Ok, I’ll admit it. I am one of the very few people who have never seen Adventure Time before.
Not even a single scene from an episode. I was aware of the cartoon’s existence, mind you. I’ve seen my share of “yellow dog + generic human boy” memes while killing time on the net and I always made a mental note to “check that show out sometime”. But you know how it goes with mental notes, dear readers. Not long after you make them, they get buried under other mental notes. “Buy milk” is one of them, and “Clean cat’s litter box”. And so Adventure Time sank deeper and deeper in my mental to do pile, buried under mundane tasks.
A screener DVD found its way onto my desk. On it are two episodes of the show. I had no excuse anymore. I had to watch this show that received so much praise from my peers. It won an Emmy and a BAFTA! Expectations on high, I started the first episode.
Jake and Finn inspect an upcoming line of action figures…
“Puhoy” starts of with Jake and Finn taking shelter from a knifestorm (How frikkin’ cool is that? A storm made of knives!). To counter their boredom, Jake builds a pillow fort. Finn however, isn’t really in the mood for fortbuilding. He’s worried that his girlfriend dumped him on account of a joke he told her. He opts for some alone time and ventures into the (huge) pillowfort. Inside he finds a door that leads to an alternate dimension inhabited by pillow people. He saves these people from the pillow dragon but the doorway back home seems to have vanished. Stuck in this pillow dimension, Finn starts a quest to find the doorway back. Sounds like a regular, run-of-the-mill cartoon for kids, right?
Old Finn’s prosthetic pillow arm freaks me out a little…
Right. Only this particular episode shifts from its basic adventure story for kids into an alternate-reality story, the likes of which David Lynch would be jealous of. We see Finn growing older, marry a pillowgirl, have pillowkids, go on a quest for the doorway and discovering that true happiness lies with his pillowfamily. We see elderly Finn dying, surrounded by his beloved pillowfamily, only to find out the light at the end of the tunnel is a doorway back to the pillowfort and Jake. Back there, only a few hours seem to have passed. Finn is back to his thirteen year-old self, and his friends haven’t even noticed his absence.
I’m sold. I have a soft spot for scriptwriting of this level, and the added wackiness of the characters overall draws me in even more. I mean: pillow people, come on! Who thought of this stuff? It’s hilarious and slightly frightening at the same time. On to the next episode.
Since the whole screener DVD acts as a promo for the premiere of the Dutch version of the cartoon, the second episode is entirely dubbed in Dutch. I’ve never been a fan of dubbing and the whole second episode falls flat on its behind because of that. The Dutch voiceacting is just plain horrible. Some of the characters even become annoying. Jake’s gruff voice is kept gruff, but doesn’t sound natural at all. You can hear the actor acting out a gruff voice. Same goes for the princess. Just because she’s a small child, the voiceactor decided to use a really high thin voice. She succeeds in sounding not like a child at all, but more like a helium-addict.
The episode itself is also remarkably less inventive than the previous one. Finn and the princess are trying to get rid of an usurper by playing all kinds of childish pranks on him. It’s not bad, I can definately see kids get a kick out of this, but compared to the Lynchian madness of “Puhoy” it just falls short.
Middle-aged Finn (Also pictured: adorable pillow family)
I’m torn. On the one hand I really liked the show. The wackiness, the crazy characters, the drawing style,… Everything just clicked into place. But then the voiceacting and the noticeably lesser script of the second episode killed my buzz.
Will I watch it again? Probably. If I come across it while flipping channels. Provided there’s no Dutch to be heard.
That nightmarish helium voice of the Dutch princess still haunts me!