Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Adventure Time: “Five More Short Graybles”

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Cuber the cream-colored storyteller returns for a new set of oddly educational short stories in “Five More Short Graybles,” a hilarious episode that returns to the Adventure Time status quo after last week’s mind-melter. Telling five tales about the five tastes—sweet, savory, sour, salty, and bitter—as well as the five fingers, it’s an incredibly silly, completely satisfying episode. It begins with Finn and Jake experimenting with a spell book they found, which is actually just a book of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes. Following the example of little Jack Horner, they stick their thumbs in a pie, pull out two sweet plums and say, “What a good boy am I!” They wait for the magic, but nothing happens, so naturally Finn suggests that they keep sticking their thumbs in holes until it works. As they stick their thumbs in various things, from Lady Rainicorn’s pregnant belly to a bird’s nest and a squirrel’s armpits, they yell “WhatagoodboyamI!” hoping to awaken the magic of the goose warlock’s secret spell. It doesn’t work.

Marceline overhears Finn and Jake while on her way to Wizard Bill’s Music Shop, where she’s looking to buy a guitar that plays the savoriest licks in Ooo. She gets help from a drum-playing rock giant, who points the way to the store with his giant finger that Marceline is able to ride all the way there. That’s all that happens, and while the short stories this episode may be very simplistic, that doesn’t mean they’re any less funny. The comic timing in this episode is superb, and we spend just the right amount of time with each character. As the stories become increasingly bizarre, the writers quickly move the plot along so that the viewer is never completely comfortable, making it impossible to predict what is going to happen next.

After Marceline gets her guitar, Finn and Jake stick their thumbs in one of Tree Trunks’ pies. She giggles, but reminds the boys it is not very good manners. That’s nothing compared to what she sees on a statue in the Candy Kingdom, and she freaks out when she’s greeted by Shelby the adorable worm, who has made his home on top of the statue’s hand, creating a big middle finger when he appears to say hi. Tree Trunks goes to the police after the gesture leaves a sour taste in her mouth, taking matters into her own hands when she realizes that the system’s wheels spin too slowly. She recruits Cinnamon Bun and two candy citizens to help her bring justice to the streets, armed with pantyhose filled with crumpled newspaper. When she gets to the statue with her posse, she realizes her folly, and everyone laughs about it, but now we know what happens when you fuck with Tree Trunks, or create a symbol for “fuck” with your middle finger and direct it at Tree Trunks.

The episode’s most chilling tale comes courtesy of the Ice King, who marries his foot. After “I Remember You,” it’s impossible for me to watch the Ice King  without feeling intense sadness, and the poor guy sinks to new levels of depression in this episode. After announcing to his penguins that they’re going to have a new mother, Ice King weeps salty tears that his birds drink like mother’s milk (except for Gunther, who is on a low-sodium diet), then places a wedding ring on his nasty wrinkled toe to make it official. He’s elated by the new partnership and so glad that he’s not weird like Finn and Jake, who are still sticking their thumbs in stuff. Unfortunately, that’s when he notices the face drawn on his other foot, tempting him away from his new bride and threatening to destroy this beautiful new relationship. So in a nutshell: Ice King is so lonely that he draws two faces on his feet for company, marries one of them, then falls in love with the other one because he can never truly be happy. I love children’s television.

After the insanity of Ice King’s story, it’s time to check in with the also crazy BMO, who is still talking to an alternate personality named Football that lives in his reflection. Today he’s teaching Football about manners, telling him what a grapefruit spoon is and how to shake salt. He teaches him how to hold tea with his pinky finger out, but Football doesn’t like the bitter taste. BMO keeps drinking the tea until he begins to fry his circuity, but he doesn’t mind as long as he’s spending time with his friend Football. Like all of BMO’s scenes, it’s incredibly cute, but also pretty creepy. Finn and Jake come home exhausted from a day of sticking their thumbs in things and not feeling like good boys, so they decide to call it in. BMO invites them to stick their thumbs in some video game joysticks and play “Super Good Boys,” the video game where you straighten paintings and pick things up off the floor, and while it’s not what Finn and Jake had in mind, it’s a totally suitable alternative.

Stray observations:

  • From the last set of Graybles, one of my favorite Adventure Time scenes ever because why not:
  • I love these gender-swapped portraits of Adventure Time characters, courtesy of Adriana De La Torre.
  • Cartoon Network needs to release an online version of “Super Good Boys” now or this episode was worthless.
  • “Wanna keep sticking our thumbs in stuff until it works?”
  • “Hey, let’s find some more holes.”
  • “I’m the husband. That means I get the remote control three days a week, and you get it four!”
  • “Nobody’s had five fingers for 20 babillion graybles. Five telepathy glands maybe.”