Analyzing Adventure Time

Critical Essays on Cartoon Network’s World of Ooo


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About the Book

In 2010, Cartoon Network debuted a new animated series called Adventure Time, and within just a few short years the show became both a pop culture phenomenon and a critical darling. But despite all the admiration, not many works of scholarship have assessed the show through a critical lens. This anthology is an attempt to fill this scholarly oversight and spark a wider conversation about the show’s deeper themes. Across 15 scholarly essays, this book’s contributors study Adventure Time from a variety of angles, proving just how insightful the series really is. From a consideration of BMO’s queer identity to a psychoanalytic reading of Lemongrab and an examination of how anime has impacted the show, the topics explored in this anthology are diverse and unique and are likely to appeal to scholars and fans alike.

About the Author(s)

Paul A. Thomas is a library specialist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He holds a PhD in library and information management from Emporia State University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Paul A. Thomas

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7858-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4909-2
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Paul A. Thomas 1

Prelude: The Three Levels of Adventure Time
Paul A. Thomas 17

“One isn’t purely defined by their sex or gender”: Gender, Sexuality, and Representation in Adventure Time
Be More Than the Binary: Experiencing Queer Subjectivity with BMO
Olivia M. Vogt 29
From Censorship to “Obsidian”: A Critical and Historical Look at “Bubbline”
Mage Hadley 43
Rainbows and Unicorns: The Influence of Bubbline on Apocalyptic Film and Animation
Steven Holmes 55
“Get your hero on, dude!” Charting Jake’s Growth as a Positive Masculine Role Model
Bridget M. Blodgett and Anastasia Salter 71
Yellow Voices and Rainbow Bodies: Accent, Multilingualism, and the Politics of Representation in Adventure Time
Camille Chane 84

“Behind this curtain of patterns…”: The Philosophy of Ooo
Mikhail Bakhtin in the Land of Ooo: The Carnivalesque, Heteroglossia, and the Fun That Never Ends
Aaron Kerner and Birdy Wei-Ting Hung 105
“And we will happen again and again”: Adventure Time and the Sisyphean Struggle
Sequoia Stone 122
What Time Is It? Postmodernity! Postmodern Praxis in Adventure Time
Jenine Oosthuizen 137
Making a New Meaning for Man in The Land of OOO: Object-Oriented Ontology, the NonHuman, and Difference in Distant Lands
Al Valentín 158

“Mind Games”: Mental and Emotional Toiling
Too Close for Comfort: On Finn the Human and Princess Bubblegum’s Relationship
Zhi Hwee Goh 179
Of Lacan and Lemons: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Season Six’s “The Mountain”
Paul A. Thomas 192
Trauma and the Body in Adventure Time
Steven Kielich 207

“Is that where creativity comes from?” Adventure Time and the Artistic Medium
The Japanese Spirit and Aesthetic in Western Animation: The Influence of Anime on Adventure Time
Kendra N. Sheehan 225
“Bad Jubies”: Giving Value to the Intangible in Artistic Professions
Catalina Millán Scheiding 243

About the Contributors 259
Index 261

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An incredible look at an often-overlooked staple of Cartoon Network, this text will provide scholars (and scholarly-minded fans) of Adventure Time a paradigmatic examination of the program.”—David S. Silverman, Kansas State University-Salina