One could say we’re living in a new animation renaissance! Great new cartoons have breached the age old “Animation Age Ghetto” that lasted from the ’70s into the late ’00s… at least one could debate. One of the cartoons that I think broke the mold was Adventure Time! On the surface, it’s a goofy tale of a boy and his really weird dog. But really, there is so much more to the show than that!
Speaking of which, does that synopsis remind you of anything? Because it should! Adventure Time is basically “A Boy and His Dog” meets light-hearted faerie tale adventure. When the series first revealed to be after a supernaturally-driven nuclear apocalypse, I was stunned. The show had teased it everywhere! Nuclear bomb casings, leftovers of old society, you name it! It wasn’t until season two when they really exploited it beyond some cameo easter eggs, in my opinion. But, the show isn’t great for an awesome back story, it’s great for so much more. The awesome back story for the world is my excuse to write about Adventure Time during Nuclear Apocalypse month!
But, back on topic, Adventure Time is truly a unique show. The characters have developed in a lot of interesting directions over time. And dare I say, most of them have grown up a little from all the experiences they’ve come across. Now, I’m biased towards the character story driven episodes, as I feel they really pushed the show beyond goofball slapstick adventure. The show has made me laugh, cry, jump in fright, and even fume in rage. Sometimes, this happened all in the same episode! But no matter, Adventure Time has proven that it can display a wide variety of themes, emotions, and concepts.
So… Come along with me and the butterflies and bees. We can wander through the forest and do so as we please… Where was I? Oh yeah, my top (and bottom) Adventure Time episodes; in lists of 5 no less! Let’s take my warped opinions with a grain of salt and travel to the magical land of Ooo!
#5 Fionna and Cake
This is one of the big reasons why I enjoy this show! This episode alone shows that Pent Ward and crew really love their fanbase! What started as a simple fan fiction on the internet lead to an actual episode of the show. On top of that, the episode is much more than a gender flip. In the end, the characters are the same lovable cast with an awesome twist. Never have the Fionna and Cake stories felt like filler, even if they are the creations of Ice King in the end. The stories are some of the most fun adventures the show has ever showcased and the fans are to be thanked! Besides, we also got “Beard Finn” in the show thanks to cosplayers. And ya know what? I know that including this one on the list is controversial, but I still feel it belongs.
#4 BMO Noir/Root Beer Guy
I love film noir like no one’s business. To see Adventure Time parody motifs (if not the whole genre outright) fills me with immense glee! While Root Beer Guy turned some tropes on their head and created an elaborate set-up, BMO Noir played all the tropes straight to create an elaborate and clever noir spoof. While BMO goes on a mock detective case, by pretending to be a private eye; Root Beer Guy is a pulp-junkie who ends up living the dream! Both are tons of fun for their own reasons and I honestly can’t decide which one I liked more.
#3 I Remember You
Yeah, yeah; I’m the “first” person to say they love this episode. But to be fair, this episode created mood whiplash and rolled with it perfectly. What started out as innocent messing around delved into something so much more meaningful. Sure, we already knew Ice King’s backstory, but we didn’t quite know as much of a connection between him and Marceline. This didn’t just expand Adventure Time’s universe, it developed the characters in shocking and awesome ways. If this one (and Holly Jolly Secrets) hadn’t worn on me a bit, they’d certainly rank much higher. But, famous episodes like the ones with “Simon” have left an impact on me nonetheless.
#2 Dungeon Train
Finn’s life is still stuck in the doldrums. He feels alone after his arc with Flame Princess and how he’s never gonna get back with Bubblegum… or anyone really. Finn’s troubles melt away when he discovers the Dungeon Train. At first, Jake is happy to see Finn finally happy. And of course, there’s always too much of a good thing. Jake gets bored, but Finn seems hooked. His desire for happiness has lead to a deranged addiction. What’s great about this episode is it shows Finn fighting other addicts to keep up his sense of joy. Combine that with an enemy dropping a “future crystal” where Finn continues this madness into old age, while Jake continues to stand by him in boredom. If that doesn’t showcase replacing actual happiness with cheap satisfaction at any cost (even ruining the lives of others), I don’t know what does!
#1 The Tower
After the reveal of Finn’s Father backstabs Finn (and makes Finn’s arm go all AKIRA before exploding), he’s out for revenge by building a tower to his dad’s void. He literally begins to tear the world apart just to get to get back at his dad. As his sanity and energy slips, all he thinks about is his revenge fantasy. When he finally gets a chance to indulge, it’s revealed that PB is trying to help him out. Even though she gets smashed in the eye, she doesn’t care. In the end, she wanted Finn to return to normalcy and is glad to have him back. But, more to the point, this episode really embodies how far Adventure Time can go to establish a mood and explore the extremities of a character’s emotions.
All that said and done, there have been quite a few episodes that haven’t resonated with me at all. That or I just simply wanted to bury them in the Vault.
#5 Red Throne
I wanted to like this episode so much! Really, I did! But, I felt like a lot of plot lines were recycled and not much was accomplished. I’m not sure what depowered FP was supposed to accomplish, since it didn’t matter to the plot in the long run. Also, Finn seemed a lot dumber than usual. He hadn’t learned anything from the previous episodes… despite progress being made with his character. Also, Cinnamon Bun becoming an action badass felt awkward and I didn’t really buy it at all.
#4 Jake Suit/Ice and Fire
Sure, Finn is a flawed character and he’s done a lot of stupid things. In the end, he tries to figure out smart ways to fix them. That or he seeks his friends out for ways to solve those problems. In both of these, he acts like a douchebag to his friends (and Ice King) just to get some semblance of amusement. I’m all for exploring how fun intentions go wrong, but this is a side of Finn I’d rather not see come up again.
#3 A Glitch is A Glitch
For starters, a lot of characters are simply acting off character. PB seems to be more irrational and frenzied, rather than creating a scientific solution to stop the mess at hand. Considering she has an interest in weird technology, you’d think she’d jump on that immediately. Also, we know by now that Ice King isn’t a psychopathic murderer, he’s just a lonely old man whose obsession for attention has made him more insane. Here, he takes a misheard quote as an excuse to wipe out a population. It simply doesn’t work with his character or ANY of his developments at all. He wants to be loved and he won’t intentionally destroy anyone else that isn’t interfering in his obsession.
#2 Food Chain
Yeah, I know folks liked this episode, but it felt so empty to me. It might secretly be a work of genius, but I thought it was a crock of shit. The music jingles were stupid, the story segments didn’t have any pace or meaning to them beyond connecting to PB’s speech. I know we saw Magic Man trying to teach Finn a lesson about appreciating PB or something (I don’t really know), but it felt far too sloppy and chaotic for my tastes. In the end, I cared a lot less than the actual characters did.
#1 Dream of Love
I find Tree Trunks to be boring and same with her stories. The only time I was amused by her was a couple second gag at the end of the “Finn’s Dad” saga. Besides some clever bits of getting shit past the radar with Mr. Pig, this episode doesn’t work for me. For one, the musical number that goes way too long. The joke with their “disgusting relationship” becomes the focus on the episode and I stop caring after a while, much like Finn and Jake at the end of the episode. I don’t want the joke to stop because I’m grossed out, I’m just tired of the episode exploiting it. I chuckled maybe once when their relationship went really weird really fast, but then it didn’t go anywhere interesting. All in all, everything goes on for too long and embodies why I don’t care for Tree Trunks’ character.
So there you have it! Even if I have problems with the show, there are many more reasons for to remain an active fan. Perhaps what makes the show truly fantastic is its desire to explore all sorts of boundaries and breaking new ground with fresh ideas. Now, I don’t like all of them, but it’s hard to lie that Adventure Time always pulls off something unique. This is Doctor Necrotic and those are my 2 cents on Adventure Time! Have any comments? Disagree with my list? Just wanna chat about Adventure Time? Leave a note in the comments!