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

Adventure Time: “Little Dude”

Illustration for article titled Adventure Time: “Little Dude”

There’s a moment at the end of “Little Guy” that summarizes Adventure Time in one vivid image, showing Jake as he responds to a living version of Finn’s hat, newly revived and no longer evil. (More on that in a bit.) When the hat asks, “What is this lovely place?” Jake replies, “Life, man!” He’s stretching his body like silly putty, pulling one around his head to wave while another holds up sagging extra skin; that is life in Ooo. It’s fun and weird, and most of the characters are just trying to keep it together because their world is chaos.

The start of this episode didn’t record on my DVR, but it’s entirely plausible that “Little Guy” begins with short-haired Finn in his underwear being chased by his hat, which is suddenly now alive. (If you guys can fill me in on the seconds before Little Guy comes to life, I’d appreciate it.) The fact that I’m not sure if I came into the story a minute in or seconds in goes to show just how random this series can be. Anything can happen on Adventure Time, and “Little Guy” is one of those episodes that starts in a seemingly innocent place and quickly accelerates to carnage in 10 minutes.

After touching a magic flower, Finn’s hat transforms into Little Guy, an adorable, anthropomorphic headdress that has a ferocious need to be on the heads of people. He also turns food into poop. Instantly. The hole in the hat serves as both a mouth and a butt, and everything that goes into it immediately comes out as shit. Finn refuses to let it get on his head after watching an entire feast get turned to turds in seconds, and the hat runs away from the tree house to terrorize the Candy Kingdom. Little Guy is the closest this show has had to a Nibbler-equivalent (although the Jiggler comes in second), a cute pet that has the potential for great evil if not taken care of appropriately. And in both Little Guy and Nibbler’s cases, poop is a big part of their storylines.

While Finn and Jake are dealing with the wizard who accidentally created Little Guy with the magic flower on his head, Little Guy finds an innocent donut man in an alley and jumps on his head, giving him the proportionate strength of a hat and turning him into a hulking candy hunk that punches gummy horses in the jaw. Finn and Jake can barely keep the rampaging donut under control, and that’s when Little Guy notices the ultimate head to dress: the Gumball Guardian. That’s when this episode goes into “holy shit” mode, with the evil Gumball Guardian obliterating the Candy Kingdom in a wave of fire and magical energy. It’s always great when cartoons take advantage of the complete freedom the medium allows, and “Little Guy” destroys the Candy Kingdom because why not? It will be back to normal next Monday.

In order to stop Little Guy, the Wizard needs to change his powers and think of positive things instead of negatives, which means focusing on the way his mom made him feel instead of his cruel dad. Leave it to Adventure Time to fold a mommy/daddy issues subplot into an episode that involves an inanimate object being given life and the consequences of that birth. There’s a message about parenting and responsibility buried somewhere deep in there, but you have to make your way through shapeshifting dogs, Gumball Machines of mass destruction, and hug-obsessed inanimate objects to find it.

There are a lot of great moments in this episode: Finn calling out “Ninja!” as he leaps from the ceiling to knock the Wizard to the ground, BMO smacking Finn’s butt on his way to bed, the dialogue between Finn’s long underwear and a steering wheel. The storyboards make great use of extreme close-ups, showing giant grotesque expressions of bewilderment, sloppiness, and glee from Jake, Finn, and the Wizard. The action is smooth and increases in intensity as the stakes of Little Guy’s attack get higher, but the show’s sense of humor never gets lost during the fight sequences. And in a fairly large moment for this show, Finn gives up his hat, offering it to the Wizard when it’s brought back to life as a good Little Guy. Is Finn about to get a new hat!? Jake suggests they go skin a bear, and I really hope next week’s episode opens with Finn wearing a bearskin hat that is way too hot.


Stray observation:

  • Celebrate a year of the Adventure Time comic with last week’s #12, which brings LSP into the video game antics while throwing card games into the mix. There’s also a tutorial on how to make your own minicomic, which is totally math.
  • When did Finn get his hair cut? Is he growing it out after “Davey”? Was that covered in the first minute?’
  • So…uh…what was up with that scene of Finn and Jake eating sausages dipped in milk?
  • “Yeah, man, hats can be anything: pants, other people. It’s fine.”
  • “Don’t touch anything, I’m still frying up garnish.”
  • “Heh. BMO hit you on the butt.”
  • “We should tell him we know he sleeps on the top of our house.”
  • “Hug. Aww. I’ll hug you. You hug me.”
  • “Hey, pal, we’re working together! Come on! Lets be pal-jam-sas. Pal-jam-as. Pajamas.”