Adventure Time: “Princess Day”
B+

Adventure Time: “Princess Day”

LSP and Marceline do Thelma & Louise in the Breakfast Kingdom

B+

Adventure Time

"Princess Day"

Season 6, Episode 14

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“Princess Day” is a fun episode, but it’s especially notable for two specific reasons. To start, the episode was released on home video two days ago as part of a DVD compilation, the first time Cartoon Network has released an episode on video before airing it. It’s also the first episode—not including the gender-swapped Fionna and Cake chapters—that doesn’t feature Finn or Jake in any capacity. It’s an all-princess affair (with one vampire queen), so why is “Princess Day” the episode that gets advance spotlight in a DVD collection?

The last DVD collection of Adventure Time put Fionna and Cake front and center, which, combined with the release of this princess-heavy collection, makes me think that these DVDs are being marketed specifically to female viewers. It’s no secret that Adventure Time has a large female fanbase, and I can’t help but wonder if this is Cartoon Network testing the waters to see what the reaction is to a solely princess-driven Adventure Time story. Could this be the beginning of a Princesses Of Ooo spinoff series? This is all suspicion that is totally unfounded, but I can easily see something like that happening, especially because this show’s universe has become rich enough to support a spinoff. And a spinoff featuring the show’s female characters would be a smart move on Cartoon Network’s part.

I can imagine it now: Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, Lumpy Space Princess, Flame Princess, and my personal favorite Slime Princess would be the main cast, along with Fionna and Cake, who would be real because it’s only a matter of time before that happens. They go on adventures throughout the various kingdoms of Ooo, escaping the dreary bureaucracy of royal life by engaging in increasingly wacky high jinks. Think Adventure Time by way of My Little Pony with a dash of Bridesmaids and Death Proof and you have a good idea of my ideal female-centric spinoff for this series.

The main pop culture influence on “Princess Day” is Thelma & Louise, which lays the foundation for an episode about Lumpy Space Princess and Marceline teaming up to fight the power in the Breakfast Kingdom. Bored by Breakfast Princess’ talk of broken treaties and unregistered princesses, LSP storms out of the continental breakfast she invited herself to, and that rebellious spirit grabs the attention of the vampire queen. As they make their way through the Breakfast Kingdom, LSP and Marceline vandalize the castle, terrorize the guards, and steal all of Breakfast Princess’ stuff to show their host who is really boss.

While driving the princess’ vintage breakfast car, the pair of troublemakers crash into the vehicle’s owner and throw her in the trunk. They then drop Breakfast Princess in the middle of the desert with a shovel and force her to build a sandcastle. There’s no rhyme or reason to their behavior other than an urge to be bad, and in typical Adventure Time fashion, the episode takes a philosophical turn when LSP and Marceline take the time to comprehend the moral dilemma behind their actions. When LSP asks if doing all this bad stuff makes them bad people, Marceline responds, “Uh…probably not. I don’t think there are bad people. I think good people do bad stuff sometimes, and that’s bad. But if you just do it once, that’s a mistake. And that’s not bad. I think.”

Marceline is trying to grasp an idea that is still an ongoing question in our world: are there bad people or just bad behaviors? How severely should a person be punished for a bad action if it’s just a one-off misguided mistake rather than part of a larger pattern? Marceline doesn’t have the answers, but she does feel bad about stealing Breakfast Princess’ CD, so she hasn’t completely lost her morality. Just as her conscience kicks in, Marceline drives the car off the side of a cliff, putting an end to their Thelma & Louise excursion as the two women float to safety.

Seo Kim is one of the artists that contributed an illustrated Fan Up! for The A.V. Club’s Comics Week, and her Fan Up! page offers insight into “Princess Day,” which Kim wrote and storyboarded with her regular creative partner Somvilay Xayaphone. In her tribute to Graham Falk, a cartoonist that also works on Adventure Time, Kim celebrates Falk’s crazy ideas, hilarious jokes, and beautiful drawings, which also happen to be three of the key components of Adventure Time.

The show’s wildly imaginative design sense is put on full display in “Princess Day,” which features a wide array of themed monarchs as well as a setting that turns breakfast food into architectural art. I love the little environmental details like pancakes folding off of walls and Pop Tart doors, and it makes me eager to visit more kingdoms to see how the show’s designers will incorporate the themes into the settings. While “Princess Day” may not be the deepest episode of Adventure Time, it’s visually stunning and offers an unexplored character pairing that garners some strong laughs. Silly, gorgeous, and just a little bit philosophical, this episode could easily be the launch pad for something more, and I’m hoping it is.

Stray observations:

  • LSP and Marceline disguise their identities by wearing paper plates with eye holes cut into them and Styrofoam cups attached as noses. They don’t actually need noses on their masks, but it’s a nice touch.
  • With her skinny jeans, tank top, and neckerchief, Marceline is looking very adorable this week.
  • LSP doesn’t like being called “pampelmousse,” but she has no problem using one to defend herself from security guards.
  • I want an episode about a softball match between the Banana Guards and the Maple Men.
  • A squirrel taught LSP how to steal cars. I love this.
  • How many times is “breakfast” said in this episode? Who wants to count?
  • “I can’t just pop out eggs on command! I’m an artisan!”
  • “Fine! Take it! Take all my socks!”
  • “It’s not a box. It’s a rotting log.”
  • “Now that the wannabe’s gone, let’s get back to princess business. No, not you, Princess Business.”
  • Marceline: “You don’t take anyone’s sass.” LSP: “Shyah! Especially not from that broke pile of greasy hash.”
  • “Alright, let’s take a lunch break everybody. And when I say ‘lunch,’ I, of course, mean ‘breakfast’.”

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