Come Along With Me: Adventure Time – “The Enchiridion!” and “The Jiggler”

The Enchiridion!
Air Date: April 19, 2010
Coverage: Prestidigititis

Folks, I’m so happy we’re doing this. That I get to be a part of this deep dive of a show that I love so much. And I’m so lucky that this is the first episode I get to write about, because man is “The Enchiridion!” a blast.

So let’s see what we’ve got here: A magical fantasy realm. Crazy creatures dancing it up and partying. An adored and adoring monarch who is protected by a champion. This champion is then tasked with a quest, and he and his trusty sidekick set off on their journey. They are given tests of many types: intellect, chivalry, strength, and purity. He arrives at his destination, fulfills his promise, and is changed with a new wisdom and understanding of who he is. Flying air-kick, fade to credits, and there you are. Your basic fantasy-realm hero story, like you’d experience in any of your old-fashioned medieval tales, or your new-fangled RPG video games.

But Adventure Time, as we all know, did things in its own way. While it’s a stretch to call the series a satire or critique of the tropes and expectations of its genre, it never approaches any of it in a way you’d expect. Later in the series there are broad strokes, when the show becomes about growing up, about love and selfhood, about fathers and children. But even in its earliest seasons, AT makes its own identity clear from the get-go.

Even though it wasn’t aired first, “The Enchiridion!” was the first episode of Adventure Time produced. Which makes sense; so many of the things that we identify as part of this show’s blueprint are evident here. It’s playful, kinetic, and silly. Beautiful to look at, visually simple and vexingly complex at the same time. It’s colorful, gorgeously illustrated, and vibrant. 
Plus, it’s familiar even as it strikes you as something very different. This episode follows the classic Hero’s Journey stuff that you see in literary works throughout pop culture. It resembles other Brave Hero Sword Dude storylines that are essential to kids’ cartoons. In many ways, “The Enchiridion!” is a statement of purpose for everything Adventure Time aspires to be. All in one juicy, eleven-minute chunklet.

Most every problem thrown in our heroes’ path is pretty standard stuff for fantasy adventure. But the solutions for the problems are the bits that are quintessential Adventure Time, putting impulsive action before deeper learning. Keyper’s puzzle is a simple enough one: his hat looks like a key, so it must be the secret to pass through the gate. But Finn didn’t reason that out, he just went ahead and stuffed Keyper in that lock because “I just thought you’d look cute”. The evil gnomes trick F&J into saving them, just to go on and do more damage to so-called Old Ladies. Jake placates Finn’s anguish at being uncertain how to react in the moment by telling him “This place is designed to mess you up…. none of this is real. It’s all just trials to test your heroic attributes.” 

The ogre devouring Jake compels Finn to act petty and impulsively violent: stealing the ogre’s cash and using it as a hang-glider for a really well-placed boot to the groin. This causes the ogre’s regurgitation of Jake, and the two escape through the air. Finn didn’t plan anything, but it got the job done. What’s more, Finn even returned the ogre’s money: he bested the trial, so there was no need to make anyone suffer more than necessary. Evil Dark Magician (voiced by Mark Hamill!) simply tests Finn’s adherence to purity of soul, when his command to destroy that which is not evil causes such a strong refutation that it breaks Finn out of the illusion itself. (And into the Dark Magician’s gut with his right foot.) 

And what is the new wisdom Finn has accrued as a reward? The Hero’s Enchiridion, the text of purity and true power for all aspiring heroes. Aaaaand….detailed instructions on how to kiss a princess. Think that’ll come in handy in the seasons to come?

  • Originally, Mannish Man was going to be voiced by Henry Rollins. There exists an animatic with his line reads somewhere out on the web.
  • The episode was much longer when first written; long enough to be a 22-minute cartoon. The length of AT episodes may not have been finalized at that point. Originally there were going to be twelve trials, and we would have been introduced to the character of Choose Goose as well.
  • When Finn sprints off to save PB during the candy party, you can see three gingerbread men standing behind a table he overturned. They are the likenesses of Pen Ward, Patrick McHale and Adam Muto. Folks, meet your storyboard team for the episode!
  • The importance of role playing—and D&D in particular—is evident in this episode. Pen Ward made tabletop RPGs an essential part of the process of developing AT’s story. Writing sessions went like roleplaying campaigns, with ideas growing out of folks’ thoughts about what should happen next.
  • “I’m not righteous. I’m wrongteous. Stupidteous.” One of the best lines of the season.
  • The development of this episode’s title card image is an interesting one. That loaf of bread was originally a dagger, for instance. There’s a wonderful interview/exploration of the opening credit sequence and the imagery of those title cards here:
  • I didn’t talk a lot about the animation or visuals, but there are some amazing bits here. Of particular note are the split-screen when Finn saves the falling Princess Bubblegum, and how the ogre’s puke goes from dribble to fire-hose after Finn’s kick. Love that.

Thanks for reading, and letting me be a part of this! I’m so excited.

The Jiggler
Air Date: April 19, 2010
Coverage: Cork

This was the very first Adventure Time episode I’d seen and it is fun to examine how my feelings toward this episode have evolved. I remember the day that I was hanging out with a friend after school (I graduated in 2010 and didn’t realize until now that I’ve been watching this show since the 1st season) and she put on Adventure Time. At this point in my life, I wasn’t watching animated shows that often, and if I was, it was probably superhero-related. I remember feeling confused that she turned on a show from Cartoon Network. I didn’t want to watch a kid’s show (Hypocritical of me, I know, but I was a teenager and loved to have strong opinions with little to no reasoning to back them up). My friend just told me to trust her, that the show is weird but funny. Little did either of us know, but “The Jiggler” ended up being my introduction to one of my all-time favorite shows.

The episode opens on a burning, ransacked castle. Screams fill the air as the view pans to Finn and Jake calmly walking away with Stanley the watermelon and his family, as they sing ‘Baby’. Aside from the theme song, ‘Baby’ is the first song to be sung on the show. It’s a cute pop song about an actual baby and not a nickname for a significant other. It’s a reminder of how despite ransacking a castle and saving his friends, Finn is still a child. This is apparent in a majority of Finn’s actions throughout this episode. He takes on a parental role but ultimately is still a child. One of the best overarching themes of Adventure Time is personal growth. They do an excellent job of highlighting all the characters, not just Finn.

Finn and Jake return Stanley and his family to their home and scold him for getting in trouble too often. Stanley and his family all appear as ordinary pieces of food. The curiosity of how often and what kind of trouble Stanley gets in is amusing.

On their walk home, Jake is whistling ‘Baby’ which attracts the Jiggler, a fun, little creature who loves to whistle and dance. The Jiggler’s symmetrical appearance lends to creative dance animation and the appearance of a diaper, hinting that the Jiggler is a baby. Deciding that waking up to a little dancing dude is too good to pass up, Finn and Jake take the Jiggler home to dance the night away.

The following day, Finn and Jake are ready to get down, but the Jiggler is in no shape to continue. Neither Finn nor Jake notice the Jiggler’s condition worsening as they get back to dancing. The Jiggler becomes sick and magenta liquid starts spewing from the Jiggler’s top hole. To stop the liquid, Finn and Jake start to plug up the Jiggler’s holes with their glass eye and eyepatch (mint condition!) collections and the result is a little horrifying. The treatment method is reminiscent of Dr. Patrick plugging up Spongebob in ‘Suds’.

The backup is too much for the Jiggler, and magenta liquid explodes out as its body is stretched all over the treehouse. Finn and Jake gather the Jiggler’s body and squeeze it back to a manageable shape. Finn becomes increasingly distressed and tries to comfort the Jiggler. He begins to give rescue breaths and devolves into comforting kisses. It becomes apparent that Finn’s affection isn’t enough to cure the illness.

With a perfectly unexplained skill, The Jiggler kisses a colorful picture on the floor, showing where its parent is. Finn realizes that despite his and Jake’s friendly dancing intentions, they’re now kidnappers and murderers (if the Jiggler dies). Jake recognizes Stanley’s house in the kiss picture, and Finn and Jake venture out to return the sickly Jiggler to its mom.

The mom doesn’t recognize the Jiggler as its child and lashes out. Jake uses his nose to realize that the Jiggler doesn’t smell like its mom’s magenta juice anymore. With a final kiss, Finn heroically throws the Jiggler back into its mom’s soup.

The Jiggler is happily reunited with its family and Finn’s final line was the moment that made me fall in love with this show. I still remember during my initial watch, just being so confused about what I was watching. Sure, it was entertaining, and the animation was different, but overall I thought it was pretty dumb. Then, to close out the episode, Finn solemnly says, “I’ll never kidnap again.”

It blew me away. I was bent over in laughter. The show acknowledged how ridiculous the situation was and I realized that there was more to this show than just silly adventures and butt jokes. Adventure Time reshaped my perception of kids’ TV shows and had me re-examining my prior biases against shows or networks. It is a joy to watch Finn grow throughout the series and revisiting the early episodes captures his big heart and immaturity.


  • Stanley the watermelon’s family consists of another watermelon, a pear, a banana, a pineapple, a sausage link, and four marshmallows
  • The Jiggler’s introduction to the tree house is the viewer’s first time seeing Finn and Jake’s home as well. With ‘“The Enchiridion!” originally being the pilot episode, “The Jiggler” feels like an appropriate second episode. It doesn’t feature recurring characters like the episodes prior but instead focuses on how Finn and Jake live.
  • ‘Baby’ is the first time Finn uses his auto-tune voice, a skill he gained by swallowing a small computer. I wish they utilized this more often.
  • The Jiggler is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker
  • Finn draws Jake for the Jiggler to eat, leading to Jake cannibalizing the drawing and shamefully announcing that he tastes awesome.
  • Finn calls grapes “purple whatevers”
  • Despite Finn’s promise, he does kidnap again a few episodes later
Character Spoiler – Mild

Margaret liked to comfort with kisses, probably where Finn got it from


The snail waves from the Mom Jiggler’s bowl with the other Jiggler babies. The snail’s antennas aren’t defined as they normally are.