“It seems unforgiven when a good thing ends, but you and I will always be back then.”– Time Adventure by Rebecca Sugar
I’m a fan of endings. Whether open-ended or wrapped up in a neat bow, I like knowing something ended. I like knowing people made a conscious choice to end it there because there was nothing left to say.
I hate that Adventure Time ended.
Is that testament enough to claim that it’s one of the best shows ever created?
Probably not, but Adventure Time is a show that felt endless. It felt like a constant part of my life, unfolding into my days. Until one day, it just ended.
They tried to make me feel better. I’ll give them credit for that. As I watched the outro roll for the last time, I tried to find solace in the fact that I would carry this show with me forever. BMO is always right, and if he/she said that we’ll always be back then, who am I to argue?
So, what’s so special about this show anyway?
In a nutshell, Adventure Time follows the story of two adoptive brothers, Finn, a human boy, and Jake, a magical dog blessed with the ability to stretch into different shapes and sizes. Finn is intent on being a hero, and Jake supports him through it, no matter what.
These two brothers live in the magical Land of Ooo, which is essentially Earth a thousand years after a massive nuclear war. Everything in the world of Adventure Time is dipped in imagination and magic. So Finn and Jake’s lives are a collection of random absurd phenomena, but that’s the norm in the Land of Ooo.
Every episode is always packed with laughs, adventure, and some deep philosophical questions you wouldn’t expect in a Kids show.
Think of it like the ancestor of Rick and Morty, with less cynicism and more wonder.
What could you possibly learn from a show this random?
I’m glad you asked (even if you didn’t). In case my admiration and love for Adventure Time hasn’t translated yet, this show has brought a lot of joy to my life. As a person who’s often lacking in joy, that’s a big deal. Most importantly, though, Adventure Time has taught me how I’d like to live. You might have noticed that’s a topic I’m focused on at the moment.
Here’s what Finn, Jake, and their friends have added to my own Enchiridion. (Yes, I am very proud of the little reference I made there.)
1. Friendship means unconditional support.
Finn and Jake are adoptive brothers, from completely different species, but they never questioned their deep love and attachment to each other. Whenever either of them was in harm’s way, the other wouldn’t hesitate to help. Every episode, we see these two stick their necks out for each other without batting an eye. Any time Jake’s missing or hurt, Finn’s pure fear and worry is enough to show how much they mean to each other. That is the kind of friendship I hope to emulate, where I care deeply for the person and will stop at nothing to show them support and love.
2. Adventure doesn’t have to mean battling giants or walking through dungeons.
Although most of the episodes do involve those two things, a lot of the real Adventure is in the lessons Finn acquires. As the show progresses and the characters mature, they come to understand things in ways they weren’t seeing before. Even though it might not be as dazzling as slaying a dragon, I can find adventure every day in the things I learn from people.
3. It’s okay to be upset.
Adventure Time has a lot of sad stories, sugar coated in bright colours and magic, but in their essence, some characters have had it pretty rough. The amounts of time Finn has needed to curl up in a ball and cry is astounding for a kids show. Luckily, the writers let him. I can recall at least 5 episodes where Finn looked visibly traumatised or upset to the point of not being able to be his usual self. Instead of just brushing it under the rug, the writers took some time to create episodes where the character can feel what they need to and accept it. (Dungeon Train from season 5 is a good example).
4. Accept whatever card your dealt, even if it takes you years to get there.
When Finn loses his arm, he spends seasons finding replacements, obsessing over the loss of his favourite arm. I know that feeling too well, the constant reminder that you’ve lost your preferred thing. By the time the show wraps up, Finn has accepted his state. He stops looking for replacements and placeholders. He’s reduced to his true self, and he decides to stay that way. As hard and as long as it took him, in the end he accepted. Hopefully one day, I can get to that stage too.
5. We need a little more magic in our lives.
This one is self-explanatory, but it’s one of the most important ones on this list. When I finished all ten seasons, I was left with this hole in my chest. It wasn’t only because I finished something that meant a lot to me, but also because I was back to the real world. People seem to forget how to dream, how to believe in magic again. I don’t mean the magicians with the card tricks. I mean the wonder and imagination. We’re all drowning in reality, and we avoid looking up at the clouds because we’re scared of getting crushed by what’s ahead. Well, I’m going to start looking up and awakening the little kid in me who believed in magic.
6. Life goes on.
As much as I wish it wouldn’t, life carries on. Adventure Time made it clear in the finale. Bmo said, “they carried on with their lives,” because that’s exactly what happened. Even after all the adventure, even after all the heartache, life went on. Finn and Jake picked themselves up and carried on because that’s how life goes. Every Adventure that ends makes way for another one. So whenever I feel crippled by some days, I’ll let BMO sing me through to the next ones.
I could go on about this show for years, but it’s time for me to cut my losses. Adventure Time is, and probably will always be, one of my favourite shows. Even though I can’t stay wrapped in it forever, I’ll carry its lessons with me always. I’ll draw them every time I’m lonely and need to practice. (Yes, that is my art up top, and I am very proud of it). And when it gets tough, I’ll remember that a part of me will always be back then.