Monday, May 12, 2014

The Beauty of Adventure Time

The most recent episode called Sad Face. 
Hi everyone! I'm really pleased to see this section of my blog take off. I am such a dedicated fan of Adventure Time and I'd love to share all that joy and enthusiasm for the show. This show is so random yet full of moving and touching messages that aren't found in contemporary TV. I was watching some Gossip Girl and I just see the worst side of human nature. In Adventure Time, I see characters growing up and facing real problems in an abstract and lovely, fantasy world. I won't describe the whole backstory of Adventure Time today but just join in my own analysis of why this episode was so particularly moving and sweet. I wasn't expecting that from one of the filler episodes but this episode really raised the bar for future eps.

Adventure Time has cycles of filler episodes and the episodes that continue on the story. In the first season, there was absolutely no story. As time went on, story arcs developed and the main one revolves around Finn's romantic endeavours and the backstory of Marceline and Ice King. For those of you who know nothing about Adventure Time, Finn is the only human in a post apocalyptic world. Jake is his dog/brother. When Finn was abandoned by his father (WHO IS A EVIL SCUMBAG), Jake's dad adopted him. Princess Bubblegum is the ruler of the Candy Kingdom and Marceline is the Vampire Queen. Ice King is the antagonist who has become more of an understandable character with the most tragic backstory. It sounds crazy and complicated but I hope this encourages you to start watching or at least read a little bit about it. Season 5 blew me away and season 6 has been very strong so far.

The episode Sad Face revolves around Jake and his tail. I was surprised that this was the episode that moved me almost to tears and that propelled me to write this post instead of one of the supposedly deeper story episodes (this season is all about Finn and his scumbag dad).

Blue Nose (nickname for Jake's tail) goes off in the night once a month to join a circus run by bugs. He is an artsy guy who loves to think and ponder and almost reminds me of Wes Anderson. The bugs in the audience don't understand his perceptive humor that requires some thought and he gets booed off the stage. The manager bug says: We talked about this. Less artsy, more fartsy. I felt so sad at this moment. So many times in life, people have to give up what they want in order to cater to the masses that don't appreciate reading between the lines. The main act of the circus revolves around Goralina the chipmunk. Compared to bugs, Goralina is huge. The bug ringmasters whip her and the masses laugh at her abuse. Blue Nose can't stand it and Goralina impulsively swallows a bunch of the bugs in the crowd. Blue Nose has no choice but to hypnotize Goralina in order for other bugs to beat her up and release the crowd.

Blue Nose goes to the manager's office after the first part of the show. The manager says that Goralina must stay despite her unhappiness because of the money she brings in. This was another sad point of this ep. It accurately depicts how people are tied down to money. When people tell me they just want "to make bank" or they do something purely to make some cash, I just can't really respect that. I find it so admirable to find someone who wants to change the world or do art or solve math equations out of love. Maybe it's too idealistic and naive, but I never want to let money rule my life. I was at an orchestra concert and it was really moving to see how much soul people put into music and their obvious love for it. It almost made me want to get married to someone in the philharmonic and live a happy little existence in New York City hehe.

Anyways back to Adventure Time. Goralina is in a cage after the first act with a black eye. There is a sign that says: do not feed the monster. Stirrings of Frankenstein's creature were vivid in my brain. Goralina isn't a monster at all but is made out to be one. There is a point where human (or chipmunk I guess) stamina and morale can be so broken where the capacity to be decent no longer exists. The only time Blue Nose smiles is when he gives Goralina the food he packed.

Blue Nose promises to make that much money (3 pennies) if Goralina can be released. Blue Nose gives up his artsy humor and appeals to the masses. He uses fart jokes and breaks things and the crowd loves it. It makes me so sad to see people "dumbing" themselves down to make money. 3 pennies is so little but to the bug manager, it's everything. When we leave this earth, when we're on our deathbed, money can't save you. Why be tied down to money in your good years? Why continue doing something you hate because it makes money?

I understand that a basic level of money is necessary to live, eat, and survive. But after that basic level is met, I don't understand the need to have so much money to the point where you don't even know how to use it. Believe me, I'm materialistic too. I love Kate Spade and the smell of new rainboots and shoeboxes. But that kind of material happiness fades away so quickly. Setting your goals as "buy a new bag" or "buy a new car" don't fulfill the heart in the same way "spend time with grandma" or "laugh twice a day" or "talk to a stranger in a coffee shop" do.

He gets like 5 pennies and the manager is overjoyed but decides not to release Goralina. Blue Nose goes crazy and he and Goralina make a run for it. Now Jake is a dog that can stretch his body out to any shape or proportion. The beefy bugs and the manager catch Blue Nose while Goralina escapes. This was another moment that tugged at my heartstrings. He was just trying so hard to help her but in the end, gets caught and beat up. He takes the fall for her and it was the same feeling that came over me when I was reading how Gatsby takes the fall for Daisy. There's just that unconditional love and appreciation. In the morning, Jake wakes up to find a little hat and blue and white paint on his tail. The adventures of the night disappear into nothingness.

In such a simple episode with a silly premise, I felt so touched. Adventure Time is remarkable in its ability to tell a story in an unconventional way. I have high hopes for the next episode. I will definitely not lower the bar for "filler" episodes.

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