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

Adventure Time: “Simon And Marcy”

Illustration for article titled Adventure Time: “Simon And Marcy”

A man losing his mind. A little girl with no home or family. Together, they try to survive in a world destroyed by nuclear apocalypse, crawling with Gumby-like mutants pouring neon green waste from giant holes in their bodies. Adventure Time does The Road, as it flashes back 996 years to the early days of Simon and Marcy, delivering an episode that fleshes out the mythology of this world while diving deeper into the tragic relationship of the titular pair. For some strange reason, “Simon And Marcy” aired without the title card, a haunting, bittersweet image that sets the tone for the episode. I don’t recall seeing Hambo anywhere in the episode, but that title card is a strong enough appearance for the stuffed animal, lying limp on the snow with a permanent smile on its face. The snow is a comfortable place for Hambo to lay its head, and this episode is all about finding that kind of home in a world that has been completely devastated.

When Finn and Jake ask Marceline why she invited “ancient chubs” Ice King to play basketball with them, she says, “He’s very dear to my heart. I love him.” Jake responds with, “What you are talking about, Marceline?” It’s the first of this episode’s ’80s TV references, and it prompts Marceline to tell them all the story of how she relied on Simon to survive after the Great Mushroom War. “Simon And Marcy” gives us the most extensive view of the post-GMW, pre-Ooo time period of Earth, showing just how dire the situation was before the world was transformed into a candy colored wonderland. The flashback begins with Simon and Marcy scavenging for food outside of a bombed out city, finding nothing but a dead rat inside of a mailbox. Simon tries to keep Marcy’s spirits up by cracking jokes about their situation, but he’s worried about the both of them, especially as he becomes more reliant on his crown for protection.

Simon’s crown gives him the power to defend himself and Marcy, but he’s beginning to lose more and more of himself each time he puts it on. It’s like a drug they need in order to live, but there’s a huge price for gaining that extra time. When Simon hears something in the forest, he puts on the crown and attacks a helpless deer as the Ice King, staying in this mode even after Marcy knocks the crown off his head. She makes him promise not to put the crown on again, but there’s going to come a time when they need Ice King’s power and Simon won’t come back. After killing and cooking the deer, Simon tries to entertain Marcy by hopping into a broken TV set and acting out a live episode of Cheers for her. Yup. Cheers. He doesn’t sing a parody of the Cheers theme song; he sings the real thing, and it becomes a major plot point later in the episode.

This episode isn’t super heavy on laughs, but there are two great moments that help alleviate some of the tension through vehicular comedy. The first comes when Simon is trying to find a way to get into the city so that he can get a sick Marceline some chicken soup and he discovers a motorcycle hidden in a bush. They hop on, but once Simon speeds up, he loses control and sends the motorcycle out from under them, zooming down the street until it crashes into a building and explodes. The second comes when Simon finds a food truck that is actually a Clambulance with no chicken soup. When two mutants attack from the vehicle, Simon kicks it off the bridge but sets off its siren when it crashes in the ground. The constant cry of “Clambulance” is a goofy way to lighten the mood after the attack, but it also attracts a giant horde of mutants, forcing Simon and Marcy to make a run for it.

When the two are backed into a corner, Simon decides that he has to wear the crown one more time if they are going to live. Before he puts it on, he starts to sing the Cheers theme song, which serves as his tether to sanity as he blankets the streets in ice and eliminates the threats. Cheers was a refuge for its patrons, a place where they could escape whatever problems were plaguing them outside the bar’s walls. It was a home away from home, a place that was familiar but didn’t have all the irritation that comes with actual family. Simon and Marcy are looking for any type of home at all, somewhere they can be safe and happy and preferably sane. Ultimately, Simon gets two out of the three, and when he hugs Marcy after saving their lives, it becomes clear that he’s slipping further away when he calls her “Gunther.”

That’s when the episode flashes back to the present, where Ice King asks Marceline what happens next. “Little Marcy felt a lot better, and she and Simon lived happily ever after,” she says, but he’s not listening. He just wants her to keep talking so he can score some more hoops. As he hovers in front of the net, Marceline watches with Finn and Jake, who now have a new understanding of why he acts the way he does. Marceline may miss the way Simon used to be, but she’s still going to love the person that he is. She knows more than his name; she knows his true soul, and she’ll never forget that, even if he does.


Stray observation:

  • The card Simon finds in The Soupery is one of those great visual gags that takes a second for all the humor to sink in. The “Hey Old Man” with a skull and two flies is a morbidly hilarious cover, made even funnier when contrasted with the silliness of the inside message: “Have a ‘Soup-er’ ‘Broth’-Day (‘Birthday’)!”
  • Any theories about what’s going on with the sentient bubblegum? This episode has me aching for more episodes that delve into this world’s past and I hope we get some answers about the neon pink goo.
  • “Marceline, I got ups! Check out my ups!”
  • “Right, lay down, Marceline. Go to sleep. Wait, what are we talking about?”
  • “Man, this is a boring movie. I like the book much better.”
  • “Bread balls!”
  • Marcy: “You’re so silly, Simon.” Simon: “Yeah, I suppose so.”
  • “We’re both gross, darling.”
  • “Mother mother mother mother mother mother!”
  • “Don’t leave me here, Simon! I can fight!” Marcy patting her little arm muscle is so adorable.