When it was first airing on Cartoon Network, I had absolutely zero interest in Adventure Time. The few seconds I had picked up here and there had me thinking it was yet another factory clone of the ‘new breed’ of random nonsense cartoons, aimed at 5-9 year olds. I can’t recall why I decided to give it a try, but at some point I started off in the beginning, and I was absolutely astounded by the depth of this show.
Sure, the target audience IS of a very young age demographic – but you very rapidly are witness to the growth and establishment of variations on almost every major philosophy and belief system…all under the guise of a stretchy dog and a sword-wielding kid.
Not only the entire story take place in a ‘whimsical’ post-apocalyptic world (you get way more information on how that all went down, as you go) but it very smoothly and efficiently dives into existentialism, various religious belief systems, the occult, ethics, metaphysics, artificial intelligence, psychic phenomena, and the power of music (just to name a few) AND, the (possibly) biggest reoccurring theme of them all: dysfunctional fathers/father-figures.
Here is a taste of some of the tasty, tasty philosophical crumbles: https://youtu.be/-mmPmXzDrbU
Each episode is only 11 minutes long, presumably to address the lack of attention span of little ones…but guess what, tons of adults have the exact same problem – so tiny bite-size stories are often just the thing, when you don’t feel like committing to a longer show. Also, there are many multi-part episodes, and themes/stories that weave throughout the entirety of the series.
While it isn’t quite at the top of my list of favorite cartoons and/or favorite tv series (Avatar: The Last Airbender is tops on both of those lists, actually…more on that in a later post(s) – Adventure Time is very high on both lists… If you are not counting anime, I would say Adventure Time is EASILY in my top five cartoons…maybe third, behind Avatar, and Batman: The Animated Series.
I take such rankings very seriously, and I proclaim this tv series to be one fantastic piece of mildly-abstract art – with beautiful hidden elements, secret relationships, devout Satanists (ish), deep and telling conversations, amazing character development, and some of the most wonderful takes on slang… In a word, it’s… Mathematical!
One of these days I could see creating an entire podcast, diving into the depths of each character arc and story. SO much to break down and digest. If you can get your hands on it, I recommend you put this on your viewing schedule. It’s great for scarfing down tons of episodes in one sitting, or small 10-20 minute chunks when you have short moments of free time.
I can’t promise you will be as enamored with this show as I am, but I can promise this show is so much more than it appears to be on the surface. A keen observers just might be able to find the meaning of all things, hiding behind Lumpy Space Princess.
I’m the sensical turtle, and I approve this message.