A bit of inspiration from the Candy Kingdom’s power couple

If you asked me to name my favourite current TV shows, the awesome Adventure Time would be somewhere near the top of the list. Aside from the fact that it’s bloody hilarious for all ages in a way that’s reminiscent of Rocko’s Modern Life (a show I grew up watching and still as far as I’m concerned the best example of a well-rounded Australian character to have yet appeared on TV), it’s an absurdist deconstruction of the child hero/fantasy genre, a frequently heartbreaking depiction of loneliness and trauma in a post-apocalyptic world, and a discussion on the nature of power, heroism, prophecy and purpose. It’s stuff that I’d like to go into in more detail in the future, but today I’d like to talk about a vampire and a princess.

The thing I love most about this show is the characters. Finn the Human is good-natured and well-intentioned (he’s a hero in the most idealistic sense of the word) but makes frequent mistakes and has suffered some heavy trauma. The Ice King goes from the series’ primary and frankly ridiculous antagonist in the first seasons to a victim isolated from society because of mental illness. Supporting character Peppermint Butler is a demon-summoning dark magician who’s close friends with the show’s version of death. And we discovered this week that Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen (two fantastic examples of well-written, deep and powerful female characters) used to date when Olivia Olsen (the actress who voices Marceline) informed a crowd at a book-signing.

Well, ‘discovered’ might be the wrong word to use here. ‘Confirmed’ would probably be better, since their shared history was implied a few times and it wasn’t hard to pick up on the subtext of a pair of exes who at the very least still cared about each other. It doesn’t look like this will be displayed in the show any time soon, however, with the apparent official reason being “it’s illegal” in several of the countries the show airs in (though you can’t help but wonder if it’s also to avoid the attention of certain pundits who like to get up in arms about all this homosexual propaganda that those damn lefties keep trying to feed to our children). It should also be remembered that the only overt romantics we’ve seen either character involved in have been straight (eg. there’s an episode when Marceline’s chauvinistic ex-boyfriend tricks Finn and Jake into removing her memory of their break-up). Regardless, thousands of fan fiction artists and authors whether they be weird or wonderful felt vindicated… then immediately scrambled to their tumblrs, deviant art pages and whatever else to flood the internet with even more. Some of it is great. Some of it is… well fan fiction… yeah… not to be talked about in polite company. Or within two hundred metres of any schools. Moving on.

Really it won’t have any noticeable effect on the show since it’s more confirming the canon rather than adding to it, and most of the show’s viewers are either to young to care or not the sort of folks who keep track of this sort of news (y’know, like parents). But I like to think this sort of acknowledgement is a positive thing. It might mean a few people feel more confident about themselves . It might mean that a few kids who don’t understand things now will find life easier later, having grown up with great characters that they can relate to. It increases the representation of the bi/same-sex community within popular culture. Every gain no matter how small is an achievement. It might mean that a few authors are a bit more confident in the strength of their own characters, are given ideas on how to make them better, or how to make the relationships between their characters more nuanced and real.

Hopefully we’ll see more.

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