Adventure Time – The Complete First Season
Sharing the house with a 4 and a half year old means that you hear about ‘Trying new things’ a lot. Whatever those ‘new things’ are — be it a new vegetable, a new pair of shoes, a new TV show or movie — there’s also a very good chance that you’re going to hear a lot from the aforementioned 4 and a half year old about how much he ‘doesn’t like’ them. The very notion of something being ‘new’ is immediate grounds for it to be categorised as repugnant and warrants much hand flapping and avoidance. We use phrases like “Trying new things is how you get new favourites” a lot, but often when it comes time for me to drag something off the pile of DVDs I have set to review I — somewhat hypocritically — struggle to convince myself to try new things. I just about always lean towards the familiar: Sci-fi, or Horror, or at a stretch Sci-fi/horror, and often Animated shows. On the surface Adventure Time looks like it should be the kind of show that I would have gravitated to, but I missed the boat. Big Time. There wasn’t a whole lot of hand flapping, but there was avoidance.
It’s not a stretch to say that Adventure Time is one of those rare shows that went from not existing to having a cult following in what appeared to be an instant. The creation of animator Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time is a surreal Cartoon Network series which at first appears to be something for children, but on closer inspection is batshit insane. And I think that’s where my avoidance came in. For some reason, perhaps because Adventure Time seemed to resonate with the same kind of people who lost their minds over Charlie the Unicorn half a dozen years ago, I was actually turned off by the very idea of this show. Without knowing anything about it I had decided it was as repulsive as that piece of tomato that we tried to feed Mr 4.5 the other night. But lets face it, tomato is pretty awesome… so perhaps it was time for me to try something new too.
Set in the fantastical land of Ooo. Adventure Time follows the… well, Adventures of Finn the Human – a 14 year old boy – and Jake the dog. Jake is magical in the way that only animated things can be: He can change shape and size and seems to have (or not have) whatever ability that the episode requires him to (or not to) have. Owing much of it’s existence to videogames and classic Dungeons and Dragons influences the series sees Jake and Finn battling all manner of weird creatures and having misadventures which usually serve to reenforce the pair’s friendship. And that’s what makes this show so lovely.
Finn and Jake’s friendship is the where the heart of this show really is. Yes it’s as all whacky as a Cartoon Network show for Adults should be. And yes there’s a lot of adult concepts in there that you wouldn’t want your children to see, but there is very little in Adventure Time that is…well, ugly. As much as there are monsters and creatures filling the corners of every episode the show is as sweet as it is silly. There is a childlike innocence mashed together with some very questionable characters, but overall this is a very endearing series.
I’m glad that I eventually took the plunge with Adventure Time. I’m also glad that the philosophy of “Trying new things is how we find new favourites” is something that can still hold true into adulthood.