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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Adventure Time: “Jake The Dad”

Illustration for article titled Adventure Time: “Jake The Dad”
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“Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!” BMO’s exclamation at the start of “Jake The Dad” is the perfect reaction to the birth of Jake and Lady Rainicorn’s litter of pups, and this week’s episode introduces us to the five adorable babies that have the pleasure of calling Jake their father: Charlie, T.V., Viola, Kim Kil Whan, and Jake Jr. (who is voiced by Kristin Schaal and has a butt for a face). Ever since learning of Lady’s pregnancy, Jake has been growing up at a far more accelerated rate than his bro Finn, and he’s thrust into the responsibilities of adulthood once his girlfriend actually gives birth. “Jake The Dad” is a smart episode about the fear that comes with being a new parent and how that fear needs to be pushed to the side in order for children to really grow, and by the end of the story, Jake is back to his old silly self as he realizes that his kids don’t need him watching over them at all times.

When Finn and BMO visit the new pups, Jake switches into full-on anxious parent mode, freaking out about the dirtiness of BMO’s joystick and the aggressive “Cool Unkle” wrestling that Finn engages the kids in. He’s switched in his formerly fun-loving personality for that of a hyper-concerned parent, and his decision to move in with Lady only amplifies his nervousness. Finn doesn’t mind Jake moving out as long as he’s got BMO and video games to keep him company, showing just how big the gap is getting between Finn and Jake’s mindsets. This season has really emphasized how much of kid Finn is compared to his older brother, but hopefully the events of this week’s episode reveal to Jake that he doesn’t have to become an adult so soon.

After Finn and BMO leave, Jake declares that he’s going to be the best dad ever, which means watching the pups all night and making them breakfast at 4:17am. Using his trusty “Mom’s manual,” Jake is mimicking the parenting technique of his own mother, which includes panicking when the kids are sleeping so peacefully that they may be dead. In the wave of uncertainty that comes with parenthood, Jake has forgotten his common sense and just starts listening to whatever the manual tells him to do, like administering CPR on sleeping pups to make sure they’re alive.

The next day, the pups have already grown considerably and are beginning to show off their powers, which range from turning things different colors like mommy to shapeshifting their bodies like daddy. When Jake tries to read to them from his favorite children’s book, Baby Eating Fox And The Babies, the next wave of parental anxiety kicks in as he questions whether or not the book is appropriate for kids. He asks Mom’s manual, and she tells him to immediately get rid of the book, which the kids have become fascinated with and have started reading on their own. Jake throws the book out the window, tossing it right in front of a fox who sees it as a nonfiction guide to finding his next meal, which proves to cause quite a few problems when Jake takes the kids out for some fresh air at Lady’s behest.

Sleep deprived and stuck with five magical half-dog, half-rainicorn pups, Jake doesn’t stand a chance when he takes the kids out for a walk, falling asleep as his kids teleport away to play with mushrooms, swords, and frogs. Jake isn’t able to get his children under control, but Lady just has to yell their names once and they all obey and come inside. As in a lot of families, the kids have less respect for the more nervous parent and are more willing to listen to the parent that trusts them and gives them more freedom. When an exhausted Jake passes out in a field and is pulled away by a gang of foxes hungry for babies, no matter how old and hairy they look, Lady sends her kids out to save their father, giving them the opportunity to prove just how grown up they’ve become in a short period of time.

When Jake sees his children rush to his rescue, he immediately comments that Mom’s manual would not approve of their behavior, to which Jake Jr. yells through her butt-mouth, “The manual’s a bunch of junk!” Her words summon up an old memory from Jake’s past, a time that he said the same thing as a child when he encountered a snake on the street with his mother. Rather than run from the snake, he decided to punch it, teaching him that he can keep himself safe by defending himself, not just by running away from anything that’s potentially dangerous. He gives his children permission to kick the foxes’ butts, and they combine into a dog-rainicorn super-being capable of demolishing enemies while turning them into a bunch of pretty colors.


After being saved by his kids, Jake realizes that he’s been going about parenting all wrong, trying to teach his kids about safety without giving them the opportunity to actually learn through experience. Lady likely doesn’t have those same fears because she knows how quickly rainicorns grow up and how resilient they are in dangerous situations. How fast do rainicorns age? By the end of the episode, Jake’s children are older than their dad, and Kim Kil Whan has already grown a beard. That gives Jake the opportunity to head back to the treehouse, where BMO is jumping on Finn’s stomach and singing about bread, an activity that Jake can now be a part of because he’s moving back in. Now that Jake is back home and unburdened by the responsibilities of being a parent, he can get back to adventuring with his best bro, and hopefully his kids will join in on the fun because those little buggers are really flippin’ cute. Even the butt-faced one.

Stray observations:

  • Last week saw the release of the latest Adventure Time comic book: Adventure Time With Fionna & Cake, which is a bit light on story but has some incredible visuals courtesy of Fionna and Cake creator Natasha Allegri. If the other AT comics are any indication, this miniseries should only get better over the course of its six issues.
  • If you’re paying close attention, you can learn how to make French toast by listening to all of the directions spouted by Mom’s manual.
  • How soon until Jake’s Breakfast Kingdom Public Library bag becomes available for purchase in real life?
  • The shot of all the foxes chewing on the body of an exhausted deflated Jake is one incredibly creepy visual.
  • “Hey everybody, look. Look at this book I found about eating babies. They just sit there while you eat them.”
  • “There’s never going to be a perfect baby.”
  • “See dad, we flippin’ crushed it. Crushed it.”