Friday, April 05, 2013

Lie Down. Try Not To Cry. Cry A Lot.

Adventure Time With Finn and Jake does a lot of things well. It has an eye-catching, surreal artisitc style. The characters are well-developed and the differences between them are non-trivial (which is less common than you might think for a cartoon). The plots are twisty and often twisted. Plus, singing! All of these elements are necessary for a cartoon to transcend the category of "children's programming" and become all-ages entertainment.

As I said, Adventure Time usually does these things well. Sometimes, however, it does these things AWESOMELY. For example, the two-part episode "I Remember You" and "Simon and Marcy." First, a little backstory - the Ice King is a comical despot who is constantly capturing princesses and trying to make them fall in love with him. He does have some magical powers, but in the end he's not an actual threat because all he really wants is friends. Marcelline is a female vampire musician, the epitome of cool. She drinks the color red (hey, it's a cartoon after all), has the ability to fly, and is well-known for her lyrical talent.

"I Remember You" begins with the Ice King trying to write a song to woo princeses with. He thinks he has a dark and tragic past to draw from, but he can't remember it. So he grabs an old journal and goes to Marcelline for help. At first she says no, but when Finn and Jake come to kick him out she tells them to let him stay. It turns out that the two have a history - one that started before the Ice King lost  his memory. They sing this song together:

OK, mind = blown. AND THEN we go into "Simon and Marcy" - Jake and Finn ask Marcelline why she allows the Ice King to hang around. She shrugs and says, 'I guess it's time I told somebody this story.' Flashback almost 1,000 years ago and open on a post-apocalyptic hellscape. A little girl with dark hair is crying, and a man with a backpack somes to her aid.

Before Marcelline was a vampire and before the Ice King became what he is, they were the lone survivors of the Mushroom War (obvious reference to 'mushroom clouds'). What follows is heart-breaking story in which Simon must don the crown of the Ice King to protect Marcy, but every time he puts it on HE GOES A LITTLE MORE INSANE. And at the end of her story, the Ice King looks at Marcelline and asks how it ends. She says, 'Simon never put the crown on again and they lived happily ever after.'

Check out new episodes Mondays at 7:30 pm on Cartoon Network. Or, if you remember the login information for your cable provider (yeah, right) you can watch episodes online - Adventure Time!

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