It’s super easy to see how mathematical Adventure Time is but it’s always impressive to me when a show can be both popular with children and adults.
1.) Plots: I think the writers of the show have done a great job melding plots that are interesting, such as a build-up to a climax at the end of the season like they are known for, while also keeping the episodes educational. Often times there is a little message inside of the episode that is sort of a life lesson. An example would be “It Came From the Nightosphere” where Marceline and her dad have family problems and Finn helps them to talk it out and resolve the issues so that they can reunite with each other while also having the action and adventure of Finn trying to stop Marceline’s dad before he could suck out the souls of all of Ooo.
2.) Foreshadowing: The show also uses quite a bit of foreshadowing. There’s a part in that same episode where the show foreshadows just how evil Gunter is by Marceline’s dad commenting on it. Later in season 6, it’s revealed that Gunter is really Orgalorg, who is attempting to conquer the solar system by absorbing the comet that comes once every 1,000 years. There are also a lot of episodes that continuously foreshadow a problem with Finn’s right arm, which finally leads up to him losing his right arm entirely in “Escape from the Citadel” only to have it regrow later in “Breezy”.
3.) Character Growth and Development: Character growth and development happen a lot in this series which I think is interesting for a cartoon. You can see this more clearly in Finn, who ages as the series progresses from age 12 to age 16. He learns a number of life lessons such as the importance of teamwork, friendship, telling the truth and he learns from his mistakes (sometimes). While some things are rehashed for episodes, Finn still overall learns and moves forward. For instance, though he’s angered by the fact that his biological Father abandons him and even seeks revenge on Martin after the episode “Escape from the Citadel”, his dad, for leaving him and causing Finn to lose his arm, eventually Finn admits that he knows his father won’t change and accepts it. That being said, the characters typically stay in character. For instance, Jake is often shown to be young at heart and unable to settle down for long periods of time. Despite the strain that puts between him and some of his children, they all know that it’s Jake’s personality.
4.) Humor: The big part about Adventure Time is obviously the humor. A lot of the humor can be pretty basic such as slapstick or potty humor which some people might not appreciate. However, the show also does a good job of pointy fun at different things about the world we live in, which can lead to smarter humor that might be overlooked by kids but will be noticed by adults. One of the more recent episodes I rewatched, “To Cut a Woman’s Hair” is a good example of this. When Finn finally gets enough of attempting to fetch Princess hair for a witch that’s threatening to kill Jake if he doesn’t retrieve it, he finally snaps and points out that hair won’t fix her because she’s ugly inside and out. The show is bluntly pointing out that if you are a cruel, evil person, than you can’t expect people to be fooled for long by good looks. Eventually they will figure out the truth. Another episode example would be “The Mystery Train” which has a dark twist at the end where it was simply luck that Finn and Jake didn’t die when the train went off the rails. This is more “dark humor” than anything as it points out that some things in life are just pure, dumb luck. The way it’s so nonchalantly passed off by Jake is what causes this scene to be funny though Finn’s surprised reaction is what leaves the darker undertone. The silly humor that only adults might get is also sprinkled in as well. For example, Finn calling for Tree Trunks to bring her hot buns inside only to be slapped by her husband in “The Pajama Wars” when he really was referring to the basket of hot buns she was holding in her trunk.
5.) Art Style: It sort of goes without saying that the art style for Adventure Time is unique in a lot of ways. It’s very simplistic in some ways but can get elaborate depending on the episode. It allows for more detail to be added in to make a larger impact like when Marceline transforms into a monster form. I have to admit that the art style actually took me a little bit to get used to, but after a very short time, it’s pleasant to look at and works for the type of cartoon it is.
What are your favorite things about Adventure Time? Did I cover all of them or do you want to add to the discussion? Leave a comment below!