This is shaping up to be a pretty good year for Fan Service. Gaga released Chromatica, Stephanie Meyer published another Twilight book, and, most recently, HBO Max gave us a fully gay episode of Adventure Time: Distant Lands with “Obsidian.”
“Obsidian” is the second installment in the great Distant Lands, an Adventure Time spin-off, which gives more context to some of the show’s big characters. The first episode (which was also low-key gay) was a BMO story, which [spoilers ahead] ended up being a backstory on the little robot dude and how he came to Ooo.
Episode 2 finds Bubblegum and Marcelene in a full-on romantic relationship. They got an almost-end-of-the-world kiss in the original series, but that’s some Mr. Brightside shit for ya: It was only a kiss. Actually getting to see their relationship play out is just pure cartoon gold.
The episode opens with a little glass boy (named Glass Boy) accidentally freeing a sleeping dragon from the Glass Kingdom’s furnace. He runs away to find Marcelene, who is worshipped as an idol for having sealed the dragon away many years ago. What follows is a tale of competitive jealousy between Marcelene and Bubblegum, and the dumb ways our pride gets involved in love. It’s pretty real stuff.
And also—how refreshing!—it’s not about them coming out, or discovering their sexuality, or confronting it. They’re just people. And you know what? Adventure Time always handles these issues in such graceful and simple ways. Characters change genders almost arbitrarily, change their names, or casually mention a same-sex attraction or kiss or something and it’s dealt with so simply. Doing the most for normalization!
And while we get some backstory on Marcelene, who has a pretty tortured and lengthy past as an immortal half-demon half-vampire punk, the episode ends up being not a prequel, like Episode 1, but a sequel. This is revealed towards the end of the episode, when we meet a fully grown, tattooed, and semi naked Finn the Human—signaling that here, in the Land of Ooo, we will bury no gays: These two get a happy ending.