Original Airdate: January 31, 2011
Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Somvilay Xayaphone
I’ve never really liked the fact that people refer to Adventure Time episodes as filler. The series follows a nonlinear storyline, and aside from the miniseries(s) and some lingering story arcs, it’s a show that consistently has a lot of “filler” episodes. I mean that in the nicest way possible too, as some of the episodes that are labeled as unimportant in regards to the continuing story are also some of the best (Thank You, All the Little People, Hall of Egress, etc.) Despite that, there are episodes that fit the description of filler that just aren’t bizarre, funny, or experimental enough to stand out on their own. The Pods fits that description.
Again, not to say that this is an awful episode, as there’s nothing that it actually fails horribly at in a writing or animation aspect. The plot is just so simple that I could see any modern day cartoon such as Chowder or The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack tackling it with their own characters and little would change. Adventure Time’s willingness to be different from every show on television is really what sets it apart from every other animated series, so choosing a simplistic plot and not really bringing anything new to the table is a bit disappointing.
While the idea of the three magical beans is simplistic, it does lend itself to some intriguing possibilities, but unfortunately, the episode doesn’t really take advantage of it. For instance, do we actually ever find out whether the pigs are evil or the wands are evil? I know the pigs were involved in destroying a town, but how do we know that the wands weren’t having some kind of influence on their behavior? Even though it’s never revealed, the show doesn’t treat this as a possibility. We’re just supposed to assume it’s the pigs. I could picture an alternate scenario within this episode where Finn and Jake have to decide whether to reprimand the pigs or destroy the wands. The actual reveal doesn’t occur until there’s only two minutes left in the episode, so the timing could’ve been used much more efficiently to flesh out that idea. Or, I dunno, maybe the ice cream is evil? It is high in cholesterol.
Besides fantastical alternate plot ideas in my head, the episode just doesn’t lend itself to many great jokes or depictions of the characters. I really feel like they could’ve went all out and just had Finn going completely insane trying to figure out which of the pods was evil and which was not. Even having Jake run off to the ice cream contest while Finn ends up going crazy watching the pods lends itself to some really funny and interesting concepts. Or somehow tying Jake’s desire to win the ice cream eating contest into the story could’ve strengthened it.
So yeah, this is a pretty mundane one, and one of the weaker season two episodes. I gotta say though, I’m a sucker for those pigs in silly costumes. They’re adorable!