finn began to treat the lunatic with more sympathy and consideration. There’s very few episodes after this where Finn views Ice King as an actual enemy; at most, Finn views him as an annoyance, but even that is toned down a great deal following this one. I think it’s cool to notice these moments of clear development between the two, though it’d be quite sometime before Jake begins to feel the same.

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There’s also quite a few nice touches in the beginning sequence as well. I don’t think the gags involving Finn and Jake using hand motions to explain something to each other are particularly funny, but I at least appreciate how it ended up becoming a running gag in later Somvilay-Seo episodes down the line. It begins to feel like a genuine trait of the relationship between the boys rather than just some random nonsense that was included for the sake of being random nonsense. Also, I thought it was quite adorable that Ice King added himself to Finn and Jake’s clock. While we’re on the subject, I actually discovered while writing this post that there is a licensed Finn & Jake clock on Amazon! I’m immediately considering an impulse buy because of how cute and true to the show it actually is.

Though, I think the fun definitely decreases once Abracadaniel’s brought in. I’m very “meh” about Abracadaniel as a character, and I think my problems with him have become more clear as this episode followed We Fixed a Truck. Banana Man and Abracadaniel are similar in their wimpy tendencies, though I think Banana Man is clearly the better character. Banana Man has a defined character through the exploration of his loneliness, forming him into a lovable dork. Abracadaniel, on the other hand, doesn’t really have a defined character. He’s just kind of weird and quirky, but doesn’t really have any charismatic attributes that actually make me care for him. Also, isn’t it weird that he’s just totally fine with hanging out with Finn and Jake? Shouldn’t he still hate them for being part of the reason he ended up in jail in Wizards Only, Fools?

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Thus, the scenes that follow with Abracadaniel and Ice King’s friendship are just… okay. Not really bad or even boring, but just nothing particularly noteworthy or entertaining. I think the episode comes to an absolute halt, however, when Abracadaniel and Ice King put on a show for the boys. It isn’t really funny and doesn’t add anything to the story at all, making it feel like somewhat of a waste of time. I think the point of the scene is to show how Abracadaniel is beginning to overstay his welcome as well, but it really doesn’t help that Finn and Jake hold the same blank face throughout the entire scene. Like, I get that Finn is pretty cool and is willing to accept that Abracadaniel is too afraid to leave the Treehouse, but why is Jake so okay with this? Wasn’t he the one who was prepared to kill Ice King earlier because of his annoying tendencies? I think this is where the source of this episode’s main issue derives from: it quickly changes perspective from Finn and Jake’s to Ice King and Abracadaniel’s. Throughout the first half of the episode, we’re seeing everything mostly through F&J’s eyes, where the second half mostly focuses on Abracadaniel and Ice King’s side of things. And it’s unfortunate, because Finn and Jake reacting to the Ice King’s obscene behavior was arguably more interesting than Ice King and Abracadaniel’s shenanigans. It’s disappointing that the main conflict of the episode was dropped so quickly when Abracadaniel was introduced, yet there were so many more comedic possibilities that could have came from his arrival that were used for some less than satisfactory moments.

Things do pick up in entertainment value once Ice King and Abracadaniel discover the Demon Blood Sword, even if it feels like a disconnect from the entirety of the episode. I will say that I’m glad a moment like this was included to make the episode more memorable, though I feel like it’s somewhat of a copout. It’s like how In Your Footsteps was somewhat uninteresting throughout, yet that one moment was included at the end so the Lich could gain possession of the Enchiridion. I’m not quite sure how I feel about moments like this, because they definitely make the episode they’re featured in more compelling, though sometimes I feel like they’re trying to justify overall mediocrity. But I digress, the moments with Ice King and Abracadaniel in the basement are definitely entertaining. There’s a big eerie feeling surrounding it, as if Ice King is showing Abracadaniel his father’s AR-15 rifle or something of the sorts. As Kee-Oth is reintroduced, and Finn and Jake enter the scene, I do feel like some of these moments were a bit rushed, though it works in such a way that I feel isn’t distracting. Similar to the episode Betty, which we’ll come across shortly, I feel like so much is happening at once that it doesn’t really give me time to think about it. Finn contemplates not breaking the sword, Finn breaks the sword, Kee-Oth regains his blood, Kee-Oth captures Jake, Ice King mentions that his home is rebuilt and he and Abracadaniel leave. All of this occurs in the course of a minute, but it’s done so in an invigorating way and never really lets the energy fizzle out until the very last second.

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A lot of people were pissed with a couple moments towards the end, mainly regarding Finn breaking the sword and Ice King’s behavior. Finn breaking the Demon Blood Sword quickly without a ton of hesitation is upsetting, considering how cool the actual sword is, but I think it’s fitting regarding Finn’s character. Despite how he feels about his awesome sword, and his father too, Finn is willing to smash something so important to him for the sake of the lives of two losers he doesn’t even really like that much. Really just goes to show what a caring person he is, especially considering the immoral things he has done in the past handful of episodes. As for Ice King quickly fleeing the scene after using Finn and Jake for weeks and being responsible for the destruction for Finn’s sword, I respond with “come on.” We all know Ice King is crazy and that he’s incredibly selfish, and there really isn’t anything changing that as long as the crown has possession of his brain. Again, Ice King is simply at his healthiest when he has people who mutually care for him, though he will never be able to completely get past his own insanity and irrational thinking. This felt like classic Ice King, even if it was incredibly jerky of him.

So yeah, this episode is a bit all over the place, but it does have its redeeming qualities. Again, I think The Pit is clearly the better episode and more plot-focused overall, but this episode at least managed to have some memorable moments. It just so happens that about half of it is mixed with mediocrity. But, I’m willing to take an episode filled with some moments of greatness rather than a fully dull episode like Box Prince. And though the epic follow-up that Play Date had suggested by its final scene ended up being mostly comedic and stress free, it still leads to a promising and enjoyable sequel.

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Favorite line: “Someone’s at the door. We have a doorbell now. We’ll get it.”

“Love Games” Review

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Original Airdate: September 23, 2013

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne, Andy Ristaino & Cole Sanchez

After a much needed break from the FP-Finn drama these past few episodes, we once again return to how Finn is dealing with the break-up, though this time, it’s treated more with humor and a lighter story. After the hilarious Time Sandwich, I didn’t know if Kent Osborne and Cole Sanchez would be able to write something quite as funny, but sure enough (with the help of Andy Ristaino) this episode receives a warm welcoming in my list of very amusing episodes.

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The episode starts out silly enough, as we finally get a cameo from Ice King living within the Treehouse. The dynamic between he and the boys is pretty cute; I like how Jake consistently has to yell at him to not interrupt their radio show, almost as if the IK is their little brother. I also like the actual contents of the radio show, though I have no clue who this is being broadcast to, or who even listens to it. This is seriously the first and only time Finn and Jake have ever been seen doing a radio show, so it feels a bit contrived, but eh, it’s cute. It almost feels as if Finn’s statement that he’s done dating ladies and going back to saving them is fanservice to all the people who bitched and moaned for years about how there was too much romance drama within the series. This episode seems to put this drama to bed, but also acknowledges that Finn isn’t as ready to move on as he initially thought. This is triggered by Slime Princess’s abrupt entrance, as she begs Finn to marry her.

This is Slime Princess’s breakout role as a major player, and I’m glad she’s had at least one spotlight appearance in the series (aside from her future role as an elemental). My enjoyment of her character mainly derives from the solid voice acting from Maria Bamford; Bamford has played many, many characters in AT before, though I don’t think any of them match the level of humor (and somewhat sensual overtones) that Slime Princess has been able to accomplish, and has accomplished in Love Games.

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The plot for this one is exaggeratedly silly, but in a way that I quite appreciate. I could care less about the inner politics within the Slime Kingdom, so the fact that they made the conflict between Slime Princess and her sister Blargatha as nonsensical as possible is much more memorable than if I was actually supposed to take this issue seriously. And as we grow to find out, the Slime Kingdom is based off of silliness.

Adding to the many layers of the Bad Lands, we finally get to see the Slime Kingdom! Slime Kingdom is a well-designed, albeit disgusting environment that feels like the visual equivalent to the common cold. It’s purposely grimy, with shades of green and yellow oozing everywhere, but it never feels like an off-putting area, quite frankly because the inhabitants of the Slime Kingdom are quite fun! I really enjoy Elder Plops and Blargartha, who too have some talented voice actors behind them. That’s John Hodgman from The Daily Show voicing Plops and Katie Crown portraying Blargatha, who has done voice work for the Total Drama series, Clarence, and Storks.

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And most of the episode from this point on is just a series of gags, namely very funny gags. I love how Jake tags along simply to make puns while he’s shrunken down, pulling at a piece of popcorn. He contributes so little to the story that they didn’t even have to include him, yet he’s used perfectly for comic relief. The “battleground of love” provides for some really enjoyable moments, namely the spooning section of it, which got the biggest laugh out of me in the entire episode. Finn’s absolute terrified expression, coupled with Slime Princess shouting “WRAP THOSE GORGEOUS PYTHONS AROUND ME!” is just hysterical. Also, Blargatha and Guillermo’s spoon is so violent and frantic, I can’t help but laugh at it.

Aside from the humor, this episode also has a decent emotional core. You gotta feel just a bit of sympathy for Finn; even though the fallout of his relationship was at the fault of his own, it’s pretty clear at this point that he does look into these actions with a feeling of guilt. Instead of being able to move on from that guilt and sadness, he’s constantly reminded of all things romantic and is also constantly reminded of the girl that he once loved. He vents his feelings through the song “I Can’t Get Over You,” which is one of the better post-Sugar songs in the series. Shada’s voice croons nicely and carries across an attitude of sincerity and sadness. Finn’s issues become much more defined by the end of it: no matter what he does to try to distract himself, he simply can’t get over Flame Princess.

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This unwillingness to deal with anything related romance related is what leads to Finn finally confronting Blargatha, where it is revealed her husband was a mere pile of gelatin the entire time. Again, a fittingly silly resolution to a fittingly silly conflict. The only thing more ridiculous than that is that it apparently broke no rules or laws within the Slime Kingdom. It just means that Blargatha is disqualified from the competition. Slime politics are weird, right?

The one gripe I have with this one is the very ending, where SP barfs as Finn attempts to kiss her. I get that it’s for the subversion, and is somewhat of a “fuck you” to Finn for reacting the same way earlier, but it doesn’t really make any sense. What happened to when SP wanted to get into Finn’s pants in Prisoners of Love? Unless she spontaneously recalled that Finn pee’s his pants constantly, I’m not sure where exactly this sudden disgust comes from. She seemed willing to get down and dirty with Finn in the previous ten minutes of Love Games. But, as this episode has set out to prove, nothing makes sense in the Slime Kingdom.

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And that’s mainly what makes this episode so fun. It’s simply enjoying this fun new area with these fun characters and a silly premise. It’s nice to see that Finn is still dealing with the issues of his break-up and that they haven’t all just vanished and also nice that this episode is amusing and light to balance out the heavy weight of the romance drama. I love episodes like Frost & Fire and Too Old, but I’m also glad that every episode following it isn’t some big, somber journey. This is what Adventure Time embodies: a perfect blend of comedy and drama with fun and likable characters to carry it through. And all I know is I definitely am checking out the next club I see with a triple-cray rating.

Favorite line: “I will be watching you spoon, measuring and assessing your love by posture and overall vibe.”

“Time Sandwich” Review

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Original Airdate: September 9, 2013

Written & Storyboarded by: Cole Sanchez & Kent Osborne

I am ready to receive instruction from the realm of creation above me and the sandwich I am about to conceive. I am open; use me.

After the emotional turmoil of Finn’s break-up with Flame Princess and the hardships it brought for the both of them, it’s nice to take a break from those hardships and sit back for some much needed fluff. And, as far as fluff goes, Time Sandwich is pretty much the pinnacle of AT standalone. It manages to be an excursion of pure fun and, in my opinion, an even better character study of Jake than Jake the Dog set out to do.

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Jake is a simple dog who enjoys simple things; while every other character in the series carries with them so sort of heavy baggage that they struggle with in one way or another, Jake is there to remind us all that life isn’t as serious as we’ve lead on, and to take pride in the little things. And for Jake, the littlest big thing to him is sitting back and enjoying a tasty sandwich, and Time Sandwich shows him as motivated and inspired as ever to create the greatest bunch of joy he has ever made. The sandwich making sequence is delightful, and the sandwich itself has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon over time. Besides the actual recipe (slightly modified) being included in the official Adventure Time Cookbook, the sandwich was also prepared on an episode of Binging with Babish with slight modifications as well. My favorite parts of the sandwich making are your favorite parts of the sandwich making; the lobster soul, the morbid inclusion of the bird from the window, the return of Prismo’s pickles, and the presentation in general are all wonderful fun that really add to Jake’s commitment and investment in this sandwich, and it helps that we as an audience are just as invested as him. Also, I just love the fact that Jake was willing to share a portion of his sandwich that he regards so highly with his friends. After his selfish actions in Jake the Dog, it really is rewarding to add this bit of selflessness to Jake, and shows the kind of person he actually is.

The return of Magic Man also provides for tons of fun! I love MM’s psychological issues that are delved into following Freak City, though it is nice to have him star in a major appearance that capitalizes on what makes him so entertaining to begin with: his apathy and overall asshole-ish nature. And it’s just as fun in this one as it was in Freak City and Sons of Mars. Of course, his screentime remains minimal after his initial introduction, though it is filled with memorable quotes and gags, namely “it’s got my germs, so it’s mine now!” and his ability to slap Jake through a personal portal.

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The rest of the episode is just pure Adventure Time-y goodness. Really nice individual character moments that build off of every character’s delightful personality. BMO’s somewhat selfish, but understandably childish attitude comes out in full swing, and it’s just hilarious. BMO could give less of a shit about any of the circumstances Finn and Jake face on a daily basis, he wants what he wants, yet he knows F&J aren’t always going to give it to him. So, in this case, he has to trick them into helping him film a skateboard video, because that’s what BMO does. He don’t give a fuck about no special sandwich.

PB’s inclusion adds more to her mindset when it comes to science vs. magic, and once again, her failure to understand the principles of magical tendencies backfires. She explains it quite eloquently and intelligently, yet when it comes to actually putting these mindsets into action, she’s shit outta luck. And I do admire how the idea of the existence of magic is slowly starting to rub off on her in some way. Of course, she still has her gripes with the use of magic, but she is more willing to accept that there’s things that she simply isn’t able to fix with her own technology. Think my favorite part of this sequence is that the Banana Guards stand there, hand PB a missile, and then disappear for the remainder of the episode. They really helped out in this situation.

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Marceline then shows up and offers the only skill she knows how to use: brute force. Her’s is less complex, but still equally ineffective. Marceline is a bit cocky in her own abilities, as she should be; she’s a half-demon, half-vampire, half-human entity that has pretty much every skillset she needs to get by. She’s from the Nightosphere, for Glob’s sake. And so it seems pretty obvious that she’d be able to get past anything with sheer strength, right? Wrong.

All of these moments are tied together by the hysterical fact that they all have the same exact outcome. By the time Marceline attempts to get past Magic Man’s spell, you’d expect the joke to be obvious and less funny by this point, but it honestly just keeps getting funnier and more entertaining as it happens.

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Of course, while all of this is going on, Jake is left to sulk over the separation between him and his coveted sandwich. Jake enjoys the simple things, so when the simple things are taken from him, he’s left with the same grief any of his other friends are likely to feel. This episode is also really terrific in terms of using color to set the mood; the beginning scene where Jake builds his perfect sandwich is lit brightly and colorful, while later, when Jake tries to emulate the same chain of events, the sky turns dim and solemn. Of course, we’re never actually left emotional or upset over the loss of a sandwich, but it works as an accurate representation of Jake’s feelings throughout the episode. And while we’re on a technical aspect, John DiMaggio does such a terrific performance as Jake in this one. He captures every moment and every feeling Jake is having so adequately. Through his excitement, sorrow, anger, and pure relief, every line Jake carries out is effectively funny and well-inflected, and it really just makes the character seem so much more alive and human. Not to say DiMaggio doesn’t always do a great job, but this is truly a standout performance for Jake.

When finally faced with the solution to his problem, we’re also left with one of the funniest ways Jake could possibly force himself to become sad: an imagination sequence featuring his death and the incorporation of Mr. Cupcake. The concept alone is funny; I love how the saddest thing Jake could think to experience is how people react to his own death, with the mindset that “yeah, I was a pretty cool dude to these people!” Included are the silly little details, like the fact that Jake legitimately imagined an “After Coffee” title card inside his head. It’s such a ludicrous gag, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before. And the interactions between him and Mr. Cupcake in general, this long built up conflict that is really over a brief quarrel all the way back in Season Two, is just brilliant. It’s also funny to think that this effectively squashes the beef Jake and Mr. Cupcake have! It’s literally never mentioned again! Jake created a solution within his mind and cured the issue forever. How hilarious is that?

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And finally, we’re met with an awesome climax sequence with some equally great animation (the drawings in general look really great in this one, courtesy of Kent Osborne and Cole Sanchez!) as everyone beats the ever-living shit out of Magic Man. I love how the recurring comeuppance for Magic Man is just socking him in the face, as it seems like the perfect response towards his sadistic ways, regardless of if it was all for a sandwich or not.

So yeah, this one is awesome! It’s hard to say why besides the fact that it’s just a ton of fun and really captures everything great about Adventure Time’s lead cast, namely Jake. And of course, the added bonuses, such as the great sense of humor, the nice colors, drawings, and animation, and just an overall breath of fresh air from the more drama-driven episodes we’ve gotten before this. It truly is a spectacle in AT fluff, and one I always love to revisit time and time again.

Favorite line: “No, man, don’t call Tree Trunks! What’s she gonna do, bake an apple pie?!”

“Jake Suit” Review

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Original Airdate: July 15, 2013

Written & Storyboarded by: Cole Sanchez & Kent Osborne

Jake Suit received a lot of criticism for similar reasons to why people were angry at Jake in Jake the Dog; Finn is kind of a dick, and it’s understandable why people would dislike his portrayal in this episode. Yet, I’m actually not against it, and think it helps to strengthen this episode’s comedic prowess.

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First off, it’s just nice to see the Jake Suit back in general. Existing as an idea that began as early as the series itself, (in fact, Pendleton Ward himself would recruit artists who could draw the Jake Suit exactly how he envisioned it in his head; this is how Jesse Moynihan was hired) the Jake Suit is a concept that is used sparingly in the shown itself, yet has become somewhat of an icon within the series otherwise. It’s been featured in a handful of comics, as well as numerous shirts and even some of the video games, and even a 6-inch action figure was made. However, it’s an aspect of the series I’m glad that is used sparingly; it’s a pretty awesome feature, both design and battle wise, and I don’t think it’d be nearly as effective if they used it more frequently than they already have. Though, here it’s used mostly for story purposes, rather than battle purposes.

And here it shows why it isn’t necessarily used for battle that often: it fucking hurts Jake. And despite this, Finn somewhat ignorantly disregards Jake well-being while wearing him as armor. The reason I don’t think Finn is that unlikable is because it’s made pretty obvious at the beginning that Finn doesn’t understand how Jake experiences pain. Hell, it’s made pretty obvious that after that first scene, Finn had no idea that Jake was in pain at all. I think it’s clear that Finn’s failure to feel pain the same way Jake does is evident in his actions, and I do think the rest of the episode redeems any form of distastefulness he may have shown. Finn constantly tries to help Jake in his plans to put him through pain, and though Jake typically fails, it’s somewhat endearing that Finn wants him to succeed regardless, as he acknowledges the pain that he put Jake through. And c’mon guys, you mean to tell me that we’re supposed to think Finn is mean-spirited in this one when Jake tried to embarrass him in front of his girlfriend’s family and nearly tossed Finn in a volcano (even if he probably wouldn’t actually do it)? I get that Finn was kind of the one who put Jake in that position in the first place, but I think both boys have their moments of asshole-ishness, though these are moments that don’t affect the quality of the actual episode for me.

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In fact, I think this is a really funny one! Cole Sanchez and Kent Osborne teamed up on this one, and they would continue to write for some of the funniest episodes of this entire season. The entire beginning of the episode is great in terms of absurdity; I love how extreme Finn and BMO are, and the lengths they’ll go to in accidentally being brutal towards Jake. There’s also tons of great bits of dialogue in this one, including the frequent use of the expression “what the Bjork?!”, the way Finn describes pain as being “hickeys of the universe,” and the way Flame Princess describes her aunt and uncle as her “judgmental aunt and uncle.” And hey, whatta ya know, Flame Princess in a supporting role! How often does that actually happen? There’s also the incredible “blink and you’ll miss it” sequence at the beginning when the Jake Suit nearly rips apart a good portion of the Treehouse, as Ice King is just randomly chilling there. What the fuck is up with that? I always thought that this episode was supposed to be aired after Frost & Fire because of that brief scene, but then I remembered that Flame Princess is in this one. So that’s strange!

This episode is also filled with some terrific callbacks. The Squirrel from Up a Tree makes a return during the book reading sequence, Jake once again mentions his list of “tiers”, and The Buff Baby song returns, despite how much I’m so wildly passive towards it. I am glad that this is the last time they featured this song in the series; it had already been way overblown by this point, and I don’t even think John DiMaggio’s delivery was funny enough to save it. Also, we get to see a grown T.V. in this one, voiced by Dan Mintz. I never really got into T.V., as he’s probably my least favorite of the pups, though I do like his suggestion that Jake should have Finn jump in a volcano. My favorite part is that it kind of reads as “dad, go kill yourself,” in the most harmless way possible. That got a big laugh out of me. The clown nurses return at the very end to give Finn some much needed comeuppance, further showing that one man’s pain is another’s pleasure. It was really the perfect ending to cap that motif.

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There’s a few things I wasn’t crazy about in this one, however. One isn’t really a problem with the episode itself, but I feel like there’s never much consistency throughout the series with Finn’s reaction to physical pain. Like, he bitches in Blood Under the Skin when he gets a splinter, but in this episode he’s fully prepared to take on lava? Granted, he was a few years younger in Blood Under the Skin, but it kind of seems like his endurance depends mostly on the plot rather than being a consistent character trait. Also, I think some bits in this one are a little pointless. Jake’s attempts to bore Finn with the Dream Journal of a Boring Man is humorous, especially when Finn starts to actually enjoy it (a nice freeze frame bonus is to actually read the page in the book, it’s so nonsensical), but Jake’s attempt to piss Finn off by eating his meatloaf, while I enjoy that it references Finn’s consistently mentioned “favorite food”, doesn’t really go anywhere and neither does the Flame Princess bit either. I felt like the journal was a means of showing Jake’s frustrations with his inability to hurt Finn, though the others, while partially funny, didn’t really feel like humorous methods of driving that point further.

All in all though, I like it! It isn’t quite my favorite “funny episode” this season, as there’s other Sanchez and Osborne episodes down the line that take the cake, but I still enjoy it. There’s plenty of funny gags, lines, and character moments. And also, ya know what, this is just a good brotherly episode between Jake and Finn. They can’t kiss and hug every single episode they’re in, and I’m glad this episode took the time to build up a bit of a dynamic between them in terms of actual differences they do have. I’ve mentioned that the two brothers arguing can bring down the strength of the episode, though this argument is kept fun, light, and slightly snarky. Overall, it just makes the brothers feel more realistic.

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Favorite line: “You just have to imagine that every bruise is a hickey from the Universe. And everyone wants to get with the Universe.”