C’mon grab your friends
We’ll go to very distant lands
With Jake the Dog and Finn the Human
The fun will never end
To people who know me personally, they would know that I’m an avid fan of the cartoon, Adventure Time, which airs on Cartoon Network. I readily make time on Monday nights at 7:30PM just to watch the new episode that airs every week (or so). I honestly haven’t done this for many shows (or any now, for that matter) as often anymore. (The last time I ever did this was when Fox’s Glee was on its second season.) Which leads me into this post’s topic: “But cartoons are for kids. Adventure Time airs on Cartoon Network so its audience is children!”
Honestly, it irks me whenever someone tries to judge another (older) person who likes cartoons and proclaims this reason. Yes, there are educational cartoons for toddlers, but there are also cartoons that subtly feature serious problems (that could possibly be controversial) that an adult might have to face in their lives, such as toxic relationships, meeting up to your parents’ expectations, and even the worries of becoming a parent yourself. In this case, Adventure Time is more than a perfect example to show that cartoons are meaningful as well.
In the episode “Web Weirdos”, Finn and Jake encounter a spider couple, Ed and Barb. Ed and Barb’s relationship with each other have gone downhill, and all they ever do now is bicker and they could barely stand each other anymore. Finn and Jake suggest Ed, who wants to make up with Barb, to get her a present. Flash-forward to near the end, Barb becomes so infuriated with Ed, she plans to kill him: by eating him. However, there’s a surprise at the end of the episode that paved a new fresh road for their life together, and so , their relationship is repaired…for now. Regardless of how much a relationship is repaired, it doesn’t mean that their problems with each other won’t arise again. It’s hard getting out of a toxic relationship.
In the episode, “Dad’s Dungeon”, Finn and Jake find a hologram message left by their father to explore a dungeon their father made especially for Finn. Finn struggles to meet his dad’s request to complete the dungeon, due to all the insults Jake tells Finn throughout the dungeon. (The only reason why Jake did this was due to his father’s request to “man-up” Finn by using harsh words.)
In the episode “Jake the Dad”, Jake had to experience the hardships of being a parent to his newborn children. He followed his mother’s manual of taking care of children closely, instead of following his gut feeling of how they should be treated. Jake becomes too overprotective over them, and fails to realize that there are times where a parent has to let their child do whatever they want (Rainicorn pups age fast, since by mid-episode, Jake Jr., one of Jake and Lady Rainicorn’s children, probably had the mentality of a 10-year old tomboy) because they need to explore their surroundings by themselves, as well as being more open-minded.
Although some episodes seem nonsensical and surreal, it doesn’t mean that the episode is just that. If you read deeper into each episode and try to imagine what the writers of Adventure Time were trying to convey, you would realize that the episode had more meaning than how it actually present itself. It’s incredible how some people writing for cartoons can entwine important messages into something that seems completely random. Take this gif from the episode “No One Can Hear You” of Adventure Timefor example:
It seems incredibly creepy, no? The basic summary of this episode is that Finn wakes up in a cast and none of the Candy People seem to be in the kingdom. There’s only him and Jake (who seems completely off and insane, compared to previous episodes). By the end of the episode, we find out that this stag is the source of the problems Finn faces in this episode. The message here is quite direct. In life, regardless of how small the chance is, every single person still has a chance that they could get kidnapped (and possibly violated, like how the candy people were licked and stuck to one another in the sewers). Depending on the person, after your encounter with them, you could go insane like Jake. However, the episode also portrays a message that you should go against the perpetrator like Finn did, if ever a case of kidnapping happened to you; you should struggle for survival and escape.
But how does this incorporate with All Quiet on the Western Front? Well, in All Quiet on the Western Front, even though it takes place during World War I, they still had problems that we have to deal with in the present today: war, unpleasant people, finding solutions to things you don’t want to go through, friendships, helping out people who are supposedly your enemies. These are all topics that Adventure Time has touched up upon at least once in the show. All Quiet on the Western Front takes place on the Western Front of World War I, while Adventure Time takes place after the Mushroom War. Although the Mushroom War would be more closely related to World War II, due to nuclear bombs, it could be considered as a World War as well, since a large chunk of the “world” in Adventure Timeis missing. Like Paul and his group having to deal with troublesome people such as Himmelstoss or Kantorek, Finn and Jake have to deal with the Ice King and reoccurring villains, such as Magic Man, or antihero-like characters, such as Marceline, causing them troubles (although, usually harmless). Like how Paul and his group sat on the latrines to avoid doing work, Finn, in the episode “Davey”, makes a false appearance and personality to avoid his fans. Like how Kat and Paul were extremely close friends, if not closer, Finn and Jake shared a strong bond of friendship (though, they were also brothers that grew up together as well). Like how Paul helped the French soldier, Duval (even though Paul stabbed him before, and Duval died hours later), the Ice King, who is Finn and Jake’s main “villain”, sometimes helps out Finn and Jake in dire situations, like the episode “Mortal Recoil”, where Princess Bubblegum was possessed by the Lich and Finn and Jake needed help to stop the princess from moving temporarily.
So before anyone judges another person for liking something childish as cartoons, remember that there are 20-30 year old writers who have grand ideas and many things to say that incorporate their words into the art of cartooning. It’s just another expression of art.