Episodes like “Chips And Ice Cream” are a reminder that Adventure Time is a series primarily intended for children. The plot involves two imps named Chips and Ice Cream that possess the ears of a puppeteer that entertains the children of Ooo by putting on a Chips and Ice Cream show, which is composed solely of Chips and Ice Cream repeating their names with different intonations. The juvenile BMO loves Chips and Ice Cream, but Finn and Jake just don’t get it, and I can’t help but think that Finn and Jake represent a large portion of the adult audience watching this episode.

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Any long-running series is bound to have some filler episodes, and “Chips And Ice Cream” plays like a half-baked idea Somvilay Xayaphone and Seo Kim had while eating chips and ice cream. What if there were these two imps called Chips and Ice Cream that were this bear’s ears? And what if the bear did a spell that transferred the spell to Jake? And what if BMO was responsible for figuring out how to release Chips and Ice Cream from their confinement? It’s all very haphazard, which would be excusable if was more entertaining. The episode reminds me of the similarly titled “Walnuts & Rain,” which was another episode composed of random elements that failed to come together into a captivating narrative.

Whenever there’s an especially childish episode of Adventure Time, it’s always fun to try and figure out the potential metaphor of the action on screen. When BMO finally free Chips and Ice Cream, they travel up into the sky and act out the same scene they played in Morty’s puppet show, exclaiming “Chips!” and “Ice Cream!” amongst the clouds and kissing a passing bird. Through performance, Chips and Ice Cream are able to act out the lives they yearn for, which gives them hope as they’re stuck to the ground. They live their dreams in art, and that art speaks to a viewer that can help them realize their deepest wishes.

Chips and Ice Cream’s dialogue gets repetitive, but it’s interesting to hear how the voice actors depict different emotions through their intonation. BMO is able to figure out that the pair is longing for something by listening to their sad song in the middle of the night. They’re just saying “Chips” and “Ice Cream,” but because the words are attached to a melancholy melody, they are given new weight. Eventually BMO realizes that their language is intonation based, and figures out that they can be released from their curse if the transference ritual is interrupted.

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As goofy as this episode is, it does end up going to some dark places with the character of Morty Rogers, who desperately tries to get rid of Chips and Ice Cream but feels like a lesser person once they’re gone. He tries to bury the memory of his old companions but can’t escape their influence, eventually losing his mind and creating two sock puppet versions of Chips and Ice Cream to fill the void. It’s a classic “be careful what you wish for” scenario, and while Morty may be suffering for his decision, his pain makes it possible for Chips and Ice Cream to finally achieve happiness by bringing them closer to BMO.

Stray observations:

  • Jake’s sushi burger made me wonder if there’s an Adventure Time cookbook, and there totally is: Eating Ooo by Eric M. Resnick, which includes recipes for bacon pancakes, The Everything Burrito, and Wildberry Princess’ meat pies. The book came out last year, have any commenters seen it? Or tried one of its recipes?
  • Flavors of ice cream at Ooo farmers’ market: pizza, hamburger, taco.
  • BMO: “When did I ever ask you for anything?” Jake: “Yesterday. You said, ‘Jake please take me to see Chips and Ice Cream it’s a new Broadway smash!’ I believed you.”
  • “Chips.”
  • “Ice Cream.”

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