“Isn’t this show for kids?” she asks. “Well, yes, but it knows its audience too. And its audience isn’t entirely kids,” I reply as we watch Simon putting on a show for Marcy in a broken television set. She will give me one of two responses: “I love this!” and I will finally know for sure that this will work out. Or the dreaded, “I don’t get it,” forcing me to question where this relationship is even headed.
Imagination is sometimes closer to the truth than memory. And Adventure Time needs a lot of imagination to fuel it. You have to be willing to accept the initial weirdness, in order to see the inner joy and drama. But as Finn would put it wisely, “Imagination is for turbonerds who can’t handle how kickbutt reality is.” And It’s true. If you are reading this, and you’re an Adventure Time fan, it’s time for you to face it. You’re a TurboNerd. Welcome to the Club!
Back to business. Now I won’t get into too many details because there’s honestly too much to cover, but I’m gonna touch on the main theories of Adventure Time you need to/should know. Starting with the most obvious one.
Theory 1: Adventure Time is based in a Post Apocalyptic world.
If you have seen even a single episode, you should know this. It’s given away in the very first seconds of the intro. There you see a broken television and some half buried bombs. What happened? Well according to the series, 1000 years ago The Great Mushroom War ravaged the planet. A war that has still not been clearly understood. During the war, a catastrophic bomb was dropped, taking a chunk of the earth and almost all of humanity with it (except for the lineage that eventually begot Finn) and unleashed the most evil creature of all time: The Lich (also arguably the adversary during the war, but I’ll explain why I think this is wrong).
Go back and watch the “Finn the Human” episode and you’ll learn that in this alternate reality, Finn wished that the Lich had never existed. In order for that to happen Simon (the Ice King) had to sacrifice his life to stop a certain bomb from exploding. The Great Mushroom Bomb (we’re calling it that now) had been frozen solid as well as a large percentage of the world. The Lich no longer existed. So the fact that the Lich didn’t exist until Finn accidentally detonated it tells us plainly that the Lich was a product of the war.
When the Great Mushroom Bomb exploded, it not only released the Lich, but took a significant chunk out of the earth. (Fun fact: If you read the comics, you’ll also learn that Finn filled in the giant hole with sand, creating a new desert biome that Princess Bubblegum (PB), Finn, Jake, and James are seen exploring in the episode appropriately titled, “James”).
The Great Mushroom Bomb brought about the near extinction of mankind, but also allowed for other creatures, mutants, and eventually the concoction of PB’s people, to exist. Which brings us to our second Theory.
Theory 2: Princess Bubblegum is not who she appears to be.
Don’t worry, I’m not a heavy theorist who suggests that PB is the evil mastermind behind all the destruction. I believe the best way to go about this is to avoid all extremes and read the clues simply. For instance, in the episode, “The Vault,” the story follows Finn’s past life as Shoko, a one armed green chick with kickbutt fighting skills. She later meets PB, whose Candy Kingdom is under construction.
Keep in mind this is centuries before Finn. So PB lied about being 19 years old; she’s much, much older than that, and Finn calls her out on it in that same episode. Also, there’s this smiling pink slime in the “Simon and Marcy” episode, which takes place 996 years prior to the current season’s timeline. This is the same smiling goop PB has in her cup in the later episode “Video Makers”. The pink slime is over 996 years old and PB is seen drinking it.
My theory is that this is the substance that Princess Bubblegum is using to give herself life and life to her Candy People. She apparently has no ability to create life, as her prior attempts resulted in zombies, so one could assume that this could be the secret ingredient in Princess Bubblegum’s recipe for the Candy People.
In the episode “Goliad” PB even makes the comment, “I realized I won’t live forever,” then dramatically says, “if I could I would.” Which tells me she’s at least tried. Also if you pay close attention to the pink slime, you’ll see it is happier in the “Simon and Marcy” episode, and sad the next time we see it in “Video Makers.” This says a lot to me about PB, but I’ll leave it up to your own imagination for now.
Theory 3: Finn is getting older, and for a really good reason.
If you’re keeping track, Finn is 16 years old now. You can even hear Jeremy Shada, the voice actor who plays Finn, physically go through puberty throughout the first couple of seasons. Adventure Time is all about progression and nostalgia. It addresses the backstory, without latching onto it. And instead the writers continue to drive the Universe of Adventure Time into new and open seas. They’ve even been quoted saying that they don’t know where they’ll take things sometimes. They’re along for the ride too.
All of this to say, Finn will not be the same Finn you see now. If you are up to date on your Adventure Time, you know a few things: (spoiler alert) Finn’s role model, Billy, is dead, Finn’s girlfriend has broken up with him, he’s lost his arm, and his dad has abandoned him (spoiler over). So we can assume that Finn is at the lowest of the lowest at this point. But the most recent episode of Adventure Time, “Breezy” doesn’t just touch on very awkward themes. It finally restores our hero to the path he had been distracted from. We see this as physical manifestation when (spoiler) he gets his arm back (no more spoilers).
This tells us that hope is not lost, but he can no longer return to the boy he used to be. At this stage he must tap into some inward will or power and walk into adulthood. Yes, adulthood. Finn the Human boy, may no longer be a boy come season seven or eight.
Now what is this good reason for Finn’s aging? Why make a character that has to grow and become more powerful? Well probably, if there’s a threat more powerful than the last, it would call for a hero more powerful than he was before. Something is coming in the Adventure Time universe. And it may be even bigger than the Mushroom War and The Lich. But who is to say? Guess we’ll just have to be loyal TurboNerds.