Content Warning: homophobia biphobia

Adventure Time is a TV program that is airing it's 6th season on Cartoon Network as I write these words, it tells the story of Finn the human and Jake the dog (along with a lot of other characters) at the Land of Ooo. The land is made out of different kingdoms, all of which have a special theme to them. Candy Kingdom is made of candy and ruled by Princess Bubblegum, Fire Kingdom is ruled by Flame Princess, the Ice Kingdom is ruled by the Ice King and the list goes on... The show is very sporadic in nature and brings it's heroes to face various challenges, doing so in their own, special way. It only makes sense that some of the episodes also build and elaborate on the relations between the different residents of Ooo, non-romantic ones as well as romantic ones. This gives place to a lot of fan-theories (one of those was even confirmed as canon, more on that later) and of course - my never ending search for non-monosexual representation in mainstream media.

A good starting point for exploring non-monosexual relationships in Adventure Time is BMO, he is a genderless character that is referred to as both boy and girl, as well as using both he and she as pronouns (even though it seems "he/him/his" is used more often). Since BMO is a game-machine, similar to a combination of a GameBoy and NES (with... You know... Feelings and stuff), BMO has no visible gender characteristics. That makes BMO's relationships perfect for us to try and find non-monosexual relationships.

In the Episode "BMO Noire" (note the feminine spelling noire and not the masculine noir), the character Lorraine is heavily hinted as a past romantic interest of BMO. BMO's words make it clear that he is/was attracted to Lorraine, who is presented as a woman, while BMO is presented in this episode as a masculine, tough and hardened detective. Some may argue that this is irrelevant since this episode is a fantasy that BMO invented, but since when is attraction relevant only if it comes to reality? I believe we all at one point or another had a crush, love or any form of romantic or sexual attraction that wasn't mutual or didn't work out.

Another romantic relationship BMO had was with Bubble. In the episode "BMO lost", BMO is taken away by an eagle and is accompanied by Bubble in BMO's journey back home. They become close to each other on the way, and when they get back to the treehouse (where Finn, Jake and BMO live), Bubble asks BMO to marry him. BMO accepts, the door opens and Jake pops Bubble. When Bubble (who is called now Air) tells BMO not to worry, since now they can be forever together, BMO seems happy. Even though Bubble, being a... Well... Soap bubble, has no gender characteristics visible to the eye, he has a deep voice and is presented in a masculine way. I could try to read into this further and try to analyze Bubble's gender, but I choose not to, his gender seems pretty clear because of how the writers chose to present him.

By far we gathered that BMO has a potential of being romantically attracted to multiple genders, and to be more specific, to characters that present themselves in both a masculine and a feminine way.

Another character that may have an interesting story and possible non-monosexual attraction is Marceline. Marceline is a vampire woman that lives in a house within a cave (which protects her from sunlight), she plays guitar and her diet is based on the color red, she feeds by draining the red out of red things ranging between apples and bow ties. Marceline previously dated a vampire man called Ash, the episode "Memory Of A Memory" is when he had his first appearance and it sheds light over their history together. He is described as an inconsiderate, sexist and selfish. Be that as it may, they dated each other and it seems that until a certain point they were happy with each other. Princess Bubblegum is another main character and is the ruler of Candy Kingdom, which brings us to the most famous (and controversial) backstory argument about Adventure Time's character history, the relationship between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. They have a lot of tension between them and argue often when they interact. The Youtube short that was released on an official channel following the airing of the episode "What Was Missing" (in which they again had "ego-battles") offered the fans a strong hint for a possible romantic interest between the two, and that short was taken down and apologized for by Cartoon Network. The official statement was that "In trying to get the show’s audience involved we got wrapped up by both fan conjecture and spicy fanart and went a little too far". Even though this short was deleted and therefor may be considered as non-canon, we still have reasons to believe otherwise. At a book-signing that happened at August 2014, Olivia Olson (the actor who plays the role of Marceline) told the crowd that when she asked Pendleton Ward (the creator of Adventure Time) about character motivations regarding a scene of Bubblegum and Marceline, he told her “You know they dated, right?” and the crowd responded by cheering. Ward said that in some of the countries that air Adventure Time, it is illegal to show such relationships, which may explain why it was never referred to explicitly on the show.

Later statements about the nature of Marceline's relationship with Bubblegum were mixed, and therefor can't be made into anything clearer as far as I've tried.

So once again, homophobia and heterosexism prevents proper representation in the media, while bisexual erasure prevents proper dialogue within fan circles. We still have our struggles and that won't change soon, in the meantime, I do like to make theories and analyze events to find "hidden" representation of bisexual, non-monosexual and non-cisgender representations in the media, it helps me, and I do hope it may help some of you who read this text as well.


DimSum is a neutrois bisexual biromantic from Tel-Aviv. I am a political activist for queer liberation, animal liberation, social justice, and against the occupation. I cook as a hobby and I see it as a way to concentrate on my thoughts without feeling lost. Things I've written were published in "Alternativa" magazine of the Israeli anarchist organization Unity (Achdut) and xGRRRLx, a feminist straight edge fanzine.

advertisement

DimSum describes themselves as "a neutrois bisexual biromantic from Tel-Aviv. I am a political activist for queer liberation, animal liberation, social justice, and against the occupation. I cook as a hobby and I see it as a way to concentrate on my thoughts without feeling lost. Things I've written were published in "Alternativa" magazine of the Israeli anarchist organization Unity (Achdut) and xGRRRLx, a feminist straight edge fanzine."