Treasure Hunt

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Was Missing: Queering Children's Television Shows (Women & Media Blog Post #3)

Recently, the cartoon Adventure TIme came in to a bit of controversy. The show is out there. Like, Ren & Stimpy levels of toeing the "not for kids" line. The episode in question is on called "What Was Missing" and chronicles the adventure Finn, Jake, Marceline, and the Bubblegum Princess go on to retrieve their stolen items from this really mean dude called Door Lord. When the four of them approach the Door Lord's door and realize they have to sing a song "from a genuine band". Marceline breaks out in to a song that clearly indicates some kind of past relationship between her and Bubblegum Princess. This reminded me of Gerhard's "Carrie Bradshaw's Queer Post-Feminism" piece. Her definition of queerness, "...narratives, images, and plot structures that can be read as queer, whether or not the characters, actors or writers involved identified themselves as queer" (pg. 75).  Gerhard took a primarily hetero-read show and examined it closely and made some compelling points showcasing some questionably queer moments in the show. For this though, instead of finding  and applying a queer lens to a reading of a generally un-queer show, this was unmistakable and quite overt. The queer overtone isn't in-your-face, but there's really no way of denying it and it's made very clear upon a quick examination the lyrics in conjunction with the on-screen animated reactions between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. The lyrics can be found here.The clip's controversy was expertly outlined in Bitch Media and here recently. I posted the entire episode and just a clip of the song in case one of the two gets taken down.
Honestly? I'm not huge with the whole fandom "shipping" thing that goes around but damn, if there's going to be allusions to a positive female-female queer relationship in a show that kids watch? I will, as fandom people would say, "Go down with that ship."

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