Adventure Time is Cartoon Network's jewel in the crown, its fan-base is ever-growing — particularly amongst adult and teenagers — even though it's on a kid's channel. At its best, an episode can gain over three million viewers. The show itself is praised by critics and has won four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody. Not bad for a hand-drawn cartoon that originally started as a viral short.
Due to it's popularity, more and more of the show is working it's way into pop culture. It's highly quotable, and the characters can be seen on everything from clothing to stationary. Despite being one of the biggest kid's television shows ever, a lot of the content can be a tad inappropriate for young viewers. Maybe that's what draws the older audience in? We get the perfect mix of cartoon animation, combined with sexual innuendo and explicit jokes. As a bonus, the show itself could be construed as one giant acid trip too.
There's no denying Adventure Time is fantastic, but is it really suitable for children? For those of you who haven't taken a trip with Jake and Finn, gaze your eyes upon this:
Zombies and all the sass. That's definitely not Sesame Street. Let's take a look at all the other times Adventure Time was not just child's play.
1. Lumpy Space Princess - a.k.a The Sexual Predator
She is the sassiest blob you'll ever come across, which is why we love her so much. LSP works her lumps to her advantage and has no problem taking a bitch down. She's basically Kim Kardashian, but with better comedic timing.
Lumpy Space Princess is a real femme fatale and is always looking out for her next squeeze, especially if he's a nice king. If she were human, she'd probably be a Real Housewife. "Lump off" is definitely Space Princess talk for f**k off and boy does she love to tell people to lump off.
Check out her best bits below, you'll be quoting her for the rest of the day:
"These lumps, but you can't cause you're a chump", these could arguably be Britney lyrics!
There is the fear that children will see this character and think it's okay to be completely rude toward other people as long as it's for personal gain. What if we're creating a generation of knee high, sassy divas? We're all for the body positivity but using your lumps to snare a king, might not be a message we want passing on.
2. Jake - a.k.a The Drug Mule
Jake is a dog who has the ability to stretch and shape himself into anything. He's unusually chill and often comes out with profound life lessons. This dog is definitely taking something. He races between emotions in a matter of seconds and is obsessed by sandwiches and his bed, veering into stoner territory. His other worldly powers are trippy at best, and often takes his human pal, Finn along for the ride. Not only is he dabbling in some form of hallucinogenics, but he's enabling young Finn too.
So very strange, it's The Magic Roundabout for the new millennium.
Children would be unaware of any drug references, of course, but adults and teens are definitely picking up on this buzzed vibe. Maybe we're reading to much into this and the innocence of children's minds are far more open to the Adventure World than ours are?
3. Ice King - a.k.a The Manic Depressive
Ice King is both the antagonist and sometimes ally of Finn and Jake. He floats in-between depression and sheer insanity. His crown is reportedly to blame for his madness but what it fails to explain is his love of kidnapping princesses and forcing them into marriage. Check out this beyond creepy scene below:
How about no! It's like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes all over again, leave her alone!
Ice King often falls into fits of rage or is left reduced to a crying shell of a man on the floor of his desolate castle. It's all very real, especially when he stares at the mirror and breaks down at the sight of his own reflection.
These manic episodes could be quite disturbing for a child, on the other hand they may enjoy the villain being sad. There's no denying Ice King is suffering from mental health problems which manifests itself in abduction. Maybe all he needs is someone to love? Or am I just projecting?
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4. Princess Bubblegum - a.k.a The Utilitarianian Dictator
Princess Bubblegum is your archetypal cartoon princess, sweet, kind hearted, pink and well, made of candy. You would think she'd make the perfect role model, but there is a philosophical demon lying inside of her.
Princess Bubblegum has strict utilitarian beliefs, she has no issue punishing others for acting against "the rules." She seeks out a higher quality of pleasure, even if it means there shall be some pain along the way for others, as she believes what she's doing is for the best. She loves to spy on those she rules over in order to control their behavior. In her opinion, every little action has a big reaction, and boy, is she bossy about it. Beware Dictator Bubblegum!
She's essentially Dolores Umbridge. She thinks her actions are justified, but in fact she's causing more hurt than happiness, maybe there's something to be said about an all pink outfit on a tyrant?
Will Princess Bubblegum cause kindergartens to be over-run with little dictators or is this a life lesson worth learning? Admittedly we do love that even though she is very pink and princess-y, she loves to learn and is very into science. Looks and brains, not too shabby at all, Princess.
Adventure Time is wonderful TV watching and the show clearly speaks to millions of people of all ages. Taking a deeper look at the show has found some very adult themes running throughout it including, sexual dominance, mental health, drug use and questionable philosophical beliefs.
Perhaps that's why children respond so well to the show, they're not being babied. Adventure Time isn't condescending and they are being presented with deep and gripping content, in a child-like world of imagination. It could be the perfect formula, learning without knowing it, challenging their young minds while watching TV. That or, I really need to stop soul searching in children's TV and just enjoy it for what it is.