So I just finished Adventure Time, formerly one of the primetime lineup slots and most successful animated series running on Cartoon Network. If it is quite alright with you all, I’d like to discuss it for just a moment. Yes it is a cartoon, and one could argue that cartoons are for kids, so if you believe that, then I’d kindly ask you to stop reading. I don’t want to waste your time, and you just won’t understand and I’ve made peace with that.
Adventure Time was a wonderful 10 season show that sprung up during my time in highschool, and grew and continued all the way up to my life as a young professional. To say I’m a fan would be quite accurate. The story set in on the day to day adventures of 2 heroes a young human boy Finn and his brother a talking magic dog named Jake, as well as a menagerie of interesting and belovable protagonists, antagonists, secondary, and tertiary characters. I could fill an entire blog full of Adventure Time content, it would not be difficult. Then again, I barely have enough time/motivation to write what I do at present, and I feel as though my already lacking writing would suffer! So what is so important about Adventure Time with Finn and Jake?
Well you see, it ended quite recently, and I am now sitting here typing away on my phone (my laptop died recently)[New laptop is editing this 2 monthes later], and I’m trying to grasp the weight of this show ending. With any Book, Show, Movie ending, with any story’s ending we as consumers of those mediums try to quantify what we just experienced. Both the finale we literally just experienced, but the entirety of the work we had come to enjoy over the years. Adventure Time I felt did right by all of us who had come to love and cherish the little 12 minutebite sized adventures and all those delightful characters who entered our lives. As it all happened I could feel the finality of it, the weight, the last minute final reveals and tied up loose ends, the tragedy of endings is that you can’t change them. The past is, well, the past. I just want to share my thoughts on the series, maybe talk a little about the ending. Then I’ll bid you all farewell.
I remember when Adventure Time came out it was at a time of Cartoon Network new Golden Age, the channel had new creators and they had new progressive interesting and well-told stories, we saw this with Adventure Time it’s contemporaries Regular Show, Steven Universe, and the Amazing World of Gumball. All shows I’ve come to cherish in no small part due to Adventure Times location near them. I remember Adventure Time as this goofy absurdist world where a young human boy who also the only human around would run around on these heroic adventures fighting monsters, singing songs, and saving princesses. It was fun and the world got built more and more every episode. By the end of season 1 there was a cute well built little world that you knew a couple of cool secrets about. After a couple more seasons we saw genuine character development and heavier episodes with real loss, romance, and deeper subtext. By its final seasons, the episodes were less flavor of the week and more of a 4 course meal with layers and constantly building an intricate story that’s planned out and each episode affected the next and what were thought of as goofy meaningless adventures from the earlier seasons became these deep foundations for the outcome of the entire series. The growth of this show I now feel was due to it’s viewers. Art is not just defined by the artist but by the audience as well. Its first episode premiered in April of 2010 its viewers were kids from K-12, 8 years later even the youngest of adventure times viewers are now entering highschool, the oldest starting families or businesses(do not let a the stereotypical quaint family archetype define your lifetime cornerstones). I digress a lot, the show changed with us, it helped us grow as people as it got older so did we and so did the stories we needed hear. Adventure Time got that, it got it like a mother fucker.
I think Adventure Time had real heart, and that besides the growth of the show and the layered detailed world they built was the music. It’s no secret that Adventure Time has a fantastic crew behind it, that fantastic crew is also very musically talented. From the opening and ending title themes to the silly song Jake The Dog sings as he makes pancakes(Bacon Pancakes), all the way to a little Robot ending the series with one of the most heartfelt and deeply resonating ballads I’ve ever heard. It just seemed that at any moment a beautiful song could be sung just as easily as a climactic battle could go down or another absurdist designed character could touch my heart. It gave the show a certain dreamy feel that made the experience all the more pleasant. It just always felt artful, Adventure Time was a genuine fantasy with Music and Heart and a really good story to tell.
And that story ended. Because it has to. Shows end, stories are told, eventually we have to go to bed, eventually, we go to bed forever. This is the reason I wanted to write about Adventure Time. The finale itself was perfect, I felt myself thinking back to the end of other shows, Boy Meets World had Mr.Feeney give his final lecture, The Office had it’s last wedding and epilogue like reunion with Michael Scott returning for one last “That’s What She Said”, for Adventure Time it was a tiny robot singing in Harmony with all of the characters you met about how endings happen, but the adventure happened, and we will always exist in the past. It’s sad that it’s over, but time is just an illusion to simplify existing. To quote the song BMO(The Tiny Robot) sang,
Time is an illusion that helps things make sense So we are always living in the present tense It seems unforgiving when a good thing ends But you and I will always be back then You and I will always be back then
And the chorus then goes.
Singing: will happen, happening happened Will happen, happening happened? And we will happen again and again ‘Cause you and I will always be back then You and I will always be back then Will happen, happening happened? Will happen, happening happened? And we’ll happen again and again ‘Cause you and I will always be back then.
Needless to say, this song is very sad and wonderfully hopeful. There is a beauty in that. It’s something I’m going to choose to carry with me. Ive been often told don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy it happened. I never really got that until now. So Thank you Adventure Time, thank you Pendleton Ward who created this wonderful world. Thank you Rebecca Sugar for all the music including this beautiful song that you created for it. Thank you Adventure Time, we will always be back then, and I will never forget that. Not ever.
Today so many people claim cartoons are a childish medium and I have to be honest here, I don’t get why? The legitimacy of art should not be defined by it’s medium or your personal social expectations of it. So, please chill out anyone who would say that caring this much about a “cartoon” is childish or lame, because that is weak sauce my friend.