When I was a kid, I was the queen of cartoons. I watched everything from “The Powerpuff Girls” to “Dragon Ball Z.” As I have grown up, my love for cartoons has not faded. I have a little brother that is nine and a half years my junior, and he has given me a good excuse to keep watching cartoons frequently.
Nowadays, we have adult cartoons like “Family Guy” and “Archer” that are made for people like me by people like me who have also loved cartoons since they were able to watch television. Even children’s cartoons like “Adventure Time” and “Steven Universe” have recently become increasingly weird and have begun to incorporate very adult messages into their episodes.
These cartoons are being created by adults for kids — at least on the surface. If you pay close attention, however, you can see that most cartoons use childish metaphors for real happenings and hard lessons everyone has to learn in the adult world.
I am a ’90s baby, so I am automatically biased and favor the golden era of cartoons in the ’90s. And honestly, there are not that many well-done cartoons on TV screens today. Most lack an interesting plot, diverse character development and are just regurgitating tired story ideas. However, “Adventure Time” is setting a new bar for cartoons today, and can even compete with my old favorites from the ’90s.
“Adventure Time” first aired in 2010, which was right when “SpongeBob SquarePants” was starting to get really bad, and cartoon lovers everywhere desperately needed something better to watch. The show is about a boy named Finn and his magical dog named Jake that reside in the land of Ooo. They go on adventures together, usually for the ruler of Ooo, Princess Bubblegum. There are also many other characters involved in the shenanigans that take place.
First of all, “Adventure Time” makes adult jokes at every possible opportunity. For example, in the episode “Burning Low,” Jake explains to Finn the “tiers of dating,” which obviously describe first base, second base, etc. In “Marceline’s Closet,” Finn sees Marceline naked because he is hiding in her house without her knowing! Ice King acts like a rapist and captures princesses all the time. There are other jokes that insinuate things that maybe children should not hear, but these insinuations may be really funny to adults.
Some of the show’s episodes allude to the use of psychedelic drugs and passing through realms of time and space. These sorts of ideas are very abstract for children’s minds, but adults can enjoy them. One of the last episodes that aired recently in season seven, “The Hall of Egress,” is extremely trippy. Finn has to get through a mysterious cave by closing his eyes. Every time he carefully walks through it by reaching out his hands to feel the walls, he fails. However, when he runs through and follows his heart, he makes it out back to Jake. The episode “Bad Jubies” describes the way vibes around you can affect your personality and other’s feelings. I remember one episode in which Finn literally meets “Glob,” and another in which he talks to the essence of the universe after he defeats Orgalorg in space.
“Adventure Time” uses many metaphors and comparisons for real life trials and tribulations. For example, when Princess Bubblegum gets voted out of office and replaced by the King of Ooo, things start turning for the worst because the King of Ooo does not care about the environment or the wants of the people. This is a great metaphor for what is happening in the United States today.
“Adventure Time” is not just for children. If you pay close enough attention, you can enjoy it as much as you enjoyed other cartoons when you were a kid!
Published by Odyssey Online on Mar. 21, 2016