Tag Archive | season six

“Graybles Allsorts” Review

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

All’s Well that Rats Swell

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Original Airdate: July 6, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard

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

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

Have You Seen the Muffin Mess?

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Original Airdate: August 3, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard

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

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

The Gift That Reaps Giving

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Original Airdate: November 1, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Polly Guo

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

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

Sow, Do You Like Them Apples?

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Original Airdate: October 1, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Geneva Hodgson

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

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

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

Consensus

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

Best to Worst

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

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

Season Six Review

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Season six is likely Adventure Time’s most divisive season, and for understandable reasons. This season strayed away from the goofy, enjoyable adventures that made up the first few seasons, or the surface level excitement and emotional unambiguity that was featured more heavily in seasons three and four. After the series had reached a comfortable groove of popularity around the time when Pendleton Ward decided to step down, Adam Muto and the crew decided to try something completely different that didn’t meet the standard expectations of the common television viewer. Not to discredit the first five seasons; they were entirely unique and still utilized the characters and fantasy world to the series’ best abilities. Season six is simply just… different. It doesn’t focus entirely on our main duo, it experiments more with serialized elements, emotional ambiguity is at its highest, and the series really branches out by giving a variety of different artists and animators an opportunity to lend their creative energy to the show. While this is clearly seen as a turning point for some, it stands at to me as one of the most ambitious seasons of television out there.

I’d say there’s three main “storylines” in season six, two of which are established in Escape From the Citadel: the first being Finn’s crisis of faith in the world around him, and the second being Finn’s relationship to his father, Martin, which are relatively interconnected. The third doesn’t come until later, which revolves around the catalyst comet heading straight for Ooo. Finn’s arc ties mostly into the overarching theme of the season, which is the act of finding purpose and meaning in one’s life. The overarching theme itself was the best thing to come out of this season, giving us many episodes that provide hints towards methods of managing stressors in life, such as The Tower, Breezy, Astral Plane, The Visitor, The Mountain, The Diary, Friends Forever, Jermaine, and The Comet. While the theme remains consistent throughout the season, it’s somewhat difficult to incorporate Finn’s sadness as a major part of the series, mainly because of the fact that episodes of AT tend to shift in tone frequently. One episode can be dark and heavy-handed, while the very next episode can easily be a light and silly romp. And that’s not to say that these lighter episodes aren’t welcomed, but it is a bit of a drastic shift to see Finn devastated in Escape From the Citadel, playful and joy-filled in James II, and then back to being angry and depressed in The Tower. I think this is more so just a trademark of the series that I’ve grown to accept and not mind as much, and it is important to know that we’re never truly shown how exactly Finn is feeling in an episode like James II, so it doesn’t necessarily border on discontinuity. Martin also showed up sporadically, but it was actually a pretty insightful part of his character that he would always leave just as soon as he showed up. Martin establishes in the last episode that he continuously aims to “move forward,” and he’s shown to do as much as possible. I thought the comet subplot was the most haphazardly executed… it’s introduced in Evergreen, revealed in Astral Plane, disproved in The Visitor, and then doesn’t appear again until the final five episodes of the series, only to bring no actual lasting changes to the series aside from Martin’s final exit. Again, this one helps to close out the main theme that season six aims to execute, but it also never feels like it has a coherent role in the actual story.

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Aside from the main arcs, this season is also well-known for its use of side stories featuring the lesser known participants of Ooo. This part of the season also contributes to Finn’s realization that the world around him is massive and expansive, and that the Land of Ooo certainly does not center solely around himself. We got some terrific entries through said stories, such as Little Brother, Nemesis, Evergreen, The Diary, Graybles 1000+, You Forgot Your Floaties, and so on. On occasion, this method could fail, like Sad Face, where the featured character failed to be interesting in the slightest. But, a majority of the time, these “day in the limelight” episodes were a refreshing treat and managed to have me invested in characters that I would never even expect to. It’s an AT specialty.

Overall, I think this season had the highest amount of subpar or bad episodes so far, but man, the episodes that are good and really friggin’ fantastic. When I think of really tremendous episodes of Adventure Time, I’m typically drawn to thinking of Escape From the Citadel, Breezy, You Forgot Your Floaties, and so many other goodies that managed to take my breath away upon a first viewing and still “wow” me even to this day. Every episode feels like it’s trying to do something completely different and innovative, and it really does pay off. If an outside viewer watched three episodes back-to-back – let’s say The Diary, Walnuts & Rain, and Friends Forever – it’d almost give off the impression that they were watching an entirely different show with every viewing. The Diary is a lovely episodes that exudes beauty through its top-notch scenery and some nice, poetic readings. Walnuts & Rain is a silly and laidback episode featuring the two main boys. Friends Forever is a highly tense one that focuses on Ice King’s insecurities as a person. Really don’t seem related to each other in any way, do they? And that’s what I love about this season: it felt like I was being treated to something unique and different with every single episode. Most shows tend to run out of ideas and lose steam after the course of 100 episodes, but season six is full of concepts that feel completely fresh and new, not only for the series, but television in general.

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A lot of people felt that the series lost touch with its roots by this point, which I disagree with, but it is obvious that Adventure Time became a different show than what it started out as. One of the main complaints I’ve seen regarding this season is the “pretentious nature” of some of these episodes, namely Jesse Moynihan’s. While I understand why people might not like the deeper themes that encapsulate some of these episodes, I think most of these episodes DO remain interesting on a surface level as well. Even without understanding the subtext and knowing what the fuck is going on in The Mountain, it’s still a really cool episode with neat ideas, trippy visuals, and a funny main character to carry the whole story through. The same could be said for an episode like Astral Plane, with deep ideologies reflecting the futility of life, yet is still packed with AT silliness and a compelling plot. In my eyes, the only time the season truly fails at using such subtext is when a story is subjectively uninteresting, like Friends Forever, or when the moral/takeaway is misguided, like Princess Day. I don’t know how much opinions have changed regarding these episodes today, but I think it also has to do partly with the fact that this season aired right when Steven Universe started churning out some really great entries. I’ve touched on this topic before, but SU was beginning to get highly serialized, reveal new information with each episode, and was largely unambiguous in how its characters were feelings about certain situations at hand. I think this certainly made the spontaneity and ambiguity of season six seem like more of a flaw than it actually was. Animation had gone through a change within the five years that Adventure Time had been on air, and serialization was more heavily utilized by other shows like Gravity Falls and Steven Universe by this point in time, so it may have negatively affected people’s views of AT to see it handle overarching stories as somewhat of an afterthought. Though again, this is only a theory and season six may still very well be regarded as a black sheep for most people. For myself, I’ve learned to accept the series for what it was trying to accomplish, rather than what other shows were accomplishing at the time, and I don’t necessarily see the structure or tonal shift of season six as a problem overall.

The writing teams were somewhat jumbled this season, as a ton of guest writers and animators joined the crew for a small period of time to share their style with the AT world. It quickly became a game of “who is Jesse Moynihan going to board with this week?” As usual, Tom Herpich and Steve Wolfhard wrote some of the most intriguing stories, Moynihan produced some truly bizarre and ambitious entries, Andy Ristaino and Cole Sanchez continued to be the best comedy duo in the series, Graham Falk concocted some delightfully weird and goofy tales with fun drawings, and… Somvilay Xayaphone and Seo Kim struggled. Seriously, it pains me to keep ripping on these two, because I really want to keep an open mind while rewatching their episodes, but I truthfully only fully liked three of the episodes they worked on this season, that being The Pajama War, On the Lam, and Be Sweet. Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe! and Chips & Ice Cream had their moments (though the latter is probably only a personal opinion) while the others were either mediocre or plain bad. I will say that they have improved (and will continue to) since the last half-season, where nearly every episode they worked on was just plain bad. They managed to improve slightly this season by at least having a couple of entertaining entries, though I’m also being a bit generous. Xayaphone still struggles to captivate audiences with his obscure style and humor, and Kim struggles to find a voice at all.

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A lot of guest board artists were also pleasantly welcomed as well, like Madeleine Flores, Sam Alden, Jillian Tamaki, Derek Ballard, and Brandom Graham, who all managed to capture Adventure Time’s tone while blending it with their own unique style. Masaaki Yuasa also provided his lovely animation skills to Food Chain, and David Ferguson utilized his own design for Water Park Prank, though that one is better left erased from my memory.

Since this season was full of so many great episodes, I’m gonna extend the top 5 best to a top 10, but still leave the “worst”s as a top 5. Most of the duds in this season were just mediocre, so I’d rather focus on categorizing the ones that I thought were actually bad to some extent.

Top 10 Best Episodes

Honorable Mentions: The MountainThe DiaryAstral Plane, and The Cooler

10. Is That You? – The most entertaining clip show to date, with a story so convoluted that only AT could pull it off successfully.

9. The Comet – An entertaining conclusion of themes that finally has Finn shifting his mindset regarding reality.

8. Joshua & Margaret Investigations – A hilarious and fun tale about Joshua and Margaret before their puppers were born.

7. Jermaine – A really interesting spotlight episode for the least prominent of the Dog family, and one that really has me more invested in Jermaine’s life than I ever thought I would be.

6. Jake the Brick – An atmospheric and scenic delight, and one of the calmest AT episodes to date.

5. Little Brother – An adorable episode capitalizing on one of my favorite one-shot characters to date, that’s filled with whimsy and a neat little adventure to boot.

4. Escape From the Citadel – A stressful, fast-paced episode that is invigorating till the very end, and one of the toughest trials that Finn has ever experienced.

3. Breezy – A harsh and realistic portrayal of depression that features our main protagonist at his absolute lowest, that is filled with allegories, interesting relationships, tough truths, and an illuminating final message.

2. Evergreen – Arguably one of the best stories that Adventure Time has ever told, this is an all-around awesome episode that plays out like a modern fable, and one with an equally startling conclusion.

1. You Forgot Your Floaties – Essentially a visual piece of Jesse Moynihan’s blood, sweat, and tears, this is a wildly unique and bizarre episode that makes for one of the most different pieces of media I’ve ever seen, all while being veiled with a heavy feeling of sadness.

Top 5 Worst Episodes

5. Dark Purple – A Susan Strong centered episode that isn’t really interesting in its story or characterization in the slightest, and merely seems to exist to move Susan’s arc further.

4. Sad Face – A bland story faced with an equally bland character.

3. Princess Day – Adventure Time at possibly it’s most mean-spirited, with a misguided message at the helm.

2. The Prince Who Wanted Everything – The primary example of why Fionna & Cake has overstayed its welcome.

1. Water Park Prank – You all saw it coming.

Final Consensus

Season six certainly isn’t a perfect season, but it tries so many different things and new approaches to entertainment that I hold it close as a personal fave of mine. I totally understand why people dislike this one, but with every experimental episode that failed, there was always one really, really strong, experimental episode on the horizon. It’s likely the most flawed out of any season, but uniquely flawed. This was the first full season with Muto as showrunner, and while it’s better than I could have ever expected, you can somewhat tell that he is still trying to get a feel for what direction he wants the series to take. Does he want it do be fully serialized? Does he want it to be mostly funny, or really profound? Regardless, even the episodes that don’t work are still usually interesting and have some sort of redeeming quality that makes them stand out. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster, but one I certainly never mind riding for it’s unique, ambitious, and beautiful entries.

 

 

“The Comet” Review

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Original Airdate: June 5, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Andy Ristaino & Jesse Moynihan

The Comet works as both sheer satisfaction and slight disappointment. The disappointment arises from the fact that this big, hyped-up finale doesn’t really progress the story of Adventure Time further, nor does it seem to take any risks or ensue changes regarding the status of this world. If anything, things seem to hit the reset button more than ever: Gunter is back to normal, the comet no longer poses as a threat to Ooo, Martin is out of Finn’s life for good, Finn has once more contained the grass sword embedded in his hand, and everything seems to be fully back to normal. In fact, the previous episode Hot Diggity Doom, actually comes with more lasting changes to the status quo than The Comet does. With the past three season finales that all came with with cliffhangers that seemed to change the world of Adventure Time as we all knew it, this is certainly a change of pace. On the other hand, that satisfaction comes from the combination of different themes regarding the meaning of life that were explored through Finn and many other characters throughout this season. After questioning the meaning of life countless times throughout this season, Finn now has fully grasped the essentials to a better method of living, including his faith in the world around him as a whole and his acceptance of some of the shitty that are inevitably going to surround him. And honestly, it’s all so genuinely enlightening that I don’t really mind that it doesn’t cap off in some huge cliffhanger. The Comet is a conclusion of central themes, but not a conclusion to the series. There’s plenty more episodes moving forward that aim at driving other AT plot points forward, but this one simply exists to progress not its story, but its central character into a more content way of living. Its setting is also a rather beautiful depiction of space, giving it a proper atmosphere for the heady bits of knowledge Moynihan does so well at dropping.

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Immediately, as the boys are shot into space, Finn is saved by the rarely seen thorn embedded in his palm. The thorn was a scar that was left as a reminder of all that Finn has lost: his father, his girlfriend, his previous way of life. That scar remained on Finn’s palm as a constant day-by-day notification of his impending worries that still have an effect on his life. Though, here, it’s this very scar that helps to save him from impending death. It’s very clear that, in this episode, Finn is learning that those scars are exactly what helped him into a new way of being. All of the devastating things that happened to Finn were signal from the universe that helped to teach him new methods of coping and existing, and here, it’s the exact scar that spawned Finn into a pit of depression that is saving him from certain death. I’m probably reaching, but it’s nice to see that all of these elements come back successfully to show how much Finn’s view on the things around him have changed over the course of several months. He no longer views negative aspects of his life as strictly negative, and even the shitty things that he acknowledges are shitty, he still is able to accept and understand them, but we’ll get to that more later.

The first chunk is mainly a fun and silly space adventure featuring Finn, Jake, and Slinkma- er, Orgalorg… and it’s relatively enjoyable to say the least. Think it goes without saying for myself that Orgalorg hasn’t grown on me at all – he’s still a pretty lame villain with little motivation and lacking a personality that actually makes him unique or interesting outside of the fact that he’s connected to Gunter. Otherwise, I care little for his plan, his character, or his design. The way Finn and Jake comedically work off of him is nice, however. This is Andy Ristaino’s last board in the series, and it’s nice to see that he did incorporate some of his trademark humor into his final episode. I personally think Cole Sanchez and Ristaino made for the best comedy duo in the series, and while this one mainly doesn’t go for straightforward comedy, it still is packed with silly moments. Though Orgalorg is primarily an antagonist, he provides a bit of wisdom about the universe’s presentation of open doors that Finn can get behind. But, the ideas presented by Orgalorg are similarly dissonant to Finn’s own desires. Orgalorg uses the opportunities given to him to destroy and harm the life around him, while Finn uses said “open doors” to preserve life and to help others. Of course, this is nothing new in Finn’s development. Despite his maturity, he’s still willing to kick butt for the common good, even if that means foolishly threatening a space deity.

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Of course, it’s to no avail at first. Finn and Jake are separated, as Finn realizes the hard truth that Jake could possibly live out his worrisome croak dream. Finn also laments that it’s quite possible that he himself will croak, “like a fish in the hands of a small child.” It’s here where Finn’s patience in the world that surrounds him is tested. Finn has no other choice but to sit back and sing an auto-tune filled song about his acceptance of his current state. Finn puts all of his faith in the universe, knowing that things will work out and that the world has his back, even if that faith isn’t based behind any logic. Finn simply trusts in the concept that everything around him is happening for a reason, and though he can’t truly explain or understand that reason, he knows that it’s for the best. And it undoubtedly comes as a surprise when Martin is the one who ends up saving him.

It can clearly be seen as an utter coincidence that Martin and Finn ended up at the same place at the same time, which can reflect Martin’s view more than his son, but Finn humbly and unabashedly thanks the universe for such an action, knowing that fate must have stepped in and brought the father and son duo back together. The interactions between Martin and Finn make for probably my favorites exchanges between the two thus far. I like how it brings out even more differences and disagreements the two seem to share, that being their view on life. Martin sees everything as meaningless and without purpose; Martin doesn’t believe in outside forces or people that have a control on his life or the things around him because he only ever believes in himself and what he’s able to accomplish. Martin sees the world as a fun place to exist in because he believes that everything lacks a purpose, and so it doesn’t matter what one does or chooses to do because it inevitably doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Finn is the perfect contrast to his father, as Finn is one to see purpose in life in even the simplistic of things. Which makes for the brilliant response, “I dunno, there are some stars and stuff,” as Martin describes space as completely empty. Throughout the season, we’ve seen Jake’s tail charm a load of circus carnies, a baby worm save an entire village of leaf people, a group of wizards find meaning in the power of inclusivity, Peppermint Butler show loyalty beyond his orders to help the common good, Sweet P. using kindness and humor rather than the darkness that lies inside of him, Susan Strong saving a baby from becoming a cult leader, and so on. All of these little events that seem totally inconsequential, but ultimately are small events that had a purpose in one way or another to benefit the good of the world. Even when Finn isn’t paying attention, all sorts of meaningful, positive events are occurring in radical bouts, no matter how much they actually impact things on a universal level.

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When faced with the adversity of Orgalorg right in front of them, Martin once again reminds Finn, “it’s out of our hands now,” which is yet another cowardly excuse to take the bystander approach and to convince Finn that his actions are generally meaningless. But Finn isn’t one to stand by and to allow things to go to shit, and he curses his father with “skronk that!” as he selflessly propels himself forward into the belly of Orgalorg. While Finn is torn at by the vessels of Orgalorg, his grass sword finally fully unveils itself, revealing that it never truly left Finn’s body, and he’s ultimately able to control it in order to help him beat Orgalorg. Touching on my statement earlier, this is Finn finally gaining control over his life. Though the grass sword would later become an issue that Finn was unable to fully have a handle on, as life does fluctuate, Finn has one true moment of authority over his own being, and uses all that he has learned about himself and the power within him to power through Orgalorg’s body.

It’s here where the Catalyst Comet reveals itself, as we’re treated to a heady conversation that only the likes of Moynihan could whip up. We travel through Finn’s vault and once again are reintroduced to Finn’s past lives, as he begins to touch on the unexplainable and the absurd, as which is presented to him when the comet invites him on an entirely new path of existence, to continue such random absurdity that began his existence. I won’t call out everything that the Comet lists off, but I just wanna say how happy I am that the comet labeled Margaret and Joshua as “mothers” and “fathers” while Martin holds the unflattering title of “scoundrels.” Joshua was more of a father to Finn than Martin will ever be, and such a title doesn’t represent Martin in the slightest. Though, Finn quickly grows tired of these listings and realizes that nothing on the list is inherently a bad thing. Again, most of them are just random and absurd occurences of existing that are inevitable. Though, as the comet reassures him that the things he would abandon are not bad in the slightest, Finn remarks that he’d like to see the meat reality that he put so much into through. It’s a huge moment for Finn, who is essentially left with the decision to erase himself from existence for the promise of eternal bliss, or to continue to live a life that is understandably full of constant struggling. Once again, Finn has chosen to put his faith in the universe and the support groups around him to see his life through, even with the chance that not everything is going to end up okay. That work he put into getting through his own life crisis is certainly worth something, and all of the effort he put into helping others around him in general is enough to give him a reason to see such things through. And if that wasn’t a significant enough development for the little guy, he finally comes to accept that Martin is nothing but a scummy, selfish dude who cannot be changed simply by Finn’s persistence. This is the last we saw of Martin’s (current) self in the series, and although I do wish we got to see more of what his decision entails, it feels like a fitting conclusion to his character that he would once again unwittingly jump aboard the next opportunity that presents itself to him. Though Finn’s disappointment is likely masked with him simply laughing it off, it does show how far he’s come from wanting to literally rip his father’s arm off. Finn is choosing to accept the shittiness of his father as it is, knowing that there’s nothing he could do or could have done to change it. Finn is no longer stuck in the past, but rather focused on the present and the future, knowing that he has plenty of other people around him that do love and care for him.

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And speaking of loving and caring people, Jake ends up being saved by Banana Man! Jake’s croak dream turns out to actually be a survival dream, entailing Banana Man saving Jake in space, rather than watching him die. Jake remarks, “pretty random, right?” Though, in the face of what’s possible and realistic within life, it’s often hard to decipher what exactly is or is not on purpose, which is something The Comet tackles head on. Finn contemplated about “bananas, man” earlier, which may contribute to his belief that he had a part in Jake’s saving, and while it’s unlikely, it is hard to argue with how many seemingly “random” things do occur in the episode that are undefined by nature.

That question also arises when Peppermint Butler and Bubblegum debate Finn and Jake’s safety, in a really nice exchange. PB’s statement that everything in life is a 50/50 chance, too, sums up quite nicely what The Comet is all about: certainty and uncertainty. Though nothing can be known in life, there’s a chance everything will end up alright, and a chance that nothing will. But there’s also the similar possibility that both realities will either fall apart or turn around in the end, leading to an endless strain of 50/50 chances. Though, for the time being, everything does end up alright, with Finn, Jake, Banana Man, and Gunter back on Earth once more. A struggling fish in the hands of a small child(?) does remark, “I’m gonna croak out here.” While it seems likely for the poor fish, it’s also quite possible that Pepbut will simply throw him back into Butterscotch Lake to swim on happily once more. The episode leaves us with one final reminder that there are a limitless amount of opportunities within the world for happiness, sadness, survival, death, wellbeing, sickness, and may other contradicting statuses, but having faith in the world around you and powering through is what helps to get one through any state of uncontrollable being. It’s a meat reality, but one that does exist with the purpose and meaning that anyone is able to create.

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The Comet is a terrific cap to some really nice ideologies that made this season so ambitious and enjoyable. After going through episodes that seemed to question whether or not there was truly meaning to the world, this episode is a positive reinforcement to showcase a message that’s affirming and enlightening. It also successfully makes a breakthrough in Finn’s growth, as he finally begins to accept his life as it is. Though this certainly wouldn’t be the end to Finn’s troubles and sorrows, it does help Finn look onto the world with fresh eyes and feelings, knowing that he’ll be able to get through anything life throws at him, no matter how harsh or stressful.

And that’s the end of season six, folks! Thank you all for joining me during this beast of a season. Your comments over on the reddit are really what keep this project interesting for me, and I enjoy every second of discussing this series as it continues to get more thought-provoking than before. The remainder of this week will be dedicated to reviewing season six as a whole, followed by a review of Graybles Allsorts, and then I will begin reviewing season seven by next week. As always, I’m so very excited to keep diving into these reviews, so stay tuned! There are some truly remarkable episodes on the horizon.

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Favorite line: “I don’t have a star to revolve around to track time.”

“Hot Diggity Doom” Review

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Original Airdate: June 5, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard & Tom Herpich

A few tears were shed from myself after watching this year’s San Diego Comic-Con Panel (which you can watch online here).  A lot of beautiful words were said from the cast and crew who really hit the nail on the head about why the series is so terrific in general: it’s a big, exciting fantasy world filled with truly earnest and passionate characters. With that being said, it’s fitting to rewatch an episode like Hot Diggity Doom, which is primarily set-up for the next episode The Comet, but is also filled with some really nice character moments from Finn, Jake, and Princess Bubblegum respectively. Granted, I don’t think it’s particularly strong in its story, but it makes up for it with a decent amount of funny moments and plenty of nice character moments, mainly from Princess Bubblegum herself.

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An election in Ooo is something I’ve wanted since the very beginning of the series. Granted, I think it totally seemed like a contrived idea in my head, and it still seems like one in this episode, but it plays with this idea to a great extent. It’s equally fitting that the election stars the King of Ooo, as the conflict between PB and himself continues to build. It’s appropriate that Steve Wolfhard boarded the first half of this episode, as KOO is a personal favorite of his, and you can almost see Wolfhard’s excitement while writing for the character. KOO is, as always, a charismatic and likable douchebag. I think he borders on being a tad bit annoying when he actually does pick up a more prominent role in following episodes, but he’s used quite fittingly as an foil for PB and as a charming manipulator of the ignorant Candy People. Though, one aspect that bothered me was how cool Sweet P. suddenly is with being around the King of Ooo. Wouldn’t he still be slightly traumatized by his behavior after threatening to burn down his house? I kind of would have liked this better if King of Ooo was forcing Sweet P. to seem like he didn’t care, but the fact that he really didn’t care was weird in presentation.

The idea of having a princess “election” in Ooo is a very silly and unique concept, but I’m always somewhat curious about just how much this holds as factual from what has already been established. I mean, we’ve seen kings and queens throughout the course of the series: Flame King, King Huge, Lumpy Space King and Queen (though, to be fair, they aren’t citizens of Ooo), Marceline, Xergiok, etc. All of these beings are portrayed as the rulers of their kingdom, even with princes and princesses roaming about. Is there something decreed regarding a certain part of Ooo where princesses like PB, Slime Princess, Hot Dog Princess, and so on are elected officials of their kingdom? Ooo politics are certainly confusing as fuck, and I feel like this added layer only adds to that confusion. It still is a funny and enjoyable concept in execution, it’s just kind of hard to piece together these bits of world building when it comes to the nature of hierarchies in Ooo.

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Most of the fun from this episode derives from PB’s reaction to the whole debacle. Hynden Walch’s acting here is really on point, giving PB just the right amount of snark, and also sincerity in her deliveries. The tone surrounding her behavior is also fitting, seeing as how it starts out quite amusing when Bubblegum does flip her lid, but soon turns melancholic once she realizes her people have effectively turned against her, all while she was working on protecting them from possible disaster. With all that has been building up between the Candy People and PB’s shady behavior, it does feel fitting that the citizens would make a decision this drastic, even while keeping the prophetic dream sequence from Hoots in mind. There’s even a couple legitimate points made, such as James’ mom’s explanation (in a humorously boarded sequence by Wolfhard) of how PB told her son to basically get the fuck out of the kingdom, even if it was warranted. Though I guess that’s actually another problem I have with the way PB’s demotion is presented. I think the entire reason she’s voted out is simply shown as an example of how easy the Candy People are persuaded into swooning over a charismatic stranger, rather than the fact that PB has recently exuded some unorthodox behavior. I would have liked if the episode was a bit more challenging in how it tied back to some of PB’s questionable acts, rather than mentioning a few trivial things that don’t have a ton to do with what the past two seasons have been trying so hard to emphasize. I think a good amount of PB’s own angst regarding the situation is touched on in a meaningful way later on, but it doesn’t feel like her actions truly had a direct impact on her fall as a leader, which would have been a lot more of an intriguing demotion in my opinion.

There’s a ton of great PB moments that follow, however. Her bidding Finn and Jake goodbye was really sweet; even with her pettiness shown in the past, PB still wants Finn and Jake to remain loyal to the King of Ooo and to protect the kingdom. It shows how much PB does care for the kingdom that she was so mercilessly kicked out of, and still wants to see all of the hard work she put into it to remain intact. While we’re on the subject of loyalty, I think it’s really awesome that Peppermint Butler is the one person who remained absolutely true and by Bubblegum’s side throughout the whole endeavor. This was something already touched on in Nemesis, but I can’t express how cool it is that this super complex master of the dark arts is a totally loyal and perfectly self-aware guy who does everything out of loyalty for another being. It’s why I love his character so much: he’s the perfect embodiment of dark and light. I really dig a lot of the quieter moments when the two arrive at Uncle Gumbald’s cabin. Of course, it’s unique to get this kind of name drop of Uncle Gumbald at all. He was previously mentioned in Susan Strong, and the way PB talks about him in this episode, along with the way her sentence is framed, implies that there’s definitely something worth exploring in that category. Though, there’s quite some time before that exploration.

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The rest of the episode is mostly fun shenanigans with Finn and Jake and the Candy People. I like Finn’s really relaxed and natural reaction to the comet approaching, and on the opposite side of things, the exceptionally terrified behavior of the Candy citizens. It’s always fun watching the Candy People in a state of panic, and there are some notably fun bits here, like the Banana Guard trying to throw his spear at the comet, or the trash can smash backfiring and hitting Starchy.

The eventual battle between the mysterious campaign manager and Finn and Jake is decently staged, though for myself, I thought it was pretty obviously going to be Gunter. Maybe it was because I had already seen the TV Guide summary for The Comet, but I knew that Orgalorg had to be incorporated in here somewhere, so the reveal never came off as shocking. The reaction from Finn is amusing, as Herpich provides some rather goofy but still arguably funny bits of dialogue to work with (“what the bing bong, ping pong?!”). This all builds to the inevitable cliffhanger, as PB’s rocket, along with Finn, Jake, and Gunther, head into space to converge with the comet.

Hot Diggity Doom is decent set-up that’s filled with some laughs and funny moments, and the occasional lull. I think some of the problems I listed above could have made the episode a bit stronger if they were addressed, but when taking it for what it is, I still do enjoy this one. I actually do like a lot of those quieter moments I mentioned earlier. The scenes that feature PB and Peppermint Butler in or by the cabin are really nice and calmly executed. And, as I mentioned, Finn and Jake make for a lot of fun in their own sequences after being absent for three straight episodes. It’s a mostly solid entry that provides for plenty of anticipation regarding the true season six finale.

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Favorite line: “I don’t know what a dillweed is.”

“On the Lam” Review

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Original Airdate: June 4, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Somvilay Xayaphone, Seo Kim & Cole Sanchez

I was somewhat nervous for this episode when it was first announced, because I really figured that an entire episode devoted to Martin would try and portray the character in some sort of tragic light. While the later episode Min & Marty managed to do so with great success, I was unsure about how much sympathy I actually wanted to feel for Martin’s character, and really liked how refreshingly committed this season has been in showcasing Martin’s awful attributes. Thus, On the Lam is just the kind of episode I wanted Martin to be the star of. It’s primarily a really fun, adventure-packed episode that capitalizes on how Martin charms and manipulates his way to success, with little remorse in the slightest of the people of whom he hurts in the process.

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It’s nice to get not only one, but two alien societies in the course of two episodes! This one isn’t as ambitious or unique as the one we saw in Orgalorg, but it does features a wide variety of some neat looking aliens. I especially like the koala people, mostly for their cuteness factor. This one does a really great job of defining just how Martin is able to survive through countless planets, worlds, and galaxies. The way I see it, he has two main skill sets:

  1. He’s quick on his feet and easily able to work instinctively off of his survival skills, rather than logic or the fear of being prosecuted.
  2. He’s able to charm the pants off of literally any community that is unknowing of his shitty nature.

The second is the aspect that plays the biggest part in this one, as Martin tricks the koala-like alien society into thinking that he’s practically a God. Or at least, he believes that they think so. Even with the idea in mind that Martin literally abandoned his son and cares little about that aspect, he still manages to be surprising in just how shitty he is. After tricking his alien allies into thinking that he is on their side, Martin immediately sells the moth that has been nurturing the alien society and presumably keeping them alive. And even after bonding with his new little friend, Martin 2, Martin eventually ditches the little guy after the two are faced with certain dangers.

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The connection between Martin and Martin 2 was a nice touch to carry through the episode as kind of a misleading story that would often lead to a sweet ending for any other character, but this is Martin we’re talking about. The parallels between Martin and Finn’s relationship and the connection between Martin 1 and 2 are what really adds to said story. I even like how Martin explains that “if I’m going to heroically save your life, I’m going to need to take drastic action!” Despite the fact that Martin describes his past life as a “pile of mush” earlier in the episode, he clearly remembers how he did have one moment of heroism back in the day when he saved his son from certain death. Of course, the same logic does not apply now, because even though Martin tries relive the same heroic actions he embarked on in the past, they’re quickly squandered by the fact that he flees the second he has an opportunity to do so. I do wonder what compelled his decision to at least try to initially save Martin 2. I get the feeling that it was either because Martin wanted to convince himself that he’s a hero for his own selfish gains, or because he simply doesn’t care if he lives or dies. It could very likely be the latter; no matter where Martin runs off to, he keeps running into himself and is unable to truly keep moving forward when he is constantly turning the world against himself. I get the feeling that Martin acknowledges and accepts that, sooner or later, he’s not going to have any place left to run to. And while he does have that in mind, he’ll still take any opportunity he can to keep going and to spoil himself with all the riches that he can obtain, while simultaneously ruining everything and everyone he comes into contact with in the process. Poor Martin 2.

This one is packed with lots of fun moments. A lot of the humor does derive from just how relentlessly awful and charismatic Martin is as a character. Other funny moments include the bartender who took an awfully long time to piece together that Martin was a criminal, and the hauling turtle that casually delivers expository dialogue before he hauls garbage. I think the only real annoyance I had with this one is the fact that Martin 2 was randomly revealed to be super old in the last leg of the episode. It always bothers me when shows pull sight gags like these; why weren’t the wrinkles and liver spots on Martin 2 visible throughout the episode? These twists always feel somewhat lazy to me, though I think Martin 2 being the actual rebel leader was a genuinely good one, just without the added attributes that didn’t even really need to be a part of the episode.

So, On the Lam doesn’t aim at developing or touching on the history of Martin’s character, but instead chooses to have fun with him, which is just as rewarding. It’s admittedly a bit shallow, because the general gist of the story and the humor in general predominately revolve around Martin’s shittiness, but I enjoy Martin and he’s tons of fun to be with, so I don’t mind it as much. Definitely gets a pass in my book.

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Favorite line: “I hate this city, and I love hauling! I should probably go do something…”

“Orgalorg” Review

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Original Airdate: June 3, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Graham Falk

As a whole, I think I’m pretty neutral to the idea that Gunter is truly a space deity. I mean, on the one hand it’s kind of funny and clever, especially since it ties back into a small gag that was established all in the way back in It Came From the Nightosphere and also that it’s an unlikely backstory that I would expect from Adventure Time’s most ambiguous character. But on the other hand, I’m kind of curious as to what it actually adds to the series. As far as I’m concerned, Orgalorg could have been cut out of the series almost entirely and not much would be lost, so it’s weird to me that the writing staff even decided that this was a story important enough to introduce at the very end of a season and then effectively glance over for the remainder of the series. In addition to that, I don’t really care enough for Gunter as a character to actually want to see his backstory explored. He’s primarily a gag character whose sole purpose is to add comic relief or to work off of Ice King in some way. But going back to my original point, it’s not something that actively bothers me or strikes me as story carried out in an absolutely horrible way. Granted, I really don’t care a ton about the history explored in Orgalorg, but Graham Falk’s oddball style blends with this one quite seamlessly, and helps to give it a compellingly off-putting atmosphere.

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I think the beginning goes on waaaay too long, but in a way that’s actually pretty amusing and still reels a couple chuckles out of me. It’s pure Ice King goodness, as he starts out knitting various different “tummy yarmulkes” and takes his sweet time to eat a piece of a cheesecake (with sleeping gas very poorly concealed inside). Again, I can’t argue that it’s not drawn out, but it’s executed in such an absurd way that I can’t help but enjoy it. Like, Ice King got out the cheesecake, took one bite, and then mentions that he’s getting full. No wonder the dude probably weighs less than Finn. Absurdity continues to ensue once the sleeping gas is released, as a penguin party is underway.

The party of Gunters is a lot of fun; the penguins on Adventure Time often help to provide for some of the show’s silliest moments, and this is no exception. I also like the random inclusion of LSP at the Gunter party, because apparently this is the only crowd that actually invites her anywhere. Oh well, at least she was getting along good with Gunthalina. Gunter is a character that’s hard to get into because of how little we’re able to actually understand what he’s feeling at any given time, though Falk does a pretty good job at keeping him expressive. Him leaning into the walrus as he envisions a comet was a pretty well-timed scene, and one that transitions into the bizarreness that is the remainder of the episode.

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The red-ish filter that encapsulates the Gunter’s perspective helps to emphasize that off feeling, and Gunter’s flashes of trauma are a legitimately neat way to capture his changed shifted mindset. The scenes to follow are delightfully trippy as well, as Gunter feels compelled to create wooden silhouettes of familiar faces from his past. The music in this one really ups the unsettling tone, as Tim Kiefer tries his hardest to make the audio as unnatural as possible.

Once transitioning over to the alien planet where citizens are notified of Orgalorg’s revival into society, things get even crazier. It’s rare that we actually get to see a full-blown alien society within the Adventure Time universe, and these beings are especially likably bizarre and unique in their designs. They provide plenty of funny lines, such as the elders’ disgust with “makeouts” and their desire to inform people of Orgalorg because of it. This is where Orgalorg’s backstory is presented, and while it’s cool to see side characters like Glob and the King of Mars once more, and the narration itself from one of the elders is also quite delightful, I feel like the history itself is kind of half-baked. So Glob cast Orgalorg down and the weight of the Earth turned him into a penguin? Em, why? Even if the form simply cast him into a smaller version of himself, why would he then just become indistinguishable from every other penguin in the world? It’s absurdity that doesn’t really work because I think it’s sacrificing what is supposed to be a story that’s legitimate lore-building, but kind of fails because I don’t think a lot of it adds up. Also, if this happened eons ago, then why is Glob shown with headgear in the flashback? I know that’s kind of a nitpick, but it’s somewhat more distracting when the You Forgot Your Floaties was only two episodes earlier and was clever in referencing the G-Man’s flowing hair.

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The flashes of Gunter’s past following this backstory are good fun and it’s nice to see actual painted drawings within the show itself for a change. Another big gripe I have with this flashback sequence is that there’s also a small bit of discontinuity: as Gunter is riding on a boat, there’s a letter “G” labeled on his sail. Though it can be considered up for debate and ambiguous enough, the obvious implication is that the “G” stands for Gunter, which doesn’t make sense, because Gunter wouldn’t have even gotten the name until he became Ice King’s companion. Again, I might be nitpicking here, but it’s little stuff like this that really bugs me in the grand scheme of things. I guessed someone may have noticed it, but left it up for interpretation as to what the “G” could stand for, but it’s likely that it was just missed in translation. Speaking of missed in translation, Ice King stupidly mistakes Gunter’s literal brain gushing out as a mere infliction, and sees to it that his little buddy’s wound is treated. Little does Ice King know what actually lies ahead for the penguin. Which will be mentioned once more and then never, ever again!

Orgalorg has its flaws: there’s bits of discontinuity, unconvincing pieces of information, and an overall story that I think in general is not inherently as intriguing as it wants to be. But it does get the tone right, and I think it cleverly carries the episode where the story does not. I kind of enjoy this one in the same way I enjoy Ghost Fly; it’s weird, unusual, and silly in some areas, with a hint of disconcerting elements to really execute the visual and tonal elements within. So I think Orgalorg actually works in presentation much better than on paper. It’s the backstory of a character that I don’t particularly care about, but I enjoy visiting it still for its heavy atmosphere and visual flare.

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Favorite line: “It’s like… a big yarmulke… for the tummy…”

“You Forgot Your Floaties” Review

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Original Airdate: June 1, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan

With all that I ended up writing about Breezy, you’d likely assume that it was my favorite episode of season six. It comes close, but such an achievement would not be accomplished until You Forgot Your Floaties came along. This is an absolute favorite of mine, and I don’t just mean top 10 or 20 – this is top 3 material right here. Jesse Moynihan goes outright ballistic with how much emphasis he puts on ambiguity, to the point where it feels as though nothing is completely spelled out for the benefit of the audience. I wouldn’t say it’s left to the viewer’s interpretation as much as The Mountain; most of You Forgot Your Floaties is interpreted with a common consensus among fans. It’s scattered with riddle-like speak, but nothing that feels nearly impossible to decode or to be understood. But it’s not just the deeper layers that help this one to really stick out, it’s a passion story about a character of whom is known no better than by Moynihan himself. Magic Man’s backstory was previously elaborated on in Sons of Mars, and the hints of tragedy regarding his character come full circle in this one, as he finally confronts the madness and sadness within himself. Betty also gets some much needed screentime after her previously physical debut in Betty, and is cleverly used in comparison to Magic Man himself as an unfortunate soul who painfully lost her significant other. It doesn’t sound like a typical episode of a children’s animated show, or even most adult animated shows for that matter. You Forgot Your Floaties is an unbelievably impressive tale focusing on the hidden depth behind the true nature of magic within the world of Adventure Time, and stands out as one of the most unique episodes of television that I’ve ever witnessed.

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In typical Moynihan form, this episode doesn’t waste much time throwing us directly into the action, as Finn and Jake search thoroughly for the remnants of Glob’s helmet after his “death” in Astral Plane. This episode doesn’t feature much of Finn and Jake, but it’s fun to have this little opening regardless. As always, the boys are tons of fun, and their dialogue exchanges are as delightfully quirky as ever. I think I quote “I have a weird feeling in my fat basket” at least once a week. It’s also cool to see their general interest in retrieving remnants of Glob’s being; though Finn humorously implies that the two are scavengers, I get the feeling that part of him also desires to keep Glob’s head as a choice souvenir, as it seems like just the bit of treasure that Finn would want to proudly protect within the comforts of the Tree Fort.

But, as Finn and Jake are quickly turned into breakfast foods at the episode’s beginning, we’re introduced to our main characters within this episode: Magic Man and Betty. The  episode also wastes no time by showing Magic Man at his absolute most sadistic and cruel. I mean, he’s done shit like this to Finn and Jake before, but here, he practically kills Finn and Jake and leaves them to rot as food products while he leaves Earth for eternity. It also ties into what’s quite frankly amazing about Magic Man as a character: despite what a sadist he truly is, it’s still easy to feel empathy for him in his more vulnerable moments. There’s something irresistibly tragic to me about jerks who were once caring, passionate souls, but were hardened by the circumstances of their life and no longer could bring themselves to show any form of affection whatsoever. It’s the Joker archetype of character building that sort of reigns similar to Ice King’s tragic history, though not exactly in the same realm of tragedy. Magic Man is consciously aware of his loss, and chose a path of madness and sadness during his inability to cope with said loss in his life. Though, that latter part is certainly up for debate. Just how much are sadness and madness directly caused by magic?

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Betty brings up M.M.S. – or Magic, Madness and Sadness – which she directly correlates to the nature of being a magic user in general. It brings up a unique argument about the nature of how magic users operate when it comes to their own emotional states. We’ve seen magic users who do seem relatively competent and happy-go-lucky demeanor, but mainly on the surface. Ron James is even used as an example of sadness, of which we’ve never even known about his character in the past. Yet, I don’t necessarily think that magic, madness, and sadness are inherently linked in one defining path… I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Magic is something that can be used for the greater good, and as of this episode, we’ve seen two examples of how having such mystical powers can affect somebody inadvertently: Evergreen went mad trying to keep himself safe and preserve the world, while Magic Man went both mad and incredibly sad while trying to perfect his magic in order to bring back his late wife. So no, I don’t think magic users are intrinsically sad by just simply possessing magic abilities, but also that having such power can often lead to thoughts and desires that could be considered unorthodox by any “normies”, ex. “How can I save myself from certain disasters with magic?” “How can I save the people I love with such abilities?”

Betty seems to have the upperhand by understanding just how much magic affects other people, but simply knowing her facts doesn’t protect her from the inevitability of falling into the same steps as her acquaintance. The connection between Betty and Magic Man is quite interesting and unique. I get the feeling that Betty knows just how untrustworthy Magic Man is, but needs to be around him in order to get some kind of breakthrough in her studies regarding how to reverse Simon’s behavioral antics. Betty knows exactly how sad and mad Magic Man is, and wants to discover what kind of raw energy and history surrounds him so that she can discover the true cause of M.M.S. and how it connects to magic as a whole. Of course, this conversation leads to a lot of different neat Moynihanian metaphors that only someone as bizarre as him could come up with, namely regarding the coconut crab who swims within Betty’s neighbor’s pool. It’s such a weird and unusual analogy to capture the idea of people metaphorically failing to stay afloat as they try and manage to survive through the sadness and madness surrounding themselves.

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Magic Man’s continuous inference that his past and mind is essentially a waste basket (which is referenced again later on) connects to the fact that Margles is gone and erased from history, and that any past he had with her must be erased from viewing eye as well. His line, “you imagined the lock before the key,” references the ideology that there’s nothing to see within Magic Man as it is. With his suppression and his madness, it’s easy for Magic Man to get lost within his own psychosis and to create his own false sense of being, though Betty smartly brings the actual key, which is the one remaining token to Magic Man’s past: the picture of MM and Margles.

It’s also worth noting how funny this episode manages to be even amongst all of this heady drama. Tiny Manticore makes interlaced appearances throughout Betty and Magic Man’s interactions, and he’s simply hilarious. For a character who only had a couple of minutes of screentime in Sons of Mars, he actually manages to be a pretty fun and likable character through competent voice acting by Tom Kenny, per usual, and his absolute desire to be a hero, despite his unfortunate role of being stuck with Stockholm Syndrome.

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A pretty rad poem read off by Magic Man is what transitions into Betty entering the mind of her manic partner,

“Smooth and gray as far as you can see. No life grows in me. Nothing to weed. Nothing to seed. Pure and perfect. Like the marble floors of a bank.You slide with no obstacles, forever blank.”

Again, Magic Man once more tries to mask his sadness by offering a blank perspective of his true state of being. It’s appropriate then, that a literal “mask” is the key to figuring out the truth behind Magic Man’s life history, as the picture leads Betty past the smooth and gray marble floors and into the eyes of Margles. The following scenes are pretty fucking amazing all-around, and played as seriously and dramatically as possible. Again, Kenny’s voice acting is absolutely superb in capturing the more subdued and quiet side of Magic Man, as he slowly utters, “Margles? Wake up, Margles.” Even with a voice that’s designed to sound manipulative and snarky, Kenny is able to breathe a surge of humanity into such an apathetic character. It’s even more interesting that this story takes the relationship between Margles and Magic Man to an entire new level and defied expectations almost completely. This is a lot more interesting than the implication in Sons of Mars that Margles just simply fell off Olympus Mons and died, and it’s further elaborated on by showing that said Margles isn’t even really Margles. M.A.R.G.L.E.S., or magical automated resistance generating laser energy supplier, was created to protect against the second coming of GOLB, but it’s very clear that this is where Magic Man’s madness and sadness came into play. The second coming of GOLB was likely a heavily anticipated event that Magic Man was forced to be prepared for, though he was unable to leave the hardship of his deceased wife out of it. He was left with the hardship of choosing between creating a being that would protect the greater good, versus a being that he loved deeply and wanted nothing more than to be with forever. He settled for both, but ultimately still suffered because of his inability to cope with said feelings. Yet, his magic created a visual appearance of Margles, but not a reincarnation of Magic Man’s past wife.

Magic Man’s proclamation of his sadness on Olympus Mons really sums up the nature of just how powerful his feelings of sadness and loss are. Adventure Time always hits it out of the park whenever it deals with sadness, and this is no exception. Using a fantasy world emphasizes exactly how desperate one can become when dealing with such sadness and loss within one’s life. Magic Man detailing: “every dimension, every dead world” as a means of how far he went just for the possibility of bringing his wife really adds depth and meaning to just how much Magic Man adored Margles. For a relationship that was barely ever elaborated on before, You Forgot Your Floaties manages to encapsulate the true extent to how much Magic Man loved Margles, and the true impact that her death left on him. Going back to the waste basket comment, the extent of Magic Man’s madness is shown through Prismo’s timeroom, when he wish for Margles only ends up appearing as the wastebasket that Magic Man previously mentioned to be what existed in his mind: nothingness. The Margles that Magic Man created, in turn, was not the Margles he was expecting to see. After hundreds of years without seeing Margles, even Magic Man himself cannot truly recreate the past that he once lived. The new Margles was exactly what Magic Man stated to be: a product of his nightmares. A Margles who was created for one function, but was deeply conflicted with another. I always figured the events on Olympus Mons were traumatizing for Magic Man, but my God, the way it’s presented in the episode really makes it as maddening as possible. After hundreds upon hundreds of years for searching for his wife, Magic Man finally is faced with the opportunity to see his wife again, though it all proves to be a complete failure. After dedicating his life to such work, it’s no wonder Magic Man gave up on his life almost completely. With all that he strived to do for his own good and the good of his wife, it simply ended up as an utter disaster. Which is where Betty comes back into the story…

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After making countless attempts to save her fiance from the magic that possesses him, Betty is left with the magic, madness, and sadness that took control of Magic Man after the transmutator malfunctioned. Betty took her own dive in the pool of madness and sadness after trying to figure out how exactly magic makes other wizards and beings tick, though she ultimately took a dive too deep and was unable to resurface from it. As a resurfacing Simon silently mutters, “you forgot your floaties,” Betty finally realizes how far she’s submerged herself within the loomy gloom. She’s effectively surrounded herself with exactly what she was trying to fix, and follows in Magic Man’s steps of being completely stuck in her own purgatory of sadness at the hands of their loved ones. Without even realizing it at first, this episode really manages to parallel Betty and Magic Man to a tee, and feels like one of the most unique and ambitious character studies to date. It analyzes entirely how one character feels (Magic Man) but also shows how much it applies to Betty’s character as well. It really is an act of brilliance in just how much we learn about these two characters in the course of eleven minutes, with a heavy emphasis on the emotion that Adventure Time tends to capture better than any other: sadness. Of course, there’s the lovely and delightful ending that features the ultimate moment of triumph: Tiny Manticore flying Bread Boy Finn to Wizard City in order to save his humanity. A truly brave soul he is.

This one is truly amazing on all levels: the way it delves into its main characters, its beautiful setting (always love to see Mars), the unique dialogue, its presentation of sadness and madness, worldbuilding, lore, and much, much more. This is one that only seems to get better every time I watch it, and once again brings me back to my main point: this episode is about as unique as they get. Never in my life have I seen a story told this different in its connection to themes, story, and characters, and it’s one that continues to shock me in just how devoted it is to tell a compelling story, rather than to comply with what actually works with the common everyday television audience. As much flack as Moynihan gets, he really is a dude that’s dedicated to telling some of the most bizarrely ambitious stories that television has ever seen. And, as You Forgot Your Floaties proves, television could benefit from having more stories this ambitious and remarkable.

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Favorite line: “Balls, man, that has never happened before!”

“Water Park Prank” Review

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Original Airdate: May 21, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: David Ferguson

Uggggggh. Water Park Prank.

The point of the guest animator episodes, to me at least, is to capture Adventure Time’s style and tone within the medium of a different animation style (A Glitch is a Glitch and Bad Jubies), or to execute a certain story that is effectively ties into a unique animation style (Guardians of Sunshine, Food Chain, Beyond the Grotto, and Ketchup). It’s also a chance to introduce a fresh face to the AT world, which Water Park Prank does with Scottish animator David Ferguson, but ignores the former elements. Ferguson’s style doesn’t really capture the essence or tone of AT at all, and the way the animation works with the story is virtually pointless.

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A bit of background to Ferguson in general: he’s an indie animator who lives in Glasgow, and publishes all of his work on spazpat.net. Pendleton Ward himself stated that he’s a big fan of Ferguson’s work, and after checking out his cartoons myself, I did find myself enjoying his genuinely charming animations and their unique stylization. Do I think this style works with Adventure Time? Not at all.

Adventure Time’s style allows for a lot of attention to shapes and fluidity in the characters’ movements. Their bodies are mostly rounded and their arms and legs are super noodley, which allows for some really malleable animation and motion. The designs in Water Park Prank are super flat and stilted, in a way that imitates early South Park episodes, and just really fails at capturing that motion and energy on a visual level. It doesn’t help that a good amount of the designs are super ugly. I don’t know what Ferguson was thinking when he concocted his own version of Finn, but the little guy looks pretty hideous and unappealing in almost every way. There are some cute designs, namely Jake’s, which is still true to his character, but I think the heavy focus on giving everyone else eye-whites is more off-putting than charming. Not to say that eye-whites can never work in Adventure Time art, but this is one example that I think does it wrong; I typically think the dotted eyes are more fitting for the simpler, cartoon-y adaptations, while more realistic interpretations allow for more of a focus on human anatomy.

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The story in this one is about disjointed as it gets. The daddy sad heads concept was something that I actually thought was a decently cute concept that could easily fit within this world’s atmosphere, but it adds absolutely nothing to the actual plot and merely exists as an opportunity for a couple of jokes surrounding the magic token Finn gets from Princess Orangutan. The story within the water park itself is even less substantial, as it’s a series of gags that never really leads to anything of interest, and occupies most of the remainder of the episode until its quick procedure to wrap itself up. I get that Adventure Time has some elements of real-world civilization even in its post-apocalyptic state, but man, do I think a water park is waaay too out of place in this era. And how uncreative, as well! Ooo is a realm with mystical springs and streams located everywhere, Ferguson couldn’t have settled with something a little more ambitious than an actual up-and-running water park?

This isn’t really a story-driven one, however, as it’s more focused on being as jokey and humorous as possible. That would be fine if it was the least bit funny, but God is it painful in how it approaches humor. The writing is SO fifth grade, and is quite possibly this series at its most juvenile. Finn singing about his underwear, the boys arguing over eating ginger hair as a snack, and Ice King being unable to get down the slide because Jake keeps propelling him back. There are two moments I actually did think were funny: the moment when Jake’s fake watch quickly changes as he talks about Finn being late and Jake saying “ooooh” as a circular transition opens to the next scene were both clever visual gags. Otherwise, every joke was pretty pitiful to get through. And by God, is this episode dialogue heavy as well. It barely ever takes a second to breathe, and seems incredibly fast-paced in its writing style, while somehow also slowing down the episode even more to a point where it feels like it’s going way past 11 minutes. I can’t think of an instance where I’m more painfully bored watching this show than when Finn and Jake discuss whose coin they should use for the locker.

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I usually don’t care about continuity when it comes to guest-animated episodes, but man, does it feel like Ferguson only watched about four or five episodes from season one. Ice King is presented as a straight-up villain to Finn and Jake, and the boys outright have a vendetta against him. Ice King was also painted in a similar antagonistic role in A Glitch is a Glitch, but that episode was at least true to his pathetic and creepy ways, and didn’t treat him as if he was just a downright evil guy. His plan in Water Park Prank doesn’t even make sense… he wants to freeze the water park and turn it into a frozen water park? W-why? He already has an entire kingdom made of ice. What purpose would this serve him? I similarly thought Finn and Jake were presented as way too immature. They haven’t been strangers to pranking Ice King in the past, but was publicly antagonizing him for their own gain really a proper way to deal with his behavior? I get that the entire episode is based around said behavior, but it really doesn’t feel in line with the boys’ demeanor, and paints them more as goofy, immature kids, rather than fun-loving and righteous bros. The sentient whistle lifeguard also seems to only exist as a method of Ferguson being somehow incorporated into the actual episode. His character was virtually pointless.

This has been considered by many to be one of the worst episodes in the series, but is it really that bad? Ehhhhh, kinda. I will say that it has SOME decent elements and isn’t just a total shitshow; one part I actually really love about this one is that the music is terrific! Seems like Tim Kiefer had a ton of fun with this one in particular, and released a sample of the music he composed for Water Park Prank on his SoundCloud, which you can listen to here – it’s great stuff! One subtle element I like is the fact that Finn actually uses his Finn Sword in this episode. Finn is usually never depicted with his current weapon of choice during the guest animated episodes, but this is one that actually utilizes said weapon and feels in touch with the current series. Though, that somehow makes it more distracting. Finn is sporting his Finn Sword, yet he’s acting this childish? Yeah, not the best example of this method. Aside from those elements, this episode is pretty bottom-of-the-barrel. It’s not even bad in the way that an episode like The Red Throne is bad; The Red Throne is at least interesting in analyzing exactly what went wrong with it, while Water Park Prank is just a boring, unfunny mess.

But all of that negativity aside, y’all should really check out Ferguson’s other work. As I mentioned above, he has some really neat and cute animations that are benefited entirely by his distinct style, which is much more fitting when he’s doing his own thing. You can check out his website here. I don’t like this episode by any means, but I commend Ferguson for taking on this role regardless. It can’t be easy to work with an already existing property and make it your own, and it obviously shows, but it was probably a huge honor and an exciting escapade to take on a big series like Adventure Time regardless. One final comment, this episode also has a special outro, which was actually pretty fun. It depicts all of the other villains previously banned from the water park, including Lemongrab, the squirrel, Magic Man, Tiffany, Ricardio, Lumpy Space Princess, and a rare cameo from Donny.

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Favorite line: “That visualization technique worked a treat!” Only because Jake says “worked a treat” earlier in the episode and I thought it was cute that Finn mirrored his bro.

“Hoots” Review

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Original Airdate: May 14, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Andy Ristaino

AT’s special guest star of the week is the Cosmic Owl! I was never really a fan of how the show turned this all-powerful cosmic being into a simple “bro” who wanted to chill in a hot tub and play board games, because I think it really diminishes his overall importance in the series as this deity that has an unspeakable amount of power regarding the dreams over others. I get that Adventure Time likes to approach said powerful beings by giving them a little dose of humanity to show that they aren’t very different from anyone else, which is fine, but I think the Cosmic Owl’s interpretation is a little boring. I mean, there’s already PLENTY of lonely characters in the series, including Ice King, Banana Man, Mr. Fox, and the already established lonely cosmic being, Prismo. So focusing on Cosmic Owl’s simple life as a dude who lives alone and just wants the love of another woman is nothing new, and nothing especially interesting.

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I think Cosmic Owl’s star-aligned motel is truly neat. Going back to my original point, I don’t really know why an all-powerful being like the Cosmic Owl would live in a motel, but it works because it’s well-designed and visually interesting. And I thought the Cosmic Owl’s method of entering other people’s dreams was nicely conceived. Not only is it a duty for Cosmic Owl to fulfill his prophetic endeavors, but it’s done through a coin system and he’s given direct orders as to which dreams he should visit each night. It’s also shown that ANY dream that the Cosmic Owl does appear in is prophesied to come true. It’s a neat little system they set up, and pretty funny that the Cosmic Owl verbally acknowledges that he visits Finn’s dreams a lot. On a side note, the shenanigans between Jake and Shelby were absolutely great. I have no idea how Jake’s class ring ended up within Finn’s stomach, but the two of them engaging in “stomach fishing” while Finn is asleep is just delightful. I get the feeling that outside of the main Tree Fort trio, Jake and Shelby are the closest to each other in their home. They’re both cool dudes who enjoy the occasional party, and likely have the highest amount of common interests outside of Finn and Jake. I love Finn’s half-awake reaction to their behavior as well, and his hesitation to follow a Cosmic Owl dream because the last time he did he “got dumped.”

The dream version of Gunther is… interesting, to say the least. I mean, on the one hand, it’s a unique way of fleshing out Gunther’s personality and psyche in a way that the show is unable to do so. The dream version of Gunther is sturdy-headed and social to some extent, but is shown to be clouded by darkness and raw power, and is unable to shake those negative traits. Though, this form of development is tough for a gag character who rarely speaks or emotes. In fact, the next instance of Gunther shows that he’s full-on evil and doesn’t even consider his own morality as a result, so it kind of feels like this dream interpretation doesn’t really effectively flesh out his character in any way, besides reminding us that Gunther does have a secret malicious side that is just waiting to be unleashed. The twist ending actually did get me the first time around, though going back and rewatching it, I find that there’s very little telling details about Gunther’s character. Again, not that I really need Gunther’s character fleshed out to begin with. That being said, I’m more optimistic toward his revelation as a cosmic being, but we’ll get to that later on.

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I don’t think the relationship between the Cosmic Owl and dream Gunther is very compelling at all, seeing as how it just seems like a story to progressively move the plot forward. I’m never really fully behind the Cosmic Owl’s romantic feelings because of how little I’m invested in his actual character, and aside from the fact that he’s shirking his duties because of it, there’s no real conflict presented that actually has me invested in the situation. Of course, there’s the aftermath of Cosmic Owl’s actions that leads to him directly sabotaging Princess Bubblegum’s role in her kingdom, though it never really has any consequences directly to the CO. In fact, does it even really matter if the Owl slacks on his duties? I mean, it’s presented as if it’s supposed to be a big deal, but what does it really matter? There’s no clear issues presented to the fact that Cosmic Owl is ignoring his job. Even in the case that he was involved in prophesying PB’s morbid dream, doesn’t this stuff happen all the time? Cosmic Owl’s role in Finn’s dream lead the boy to being dumped, which sent Finn on a spiraling path of depression. I just think it’s odd for the Cosmic Owl to actually care about the lives of mortals in this way. I guess he’s more concerned that he directly affected someone’s dream in any which way and reversed the results of the future, but once again, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything that Cosmic Owl directly has to worry about regarding his state of being or his “job.” This also raises another question in my mind, if Gunther didn’t ruin PB’s dream, would she even be replaced as princess? I mean, it’s clear that her citizens are already unhappy with the way she’s been controlling her kingdom, and it only seems natural that their stupidity would lead them to eventually vote-in a manipulative ne’er-do-well. It almost feels like the events of this dream didn’t really need to happen as the plot would progress forward regardless, unless the original state of the dream is supposed to imply that the Candy Kingdom is happy with the way PB is approaching a new leaf. It’s interesting thought fuel.

So yeah, I think there’s plenty of clunky bits, but the episode has its perks. That Jake and Shelby scene is certainly a highlight, and I like any bits featuring Prismo (though it somewhat angers me that he briefly forgot who Finn was… how do you forget the dude that sacrificed himself for you??) and his newly found passion to play the banjo. A small tidbit, but I also love the fact that all of Cosmic Owl’s “oo’s” are represented by an owl call, how clever! This episode is also really cool on a visual note, with a lot of unique dream sequences featuring various major and minor characters. But otherwise, I think it’s a bit of a dull stroll through the life of a somewhat uninteresting side character.

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As a little added bonus, since I love dream interpretations so much, I’m gonna take a quick glance at all the dreams we did get to see throughout the episode and their possible interpretations:

  • Finn’s convergence with Sweet P and Martin is interesting, because I’m pretty positive it was carried out, just not in the literal sense. The most common interpretation is the upcoming anticipation of the comet, as these three beings come together, two of which were once incarnates of comets, and one of which who will join paths with one quite shortly. There’s also Jake muttering “say goodbye,” in reverse, which could represent Finn ultimately saying goodbye to his father, as well as the Lich, since he is now contained by Sweet P.
    • Also, Finn seeing clock bear is a more literal example, as Finn meets him later in Preboot.
  • Turtle Princess dreams of getting a haircut, and changing ones hair within a dream typically represents taking on a new change in life. She later dyes her hair completely black in Blank Eyed Girl!
  • Abracadaniel being laughed at in his underwear is a pretty obvious one, as he simply doesn’t feel that he’s accepted in his daily life by the people surrounding him. These insecurities were touched on in Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe!
  • Peppermint Butler checking his wristwatch could be humoring the idea that Pepbut feels trapped and unable to truly unwind in his environment, as his darker and more twisted side counteracts with his duties as a butler.
  • Have no theory for what Forest Wizard’s could represent!
  • Tree Trunks finding a bag full of skulls most likely represents her subconscious fear of the dangers around her. I’m not sure how cognizant she is of Sweet P’s true demeanor, but I get the feeling that these two bits are somehow correlated.
  • Marceline flying on Hambo was cute. Mostly just saw it as Marcy embracing the freedom that’s around her with an adorable and cuddly friend from her past.
  • Lemonhope being shown in his shackles once more was pretty sad, seeing as how the little guy likely still feels restrained and held back by his past.
  • King of Ooo is appropriately seen in a tub full of water, which typically has to do with a positive change in the upcoming future. Though, he’s also pouring some of it out, which may embody the idea that he’s also sabotaging himself in the process.
  • The next bunch are pretty silly, as Punchy observes a flying kitten, Party Pat has huge thighs, and Mr. Cupcake tries to decide between a sandwich and a human head.
  • Mr. Pig mowing the lawn to no avail was humorous, simply because a dry dude like Mr. Pig would likely dream about such a mundane task. Also, flower heads sprouting from a mowed law imply that Mr. Pig needs to show his softer side, which he hasn’t been doing as of episodes like The Pajama War.
  • Huntress Wizard is seen crawling within a small cave, which could show how she has difficulty expressing herself and truly showing her full personality to the world. This is displayed in her hesitation to express feelings of infatuation in Flute Spell.
  • The snakes in Kim Kil Whan’s dream may embody his unresolved issue of bitterness towards his father Jake and the possible fear that said relationship may never be resolved.
  • Cherry Cream Soda tripping in her dream represents the unexpected challenges that oppose her. She recently lost her husband in Something Big.
  • Banana Man’s is pretty silly and mostly just revolves around his desire to get closer to Finn and Jake.
  • And finally PB’s, which quite obviously represents her downfall as a ruler after working so hard to build up her kingdom.

I doubt all of these interpretations hold true, but hey, it’s fun to take a gander regardless!

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Favorite line: “Cosmic Owl was in it, he was acting all choco-loco.”

“Graybles 1000+” Review

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Original Airdate: May 7, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard

Out of the experimental projects Adventure Time has focused on over the years, the Graybles episodes are likely the least memorable. That’s not to say that they’re completely awful; the Graybles episodes are an assortment of inoffensive and often relatively humorous short stories, but typically nothing more than that. Between the acclaimed Fionna & Cake series and the visually unique guest animated episodes, it’s no wonder that the Graybles entries are generally sidelined. However, Graybles 1000+ manages to be an absolutely memorable gem by staying true to its source material while also expanding on the various interesting ways these stories can be told and the Adventure Time world as a whole.

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Continuing in season six’s tradition of focusing on the many different inhabitants of the Land of Ooo and beyond, this one focuses almost entirely on the life of Cuber, and once again, the show manages to make me care about a character I didn’t really think twice about before. Emo Phillips reprises his role as Cuber, who not only has one of the most distinct voices in the entire series, but also manages to capture the sense that Cuber is not from the present timeline to a tee. Cuber’s backstory as a baby – or in this case, a bayble – is not inherently really interesting, but is one that I grow affectionate for as the episode goes on.  It’s really awesome to me that Cuber’s connection and investment in Graybles go beyond just his role as an obscure television host. This episode presents Graybles as Cuber’s method of coping with his issues and his guide to getting himself out of trouble. As the beginning of the episode and a majority of the episode shows, Cuber seems to be a being stricken by constant paranoia, and Graybles are what help to propel him forward. It’s kind of neat that Graybles were given a purpose aside from just their initial intent, and even cooler that they represent the hierarchy of needs (despite Cuber’s directions to the audience to NOT look for a theme) and help Cuber to acquire his own set of necessities. Starting first with his physiologic needs.

I’ll talk about the actual Graybles in a bit, but I wanna get to the real meat first: the futuristic version of Ooo. We’ve had plenty of episodes that have dealt with the AT world’s past history, like Simon & MarcyThe Vault, and Evergreen, but this is the first episode to strictly focus on the future of said world, after getting some visual hints sprinkled around in Lemonhope – Part 2. This one was solo-boarded by Steve Wolfhard, and is his first solo-board to date, and boy, does he love including these little lore-based Easter eggs as much as possible. Wolfhard once stated,

“A fav part of working on AT is writing stuff like Martin’s speech in The Visitor, knowing what we throw will be caught later by the writers… I love that stuff. Feels like playing catch.”

This episode is very much in the same vein, with little hints of information and nothing explicit. But while an episode like The Visitor had questions that still demanded answers, the inquiries brought up by Graybles 1000+ don’t really demand as such. I mean, of course, there’s obvious bits that do require more information, like the appearance of the Ice Thing and what he actually embodies, though the rest of the episode comprises of small hints of information that are unsatisfying in all the right ways. For example, we hear a banjo strumming within Marceline’s still standing house, which could imply that Marceline is still living there, or it could mean that somebody else has moved in entirely. There’s also the Prizeball Guardian (who has a pretty incredible design, by the way) and the secluded living room within its interior, though no actual resident is seen. Again, this could imply that Bubblegum is still alive and has taken refuge inside her own safe haven, but again, these are questions that I think are best left up to interpretations of the audience. I’m sure some of these will ultimately get answered when the finale finally does air 12 years from now, but I’d hope that a couple of these hints are left mysterious. I even like the little implication that the interrupted wedding may involve descendants of Jake’s family, as they look somewhat similar in design to a character like Kim Kil Whan, and also speak in Korean.

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This episode is really dull and uncolorful in its scenery, but in a way that I think is fitting and ultimately tragic. It’s really unforgiving in how much it emphasizes the fact that nothing in Ooo that we know and love will last forever. Hell, Cuber even flat out says that Jake is dead when he states, “bobble bobble, as the dead might say,” which is obvious considering it takes place one thousand years in the future, but holy shit is it bleak to think about our main characters dying at all. Graybles 1000+ is depressingly honest in all the right ways, and shows how finite the world as a whole is. It’s easy to think everything is forever, but as this episode shows, even vivid fantasies don’t last. The lack of color really adds to how much has changed within the Candy Kingdom and beyond, and the lifeless, grown tree is pretty heartbreaking considering how fun and vibrant the Tree Fort is as a location in general. A lot of people consider the ending of Lemonhope – Part 2 to be the really depressing futuristic version of Ooo, but I think this episode takes it one step beyond and really hammers in the tragedy of it all, considering that it’s all featured subtley in the background. To me, that’s the brilliance of it all. You have Cuber, who simply wants to get himself out of trouble and could care less about the people and lands that occupied his surroundings, and so we, the audience, are left to respond to his surroundings for him. It’s all really nicely tied together, which is again, mostly thanks to Wolfhard’s tremendous focus on small details.

I’ll chat briefly about each Grayble now. Finn, Jake, and BMO’s little shtick is nothing particularly spectacular, though it’s cute and fun as always. This Grayble is representative of safety, which is nice to see, because I feel like Finn actually using the wand would totally be the story of a first or second season episode, while he’s grown to recognize the dangers of such an item, and would prefer to keep it out of harm’s way instead. There’s actually three really interesting bits in the storyboard that ultimately didn’t make it into the episode:

  • Finn asks Jake is he’s ever imagined the two of them as girls, which is pretty obviously an allusion to Fionna and Cake.
  • Jake states, “lately I’ve been thinking about whoever your mom is, I have a lot of questions for her!” Kinda glad this one didn’t make the cut, because there’s already so much going on in this one as it is, but it’s still cool regardless to get a mention of Finn’s mother after the events of The Visitor. I have a feeling Finn did inform Jake of the story Martin told him.
  • BMO mentions, “I think a lot about the Lich!” Pretty dark for the little dude.

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Onto Ice King’s, where it’s pretty much the same in tone as the first Grayble: it’s cute and fun, but nothing great. I don’t say this to demean the episode in any way, however. As I mentioned, I think it was really clever for Cuber to use these cute little stories as a method to help him cope with the world around him. Even if that means fixing his own broken leg, which still makes me squick to this day. Ice King’s Grayble very clearly represents social belonging, when he mentions that he loves Gunther.

Starchy’s is easily the funniest and most intriguing, as he discovers a chip in his tooth that is used by Princess Bubblegum to detect his every movement. I didn’t really like this at first, because I felt as though it was taking a step backward in PB’s developmental path, but at the same time, we don’t really know when the Grayble takes place. PB’s wearing her “I ♥ Bunny” t-shirt, which could imply that this took place during Jake the Brick, thus before the events of The Cooler. Regardless, it’s fun to see the ever-paranoid Starchy flee the Candy Kingdom, and the idea that the remainder of the series probably features a clone of Starchy and not the initial one we see in this episode. I’d love to see an episode elaborate on where the first Starchy fled off to. Also, it’s once again pretty cool to see a new lard species, with this one being a Grass Lard. I’d love to see a Pokemon Go! rip-off featuring the entire lard species. Starchy’s Grayble represents esteem, as he mentions that walking gives him self-esteem (which actually doubles as a good message to the kiddies about the importance of exercise to benefit overall psychological health).

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The final Grayble is cute, with Tuber teaching Cuber a lesson in self-actualization (the final part of the triangle!) as he realizes that he is able to protect himself, with some much needed help from his Graybles. I guess the one thing I sort of feel weird about with this one is that Cuber pretty much straight up killed someone at the beginning, but he’s still kind of viewed as a hero in the end. I mean, granted, it was an accident and he didn’t really get a chance to explain his behavior, but I do think it’s weird that it’s kind of glanced over by the time we get to the end of the episode. It didn’t really affect my overall investment in his character, though.

Regardless, I think Graybles 1000+ is pretty awesome. Not only is it an awesomely tragic view of the futuristic Ooo, but it also adds so much depth to Cuber and the Graybles in general. It’s also just some really high stakes fun as well. I think Cuber’s situation is legitimately enticing, and it’s kept that way through a fast-paced tour among the post-post-post apocalyptic civilization. This is one that I definitely think deserves more recognition, as it manages to be really intriguing, mainly because of its subtle Wolfhardian details, but also because it builds on the AT world in so many different ways. Graybles 1000+ is another strong, lore-based episode in season six, and the best Graybles episode to date.

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Favorite line: “You try not to think of a sandwich, and look what happens! A sandwich!”