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Dec 142011

When I look at the Adventure Timepage on my Cartoon Network app, it shows the last six episodes. It’s hard to forget how dark they were. Finn’s broke his legs, Jake experienced dementia, a “croak dream” predicting his own death, and was poisoned repeatedly by a tiny feline assassin. The holiday specials were less grim, but still barren of conventional action or plotting. Either could have been directed by Jarmusch in 1995.

The new episode converges the dark with the minimal. Finn and Jake arrive at Marceline’s for a jam session without the whole band (no Bubblegum or Beemo). Finn holds an untied, blown-up balloon he considers the future of music. He qualifies that point with an excellent song that includes one of the best hooks of the year: “Shake your extremities.”

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Dec 082011

“No recap the day after Adventure Time aired a two-part Christmas-ish episode?” millions of readers exclaimed at some point Tuesday evening. Most of the major papers covered it. Rick Perry was so frustrated he showed his true colors.

I was working. Your shock is very convincing. Did you study Meisner? Are you my mom? Either way, it’s true: sometimes even an AT recapper/Nerdmelt intern needs to earn some lettuce. You might be thinking, “but what was he working on that could possibly be more important than 21 minutes of Finn and Jake being kind of bored with the Ice King’s video diaries?” Let me tell you.

(“I hope he doesn’t tell us,” everyone thinks.)

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Nov 292011

My Thanksgiving involved more mortality-talk than normal. That’s what happens as everyone gets older, our expectations for others elapse into a panic that no one will live the lives we hoped they might. My grandma, who will be 80 in January, let my sister and I know that she’d “knit baby blankets for us… just in case.” They’re in the top shelf of some closet, where she can’t see them. You know, just in case something really depressing happens, like she passes on or I have a kid. Both alarming.

Thankfully, Adventure Time brandished a genius Thanksgiving special that took the holiday out of the awkward family dining room and reminded us there’s an entire magical world out there to believe in, experience, and get to know. It did this by following two characters that haven’t appeared on the show before. Television is selfish in a way; we demand soaring exploits from the same characters week in and out. Only one kids-ish show could neatly take the piss out of the way every audience in the world behaves on holiday in which we’re all meant to confront “what we’re grateful for” as though we haven’t done that at all for a whole year. It’s Adventure Time!

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Nov 232011

No show kills a doorman quite like Adventure Time. Pen Ward and co. can’t animate the murder because it’s a kids show, but they can intimate it happened for laughs. The most reliable way to do this involves plying Finn and Jake with home cooking. As with “Tree Trunks” missing apples, we arrive in the Berry Kingdom, where Wild Berry Princess serves piping hot pies before revealing an assassin’s note, “stabbed to my door… man.” LOL, etc.

This episode can’t top the darkness of last weeks “No One Can Hear You,” but it’s not for lack of trying. Wild Berry Princess, bordering on radioactive levels of cuteness with a tiny crown sitting like an eensy-thimble on her stem, loves to cook. Meat. She loves to cook thick, raw slabs of meat. Her berry-bush castle is full of big game carcasses: cows, a hammerhead shark, a pig, some Hemingway-sized fish. In the kitchen giant hocks of mammal hang on hooks, while links of fresh-packed sausage drape from the ceiling like soon-to-be-ubiquitous Christmas lights. There’s a bone saw on the wall, an axe near the door, and a chainsaw on the floor. Oh, and a guillotine!

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