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Adventure Time – “A Glitch is a Glitch” Recap

by on April 4, 2013

Finn and Jake make the terrible mistake of  inserting a strange floppy disk into their computer, unleashing a computer virus that starts creating havoc in the real world. Both of them rush over to Princess Bubblegum as the world around them starts glitching up and breaking down. The Ice King reveals that the virus was his creation, and that it will literally make him the last guy on Ooo for PB to date. Finn and Jake try to stop the deletion of Ooo by heading into the universal source code and fighting the virus directly.

When I heard that experimental animator and visual artist David O’Reilly was writing and animating an episode of Adventure Time, I had a massive bout of fanboyish glee. O’Reilly’s glitchy style, dark sense of humor, and creative use of lo-fi digital imagery has made him my favorite animator for years, with works like Please Say Something and The External World being some of my favorite short films ever. The use of original music by one of my favorite musicians, Flying Lotus, just made this whole episode all the more exciting. The end result of such a striking, experimental auteur directing his own episode of Adventure Time is a wonderfully surreal feast for the eyes, and one of my favorite episodes of the show to date.

Because of O’Reilly’s uncompromising style, one issue that might be a dealbreaker for some people is the episode’s distinct feel compared to the rest of the series, on the account of the episode being written and animated by a total outsider from the usual stable of writers. This results in an increase in metahumor, slower pacing, dark and uncomfortable moments (especially the hair-eating video), intentionally crude and glitchy animation,  and an all-around heightened sense of weirdness, even for Adventure Time. O’Reilly’s style is definitely not for everyone, and people expected heartfelt moments, fluid animation, and grounded plots may be turned-off by this experiment. Still, I want to personally thank Cartoon Network for running a risky, off-beat treat for experimental animation fans like myself.

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