Classics like The Simpsons, South Park, and (a bit later on) Family Guy and Futurama entirely changed the way that the world viewed animated television. Cartoons switched from a quick and easy way to shut your kid up on a Saturday morning to a method of adult relaxation alongside your favorite vulgar idiots. Shows like Archer, Bob’s Burgers, and Rick and Morty soon followed, and with overtly sexual themes, off-color humor, and profanity, the intended demographic was clear – these shows were solely for teens and adults.
Every once in a while, though, you get a show that catches the attention of both kids and adults. Early animated series like Ren and Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life aired alongside other children’s cartoons, but both were absolutely loaded with double entendre and social commentary. Then, in 2000, Spongebob Squarepants caught the attention of everyone, too; it was the highest rated television show to ever air on Nickelodeon, and one third of viewers were adults. As the show came to a close, key contributors like Derek Drymon and Tom Kenny teamed up with creator Pendleton Ward to start an entirely new project – Adventure Time, a beyond random show about a boy and his dog in a magical post-apocalyptic world.
While Ward has been clear about the fact that Adventure Time is meant for kids, it’s developed a cult following among adults and teens due to its social commentary, weird combination of sophisticated writing and ridiculousness, and incredible characters. Also, people of any age should be able to appreciate an aptly-timed fart joke. If you’re an adult and haven’t watched the show in its entirety, clear your work schedule for the next two weeks (swine flu should work as an adequate excuse) and get to it. If you have, and you’re still craving more, here are 15 little known facts about Adventure Time.
15 Adventure Time Started As A Pitch To Nickelodeon
When creator Pendleton Ward was in college, Nickelodeon came to California Institute of the Arts and asked all the students to pitch one minute shorts to some of their executives. Ward came up with the first incantation of Adventure Time for this assignment, but it didn’t go over very well. “They didn’t buy it or even give me feedback on it. I don’t think they really liked it,” Ward says. Later, after he graduated, he heard about Frederator’s Pilot Program. “They did a series called ‘Random Cartoons’ where they would ask people to come in and pitch them ideas whether they had industry experience or not.” Ward built his pilot program around his original Adventure Time sketches – “It was just a boy and his dog living in a magical world where they save a princess” – and Frederator accepted his pitch.
14 The Theme Song Has Keyboard Typing In It
After Cartoon Network bought the show, the makers of Adventure Time used the original song from the pilot, but went back to rerecord it with different instruments – an ukulele instead of a guitar. The theme song you hear on the show was originally just meant to be a temporary version. It was recorded on a crummy little microphone and has tons of background noise, but they didn’t like any of the other takes, so they kept it. “If you listen carefully to the recording, you can actually hear Derek Drymon typing on a keyboard in the bit when Jake is walking,” says Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward. The typing happens around the 16-second mark. “A little clickity clack in that wide shot when his legs are stretched out… A lot of the music for our show has hiss and grit to it anyways because our composer is a cool guy and basically lives in a pirate ship he’s built inside of an apartment.”
13 The Romantic Aspects Are Based On “Betty And Veronica” Comics
While the show is primarily about the friendship and adventures of Jake the Dog and Finn the Human (the fun will never end), romantic themes come in and out every few episodes. Princess Bubblegum is the main romantic interest for the first few seasons, but the age difference is particularly evident, and at times, it seems as though she’s purposely manipulating him. Ward admitted in an interview that the dynamics here were heavily based on the Betty and Veronica comics. “Archie's always sort of going back and forth between Betty and Veronica, but they're also having fun with him, and there's always a new girl in town… That was the cliché that I was interested in, and I liked that there were these two girls that liked messing with Finn's head, and he's totally true of heart.”
12 Princess Bubblegum Is Precisely 827 Years Old
Though it’s never explicitly said anywhere in the show – and consequently, it may not be considered canon – Princess Bubblegum reveals her age in the video game Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! which was co-written by the show’s creator, Ward. Princess Bubblegum explains that she used to be part of a giant wad of pink goo that was formed roughly a thousand years ago, and she became sentient when she was spat out exactly 827 years prior. “Her parents,” meaning the remainder of the pink goo, are locked down in the dungeon underneath Candy Kingdom, and it’s up to the player of the game to destroy the wad of pink goo during the final boss battle. During the closing credits, the bubble mass floats out in pieces – bye, Mom and Dad!
11 Lumpy Space Princess Is Voiced By The Creator – Who’s A Dude
Arguably one of the most quotable characters from the whole serious, Lumpy Space Princess is sassy, dramatic, impatient, and speaks with a nasally valley-girl accent. She’s one of the three most reoccurring princesses in the show alongside Princess Bubblegum and Flame Princess, and she’s the princess of – you guessed it – lumpy space. People don’t often realize, however, that she’s voiced by the creator of the show, Pendleton Ward. While Ward does voice a few other minor characters (like her male counterpart Lumpy Space Prince and one of the business men), Lumpy Space Princess is his only big voice role in the show. At the Times Talk Panel during New York’s Comic Con, he admitted, “I’m embarrassed at how much I relate to Lumpy Space Princess.” Oh my Glob.
10 Finn Might Be Based On A Bear (What?)
Way before he started making Adventure Time – from 2002 to 2003, to be exact – Pendleton Ward created a web comic called “Bueno The Bear.” While he hasn’t confirmed it directly, it’s hard to miss the resemblance; Finn and Bueno both have a square-like body, long arms and legs, little nub-like ears on either side of their heads, and tiny far-set eyes. Ward still uses the handle “buenothebear” for his personal website and twitter account, and whether or not the resemblance is intentional, Ward admits that his relation to Finn goes way deeper than a simple character creation: “Finn's who I wanted to be as a kid – a hero to the world. I wanted to be a hero and save the Earth,” he says.
9 The Post-Apocalyptic Theme Wasn’t Planned
While there are tons of references as to how Adventure Time is meant to take place in a post-apocalyptic world (like the nuclear bombs in the opening theme and how humans are particularly rare), this wasn’t an original part of the plot. “I never planned it – I just saw this world as a magical place. The show developed organically – someone would add an element to the world, and it would stick,” says Ward. Then, eight episodes into season one, an episode called “Business Time” aired. It was about zombie-like businessmen rising up from the bottom of a lake after being frozen in a glacier, and the show took on an entirely new meaning. “That made the world post-apocalyptic, and we just ran with it,” says Ward.
8 There Are Two Voice Actors That Have Done Finn – And They’re Brothers
Jeremy Shada currently voices Finn in Adventure Time, and has been doing so for several seasons now. His voice changed throughout the series as he got older, resulting in a higher pitched Finn in the first few seasons and a deeper-sounding one later on; the show even ran with the puberty theme. However, in a Comic Con panel in New York, Shada revealed that it was actually his brother – Zack Shada – who did the original voicing for Finn when the show kicked off. “My brother Zack…did the original pilot and played Finn in the pilot, so when it rolled around to Cartoon Network about three years later, my voice sounded just like his had, and I kind of copied it a little bit, too.” Both Zack and Jeremy (as well as their third brother, Josh) are voice actors, and Jeremy says that while there’s some brotherly teasing, there was no real animosity about the fact that he took over the role in Zack’s place.
7 The Ice King’s Voice Invaded Your Childhood
Tom Kenny voices the Ice King in Adventure Time, as well as a few minor characters in the show like Gunther, Lumpy Space King, and Bufo. If you had any kind of notable childhood whateoever, though, Kenny’s voice is likely scattered all throughout it. He’s most famously known for doing the voice of Spongebob Squarepants from ‘99 to 2016 (as well as the voice of Gary the Snail). His other noteworthy gigs include the voice of the Mayor from The Powerpuff Girls, Heffer in Rocko’s Modern Life, The Penguin from the 2004 TV series The Batman, and Dog in CatDog. If videogames were more of your jam, Kenny also did the voice of Spyro throughout the game series. He was nominated for multiple awards, a few of which he won, including “Best Voice Acting In An Animated Production” for Spongebob, and “Outstanding Achievement For Voice Acting In An Animated Show” for Adventure Time.
6 They’re Trying To Get The Whole Cast Of The Office On The Show
In an interview for Comic Con, Adam Muto and Kent Osborne (the executive producer and storyboard artist/writer for Adventure Time) revealed that they were attempting to get the entire cast of The Office to come in and do guest voicing for various characters on the show. “I personally want everyone who’s ever been on The Office to come on… We had Creed, we had Rain Wilson, we had the actor who plays Kevin… It’s slow going,” says Osborne. They also set a goal to have multiple actors from Star Trek; The Next Generation do voicing for the show, and their list of other notable guest appearances include some super famous names like Neil Patrick Harris, Matthew Broderick, Andy Milonakis, Weird Al Yankovic, and Maria Bamford.
5 Lady Rainicorn Is Speaking Korean, And It’s Not Always Kid-Friendly
Lady Rainicorn, aptly named because she is part unicorn and part rainbow, is both Princess Bubblegum’s trusty steed and Jake’s girlfriend. She speaks English very rarely – only once on her own (when she says, “I’m pregnant”), and another time when she’s equipped with a universal translator device. However, characters like Jake and Princess Bubblegum can apparently understand her, and sometimes Lady Rainicorn says some pretty racy stuff. Her direct translations include, “Do you remember when we got completely naked, and frantically float around in the farmer's cabbage patch? That farmer got crazy mad!” “I love your biting on me,” “Of course. Jake and I merge our bodies into one all the time” and, “I always get haunted by this nightmare where half-dead bodies are attacking my house! My uncle, aunt-in-law, and cousins are all present; I even hear the baby crying coming from the upstairs.” Yep. Brutal. (Editor's note: As a Korean person and avid fan, I can confirm this!)
4 Princess Bubble Gum Was Originally Named “Bettie”
Ruler of the Candy Kingdom and one of Jake and Finn’s closest friends, Princess Bubblegum’s full name is actually Princess Bonnibel “Bonnie” Bubblegum. She’s also referred to as PB, Peebles, and P-Bubs, but Marceline and Flame Princess are the only two in the series ever to refer to her as “Bonnibel.” Originally, however, creator Pendleton Ward planned on naming the character after his mother, Bettie Ward, who’s occasionally involved with the show as well. In addition to drawing the cover for Issue 4 of the Adventure Time Comic, she also provided commentary on the Season 1 DVD. Another fun fact: Ward’s mother had to hide Post-It notes from him when he was a kid to stop him from drawing all over every piece of paper in the house.
3 The Whole Simon/Marcy Story Came Out Of A Screw-Up
Arguably one of the most heart-wrenching storylines in the entire Adventure Time series, the episode "I Remember You" reveals that the Ice King used to be Marceline’s close friend and protector during the Mushroom War, back when the Ice King was still Simon Petrikov. After perpetual use of the magical crown he finds, however, he begins to transform and lose all memory of her. “The whole Simon and Marcy thing, there’s an episode where Ice King’s singing the ‘Fry Song,’ and it occurred to us that we’ve never had Ice King and Marceline in an episode before — they’ve never interacted,” says Pendleton Ward. “And it came out of that: What’s a good reason why they haven’t interacted? Oh, maybe there’s something going on there.”
2 There’s An Adventure Time Crossover Scene In Futurama
In Season 7 Episode 22 of Futurama, the plot references some very well-known stories, including Rapunzel, Chicken Little, and Jack and the Beanstalk, but Jake and Finn also have a short cameo in the episode. Leela develops a genetic condition that causes her to sprout tentacles, and in an attempt to avoid upsetting her friends with her misery, she goes off on her own. It isn’t long until Fry and Bender go off looking for her, and when Bender slides down the dungeon stairs, he finds Finn and Jake chained up there. Their presence is never explained, but fans found this particularly amusing, granted John DiMaggio does the voices for both Jake and Bender. Jake-DiMaggio says, “What time is it?” to which Bender-DiMaggio responds, “Time for you to shut up.”
1 BMO Is Gender-Fluid
BMO, who is primarily Finn and Jake’s living video game system, also functions as their boom box, camera, live-in chef, roommate, and friend. While BMO was originally supposed to have a computer-synthesized voice, the producers chose to instead have him voiced by the same actress who does Lady Rainicorn – Niki Yang, who uses her natural speaking voice, thus giving BMO a Korean accent. However, BMO is referred to as both “he” and “she” throughout the show, and changes genders depending on the situation. Finn calls BMO “M’lady” in the episode “Guardians of Cuteness,” but then refers to him as “he” in various other episodes, such as “Return to the Nightosphere,” and “The Creeps.” BMO is also the only character who doesn’t swap genders in “Fionna and Cake,” when everyone else has an opposite-gender counterpart.
Sources: wikipedia.org, artofthetitle.com, io9.gizmodo.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, boredbug.com, wikipedia.org, usatoday.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, cbr.com, imdb.com, youtube.com, buzzfeed.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, adventuretime.wikia.com, buzzfeed.com, wikipedia.org, adventuretime.wikia.com