Sunday, July 12, 2015

Honourable Mention: Adventure Time: Season 1

The Cartoon Network series Adventure Time does feature a vampire character, Marceline (Olivia Olson). However in the thirteen episodes of season 1, each split into 2 stories, she only appears in 2 stories (and fleetingly appears in the opening credits). Because of this I have decided to go down the road of Honourably Mentioning Season1 rather than reviewing it.

The series is about Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio,Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust, Futurama & Batman: the Brave and the Bold) and Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada, also Batman: the Brave and the Bold). They live in the land of Ooo, described as post-apocalyptic, but certainly a mash up of science fiction and fantasy, all rolled up in a surreal or absurdist vibe. Jake is a magical dog who can change size and shape as well as talk. The two friends are adventurers.

Marceline the Vampire Queen 
Marceline the vampire Queen first comes into the series in the story Evicted. It starts with Jake telling Finn a vampire story. Finn is freaked out by it and can barely sleep but then Marceline the Vampire Queen actually does show up. The 1000 year old vampire seems cool at first. She does drink blood but mainly because of the colour as she feeds on the colour red. However she shows them a hidden mark in the guys' treehouse, of the letter M, that she suggests means it is her house and evicts the two of them into the stormy night – Jake is so scared of vampires that they don’t fight her for their home.

giant bat form
There then follows a sequence of them travelling Ooo in search of a new home but something goes wrong at every location. Eventually they get to a cave and spruce the place up into something that looks really good – they decide to throw a party. Marceline turns up (with her bass, she is a rock musician). She shows them an M mark in the cave and threatens to evict the guys again. With Jake scared and Marceline able to turn into a giant bat the odds look stacked against them…

wolf form
The second episode that features her is called Henchman. Finn and Jake happen across Marceline abusing an elderly man, who she suggests is her henchman for life. To free the man Jake offers to take his place and the vampire-phobic Jake is scared off when she becomes a wolf creature. Marceline keeps telling Jake to do evil things, so his first task is to help her feed and she forces him to hold down her victim. When she does feed, however, it is his red bowtie she is after and the man is rather taken with his new white bowtie.

army of the undead
She calls up an army of the undead and marches towards the Duke of Nuts’ castle, implying that she will sack it, and Finn rushes ahead to warn them – not knowing that she has been asked to play a gig for the Duke’s youngest son’s birthday. Essentially she is playing with Finn’s head and, when he comes to realise this he also realises it’s been a game all along and all the tasks have actually been positive. Jake, however, does not know this and wants to free his friend…

in the sun
In that episode we further discover that Marceline can walk around in daylight with a parasol to shade her and, in direct sunlight, she is hurt not killed. In other episodes in this season we get appearances from why-wolves (as opposed to werewolves) and zombies. The humour is brilliantly realised, masterfully straddling a line between childhood themes and absurdist humour aimed at an adult sensibility. All in all, very worthwhile.

The imdb page is here.

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