Adventure Time: Food Chain
June 12, 2014 8:26 PM - Season 6, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Finn and Jake go to a museum of natural history to learn about the food chain, but end up becoming part of it! This episode was directed by special guest director Masaaki Yuasa
posted by Small Dollar (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just when I think Adventure Time cannot get any stranger...
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

(Just to be clear, I loved this episode, especially when Finn and Jake first turn into small birds and do their jerky cheep song!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:00 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agreed, jcifa. The first thing I thought is, "I"ll have what's Masaaki's smoking."

Yet another reminder that Adventure Time is not for kids.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:03 AM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Absolutely brilliant! I loved everything about this episode. "Hey, have you noticed we are birds now?" "To a plant, a day is short" and especially the wedding vows. I mean for crying out loud, Magic Man helped Finn achieve Buddha consciousness - best episode ever!

I vehemently disagree, ob1quixote - kids should definitely watch this episode. It's probably a better education in ecology and compassion than they'll receive throughout the entirety of elementary school.
posted by dialetheia at 3:08 PM on June 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

This is probably my least favorite Adventure Time episode. I appreciate what they were trying to do, but the tone was so off that it felt like another show entirely, and it's not one that I would consider watching.

Yet another reminder that Adventure Time is not for kids.

I thought that this episode more than any other felt like a show for children. I don't think Masaaki Yuasa grokked the show... he directed an episode of an animated show for children with a bunch of trippy elements added in. That's emphatically not what Adventure Time is. (What influence did he have over this episode anyway? Did he write it?)
posted by painquale at 3:57 PM on June 14, 2014

I watched it last night and had to go with the feeling that this is definitely a guest-directed show. It's someone's vision of the show, which is distinctly not exactly the same as the creators of the show. I didn't think the characters were necessarily off the mark for how they behaved, particularly Jake.

Bigger Bird Finn was kind of nightmarish in appearance and I sighed with relief when he dropped dead. The Magic Man continues to be an unwelcomed jerk, even if he successfully helped Jake and Finn understand the food chain.

I thought it was kind of interesting that for the kids at the museum, the learning experience was really kind of trumped by the fun of just running through the slides.

The show worked for being something different and I enjoyed it, but man, total weirdage!
posted by Atreides at 7:05 AM on June 15, 2014

More than anything, I hated the way Finn fell in love from afar, complete with heart-shaped eyes and a gender signifier for the girl worm. Adventure Time just does not do that. It felt really regressive to me, especially in light of the last episode. In that episode, I was impressed that Finn seemed pretty uninterested in the body types of the princesses he tried making out with. But suddenly, if you put a cute bow on a pink worm with big eyes, it's love at first sight. Ugh. Claiming that Finn was a worm with different urges at that point doesn't mitigate the optics. It felt a lot like anime to me, with all of anime's grotesque sexual politics.
posted by painquale at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't think you can really pin down Finn for acting abnormally, as that's the whole point of the episode regarding the food chain. Everything that happened was done specifically to contrast with Finn's regular behavior because food chain.

Our first exposure to this is Finn eating the worms. He previously had admitted that he thought it was disgusting, but then suddenly discovers he'd gorged on them. He loves them. Why? Nature. Then he becomes the bigger bird and suddenly he wants to eat Jake. We all know Finn would never eat Jake (unless Jake shrank down to a very small size and was trying to fix a bad tooth or something), but Finn's regular thoughts, personality and characteristic traits were overpowered by the nature of the food chain. Again, when he's the bacteria, Jake expresses disgust, but Finn just goes with it. By the time he's a worm, he's again overwhelmed by the unbreakable force of the food chain to meet a lady worm and reproduce to create more worms, and so on.

The Food Chain is expressed as a law of nature, it cannot be broken, and it bends Finn's will to its order.
posted by Atreides at 7:34 AM on June 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is probably beanplating, but you could connect the theme of nature overpowering will with Adventure Time's running theme of magic overpowering will, especially in regards to Simon/Ice King.
posted by rikschell at 9:05 AM on June 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

It's not just that Finn was acting abnormally. I think I would have felt differently about it if they made the sexy worm look like the other worms and not a cutesy little pink worm with a bow who very daintily ate her leaves. They signified that she was a sexy worm using boring and problematic gender codes, which is something that Adventure Time usually ignores entirely.

There's no in-universe explanation for this portrayal (she just looks that way to Finn; Magic Man made her look that way; etc.) that wouldn't itself be open to criticism.
posted by painquale at 9:09 AM on June 16, 2014

There's no in-universe explanation for this portrayal (she just looks that way to Finn; Magic Man made her look that way; etc.) that wouldn't itself be open to criticism.

I dunno, while some princesses in AT definitely don't meet the stereotype of your fairytale princess, some definitely do, and the majority of them have been the object's of Finn's romantic interest.

Really, though, we all know worms are asexual, so that's the true crime, no?
posted by Atreides at 9:37 AM on June 16, 2014

This episode was a bit weird and goofy, but that line about "if we're ever turned into bacteria I think we should be free to see other people" was absolute gold and made it worth it.
posted by mathowie at 2:17 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Notice the cyclical nature of the episode as well - it ends as it began, with the visual of the kids going down the slide.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:54 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

I mean for crying out loud, Magic Man helped Finn achieve Buddha consciousness - best episode ever!

Metroid Baby and I feel dread whenever we see Magic Man. He's a great character, but he's done such horrific things that the cry of "Maaaaagic Maaaaaan!" both makes me laugh and puts a shadow over my heart. Given that, the grotesqueness was completely expected, and I was relieved that nothing worse had happened.

I liked the episode, but it could have used some space. There were no digestion points. It moved constantly, and at the end, I didn't have a great sense of what had happened. Most of the episodes are very fast-moving and dense, but they take you along with them.
posted by ignignokt at 5:34 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Had some boring, weak and disgusting parts but the awesomeness of the musical numbers and Finn's enlightenment made up for it. Just like life.
posted by bleep at 9:21 PM on December 2, 2014

Also I just realized that Amazon packages episodes differently than they aired, and split season 5 into two seasons. So if you're binge watching on Amazon like I am and confused about why there's random characters in the voice credits and why they say it's season 7 but it's season 6 everywhere else, that's why.
posted by bleep at 9:26 PM on December 2, 2014

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