A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages are frequent: It's okay to be imperfect. Allowing others to see your vulnerability is crucial to connecting with them. Even small creatures can make a big difference, and it's important to help others when you are able. Humility is on display, and communication is crucial to a life-saving quest.
Positive Role Models
Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are both heroic and thoughtful. They show their love to each other in small ways (bringing each other a cup of their favorite drink) and large (pushing past fear in order to get emotionally closer). Glassboy is a character who is bullied but finds the courage to exceed others' expectations of him. The See-Thru Princess finds solace in accepting her own imperfections, including her cracked glass body.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is cartoonish, but might be scary to young or sensitive children. A fearsome dragon breathes fire and at one point his tail accidentally smashes and kills a Glass Kingdom character. Marceline's mother is sick, and we see her coughing blood into her hand. A child is abandoned by a parent who has no other choice, and we watch her growing up alone and lonely. A large wolf threatens a character -- the character is able to suck the wolf's soul from his body, and he then becomes grayish and still while a small wolf sits beside him and whimpers. Monsters are ultimately vanquished with a sweet song. Their bodies break open and flying happy creatures emerge.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are affectionate to each other, holding hands and hugging. They also have a kiss that turns both of their cheeks pink, but it's more loving than passionate.
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No cursing, but at one point a character refers to a "butt ton" of something. One character is bullied, but he's generally called rather benign insults ("Bibliophile!"). Bubblegum also calls Marceline "monster trash" at a difficult moment.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the Adventure Time universe.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Adventure Time: Distant Lands - Obsidian is an animated special set in the Adventure Time universe with some characters from that series as well as new ones. This special contains content that's generally suitable for young viewers, though the messages about emotions, self-image, and relationships may fly over these young viewers' heads. They will still enjoy the whimsical story and colorful characters, however. Violence is cartoonish, but may frighten very young or sensitive viewers: a scary dragon has big teeth, is huge, and breathes fire, and at one point, he accidentally smashes and kills an (unnamed) glass creature with his tail. There are also spider-like black demons that scuttle and bare their pointy teeth. A parent is ill and must abandon her child; we see the child growing up lonely and sad. A large wolf threatens a character, and when his soul is sucked out, he looks gray and desiccated and a small wolf whimpers while sitting beside him. When monsters are vanquished, their bodies break apart, and happy flying, singing creatures come out (which communicates a metamorphosis rather than a death). Sexual content is very mild. Two characters have a same-sex relationship and are affectionate to each other. They also share a kiss, but it's more loving than passionate. There's no cursing, but characters are insulted (one is called "Bibliophile!" one is called "Monster trash"), and one character refers to a "butt ton." Marceline and Bubblegum are both heroic and thoughtful, as well as protective to others. Glassboy is a bullied character who triumphs due to his own inner strength. Humility and communication are on display, and are crucial to the success of a hero's quest.
Is It Any Good?
Colorful, whimsical, and shot through with deep messages about self-acceptance and connecting to others, this chapter in the Adventure Time: Distant Lands specials is something special indeed. When we meet up with Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, they're deep into peaceful coupledom, which provides a rare (for television) glimpse of queer domestic bliss. They drink tea. They make pie. Marceline practices her music, while Bubblegum putters and eggs her on. But their twosome-bubble is shattered when a problem shows up literally at their front door, and they're called to vanquish the dragon that Marceline once managed to capture by singing a tough and angry song.
But this time the song doesn't work, and Marceline's quest to figure out why sends her reeling back through her personal history. Being bristly and rigid always worked for her before, so what's changed? Finally, she learns that a hard shell isn't really protection from life's problems at all -- it's just another problem. Inside, she's still squishy and easy to hurt, and so is everyone else. But that's what lets her connect with Bubblegum, and find the joy that comes from being known, seen, and loved. It's a pretty heady idea, and Obsidian has a lot working on the metaphorical level, too: the Glass Kingdom with its cracked citizens, each hiding flaws they fear others will judge; the pastel singing butterfly that emerges from the dragon's body at the end of his battle with Marceline and Bubblegum. Visually and emotionally, it's simply beautiful. And so is Obsidian.
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.