Adventure Time

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Adventure Time TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Original, if nonsensical, hilarity; expect minor weapons.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 194 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 614 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Sporadic use of terms like "sucks" and "friggin'."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byOnamar May 7, 2010

It's rated PG you know

To all the other parents complaining about the content of this show, I have one thing to say: The show itself gives you fair warning. It's rated TV-PG, an... Continue reading
Adult Written byrealistrach July 5, 2011

Get a grip!

I watch this show and Regular Show with my 5 year old all the time. I don't see the problem, my son is quite aware of what he is and is not allowed to say... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 15, 2012

It's FINE!

It is fine for kids 7 and up, kids younger than that won't get it. If you never expose your kid to the words "Butt" or "sexy", when wil... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byOliviaNub February 26, 2011

You'll either love this show or you'll hate it.

Parents: Calm down. Some of you have made untrue claims about this show. As for language, yes they do say "freakin", "sexy", "pervert... Continue reading

What's the story?

ADVENTURE TIME chronicles the off-the-wall, colorful, and often absurd and hilarious escapades of a boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his talking canine friend, Jake (John DiMaggio), who team up for fun in the mystical Land of Ooo. Wherever there's trouble, Finn and Jake are ready for action in the name of justice and adventure often coming to the aid of their friends Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson), and the colorful assortment of Ooo residents.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss how the Adventure Time compares to the real world. What aspects of Finn and Jake's world are rooted in fantasy? Is any of it relevant to the real world? What place does fantasy have in entertainment? Does entertainment always have to have a strong message, or can it just be fun?

  • Kids: How is your impression of the world shaped by what you see on TV or in movies? Have you ever changed the way you view something because of something you saw on TV? If so, when? How can we use this power of the media to influence positive change

  • Kids: How does Adventure Time show us that Finn and Jake are friends? What have you learned about friendship by watching the show? Do any of the characters remind you of your friends, family, or people you know?

  • Why does Finn sometimes use weapons or violence to solve problems? What would happen in real life if a kid used the same kinds of weapons? Do you think it's funny to watch mild violence like this? Can you separate Finn's use of weapons with what's appropriate in real life?

  • How do the characters in Adventure Time demonstrate courage and curiosity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love cartoons for tweens

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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