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'Adventure Time' recap: Father-son time

Season 6 | Episode 12 | “Ocarina” | Aired July 17, 2014

If there’s one thing most people can probably agree on about Adventure Time, it would probably be that it is weird. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a truth about the show. It’s unconventional. While some television programs tackle the difficulties of working in a hospital or the cunning required to crack some of the toughest investigations in a big city, Adventure Time takes on issues like the trouble with being a pan-dimensional immortal elephant, or the moral obligation of a boy and his shape-shifting dog in regard to the neighboring kingdom, where everyone happens to be made out of candy.

But here’s the kicker: Those other shows, the conventional ones, they take on those conventional issues so they can really talk about deeper issues like family, friendship or morality. Adventure Time, and its unconventional setting, finds a way to tackle those same close-to-home subjects week after week in its own quirky way.

The episode opens with a poignant shot of a bird father, distracted by the morning paper as his five chicks fall out of the nest. We then pan down the tree to find a birthday banner wishing happy birthday to Jake’s five puppies: Charlie, Viola, Jake Jr., T.V. and Kim Kil Whan. The puppies are waiting with their mother, Lady Rainicorn, for Jake to arrive at the birthday party. While Lady Rainicorn is supportive of Jake, the puppies seem to generally agree that he has come up short as a father: He is distractible, he is irresponsible, he lacks direction. And this situation is made worse by Jake and Finn crashing into the party late, without any presents.

When Jake finally does arrive, he is confronted about a business deal by Kim Kil Whan. The puppy that by far most resembles his father reveals that he has bought the tree house. Finn and Jake are both shocked to find out that this was even possible. Kim Kil Whan declares himself the new landlord and teleports himself, with Finn and Jake, to the tree house to see about renting the pair an apartment. He decides that inspecting the treasure room will give him a fair assessment of what kind of apartment they can afford; however, loyal viewers will remember that Finn and Jake blew all their mad cash on furniture and meats a few weeks ago. With only two interesting vintage photos to offer as legal trade, the only apartment that Finn and Jake can afford is a ladder between the first floor and the second floor.

While trying to make do with the new living arrangement, Finn and Jake find it hard to live with such limited personal space. They accidentally break and enter into someone else’s apartment by using the bathroom, and find themselves arrested and taken down to the police station. There, Finn confides to Jake that he doesn’t have any idea what is going on. He doesn’t understand how Kim Kil Whan could have bought the house from Marceline the Vampire Queen, when she had previously given the house to our two favorite adventurers. Fortunately, Jake is able to set the record straight and work in some excellent social commentary.

The laws, Jake explains, are not made to help earthy cats like him and Finn. Jake explains that a long time ago in the real old days, it was just every man for himself. Everyone was on his own trying to get the greenest valleys and the best stuff. Then, once all the meanest, toughest, strongest men had grabbed up all the best stuff and all the greenest valleys, they made the laws to keep it that way. Once the strong guys had what they wanted, they changed the rules up so they would win forever. They system is rigged, and Jake and Finn are playing a losing game.

Kim Kil Whan eventually posts bail for Finn and Jake, but gives them a bill for what they owe him. He tells Jake that he’s now in too deep, and that he needs to get a job if he wants to be taken seriously. Things seem all too dark when Finn and Jake are actually considering getting jobs to try to buy back the tree house. But then, fortunately, Jake remembers he buried a bunch of gold in the front yard. Everybody fist-pumps, because jobs are awful.

Our adventurers scram to the tree house, where Finn and Jake have dug up a gigantic gold bone that they will use to buy back the tree house. Unfortunately, according to Kim Kil Whan, since the gold bone was buried in his yard, it is already his. He takes it, tells the guys to fill in the hole and goes back to his job.

With all seeming lost, the guys try to figure out why Kim Kil Whan has decided to do this to his own pops. The only thing they can think is that maybe he has a secret gambling debt problem with mob goons. So they decide to follow him, sure that he will lead them to the mob goons. But instead, he leads them back to his fairy-tale condominium, where there seem to be no mob goon problems or problems of any kind.

They guys decide that if Kim Kil Whan doesn’t need money, there’s only one thing that he can need. They draw him out of the condo using the clever tactic of throwing rocks at his face. Then, when he comes outside, they propose a business deal. Kim Kil Whan is obviously disappointed that Jake has not looked for a job, but he decides to hear them out anyway. Jake offers his son love and affection in exchange for the tree house. He also gives Kim Kil Whan an ocarina, which he can play and think of his loving pops; of course, the ocarina is not hollow, and thus cannot actually be played (because Jake is a lazy and irresponsible father). Nevertheless, Kim Kil Whan returns the tree house to Jake and Finn in exchange for the ocarina.

As the adventurers return home, Kim Kil Whan returns upstairs to his bear wife. He explains to her that he is sad because his father still lives the life of a child. He doesn’t have a job, he is irresponsible, he lives in a tree house and he has no hope for a stable future. Yet looking down at the ocarina, Kim Kil Whan decides that he was wrong about his dad, and that Jake is good.

This final takeaway sums up one of the most pronounced themes of Adventure Time: In the real world, it is easy to want to hold everyone to the same standard, to expect everyone to conform or act the same way. In the Earth of the far-off fictional future of Adventure Time, that expectation is not so easy. At the outset of this episode, we expected Jake to learn a lesson about responsibility. Instead, Kim Kil Whan has to learn a lesson about accepting people for who they are and knowing that individuality is what makes people great. And if a show like Adventure Time, which uses animated rainbow-unicorn dogs to teach real-world lessons like this one, is any indicator, I think we can all agree that we could sometimes use a little more individuality in the world.

Adventure Time Quotables

[Sleeping on their new ladder]
Jake: Hey, Finn, I’m really sorry about this. Somehow I feel like it’s kind of my fault.
Finn: Nah, man, it’s really not bad. Let’s just sleep on it tonight.
Jake: You’re gonna sleep like that?
Finn: Yeah, man. It’s tough. I’m a tough kid.

Jake: Man, don’t you know? The laws aren’t made to help earthy cats like us.

Jake: Where did I go wrong?
Finn: I don’t know, but I’m not trying to be sleeping on a ladder anymore. So let’s just get a bunch of scroot together and buy our house back. Then you two can hash it out later.
Jake: Yeah, you’re right. You want to rob a bank or something?

Finn: I’m gonna be frank here: Your son’s a real-time jingle-blaster.

Adventure Time, rated TV-PG, airs Thursday nights at 7/6C on Cartoon Network.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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