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January 24, 2011 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Based on a quirky animated short that charmed MeFi four years ago, Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time is arguably the most delightful thing in animation right now. Following the surreal adventures of 12-year-old Finn and his magical dog Jake in the fantastical post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, the series has breezed through two seasons and secured a third -- while generating a devoted fandom along the way (partially through savvy callbacks to things like 4chan's Courage Wolf meme and Kate Beaton's pudgy Shetland pony). There's an exhaustive wiki, an active discussion board, oodles of fan-art, and AdventureTi.me, a fan-made repository of previous episodes (complete with a mobile version) that makes catching up a cinch. Want more? Then check out the show's bountiful production diaries, its equally in-depth blog at Frederator Studios, catch some official clips, follow Pen Ward on Twitter, or buy or make your own awesome Finn hat (though not necessarily what lies beneath). Oh, and a new episode is airing... oh, right now. Totally math!

Adventure Time not your thing? Then check out Regular Show, a sister-ish program that airs right afterward that's based on the bizarre short "2 in the AM PM" by JG Quintel. Less manic but no less surreal, it follows a bluejay named Mordecai and his raccoon pal Rigby, 22-year-old slackers in charge of a city park. The makers of AdventureTi.me have a site for them, too -- RegularSho.ws (mobile) -- full of old episodes to watch.
posted by Rhaomi (54 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite

 
Adventure Time is 95% awesome and 5% extremely disturbing. Which is great for adults but means you should definitely watch each episode before small children do.
posted by DU at 5:12 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The reveal at the end of To Cut A Woman's Hair blew my mind. That is all.
posted by kafziel at 5:26 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Algebraic!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:30 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I appreciate Adventure Time's animation and creativity, but it's an incredibly disturbing show. Nearly episode I've seen has had some sort of intense WTF element to it, from the entire Tree Trunks episode to the jiggler fucking bleeding to death. It almost feels like an adult horror series masquerading as a children's show, waiting to shed its flimsy disguise at any moment.
posted by archagon at 5:42 PM on January 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm...not getting the disturbing vibe here? Adventure Time absolutely has loads of adult jokes (in the sense of small children not fully grasping the awful pun genius of things like Encardio and obnoxygen, not like Rocko level adult jokes) but the show taps into the cheerfully bizarre psychology of children like nothing else I've ever seen on TV. I guess from the perspective of an adult trying to view things from the perspective of children, that can be pretty disturbing, but most of the stuff in Adventure Time is exactly like the kinds of imagination rich pretend games my friends and I would play as children.

Maybe we were just a little weird.
posted by byanyothername at 5:58 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still think that Adventure Time is at least partly an exercise in seeing what they can get on TV and still call it a kids show.

Finally we can die!
posted by Grimgrin at 5:59 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, I always seem to catch the show after I've had a really bad day and the cheerful, colorful, imaginative inanity of it all makes me so happy I probably clap and giggle when I see that it's on, but I'm too happy to really remember clearly if I actually do that or if I just want to.
posted by byanyothername at 5:59 PM on January 24, 2011


I'm...not getting the disturbing vibe here?

Turning a bird inside out and watching it dies isn't disturbing to you?
posted by DU at 6:00 PM on January 24, 2011


Turning a bird inside out and watching it dies isn't disturbing to you?

Well, sure, when you put it like THAT.
posted by verb at 6:03 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Turning a bird inside out and watching it dies isn't disturbing to you?

In real life...yeah. In Oooland? Not really. Adventure Time is chock full of violent, bizarre and just plain baffling moments, but the cheerfulness makes it charming and it just rings true to me; the clip Grimgrin linked to is something I can easily imagine children actually acting out in play. It's not nice and it's not "appropriate" for "children's television," but yeah, weirdo absurdist comic violence is absolutely an aspect of childhood imagination (um, isn't it?) and I like that it's a part of the show.
posted by byanyothername at 6:10 PM on January 24, 2011


It also has an amazing number of D&D references. Like, nearly the entire episode "Dungeon".
posted by jiawen at 6:12 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I explained to a friend recently that since I have the cheap cable, I don't get Cartoon Network anymore. And he looked at me like "How do you live??????"

Once another friend explained Adventure Time and The Regular Show to me (and I saw episodes of each), I agree. Sadly, though, my budget doesn't allow me to have more than the cheap cable.

(Comic artist Minty Lewis has done some work for The Regular Show. Between her and Kate Beaton's fat pony on The Adventure Show, my indie comics-loving heart is so completely full. It's so awesome.)
posted by darksong at 6:14 PM on January 24, 2011


Adventure Time is like concentrated sunshine. It will always, always make me happy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:42 PM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Adventure Time is fantastic. I love fictional worlds like this one where the weirdest things can happen but to the characters it's just everyday happenings.

I like Regular Show too, but it doesn't have nearly the same appeal to me. I often feel like it's trying too hard to be ironically cool.
posted by Nedroid at 6:43 PM on January 24, 2011


... apparantly Canadians are not worthy enough to watch the youtube clips. Any other links I could visit to see delightful everted birds?
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:19 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


darksong: "I explained to a friend recently that since I have the cheap cable, I don't get Cartoon Network anymore. And he looked at me like "How do you live??????" Once another friend explained Adventure Time and The Regular Show to me (and I saw episodes of each), I agree. Sadly, though, my budget doesn't allow me to have more than the cheap cable."

Popular Ethics: "... apparantly Canadians are not worthy enough to watch the youtube clips."

If it wasn't clear in the post, the "repository" at AdventureTi.me is a *video* repository -- you can watch every episode from the past two seasons there (same goes for RegularSho.ws). The quality isn't amazing, and it can be on the slow side, but it's definitely useful for situations like these. Here's the episode with the everted bird, for instance (found using the wiki).
posted by Rhaomi at 7:29 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite Adventure Time clip at the moment: the Royal Tart Toter's soliloquy. Oh. Man. What the stuff. (Makes more sense in the context of the whole episode, but...um...nah, still good on its own.)

Also want to note that the music in the show is awesoooome.
posted by roboppy at 7:43 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My son watches Adventure Time. We watch it together. My neighbor's kids play Call of Duty 4 online, unsupervised. You want to compare disturbings?
posted by Redhush at 7:55 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you haven't seen any episodes, start with these episodes in season one: Freak City, My Two Favorite People, Slumber Party Panic, Henchmen, and Rainy Day Daydream to get a good feel for the series. A recurring theme in the show is false morality moments, which undermines the whole afternoon special "now what did we learn."

If you have trouble with adventureti.me, try the lumpyspace download page: season one and season two.

One of the character designers spends a lot of time lurking the /co/ boards on 4chan. She uploaded a rule-63 (genderswapped) Finn and Jake (Fiona and Cake), comic.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:38 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Adventure Time is one of those shows where you can tell that you're living in the midst of a classic being made. Truly fantastic stuff, especially the really bizarre stuff.

It'll also be hilarious to explain to animation nerds in 50 years time what Courage Wolf was.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:56 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The animations in Adventure Time remind me of the drawings in Achewood--same guy?

My 11-year-old son is fanatical for Adventure Time and Regular Show and I love them too. They are weird and disturbing in the ways that bright kids his age are weird and disturbing.
posted by LarryC at 9:52 PM on January 24, 2011


Turning a bird inside out and watching it dies isn't disturbing to you?

Man, you can find a better example than that. Inside out bird is far less disturbing than "Villain attempts to use a broken bottle to cut out a little girl's heart so that he can make out with it."
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:14 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uh, can I like Adventure Time but not like Kate Beaton?
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 10:23 PM on January 24, 2011


If Metafilter let you put links in titles, I totally would have linked to this. SHMOWZOW.

(That's not the only one, btw. There are a lot more. SO MANY MORE.)
posted by Rhaomi at 10:35 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is by far the best animated show since Avatar.
posted by klangklangston at 10:45 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Adventure Time is disturbing, then Ren & Stimpy is evil incarnate.

I actually love both Adventure Time and R&S. But if I have kids, I sure as hell am not watching R&S with them. It'd just feel too... dirty.
posted by jng at 11:02 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have very little patience for kids' shows, but I love me some Adventure Time.

The Tree Trunks episode was pretty weird, though
posted by neushoorn at 11:30 PM on January 24, 2011


Oh god, if thought the Tree Trunks episode from the first season was inappropriate for kids, you definitely shouldn't let kids watch the Tree Trunks season 2 episode, "Crystals Have Power".
posted by amuseDetachment at 11:35 PM on January 24, 2011


Even though I do feel Ricardio's plot was more disturbing than Magic Man, I'd like to note that the Magic Man's stunt was disturbing even in Ooo. To clarify, Jake had to say, "Think happy thoughts..."

I mean, certainly, there are people with topsy turvy thought processes (e.g., Tree Trunks's approach to adventuring...or Ice King's reaction to the two swan lovers...), but even in these situations, there are people (or...dogs) that recognize that something is amiss.
posted by subversiveasset at 11:37 PM on January 24, 2011


it's kind of cute and all, but nothing tops Perfect Hair Forever. nothing.

posted by TMezz at 12:04 AM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Favorite things about Adventure Time: 1) quotables 2) the colors 3) music 4) willingness not to have to explain every single thing, that is allowing you to participate in imagining the fantastical world. Of course, this could easily be a lame prop in less sure hands and devolve into a mess of non sequiturs just for absurdity's sake (which, I have to admit, they do exploit occasionally for cheap lols), but for now, I think it strikes the right balance. Like Lady Rainicorn (oh, 5: the names and wordplay.... hahaha Ricardio) speaking Korean and Jake just happening to know it. I haven't watched all the episodes, so I don't know if they do eventually contrive a reason for why he knows the language and why Lady Rainicorn is the only character in the show to speak anything but English, but for me, not going out of their way to tell you why and leaving certain things inexplicable just opens it up that much more. Sure, letting your child just accept all the weird things at face value in the show may not develop their analytical skills ('No Johnny, you're not supposed to break down the significance of why a mute watermelon and his family get into so much trouble!"), but I think it's a fair trade-off for the sense of wonder and magic and all that jazz it can evoke.

Also, though Adventure Time can be disturbing in its "adult" content, it's certainly not dark. Kinda fascinating how certain American kids cartoons (anime is a separate ballgame) get adopted by grown-ups and how/whether they're intentionally written and conceived for adults in mind. For instance, Spongebob and Adventure Time seem to share a similar aesthetic: bubbly, zany "stoner" humor, heavy on absurdist dialogue and situations. Whereas cartoons like Ren & Stimpy and Invader Zim go for much creepier and uncomfortable elements, juxtaposing a lot of dark comedy with outright brutal slapstick. You laugh in disbelief that they go places where you wouldn't expect a kids show to touch.
posted by jng at 12:10 AM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


She uploaded a rule-63 (genderswapped) Finn and Jake (Fiona and Cake), comic.

And even better, apparently they're going to be in Season 3! They cast Neil Patrick Harris as Prince Gumball! Any more total joy and I may well explode like I just ate a crystal apple.

But yeah. Adventure Time. Best thing on TV by far. I watch live-action stuff and enjoy it, but for some reason I just get way more excited about animated shows I love. I think it's the sheer condensed art, where every single thing in that world is something somebody's made. Or the motion and colours. Or something. Anyway, bring on Season 2 of Superjail!, Season 5 of Venture Bros. and the rest of (the incredible) second season and forthcoming third of AT.

It's blocking out your good foot smell!
posted by emmtee at 3:16 AM on January 25, 2011


It almost feels like an adult horror series masquerading as a children's show, waiting to shed its flimsy disguise at any moment.

I think I would have loved Adventure Time when I was a kid, and I don't think the "disturbing" parts would have bothered me at all. It's certainly less tame than most of the stuff on TV when I was young -- I don't see Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles starring a foot fetishist, for example -- but it has nothing that'd seem out of place in a Roald Dahl story, and I ate them up, despite being a good Christian kid so scared of spirits I couldn't watch The Exorcist until I was twenty.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:24 AM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adventure Time and Regular Show are the highlights of my Mondays. What that says about me...I don't even care. Definitely the best half hour of television.

Also...Robotomy (which airs later on Monday nights) reminds me a lot of Superjail. Am I alone in this?
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 4:40 AM on January 25, 2011


Wow, you know, I'd heard about Adventure Time, but I always assumed it was the kind of thing you dig mostly when you're baked. Turns out it's pretty great even when you're not.

Might still have to test the original hypothesis, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:43 AM on January 25, 2011


"Offer your soul to me, Dark One!"
posted by Iridic at 7:21 AM on January 25, 2011


My kids love this show. Who is the voice of the dog?
posted by Mister_A at 7:21 AM on January 25, 2011


Jon Dimaggio, also the voice of Bender on Futurama
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on January 25, 2011


I thought it was him! That guy has the best job in the world if you ask me.
posted by Mister_A at 7:33 AM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re-watching the Dungeon episode, I think the reason Adventure Times vibrates at my resonance frequency is cause it accurately simulates my alpha-wave dream state. I mean c'mon! Dungeons! Monsters! Treasure! I am in my element!
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 AM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jon Dimaggio, also the voice of Bender on Futurama

I have now moved on from, "oh my god, that dog has Bender's voice!" to, "oh my god, that robot has Jake's voice!"
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:02 AM on January 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you haven't seen the show's title cards, you're really missing out. The progression of the one for "The Enchiridion" is particularly awesome.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 8:54 AM on January 25, 2011


Adventure Time is my 7yo daughter's favorite TV show. (Also in the running are Mythbusters, Regular Show and The Amazing Race.)

I think that this is the perfect show for kids and the absurdity and the disturbing aspects of it are totally appropriate! The world is absurd! The world is full of disturbing things! Kids need to see representations of this kind of thing so that they have a language and a space to consider and deal with it.

Plus the show is funny and just plain crazy great.

And if you would rather your kid watch the hideous and disturbing crap that Disney puts on television then my guess is that you haven't sat and watched it with them. Nor will you be able to. That's another great thing about Adventure Time. We watch it together, we both love it and for the same reasons... which is great.
posted by n9 at 8:56 AM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


My kids explained Ricardio to me. I was like, "hey lookit he's a little heart dude!" They explained how he came to be and what he was up to, and I had to sit down and watch the rest. That's the only one I've really caught other than this one where these wizards get tricked into this awful duty of preventing some asteroid or something from crushing the tower and environs... that was pretty witty. The fact that I can remember this much from fragmentary glimpses snatched while engaged in other activities tells me this is a pretty good show.
posted by Mister_A at 9:13 AM on January 25, 2011


The great thing about kids is they don't know what's disturbing until you tell them. And there's a lot that's not actually that disturbing, but which we've been conditioned to be disturbed by. In some ways, they're so much better than us.
posted by Eideteker at 9:43 AM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, this is adorable: Pendleton Ward with Polly Lou Livingston (the voice actress for Tree Trunks).

It's from Frederator head honcho Fred Siebert's awesome Flickr account, which has all kinds of media from the show, including background art, animatics, storyboards, title cards, and literally thousands more.

Also, SomethingAwful has a great ongoing discussion thread for the show (52 pages and growing!).
posted by Rhaomi at 11:56 AM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uh, can I like Adventure Time but not like Kate Beaton?

You can like AT or not, but you must MARRY KATE BEATON.
posted by JHarris at 1:35 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris, I've met her, and I'd rather not.

Now, Lora Innes, creator of the super awesome fabulous webcomic The Dreamer? If I can persuade her to leave her husband, we are totally getting hitched!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 2:57 PM on January 25, 2011


My boys (9 and 11) started watching these shows a little while ago, before it really registered and I had a chance to vet them. At first, I thought they were clever, and then I got a little concerned when I saw more. In the end, though, I think they're totally fine, and pretty smart. (Especially all the D&D refs in AT.)

The Bender thing totally throws me off all the time, though.
posted by LairBob at 4:15 PM on January 25, 2011


Thanks for introducing me to this show, Metafilter! I adore it!
posted by painquale at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2011


You know, as disturbing and affecting as this show can sometimes be, it's actually toned down on a fairly regular basis.

That episode with the sweetly adorable and grandmotherly Tree Trunks questing for the crystal apple, which ends with her vanishing into its crystal world only to be rescued later in the season? Yeah, that post-credits resolution was added at the request of the network. The episode originally ended with Finn and Jake, caked with garish make-up, utterly aghast at her shockingly abrupt demise. Roll credits.

And Marceline's song about how her vampiric father stole her french fries? The original lyrics:
Daddy... why did you leave me?
You created me...
so don't you want to see me?

Daddy... why did you make me?
If you're not gonna take me...
to get a burger and shaky?

My cursed blood is your cursed blood
Come on back and be my bud.

I can count your visits on my fingertips
Come back and bring me presents from your business trips.

Daddy why did you father me,
If all you want to do is bother me?

Don't you know that I love you?
I only want to see more of you.
I was pretty new to the show when I posted this, and had only seen a handful of episodes. I'm glad it's turning out to be as daring and wonderful as it seemed at first blush. It's so great the makers maintain such an open behind-the-scenes attitude online to give such great insight into their creative process. It gives you a little glimpse of how much better it could be if they were completely unfettered.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:48 PM on January 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time, thank you! This show brings me sense of joy and hope for the future; as well as bountiful lulz and pleasantly trippy eye-candy, and great storytelling to boot.

I like that it's at least suitable for a younger audience while still providing some extra meaning and subject matter to an adult audience. I always loved cartoons like that when I was younger, even when they didn't make complete sense to me until I was older.

The Wizard episode is amazing; there is a Wizard frog named Bufo (tenine) that gives free magical powers. Priceless.
posted by nTeleKy at 8:09 PM on February 3, 2011


Turning a bird inside out and watching it dies isn't disturbing to you?

You don't watch the bird die and it's not in visible pain. The thing, is if you're all up in arms about an inside-out bird then I would like to welcome you to the world of animated telivision. Itchy & Scratchy has been satarizing that very thing for years. I'm not saying it makes it all right but you're missing the larger picture of the show, if not that very episode (cooperation), if that's what is stopping you from watching.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:23 PM on February 10, 2011


I'm a little late here, but I show this cartoon to my Elementary school kids all the time. I think people forget how morbid and weird kids are. They love this because this is how their brain works: The whole world is crazy, not much is scary, and anything can happen anytime.
posted by GilloD at 3:08 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


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