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It's Adventure Time (theholenearthecenteroftheworld.com)
282 points by coffeecodecouch on Apr 26, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments



Amused and happy to see this on the front page of HN. Adventure Time is one of my favorite shows of all time.

My husband and I had an Adventure Time themed wedding a month ago and we turned a whole slew of people into fans that way - our cake baker, some of the venue staff, a whole bunch of our friends and family. Unlike MLP and other shows where I feel like I have to explain things for people to get started, AT is generally great enough that I just tell people to watch any episode and then just blow their minds explaining some of what's going on in the show at large that they might not have picked up on. Love it.

Cake (and we even got CN's permission for it! suck it disney!): https://www.flickr.com/photos/argon/13347167874/

His and hers flowers with Finn and BMO: https://scontent-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1.0-9/p480...

And one of the centerpieces ;) https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/t1.0-...


Also, the creators have been working on a short made-for-youtube cartoon show (~5 minute episodes) called "Bravest Warriors". If anyone here likes Adventure Time, check it out:

http://bravestwarriors.cartoonhangover.com/

(Also the character designer from Adventure Time is working on a new cartoon called Bee & PuppyCat, also in a similar awesome vein http://beeandpuppycat.cartoonhangover.com/)


This quote from NEPTR (The Never Ending Pie Throwing Robot) made me sad and touched in a very deep way and made me realize that Adventure Time isn't just a kids show:

"Creator, I am eager to commence the creation and propulsion of pies forever, but my pie-hucking appendage is... malfunctioning, and my oven lamp is cold, and my tank treads do not roll! They only do skids! Why, creator? Does it please you to watch me struggle?"

The line is a joke but the delivery just makes me feel a deep existential angst.

http://adventuretime.wikia.com/wiki/Neptr/Quotes


There's no reason to question a creator that is not sentient.


I'd also add that NEPTR does not know that he was created somewhat accidentally by an unskilled creator and that his intended body plan did not become realized. Both points that are also quite tragic and close to home for some cosmologies.


Adventure Time is one the greatest things coming from recent American pop culture. It's not only imaginative, creative, fun, loving & caring and emotionally daring, twisted and complex beyond the naive first layers meant for present day children, and those work for them too. It connects with this old Gen-Xer in deep ways. There you have the Cold War angst, the fear and uncertainty we all were brought up with, which now has vanished like a nightmare, but it's still lurking inside. The technology in the post-apocalyptic World of Oo (delicious names) shows tokens of that age, BMO is a Mac, there are VHS tapes and CRT TVs, everything is old but has that timeless charm of the things you learnt first. And there is so much Sesame Street vibe deep down there, we were really educated by it. It's a love song from grown up kids to grown up kids. An uncertain world, full of charm and hidden dangers with pure heroes that make mistakes and surprising foes that have their adult reasons.

Just a quote. Episode "Beyond this Earthly Realm", Ice King is watching static on TV (how cool this was?), he can alter it because of his ghostly condition in that scene, and then he comes up with this:

“What do you think, Finn? Can we pull back the veil of static and reach into the source of all being? Behind this curtain of patterns, this random pattern generator... so clever. Right here in every home, watching us from a one-sided mirror.”

This is unassumingly awesome.


Besides the fact that the creator(s) are clearly geniuses, I think a big part of the awesomeness of the show is that those creators are abstract people. One example was when Finn (the human) suggested that they should pretend to be defeated by a tiny little army of little mushroom people because he pitied them and wanted to give them confidence. To this, Jake (the dog) said something like "no way man, it'll ruin my stats".

Or NEPTR's "You cannot tell, but I am giving a thumbs up." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTTplK3kin8

In other words, the humor/atmosphere is much geekier than what you'd expect to find on a television show. The only other show I remember with this aspect is Futurama, except that Futurama is overt with its jokes, whereas Adventure Time has many shades of subtlety.


Why are those two examples abstract?


The idea of "stats" is a gamer thing, but Jake is talking about "stats" as applying to real-life scenarios.

Then there's the idea that a robot is "doing a thumbs up" in some sense or another that doesn't get across through the physical realm. That's how I perceived it, aynyway.


"Stats" were a sports thing before there were video games, or even before integrated circuits.


the show is often dungeons & dragons-y, so i assume it was in that context. regardless, you wouldn't use the jargon of "stats" when talking about real-life scenarios. and besides this altogether, there are countless examples. i just randomly picked two that i could remember. there's an entire episode ("All the Little People") that is a playful exercise in abstraction. but maybe "idea humor" has a better connotation


But taking a dive doesn't cause stat damage, except to your HP. Unless the mushroom people drain levels.

I actually saw "All the Little People" as an advanced version of The Sims.


Adventure Time is one of those wonderful shows that evokes very strong emotions from its fans that are very difficult to put into words.

I've gone through a few drafts of this comment trying to explain what I love so much about it, but I can't seem to think of anything that wouldn't just be rehashing what either Pendleton Ward or Maria Bustillos have already covered in the article.

All I can say is that I highly recommend this show to everyone, as it's the only thing on TV that I make sure to follow as-it-airs.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that I watched S06E01E02 again this morning and remained completely blown away by the writing, acting, and animation. Ron Perlman plays a Lich King that feels dangerous in a way that few other "children's story" villains come close to.


The Ice King is one of the most tragic characters ever written in recent times right next to Gollum. When you consider he was pivotal to how the Earth survived and how he protected a main character throughout childhood at a great ongoing personal cost - its astoundingly deep. The lore/universe is also very imaginative in the right way (somewhat grounded but very creative). Highly recommended. Watch Season 1 and 2 before judging because S01 is a little rough.


Also observe the physical resemblance of the Ice King to his creator, Pendleton Ward.


I think a lot of people like cartoons like this because they're forced to be clever with the jokes, whereas something made for adults just throws the sexual innuendo and adult oriented content right at you, not to mention there is little to no philosophical discussion to be had on the average sitcom. You can re-watch adventure time and regular show over and over and each time catch something you missed before.


[MEGA SPOILERS]

One of the best scenes in Adventure Time is when Ice King goes to Marceline's house to jam. It turns out the "lyrics" Ice King wrote were actually messages to Marceline the little girl that he wrote hundreds of years ago, before the crown turned Simon into the Ice King.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vknDUJ3MM1M


Woahwoahwoah... That episode was absolutely amazing and was the first time it became clear to me I was no longer watching just another kids show, but finding out what you just said before actually seeing it for the first time would be like finding out early that you-know-who was you-know-who's father. Please consider putting a [MEGA SPOILERS] tag at the beginning of your comment.


Indeed, that is when I really appreciated the depth of this show.

I went ahead and put the spoilers tag :)


In a similar vein, I've been loving the show Space Dandy, which is like Adventure Time's (slightly) older brother from across the Pacific; it's co-directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, of Cowboy Bebop fame.

Bringing it closer to Adventure Time than Cowboy Bebop however, it includes the work of a wide range of artists in different episodes, and isn't too minded by continuity. It also benefits from surprisingly bearable English voice acting and translation in Adult Swim's dubbed version.

Here's a review:

http://www.avclub.com/review/space-dandy-is-more-than-cowboy...


This is one of the few cartoons my children and I can completely enjoy together. Most cartoons just suck, and most "anime" that's good isn't properly dubbed into English which makes watching things a bit slower. (Although for Evangelio 3.03 I read every line, like I would a book, to her while watching.)

It covers interesting themes, but skips out on sexuality (mainly cause I'd do a poor job explaining such jokes off-the-cuff to my daughter). Yet it's fun enough that they never lose interest, unlike some Star Trek episodes.


Isn't Eva a little hardcore for someone not yet old enough to read?


They both can read, just not fluently enough to fully enjoy subtitles.

The rebuilds, so far, seem relatively not-so-violent, and at least not violence for violence's sake. The only hardcore scene I recall overall is when Unit 2 gets eaten in one of the earlier movies. And it's all redeemed by destroying and or recreating the world anyways.


Is Adventure Time really as amazing and revolutionary as some proclaim it to be? The way some describe it here makes it sound like it surpasses the entire roster of the classic Cartoon Cartoon era, which I'd like to doubt.

I pretty much gave up on Cartoon Network a long time ago when it met its downfall, and have moved on with life. The only animation I've watched since then has been Ralph Bakshi.


As someone who grep up during the Cartoon Cartoon era, and am a big fan of many of those shows (Power Puff Girls and Dexter's Lab were quite good), I'd say yes.

At the very top level, Adventure Time actually has serial elements, as opposed to Cartoon Cartoons' strictly episodic nature. Character's actions in previous episodes have real and lasting consequences.


This show has a lot of the best aspects of Cow and Chicken, The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Lab. Some episodes have a very similar vibe to Samurai Jack. I don't know if it surpasses the entire roster, but it's certainly as good as some of the best.


As the parent of 6 and 10 year old boys, I do not let them watch the show. "Why?!" you ask? Because I can't trust the commercials shown by Cartoon Network. I've recorded shows for myself on CN and the commercials are... racy. "Yes, Scott, but I bet those shows are on after midnight!" You'd be right, of course. The things is though that 6 and 10yo precocious boys know how to get the DVR to show all upcoming shows. So if they asked for "all upcoming shows" of Adventure Time, do you think they will care that they are recording a show that comes on at 2AM vs 2PM? No, of course not. They'll just look for episodes they haven't seen and record them ASAP. But I sure as hell care which one they record! The commercials on at 2AM vs. 2PM are quite different.

The bottom line, for me, is that if your station sells commercials to "anyone with money" then my kids are not allowed to watch your channel.


I guess I am alone in being completely unable to relate to this at all. I am sort of shocked to find myself confused and off-put by a top submission on HN.

I like to assume that HN is a very broad filter for the most relevant high-level & low-level technology, media, news, discussion and tangentially related topics.I understand the need to have a broad focus, because restriction is friction and seemingly unrelated content can be extremely useful sometimes.

However, I don't find this cartoon particularly innovative or interesting, and to me (someone uninitiated) I would have trouble picking it out from the horde of look-alikes on cartoon network. Collaboration in media and cartoons have been around for ages, and adult cartoons have been around since the simpsons. Maybe this deserves to be here, but I could think of a lot of content I would rather see at the top.


One of the reasons Adventure Time is so interesting is that it manages a delicate balance - it is both your typical "kids cartoon" but also manages to appeal to an older audience. Most cartoons try to do this by slipping in pop culture references/jokes that will just go over children's heads - and AT does this too, there's a lot of literary and pop culture references; for example there's a great episode with Jonathan Frakes guest starring that heavily references the ST:TNG episode "inner light".

However, AT also goes beyond that.

It deals with themes like love, rejection, death, identity, and morality in very real and mature ways...but also in a way that children can relate to and laugh at it. There are quite a lot of episodes that deal with the main characters struggle with an unrequited love and heartache. An incarnate Death and "the cosmic owl" are reoccurring characters. One major arc is one of the characters struggle with (magic induced) mental illness. The show itself takes place after a nuclear holocaust has ripped apart the planet and mutated the inhabitants (referred to in the show as "the mushroom war").

One episode for example, the main character finds a bag full of miniature figurines in the form of all his friends. When he takes them out of the bag, they come to life. He becomes fixated on them. Obsessively pairing them up and taking them apart to observe their reactions. He takes the miniature version of his best friends girlfriend and pairs her up with another man. He stops sleeping, he just sits surveilling this tiny world he has become god of. It's depicted very much as a descent into madness.

There are quite a lot of episodes like this, and while they often get heavy and dark they never lose their young audience or fail to maintain an overall uplifting and optimistic tone.

I wish I had a show like this when I was young.


>I am sort of shocked to find myself confused and off-put by a top submission on HN.

If you find yourself loving everything in a medium, it probably means the medium itself is fairly low quality designing itself to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I think it's a good thing to find things you don't like now and then.


Your point is a good one and I get it. I just feel like the top-submission is usually the one that embodies the essence of the culture the most. When I saw it at the top, it just reminds me of reddit. I am not judging the show based on it's value as show, but the value of the show and this article to the community.


You're being downvoted because you've broken rules 6 and 7 of the comment guidelines [1]:

> Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site. If you think something is spam or offtopic, flag it by going to its page and clicking on the "flag" link. (Not all users will see this; there is a karma threshold.) If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did.

> If your account is less than a year old, please don't submit comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. (It's a common semi-noob illusion.)

[1] http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


so, what's wrong with popular culture? Or even sub-popular culture?

I find a particular affectation whereby some people take things that are popular then decide that they will dislike them on the basis of that and nothing else.


I find a particular affectation whereby some people make opinions on others based on their perceived motivation for tastes in popular culture.


You're not alone. I thought it was borderline for HN, because it didn't strike me as intellectually engaging, but we were persuaded not to penalize it by the fact that the article was unusually in-depth (or at least long).

It's important to realize, though, that Hacker News isn't just for articles about tech and startups. That's a common but wrong misconception. We want a wide range of intellectually interesting articles. That's been true for as long as HN has been HN.


I don't like meta-talking about what is good or bad for HN generally, but when I saw dang had chimed in, I felt obligated to leave an opinion. Like the top comment, I was both amused and happy to find this content on HN.

Given Adventure Time's regular toying with ideas like SCIENCE vs. MAGIC, boundaries of morally responsible science, D&D meta-geekery (character alignments), machine sentience (BMO), and all of the games it plays in gender & identity roles and other existential weirdness, I always assumed it's adult audience would be strongly represented on HN.

Not only was the article the most in-depth analysis of the show I've ever come across, but the comments here contain intelligent discussion and observation that lead me to similar analyses and content like Adventure Time.

This was a perfect article for HN, as I use it; identify things tangentially interesting to the 'hacker' mind, in all it's different forms, and provide intellectual discussion on it.

Thanks to OP for finding it and you (dang) for allowing the discussion to remain. Glad to have seen it.

EDIT: for clarity


I suspect there is the confusion between what appears to be 'childish' and what is sophisticated. Things can be "childish" but also sophisticated, a la Adventure Time.

Ultimately, I have met a number of people who are so incredibly serious (and usually fairly young) that if it isnt a math paper, it's a waste of humanity. If only our brains worked like that!

Embrace neurally diverse experiences!


How some people can formulate an opinion with zero basis of analysis, or direct experience is beyond me.

To go one step further, and be confident enough to express that opinion is something that's not just beyond me, but is nearing some form of delusion.


> I don't find this cartoon particularly innovative or interesting, and to me (someone uninitiated)

Just to be clear:

You've never watched it, yet somehow manage to judge it as unoriginal and uninteresting?


I didn't find this cartoon particularly innovative or interesting [based on the large article I read about it, to which this comment was attached]

I am not devaluing the show. I find that many of my friends enjoy watching GoT. I do not however. I would also be sort of confused finding an interview with the cast and crew on HN.

Let me be blunt, I don;t find this content relevant and I think others are suffering from the bias of their affinity for this show. Honestly this just seems like reddit,I am arguing a subjective opinion about a cartoon...


If your definition of "seeming like Reddit" is links to long, well-written, thoughtful, and thought-provoking articles, then Reddit sounds awesome!

On a more serious note, analyses of unique creative endeavors are absolutely in scope here. Running a show is a lot like running a company - it requires vision, execution, and a lot of hard work. I thought reading about this show (which I had never heard of until the moment I clicked on the link) was akin to reading about start-up companies, except with more compelling source material and more interesting writing than the usual start-up story.

Open your mind, man!


Do you not think there is something interesting about a cartoon that appeals to children by employing imaginative characters and silly humor while simultaneously appealing to adults with existential concerns? For it to skim along the somber surface of the topic of mortality yet somehow remain lighthearted (though not frivolous) is a remarkable balancing act.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, and I've no dog in this fight...but it's a lot more than just an entertaining piece of media; seeing it on HN does not surprise me.


From the guidelines: "If your account is less than a year old, please don't submit comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. (It's a common semi-noob illusion.)"


Sorry, I have a visceral revulsion for this show. Its not the crappy animation, nor the macabre characters. Its not the plots. Its because I had to suffer through it over every single meeting of our game-invention club for several years. The proprietor of the card shop where we met had it on, and we met at the same time each week. It would distract everyone, made it hard to get real work done, and slowed our progress for months.

I hate it. Hate, hate, hate it. Hate it.


I might be an idiot but I reloaded the website 3 times and turned adblock on and off before I realized it was an article and I just needed to scroll down. Being on a macbook with low-resolution screen and no visible scrollbar doesn't help. Still, what is "theholenearthecenteroftheworld.com"? Why don't they identify what they are at the top of the site?


It seems that this website is just dedicated for this one article. Which originally was from: http://www.theawl.com/2014/04/how-adventure-time-came-to-be


I don't think you're an idiot. I used to do this all the time on my 1280x800 MBP.


Where can one watch adventure time episodes online?



Looks like Netflix has some seasons:

http://instantwatcher.com/titles/190535



Unfortunately the writing seems to be getting worse and worse over the years. There were lots of nerdy jokes in the early seasons, but at that time they were done in a celebratory way. In many of the newer episodes it feels like mocking. See "Vault of Bones" for example. Not to mention all the "preetreen drama" introduced.


I agree that it dipped briefly after the first season, but lately the show has had amazing maturity and depth. as well as being hilarious in a slightly less zany way.


I cant believe no one mentioned Rick and Morty. Co-created by the creator of Adventure Time and Community.

The main character is a hacker scientist who with his grandson fight aliens, explore parallel dimensions and save the world from destruction!


I am unabashedly a fan of Adventure Time.


I love(d) Adventure Time but it's (IMO) suffering from the same problem as many good American shows, which is that as long as it's profitable the network keeps it going even after it's run out of creative steam. I'm sure there are still good episodes but I've mostly lost interest in the thing as a whole.


That was some nice writing. All 11,000+ words of it. Kudos to Maria Bustillos.


x


No reason to be top on HN.


There's a pretty good reason, actually. Because the HN community voted it there, and continues to discuss it. Plenty of comments have shown people in this community find it intellectually stimulating, which is the clearest pre-requisite for the link share. OTHER PEOPLE put it on the front page.

God, is this comment narrative old; If you don't think it should be on HN, go read something else, and certainly stay out of the comment thread.

I'm thankful it was hovering on second page on Sunday so I could catch the damned story. Best analysis of Adventure Time as an adult narrative I've every seen, really.


If you don't think it should be on HN, go read something else, and certainly stay out of the comment thread

Why should I stay out of the comments?

As long as I follow the rules, I can comment whatever I want. I have as much right to "comment" my opinion as you have to downvote it. I have no problem taking the downvote hits.

Don't like it? go read something else, and certainly stay out of the comment thread.

There's a pretty good reason, actually. Because the HN community voted it there, and continues to discuss it. Plenty of comments have shown people in this community find it intellectually stimulating, which is the clearest pre-requisite for the link share. OTHER PEOPLE put it on the front page.

Not good enough for me.

Best analysis of Adventure Time as an adult narrative I've every seen, really.

IMO it's an overhyped show for the manchildren in a traumatized post 9-11 US (and, by it's cultural influence, the rest of the developed world).


As long as I follow the rules, I can comment whatever I want.

verbatim from the rules here[0]:

"Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site. If you think something is spam or offtopic, flag it by going to its page and clicking on the "flag" link. (Not all users will see this; there is a karma threshold.) If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did."

complaining something is on the front page, for all intents and purposes, is the same as saying it isn't appropriate for the site. Therefore, don't comment about it. Flag it. If you can't, than be civil and useful in comments until you can.

Not good enough for me.

This site isn't for YOU. It's for everyone, and you're breaking the rules. Play along, or move along.

IMO it's an overhyped show for the manchildren in a traumatized post 9-11 US (and, by it's cultural influence, the rest of the developed world).

Thanks for adding some actual content. It didn't really reply to my comment on this particular analysis, but I think I understand what you're getting at.

It's over-hyped, how? As in, popular and successful? or, heavily advertised? or just regarded better than it really is?

It's not really 'for' anyone but is meant to be appropriate for children, per the artist's interview in the article. Us man-children just like it, because it is poignant, intelligent, timely, and open-minded.

how a traumatized population in a post 9-11 US plays into Adventure Time is not 'obvious' to me. Perhaps you could enlighten all of us in 'bottom of thread' land as to what the hell you're talking about?

I respect your opinion, fellow internet denizen. I just don't appreciate your approach.

[0] - http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


You & I are the only people that feel this way apparently.


And we all get downvoted. These people surely feel strongly about their cartoons.


I also agree.




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