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Zesty Fascism: Adventure Time's Lemongrab and the Lurking presence of Despotism in a Children's Show

by Ethan Tussey

by Alexandre Dugas for IN MEDIA RES

The Earl of Lemongrab is the product of as misconducted experiment which grows to become one of Ooo’s most devious personalities. He is well-known for his tyranny, unfair judgments, and torture. All of these traits are presented in the Adventure Time series which is aimed primarily at a youth audience. That being considered, Lemongrab’s character becomes a problematic issue on account of his distinctively controversial actions throughout a children’s program. The clip shown here presents the Earl at his very worst. Throughout the series, Lemongrab’s character progresses from a quirky albeit severe ruler to a blatantly fascist and totalitarian leader. Very early on, viewers are made aware of Lemongrab’s lack of leniency towards rule-breaking and mockery as well as his severe outlook on candy people as a whole. The royal public responds to Lemongrab by pranking him although these border on abuse as Finn and Bubblegum ambush and punch Lemongrab in the guts as a form of ‘prank’. In a later episode, Lemongrab attempts to understand candy people and is unable to do so, claiming that they are unfit and need to be ‘re-conditioned’. The end result of this episode is the creation of a second Lemongrab for whom the Earl immediately expresses acceptance. This grotesque clone suggests that Lemongrab’s only acceptable counterpart is himself, which in turn suggests that the Earl considers his own race as superior to any other. This ultimately emits the theme of the superior race as well as nationalism which are extremely controversial topics especially since they appear in a children’s cartoon program. Lemongrab’s remedy against any other citizens of Ooo is flawed and inevitably results into the totalitarian and despotic regime depicted in this clip: Castle Lemongrab. The question is and remains, what do such controversial themes contribute to a children’s program? Does the representation of totalitarianism and despotism through Lemons hold its place within a children show or is it simply, unacceptable?

Adventure Time and Fascisim

A clip from Adventure Time

from Adventure Time (2010)
Creator: Pendleton Ward
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey