Monday, March 3, 2014
Tonight's episode was a little bit... Weird. Even by Adventure Time standards. Spoilers to follow.
All right, I'm going to be up front about this, I do not like Lumpy Space Princess. I have no fondness for her whatsoever. I think she is an obnoxious character to watch, and I understand that's the point, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't like watching her. I'm sorry, I know she has her fans, I'm just definitely not one of them.
That said, while tonight's episode was an LSP-centric one, this was by no means a bad episode. In fact, it was a good example of the increasingly dark tone Adventure Time has been developing over time.
The first thing you'll notice about "Bad Timing" is the bizarre border onscreen during the episode's duration.
I honestly have no idea what to make of this. I'll touch on it again in a bit.
The episode opens with Finn and Jake (again, bit parts this week, but I didn't mind since they really took up very little screen time beyond a callback to last week's episode) and several other Candy Kingdom residents watching as Princess Bubblegum unveils her latest invention, a psuedo time-travel device which scans the molecules within it, and then rearranges them to a previous state... Or something. The end result is that everything in the time bubble is reset to a previous state (ignoring the horrifying screams of the test creatures which were being disintegrated).
Jake argues that this isn't really time travel (and that Ice King did it better last week), but Bubblegum tells him that for all intents and purposes, it still works like one. It's at this point LSP, who had been lurking outside a window, comes in and starts flipping out, telling Bubblegum that she needs to reset time back to a time when Brad still loved her. PB tells her that's not how the machine works, and LSP flips out, screaming that PB is a tramp who doesn't know what it's like since everyone in the Candy Kingdom loves her. All right, all right, she doesn't use the word tramp, she says... I don't know, but it sure did sound like tramp.
Any way, LSP gets depressed, and heads to a bar. While presumably trying to get drunk, LSP runs into an old High School classmate, who she once called Ugly Johnny.
LSP has discovered that Ugly Johnny is no longer Ugly, and starts flirting with him. She asks what he's doing in town, and he tells her he has some sort of business meeting with Princess Bubblegum, where he's trying to sell to her. She asks where he's staying, and he says that he's subletting an apartment. "Talk is cheap, Johnny. You should take me there."
You know... Sometimes I really wonder whether Adventure Time was originally intended to be an Adult Swim show, before getting knocked down into "kids" programming.
Any way, the two hit it off, and LSP spends the night at Brad's house... On the couch.
The next morning we totally get a one-night-stand fakeout, before revealing that LSP was there after all. Looks like she's got a new boyfriend! Awwww.
Johnny heads off to his business meeting with PB, which he nails because of the "good vibes" LSP was sending him. (I'd make a joke that she was sexting him, but there's enough actually innuendo in this episode that I reeeeally don't need to add any.) Johnny and PB set up a dinner meeting to hammer out the details... But when LSP finds out she isn't invited, she snaps.
Johnny heads to his business meeting, only for LSP to STRIKE!
And by strike, I don't mean anything cutesy, I mean she throws a molotov into a window of the palace, and sends a truck speeding through the front door. Princess Bubblegum tells Johnny that she's off to defend the castle, and that he should hide under the table, and chew the cyanide-laced gum stuck to the bottom if he hears anyone come near.
That's not a joke. That's a scene that really happens.
While Princess Bubblegum is distracted, LSP bursts into the dinner room with the time-travel device from earlier, having completely snapped, and tells Johnny that she's going to transport him back in time to a point where he still loved her, so they could have another chance. Before he can react, she shoves the device onto his head, and disintegrates it, before doing the same with his body.
LSP rushes back to Johnny's house to search for him, only to find that he's not there. Princess Bubblegum shows up again, and tells her that she used the device improperly, and that his molecules were merely torn apart and never reassembled. LSP asks where Johnny went, and Princess Bubblegum tells her that she just doesn't know.
Jeez. That's dark.
It does get a little better. I missed this myself, but browsing the Adventure Time subreddit I learned that apparently once disintegrated, Johnny does reappear in the border surrounding the screen. So, that's the purpose that served, I guess.
I liked a lot about this episode. I loved the ethically void route they've been taking with Princess Bubblegum lately, and the cyanide gum might be one of my favorite gags ever.
Despite being an LSP hater, she was totally tolerable this episode, and watching her become the kids show version of an axe murderer was a lot of fun.
The adult jokes in the episode were pretty funny in a "how is a Cartoon Network series getting away with an episode where a character says something very similiar to "tramp" and "skank," goes to a bar, and then has a drunken one night stand?" kind of way.
I hated that border. It served very little purpose, and I would much have preferred the even darker ending which left Johnny's fate ambiguous, with implied death. I have no idea whether this strange world filled with flat creatures will show up again, maybe we'll see more of Johnny, but I thought the border was a gimmick which detracted a lot more than it added.
Monday, February 24, 2014
So, I just finished watching tonight's Adventure Time episode "Betty." THAT HAPPENED. Totally mathematical spoilers incoming.
Jeez, that was a lot of stuff to process. Let's do a little recap of the episode, shall we? So, the episode opens in Wizard City with the wizards involved with some sort of mysterious ritual which has been going on in the background for, like, ever, finally performing the ritual... Summoning an ancient evil called Bella Noche.
So the summoning ritual takes place right as Ice King shows up to try and be included in the wizard stuff happening, and Bella Noche is freed, only to reveal itself as a creature of anti-magic, who absorbs (or negates?) all the magic in the area... Including the Ice King's crown.
As a result...
Yeah, Simon is totally back. So Simon escapes Bella Noche as he begins destroying Wizard City, and heads back to the Ice Kingdom via a magic carpet he stole from Marceline's Ex, Ash. Once he gets back to the Ice Kingdom, he not only reveals another room behind the room of repressed memories (or whatever Ice King called it back in "I Remember You") but calls Marceline up and tells her to bring Hambo.
We get a little bit of flashback filling in any new viewers about the Simon and Marcy dynamic, and then we get treated to Marceline (who was wearing the very same outfit she wore as a child) and Finn and Jake (who do nothing in this episode, not sure why they're even here) travelling to a now melting Ice Kingdom, where we finally get a heartwarming reunion between Simon and Marcy.
...Which is then interrupted by the information that SIMON IS DYING. YEAH.
Luckily, it turns out that Simon just happens to have created a time machine which he can use (by consuming Hambo, which provides a link to the past) to create a portal to say one last goodbye, and apologize to Betty
...And then Betty jumps through the time portal, into the land of Ooo. And then Simon collapses. Betty decides that the only course of action is to destroy Bella Noche, fix the crown, and return Simon to being the Ice King until she can find a method to return him to normal and keep him alive. She pulls him onto the carpet, much to his protestations, and flies all the way back to Bella Noche. (Notice how I didn't mention Finn and Jake doing anything this episode? That's because they do nothing this episode.)
...And then she manages to do what no one else could do, jumps right on into the protective shell Bella Noche has going on, punches out the anti-wizard inside.
The whole thing explodes restoring the magic to everyone in Wizard City, and healing Simon... As the Ice King.
The episode ends with Ice King talking to (a kidnapped) Muscle Princess, telling her that the girl of his dreams saved him during his blackout day... Only to be lost as a casualty of Bella Noche's destruction.
AND THEN WE ZOOM OUT AND BETTY IS TOTALLY STILL ALIVE AND SHE FLIES OFF!
...And all of that (plus a bunch of jokes which I didn't even mention, including a subplot involving Death following Simon) happened in 11 minutes.
Look, I really like Adventure Time, I've really come around on it, and they do some absolutely excellent work within the (admittedly difficult) 11 minute format. I can name half a dozen episodes which workextremely well within that restrained time, including the past two Simon episodes, "I Remember You," and "Simon and Marcy," as well as the excellent recent episode "Blade of Grass."
Unfortunately... This just isn't an example of that. This really should have been decompressed into multiple episodes, even if they took up an entire season (as Adventure Time often does).
As it stands... It's just too much stuff packed into the format, and it feels like a lot of things don't get the gravity they should. Simon and Marceline being reunited really should have been its own episode, and as it is, the way they just glaze over what should be the most powerful reunion the show has ever had really bothered me. Marceline is really just a supporting character in this episode, and that just isn't right.
I know Adventure Time rarely does two parters (although Holly Jolly Secrets Pt. 1&2, Incendium/Hot to the Touch, and The Lich/Finn the Human/Jake the Dog has proved they aren't opposed to the idea), but even if this were stretched over multiple episodes in a season, and had Simon just in the show in the background in some capacity, that would have been better.
The Adventure Time fan in me really loved seeing a lot of the stuff which happens in this episode, and Betty being introduced as a real agent in the story is really exciting, but I felt burned by the lack of focus, and the way the episode simply has to keep moving because of the amount of content packed into it.
Still, even with that complaint, this was a really fun episode as a fan of the series. We got to see a lot of stuff from previous episodes finally pay off, and it's left us with some interesting places to go in the future. I'm really excited to see where they eventually take this all.
(Screengrabs taken from the Adventure Time wiki.)