Cartoon Network’s been alive for 20 years now. And a majority–a colossal majority-of the shows on Cartoon Network are solemnly cartoons. And don’t act like it’s doomsday when I say this: there have been live-action Cartoon Network shows before. Dude, What Would Happen and Destroy Build Destroy are very notorious examples. The coincidence about both shows is that they started in summer 2009, and ended in September 2011. Luckily, Level Up is probably the only live-action show on right now. But we’re talking about animated shows that also have coincidences. They’ve both been on since 2010, and in those 2 years of time they became probably the two biggest names on Cartoon Network. And they’ve both hit DVDs @ stores near you. Now isn’t that totally rhombus? Shoot, I think I gave away show #1.
Adventure Time has shaken the nation like Angry Birds did, attracting both parents and children to the wild world of Ooo and even gaining a cult following among teens and adults. It has been nominated for 3 Annie Awards and 2 Emmy Awards, but they didn’t win a single one. That didn’t crush the creators’ spirit, as the show went on to become arguably the most famous name on Cartoon Network. If you don’t know how the show goes, let’s break it down: Finn is a hero in the land of Ooo with his magical stretching dog Jake. The main bad guy is the princess-napping Ice King and his legion of penguins. The show’s “damsel-in-distress” is Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum (the mystery is over) who is a key character in the series. Anyway, I was talking about something…oh, yeah, stuff like Finn hats are even for sale! How many shows can say that they’ve selled merch? Well, a lot, but let’s get to the point. Adventure Time has finally compiled a DVD of the “complete first season”, but this isn’t the first time Finn and Jake have been seen on DVD covers. Last September, the DVD My Two Favorite People released (for Canada, it was delayed to this February) featuring twelve episodes. Half of them were from season one, and half were from season two. This year, another DVD was released: It Came from the Nightosphere, which extended on the previous DVD for sixteen episodes. Don’t forget the most special DVD of all, though, which released last October: the first ten episodes in English, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish! But this is technically the first season boxset! Anyway, it features all 26 episodes in the first season, but it’s so big they had to put it on two discs just to cram it all in! Let’s take a look at what this DVD had to offer (in chronological order, as always), shall we?
- “Slumber Party Panic” – Yup, this was the episode that started it all. (Excluding the pilot animated short.) In the season/series opener, after Princess Bubblegum’s experiment on reviving dead “candy people” with her decorspinator, a horrible round of mishaps lead to the first Candy Zombie Uprising. Finn must protect the remaining citizenship that survived the epidemic until Bubblegum concocts a cure.
- “Trouble in Lumpy Space” – When Jake gets the Lumps from a bite from the Lumpy Space Princess (this episode marks her debut), and begins going through a “werewolf-like” transformation stage by stage, Finn must trek to the bizarre Lumpy Space realm to cure his friend before he goes Lumpy.
- “Prisoners of Love” – When Finn and Jake are captured by the Ice King, they break free with the help and plans of seven other princesses Ice King had abducted in the process: the Emerald Princess, the Wildberry Princess, the Raggedy Princess, the Hot Dog Princess, the Ghost Princess, the Lumpy Space Princess, and the Slime Princess.
- “Tree Trunks” – This episode introduces a pygmy elephant named Tree Trunks, as sweet and warm as her apple pies. But no apple tops the apple of all apples, the apple that is the Crystal Gem Apple. So Finn and Jake embark on an adventure to find the Apple, and Tree Trunks joins them. But F & J are quickly questioning whether Tree Trunks is the optimal inclusion they needed.
- “The Enchiridion!” – To prove themselves as true heroes, F & J are assigned by Bubblegum to embark on a quest to find and claim the Enchiridion, the hero’s handbook of legend. They also experience various trials to get to the handbook, and the price of confirming heroism does not come cheap, obviously.
- “The Jiggler” – Finn and Jake adopt a small creature they know as “the Jiggler” due its fun-loving vibes, but also must cope with the fact that they are causing unimaginable harm to the Jiggler by taking it from its true habitat. And the mother doesn’t seem too happy either. This episode marks one of the first songs: “Baby”, sung by Finn with his autotune voice.
- “Ricardio the Heart Guy” – A smooth-talking “heart guy” named Ricardio woos his way into Bubblegum’s heart 8-), but Finn only gains jealousy, and suspicion that he’s hiding something. When he tries to convince PB, she is too interested in Ric to believe Finn. But it turns out that Ric really is a bad guy; he even victimized the Ice King! That makes him a villain’s villain! And this heart’s a real heart of cold; he’s got some nasty plans with PB, especially involving her heart. (Don’t ask.)
- “Business Time” – Finn and Jake, but mostly Jake, thaw out mysterious zombie-like businessmen from an iceberg and decide to “hire” them to get out of doing work. As they enter the law of efficiency, Finn and Jake start becoming lazy, sedentary couch potatoes. They even build fat! But the timing proves to be off when the businessmen turn against their bosses thinking that they are doing the right thing. (This was one of two episodes that were shown before the series premiere.)
- “My Two Favorite People” – Jake tries to improve the relationship of Finn and the Korean-speaking Lady Rainicorn so he can increase the time spent with both of them, but his works might end up damaging both relationships in the process. Plus, the time Finn and Rainicorn now spend has been making Jake jealous, so he makes an adjustment or two to ensure the feeling is mutual.
- “Memories of Boom Boom Mountain” – If you wanna know why Finn and Jake are so close, this is the one to watch. In this episode, Finn reevaluates his helping desire for fellow citizens when he and Jake are surrounded by problems stemming from the “Mountain Man” who loathes violence and is crying avalanches from it. These problems include roughhousing Marauders, a dragon with an itchy butt, an “Ice Cube Creature” who is in cold water, and the fact that Naked Wizard is naked.
- “Wizard” – F & J take wizard lessons to get a one-way ticket to magical powers and striving to collect all the stars, oblivious to the true reason why they are taking the lessons. They are exposed to powers like “dustomancy”, “shadowcery”, hair growth, mayonnaise generation, fireworks generation, a sleeping spell, an awakening spell (plus a deflect to this spell), and the “ultimate magical hand”. I guess you could say in this episode, all spell breaks loose. ;)
- “Evicted!” – After being evicted from their homes by Marceline the Vampire Queen (she debuts in this episode), Finn and Jake must find a new home. Kind of like The Pursuit of Happyness, except someone takes over their home, and there’s a dog instead of a child. I meant the whole homelessness thi–anyway, this proves to be a hard task, even for heroes like F & J. (This is one of the two episodes shown before the series premiere.)
- “City of Thieves” – Finn and Jake try to help a girl named Penny retrieve a stolen basket, but this takes them into the city of thieves. Respectably enough, every citizen is a thief in this city. Even the two-headed guy and the pajama ninja. But Finn & Jake are quickly corrupted by the surroundings, and discover a shocking secret about Penny in the process. (This is one of two episodes shown in commercial breaks with abridged versions.)
- “The Witch’s Garden” – When Jake is accused for eating one of a Witch’s donuts, she robs Jake of his powers and refuses to give them back until he apologizes. F & J then try to get his powers back by finding the mud puddle that had apparently given Jake his powers to begin with as a puppy. But Jake begins living a lazy life (again) even after talking to his subconscious, and will his laziness overpower him when Finn has his life on the line?
- “What is Life?” – (This episode was a nominee for Best Title Card in our 2011 Adventure Time Awards! It ultimately came in second place with 2 votes along with another nominee.) When Jake pranks Finn with a big bag full of butter, he decides to get revenge and builds NEPTR (Never Ending Pie Throwing Robot), but his creation unexpectedly comes to life! When Finn tries to further develop NEPTR with power from the Ice Kingdom, and this evokes a moral dilemma for Finn and his living creation. Will he even live to get Jake back?
- “Ocean of Fear” – This is probably the most ominous episode I’ve ever seen. Anyway, it sounds silly for a hero to have a fear, and that’s what Finn finds out the hard way. He turns out to be a thalassophobe (fear of the sea), and he refuses to risk failure. And this phobia isn’t just a typical “I’m-never-gonna-touch/do-that” phobia, it’s a phobia so intense Finn freaked out just by having a drop of ocean water touch his face. So he and Jake venture into the deep, dark waters to overcome Finn’s fear. It’s kind of like the Adventure Time version of Fear Factor, in a small way. And like in any Fear Factor, the price comes harder than a frozen slab of concrete.
- “When Wedding Bells Thaw” – It’s official, the Ice King has found love he wants to grow old with! (Which is amazing, considering he’s over 1,000 years old.) But he turns to Finn and Jake for whether he should be licensed to wed, since that meant giving up his life of princess-napping crime. Will the Ice King stay evil, or become a whole different person as a husband?
- “Dungeon” – In hopes of finding adventure Finn goes down into a dungeon, and he bets Jake that he’s fine on his own. Later he finds this to be a bigger trial than comfortable suited with, as various obstacles that he faces are better off with Jake than himself alone. In the dungeon, he becomes enemies with the Demon Cat but is rescued by his guardian angel, who turns out to be evil as well…
- “The Duke” – When Finn throws a bottle containing a magical spell, it accidentally soars into PB’s kingdom and she is greatly defected, losing most of her hair and turning green-skinned. She blames this on the Duke of Nuts, as he had previously roped himself into a sticky situation with Bubblegum, and to make matters worse she orders F & J to track him down for her. Thinking that he has now started life as a villain, F & J now have two problems: having no choice but to find the Duke, and to explain his innocence to Bubblegum.
- “Freak City” – After the Magic Man (voiced by Tom Kenny) turns Finn into a giant foot, making him a “freak”, he and Jake team up with fellow body part freaks to right the wrongs and turn themselves back into normal. Jake, on the other hand, advises Finn to enjoy the form that he has taken since he is a better fighter now. If you want to know what else the Magic Man can do, he can also turn a bird inside out. (This episode marks the appearance of another song, also using Finn’s autotune singing ability, called “A Hero Boy Named Finn”.)
- “Donny” (former: “An Ogre Named Donny“) – When F & J come across a bully ogre by the name of Donny, they help change his image for the better, but this comes with a great toll of ecological consequences. Since Donny has become a better person, the “Why-Wolves” can now terrorize freely without the lethal Obnoxygen given off by Donny to hold them back.
- “Henchman” (former: “Marceline’s Slave Story“, “Marceline’s Henchman“) – This feels like nothing but a follow-up to “Evicted!”. The only difference? Now Finn must make do as Marceline’s new henchman, after ditching her previous one, and Finn finds trouble into making his work up to par with Marceline’s strange ways, and he keeps finding rather strange twists with her plots. After all, she is the Vampire Queen. Luckily, after this episode she changes her way as a “bad guy”.
- “Rainy Day Daydream” – When F & J are forced inside by a knife storm, they decide to play with Jake’s imagination. You know what they say about the mind: it’s a terrible thing to read, don’t let anyone walk through it with dirty feet, love looks with it and not the eyes. Anyway, Jake’s imagination is either really strong or magical just like him, because Finn and Jake quickly realize how haywire that mind can be. And yes, it literally does rain knives.
- “What Have You Done?” – We all know false accusation is wrong. Your mouth goes before your mind. And that’s what F & J deal with when they capture Ice King for PB for, well, no sane and proper reason. When Ice King proves his innocence, F & J’s guilt leads them to arrest themselves and let Ice King escape. Imagine the look on Bubblegum’s face when she saw the two of them in jail. It turns out that there was a reason to capture the Ice King, since he was technically so and technically not the reason a majority of candy people were infected with “Freezer Burn Flu”. (You see, Ice King made a snowfall from his beard, but either he doesn’t wash his beard much or literally everything about this guy is evil, because everyone that touched it, roughly, got infected.)
- “His Hero/Finn Meets His Hero” – After rescuing the Mini Queen, F & J come across the sword of Ooo’s greatest hero, as well as their personal hero: Billy. But when they find Billy, he’s taken the path of a pacifist and wishes F & J do the same. Now there comes a very groundbreaking question: Can Finn and Jake save people without resorting to violence? And it easily shows that there’s just as much pain fighting crime without violence as it is with.
- “Gut Grinder” – In this season ender, a horrific monster that resembles Jake has been stealing gold from various Ooo races. Jake then believes that the Gut Grinder is himself! Or maybe he’s just psyching himself into believing that. But what explains all the gold in Finn and Jake’s Treehouse? Could Jake and the Grinder really be the same person? Well, whatever the results, you are gonna see the Gut Grinder, but luckily no actual gut grinding. (This episode ranked last in an old episode countdown I made in Windows Movie Maker.)
Sorry there was no Nightosphere. That’s actually the second-season opener. But hey–at least you’ll be in good hands when I blog about the second-season DVD! The DVD has been out since July 10, and remember: 2 discs, 26 episodes, and loads of “totally bombastic” extras. Baby, I know what you crave. The complete first season DVD of Adventure Time, $20 on Amazon (new costs same, used cost $30) and Barnes & Noble (marketplace costs $30, save 3%), but now in stores everywhere.
Now let’s get to show #2.
When Adventure Time is number one, Regular Show is definitely number two. Created by JG Quintel, the show also went through an unofficial pilot before the real premiere. It stars Mordecai the blue jay and Rigby the raccoon (both 23), chronicling their lives as they toil as groundskeepers at a park. But what makes the show is that something bizarre and fantastical happens in a majority of the episodes. Say, the gang gets locked in the meat locker and almost freezes to death, but find a pack of living hot dogs that turn out to be maneating enemies. (That was the plot for “Meat Your Maker”.) While packed with slightly more mature things like moderate violence and several innuendoes, this show has definitely made its mark in Cartoon Network history from its debut in September 2010. Like Adventure Time, it has also been nominated for the Annie and Emmy Awards, and the results of its second Emmy nomination are still pending. Anyway, it’s also got a DVD, the Regular Show Slack Pack, but not a first-season compilation. Actually, they’re not even in order. 12 episodes, plus a special feature short. Let’s take a chronological look at those 12 episodes.
- “The Power” – Mordecai and Rigby toy with “the Power”, a magical keyboard stolen from a wizard when he was using the bathroom in the bushes. When Rigby accidentally uses the power of the Power to send fellow yeti worker Skips to the moon, so they plus fellow Brit worker Pops and their hotheaded gumball machine boss Benson travel to the moon to rescue Skips, but encounter such things like a giant Beef Burrito wrestler doll that Rigby had tried to “put the hurt on” earlier in the house.
- “Just Set Up the Chairs” – Mordecai and Rigby slack off a job setting up chairs for a birthday party (while others do jobs like finding special entertainment and inflating the bouncy house) to get their game faces on in a room surrounded with arcade games. Ignoring a written warning on an out-of-order arcade machine (“In the name of all that is holy, don’t connect the red wire with the blue wire”), Rigby unleashes the game’s villain, the Destroyer of Worlds that begins terrorizing the park and ruining the party. Now, Mordecai, Rigby, and Skips must stop the Destroyer before it destroys them!
- “Death Punchies” – When Rigby loses a punchies match to determine who was the Dig Champ with the pickaxe (video games, duh), it is reminisced that he has never won punchies, and had actually lost so hard he was transported to the hospital for a butt transplant. Ever since he was known as the “One Cheek Wonder”. To gain respect and revenge, he takes classes in “Death Kwon Do” just to get Mordecai back and not for the real purpose of the classes. When he learns the way of Death Punchies, he and Mordecai have a fight for supremacy to see who is the ultimate punchies champion. Well, maybe not that, but you know what I mean.
- “Grilled Cheese Deluxe” – When Mordo & Rigs accidentally chow down Benson’s grilled cheese sandwich, they are sent off to get him a new one. At a restaurant visited to retrieve the sandwich, the duo find a pair of astronauts and end up lying that they are astronauts too. Later they realize that, obviously, it’s never the wise idea to lie…
- “Mordecai and the Rigbys” – When fake band T-shirts convince Mordo’s cardinal crush Margaret that he and Rigs are a real band, they are booked for a gig at the Coffee Shop Open Mic Night, so they must learn the way of the music. And who else to teach them than their own future selves? Their future selves, who are strikingly famous musicians, show their pasts the ropes on music, from looks to lyrics. But there’s just one thing–they skipped how to actually play.
- “Rage Against the TV” – The duo is playing a new game where a gallant duo take on a villainous gang. The game’s villain is the Hammer, a baddie that just can’t be cracked. When they almost beat him, their TV blackens and they must find a new one. When they find one at the TV Store Warehouse, they must use parts from every other machine for the TV to plug in. Their efforts result in a citywide blackout, and to make matters go from bad to worse, all the electronics combine to create a holographic body belonging to none other than the Hammer. (Really gives new meaning to the phrase, “Stop! Hammer time!”, doesn’t it?)
- “This Is My Jam” – When cleaning the house gutter, Rigby comes across something that gives him a shot of nostalgia: an old cassette of Solid Bold’s “Summertime Loving, Loving in the Summer (Time)” from his youth. When Rigby quickly gets reattached to the song, Mordo tries everything he can to get the song off their minds. But the line is drawn when the song apparently possesses Rigs, and to add to that the song has manifested itself into a giant, living cassette of the song. This eventually leads to what has to be the world’s biggest and most epic music battle in ages.
- “The Night Owl” – While listening to the radio, Mordo, Rigs, Muscle Man, and Hi-5 come across a broadcast from the one-and-only Night Owl. The broadcast is that he’s holding a contest of which the winner–the last one standing on a local billboard–wins a vintage Dodge Challenger. The foursome decide to attend the contest, working together as a team to sink opponents and rise their chances. Unfortunately, the Owl prefers an “every-man-for-themselves” fight to the finish, so he pulls some strings and turns the teammates against one another. As they quarrel in their tent, they end up frozen in suspended animation by none other than the Owl, for purposes of notoriety boosts. When they finally thaw in 4224 AD, they must now fight to go back in time and make things right.
- “Over the Top” – When Benson gloats that Skips is the strongest arm wrestler at McHooligan’s, as nearly all of his colleagues lose in a match against him–the “nearly” part excepting Rigby. Don’t get me wrong, you know how bad he can get hurt in punchies, but it just seems like a David-and-Goliath in this scenario. A mortified Skips realizes that Rigby had used the PlayCo Armboy to cheat, so when he forces Rigs to ditch the Armboy and fight for real, Skips wins the match with enough force to send Rigby barreling through the table. But the impact of the crash actually kills Rigby (not a first on the show; he had previously passed in “It’s Time” and “Appreciation Day”), so Skips ends up literally brushing with death to bring Rigby back. No seriously, he actually has to arm wrestle Death to revive Rigs. (Coincidentally, Over the Top was also the name of a 1987 Sylvester Stallone movie. Even more coincidentally, it concerned arm wrestling.)
- “Prank Callers” – When Mordo and Rigs find a video of the Master Prank Caller on WooHoo, they decide to pick up the phone and become prank callers themselves, frequently using the term “Joe mama”. But when they decide to prank call the Prank Caller, Benson busts in and destroys the phone. They decide to use Skips’ 80’s phones (they cover their heads with duct tape to protect the possibilities of a brain tumor) to prank call the Caller, but they quickly find themselves tangled up in the ways of the MPC. But with just nine words spoken–“The 80’s called! They want their cell phones back!”–the Caller sends Mordo & Rigs back in time. When a younger Pops reveals that they are in 1982, they try to send the MPC to the 60’s, but only end up in a chase through time when the Caller turns out to be a living, walking cellphone…
- “Brain Eraser” – Have you ever come across something so disturbing, so disgusting, that you couldn’t get it out of your mind? That’s what Mordo is about to face in this rather uneasy episode. When Mordo loses a rock-paper-scissors to give Pops his Moustaches Monthly, he goes upstairs to report the magazine–only to walk in on a completely naked Pops! After realizing that what has been seen clearly can’t be unseen, Mordo is desperate to get the image out of his mind. But when Rigs attempts to watch Planet Chasers: Starlight Excellent with Mordo to erase the picture, it only erases all of his memories and thoughts. And to add to that, they find the Naked Pops Memory in his field of memories, but it only escapes and must be caught and covered once and for all.
- “A Bunch of Baby Ducks” – When Mordo & Rigs are cleaning up around the fountain, they find a pack of ducklings when they drain the water. They decide to leave them be, hoping their mother would find them, but they end up tagging along beside Rigby and imitating his actions. When Benson insists they find a home for the ducks and immediately return to their work, they try to turn to Margaret & Eileen at the coffee shop, but Eileen has a duck dander allergy, and Margaret’s building has a no-pets policy. But after they cause a ruckus at the animal shelter, they decide to take him under their wings (get it?)–but timing is a bit off, as the Duck Collector is coming to take away the new entries to the family.
- “Ringtoneers” – The “special feature short” you heard about in the commercial. Really nothing new. :-? But still available for actual ringtone download.
So now you know all you need to know about what’s going on with Finn, Jake, Mordo, and Rigs. Check out their DVDs, in stores now, and save your dollars for their future DVDs! Stay classy, America.
Quote of the Week: “People all say that I’ve had a bad break. But today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” – Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper), The Pride of the Yankees (1941)
Video of the Week: Yep, you guessed it–another Pogo video. But this one’s his latest yet, and it’s probably the most unique I’ve seen of him–a Scooby-Doo dubstep remix! Well, more specifically, a remix of Big Top Scooby-Doo, the eighteenth direct-to-video movie yet as well as the second of the year. It hasn’t even come out yet and won’t until next month! 8-o Even Pogo himself described this as Scooby’s “wub wub treatment”, and after three weeks of being up it’s already over 300,000 hits! Needless to say, enjoy, as we haven’t seen Pogo like this since he made a remix of Vasna Shalom, a
psychic clairvoyant he found in Perth western Australia. [Warning: Serious sound distortion ahead that may cause ear damage that will result in severe earworms.]
And you can see Pogo’s work with Vasna too, if you want to (never settle for less, folks :D):