Tag Archive | Princess Bubblegum

“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!”

“Adventure Time Pilot” Review

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Original Airdate: January 11, 2007

Written by: Pendleton Ward

No idea why it took me so long to get to this, but here’s the pilot! A bit of unnecessary exposition, considering everyone who reads this blog probably already knows this, but this pilot originally aired on Nicktoons Network. Pen Ward originally pitched the show to be picked up by Nickelodeon, but they declined. And boy, are they probably kicking themselves to this day.

There a couple noticeable differences between the pilot and the series; obviously the animation style is quite different, and while I prefer the character designs of the actual series, the animation is actually really fluid and smooth in movement. This is especially apparent in the fight scene between Finn and Ice King and just how hard hitting and flowing their movements are. Of course, it also makes the entire pilot seem a lot slower, so I’m glad they went with a faster and more high speed animation process in the final product.

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As for the voices, John DiMaggio as Jake and Ward as Abraham Lincoln are the only voice actors from the series who are present for the pilot. Finn (or Pen, as he’s referred to in the pilot) is replaced with Jeremy’s brother Zack Shada, Ice King is voiced by John Kassir, Princess Bubblegum is portrayed by Paige Moss, and Lady Rainicorn, for some reason, is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. I have to say, everyone does a good job in their roles, as Zack does a terrific job of simply soundly like a younger version of his brother. I’m sure John Kassir’s inflections as Ice King were where Tom Kenny got his inspiration for which direction to take the IK’s character in, and while they don’t sound identical, Kassir still does a terrific for only voicing the character once. It’s kinda like one of those character voices you see in a in a video game where it’s trying to be that character and sort of sounds like that character but isn’t that character. I have no idea why Lady speaks in gibberish, but it’s actually kind of fucking hilarious. I wouldn’t have wanted her voice to sound like that in the actual series, as Niki Yang’s voice is just so damn cute, but Dee Bradley Baker does an awesome job of just turning the character into a batshit animal. PB doesn’t speak much, but Paige Moss’s voice seems to suit her well.

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What really works about this pilot is that it essentially works as a segue into the actual series. Besides the fact that Finn’s name is Pen, (which is humorously explained in one of the comics that Finn had such a fascination with pens at one point that he made everyone call him “Pen”) this pilot introduces Jake and Lady Rainicorn to each other, Finn’s infatuation for Bubblegum, Abraham Lincoln’s role as the king of Mars, and Ice King’s love for princesses. It’s a delightfully silly and crazy introduction to some of our beloved characters, and I could see it fitting along just fine with the rest of the series.

Onto season two!

Season One Review

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Season one of Adventure Time introduced me to one of my favorite shows of all time. It was revolutionary for introducing us to wonderful bright and dark characters within the glorious Land of Ooo. And while I enjoyed it quite fine the first run and the second run, how does it weigh in as a whole?

Characters

The first season introduced us to a majority of the series most prominent characters: Finn, Jake, Ice King, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline, and (partially) BMO, as well as some secondary characters: Lumpy Space Princess, Lady Rainicorn, Tree Trunks, NEPTR, Magic Man, and so on.

The depictions of these characters aren’t nearly as fleshed out as they are in later seasons, but it’s a very nice introduction to a lot of the fun elements each character has to offer. Finn is vibrant and pure, Jake goes with the flow yet is also bombastic in his own way, Ice King is sad and insane, Princess Bubblegum is sweet yet very passionate about her kingdom, and Marceline is playful and sometimes devious. We get some see some glimpses of development between the characters, including Finn’s characters flaws, Princess Bubblegum’s darker tendencies, Ice King’s more depressing side and his growing admiration of Finn and Jake, and Marceline’s transitioning from Finn and Jake’s adversary to one of their best friends. The characters’ more in depth personalities and unique dilemmas aren’t explored as much as they are in later seasons, but they’re certainly represented as fun characters to want to spend time with.

I’ve said this time and time again but Finn and Jake’s relationship is really the strong point of this season. I firmly believe any good show has to have some heart at the center of it, and Finn and Jake really embody every endearing aspect of this first season. Energy, compassion, and fun is carried with them at all times when they’re on screen, and I can’t think of a time I was legitimately not enjoying myself watching them.

In fact, it’s a pretty impressive feat to not be able to name a character off the top of my head that I truly disliked that was introduced in this season. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the biggest LSP fan, but her role in the first 26 episodes is pretty minimal and she doesn’t really steal the spotlight as much as she does in later seasons.

This was just a delightful introduction to some of my all time favorite characters. While they would only develop more as time went on, everything about these characters that is later fleshed out is practically inserted in subtle moments throughout everyone’s actions. Of course, the only reason they’re able to become so complex is because they start out so simple. And as Adventure Time has proven time and time again, simplicity can be the route to something much greater.

Artwork

The aesthetics of the first season could really be dedicated to Ghostshrimp’s beautiful background work. He seriously knocks it out of the park with  the many designs, skies, and general landscapes that he’s created. GS played a key part in designing the Land of Ooo, and what he conducted was some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in an animated series in years. Here’s some of my favorites:

I can’t really think of a specific storyboard artist that stood out, as I don’t think any of the episodes had the unique individual artwork that each storyboard artist possesses in later seasons, but the artwork is simple and fun. There are a few design quirks, however. Jake’s eyes and jowls are generally a lot larger than they are in following seasons, and he just looks kinda off. In addition, the characters are drawn with more cartoony and expressive faces, and Finn will frequently be drawn with eye-whites, which is somewhat distracting to me. Pendleton Ward has previously claimed to have hated seeing Finn with eye whites, as Finn is easier to connect with the audience through his simplistic dotted eyes, making him feel more real and less like a cartoon character.

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Otherwise though, this season is one of the most expressive and jumpy in terms of animation, considering the series becomes much more grounded later on. That being said, it is delightful to see Adventure Time in a Ren & Stimpy fashion in terms of its animation, but also, I’m glad the series didn’t stick to being outrageous and borderline schizophrenic in movement and facial expressions as it progressed.

Writing

In terms of humor, this is also the show’s most random and arguably juvenile approach at laughs. This leads to some very hit-or-miss jokes and gags, which honestly depends on your sense of humor. For me, the absurd humor works a majority of the time, but at other times, not so much. And I love the wacky dialogue within the series, but there’s only so many “shmowzow!” “slamacow!” “algebraic!” catchphrases I can sit through and not roll my eyes at.

In terms of individual writers, Adam Muto and Elizabeth Ito really killed it this season. They really know how to write good AT, which is likely how they got promoted to showrunner and supervising director respectively.

In terms of writers in general, a good chunk of them didn’t end up continuing to work on the series after the first season, so it was sort of difficult to adopt the styles or visions of writers such as Sean Jimenez, Luther McLaurin, J.G. Quintel, Armen Mirzaian (who sadly passed away three years later) or even Niki Yang.

So while the writing is a bit too 5th grade at some points, I have found myself laughing a lot more than I thought I would while rewatching.

Top 5 Best Episodes

5. Evicted! – A great introduction to one of AT’s most complex characters with a vibrant and fast paced song and some great character interactions as well.

4. The Enchiridion! – A terrific adventure and spotlight episode for our main character with loads of whimsy and quirky characters.

3. Dungeon – An exciting dungeon crawl with some hilarious one-time villains, as well as continuing to build on Finn and Jake’s relationship.

2. Ocean of Fear – An interesting look at Finn’s psyche and the realization that fears are not something to be ashamed of or ignored in any way.

1. What is Life? – The first episode to humanize Ice King and transform him from a psychotic jerk to someone who is completely lonely and devoid of anyone’s love and affection. Also, I fucking love NEPTR.

Top 5 Worst Episodes

5. Slumber Party Panic – Not necessarily a bad episode by any means, but somewhat of a poor start to the series considering that it throws a lot at the audience at once while also including no proper introductions at all.

4. When Wedding Bells Thaw – A somewhat misconstructed look at Ice King’s insanity that results in making the entire episode feel messy.

3. Business Time – An episode that focuses more on Finn and Jake’s lazier sides, which sucks most of the energy out of our main duo and ends up being somewhat of a bore.

2. The Gut Grinder – A generic and predictable plot that AT seems above and a season finale that disappoints.

1. Memories of Boom Boom Mountain – An episode that focuses more on the absurdity and randomness in terms of humor, and one that feels especially misconceived and all over the place when it comes to story.

Final Consensus

Season one of Adventure Time certainly isn’t my favorite season of the show; it’s practically the series at its most basic form, with somewhat childish humor at times and much less lore or complex adventures that are seen in later seasons. However, I found myself really enjoying the first season when watching again, and just find it so interesting how much the series has drastically changed over the years.

So season one of Adventure Time may best the weakest of the bunch in my opinion, but it’s a totally fun ride down memory lane to see how these characters were and what they have become. And of course, it really does show the world through Finn’s perspective. It’s bright and colorful and very silly and zany because he’s only 12, which fits with the overall theme of growing up within AT.

This isn’t a season I plan on rewatching a lot, but I’m glad I got the opportunity to take a look at it once more and I hope all of you that haven’t consider giving it another look as well.

“What Have You Done?” Review

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Original Airdate: September 13, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Elizabeth Ito & Adam Muto

I mentioned in my review of When Wedding Bells Thaw that I believed that episode felt a bit scattershot when tackling the Ice King’s sociopathic nature. What Have You Done?, in my eyes, was a much better look at both the sympathetic and sociopathic sides of Ice King’s character.

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This episode continues where The Duke of Nuts left off with transforming Princess Bubblegum into a cute and pretty damsel in distress to a somewhat tyrannical ruler whose best interest is always in the Candy Kingdom. We don’t really get to see the full effects of this transformation till later in season five, but it’s nice that this side of her character was introduced in the first season, rather than coming completely unexpected later on. Speaking of things introduced and developed more later on, we’re also introduced to a potential origin of the crown, as Ice King claimed to have made the crown with the magic that he stole. This seemed as though it was a continuity error up until the backstory of the crown unraveled in Evergreen. I really love how this show can build on non-sequiturs or one-off jokes four or five seasons after they are introduced and create them into a coherent plot thread.

What really works in this episode is continuing the Ice King’s development from an insane, pathetic jerk to insane, pathetic, and a jerk with a heart of gold. The episode acknowledges that, while he is crazy, he typically means well in his actions, and even when he means well, he can still be stubborn and obnoxious. He’s a perfectly fleshed out and yet convoluted character that constantly leaves you on the edge of your seat on what he’s going to do next.

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The scenery in this one transitions from dark and chilling to dark and illuminating, and the background music compliments both tones. I’m pretty sure that’s a hammered dulcimer conducting most of the score in this one (correct me if I’m wrong) and it really does a standout job at capturing some of the grittier moments, such as IK in jail, as well as some of the lighter moments toward the end of the episode. This episode has some great Simpsons-type humor in the background as well; one of the codes on PB’s book reads 5318008, which of course is the universal code for boobies, and Ice King has “I.L.P.B.” carved in his castle (I love Princess Bubblegum). Also, this episode introduced Bubblegum’s interesting bilingual ability to speak German. Maybe the mother gum formed in Germany? Theories!

And of course, any episode that ends with Jake happily carrying Finn through the Candy Kingdom gets a thumbs up from me. Also, fun fact: when this episode first aired, there was a random commercial break after Ice King flies off when Finn and Jake let him out. It was totally and completely absurd and made me think I was getting a two-parter. But sadly, I wasn’t. Boo.

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