Yogurt and granola. Lizzie and Miranda. Mustaches and cat sweaters. These are all perfect matches made in a harmony that adds values to both sides. If there’s anything I learned in kindergarten it’s that you have to use a lot of colors to paint a rainbow. So when my friends implored me to start watching the explosion of colors that is Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, I couldn’t help but feel I was missing something: the ying to Adventure Time's yang. Turns out, I was missing drugs.
We do all kinds of things to spice up our lives, so why wouldn’t this apply to watching a television show? Some like to practice yoga while on an Ambien. Others just take a Xanax before a nap. But having an Adventure Time viewing party while smoking marijuana is truly a modern college phenomenon. When I asked a student who admitted to liking the show, she replied, “I think it's a combination of the trippiness and how expansive it seems in terms of imagination, at least compared to other things nowadays.” With a main character being a shape shifting dog with a Korean speaking rainbow-unicorn, it is easily one of the most inventive children shows on right now.
But it’s not just the wackiness of artistic choices that inspires students to watch under the influence. Many themes in the show are suggestive of drug subject matter. For instance the whole plot takes place in a post apocalyptic war after the alleged Mushroom War. “I love adventure time! It has very subtle drug references like calling Lumpy Space Princess ‘LSP’ very close to LSD,” one college student told me, referring to a recurring character that is voiced by the show’s creator, Pendleton Ward. “It’s actually the most random show ever which is why its humor is so funny when you're high.”
Pendleton Ward is also the brain behind the late The Marvelous Misadventure of Flapjack, which was cancelled in 2010. This show featured a young sailor searching for a candy island while living in the belly of a whale, all while remaining oddly reminiscent to a Decemberist’s album. Despite the strange creative choices of the Adventure Time, the show keeps high ratings and has been nominated for two primetime Emmy awards.
Whether or not Pendleton Ward expects his viewers to experience the show under the influence of drugs and alcohol, students continue to do so. “I listened to Adventure Time through car speakers without watching it, obviously I was high, and it was hysterical. They [the creators] use all these random noises you don’t notice when you're watching it.”
Adventure Time is a great show even without drugs. Its dark humor has explored themes like love, death, and even transexuality all under the musing of talking clouds and lovable walking cookies. While I wouldn’t recommend eating colorful mushrooms while watching the show, I think it’s reasonable to say it’s a safer bet than aerobics on a sleeping pill.