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

Adventure Time: “Five Short Graybles”

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Gleebul baybelgrapes, everyone, and welcome back to T.V. Club’s now-regular coverage of Adventure Time. This week’s episode begins with a gibberish-speaking Storyteller in his spaceship, quickly establishing that this is going to be a very weird episode. Compared to “Five Short Graybles,” last week’s story is like an installment of My Little Pony. The Storyteller presents five tales, each one focused on an individual sense, and the writers create one bizarre narrative to link the scenes together.

Each segment highlights different members of the show’s cast, beginning with an amazingly cute BMO story about his alternate personality named Football that lives in the bathroom mirror. It’s a story about sight, in more ways than one. While the main action happens when BMO looks in the mirror, the scene also reveals how BMO views himself internally. When Football asks BMO if he’s a robot, he responds that he’s a living boy. Football is impressed and wants BMO to show what being alive is like. What follows are intensely adorable clips of BMO using a toothbrush to scrub his screen and banging a bar of soap against his face. Then it gets weird when he climbs down to the toilet with a glass of water, pours it into the toilet and cheers, “I’m pee-ing!” BMO has no concept of that living is really like, and he thinks it primarily involves personal hygiene. It’s very childish, but that’s to be expected from a living Game Boy.

Finn and Jake are watching BMO from outside the treehouse, and Finn is able to cross “prove that BMO does weird junk when no one is around” off his list of things to do today. (Also on the list: “cut fingernail,” “punching seminar,” and “haiku.”) Not on that list is giving each other “the most ultimate high-five ever,” but once Finn and Jake set their palms on a goal, they go for it full throttle. Jake slingshots himself and Finn launches from a catapult, and as they fly through the air, the story transitions to Princess Bubblegum working frantically in her laboratory. Finn and Jake’s touch story is simple and relies on a single gag, so by moving away from the action, it creates anticipation, while also giving the episode a visual thread in the repeated images of Jake and Finn flying through the air.

Princess Bubblegum has been working on creating “the most perfect sandwich that has ever existed or ever will exist within the confines of space and time,” and she has a breakthrough in her taste-based story. Bubblegum is the typical young adult in her late teens, optimistic about her chances of legitimately changing the world, even if it’s just through the creation of lunchtime perfection. She breaks down the building blocks of a sandwich through a combination of science, magic, and nonsense:

  • Put a cow in a centrifuge to create cheese, slice cheese with a spooling mechanism atomically hooked to the corner of the cheese block.
  • Use size-altering fluid on lettuce, then smash it with a baseball bat instead of chopping.
  • Teleport an octopus and a red balloon Fly-style, creating a tomato as the final mutated product. Have Peppermint Butler judo chop the tomato for slices.
  • Perform a magic spell to create bread; slice it with a laser beam.

When she brings Cinnamon Bun that sandwich to taste, he just sticks it into his belly and digests it. When she reacts in horror, that same belly hole opens up to spray the sandwich all over PB in a totally nasty but oh-so-hilarious shit take. It’s the perfect transition to the episode’s smell story, involving, you guessed it, farts!

When Ice King notices a foul odor in his ice palace, he assumes that it is the result of Gunther’s farts and ejects the penguin from the premises. When the smell doesn’t go away, Ice King realizes that it’s actually the stench of his armpits and forces his penguins to scrub him until the smell has completely disappeared. Gunther has returned by the time the shower has finished, and when the Ice King wonders how his armpits smell so bad, Gunther farts into one of them. It’s utterly juvenile and ridiculous, but there’s artistry in how the writers build up to Gunther’s final poot. When the action of the story ends, Gunther releases his built-up butt-gas, reigniting the episode’s momentum with a laugh as it heads into the final sense.

Lumpy Space Princess has the hearing segment, where she’s getting ready to perform “These Lumps” at the Candy Kingdom talent show. When a group of younger, prettier girls sings “These Lumps” first, LSP is branded a rip-off and a failure until she starts chucking basketballs at the audience and they land in the basketball hoop on-stage. Suddenly, LSP has the hottest new talent, and she’s declared the winner of the talent show. That’s when Finn and Jake finally land their high-five, directly above the talent show, impressing Peppermint Butler so much that he chooses to honor them instead.


It’s unbelievable that all of this happens in 10 minutes, which goes to show just how much material is packed into every episode of this series. The episode ends with the Storyteller making sure that the audience knows exactly which sense corresponds with each story, which also serves as a reminder to all the adults in the audience that the show that’s making them laugh so hard is targeted to kids in grade school. I don’t have a problem with that, and I’m guessing you don’t either.

Stray observations:

  • The hologram of Earth next to the Storyteller shows the extent of the damage the Mushroom War inflicted on the planet. It basically took a big bite of the northern hemisphere.
  • Finn and Jake have been using the same toothbrush. Very gross.
  • Princess Bubblegum’s “cheeeese” face is priceless. The characters models are so simple, yet so expressive.
  • “You’ve gone crazy mad with power lust, and I’m lovin’ it!”
  • “You are nasty, Gunther. You got a nasty booty, mister.”
  • “I’ll see you crimpy glimmers on triode flimpin’ the diode.”