Episodes like “Web Weirdos” are the reason why Adventure Time has such crossover appeal, telling the story of a deteriorating marriage through two unhappy spiders. Finn and Jake spend almost the entire episode stuck to a web, but what the episode lacks in action, it makes up for in heart. Spider wives have a tendency to eat their husbands in nature, and who better to play a shrill, unappreciated spouse than Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Susie Essman? With Bobcat Goldthwait voicing her shluppy husband, the two make a great pair, capturing the stakes of the couple’s fight without sacrificing the comedy of the situation.
After Jake gets stuck in the web, thinking it’s a vertical trampoline, Finn tries to stunt him out but ends up glued in the center of the trap. Finn laments cutting his fingernails, which prompts a hilariously gross cutaway of Finn breaking the skin on Jake’s back while giving him a backrub with his finger-claws. Jake can't stretch himself free and falls asleep, and Finn befriends two bugs who are trying to come to terms with their mortality. When married spiders Ed and Barb arrive, they’re so involved with their personal drama that they hold off on their meal, and Finn prolongs his death by helping Ed fix the problems in his relations.
Anyone that’s ever been in a relationship will see bits of themselves in Ed and Barb, but their problems apply to more than just romance. For example, there's this exchange:
Barb: “Why you mad?”
Ed: “I just said I was tired.”
Barb: “But you're acting like you're mad.”
Ed: “I'M NOT MAD!”
Before I ever had those kinds of conversations with a significant other, they were happening with my parents, especially in those hormonal teenage years. Ed and Barb are having communication problems, each one unable to express his or her true self and feelings to the other. That’s not something that just happens to married couples. In fact, it’s an integral lesson for the developing minds that this show is targeted to. Appreciation is a big part of growing up; recognizing that someone has done something good for you, thanking them, and trying to do good in return.
Ed thinks that Barb doesn’t care about the effort he puts into making sure they can survive, and she’s furious that he doesn’t acknowledge that she tries just as hard as him with less success. Ed thinks that Barb’s web-spinning is gross, because it’s the spider equivalent of farting (of course it is), and that it’s only funny when guys do it. It's disgusting when the ladies try. Turns out web-spinning is gross for everyone, and this episode shows the process in graphic detail. The long farting sound as Jake gets wrapped in webbing is vile enough, but when you add in the squishy white drips that come out of Ed’s spinneret, it gets really repulsive.
Finn gives Ed the advice that he should start fixing the negatives in his relationship, and the first step is getting Barb an “I’m sorry” gift. While looking for a present, Ed dwells on his situation: “Geez, what happened to my life? All my friends are gone; they all got kids now. I don't have kids. All I have is Barb. And she treats me like a dingus!” She treats him like a dingus because he is a dingus, and he gets her a flaming sword because he has no idea how to treat his lady.
This past weekend, I was at the Chicago comic convention, C2E2, and while I was getting a sketch at the DC Comics booth, a man proposed to his girlfriend in front of Geoff Johns, current writer of Justice League and Aquaman. It was incredibly awkward, largely because of the woman’s face, which was a mix of embarrassment and rage. This clearly wasn’t her dream proposal, with comic fans asking if it was a Green Lantern or Legion of Superheroes ring that had just been slipped on her finger. I imagine Ed and Barb would be a lot like that couple if they were humans. He has good intentions that are misguided, and she has a whole lot of frustration.
When Ed returns with the flaming sword, Barb goes berserk. When she rejects his gift, Ed releases their food to remind her that he’s the main breadwinner (bugwinner?) for the family, which makes Barb hungry for her husband’s flesh. Before she can eat him, though, she undergoes excruciating pain that results in a giant web sac exploding from her behind and shooting thousands of baby spiders out in a terrifying black cloud. Turns out Barb was pregnant the whole time, and their relationship is refortified now that they have a family. Having kids in hopes that they will fix your marriage is one of the worst reasons to start a family, and Jake ends the episode with some words of confidence that come with their share of foreboding: “Love like theirs will always find a way. It will crawl all up over you and drain your body fluids, poisoning you slowly until you pass out.”
- In awesome Adventure Time comic book news, Meredith Gran, creator of the side-splitting webcomic Octopus Pie, will be writing and drawing Marceline And The Scream Queens, a miniseries about Princess Bubblegum joining Marceline’s band. If you’re not excited, you should be.
- Finn has a dumb idea to escape the web: spit on birds so that they come crashing down, hopefully landing in his hand so he can use their beaks to cut away at the web. It only takes him about 15 tries to get it right.
- Purple bug: "We'll all die in the web!" Blue bug: "That's the circle of life." Finn: "That's not a circle; that's like a straight line."
- Insect insight: “It's hard to step outside of yourself when you're enmeshed with another being.”
- “Tell me, Glob! Why don't you answer me!”
- “We real-talk now or you're going to be as single as your stinky web squirter.”