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Reviews Comments: Why is the Marty Stu more accepted than the Mary Sue? Adventure Time whole series review by Peryton

I found Adventure Time to indeed have all the merits that are attributed to it. It has a magnificent sense of humour, a natural and realistic dialogue, it tries to develop it's characters as best as it can in a 9-11 minute format, and, of course, it truly shows fathomless imagination.

It is tragic that it couldn't escape marysuedom.

It began as a short that basically has the conventional "rescue the princess" plot, albeit with a 12 year old. In in itself that is quite clichéd and moronic, but it becomes genuinely creepy if you think about it more than once. "Penn" - as the short's protagonist was called - truly is an Author Avatar, being basically Pendleton Ward as a 12 year old slaying monsters with his sharpei and rescuing his preteen crush - who, mind you, in that short didn't even have a personality. This is exactly the sort of thing you see in My Inner Life, the difference being that, for some idiotic reason, Penn is considered "likable" while Jenna is rightfully the subject of ridicule. Frankly, Penn and Jenna are exactly the same character, the difference being that one has a penis while the other has cat-motiffs.

To be fair, a lot of positive changes occured in the remake, the actual series. Bubblegum has an actual personality, the Ice King is a tragic villain rather than [just] a sexual competitor, Pendleton voices another character in the show that is most certainly not based on his actual personality, and Finn does have genuine problems and flaws. And most shockingly, it still manages to be fundamentally a power fantasy, and the flaws and problems do little more than to highlight this. For instance, Finn is stupid and judgemental, and not only do these traits rarely place him in genuine trouble, they either end up being fundamental in a non-ironic way, or are actually idolised. He has problems, but these problems seem to be "masturbatory suffering", on other words, to satisfy the author rather than provide a serious narrative. For example, most of his romantic issues with Princess Bubblegum are basically the sort of thing one sees in "nice guy" fantasies, to the point that one has to wonder if the writers are projecting themselves into the character.

Fundamentally, Finn is more likable than Enoby, but that's like comparing a school shooting to the Apartheid.


  • nigelstack345
  • 17th Feb 13
Fundamentally, Finn is more likable than Enoby, but that's like comparing a school shooting to the Apartheid.

Wow, that was too extreme. Drawing comparisons of the main character (that has more flaws and complexities in his character than you'd think) to one of the worst characters ever written on print AND saying comparing the two is like comparing a school shooting to Apartheid? NOT F**CKING COOL...

  • MrMallard
  • 17th Feb 13
Finn may not be the sharpest bulb in the lamp, but how is he judgemental? The only real times I've seen him be judgemental is concerning the Ice King, who is more of a crazy, senile old man rather than a villain (in later seasons). EG: When he's ordered to take the Duke of Nuts prisoner, Finn decides to find out why he's reviled by Princess Bubblegum instead of just accepting he's bad and taking him in.

And this IS a fantasy: it's published as a kid's show. Adults can watch it and enjoy it, but the show is essentially made for kids. The messages can be complex and trust the children to get the message, or it can spoonfeed the answer to the audience; it doesn't really matter, because the show is about having a good time when you get into it.

I think you're taking the series too seriously. After all, a calm, rational adult/teenager probably wouldn't relate 2 fictional characters to a school shooting and one of the world's biggest racial setbacks.
  • romanatorX
  • 11th Mar 13
I'm sorry, sir/madam, but you are absolutely wrong on this. If you want to complain, do so. Just prepare for a ton of negative feedback.

I think you totally misunderstood the character of Finn. I will admit to some hypocrisy here, as I've called out Peter Griffin on being a Mary Sue for Seth Macfarlane. However, you have to look at the actual actions in Adventure Time more. Finn is stupid, but he is rarely judgmental. He is very flawed, and his flaws often fire back into his face, or provided some level detriment to him.

And, you compared the character to the main character from the worst fanfiction ever made. That's a bit of a stretch.

What really destroyed your review was comparing those two characters to a School Shooting, and then saying that a school shooting is NOTHING compared to apartheid. Where have you been the past three months? What, did the fact that 20 1st graders were shot dead in December just escape you? And you compared a fictional character that may have shades of being an author avatar to THAT? I am damned close to reporting this review and you on that statement alone.
  • aolbain
  • 12th Jun 13
I love how the reviewer is accused of taking things to seriously while the commentators goes ape crazy over a offhand comment.
  • Wryte
  • 12th Jun 13
They key difference between Finn and Jenna isn't what they have or haven't got between their legs, it's that Finn is in a Mind Screw comedy series, while Jenna and Enoby's stories are both played straight (regardless of whether Enoby's is a satire or not). Anything remotely Stuish about Finn (and you haven't made a very convincing case that he's a Stu in the first place) is overshadowed by the Surreal Humor of the world he inhabits, while Jenna has no such saving grace.

And yeah, I gotta echo other commentators' sentiments on that last line. Serious or not, that's just a crappy comparison to make.
  • Fauxlosophe
  • 12th Jun 13
I'm with Wryte here.Now mind, I didn't see the short refered to but only the odd episode of the show proper; Finn's stuishness is tongue in cheek and I think a lot of credit is given to parody sues of both genders. The other characters of the show can have some suish traits regardless of gender but they aren't put forward seriously. I'll also point out in the show proper, Finn isn't making sexual conquests left and right; he ultimately accepts that Bubblegum doesn't feel that way for him and moves on.

As to the short, I'd say it's a genre difference. I can watch or read a short story of a bland character over coming problems in a unique way without needing to see flaws or a lot of uniqueness in the character. There isn't time in a short to convey character flaws unless these character flaws are central to the short. I will concede here that people fall back on cliches in these that are often "traditional" and are safely "bland" allowing us to read in what we like; this doesn't challenge issues with society and while individually, I don't think they do harm, them following "the traditional model" is what help keeps our flawed traditions normal. I don't think any one show can be attacked for that though.

Now, the example you give of Enoby is not a short. In a novel, film or anything demanding more than 10ish minutes of attention, a character is required to have a lot more substances and flaws. He gets this in the series and the sueish qualities that remain are played for laughs while he's shown to be flawed. Finn is rash and dumb and can see things a little back and white but he's genuinely a decent person rather than the passive aggressive "nice guy" that you're comparing him to.

Now, I've seen maybe five episodes and perhaps the way the romance arc portrays him would turn me off as well, but I'll say that for what I've seen, it portrays an overly excited 12 year old who can mess up and often has to consult with others. I don't think it merits accusations of sexism, I felt it was pretty good for that compared to shows that I grew up with, let alone comparison with apartheid or schoolshootings.
  • MrMallard
  • 13th Jun 13
Finn shows a good deal of character development during the seasons. Sometimes he's a sue in the sillier episodes, sure; they're silly episodes, anything goes. But when The Lich is involved, Finn is quick to try his best at defeating it, and he usually fails in some way or another. He fails to protect PB from The Lich's whirlpool, though that's more Ice King's fault and gets tricked by The Lich into giving up the Enchiridion and then turning it into a portal to the Multiverse. Finn is far from perfect; he's messed up a good deal in the show, and he learns from his mistakes (look at PB for one). I wouldn't be surprised if he loses an arm at some point, as what keeps happening to his alternate selves - Farmworld!Finn has a bionic arm, and Pillow!Finn has a pillow arm. In fact, they're both replacing the same arm - Foreshadowing?
  • lilchat
  • 1st Jul 13
How did you even think to bring up apartheid and school shootings when reviewing a children's cartoon? Like seriously, explain your thought process.
  • MAI742
  • 12th Dec 14
I'm with lilchat on this one. Using the USA's hundreds of infamous school-massacres and South Africa's Apartheid-Era to give expression to your opinion of (children's) television shows is... not good. It causes us to associate the terms 'school-shooting' and 'Apartheid' with well, things other than children being massacred and non-European ethnicites being oppressed. That is not a good thing.

Commonwealth and US Law says you can use whatever words you like in your review short of causing people to hate others and/or (sexually)-assault/kill them. But you should be aware that using such loaded and meaningful words in such a frivolous context dilutes their meaning.
  • XenosHg
  • 14th Dec 14
Comparing two bad things to other two bad things to describe a varying level of badness is called a "simile", I believe. And I'm with aolbain on this one.
  • MFM
  • 14th Dec 14
Are incidents where there's mass amounts of death the only possible comparison that could be used to describe varying levels of quality? Really?

And on a more tangential note, while the reviewer does use a simile, not every comparison is a simile. There's also metaphors, allegories, symbolism...

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