Did you miss Adventure Time while it was away? Hope you’re ready to get your fix as Cartoon Network debuts four new episodes this week, and if they’re all as strange as “Everything’s Jake,” it’s going to be one trippy assortment of story. Tonight’s plot begins with the appearance of Magic Man, so you know it’s going to go in a strange direction, and that direction is through Jake’s stomach into a world of sentient beings that live inside of him.
It’s very weird and very orange, and in typical Adventure Time fashion, it starts with playful silliness and gathers significant dramatic stakes along the way. There are some heavy themes explored in the latter half of the episode when Jake has to decide between sating his hunger and keeping this world inside of him alive. I like to think that it’s all a metaphor for artistic creativity; there’s this entire ecosystem inside of Jake that he has an intense emotional connection to, representing the artist’s ability to create something that is deeply personal by using his imagination.
But Jake can’t spend all his time inside himself, especially when he can’t eat in this world. Everything is made from Jake (hence the title), and Jake won’t gain any sustenance by eating himself. It’s a tough choice faced by many artists trying to make a living off of their personal work, and sometimes you have to choose between cultivating your creative babies and doing what you need to do to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head. Or maybe this is just an episode about Jake sinking into himself and seeing what his godly abilities are capable of. It’s hard to tell with this show.
The best thing about this episode is that it reunites John DiMaggio and his Futurama co-star Billy West, who voices Jake’s in-flesh best friend, Goose, and Eric Addamkimson, the scientist that is trying to find a way to save his world from utter destruction. Goose has Fry’s voice, which immediately establishes a close friendship between the characters for any Futurama fans hearing Fry and Bender together again, and Eric has Professor Farnsworth’s voice, giving him a bloviated, anxious personality that is a direct contrast to Jake’s cool demeanor.
It’s a lot of fun to hear West utilize these character voices again (I’m pretty sure I also heard a Zapp Branigan voice for one of the auxiliary characters), and the presence of all these Futurama elements make me wonder if this episode isn’t about dealing with the cancelation of a show in some way. To move on with his real life, Jake needs to leave this inner world behind and accept its destruction, something that the cast and crew of a television show has to cope with when the series ends. But in the case of Futurama, a show that was revived after its first cancellation, that destruction doesn’t have to be permanent. Jake may or may not have wiped out the world inside him when he pulled himself out of the environment, but if Futurama’s resurrection is any indicator, it’s possible for that world to live again at some point in the future.
And considering Jake’s power levels, pretty much anything is possible. Eric says that he believes Jake is an interdimensional being, a glob, whose psychic field holds their world together, and as we learned in “Joshua & Margaret Investigations,” Jake isn’t just any magic stretching dog. He’s got some cosmic glob DNA in him, and I think Eric is spot-on with his observations regarding Jake’s true nature. Eric’s fear reminds me a lot of the idea of the dreaming Red King in Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass, a being who has dreamed the world into existence and who will extinguish it like a candle when he awakens. Jake certainly falls down the rabbit hole in this week’s story, but he’s both Alice and Red King in this situation (and if you view Carroll’s stories as Alice falling into her own imagination, then Alice is the Red King in those as well).
Written and storyboarded by Seo Kim and Somvilay Xayaphone, “Everything’s Jake” is a visually striking episode of Adventure Time thanks to the intensely orange color palette. The design of Jake’s inner world is a muddier version of this show’s usual aesthetic, and that soft definition helps reinforce the idea that this environment is constantly shifting according to Jake’s will. That inner may just be a dream caused by Magic Man’s manipulation, but it feels real to Jake. It’s a part of him, and the saturated color palette helps emphasize the idea that this creation is literally made of Jake’s flesh and blood. It was his baby, and when he awakens to the real world, he’s traumatized by his loss. The only thing he can bear to eat is a can of beans that he weeps over as he shovels legumes into his mouth, remembering the great friends that he had to lose in order to survive.
- Goose clapping his jowls together is funny, but Goose punching out two security guards with his jowls is totally algebraic. I demand more jowls-punching in future episodes!
- You expect a glob to be beautiful, and instead you find out it’s a teenage boy with strands of spaghetti dangling from his mouth. Life is tragic.
- I wish one of this week’s characters had given Billy West the opportunity to do his Zoidberg voice. He’s my favorite!
- This episode reminded me a lot of X-Force #123, a silent Marvel comic by Peter Milligan and Michael Allred that saw the character Doop pop a pimple and pull his X-Force teammates into the Doop-world that exists inside his body. It’s a total trip, just like “Everything’s Jake.”
- Scientist: “Analysis, Tim.” Tim: “It’s too early to say. This evidence is anecdotal!”
- “I thought you’d be beautiful!”