Nov 11, 2015

Adventure Time: Gay-Positive Cartoon Series

The Looney Tunes Show notwithstanding, the Cartoon Network usually gets it right.  Adventure Time (2010-) is a sort of reflection of the 1975 sci-fi classic A Boy and his Dog (with Don Johnson):

Finn the Human (voiced by Jeremy Shada, left), the last human alive, and his shape-shifting adopted brother, Jake the Dog (voiced by John DiMaggio), are dedicated to fighting evil in a post-Apocalyptic, quasi-Medieval world where magic works and nearly everything is alive.

Usually they pledge their fealty to Princess Bubblegum of the Candy Kingdom, but they have also journeyed to the realms of other princessess, plus the Underworld, the Fire Dimension, the planet Mars, a staggering number of parallel worlds, and even a place beyond space and time.

Though the word "gay" is never spoken, same-sex desire and practice are matter-of-fact realities, with very few missteps.

1. Finn is invited to a couples-only movie night. He plans to bring a duck, but Jake advises: "You have to bring somebody you can smooch!"  Note the major difference from "You have to bring a girl!"

2. The Ice King, who provides comedic tension by constantly kidnapping princesses and trying to force them into marriage, approaches the vampire Marcelline and suggests that they team up.  "I'll take the princesses, and you can have whatever you're into."  Another big difference from "you can have the men."

3. Although fan sites try to talk their way out of it, Marcelline has had relationships with both sexes.  In "What Was Missing," she and Princess Bubblegum must reunite after a long estrangement, and work together to solve a mystery.

 They discuss what went wrong with their relationship ("I never said you had to be perfect!"), and in the end we discover that Bubblegum still sleeps in a t-shirt that Marcelline gave her.

4. Beemo, the robot video game console, does not have a gender, but is usually called "he."  In one episode, Finn suggests that Beemo might be interested in the Ice King, and eager for dish, Jake says "Why?  Did he say something?"

And in another, Beemo has an adventure with a bubble filled with sentient male Air, who proposes marriage.

5. The Earl of Lemongrab is too fussy and demanding to get along with anyone, until Princess Bubblegum makes him a clone of himself.  The two Lemongrabs later have a child together, or at least pretend to.

There have been a couple of missteps, however.

1. Prismo, a two-dimensional being who lives outside space and time, befriends Jake, eagerly asks him to return for a visit, and gives him a gift, a jar of pickles.  Jake sighes "I got to get him a girlfriend."

2. A male chocolate chip cookie named Baby-Snaps wants to become a Princess.  Although Jake supports his transgender aspiration, Princess Bubblegum believes that it signifies insanity, and has him committed to a mental institution.

See also: Clarence: Gay Characters on Kids' TV, Sort Of; and Gay Fan Art 4: Cartoon Kids Grow Up