Goodbye Adventure Time

phillysports
I was an 11-year-old kid in the fifth grade in elementary school. I was a pretty shy and quiet kid at that age, but I still managed to have fun and have a happy childhood spending time with my family and all of my cousins. I did the normal things that a boy of that age would do like playing whiffle ball with my brother, playing for my local rec's baseball and soccer teams, playing Mario games on the Wii, you know that sort of thing. However, during that time my family was going through a transitional period in our lives. My brother, sister, and I seemed to be growing exponentially, and my parents' starter home seemed to shrink with each passing day. It was soon decided that we would be moving to a larger house in a different neighborhood, and I had an influx of different emotions. I had so many precious memories at our old house, but at the same time I was old enough to understand the situation and was cautiously optimistic for our future. Besides, when you're a kid, stuff like coming home to watch cartoons felt like the only thing that mattered, so I didn't dwell on it too much. Even at that young age, animation in the media really had a personal connection with me. I always gravitated towards it because I felt like I could leave the current world I was living in and travel to different worlds that I could never possibly dream of. When I was younger, my siblings and I would watch movies like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Shrek 1 & 2, the first Ice Age, and Toy Story 1 & 2 on repeat. However, with television it was a much different story. I always loved watching Nickelodeon and knew basically every line from old episodes of SpongeBob but even by that point I knew the show wasn't as good as once was. My mom didn't really let me watch Cartoon Network growing up for some undefined reason, so I never had the full experience of watching legendary Cartoon Cartoons like Ed, Edd, n Eddy, The Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter's Laboratory. I remember the first two CN shows I routinely watched and followed were Chowder and the Total Drama series, both of which I maintain strong appreciation for to this day. Little did I know was at that time Cartoon Network was going through its infamous Dark Age period with lackluster original programming, tons of imported shows that greatly varied in quality, and even live-action shows that were all terrible in hindsight. This went on for a while until one day I saw a commercial for a new show that was set to air in the spring of 2010, and my media-consuming life would never quite be the same.

The oldest memory I can recall of Adventure Time was the image of a live-action kid running around in a white bear hat, a light blue T-shirt, and a green backpack asking people on the street over and over again: "WHAT TIME IS IT? WHAT TIME IS IT? WHAT TIME IS IT?" I didn't know what I thought of it at the time, but it definitely caught my attention and I was immediately intrigued by the upcoming series. As the months went on through the winter, more promos and quick clips of the show began to appear during commercials. There was one series of clips that had short little songs introducing the show's characters called "Finn Time", "Jake Time", and "Ice King Time". Another early promo that stuck in my mind gave a sense of the show's setting with badass text and editing that made the show look like an epic action/adventure story that took place in a faraway land. It began with Finn's iconic belt of "What time is it?" and concluded with his equally famous line of "ADVENTURE TIME!" At this point, I knew that I needed to watch this show when it eventually came out. After some sneak previews of future episodes, I was ready for the show to come on after months of anticipation. After a whirlwind of emotions, my family and I had moved into our new house and I was looking for something to help break me into the new environment. So on Monday night on April 5th, 2010, my little brother, my little sister, and I sat down in our new living room and watched the two-episode premiere of the show that we had been waiting to watch for the longest time.

I don't think I have ever had an instant love and connection with a TV show like I did when I watched "Slumber Party Panic" and "Trouble in Lumpy Space" back-to-back for the first time ever that night. After watching the first two episodes, Adventure Time had become my favorite show, and that's not an exaggeration. The show seemed to hit a place in my developing prepubescent imagination that latched onto me immediately. Throughout my entire life at that point, I always wanted to see a show like this. I always wanted to see a show that took place in a wild and crazy fantasy world that starred crazy and cool characters that I could relate with and involved them going on wild adventures on a weekly basis. The show also made me feel like I was getting older, because I had never really watched a show that routinely said words like "frickin'" and "sucks" like this show did. Adventure Time had given me exactly what I wanted with the first handful of episodes in its first season, and it earned a fan in me for life. As time went on, CN would make mini trailers for each new episode that would premiere later that week. I have plenty of memories of anticipating each new episode throughout the week and impatiently waiting until 7:30 on Thursday nights to watch the new episodes live with my younger siblings. The show had immediately found a place in my heart and mind.

As I was watching Adventure Time more and more, I started picking up certain elements of the show's lore and background and how the show itself was evolving over time. When the show first began, it was a silly action-comedy that was effortlessly entertaining and didn't demand that much from the audience. It was perfect for my young abstract imagination. However, as time went on, the show began to change and develop ever so slightly. More characters like Marceline the Vampire Queen and BMO started to be introduced and the show began to subtly reveal information about the background of the setting and character backstories. I gained the knowledge that the show was taking place a thousand years after a nuclear war on planet Earth and that Finn was supposedly the only human living in Ooo. I started to notice an underlying sense of darkness and tragedy that lied behind the show's goofy and fun-filled exterior. By the time the Season 2 finale "Mortal Folly/Mortal Recoil" aired, I saw the show as more than just a simple crazy comedy that was fun, mindless entertainment. I saw it as having methods to its madness, and that is was actually a beautiful series that chronicled life after tragedy and how all these strange but lovable characters developed over time in this strange world of the future. I was completely hooked. I started to ask myself questions like: What happened to this universe that made it so bizarre and awesome? Is Finn really the last human in Ooo? Does Marceline know Princess Bubblegum and Ice King? Where/who are Finn's biological parents? How did Jake get his magical stretching powers? The show had me curious because I had never really watched a full-out fantasy cartoon with overarching plots and continuity, and I was always imagining what happened in the show's past and what wild things would eventually happen next. And tons of things WOULD happen next. Finn and Jake would have to defeat the antagonistic Lich on multiple occasions, it was revealed that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum had a past friendship (as much as we knew at the time), Ice King was revealed to be a kind-hearted human named Simon Petrikov who was cursed by his crown, PB reverted to 13 years old and then back to 18, and Finn found himself a new girlfriend in Flame Princess.

After a good five years of following the show, I noticed that the show's popularity was waning. The show's fifth and sixth seasons had many questionable decisions and more episodes felt more and more like useless filler. My siblings had stopped watching the show and moved onto other things, but I definitely continued to watch for further developments. After all, I had grown up with the show and the show in a real sense had grown up with me. One crucial element about Adventure Time that separates it from other cartoons is that many of the characters get older over the course of the series. Many cartoons such as The Simpsons, The Fairly OddParents, and South Park make the creative decision to not age their characters to keep in a certain frame of storytelling. In Adventure Time, mortal characters age over the course of the show's events. Finn was 12 when the show began and he was 17 when the show concluded, meaning the present events of the show happened over the course of five years in the show's universe. And being someone who was age 11 to 19 during Adventure Time's run, it was such a great experience to grow up and experience puberty alongside Finn. As time went along, I eventually saw the show pick itself out of its seasonal rot and returned to being the show I know and loved. The show had three separate awesome miniseries with "Stakes", "Islands", and "Elements". "Stakes" is a Kill Bill-esque vampire hunting story that simultaneously explores the past, present, and future of the show's most complex and lovable character of Marceline. "Islands" has Finn, Jake, BMO, and fellow human Susan Strong travel away from the continent of Ooo in order to discover what happened to all the humans and to unearth the truth about Finn's past. It also happens to be the greatest form of Adventure Time media ever, in my opinion. And "Elements" involves Finn, Jake, and BMO returning to Ooo only to find the land and their friends to be in a state of apocalyptic chaos. With these stories continuing to develop these fantastic characters and giving insight to lots of the questions I had since the very beginning of the series, it suddenly dawned on me that the most iconic show of my adolescence was ending soon. However, I never let that get me down and I was prepared to ride this wild adventure to the very end. So 8 1/2 years after I first saw Finn beat up candy zombies at a slumber party and travel to Lumpy Space with a lumpified Jake, I sat down to watch the show's finale live as a 19-year-old dude who just started his sophomore year of college. It was time for the show to blow me away for one last time.

The finale was so good, man. It was just SO good. I had always wondered what the finale of my favorite show would be like, and "Come Along With Me" gave me everything I possibly wanted and even more. I will not dare spoil any of it for those who haven't seen the show, but I'll just say that it's everything wonderful, weird, heartwarming, heartbreaking, intelligent, surreal, blood-pumping, heart-stopping, and mathematical about Adventure Time rolled into one phenomenal final episode. There's tons of epic fighting, trip out scenes, hilarious comedy, sharp writing, great character moments (Marcy and PB - those who saw it know exactly what I'm talking about), all building up to a perfect conclusion for the series. I could not have wanted any more from the final episode of my favorite television series.

The main theme of Adventure Time can be summed up by the lyrics of one of the show's best songs: "Everything Stays" by Marceline.

Let's go in the garden
You'll find something waiting
Right there where you left it lying upside down

When you finally find it
You'll see how it's faded
The underside is lighter when you turn it around

Everything stays....right where you left it
Everything stays....but it still changes
Ever so slightly
Daily and nightly
In little ways....when everything stays

The show would always explain how life has a cyclical nature to it, and whenever something happens, there's always an impact felt somewhere in the future. Even if the world seems like an odd and scary place, life will always find a way to bring itself back up and be good again. Many of the characters underwent changes over the course of the show, but never lost track of who they were as people. They all made mistakes that hurt others and themselves, but they gained more knowledge about the world and themselves in the progress. Throughout the five year time period in the show's history, you can see how each character has evolved over time. Finn went from a violent, emotionally immature, energetic little kid with a heart of gold to a solemn, insightful young man who reached self-actualization and swears to protect his friends and all the righteous people of the world. Jake went from a lazy but calm and relaxed dude to a hardened, intelligent adult who has his priorities in life all straightened out. Princess Bubblegum went from a stressed and controlling leader to a much more chill and sympathetic person with relaxed and down-to-earth qualities while still doing everything for the best interest of her people. Marceline went from being a chill trickster that liked to mess with people to a warrior that uses her past hardships as motivation to protect and watch out for her friends. Watching these people grow and develop for such a long time was such an amazing privilege that will stick with me forever.

I feel so grateful knowing that I was able to grow up with what is, in my opinion, the greatest show that Cartoon Network has ever put on the air. In terms of peak popularity, fan support, ratings, critical reviews, and impact, there are not many cartoons that have achieved the level of success that Adventure Time has. Television animation was in a rough state before Adventure Time made its debut in Spring of 2010. Prior to the show airing, many cartoons were too reliant on cheaply-produced flash animation, boring premises, and obnoxious characters. Adventure Time's experimental nature and enormous ambition is what caused many phenomenal cartoons to come out later on in the 2010s decade. Shows like Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, Gravity Falls, Rick & Morty, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, and the upcoming Infinity Train have all drawn inspiration from Adventure Time in one way or another. The show essentially started a cartoon renaissance. Adventure Time was truly one-of-a-kind show and I don't think it will be possible to replicate it in the future. It found a way to appeal to seemingly everyone, both to kids and adults as well as to both boys and girls. It racked up 8 Emmy Awards (tied with Samurai Jack for most wins by a Cartoon Network show) as well as 3 Annie Awards and was a ratings juggernaut throughout the majority of its runtime. Not bad for a show that Nickelodeon idiotically rejected twice.

I'm a very different person now than I was in 2010. I'm much more confident in social settings than I used to be, many of my interests have come and gone, and my tastes in TV and movies have altered dramatically. However, Adventure Time was always a constant in my life throughout that time span, and it was always there for me. Whenever I would have a rough day at elementary school, I could always put on an episode of Finn and Jake kicking some monster's butt and immediately feel better. And after finishing up a college essay late at night, I could always stream an episode of Adventure Time in my dorm to calm my nerves, and get me ready to go to sleep. One of the main reasons why I'm a Media Studies & Production major at one of the best universities in the country for that field is because Adventure Time allowed me to look at the world in different ways, and it made me realize that my imagination will always be my biggest tool. Over the years, I have felt a real connection with the show and its characters. It feels like the show is part of me. Watching them develop as I was developing was such an invigorating experience that I won't be able to experience with any other show in the future. The show will always hold a special place in my mind, heart, and soul until the end of time.

And just because the show has come to its conclusion, the adventures and experience of watching it will never fade away. I know that whenever I'm feeling a little down in the dumps, I can always watch an episode of Adventure Time to pick my spirits up. And for a show as lengthy and amazing as this, there will always be plenty of things to discuss about it. So for much of the future, I will be making many Adventure Time related lists and posts. For a show that had a such a large impact on me, I feel like I owe it that. I'm a little sad that the show has concluded, but I am more happy and grateful for the experience of watching it over the course of 8 wonderful years and 10 wonderful seasons. I just want to thank everyone involved for allowing this show to be a part of my life.

Thank you Pendleton Ward for creating the favorite show of my adolescence and for being the best Lumpy Space Princess I know.

Thank you Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenny, Hynden Walch, Olivia Olson, Niki Yang, Jessica DiCicco, Maria Bamford, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Little, Justin Roiland, Polly Lou Livingston, Hayden Ezzy, Andy Milonakis, Ron Perlman, Felicia Day, Jenny Slate, Stephen Root, Kumail Nanjiani, Jackie Buscarino, Keith David, Martin Olson, Ron Lynch, Jenny Slate, Andy Daly, and Fred Melamed for using your phenomenal vocal talent to bring Adventure Time's main cast to life.

Thank you Donald Glover, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Hamill, Rainn Wilson, Aziz Ansari, Matthew Broderick, George Takei, Rebecca Romjin, Sharon Horgan, "Weird" Al Yankovic, Cloris Leachman, Alan Tudyk, Ming-Na Wen, Lou Ferrigno, M. Emmet Walsh, Gillian Jacobs, Chelsea Peretti, Wallace Shawn, Dave Foley, Donald Faison, Kristen Schaal, Lucy Lawless, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Paget Brewster, Anne Heche, Biz Markie, Peter Stormare, Bobcat Goldthwait, Laura Silverman, Lena Dunham, Alia Shawkat, Brian Baumgartner, Henry Rollins, Marc Evan Jackson, Billy West, Jim Cummings, Pamela Adlon, Jonathan Frakes, Thomas F. Wilson, Michael Dorn, Ron Funches, Maurice LaMarche, Brian Doyle-Murray, Ava Acres, Livvy Stubenrauch, Paul Reubens, Miguel Ferrer, Madeleine Martin, Roz Ryan, John Moschitta Jr., Sean Giambrone, Dan Mintz, Hannibal Buress, Emo Phillips, Willow Smith and all the other guest stars that took time out of your busy schedules to lend your voices to the Adventure Time universe.

Thank you Adam Muto, Rebecca Sugar, Kent Osbourne, Tom Herpich, Jesse Moynihan, Patrick McHale, Steve Wolfhard, Graham Falk, Ashly Burch, Cole Sanchez, Ako Castuera, Natasha Allegri, Bert Youn, Somvilay Xayaphone, Larry Leichliter, Andy Ristaino, Fred Seibert, Derek Drymon, Casey James Basichis, Tim Kiefer, Jack Pendarvis, Ghostshrimp, Kirsten Lepore, Nate Cash, Elizabeth Ito, Luther McLaurin, Armen Mirzaian, Benton Conner, Sean Jimenez, Julia Pott, Hannah Nystrom, Seo Kim, Tim McKeon, Aleks Sennwald, Jack Pendarvis, Skyler Page, Sam Alden, Merriwether Williams, Thurop van Orman, Sandra Lee, Matthew Forsythe, and everyone who spent so much time and effort writing, storyboarding, directing, producing, animating, composing, and marketing Adventure Time. You people are true legends and heroes, and your impact on the animation industry will live on forever.

Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for making Adventure Time one of the greatest television series in history and my favorite show ever. I am so very grateful for each and every one of you.

The fun will truly never end.

Comments

Honestly, the finale was pretty damn good. - iliekpiez

I thought that it was spectacular. It's basically everything I loved about the show rolled up into one episode. - phillysports

And they still keep Teen Titans Go. - Not_A_Weeaboo

Come along with me... - Not_A_Weeaboo

And let's go out to sea - Puga

Wrong lyrics - CaasMcKowl

Even as me and my family drifted away from cable and I had to look to streaming anime on Crunchyroll for my entertainment, I won't lie. Adventure Time through its ups and downs was truly an influential show that had something for everybody and gave rise to a resurgence in high-quality televised animation. And even though I haven't been able to keep up with the show as it went by, as of the series finale, Adventure Time has nothing but respect from me for its influence on television animation, both on Cartoon Network and as a whole.

In all honesty, this was truly a heartfelt post by you, phillysports. No one does a heartfelt goodbye post to any of their favorite shows better than you, man. Keep up the good work. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Gumball better - Puga

Wrong - iliekpiez

wrong - Not_A_Weeaboo

right - B1ueNew

correct - B1ueNew

Finally someone with smarts on this got damn site - Puga

I will say this:
At Least We Get Infinity Train Next Year, and it better be good - iliekpiez

This used to be my favorite cartoon. I still have the season 7 AT DVD. - Drawbox

Ow I remember in fifth grade we all had to draw our favorite cartoons and I drew Adventure Time. It will be missed - TwilightKitsune

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