Hello, Spongey here.
They say they at every good show has at least one bad episode. No matter how good the show is, eventually it will screw up, and there’s nothing you can do it about. I’ve been mixed about this “rule” so speak.
It’s rare for me to dislike an episode of a show I flat out like. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t happen. But recently I have been growing as a TV Critic and I’ve seen some episodes I don’t like it, from shows I love. But it’s still rare for me to find a flat out BAD episode.
Let’s look at some examples I’ve discussed: Poof De Formage and Pool Shark from Haunting hour were not really bad, just weak by that show’s standards. The same can be said for Candace Gets Busted, even if some call it flat out bad.
Hell, even Freaky Fido still isn’t BAD. The only examples of an episode being bad are Say Cheesy and die Again (Goosebumps) and of course, those 4 Spongebob Episodes I listed awhile back. And there’s actually more I plan to cover some day.
I don’t count SB’s or Family Guys bad episodes, because they went downhill by that point anyway. But where am I going with all this? Well, recently I’ve had to face the fact that ANY show I like can have a weak episode, even if it’s not EVERY show.
Any show can be struck by the stink bug, and sadly, that had to happen to Adventure Time. I don’t need to introduce it at this point, and I will at I later date, but for now, I’ll give you all you need to know. It’s a weird CN show that takes place in the weird land of Ooo. It’s about Finn the Human, and Jake the Dog. They fight Evil Spongebob aka The Ice King sometimes.
The main setting is the Candy Kingdom, which is exactly what it says on the tin. The show it self is hilarious, weird, creative, complex and even dark. But that’s a topic for another day, cuz I plan to discuss the show again at a late date.
For now, we’re focusing on the only episode I don’t like. It seems that most weak episodes have a issue the show has always had, and it’s just showcased more in that one. Or it simply takes an aspect that has never been a problem, and makes it a problem.
This is more akin to the latter. What is the problem here, besides the one I’ll get into later? Princess Bubblegum. Oh boy. She’s the ruler of the Candy Kingdom and she’s the science-y type. She’s also kind of a bitch.
Remember my whole spiel back in the Morganville Tribute about how people hate on characters who are SUPPOSED to be unlikable? Bubblegum is one of the biggest examples. It’s obvious she’s supposed be kind of a morally gray character, and that’s what makes her so fascinating.
Her bitchy-ness is usually not a problem, as it’s normally the point of that story and things typically work out well in the end in some way. One example is The Suitor, where a guy who been waiting in the Suitor line all his life (don’t ask) tries to get with her, but she’s too wrapped in her work to care.
It seems like she’s being a bitch no reason, especially when she just uses him as a guinea pig at some points. But at the end, she makes a robot Bubblebum for him to have, so he can have the women of his dreams, among other reasons I won’t get into. She ultimately does a good thing, and it makes up for her previous actions.
Why do I bring up that one, of all episodes? It has the same writer of the episode we’re talking about today. That was his first episode, and this is his 2nd. To my knowledge, he hasn’t done another since.
As we go on, you’ll see why. But I know what you are thinking: How could Bubblegum being a bitch be an issue with an episode if that’s always the point, and she’s not meant to be likable? Oh, you’ll see.
Before I start, I should warn you. This episode brings up…interesting issues, and Doug’s vlog on it was over 20 minutes long because of those issues. So if you don’t like long winded discussions about a touchy subject, turn back now.
What subject is that? Let’s stop stalling and get into it.
This, is Wizards Only, Fools
Writers: Jessie Moynihan & Thomas Wellmann (The former was just the storyboard person)
The episode opens at the Candy Kindgdom hospital, as Bubblegum is treating this dude named Starchy, who has a cold. Peebs wants to give him this big needle thingy, but Starchy says he only takes magic.
Yeah, don’t question the fact that a cold landed him in the hospital. It’s kind of the joke and weirder things have happened.
Bubblegum wants to give him the Serum anyway, but the nurse tells her that a wizard cured her sadness so thus, magic will likely help out better. And then Bubblegum says something that kills the entire episode, and sets the tone.
“Listen, all magic is scientist principles presented like mystical hoo doo, which is fun, but it’s sort of irresponsible”
How far are we into this? One minute and 9 seconds? Wow, that’s a new record for pissing me off in a TV episode! Okay, this little line tells us what our main “Conflict” will be…and it”s bullshit.
The entire episode rests on the fact that Bubblegum doesn’t believe in magic. Which MAKES NO SENSE. Why? Well, for one, SHE IS FREQUENTLY BUGGED BY AN ICE WIZARD. On top of that, she has seen some weird ass magic stuff in the past 4 and a half Seasons.
Yes, this was halfway through Season 5. That’s another problem . It’s not like this is episode 1 where magic would be up for debate. Magic clearly exists and PB looks like an IDIOT for not believing it for some reason! The entire conflict of this episode falls apart due to SIMPLE LOGIC. It’s like they forgot what show this was!
But okay, it’s no big deal. Maybe they can make an okay story out of this. Let’s move on. She tells Starchy that her Serum thing is magic and she does magic-y stuff. With Starch caught off guard, she stabs him, cures him, and the episode ends.
Oh wait, that’s what a smart person would do.
“Is that a real spell?”
“No, I’m making fun of spells”
Wow, screw you PB. You’ve been a bitch before but this is just…bad! If you had just taken the high road and hit him right there, this would all be over.
And then comes another….interesting line. If the last one almost killed the episode, than this part flat out murders it in cold blood.
“Princess, you’re being really disrespectful of my beliefs”
“That was very close minded”
Here we go. Before this, the magic thing was only a POSSIBLE Religion allegory…but now it is. How else can I interpret that line? And the rest of the ep doesn’t make it any less obvious. This Magic Vs Science thing is a stand in for Religion Vs Science.
Okay, if you are going to insert this in a kid’s show, so bluntly, you need to have an understanding of it. Or at least, you must do it in a way that won’t piss anyone else, parents or otherwise.
This episode doesn’t do that. For one, the “Atheist” in this situation is shown to be a stuck up asshole who mocks people for their beliefs. That just reeks of unfortunate implications. On top of that….MAGIC EXISTS.
How the hell can you do a Religion debate where the religion clearly exists?! It just makes the non-believer look stupid, and our entire debate falls apart!
And even if you ignore all that, it doesn’t work. Bubblegum is being a bitch to Starchy just cuz he believes in magic. How can I enjoy myself with crap like this? If someone is gonna be a dick, make sure they are tolerable to watch. If they are not, you can’t enjoy the final product.
She doesn’t get better, spoilers. I know I’m going on a tangent before we even hit the two minute mark (and that’s WITH the intro) but this sums up the entire episode. Some people have said that Starchy is being unseasonable too, just like the people who refuse to get healed cuz “god” will cure them.
Well for one, as I said before MAGIC EXISTS so it’s not impossible like in real life. So maybe he is being a dick, but that doesn’t justify Bubblegum being an even bigger dick in response.
The point is, you cannot bring Religion in any way, into a show if you are gonna write it THIS badly. And trust me, it doesn’t work on it’s own terms either.
So….are we ready to FINALLY move on?
With that, Bubblegum gives in and says she will go to Wizard City and get him a cold spell. Cuz I guess that’s the only way to get him a magic cure. Some have said PB isn’t too bad cuz she’s willingly to do this in the first place. True, but she’s a bitch during this entire adventure so it doesn’t make up for anything.
She tells Finn and Jake about all of this, and they are cool with the Wizard City thing. She is pissed at this, and hey wait a second. Jake is A MAGIC DOG. How can she still not believe in magic?!
Finn tells that Wizard City is for Wizards only, and non wizards are killed on sight. So they head to the outskirts of the City in wizard outfits. But all they see is a Wall, which knows they aren’t Wizards, so they can’t get in. PB shows up and tells us the wall only responds to the voice of a real Wizard.
She found this out by interrogating Ice King. She recorded their conversation, and yeah, it’s pretty funny. Long story short, the password is Wizards rule. Thus, the wall vanishes, revealing the city.
“It’s a vocal registry rigged to a vibration modulator. The wall is still there it’s just the density is all wobble”
I’m with you on that one, Jake. Speaking of Jake being awesome..
“What am I then? This don’t look like magic to you”
“It looks like a mutation”
….Screw you. After 5 Seasons, you can’t just randomly decide she doesn’t think he’s magic. They walk around the city, and see some cool Wizards. But of course, PB has to be a bitch about it and whine about how they are use science-y stuff. Yeah, cuz people just parade around complex science stuff for no reason.
They try to find a magic shop, and they bump into some guards who have found a Non-Wizard. The guards blast him with a laser thing. Did they kill him or teleport him? Either way, yikes.
By the way, do you expect PB to change her mind now that she knows that they are willingly to KILL a guy over being a Non-Wizard? Of course you do, you have a brain, unlike PB.
They find the magic shop, and the owner is a pretty cool dude. This episode has some enjoyable bits that stop it from being bad, and this guy’s cool talk is one of those bits. They get the cold spell, and they leave with it.
Oh wait, that’s another thing that would have made sense. Instead, PB asks how the spell works.
“It works by magic”
That should be enough, but she keeps bugging him about how it works. After a bit of that, he calls her out as a fake and calls the guards.
Great going PB, you got you and your friends in trouble. All cuz you had to be a bitch about magic/science crap. I told you she doesn’t get better.
They escape, and now I must mention that her Wizard outfit is this…thing that covers up her body, but her head peeking out shows shoulders, which are well, uncovered. So here..
“Is PB straight up naked right down?”
“Don’t make me more uncomfortable than I already am”
They move on and bump into AbracDaniel, some dude from another episode. He lets them hide in some place with him. They end up in a cave with this group of Wizards from another episode, and trust me, that is a long story. Point it, one of them looks like the Hypotoad’s cousin.,
A Guard shows up to blast the wizard for harboring Non-Wizards.
“This what you get for asking a magician about his tricks, PB”
Jake is my new favorite character. I type this as I wear my Jake shirt. This was not planned.
They get coroenred, and PB takes off her suit to reveal some weird green suit thing, so she’s not nude after all. She reveals that she is the ruler of the Candy Kingdom, so she demands a meeting with the Grand Master Wizard.
They get their meeting, and we cut to them talking to the Wizard King dude. He is a bit miffed at both PB and Daniel.
“But since you have always been a good friend to the Wizards, just say Wizards Rule, and you can go”
…What. How the hell can she be pals with the Wizards despite being a Non- Believer? How can she even be one in this case? This makes no sense!
To make it worse, she refuses to say Wizards Rule. This is made worse by the fact that she is buddies with the master wizard guy.
“All magic is science”
…Look, I admire your persistence, but you are pals with Wizards (apparently) and you have been threatened with death for not buying magic. At this point, you shouldn’t be this much of a bitch!
“You just don’t know what you’re doing so you call it magic”
…Okay, I know in real life, Religious people really do crazy stuff even though it’s not proven to be real. But again, magic is clearly real here so PB’s claim comes across as ignorant!
“Wizard prison, all of you!”
So they are thrown in a jail, and we get some amusing gags. Also, this line:
“I got traumatized by those under panties”
The next day, we see them in the courtyard during lunch, when Daniel challenges Bubblegum to a “Honorable prison stabbing to the death” Like you do.
She accepts and Finn opens the cold spell (for reasons) and finds it it’s actually a cold spell. As in, winter cold. Well, that sucks. Wait, why call it a cold spell if it can be taken two ways? Wouldn’t “winter spell” make more sense?
Eh, I’ll let it slide. We are dealing with a magic dog and girl made out of bubblegum …another reason her stuff makes no sense.
They use the cold spell to freeze everyone over and escape. PB is the one who uses it, by the way. Yay, that means she’ll finally see that magic is real and stop being a bitch!
They escape but they still have no real cold spell for Starchy, even after all that. So they would still be up shit creek if if PB wasn’t a bitch. …Eh, whatever.
“I’ve got an idea”
We cut to the hospital, as Daniel shows Starchy some magic stuff.
“Finally, healing magic”
Oh so Daniel knows healing spells. Okay, looks like PB saw the light and she learned an important less- and she just comes in from behind and stabs Starchy with the serum. The end.
Adventure Time loves Abrupt endings, and they mostly work so I won’t bitch about that. I will however bitch about the execution of said ending. Now, I don’t know if I should be pissed or not.
On one hand, it seems like PB learned two things: Jack and Shit. I mean, her science way ultimately cured Starchy and she didn’t seem like she learned anything. On the other hand, magic ended up allowing her to cure him, and she clearly saw the cold spell.
I think I know what they were trying to do with this ending. They wanted to provide a…natural answer to the questions it raises. They don’t say if PB learned anything or not, and as you can size, a good argument can be said for either option.
That’s fine in theory….but for reasons I’ve said before, and will go into in a bit, it doesn’t work. The ending itself is kind of amusing in how abrupt it is, at least.
And yes, that did feel short. Watching it is more substantial than reading a summary since it’s only an 11 minute episode. Anyway, we’re done here.
This ….was an odd episode. I can’t call it BAD, as it has some fun parts and I enjoyed parts of it. I like the idea of going to a Wizard City, and I appreciate any kids show that can bring up something though in any way.
But my god, is it a tough watch. On a critical level, it’s just weak but I didn’t like watching this one for a 3rd time. (1st was the premiere 2nd was cuz of Doug’s Vlog, and 3rd was for this). The biggest problem is that it has no idea what it wants to be.
Does it want to be your typical fun Adventure Time story little moral value an an abrupt ending? Does it want to a fair look at an interesting issue? Does it want to pick a side on an issue? It seems like it wants to be what I said earlier, but it doesn’t work a few reasons.
For one, they try to do a Magic Vs Science story where the Magic has shown to be real. They make the Atheist a bitch who doesn’t seem to learn anything, and a result, it seems like it’s saying things it doesn’t mean. I’m sure I’m looking too deep into it,. But sorry, if you wanna throw in a religion reference, you better know your shit. But again, let’s ignore that and it look at it on pure critical level.
It’s still weak. I mean, we have PB not believing in magic for no reason, and she doesn’t learn anything or get true comeuppance for being a dick to Starchy. I don’t care if there was nothing to be learned, you can’t have stuff like this and not have a point to it. That works for the other episodes, but not this.
This episode is just confusing, and the core concept of it just doesn’t work. I like that it brings up enough issues that warrants a 20 minute vlog about it, but I don’t like how it’s written. Structurally, it’s a typical TV episode with some fun jokes and creative visuals, so there’s enough to make me glad I saw it, but man, is it weak.
I think I’ve said enough here. You get my point. What we’ve learned here is if you are going to do Magic Vs Science, or a religion allegory, you better get your shit straight. I’ll give two grades here.
Personal Grade: C+
Critical Grade: B-
Huh, usually the personal grade is higher. Weird. This review may seem weird and pointless, but I wanted to show that I have my own bad episodes of good shows, that I have an issue with. Some have tons of episodes to bitch about, but I don’t have many. That, and I wanted to vent on this episode outside of TGWTG comments.
The show is still great, and you should all watch it, but this was not their best work.