Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world. It is rich with moments of tenderness and confusion, and real terror and grief even; moments sometimes more resonant and elementally powerful than you experience in a good novel, though much of Adventure Time’s emotional force is visually evoked—conveyed through a language of seeing and feeling rather than words.
I’ve waited six seasons for the narrow world of the “chattering class" to catch up to the Frederator/CN production of Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time. And though our friends at Cartoon Network appreciated the show enough to put it on their network, they never really understood that AT is, frame for frame, one of the truly great shows on television.
Of course I’m biased, and a complete soft touch, but which of the “big” modern dramas accomplishes their depth without having a completely unredeemable hero. Adventure Time is easily the equal of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Justified, and the others, but Finn, its star, is a kind, generous, happy man/boy. Just like his creator.
Emily Nussbaum in today’s New Yorker totally understands what you already know: “It’s beautiful and funny and stupid and smart, in about equal parts, as well as willing to explore uneasy existential questions, like what it means to go on when the story you’re in has ended.”