If you have not been keeping up with the adventures of Finn the Human and Jake the Dog on Adventure Time then you have been missing out. Their home, the Land Ooo, is a magical off-the-wall place where a boy and his talking dog can play and have adventures all day long, but under its cheerful exterior is a harsher reality. Finn is the last human and the Land of Ooo only exists because of a terrible event known as the Great Mushroom War. Yet, what if there was even another layer of meaning beneath that one? What if Adventure Time only existed in the head of a small and lonely child?
The Land of Ooo
We are not the first people to come up with fantastic theories to explain the over-the-top wackiness of Adventure Time, as the Land of Ooo is a strange and crazy place. Yet, what if the Land of Ooo -where Adventure Time takes place- is really only in the imagination of Finn, a 13 year old boy living a lonely life in a rundown apartment building with his dog and his equally lonely father. Also, the inhabitants of Ooo are therefore real people who inhabit the apartment complex that the real Finn lives in. This may all seem a little farfetched but stay with us.
We say that the real Finn lives in a run down apartment building for two reasons. First, the Land of Ooo, can be taken as a whimsical name, or we can take it for the last three digits on Finn’s apartment. The real Finn may live in apartment 1000 or 2000 or 3000, but the first number fell off and nobody bothered to replace it. Also, supporting this idea is the devastation we sometimes see in the background of Adventure Time. Episodes are littered with forgotten cars, street signs, and even old buildings. In the cartoon these are meant to be remnants of the civilization that existed before the Land of Ooo, the one destroyed by the Mushroom War -think: mushroom cloud- but what if there is more to it? It also makes sense that Finn is living in a low rent apartment building, considering he is alone most of the time as his father has to work a lot to help them get by.
The Mushroom War is talked about only vaguely, but we do know that it was a devastating event that destroyed the human world. Almost no humans survived and it literally blew off chunks of the Earth. Adventure Time, actually takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, though you would never know as a casual viewer. It is rarely talked about, just like what happens when a devastating event takes place in the life of a young boy. The real Finn’s mother died, tragically. It destroyed his world causing him to retreat into fantasy. Just like in Adventure Time nobody seems to talk about this immense and heart-breaking event, especially with Finn. There is a reason Finn is the only human in Adventure Time, because even in his fantasy world he feels alone, like no one else can understand what it is like to be him. After his mother died his world literally ended.
Inhabitants of Ooo
Jake the Dog, is Finn’s best friend. Maybe the real Jake was a present from his mother before she passed away. Regardless, Jake is the only person Finn can really open up to, besides BMO. BMO, is Finn and Jake’s sentient computer/video game system. He/she is also ambiguously gendered, much like any computer might be. Jake and BMO make sense in the world of a lonely boy who only has his dog and video games for company. It is also worth noting that BMO is certainly not state of the art. His/her graphics are often pixelated, he/she speaks with a Japanese accent, and his/her graphics are colored green like on an old Gameboy system, further supporting the notion that Finn is poor. Though Jake and BMO are Finn’s closest confidants they are not his only friends.
Other residents of the apartment complex often make appearances in Finn’s fantasies. Tree Trunks, the elderly elephant that bakes pies, Cinnamon Bun, the mentally challenged but kind-hearted homeless pastry creature, old man Starchy, Shelby the worm, Peppermint Butler, and the rest fit nicely as residents of the apartment complex. They are people Finn interacts with on a normal basis. Lady Rainacorn -Jake’s girlfriend- is possibly another dog or ferret or similiar creature that belongs to a Korean family in another apartment who Jake often enjoys playing with. In the show she only speaks in Korean, possibly like her owners. Jake understands her but Finn does not. Lumpy Space Princess is an annoying girl who Finn sometimes hangs out with, but recognizes that she can be a little bit of a drama princess. Similarly, Flame Princess is a girl that Finn has a crush on, but she can be bad tempered. In fact, most of the princesses can be explained as girls who Finn knows from the apartment complex or as acquaintances at school.
However, there are two girls in particular that stand out. Princess Bubblegum, is most likely an older girl who is Finn’s neighbor. In Adventure Time they give her age as 18 when Finn is 13. This means she is in high school and Finn obviously has a crush on her. In the real world she is often called on to babysit Finn when he is alone. Her age and high school education also accounts why Princess Bubblegum is seen as the smartest person in the land. In the real world she is older than Finn so it seems like she knows everything when compared to the 13 year old boy. In Adventure Time Princess Bubblegum is also said to be the person who made all the other residents of the candy kingdom, most likely because the real world Bubblegum -whose real name is Bonnie- often brings Finn baked goods or candy when she comes to babysit. So to Finn, he associates her with those traits and Bonnie also seems quite fond of Finn, though not in a romantic way, as she is too old for him.
Marceline is a human/demon vampire in Adventure Time. Unlike Princess Bubblegum, Finn has no romantic attachment to her, but they do start off as enemies when Marceline initially tries taking over Finn’s home. Real world Marcy is probably Finn’s cousin or similiar relation, and she comes from a bad home environment. She has a very strained relationship with her father and often survives on her own. Her father rarely seems to care what his daughter is up to, and possibly even abandoned her at a young age. She is also older than even Bonnie/Bubblegum, and is most likely in college or living on her own, though, Bonnie and Marcy do seem to have a preexisting love/hate friendship with one another. In the cartoon Marceline is over 1,000 years old, plays the guitar and often dates jerks and hipsters. Finn’s initial dislike of her most likely resulted from her moving in with Finn and his dad for a short period of time before finding her own apartment -maybe in the same building- but their relationship has since turned more toward friendship and respect. Marceline has obviously come to value her cool little cousin as much as Finn enjoys spending time with her. Marcy also had a close familial relationship with Finn’s father, whom she admires but has since come to pity.
The Ice King
In Adventure Time the Ice King is the main antagonist, but he’s not evil, really he’s just more confused than anything. Simon Pretrikov is his real name, and he was an archeologist who discovered a magic crown that gave him powers but slowly drove him insane, kind of like parenthood. They did however, protect him from the nuclear fallout of the Mushroom War, but did not save the love of his life, Betty. She died and the Ice King quickly lost his grip on the world around him. He has a long white beard and he isn’t in every episode. It is likely that the Ice King represents Finn’s real world father, who probably grew a beard after the death of his wife.
In flashbacks and home videos Simon is seen as a normal and happy person with his fiance, Betty, but the power of the crown -responsibility- and the Mushroom War changed all of that. In Adventure Time, the Ice King is portrayed as irrational and pathetic, but that might just be how Finn sees his father. Sometimes to the minds of children parents seem as if they behave erratically, often doing arbitrary things or imposing punishments that don’t always make sense to the child. However, Simon -like the Ice King- is also lonely. His wife died tragically and he is left raising a son by himself and with very little money. He rarely talks about his wife or what life was like before she died, much as the Ice King on Adventure Time often forgets that he was ever anyone else before what he became. The Ice King and Finn are often at odds, but they also have a lot in common and there are plenty of times where the Ice King just turns up and acts as if he and Finn are best friends. You know, kind of like the same way any father might act with his only son.
Remember, that the residents of Ooo are distortions of their real world counterparts, but even with that said it is possible that the real world Simon, Finn’s father, is slightly more eccentric than most. He’s been through a lot and has faced a lot of hardship in his day. We have to admit he may also have a creepy thing for Bonnie/Bubblegum, as she is often uncomfortable around him. The Ice King does capture a lot of princesses/women, which may represent a lot of failed dating attempts. Yet, there is one female he never made advances toward, Marceline, who is his real-world niece. Adventure Time shows that Marceline and Simon had a preexisting relationship before he went crazy. Simon helped raise her after she was abandoned by her father, and it is very possible this also happened in the real world too. Uncle Simon was very likely the person Marcy turned too when her father disappeared from her life as a child. The two have a special relationship, and it is one that now pains Marceline because she realizes how much Simon has fallen from the kind and caring person who helped raise her.
What Time is It?
Part of the genius of Adventure Time is that is a cartoon that can be enjoyed by children for its colorful animation, offbeat humor, and sense of adventure, but it also speaks to adults on another level. It is meant to invoke these types of feelings and theories that hint at something deeper going on. Each episode teaches a lesson about growing up, a lesson you could see the real world Finn learning as he goes along in life. Even more impressive it that Adventure Time is one of the only cartoon shows where the main character actually ages. Each season Finn has continued to grow taller and his voice has deepened, to the point where he is now said to be about 16 years old.
There is a lot more minutia and other evidence we could have brought in, but it might be better if you find it for yourself. So, keep this theory in mind the next time you pop over to Cartoon Network and watch the happenings of Finn and Jake. We promise you may never watch it the same way again.