Over the course of my life I have had various levels of relationships with television. In my youthey youth (pre-teen years) I was the typical young kid glued to the television and soaking in all of the pop cultural garbage being flung my way cartoons after school, on weekend and all of the classic sitcoms of the 70s and 80s (think along the lines of Taxi, Threes Company, Charlies Angels, Cheers, etc.). As I grew into a teen it was less a less devoted relationship sure we had our little flings, but I was interested in being out in the world hanging out with friends, playing in my band, meeting girls you know, teen crap. In my 20s it became a bit more monogamous X-Files, Star Trek: TNG, and movies on cable. Now that Im in my (late) 30s, I dont have much of a relationship with TV beyond a couple of shows that I am dedicated to and, now having gone full circle kids shows.
Not that I am seeking out childrens programming for my entertainment but that doesnt preclude me from being entertained when I can. Case in point, Cartoon Networks current Monday night (and constant repeats throughout the week) line-up. There are at least three programs of note, but the one I want to talk about today is a 15 minute show called Adventure Time.
Premiering in April of 2010, I honestly didnt really know what to make of it when my eldest critter began watching. My initial reaction was, Uhhhhh what the fuck is this? Should they be watching? A year later, my reaction has become, What the fuck is this? No dont turn it scoot over its awesome! For months prior to its release, Cartoon Network ran a series of commercials with a young boy in the outfit worn by the main character Finn running around town yelling, What time is it!? I had no clue what that was about until the ad campaign strung it together with What time is it? ADVENTURE TIME! Still no clue.
That cluelessness gave way to confusion which has now given way to admiration, and dare I say fandom? The extremely surreal and bizarre show has a rather simple premise Finn, a human, lives in the Land of Ooo with his magical dog/adopted brother Jake. Together they protect what is good and righteous while befriending the myriad of strange beings in this world. Chief among these beings is a crusty old Ice King who is always wanting love and kidnaps various princesses in the land in order to get it. There is Princess Bubblegum, Finns paramour (sort of he is 13, she is an adult but recent happenings have left her 13 as well); Marceline, Jake and Finns vampire friend; Lady, Jakes girlfriend the rainacorn (a rainbow unicorn that must use a translator to communicate in English); Lumpy Space Princess and others. Mountains cry boulders and there are occasional knife storms in the Land of Ooo. In one episode, Finn is turned into a giant foot by a magic man. He then sings with a vocoder and kicks other things turned into other random body parts into action to join together to form one corporeal being in order to defeat the magic man. Its quite a Daliesque existence.
Ultimately, the show is about doing the right thing, even when that may mean sacrificing yourself. At no point is there any real moralistic preaching, and trying to find any meaning beyond, did they just do that to be trippy? is quite a challenge at times. But standing back, and looking through the kaleidoscope of weird, I find something riveting about Adventure Time. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, Jake can transform himself into any thing he wants to be and he talks. He is quite a magical dog.
Seemingly drug induced childrens programming is hardly anything new think H.R. Puffenstuff or Sigmund the Sea Monster but Adventure Time is handled in a very twenty first century way. This is a show for our times, and Im really getting into it. Now when I hear, what time is it? my answer is always, ADVENTURE TIME! (I even had a dream once where I was running around like Finn yelling what time is it? to a bunch of kids on the street and having them respond in kind it was a fun dream)
Below I have posted a clip of the theme song (which I very much dig) and a complete episode. Most of the videos of the theme song don’t allow for embedding, so the clip I found is far from perfect… but the complete episode is great quality… and although not my fave episode, it is a goodie. Enjoy.
I want a magic dog/adopted brother too,
Cornelius J. Blahg