It is amazing how much plot Adventure Time can fit into eleven minutes, and “You Forgot Your Floaties” is irrefutable proof of that. This is an episode about madness, sadness, and magic, the three components that make Adventure Time such a wonderful, weird little show.
Jake and Finn are out scavenging (“Oh, that’s what we do?”) when they see the fiery comet that is Glob’s helmet crash to the ground. Glob is a quarter of the Martian god Grob Gob Glod Grod, all of whom are older brothers of Magic Man (for more on this, check out season four’s “Son Of Mars”). As they approach the crash site, they see Betty Grof (Lena Dunham, spot-on), famed wife of Simon (Ice King in human form), and presumed dead or missing depending on if you ask Jake or Finn. She walks off with Glob’s helmet and Jake and Finn follow.
The funniest part of the episode occurs early. The brief fight against Magic Man (“Get his spine!”) results in Jake and Finn being turned into porridge and an egg and placed on the shelf next to a picture of Margles, Magic Man’s deceased wife, and a severely depressed Tiny Manticore (“I can’t help because i’m psychologically powerless”). The heroes (and Tiny Manticore) can only watch as Betty and Magic Man descend into his lab/kitchen.
Magic Man has cooked up a complicated scheme: he tricks Betty into thinking that his transmutation device will help her discover the true source of magic and, thus, allow her to save her Simon, but in reality, he’s only trying to…well, Tiny Manticore thinks he just wants to turn her into a talking skateboard (it’s somewhat possible this is a reference to the deplorable 90’s flick, Skateboard Kid). Betty has more than just luck on her side, she’s done the research. She has discovered that all magic users display magic, madness, and sadness. It’s a nice little metaphor for a creative person too. Art often comes from the madness and sadness, often to debilitating degrees. What “You Forgot Your Floaties” seems to ask is whether the magic is a symptom of the madness and sadness, as Betty posits, or if they are the very cause of it, as the ending seems to suggest.
So, Finn the Egg slips through the cracks down into the lab, but falls into the batter (I liked the contrast of Finn slipping in versus Jake crashing in). Magic Man hopes to be able to operate his Martian transport via transmutation into the Globhead. The sweaty hallucinations begin and the episode gets weird.
Betty, in a trance state, puts on a Margles mask, which she believes is the key to magic. She then becomes Margles and slides into the mouth of a Magic Man house. But it’s actually M.A.R.G.L.E.S., a planetary defense system that sad ‘ol Magic Man has created as on homage to his late wife. Again, all of this is taking place in a dream-like trance.
“You Forgot Your Floaties” is a hypnotic, somewhat psychotic take on passion, love, and creativity. Both Betty and Magic Man are willing to put up with the sadness and madness if it means getting their loved ones back (which, you could say, is itself the cause of the sadness and madness). Often, finding the source of pain, tracing it back to its origin, only leads to more questions, more pain. Neither Betty nor Magic Man are successful in their quest, but we know that resolution would not cure them of their heartache. Only more sadness awaits.
Finn and Jake get baked (sorry) and emerge as a very weird looking bread boy who can’t speak. He does manage to stumble around into the equipment, disrupting the transmutation and fugue state. As the dust clears, Betty stands up and proclaims that she sees a crab emerging from a dark pool, an image from earlier, and screams after it mouths the episode’s title, “You forgot your floaties.” Betty, now behatted, has been thrown in the metaphorical deep end of the pool—the madness, the sadness, the magic—and has nothing to keep her afloat. The transmutation did work, but it simply transferred Magic Man’s power to Betty (“I think I’m just a normy now”), who disappears (remember what Finn said earlier about dying). Magic Man’s sadness dissipates, but so does his abilities.
The Tiny Manticore flies bread boy to Wizard City and we have ourselves a real cliffhanger. “You Forgot Your Floaties” is packed with plot and has a surprising amount to say about the human condition.
- There was a significant Wizard Of Oz vibe to this episode with the lion, the black and white, Magic Man’s Scarecrow-esque hat, and Wizard City.
- “Is this going to change you?” was a surprisingly powerful reading of that line.
- “Don’t you think your feelings for your lost wife might have compromised your spell programming?”
- “The more skin mist, the better”
- The Internet requires me to tell you that Gillian Jacobs was the voice of Margles and Kumail Nanjiani added his one line as Prismo.
- Anyone up for a smoothie?
- The irreplaceable Oliver Sava returns tomorrow!