Finn and Jake accompany Princess Bubblegum on her study of the Desert of Wonders. However, they are soon attacked by goo monsters, and Finn and Jake think that Bubblegum's robot helper James is to blame.

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Finn (voice)
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Jake / Goo Monsters / Additional Voices (voice)
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James (voice)
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Finn and Jake accompany Princess Bubblegum on her study of the Desert of Wonders. However, they are soon attacked by goo monsters, and Finn and Jake think that Bubblegum's robot helper James is to blame.

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25 November 2013 (USA)  »

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Extreme Disappointment
28 May 2014 | by See all my reviews

I usually enjoy adventure time, watching the ways in which it avoids being patronising while at the same time being a children's show. It's usually quite progressive, of course the engaging well fleshed out characters, interesting settings and beautifully absurdest stories all add to the appeal.

However, I feel very let down by this episode, and here is why. It's horribly ablest. The story is basically about the heroes plus princess bubblegum and a candy man named James. They get stuck in the wilderness, and the princess secretly sabotages all their escape efforts because she don't like the risks involved. This eventually means that the only chance of survival rests on one member of the group acting as a decoy, allowing others to escape.

I should point out here that James is depicted as an outcast, difficult to like and has a range of mannerisms and ticks which make him appear retarded, even if he is a bright and caring individual. So of course he is the one to be sacrificed. It's clear that the intention was to do this to make him into a hero, trying to humanise the retards etc. But the thing is, he's the one who is talked into making a sacrifice because he is the most expendable.

Of course they remake James's body and personality and laud him as a hero afterwards, but the thing is, the retard sacrificing themselves nobly so others will live is a fairly well known trope, and I have no doubt it's meant to humanise them. But it's also patronising and demeaning, their only worth is in making great sacrifices, wouldn't it be more humanising if they were worth fighting to make sure they live, wouldn't it be more humanising if it showed James being able to get along with others eventually and make meaningful contributions to the group.

Sacrificing the retard may be well intentioned by in reality it demeans then as being lesser.


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