“Adventure Time”‘s Animated Lesbian Subtext Is Too Hot for TV

A few days ago, a recap of the Adventure Time episode “What Was Missing” was posted and subsequently taken down from the Mathematical youtube channel. Mathematical is “a Channel Frederator show-all that takes you behind the scenes of our show, Adventure Time!” In the case of this episode, the behind-the-scenes “look” exposed light lesbian subtext. Like the best multi-level jokes from the best cartoons and Pixar movies, the relationship between these two female characters is a thing kids won’t pick up on, teenagers might, and adults definitely will.

The video launched a thousand ‘ships into the night when the narrator spoke of Marceline’s song from the episode by noting, “She might like Princess Bubblegum a little more than she’d like to admit.” At the end of the video,  fans are asked to respond to what they think of the pairing. Throughout the video there are drawings from one of the crew members, Natasha Allegri.

natazilla.tumblr.com

At this point you might be wondering what a Princess Bubblegum is but no worries. I did allllll the work for you and will now break down the basics. I guess you should know that Adventure Time is an animated show about a teenage boy named Finn and his magical dog Jake. As suggested in the title, they go on…you guessed it — adventures. Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen are two of his friends that often accompany him.

The episode begins with the Doorlord taking prized possessions from the group of friends. He takes a piece of Bubblegum’s hair from Finn. We adults learn that Finn jerks off to the piece of hair. Moving along and pretending we don’t know that, the group follows the Doorlord as he retreats behind a door that can only be opened by a “genuine band.”

This is when it gets super gay. Marceline begins playing her bass which already deserves the side eye. It’s not just any song though. It begins with Marceline ‘s desire to “drink the red from her pretty pink face” which sounds to me like she wants to make the fair princess a vampire so they can be together forever. However, Bubblegum doesn’t get this impression and takes Marceline’s lyrics about putting her in the ground a tad more literally and is offended by the song. This sends Marceline on a bender.

Marceline: Oh, you don’t like that? Or do you just not like me?

She then continues singing I’m Just Your Problem,” a title that already sounds like a song from a Tegan and Sara back to basics live performance EP.

“I shouldn’t have to be the one that makes up with you. So why do I want to? Why do I want to…”

This is when she has a Santana gay panic moment and loses her grip and her focus.

Marceline: Stop staring at me. You threw me off.

But it doesn’t end there. Upon repossessing their favorite things, there’s a slight mix up. Jake thinks Marecline’s t-shirt would naturally go to Marceline. Princess interrupts stating the shirt was gifted from the Vampire Queen and announces it means a lot to her. Marceline bitterly comments that she never wears it. Bubblegum counters that she wears it all the time…to bed. At this point it’s no longer subtext. It’s just text. Probably Stencil.

Seems cute and harmless, right? Fred Seibert, the show’s producer, had this to say about the video’s removal:

There’s been chatter on the internet recently about our latest Adventure Time “Mathematical!” video recap that we created, posted, and removed here at Federator. I figure it’s time to clear up the matter.

In trying to get the show’s audience involved we got wrapped up by both fan conjecture and spicy fanart and went a little too far. Neither Cartoon Network nor the Adventure Time crew had anything to do with putting up or taking down our latest re-cap. The episode ”What was Missing” remains a terrific short and will be shown again and again just like any other Adventure Time episode.

He claims that the powers that be had nothing to do with the removal of the video. Then why remove it? Were they worried about media watch groups coming after the show?  The people who seemed to be in a joyous heat about the episode were the same people who seem to be in one whenever something like this happens: tumblr lesbians.

Does Adventure Time status as a children’s show make this kind of subtext inappropriate? I think all of us agree that the answer to that is a resounding hell no. Because we aren’t inappropriate. Nor are our feelings or relationships. Heterosexuality is present in shows for even the youngest children and often they are problematic representations. You’re telling me Gonzo can fuck chickens but a vampire can’t have a crush on a girl made of bubble gum? 

natazilla.tumblr.com

I think the Adventure Time associates were surprised with the outpour of support which says something, doesn’t it? People are more surprised when there’s a strong positive reaction to a lesbian relationships than if it had been overwhelmingly negative. No matter how they felt, the video was removed and again the message is sent. It’s not ok to embrace queer relationships. It is ok to silent our voices. What did you think of the episode? Are you upset that the video was removed?

Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 329 articles for us.

221 Comments

  1. I am bisexual and to see society changing and to see more gay commercials and shows really makes me feel like I belong and the fact that they don’t allow it pisses me off the reason we don’t have so many gay/lesbian people is because they are raised by a family who shuns it! It’s so ignorant and I am so glad I grew up being taught that being gay/lesbian/bisexual is okay and accepted! If you’re gay you’re gay and you can’t change the way you feel! When I was little I had no interest in boys I liked girls a lot more sure the older I got I got more into guys but I never lost my interest in girls! I am bisexual and proud and I hope one day homosexuality becomes socially accepted!

  2. I am a 14 year old girl and I fully support this couple and hope to see more of them in the future.I find it sad how the AT tried to cover it up but I at least want to find out what happened in their past like how we found out about The ice king and Marceline`s father daughter like relationship.I just wish that the CN people would be more open minded.

  3. I am a 14 year old girl and I fully support this couple and hope to see more of them in the future.I find it sad how the AT creators tried to cover it up but I at least want to find out what happened in their past like how we found out about The ice king and Marceline`s father daughter like relationship.I just wish that the CN people would be more open minded.

  4. are we really concerned about this. are we a religiously ruled nation, no, no we are not. you seem to be saying that its ok for finn to love bublegum marceline and fireprinces all at once.
    this may have a fairy tale semblance but a fairytale can be anything gay strait black white old young fat skinny whattever. theres nothing wrong if a girl should love another girl or man to man who gives a care. this is america freedom of expression life liberty persuit of happiness. you dont like it move to the middle east where it is illegal.

  5. I do not think it was gay. I think it is very wishful thinking on behalf of the fans. Yoia and yuri fans seem to enjoy these type of pairings but it does not mean anything is there. It is like saying “Naruto and saskue” are secretly gay for each other. We know they are not but we wish that accidental kiss sparked something spectacular! To be honest though I never saw the video saying anything about the show. I think the show hints at some type of prior relationship between the two. However I think saying “Gay” is pushing it. Not that I think gays are a bad thing. I think marci probobly annoys bubblegum and marci just sees her as snobish. To jump to a relationship from this show is a huge exaggeration and I think the fans are making mountains out of mole hills. While I think there is a possibility I do not think this is proof as it is not strong enough evidence. The show has given strong evidence/hints of a love relationship before. I think if they wanted us to know something they would have made it know. While this is a kids show I know they sometimes push a message and when they push it YOU KNOW. This is too vague to be saying they are romantic. I think the only message they left was that the two fight a lot but had some kind of previous interaction. I think if anything it hints as strained relationship. Marci clearly wants to be friends with bubblegum. I think in some cases bubblegum even puts her nose up at marceline. However I think marceline probobly does have some kind of prior relationship with the princess. I would though be interested to get the awnsers to the following questions. Though if you think about it connecting the characters in some way made sense. If you make bonnibel and marceline freinds it adds to the dynamics. Bonnibel and marceline are both besties with finn. So they are going to have to interact at some point. I do not think they nessescarly had a relationship in mind. Also given the one of the latest episode when bonnibell gets a suitor I think bubblegum is just appalled at the idea of dating anyone. Bubblegum is like the sheldon cooper of OOO

    1.Who are finns parents
    2.how did he lose his parents
    3.at what piont did simon completly lose his mind
    4.How did bubbles and marceline meet
    5.What is the real history of that

  6. I personally think that Marceline is bisexual. I mean, she married the Vampire King (backstory-watch ‘Henchman’) and she had that thing going with Ash (watch ‘Memory of a Memory’) But then, that might have just been a ploy. There were some pretty intense feelings between Peebs and Marcie in ‘What Was Missing’, but that could have just been plainly anger.

  7. If this was episode was meant to portray Princess Bubblegum and Marceline as sexual partners, then this show is not only ballsy but fucking awesome. This is the kind of stuff that gives a show integrity and originality. I really hope they were together because that would make the plot so much more interesting

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  11. Just saying, to those who don’t watch the show, Marceline doesn’t need to “turn” princess Bubblegum for them to be together forever. She’s already immortal or very nearly immortal. She’s about 800 years old already, younger than Marceline, but not by much, and they go way back.

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