Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adventure time with Finn and Jake == completely awesome

Okay, first post in a little while. I'd thought I'd stray away from my usual straying away, and give a shout out to what is most likely the most awesome cartoon I have ever seen: Adventure time with Finn and Jake.

The basic premise is following the escapades of 12-year-old boy Finn (A kid with a white bear hat and a penchant for kicking ass) and Jake (A 28-year-old* dog with magic stretching powers). If that doesn't already sound cool, they've also got Princess bubblegum, a royal science genius and strange recombinance of bubblegum and human DNA (age unknown**), and Marcelline, a neutral-chaotic vampire rocker chick (she is, in appearance, sixteen or seventeen, but is actually thousands of years old, as per vampire mythos).

Finn and Jake themselves live in a gigantic treehouse, on a mysterious island called Ooo. There are strange lands abound in Ooo, each seemingly with their own royalty. Princess bubblegum is the ruler of the candy kingdom, which is inhabited solely by anthropomorphic pieces of candy and various other desserts.

Besides that, even the dialogue baffles me - the characters flip between harmless "insults" like "Ding Dong" to mild language like "crap" and "suck". I know cartoon network has a rep of being surprisingly lax in their filtering, but it still caught me off guard when Princess bubblegum yelled "You promised you wouldn't fricken' tell anyone!". Not that I mind, quite the contrary, but it still amazes me. I've been told in the vampire episode Marceline actually smacks Finn on the ass^.

Mainly what I like about Adventure time besides the wonderful humor*** and delightful battiness is the way it tells a story. Mainly what I hate nowadays about cartoons is that the writer's basically have seven or eight different plotlines to choose from, which are used and reused in every single episode of every single show. But adventure time doesn't go that route: I was shocked and ecstatic about the fact that I didn't know what was going to happen at the end of the episode. In a land where cartoon characters have been living the same tired old adventures for the past twenty years, this is BIG STUFF. For instance, in the Zombie episode, Finn and Bubblegum create a "decorpsenator serum" which bubblegum makes to resurrect the dead candy people but ends up zombifying them, and bubblegum makes Finn "royal promise" not to tell the civilians. Later on, everyone is safe, the zombies are dead once more, and I grip the remote, ready to change the channel after the rather unsurprising ending, but it doesn't stop there. Finn ends up breaking the promise, thinking it didn't matter since the zombies are gone, but it turns out that breaking a royal promise results in stopping time and getting incinerated by the Gumball Guardians which guard such things (I won't tell you what happened after that, since I've basically ruined most of it). This unexpected and much awesomer ending made the cartoon ten times better than I thought it was. The creator doesn't so much tell a story as he does ramble on about something in particular, forget half of it and then pull the rest from off the top of his head. GENIUS.

I've always had a thing for surrealist kid's cartoons, such as The marvelous misadventures of flapjack, a intensely creepy but awesome show. Adventure time goes to that and beyond - I think by the information presented here you can guess it is probably the weirdest cartoon ever aired on cartoon network, while still being completely mind-blowing.

*Dog years, of course, making him about four.
**This is a murky subject. She looks about fourteen, but when talking about a particular senior citizen of the Candy Kingdom she giggles and says "We used to date". Is it me, or does Princess Bubblegum hint at being a lot older than she looks?
***That's right. I laugh at kid's cartoons. Get over yourself.
^This is a bit creepy considering she's several thousand years older than him. Then again, Marceline's character is mainly defined as not really giving a crap about much of anything anymore, hence her daredevil stunts and just generally doing whatever she wants.