Tag Archive | Tree Trunks

“Apple Wedding” Review

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Original Airdate: January 13, 2014

Written & Storyboarded by: Steve Wolfhard & Tom Herpich

I previously mentioned in my review of Dream of Love that I thought Tree Trunks couldn’t really hold up an episode on her own following that episode, though I think I have to somewhat retract that statement. I have a soft spot for Tree Trunks, but for a while, I thought she was best in small doses, rather than having full episodes centered around her. But now that I look at it, some of Tree Trunks’ best episodes are yet to come, and this one is definitely an enjoyable expedition that I’ve grown fonder of over time. Apple Wedding is a fun way to gather a bunch of different characters and to put them in one place, while also introducing a handful of new and equally entertaining characters. There’s definitely a lot going on in this one, though to its advantage.

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Let’s go over the main story first: Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig are getting married! This seems like a pretty appropriate development in their relationship; we haven’t really seen anything major from the two of them since Dream of Love, though, given their heavy infatuation with each other in that episode, it only makes sense that they would rush into getting married in what is presumably only a year later. It seems obvious that Tree Trunks is getting up in the years (I think… I mean, her mom is still apparently alive after all) and given her past history with men, I think she’d most likely end out her years with someone by her side. I buy into it though, because I think Mr. Pig and Tree Trunks actually make a pretty cute pairing for each other. Though, it’s most funny to me that, while the episode is called Apple Wedding and revolves around Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig’s wedding, the two never really feel like the main focus. Everything’s connected to their story, but tons of different things are going on around them. Even a good amount of time is dedicated to showing their family members.

We meet Tree Trunks’ mother, who is a hilariously horny elephant that gives us some insight into where TT’s risque behavior comes from. We’re also introduced to Mr. Pig’s extended family (by the looks of it, most of Tree Trunks’ relatives must have died off) including his mother, who has plenty of enjoyable overreactions, as many mothers would when their child’s wedding day occurs. We also get to see what I assume to be Mr. Pig’s nieces and nephews playing and messing around with Jake, which I thought was just adorable. PB’s statement “I haven’t seen Jake this happy in a while,” adds a layer of poignancy to his actions. Jake is probably still not over the fact that he never got to properly raise his children, and now that Finn’s going through his own developmental issues, he is probably thrilled that he has a chance to hangout with and play with a group of children. It’s also a somber inflection from PB that leads me to guess that Jake really isn’t as happy as we’re used to seeing. It’s obvious that Jake pushes away his stressors and doesn’t really like to deal with them, and I get the feeling that PB picks up on that where Finn does not.

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On the Princess Bubblegum side of things, her subplot provides for some fun characterization as well. This episode introduces the one, true King of Ooo, who is a favorite of storyboard artist Steve Wolfhard, and I think this provides for one of his best appearances. I really enjoy the dynamic between PB and King of Ooo, and how it becomes a rivalry of pride by its last moments. And it makes sense why PB would hate him! Bubblegum has worked hard to build her kingdom from scratch and make a name for herself, while the King of Ooo is simply a swindler using a false name to gather the masses. Bubblegum’s determination to expose him is a lot of fun, even if she does end up taking it a bit too far. I was initially annoyed with her decision to lock up everyone after they rebel against her, but I think it works in the sense that it emphasizes her absolute disdain for the King of Ooo, and it’s just genuinely a funny twist. So I’m okay with it.

Aside from those two stories that are mostly major, this episode is also chock full of much smaller stories. Tree Trunks’ ex-husband Wyatt gathers some attention, and man, what a sad loser he is. I really love the way BMO’s absolute enthusiasm is diminished after talking to him for a few minutes, and you can really gather what kind of a person Wyatt is in just a few scenes. There’s always that one sad asshole who ruins a wedding by boring people to death with their own love life, and Wyatt embodies everything those sad assholes possess. After only knowing BMO for like, 15 minutes, he’s totally ready to ask her to move in with him, just because he constantly needs that attention. And BMO’s reaction is perfect; I love how she completely disappears for the entirety of the episode following this scene.

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Finn’s duty to stop LSP from ruining the wedding is fun as well. I love how this is an actual job Finn is given, as in Lumpy Space Princess just generally does this every single time there is a wedding in Ooo. Really adds to her demented, egocentric behavior. The episode does a great job of making her seem haunting and antagonistic as well, even if her motivations are, at core value, quite silly. Also, according to the storyboard, LSP’s dress is an exact copy of Princess Diana’s dress. In the promo art that Wolfhard conjured up, it depicts LSP preparing to defile a grave a steal someone’s dress from inside. So, was that actually Princess Diana’s dress? Interesting thought.

Also depicted in the promotional artwork is Cinnamon Bun returning to the Candy Kingdom once more to bar tend at the wedding. And his appearance is relatively funny! His mix-up of “take around these drinks ‘for us’” and “walk to the zoo and back” really cracks me up every time I hear it, and is one of my favorite Cinnamon Bun lines in general. Also, I love the collaboration of different things coming together, as PB flies the King of Ooo’s jet, LSP gets closer to the wedding, TT nearly says “I do”, and much build up is put on CB shaking that bottle of champagne. Yet, it was entirely a farce and no significance was actually carried out by the bottle. It’s quite funny.

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Annnd, everything is tied together at the end when PB frees everyone (literally, everyone) from prison. Honestly, this scene was a missed opportunity to include Pete Sassafras finally getting released from prison. I wonder how long he was actually in there for. But, regardless, Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig are able to have some alone time for some hardcore fucking while PB watches. Shield your eyes, kiddies!

This one is definitely a lot of fun, mostly deriving from its ability to combine so many ideas with one concept. It’s fun to see this lot of different characters, and each story feels equally as entertaining as the other. It’s a wedding episode that doesn’t feel at all schmaltzy or drawn out, and one I seem to enjoy more on each rewatch.

King of Ooo’s attorney Toronto was initially supposed to appear in this episode, though it was cut from the storyboard. You can see the deleted scenes here.

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Favorite line: King of Ooo dot cooooom!!!

 

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“Mystery Dungeon” Review

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Original Airdate: January 21, 2013

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan & Ako Castuera

Adventure Time has the benefit of having a very compelling cast of secondary characters, so the idea that we won’t be getting a typical Finn and Jake adventure is never something that’s dreaded. That’s why when I saw there would be an episode that starred Ice King, Tree Trunks, Lemongrab, NEPTR, AND Shelby, I instantly said to myself, “this is going to be the greatest episode of all time.” While that may have been a gross exaggeration, it definitely is a great comedic outing for the season and series in general.

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What makes this such a strong episode is really just blending all of these unique personalities together. Lemongrab’s histrionic behavior, Ice King’s loneliness, Tree Trunks’ slow mind, Shelby’s sarcasm, and NEPTR’s optimism all work off of each other just great, and individually they work just as well. It’d be silly to not talk about each character and what makes their presence work in this one, so I’ll take a look at them one by one.

This is probably Lemongrab’s most straightforward funny appearance outside of his debut. Lemongrab is mostly utilized for psychological and somewhat antagonistic reasons in his featured episodes, but this one mostly focuses on just how unusual and loud the sad lemon man is. And boy, does it pay off. I think this is arguably his funniest appearance in the series, only adding to his already over-the-top behavior, including him punching a rat, eating a pie out of the rat’s mouth, and constantly referring to people as his slaves. He really is the biggest tyrant ever featured in the series, and it’s emphasized in this one for added hilarity. I think his desire to rule others in this one, as well as You Made Me, are really what drive his further desires to have complete control over others in future episodes.

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I just noticed something. NEPTR is fucking sweating. What a ludicrous visual.

NEPTR is, as always, a lovable loser. It’s a fucking crime against society that this is his only appearance in season five, because every time he’s on-screen, it’s just delightful. And I’m so glad they took advantage of the NEPTR-Ice King dynamic once again; I assumed that was something that was just going to be virtually ignored, but it’s nice to see that, even after NEPTR chose Finn and Jake, he still has positive feelings toward his “poppy.” Even more fitting is seeing that the Ice King doesn’t remember him even slightly, and even sadder is that NEPTR wasn’t supposed to be included at all! If there’s one character in this show that’s sadder than Ice King, it’s NEPTR man. It hurts my soul when Ice King calls him a “useless pile of junk.” Though, it’s nice to see that he and his poppy get a happy ending. It’s pretty sweet that NEPTR actually remembered something that Ice King taught him.

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Tree Trunks brings her usual dimwitted old-person-ness to the table, and I like how her role is virtually useless as well. Like, would her ability to make apple pies have really saved her and the others from a giant rat? It’s likely not. She did provide the grossest sequence in the entire episode when she snorted a dollop of snot, or “essence” into Lemongrab’s mouth, which still kind of has me scratching my head to this day. How did she know that would even work? I enjoy her long-winded monologue aimed at Ice King, but mainly for the fact that her slow speech patterns and demeanor just completely divert the attention of everyone watching her. It’s like, I as an audience member even have trouble following her unfocused babble, and the characters humorously follow in the same direction.

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Shelby brings a bit of sarcastic edge to this one, and I truly think he’s the shining star. I really appreciate his dry-wit and his attitude of “I could give less than a fuck,” throughout the entire episode. Probably the biggest laugh I get out of this one is the fake-out where it seems like Shelby’s going to volunteer to be on the fishing line, and then it immediately cuts to Tree Trunks. That was a terrific bit with great timing and payoff.

And of course, the man who concocted this whole plan himself, the Ice King. I have to give him props for his insanely convoluted plan, and how it, for the most part, works. It’s a strangely competent plan for the likes of the IK, despite the fact that he clearly didn’t wasn’t paying attention when he grabbed NEPTR, because he doesn’t look a thing like BMO. And tying the entire plan back to Ice King’s desire to bring Fionna and Cake into the real world was pure genius. Though, my only gripe with this is that it would’ve made much more sense coming after Bad Little Boy than before. I’m not sure what came first in production order, but now that episode just has a somewhat confusingly foreshadow-y ending with no real payoff. Though, the payoff in this one with the book coming alive at the literal hands of the Ancient Sleeping Magis of Life Giving (his first appearance!) was deeply hilarious, and I know this pissed a lot of people off, but c’mon, you have to at least snicker a bit at his incessant flatulence and Mickey Mouse gloves and voice.

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As I mentioned, I think the episode ends on a perfectly sweet note with NEPTR reminding Ice King about his imagination zone. Also on a hilarious note, as Lemongrab makes an extremely abrupt departure and utters, “byedon’tfollowme,” and Finn, Jake, and Shelby watch the Ice King and lament over how sad he is, and how sad they are watching him.

It’s worth noting that this is a “Dungeon” episode, and while the actual dungeon itself isn’t the focus of the episode, they do manage to craft a relatively creative area filled with traps, neat looking beasts, and cool landscapes. It’s far from the coolest dungeon AT has ever put out, but again, the focus of the episode is the humor, not necessarily the visuals.

And aside from that, I have remarkably little to say. This is just an all around funny episode filled with great jokes, characterization, interactions, and twists. It’d be pointless of me to go through every great joke or line in this one, because there’s so Goddamn many of them. So here’s a special Favorite line section filled with some of the episode’s greatest bits of dialogue.

Favorite line(s):

“Check out my mods, bro!”

“Ice King, how do you taste?”

“Make pies, slave.”

“Golly, how we ever gonna worm our way out of this… fishy situation?”

“Don’t criticize my running, Shelby.”

“So stop sellin’ fib-bibs and give it straight!”

“You should’ve told us! I would’ve freaking brought something!”

“You serve no function, you must be destroyed.”

“Who in this world is sadder than the Ice King?” “Me, watching this.”

“Dream of Love” Review

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Original Airdate: April 23, 2012

Written & Storyboarded by: Bert Youn & Somvilay Xayaphone

Interesting how we got a bit of a taste of the cons of long-term relationships last episode, while this episode heavily focuses on some of the issues involving infatuation when it comes to partners who become acquainted very early on. And while I’ve seen a bunch of people really voice their general distaste for the last episode, this is one I’d consider pretty bottom-of-the-barrel. It’s the first Tree Trunks-centric episode that completely retcons her ability to hold an episode on her own, and pretty much stays consistent from this point on. I do still really like Tree Trunks, there’s a part of me that will always have a soft spot for her. But it’s entirely difficult for me to argue that she really isn’t able to carry a story on her own, much like LSP, and her connection to Mr. Pig only really emphasizes those issues to me.

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TT and Mr. Pig work fine as a couple overall, I suppose. I’m not really the biggest Mr. Pig fan; I think his voice actor is very talented and has played some very funny roles, but they never really give Mr. Pig much to work with. He doesn’t really have a clear character besides the fact that he’s quirky and slightly reserved. His connection with Tree Trunks doesn’t really make him any more interesting, and there’s plenty of moments of him in this episode that just feel completely dry and humorless. The only real laugh I got out of him was his brief line about returning to eating criminals, which is a pretty silly callback to Apple Thief. Besides that, his character doesn’t do much for me, so it’s a bit difficult to be able to put him in center-stage and not feel generally uninterested in the situation at hand.

While Finn and Jake we’re pretty heavily involved in the last story and really rounded out the melodrama surrounding them, they just don’t do much that’s noteworthy in this one. They try and mend the situation, but ultimately are pretty much what drive the main conflict, which also isn’t a very compelling one. They work as the mediator between the two characters in trying to mend their relationship, and while they give in to the characters’ desires by the end of the episode, I can’t help but feel that we were slightly cheated out of a decent lesson when it comes to romance. I mean, I get it, Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig shouldn’t have to hide their love in front of the eyes of others for approval, but they were legitimately invading the privacy of bystanders and taking attention away from other people. From practically ruining PB’s concert to making out in a mother’s baby carriage, they were doing some pretty shitty stuff that should’ve been addressed, and I would’ve liked it a lot better if they maybe set boundaries by the end of it that still worked for the relationship. The notion that everyone was just generally wrong for being pissed off by Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig wasn’t really a well-crafted resolution. Granted though, some of the Candy People did act like legitimate dickholes, and that only really brings down the episode further for me. I mean, being uncomfortable is one thing, but there’s a lot of other obnoxious moments with the Candy People screaming and wailing at the sight of TT and Mr. P, and their brief moment of celebration when the two are being separated. It really see’s both sides of the situation, but arguably in the worst way possible that just really makes me dislike both parties in this scenario.

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And then there’s the song, which really just goes on for waaaay too long in my opinion. It’s a full two minutes out of the episode, and it just feels so obvious and generic to me. It’s not even that catchy or visually interesting, it just drags on and on, and when you think it’s about done, it keeps on going and going. One of my least favorite songs in the entire series without a doubt, and just drives the episode to a complete halt. You pretty much know where it’s gonna go from the first lyric, so there’s no point in drawing it out unless they just wanted to kill time.

I can’t really think of anything particularly funny in this one either. There’s the scene where Finn is replicating the sounds PB is producing through her xylophone, which is pretty amusing. Then there’s also the movie clip with the Gingerbread actor ordering people to look at different cups, but that’s about it. It feels pretty humorless, and there’s not even different aims at anti-humor or visual gags that feel new or unique.

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It’s just a misfire in my opinion. I’m not really sure what I was supposed to get out of this one, but whatever it was, it just didn’t happen. There’s an intended message of allowing yourself to do what makes you happy, but it’s squandered by the two main characters consistently invading the privacy of other people in their actions. I just didn’t buy into Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig’s love at all; it seemed like very tradition infatuation, and the direction that their relationship takes later on only furthers my belief that these feelings were very much exaggerated. It’s one that feels very lifeless for a romantic tale, and one that doesn’t utilize any of the characters to their best advantages. I’m usually fairly forgiving with a lot of episodes that seem to be very unpopular in the fandom, but this one in particular just kinda rubs me the wrong way. Certainly not one of my favorites.

Also, what was up with that sequence at the beginning with Finn and Jake rolling on the grass and Lady Rainicorn who appears and disappears out of nowhere? I like to believe she kept on rolling for like, a whole week.

Favorite line:Look at this cup! Now, look at this cup! Look at this one!

“Apple Thief” Review

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Original Airdate: October 3, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Tom Herpich and Bert Youn

Apple Thief is Tree Trunks’ return to center stage after her revival in Crystals Have Power. It’s a basic mystery themed story, and it’s a pretty decent one at that. AT has done many, many noir or mystery-esque stories down the line, and this one isn’t really one of the stronger episodes. However, I do have a bit of a soft spot for Tree Trunks, so it makes this experience at least passable.

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There’s some nice introductions in this episode including a brief bit of history into Jake’s criminal past, which we come to know as a central part of his backstory and early life. Finn’s reaction to it is perfect as well, he just briefly glances over it without even asking follow-up questions. We see a bit more into the Candy Tavern, which is a very enjoyable unseen aspect of the Candy Kingdom. We’re used to seeing Candy People who are strictly bubbly and dimwitted, so seeing a tougher, grittier version of said Candy People is really amusing (I love the image of a candy cane person on one of the bathrooms. What is that even supposed to represent?). I especially like the two gangs introduced in this episode, and almost wish they’d make subsequent appearances. They’re really cleverly woven into the plot, and I really wanna know what’s up with the Dr. J gang and the other rival group. Could totally see it working as a West Side Story homage.

This episode also introduces Mr. Pig, whose presence on the show is somewhat of an enigma to me. I never know really how to feel about him, his personality is never really fleshed out in full. He’s just kind of a reserved, quirky dude. Ron Lynch is really what carries his entire character though, he does a terrific job of giving him a sense of dry sincerity that’s completely monotonous. If you’re not familiar with Ron Lynch, check out Home Movies. It’s great!

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Besides that, there are a good handful of funny gags in this episode: I love Raggedy Princess’s brief cameo and how Finn, Jake, and Tree Trunks just completely ignore the fact that she fell and is stuck in a ditch. Raggedy Princess is one of my all time favorite princesses in the show, I just wanna give her a hug every time she’s on screen. That girl’s got, like, zero self-respect! I like Finn, Jake, and Tree Trunks trying to be tough, and TT thinking that eating toilet paper will make her seem grunge. In addition to that, I just enjoy the chemistry between Finn, Jake, and Tree Trunks. Finn and Tree Trunks’ relationship went in a bit of a formulaic direction back in Tree Trunks, but I just really love how genuinely sweet to one another they all are. Tree Trunks is a character that certainly requires a lot of patience to deal with, not because she’s antagonistic or obnoxious, but because she’s simply old and senile. Finn and Jake have the perfect amount of optimism and acceptance when dealing with her, and watching the three of them together is just really endearing. 

Besides that, it’s a pretty okay episode. Nothing that leans in the direction of really good or really bad, it’s just relatively subpar. There’s not really anything that noteworthy either. The resolution to the conflict of the episode isn’t really predictable, but it’s just something that doesn’t feel ingenious or hilariously executed. It’s just… cute, really. I think that’s the best way to describe this episode: cute. It’s not one that’s really strong in its story, or even its premise, for that matter. However, it is relatively enjoyable from beginning to end, and the characters are delightful to watch either way. Definitely not a strong episode, but one that’s perfectly passable for what it is.

Fun fact: Nick Jennings accidentally fucked up with the backgrounds in an early version of this episode and drew every tree with apples. Good thing he picked up on that!

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Favorite line: “All ne’er-do-wells call diamonds ‘apples’, calling money “bread” or rock-knockers ‘butter-slaps.'”

 

“Video Makers” Review

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Original Airdate: April 18, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne, Somvilay Xayaphone & David C. Smith

Pendleton Ward mentions in the commentary of this episode that he hates pitting Finn and Jake against each other. Simple reason: it’s just not fun. I completely concur with this notion, as with pretty much any series, watching two characters bicker for a majority episode just simply isn’t enjoyable or interesting enough to watch. Finn and Jake have a very close relationship, which means they’re prone to fight every now and then and get into disagreements. I personally think the episode Who Would Win? did a pretty decent job of that while still keeping the episode fun and enjoyable. How does this episode fare? Well, let’s check it out.

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It’s interesting to note that this is actually the first time the Great Mushroom War gets named dropped, and it’s done so in a relatively humorous way. I really like how seriously Finn and Jake take the Federal Warning, and it works perfectly as a conflict driver. I like how the literal apocalypse can be used for such a simple plot point like this one.

The scenes that follow are pretty humorous. I like that this is an episode that really uses most of the main and recurring AT characters to its advantage, and even giving some others a bit more screentime. For instance, this is really the first time Mr. Cupcake gets a chance to shine, and one of the first he’s pitted against Jake. Jake’s jealousy of him is pretty enjoyable, and I love how this is actually the start of a long term rivalry between the two of them. In addition, Shelby, one of my favorite side characters, gets some well deserved spotlight in this episode. Shelby’s general snarky attitude and diverse personality from the rest of the mostly optimistic AT characters is actually pretty refreshing, and the “check pleeeeease” line is definitely something I’ve considered putting on my graduation cap on more than one occasion. There’s also some other little fun gags at the beginning, like Finn’s magic cup that pours everyone’s preferred juice and oh-my-god-whatever-the-fuck PB was drinking. I seriously don’t know what to make of that.

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Aside from that, there’s simply not much to this one for me. Finn and Jake’s bitching at each other is tiresome, and it’s a bit ridiculously over-the-top for them to be angry at each other for such a dumb reason as picking a genre for their movie. I think it would’ve been way more interesting if they just went with the “two characters try to make a movie and it turns out terribly” plot, but instead they choose and obvious route that brings down the entire episode. It’s a shame really, because had they chose the former, they were headed in the right direction. There’s some other funny scenes like the one where Slime Princess jumps right into the crocodile pit and when Finn attempts to make it look like PB is riding the frog chariot, and if they just stuck with those ideas in mind, I think it would’ve turned out a much better product. Luckily BMO’s song (written by David C. Smith) is sweet enough to end the episode on a very endearing note, but otherwise, it’s a pretty weak entry from the second season.

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Favorite line: “Check pleeeeease!”

“Crystals Have Power” Review

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Original Airdate: November 29, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Cole Sanchez & Jesse Moynihan

Interesting how I mentioned in my previous review that Jake isn’t necessarily concerned with his physical strengths and one episode later finds him worrying about being too abrasive with others. It’s a nice shift and some well warranted development to have two Jake-centered episodes in a row, even if this one doesn’t necessarily match the quality of the last episode.

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I really like the backstory element in this episode as well. This is the first time we are introduced to Joshua being Jake’s father, as well as his brother Jermaine. The Jermaine in this episode feels like a bit of discontinuity with the Jermaine we meet later on, but I’m willing to convince myself that he’s going through some type of midlife crisis. Jake trying to be “soft” while his best friend is being crystalized is a bit frustrating to watch, especially since this is the second episode in a row that Finn is being tortured while Jake chills on the sideline, but his interactions with the crystal guards are funny enough to carry a majority of the episode. It’s also important to keep in mind that Jake’s entire motivation behind controlling his strength is the fact that he hurt his best friend, so it’s heartening to know he was driven by the person he cares about most.

This is Jesse Moynihan’s first episode as a storyboard artist and he acknowledged that he hadn’t had much experience drawing before this episode. A lot of his drawings are a tad bit awkward and flat looking at times, but that’s not necessarily a jab at him. A lot of his drawings are off model, yet we don’t get many off model shots from this show in general. It’s actually somewhat refreshing to get some crude, floppy looking shots for once.

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Also, this episode marks the return of Tree Trunks! On the commentary for this episode, Pen Ward mentions that this episode went through several rewrites before the final product, and it kind of shows. In fact, Tree Trunks’ return wasn’t even included in the episode in the first two scripts, but Ward kept pushing for it to be a part of the episode. The writers do their best to blend the two plots together, but it almost feels as though half the episode is devoted to Jake’s crisis of life and the second half is devoted to Tree Trunks return. Whenever I think back to this episode, I always think about either the Jake plotline or the Tree Trunks plotline, but never both together.

Aside from that complaint though, both set pieces are relatively well done. I do have a warm place in my heart for Tree Trunks, and it’s delightful to have her return to the series once again. The episode ends in the greatest way possible: having our three central characters fly through a portal while a techno song about apple pie plays in the background.

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Favorite line: “If I had a penny for every time someone went crazy hopped up on magic energy… I’d be Abraham Lincoln!”

 

“Tree Trunks” Review

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Original Airdate: April 12, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Bert Youn & Sean Jimenez

The episode starts off with Finn and Jake slicing up some apples with their swords. Hey, Jake’s rarely seen kickass sword! I forgot it was in this one. We’re then formally introduced to Tree Trunks, whose hot buns previously appeared in “Slumber Party Panic”. Possibly a controversial opinion, but I actually like Tree Trunks. I know a lot of people tend to detest her and believe she weighs down the show, but I think she’s really endearing honestly. I dunno, there’s just something really adorable about the idea of an elderly lady in the body of an elephant. The only thing I don’t particularly like about her is the fact that she’s like, a billion years old and she has the hots for a 12-year-old in this episode. That’s a little creepy.

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Anywho, Tree Trunks invites the boys in for apple pie as they talk about their aspirations and what they would do if they could do anything. Finn says he’d like to ride a shooting star and fight space monsters (one of these comes true, at least) and Jake wants to carve his face in the moon. Tree Trunks states that she’d pick in apple (lame) but includes that she wants to pick the legendary “Crystal Gem Apple” located in the Evil Forest. Insert Steven Universe reference here. F&J decide to adventure to the Evil Forest to retrieve it, and with a little hesitation, Tree Trunks agrees to come along.

Once they get to the Evil Forest, they encounter a Wall of Flesh. Huh, I wonder if it’s human flesh. Could be an ancestor of Finn. The boys try to slay the wall, while Tree Trunks spends her time putting stickers on it. Before the wall can hurt TT, Finn defeats it and lectures her on how stickers won’t do shit in battle. Then a bunch of totally gnarly sign zombies come along and Tree Trunks tries to have a picnic with them, and Finn gets pretty jacked up by them trying to protect TT. Finn’s all, “C’mon gurl, you’re killin’ me.” Tree Trunks apologizes once more, but when a brain snake beast comes along, she once again screws with Finn’s adventuring by trying to seduce the beast. Jake was supposed to keep a watch on her, but he ended up falling into TT’s seduction. Gross. Finn snaps on Tree Trunks and says she’s not a true adventurer, making the poor little green elephant cry.

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I’m just noticing now that this episode’s a lot similar to “Trouble in Lumpy Space”: Finn, Jake and a secondary character travel to a distant land and the secondary character keeps screwing things up for the main duo, causing Finn to snap at the secondary character and then apologizing in the end. This one works a lot better in respects to that episode, imo. For one, I prefer Tree Trunks is much more likable and easier to sympathize than Lumpy Space Princess. Second, LSP’s intentions in “Trouble in Lumpy Space” seemed much more based on her own selfish needs, even though she was the one who unintentionally caused Jake the lumps, while TT’s screw-ups are primarily based on ignorance. Therefore, it’s a lot easier to sympathize with Tree Trunks than LSP, because while LSP herself didn’t mean any intentional harm, TT at least was trying to help, and she does end up assisting in getting the Crystal Apple at the very end! Finn had to cure Jake’s lumps with only help from himself. Kinda weird how they decided to basically do two very similar setups so close to each other, but this one is definitely the better of the two.

After Finn and Tree Trunks apologize to each other, they’re faced with a Crystal Guardian who can mimic their every move, and after fighting the Guardian fails, the boys try to retrieve the apple “the Tree Trunks way,” which still kinda confuses me as to what they actually did, honestly. Did they seduce the Guardian? Whatever, TT takes a bite into the Crystal Gem Apple, and when Finn asks her how it is, she explodes. Well, damn. I guess I should talk about the ending a bit too. Legend has it that on the Netflix version and a couple of DVD versions of this episode, the ending cuts off when Tree Trunks explodes, while all other versions show TT in the Crystal Dimension after she bursts. I can’t really say which ending is better honestly; the ending with Tree Trunks exploding is definitely the better “what the fuck” ending, but I think it’s still pretty effective with the brief clip of TT in Crystal Dimension, so I don’t think it necessarily ruins anything. I guess Cartoon Network was afraid kids would think Tree Trunks was dead? “Crystals Have Power” must’ve not been in production yet.

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“Tree Trunks” really benefits from having a great selection of star characters and environments. I really love the Evil Forest; there’s some awesomely creative villains there, including the snake beast and the sign zombies. It’s also a pretty nice debut for Tree Trunks, and as I mentioned, plays around with the “misunderstanding between two friends” plot a lot better than “Trouble in Lumpy Space” did.