Adventure Time has always been a show obsessed with the creative process. It’s meta-commentaries on what it means to write/create have always been particularly poignant for me, personally. This episode went in a slightly different direction than episodes past, while the work is still celebrated, it’s shown as being bastardized, broken even. The Ice King knows what the story is in his head, he can picture the characters as if they were real utilizing his imagination.
When given a shot at bringing his creation to life, he comes up with a Saw-esque kidnapping scheme in which the strengths of various characters are utilized in order to get to a mythical creature to literally give his characters to life. This is even more like Saw when you consider the mastermind’s single-minded devotion to making his dreams a reality.
This darkness is pervasive throughout the episode. A character is squeezed to “death, ” a character has to cut her way out of the belly of a horrible shark-monster, and a “child” is neglected so that the Ice King gets the mere chance at making his dream a reality. And that is the reality of the situation that the show is talking about here, you can’t really hope to give birth to something without sacrificing all else. It’s what made Steve Jobs a tremendous success while simultaneously being lower than pond scum. He was a morally reprehensible piece of shit who disavowed his own child so that he might have a shot at transforming a crappy garage-based start-up from an acid-based fever dream to the ubiquitous multimedia conglomerate that Apple Inc. is today.
But even after the long road full of sacrifice, his creation just farts on his face. The other characters just look on with pity and a bit of disgust. But the Ice King is happy as a clam. He could not be more thrilled with his creation.
If I can make things current event-driven for a moment, The Ice King’s look of relief was not totally dissimilar to that of Obama’s face after the inauguration.