I remember way back in the day when Adventure Time was nothing more than a sample Nicktoon of 7 minutes or so. Yep, that’s right, Adventure Time was originally a Nickelodeon product. But because the execs at Nick were a bunch of patoots and couldn’t see the potential in the short, it was Cartoon Network that gobbled the goodness up.
And is anyone really surprised it’s Cartoon Network that took a chance on Adventure Time? If there’s one thing I really miss not having cable, it’s the Food Network. But an almost tie would have to be Cartoon Network. Shoot, I remember when CN was just a fledgling network too. Good times…
Anyway, back to Adventure Time. What is it about? From IMDB.com
A human boy and his brother – a magical dog – set out to become righteous adventurers in the Land of Ooo.
To be honest, this show is very absurdist in its approach to plot—a bit like the Simpsons. But having been a film school kiddie, the thing is you start to feel like you’ve seen everything, so something like Adventure Time comes as a breath of fresh air. I like the absurdism because life generally doesn’t make much sense either, at least while you’re in the middle of living it.
To give you another reference, it’s kind of like the kiddie version of Napoleon Dynamite style humor. Stuff just happens, often in strange or unexpected ways. Of course for Finn and Jake, it’s far more adventurous.
A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a show about “nothing” so to speak. Can you tell me what exactly Seinfeld is about other than the random lives of four friends?
So what is it about Adventure Time that makes it work? I think each episode has its main plot, but what keeps me coming back is clever writing coupled with lots of subplots. Will Finn and Bubblegum ever become boyfriend and girlfriend? Will we get to know about Finn’s and Jake’s origins? What about the Ice King? Will he ever find a lady? And so on and so on.
It probably works well for our more ADD society too. I think of the show Chuck, too, the plot of which I thought was mediocre, but mostly I watched it for pop culture references and to see what trouble Chuck and his pal Morgan got into. It’s non-traditional story telling in some ways, but since we’re a society currently saturated in story, it seems only natural these kinds of stories would surface.
DOES IT WORK IN NOVEL WRITING?
Good question. I think a novel of this sort would be tougher to write than a show or movie. Although it may tend to go more existential when it comes to novels (this isn’t a novel, but I tend to think of Waiting for Godot.) What do you all think? Could a story structure similar to Adventure Time work in novel form? I’m thinking maybe if it was a set of novellas. I think it could certainly work for comics and graphic novels.
WHY WATCH IT AT ALL?
I always go back to a quote by Ray Bradbury I’ve posted a few times before, and because I love it, here it is again:
If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.
Watch and read things a little outside of your comfort zone if only to fill up your Old Faithful. We may never write an Adventure Time-like story, but it provides inspiration in ways we don’t expect.
And it’s a lot of fun.
DVD COVER ART
I always appreciate good cover art and design. Take a look at what you get with this purchase.
I love how as you sort of peel back each layer you get deeper and deeper inside. Hilarious!
Also included on the DVD is the “music video” with live action people doing an Adventure Time rumble, and a couple other featurettes. It’s a shame the original pilot wasn’t included on the disc (which you should watch. Finn was Penn and the Rainicorn didn’t speak Korean back then). I’m sure Nickelodeon is holding onto the rights like a big patoot.
Why do I like Adventure Time? There’s a lot of humor in the writing. I like that it’s random and it doesn’t always have to make sense. I really like the characters and think they’re well written. And, for me, it’s something more unique than what I’ve seen which is refreshing. I recommend it, even if only for the sake of inspiration.
What do you think? Do you like Adventure Time? Do you think an Adventure Time-like novel works? Have you read any novels structured like that but really work? Or maybe failed miserably? Or do you hate this kind of story telling? Tell me your thoughts below.