‘Come Along with Me’: Adventure Time’s Invitation for Imaginative Complexity

In September 2018, after ten seasons following a human boy named Finn, his adoptive brother, a shape-shifting, talking dog named Jake (Fig. 1), and their zany hijinks, quests, and adventures in the post-nuclear apocalyptic land of Ooo, cult-pop cartoon series Adventure Time (Pendleton Ward, 2010-2018) finally drew to a close. With themes of temporality, cyclicality, the apocalypse, and growing up, the narrative of Adventure Time seems to be in direct conversation with its time-constricted episodic television format, as well as its time-and-physics-bending medium of animation. Adventure Time takes advantage of the very non-reality of its animated medium by incorporating fantastical and musical sequences, elements that might stand out from a live-action show that, by nature of its physicality in the real world, cannot as easily convince viewers to suspend all notions of rationality.

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