Tag Archive | Pendleton Ward

“The Real You” Review

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Original Airdate: February 14, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Rebecca Sugar & Adam Muto

Finn’s crush on PB is certainly endearing, but it isn’t one of the stronger points of the series. It is a crucial part of the first few seasons and it does lead to terrific tension and development as the series progresses, but the concept of the “younger boy liking an older girl” or unrequited love in general is very common in most animated series like Gravity Falls or Foster’s Home, heck, even live action shows use this trope. That’s not to say the show uses them badly, but it’s just sort of treads similar waters. The aspect that makes it a bit more interesting is that it brings out one of Finn’s major character flaws: his social awkwardness and willingness to risk anything for Bubblegum.

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I’m also not one to insinuate that a character flaw is necessarily a bad thing; it can be, but in a majority of situations, it makes the main protagonist appear more interesting. Having a character that is flawed and imperfect helps the audience to better identify with the characters and its world, and using a pre-pubescent Finn’s crush on PB is a perfect example of that. It’s easy to empathize with Finn’s deep feelings of infatuation for Bubblegum and pinpoint it as a developmentally appropriate stage of life.

That being said, Finn’s desire to become smarter to impress the princess is very enjoyable and almost works as a trip through memory lane for anyone who is Finn’s age or remembers being an awkward and quirky preteen. We’re treated to some delightfully silly gags along the way: the school of worms, Finn and Jake studying while making a beat out of their blinking, Jake shrinking down small but still drawing a face on his finger, and the return of Choose Goose! Hearing Jeff Bennett’s Hanna Barbera-esque voice as CG is always a treat, and never fails to make me laugh.

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First ever appearance of the giant crater within Earth. Awesome!

Speaking of voice acting, Jeremy Shada gives a terrific performance of Finn in this episode. He hilariously pulls off the “mad with power” inflections and overtones, and really puts everything into making his character feel as authentic as possible. It shows how great Shada is as a voice actor, and just how well he is able to follow Finn’s progressions of age and altercations. My only complaint is that we don’t get to spend more time with “smart” Finn. Finn doesn’t actually put the glasses on till about 7 minutes in, so it feels like we don’t get to enjoy his presence nearly enough. The scene with the class of worms was humorous, but it could’ve easily been substituted for some more crazy Finn.

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This episode also marks the end to one of the most recurring possessions thus far: Finn’s golden sword (a.k.a. Scarlett). Scarlett is one of the most identifiable objects in the entire series, and pretty much any promo you’ll ever see for the show has Finn wielding his golden sword. It’s only appropriate that the sword is sacrificed in this episode, however. This is the beginning of Finn’s upcoming entrance into his teenager years, and signifies the end of an era for himself. The sacrifice also showcases the honesty and truth behind Finn’s feelings for PB: he’s willing to give up one of his most prized possessions for her love. Of course, it was unintentional, but hey, smart Finn had it planned all along! Soon he will be entering more dangerous and difficult challenges, as well as further awkwardness between himself and Bubblegum.

Favorite line: “I can’t help it, man! I’m all about stupid!!”

“To Cut a Woman’s Hair” Review

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Original Airdate: January 10, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Somvilay Xayaphone

One thing that Adventure Time does best is completely defying the viewer’s expectations and constantly keeping them on their toes. It’s not necessarily the shock humor you’d find on show like Family Guy, where it’s constantly trying to be in your face with over-the-top characters and situations, but it always has an element of surprise that you could have never predicted to see. Great examples of these are Magic Man’s reveal in Freak City or the Whywolves in Donny. This episode is the very first time we see Finn’s hair, and it isn’t treated like a big, significant reveal by the staff, network, or even the episode itself. It’s something that comes entirely out of the blue, and it’s hilarious, beautiful, and epic.

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When Finn does finally reveal his hair, the characters and visuals do treat it as if it’s a big deal, because it honestly is. The introduction of Finn’s hair and the fact that it’s immediately shaved off introduces something that isn’t regularly mentioned within the nature and world of the show: a clear timeline. We’re able to gather just how quickly or slowly time has passed by examining how long Finn’s hair has grown over a period of time. Considering we only get a legitimate mention of his age three times after season two, it’s rewarding to have this bit of continuity for fans to pick up on the changing times within the world, and it’s awesome to feel as though you’re in a world that’s constantly moving and growing. Again, the series manages to do this so ingeniously with something as simple as the length of Finn’s hair.

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Besides that, there’s a bit of world building for the other characters in this episode as well. We’re introduced to LSP living in the woods, which is a recurring home for her throughout the entirety of the series. This is also one of LSP’s better appearances in general. I really love the bulky and detailed way Somvilay draws her, and it adds a lot of oomf and personality to all of her dialogue. In addition, the scenes with Finn and Princess Bubblegum are especially cute, and she bestows upon Finn one of his most treasured possessions: a lock of her hair. Of course, this was specifically to serve the plot in this episode, but it would later become a source of affection, as well as obsession, for our hero.

The tree witch is a terrifically crafted antagonist, as she proves to be mildly likable despite her lunacy. Her voice is provided by Thurop Van Orman, the creator of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and the voice of its titular character. Van Orman has such a distinct and unique voice, yet he can alter it to fit any type of role without it feeling like he’s doing the same voice. Same goes for his performance as Gideon Gleeful in Gravity Falls; he really can add flair to any of these characters without drastically changing his range.

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To Cut a Woman’s Hair is great because it works as a completely self contained episode but also increases on the expansion of the world of AT and the characters within it. I always figured that Finn’s hair would grow back fully by the next episode we saw it, if we ever saw it again, but the writers took in the account of Finn’s aging process and the growing of his character, and one of the greatest ways they took on that is through the length of his hair. Also, this is an episode that has Jake being tortured while Finn has to rescue him. What a change of pace!

Favorite line: “Girl, if I didn’t already have a G.F., I’d be on you like butter on toast!”