Dear Adulthood/Maturity,

I understand that we have never really gotten off on the right foot. You think that I am immature and childish. I think that you are a terrible inevitability and the sign of all the horrible things in life. I know that you take immense pleasure in looking down on my enjoyment of cartoons. Well, my old adversary, I am more than willing to defend my dedication to the animated craft. In fact, I need but one example to shut you up. I am of course talking about Adventure Time.

Now, of course you must be scoffing and saying something along the lines of “The cartoon for kids about a magic dog and kid, where they go off on silly adventures and make up words? Yeah, okay.” But in doing so my closed-minded nemesis, you are missing out on the broader scope of the show. It’s not just a cartoon aimed at kids; it’s an imaginative wonderland where pretty much anything can happen. It creates a world where adults can sympathize with the characters and see themes that are going to be over the heads of the kiddies. Adventure Time has wonderful storytelling, where any of the stories can be funny, cynical, tense, romantic, and yeah, a whole helluva a lot weird.

In 15 minutes, the writers and animators take the audience on a journey to a post-apocalyptic world where magic is beginning to resurface. Yes, post-apocalyptic, the show’s creator has confirmed this. And any eagle eyed viewer could pick up on the many visual clues that are laid throughout the series, such as the bombs in the opening credits, the cities underwater in certain episodes, and other goodies. The show never comes out and says that it is set in such a world; rather it lets the audience figure that out for themselves. This is but the theme of the show. Keeping some of the mystery of how this world came into being, or how Finn (the protagonist) is the last human, is all part of the show looking forward and only addressing the past when it helps create a cool story.

Also, the amount of character development that the show is able to achieve in 15 minutes is incredible. Yes, we have a magic dog and a human boy being silly cartoon characters. But it becomes evident in these 15-minute tales, that there is much more depth to them as characters than perhaps is evident in some of your more (much longer) adult shows. Take a look at your many crime drama procedurals. How quickly can you typecast any of the characters on the show? Gritty, tough street cop with a heart of gold? A detective that’s haunted by a past case? Yeah, even the good ones—not that there are many—have characters that fall into these categories. Or take a look at how many goddamned monster/fairy tale shows and movies have spun out of the inexplicable popularity of Twilight. All the characters are pretty much the same in those shows. My guess? It is because adults are predictable in what they want to see, where children are more accepting and willing to take risks with imaginative mediums (yay, for overarching, generalizing, subjective statements!).

I could go on lauding the achievements of Adventure Time, but I think my point is clear. Therefore, you may mock me or even look at me as if I am a fool. I will still enjoy the adventures of Jake the Dog and Finn the Human. Because I can.



About BentleyWritingCenter

This is the official blog of the Bentley University Writing Center staff.
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