Adventure Time: “Princess Potluck”
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Adventure Time: “Princess Potluck”

B+

Adventure Time

“Princess Potluck”

Season 5, Episode 18

With each new season, the writers of Adventure Time have taken more chances with their storytelling, exploring more of the characters' personal drama and oftentimes taking the WTF factor to new, confounding heights. It’s nice to know that when this show delivers a completely traditional episode, it’s still incredibly entertaining, and “Princess Potluck” is another episode where Ice King feels left out and lashes out at Finn, Jake, and a bunch of princesses. It’s a story we’ve seen so many times on this show, but it’s delivered with a feast of visual gags and impeccable comic timing that make it a delightful 10 minutes.

Finn and Jake have been invited to the Princess Potluck, and they have a great time despite Ice King’s attempts to ruin the party that he wasn’t asked to join. This episode is essentially a nonstop stream of jokes, turning almost every interaction into a punch line. When Finn gets excited at the prospect of a bounce house at the potluck, he finds out that it’s actually Bounce House Princess, who is way too into the prospect of Finn getting inside her and hopping around. Introductions at the first princess table are a bit bumpy, too, as Finn enthusiastically greets Princess Princess Princess and Embryo Princess, but totally forgets Skeleton Princesses name, instead rushing off with a “Hey… you.”

When PB puts the can of grape soda Finn brought to the party in Ice King’s domain, the wizard flips out because he wasn’t invited and plots to destroy the festivities. The Ice King’s initial is to ruin the potluck with sourpusses and party poopers, which means collecting cats and rabbits from around the forest, tying lemons to the kitties, feeding the bunnies loads of lasagna, and unleashing them on the party. The sourpusses end up being the perfect solution to the party’s lemon shortage, while the rabbits poop all over Ice King’s sack and hop away. The next stage of the plan involves disguising Gunther as a princess by dressing him in socks attached to his body with packing tape, and when the penguin hits the party, everyone immediately welcomes him and convinces him not to throw punch in their faces.

Ice King tries to break up the party by calling the Banana Guard, but they hate the Ice King and won’t take any of his calls, so he has to pretend to be an entire family of people so that they’ll visit the party. It’s the perfect opportunity for Tom Kenny to show off his massive voice talents, and the scene only gets funnier as Ice King adds new family members in hopes of convincing the bananas. They eventually decide to go to the party, but they’re just invited to join in, too. While Gunther and the bananas are breaking it down at the potluck, Ice King decides to just throw his own party with some snowmen and one of Gunther’s last captivating brethren, and it’s exactly as pathetic a shindig as it sounds. With no other options, he gives in to his dark side and just flat-out attacks the party; that’s when Princess Bubblegum tells him that she did invite him. Turns out the letter ended up in the pile that Ice King shreds to create cascarones.

Jake first applied his lipstick spiral in "BMO Noire," returning home at the end of the episode with an arrow in him because the spiral on his face looks like a target. We discover who has been hunting down Jake in the final moments of “Princess Potluck,” when he’s hit by an arrow shot by the rabid Squirrel. It’s the typical out-of-nowhere Adventure Time ending that resolves a dangling plot thread from last season and proves that drawing any sort of red circular shape on your face is generally a bad idea. This episode doesn’t try to break any new ground, but it makes great use of the ground this series is already on, showing that even after five seasons, Adventure Time has no intentions of slowing down. 

Stray observations:

  • Last week’s Adventure Time comic book also featured a princess party, except it’s interrupted by Magic Man instead of Ice King, who uses a spell on Finn and Jake that forces them to speak in pictures. As usual, it’s an awesome use of the comic book medium from a creative team that just got nominated for three Eisner Awards.
  • The mini marshmallow caterer is absolutely adorable.
  • The royal guest list for the Princess Potluck: Princess Bubblegum, Princess Princess Princess, Embryo Princes, Skeleton Princess, Hot Dog Princess, Muscle Princess, Bounce House Princess, Turtle Princess, Lumpy Space Princess, Orange Princess
  • Finn: “You look like a target.” Jake: “I look pretty!”
  • “I been going foot nude in the shoe, and now I have this turbo huge callus.”
  • “Makin’ hair tepees, for my hair peoplies, to live in…to live in…”
  • Finn: “Jake, check out this cat.” Jake: “I don’t like cats, man.” Finn: “Do you like fresh lemon in your iced tea?” Jake: “Yes.”
  • PB: “Looks like you don’t have to make that lemon run after all.” LSP: “Yes!”
  • “Gunther, come party with us!” I love Maria Bamford’s Slime Princess. Even if she only gets one line, it’s usually fantastic.
  • “That party is the knees of nothing!”
  • “Time to get my freak nasty on.”

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