Adventure Time seemed like a fun little show about a boy and his canine companion having wacky escapades in a magical, apparently post-apocalyptic world. And then you actually watch the show, and it's much weirder and more awesome. It's sort of the perfect hipster comedy action fantasy, in which there's a weird core of sweetness and you can always count on Finn the human and Jake the dog to be friends and look out for each other.
So now a dozen of those short Adventure Time episodes are out on DVD, and you might want to consider buying it.
The reasons not to buy this DVD are pretty obvious: Adventure Time is repeated on Cartoon Network pretty often, and you have to be pretty dedicated to avoid watching it for free. Especially if you have a DVR. The DVD, called Adventure Time: My Favorite People, has no special features other than a little informational feature called "Little Do You Know" which gives a short written bio for each of the characters. The 12 episodes don't include the show's pilot, or the first broadcast episode or anything.
But it's pretty great to watch 12 Adventure Time episodes back to back. When you watch two hours and 17 minutes of Adventure Time in one sitting, without commercials, it starts to work a strange sort of magic on you. It's an immersive experience, in a way that just catching a few bits and pieces here and there kind of isn't.
In Adventure Time, Finn and Jake live in a tree together, and they go on lots of adventures in the land of Ooo. They meet the Ice King, who has a habit of kidnapping princesses and trying to force them to marry him. And the Ice King's evil heart, Ricardio. They also meet Princess Bubblegum, whom Finn has a crush on, and her pet rainbow unicorn, Lady Rainicorn, who becomes Jake's girlfriend. They travel to the candy kingdom and the cloud kingdom, Lumpy Space, and various other magical realms.
The show manages to keep a really weird mix of surrealism and feeling extremely grounded. No matter how cartoony and silly a lot of the settings where Finn and Jake travel get, they are always the same guys. A lot of the episodes come back, one way or another, to the relationship between Finn and Jake and how much better they are when they work together.
And after watching a bunch of episodes in a row, you're really stuck by just how non-stop and insane this show gets, with the kiddie humor. Like at the start of "The Eyes," when Finn and Jake have had seven days of nonstop sleepless adventure, which they recount in like a minute, and it's just kind of demented and crazoid. The cute-but-slightly-off art style of this show starts reminding me after a while of Loyal Army, which makes awesomely weird cute clothes.
After you watch a couple hours of this show in one go, you start wanting to shout everything instead of saying it, and you start wanting to go on adventures instead of sitting on your couch. All of the fruit in your refrigerator starts growing weird faces, and candy wants to talk to you, and any party you show this DVD at will automatically become kind of a strange dance party. But this DVD will make you appreciate your friends a lot more.
Most of all, if you have a little kid and you get them this DVD, they'll probably watch it until it's a smoking husk, with all the shininess worn off it.