It happened again today. I was talking to another mom about the Kid’s love of Adventure Time, and she said, “You let her watch Adventure Time?”
I do, yes. And I don’t understand why others don’t. Of course, you make the decisions for your kids, based on your own calculus. I’m not judging, and I’m not trying to start an argument. But if there’s something objectionable about that show, I don’t see it.
I see why it appeals to stoners. The logic of the show is free-flowing, at most, and you kind of have to release your brain to watch the show, and just accept what happens. So it’s probably fun to watch while high. But my Kid isn’t high when she watches it, so that’s not the problem.
And I know there are a lot of fart jokes. Do I wish my Kid wasn’t so into fart jokes? Yeah. That’d be nice. But eleven-year-olds like fart jokes. They just do. And fart jokes don’t hurt anybody.
You know what I don’t want her to watch? Sexism. Families being rude to each other. Needless violence. Inappropriate sexual images. And I don’t see any of that on Adventure Time. Here’s what I do see.
Finn and Jake are a profoundly loyal and loving adoptive family. They truly appreciate and respect each other, and they have fun together. Sometimes they argue, but they always make up. They work together and rely on one another all the time, and although they are not the same species, they always call each other “brother.”
Although Finn is the only human in Ooo, he has no magic (except his hair), and he’s not royalty, his friends love him anyway. He sometimes feels sad that he doesn’t know other humans, but when he does, his friends show him that they accept him for who he is, and although he’s the only human around, he’s never alone. His friends don’t focus on what he lacks, they appreciate his strengths: he’s brave, loyal, heroic and strong.
There are strong female characters. Princess Bubblegum is smart and a good leader. Marceline is powerful, talented, and charming. LSP takes all comers and gives as good as she gets. These female characters are admired for who they are, not what they look like. Finn is MORE attracted to PB when she is working on science he doesn’t understand, not less. And the only people who are ever thought of as ugly on the show are people who do ugly things. The most sexist character on the show, The Ice King, is ridiculed for his sexism and repeatedly defeated. And although Finn and Jake spend quite a lot of time saving princesses, they are also frequently saved by princesses.
I’m not trying to suggest that Adventure Time is the smartest show on television. It’s not, by a long shot. It’s just a stupid cartoon. But it’s got a good heart, and in this day and age, that’s nothing to push your kid away from.