jesse-moynihan

Why Adventure Time is a Groundbreaking show in Animation

If you are familiar with modern cartoons from this decade, starting from 2010 and currently, chances are you’ve come across a show called “Adventure Time”.

Adventure Time is a show about the adventures of a boy named “Finn” with his dog “Jake” that has magical powers to shape-shift at anytime!

The show takes place in the “Land of Ooo”, which is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans are near to extinction and Finn is believed to be the last human.

As the show has progressed throughout its 8 seasons, almost near its end with a ninth and final season, we have learned a lot of back-story and history about the origin of Ooo and various characters.

Here is where I think this show was a huge game-changer for Cartoon Network and animated shows, in general!

If we go back to 2007 and on another channel being “Nickelodeon, Adventure Time’s creator, Pendleton Ward created a 7 minute pilot simply titled “Adventure Time” that was just a basic premise of Finn and Jake rescuing Princess Bubblegum from the villainous Ice King.

The pilot then later became viral over the Internet and became a huge success, where Frederator Studios pitched the pilot as a series to Nickelodeon, but they passed on the series twice!

Later on, the studio pitched the series to Cartoon Network and they allowed them to make a whole show, if it meant to keep all of the elements and characters from the pilot.

And then from then on, the show and the creators have expanded upon the pilot and have created a huge and impactful series that have influenced a wide range of creators, academics, gender and orientation!

People have described the show as being trippy, bizarre and silly on the outside, but on the inside, the show can get dark, thoughtful and even makes you question about philosophy, life and the world, in general.

A great example of this show that has led a lot of underground and freelance artists to pursue their own projects is people like Rebecca Sugar for creating Steven Universe, Patrick McHale for creating Over the Garden Wall and Skyler Page for creating Clarence!

It’s not to say that artists were limited to just shows, as well! Many writers were previously independent comic artists including Jesse Moynihan, Seo Kim, Tom Herpich and Steve Wolfhard, just to name a few! Here is an example of Jesse Moynihan’s work called “Forming”!

Lastly, Adventure Time’s impact on gender and orientation comes from how there is a diverse mix of characters! BMO, for example switches genders back and forth depending on certain episodes! There are also some episodes that feature a gender-swapped world of the show which are called “Fionna and Cake” and these episodes tend to be favourites among the fandom!

Characters like Princess Bubblegum, Marceline and Susan Strong are all shown to be tough characters, but deal with their own sets of flaws and insecurities.

Fans of the show often pair PB and Marceline as a ship called “Bubbline”, as it’s believed that they have been in a past relationship and are trying to work out their problems as the show progresses.

There are many various examples of topics that the show that the series represents like loss and memory disorders in “I Remember You”, sexuality and depression in “Breezy” or isolation in “The Music Hole” and that’s just only a few to list.

This episode is considered one of the most saddest in the entire series, thanks to Rebecca Sugar’s amazing song-writing!

What I always admire about the series is that not only has it been consistently strong over the course of 8 seasons, but the show actually has their characters age and grow physically and mentally in real-time.

Season 1 may be considered the most juvenile of the series, whereas the most recent seasons, especially Season 6 and 7 are some of the most poignant and philosophical the show has seen yet and for the better, in my opinion!

Adventure Time has remained and still is widely considered a ground-breaking show in the history of television animation and pushed the boundaries of what could be shown on a kid’s network, similar to Avatar: The Last Airbender did for Nickelodeon, but that’s another topic for another day!

I will miss Adventure Time when it comes to a close, but what will remain is a modern classic in the history of animation and we will always have fun going on adventures with Finn the Human and Jake the Dog!

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Adventure Time storyboard artist and writer Jesse Moynihan along with his brother musician and Adventure Time composer Justin Moynihan have created Manly in which they have described as “Silver Surfer meets Star Trek Next Generation, with the violence of Fist of the North Star and the tenderness of the Little Prince”.

Now stop reading the description and check it out for yourself!

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Last spring we had too much fun running a story workshop and panel with famous cartoonists/Adventure Time story artists Jesse Moynihan, Michael DeForge, and Sam Alden (co-sponsored with CAKE!)  Now there’s video posted of the panel.  Thanks for visiting DePaul Animation guys!  Having the Brothers Quay and Yuri Norstein visit was unbelievable, but this was my personal favorite of all our visiting artist events.

if that truly was jesse moynihan’s last episode, then today is indeed a dark day. let’s take a moment to appreciate all that he’s done for us. think about it. think of all the episodes he storyboarded which jake farted in. 

  • Crystals Have Power
  • The Silent King
  • Death in Bloom
  • Return to the Nightosphere
  • Jermaine
  • The Comet
  • Checkmate
  • Crossover

so thank you. thank you for everything that you’ve done. i’m sure i speak for all of us when i say that we hope that the rest of your days are filled with joy and that whenever jake farts, we will think of you. good luck.