When a show gets as experimental as Adventure Time has, playing with different styles, metatextual elements, surreal explorations of sexuality, and so on, that show deserves praise. And I think it deserves praise that goes a bit beyond the initial "well isn't that neat" praise of pop culture journalism and digs into the weird alien guts of the thing to see how it all fits together, why it's significant, and what it all means. Which, of course, takes work, particularly when you're discussing an episode as odd as Food Chain, an episode where lead characters Finn and Jake metamorphose progressively through the forms and lives of different organisms as they experience the titular food chain first hand on a small desert oasis. The episode explores this philosophical journey through a dynamic and cheerfully--even gleefully--off model animation style notably different from the show's usual techniques. And in the process it makes it possible for us to discuss some of the odder recent offerings in Theory.
But let's not get ahead of things here. First, let's talk about why Adventure Time has the freedom to play around with form and narrative so extensively. The show has, over the course of five-and-change seasons, grounded the weirdness in remarkably sincere emotional relationships between the characters. And this sincerity is a gift that keeps giving as far as experimentation is concerned.
|Pictured: Finn and Jake|