A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Though it's clearly intended to be a fantasy, the show promotes an unrealistic view of responsible behavior, as the main characters answer to no one but themselves and their only ambition is for outlandish adventures. However, friendship is a theme that recurs in most episodes, and the show has a sweetness and heart that belies its goofball reputation. Note: Potty humor (vomiting, references to "explosive diarrhea," and the like) is a frequent source of humor.
Positive Role Models
Despite their youth, Finn and Jake are completely self-reliant and have no responsibilities. Their motivation for their antics usually is well-meaning, though, and they never set out to do any real harm. They, along with the many other inhabitants of Ooo, often work together to solve (albeit silly) problems. As the standout female character, Princess Bubblegum bucks the stereotype of royalty, taking a leading role in Finn and Jake's adventures and often lending a hand with her knowledge of math and science. Characters demonstrate courage and curiosity.
Violence & Scariness
Finn and Jake use an array of weapons in their adventures -- including flame throwers, swords, and sticks -- though they don't usually use them against other people. In one episode, they stab and sever undead candy characters, who ooze green goo from their wounds.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Occasional very mild innuendo. A cupcake is asked to take his wrapper off during a game of Truth or Dare, for instance. A group of partygoers play Seven Minutes in Heaven.
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Sporadic use of terms like "sucks" and "friggin'."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Adventure Time contains some mild weapon use and gateway language (like "sucks" and "friggin'") and so is not appropriate for very young kids. The show is rooted in fantasy and absurdity, which is fun for older kids and tweens who can get the references and irony and separate it from reality. Youngsters, however, might be confused and get iffy messages from Finn's unlikely carefree lifestyle. Cartoon-style violence (flame guns, swords, etc.) is common throughout the show, but generally aimed at creatures like zombies, rather than living beings.
Is It Any Good?
If you put an 8-year-old boy's imagination to paper, the result would be pretty close to the place Finn and Jake call home. Few rules of the real world apply in Ooo, where there's really no telling what adventures each day will bring. Older kids capable of getting the show's tongue-in-cheek, ironic, and referential humor will revel in the nonsensical fun, and are likely to be hooked by the sumptuous and surprisingly deep Adventure Time universe. Younger kids might be a bit baffled, but the show is so inventive and gorgeously rendered that even young kids may find it dazzling.
The show does feature a fair amount of marginal language ("sucks" and "friggin'," for example), so if your tweens are apt to repeat everything they hear on TV, you may want to opt out of this one. Another concern is Finn and Jake's reliance on weapons (swords, sticks, fire, etc.) to resolve disputes, though their victims (zombies, in one case) are mostly inhuman in nature.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.