Dec. 16 – Adventure Time “Holly Jolly Secret”

Original Air date: December 5, 2011

Jake and Finn, uh… do the unexpected!


Even though this show is one of the most popular things on Cartoon Network, Adventure Time originated over on Nickelodeon. In 2008, creator Pendleton Ward produced a short starring Finn and Jake for the short-lived series, Random! Cartoons. Nick turned down a pitch to move Adventure Time to series, and their loss turned into Cartoon Network’s gain starting in 2010.

This special half-hour long episode of Adventure Time actually aired just a few weeks ago, and since it’s for Cartoon Network, creatively sidestepped actually being about “Christmas” while being true to the holiday spirit. The two-parter was not only absolutely hilarious, but one of the most touching episodes the show has ever aired.


It all begins when Finn finds a briefcase left in the middle of the dump by the devious Ice King, who proclaims them to be filled with devious, dirty secrets that no one should ever know. Finn, being the brave adventurer he is, nicks the case, and heads back to the tree house to meet up with Jake in order to find out what evils lie inside. Upon popping it open they reveal that instead of some sacred document or artifact, the Ice King was disposing of… VHS tapes.

After BMO pops one in his butt (that’s where his VHS drive is, apparently), they find that the tapes are the Ice King’s video diaries. And they’re boring. Very boring. Some are of him complaining about Finn and Jake, others are of him dressing up as different characters and singing, others yet involve him dancing with penguins. Finn and Jake stare blankly, watching not for personal enjoyment, but to find out the secrets.

Watching them sit around, joylessly watching the Ice King’s videos is a joy. Jake occasionally asks to tap out, but Finn keeps him in check, demanding that they continue until they find out what makes them so devious, even as it becomes clear that there’s likely nothing evil or secretive about them.

And that’s where it takes a decidedly Christmas turn. The Ice King wants to watch the tapes too (he doesn’t know that they’re his, he just sees Finn and Jake enjoying themselves), and when he isn’t invited, he decides to do what he does best: starts acting like a dick. He freezes their house, causing them to wear sweaters and bundle up around the fire. He creates an army to attack them… of living snowmen.

It’s a twisted, turning episode that jukes every expectation you’d have, and ends on an eerie, depressing, creepy, but absurdly touching note that not only makes it one of the best episodes of the series, but one of the best Christmas episodes of anything – period.

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Author Hollander Cooper writes for every goddamned day! Follow him on Twitter.

Yesterday’s Christmas Special


2010’s Dec. 16 Christmas Special


2009’s Dec. 16 Christmas Special

5 thoughts on “Dec. 16 – Adventure Time “Holly Jolly Secret”

  1. This is such a good episode! I was actually gonna reccomend it. Nice one, Holly Jolly Hollander. Should’ve talked up the end a bit more, though… It made me tear up.

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