If I was asked what is the most innovative, creative or entertaining half hour of television I watch on the regular, Adventure Time or Regular Show takes that crown by a landslide. As a frequent defender of present-times television, something that is chronically thrown my way is twenty-somethings giving me their two cents about how "Cartoons have lost their way man, back in the nineties we had Ren and Stimpy, they can't beat that." This bothers me. A healthy debate is a necessity in my life, I can't survive without it. A good 95% of my friend circles is made of people who just love voicing their opinion on what is a good movie, good show, good album, you name it. However there's one vital difference I find with people debating the merits of modern-day cartoons that becomes so apparent after asking the simplest of questions, “Do you watch cartoons now?”. I imagine you can figure out the answer.
My problem isn't that their opinion is the opposite of mine, actually that's my favorite answer most of the time, it creates interesting, sometimes intense debates. My problem is that they are voicing a void opinion, one that has no real depth. They have no knowledge of it and thus the opinion just ends up being the classic “Back in my day” conversation we all swore would never happen to us. I get it, you're an adult now, the odds are you are going to spend your time watching more explicit, adult themed shows because of this, this is not the case for EVERYONE, but I would say a large majority. All I'm saying is, I wouldn't give my opinion, as a person who has never gone fishing, about the subject. I don't understand the need for people to voice opinions on something that they have been so out of touch with for so long.
Regardless, Adventure Time and Regular Show manage to stand out in an (for better or worse) over-saturated animation industry. They are certainly the stand-outs of Cartoon Network's present lineup and I think most people would agree the strongest of the shows. But what if we pitted them off against each other in a battle for dominance on the big CN's lineup instead of running side by side? What would be find? Would Adventure Time's story and characters trounce Regular Show's? Or would Regular Show's style show up Adventure Time? Let's find out.
Animation style, creativity, vitality, this all matters on determining which show is the student and which is the master. I think this is also a very interesting point in the process of determining the winner because of what both cartoons were trying to express visually. Adventure Time, like many cartoons popping up at this time (including cartoons such as The Amazing World of Gumball, a show that is presently running on Cartoon Network alongside these two) definitely pulls it's influence into it's art style, with the visual over-saturation of Spongebob Squarepants, however has an originality all it's own. Whilst Spongebob gained its fan-base through its use of adult and child-like themes, Adventure Time, even graphically, represents a much more surreal, out-of-body type experience. The Land of Ooo has an unpredictability to it, which makes it much more intimidating in nature to Spongebob and through that, Adventure Time can do magnificent things aesthetically to it's world, making for a beautifully crafted and modern take on the world of animation.
Regular Show on the other hand is pulling it's influence from a much more general sense: the 1990's. Down to the use of old video-game consoles in the background, the more mellow, under-saturated charm screams mid to late 1990's. It really engulfs itself in this, to the point where it's easily believable that this show was just shelved in this time period and was only released now. Whilst I think there is more inherent charm in Regular Show's art-style when looking through cartoons in a historic context, Adventure Time's creative new spin on the more recent, bright, almost ADHD-screaming aesthetic is going to be remembered in this portion of animation history as an evolution, as opposed to an homage.
Visuals: Adventure Time Wins.
But what about sound? Sound has played as much of a role in the development of a cartoon as the animation or any other part. Which show has the better quality of songs, background music, etc? Well, let's check out Regular Show first. This is another interesting aspect of this little battle of the cartoons, as they both vary significantly in how they use sound. Regular Show uses music sparingly, when it is used it is generally for dramatic effect, such as at the end of episodes where the action is heating up and the tension rises. But for me personally, the most interesting music heard throughout Regular Show is the music that they actually use from artists. Songs such as I'm Alright and Footloose by Kenny Loggins, Your The Best Around by Joe Esposito and Working for the Weekend by Loverboy. I guess the most surprising part is the fact that they went out of their way to actually clear use of these songs where as they could have saved money and made their own, knock-off style version of any of the songs. It's a pleasant surprise and one that I don't think most people were expecting when first checking out the show.
Adventure Time on the other hand relies on it's own music... and I guess that's why it stands out more to me. Adventure Time's music is always an event when it comes. The auto-tune start of the episode The Jiggler is an Adventure Time fan-favorite, whilst Evicted! Comes with a song that is so weirdly surreal and happy at the same time, it gets stuck in your head in the best and worst way. Also who can forget the classic track Marceline writes to her father, that ones definitely going to go down as an Adventure Time classic. Adventure Time's best of the best in terms of music tends to become an event, whilst Regular Show's songs tend to solidify the entertainment value of the episode. As far as which songs bring the most to the episodes they're in, Adventure Time probably trumps Regular Show.
Sound: Adventure Time Wins
Now, this one I can see as being a challenge to determine. Characters. I mean, the strength in characterization that is present in both cartoons is staggering. Mordecai and Rigby, being those young-adult, stoner-minded losers that everybody somehow knew, whilst Fin and Jake take on the role of the young, personified, righteous heroes of Ooo. Whilst both sets of main characters are varied in their roles on the show, they definitely both have a certain depth to them as separate, independent people than most cartoons bother with. Jake is lazier than Fin, but partakes in the same situations, the same humor etc, but Fin is different in smaller, more intricate ways. His love-life is much more complicated and he's much more of a klutz around people whom he's infatuated with (maybe due to him being younger). You can tell that Fin constantly sets his sights on being the moral, righteous hero, where as Jake is keen to sometimes wonder off the side of righteousness. Regardless, Jake generally seems to have the wisdom of someone older and gives Fin advise when he needs it.
Modercai and Rigby as main characters also have their differences. In an argument, Rigby is much more likely to lash out in anger (even when the subject matter is miniscule in importance), where as Modercai is generally more calm and collected. Mordecai has a long-standing romantic tie to Margaret, and through this shows us that Mordecai has problems with relationships and being able to address a person properly when he likes them. Rigby does not have this problem and in fact generally isn't even fazed with the thought that someone else could like him. One thing that is pretty much level is the stupidity of both of the main characters in Regular Show. Mordecai and Rigby are stupid in a very back and forth way, they don't have the voice of reason, like Jake can be to Fin in Adventure Time when the scene needs be. This leads to hilarious endings and outcomes for their storylines.
But who wins? I don't wanna sound like I'm repeating the same song here, but... to be completely honest with you, Adventure Time has the better characters. Fin and Jake are a mixture of persona's that get each other so well and who's personalities shine so bright under the weight of their situations it's hard not to like them more. Don't get me wrong, it's much harder to relate to Fin and Jake as people than it is Mordecai and Rigby, in fact, if you're like almost anyone, it's fairly easy to relate to someone who doesn't want to do work ever and wants to play video games and eat junk-food all day, but Fin and Jake's banter and their moral ways win you over in the end.
Characters: Adventure Time Wins
Now am I leaving it a bit short? Maybe. I mean, we could easily debate the merits of Adventure Time and Regular Show's storylines, which I can still tell you Adventure Time would win... and heck, maybe one day I will do a second part to this article, but I thought was a very interesting time to be doing this. Oh by the way, if you think I am not a Regular Show fan, you couldn't be more wrong. In fact, on a regular (forgive the pun) day, Regular Show would actually be the more convenient show for me to watch. It's easy to get into, the storylines aren't taxing on the brain and there's no real continuity unlike some of Adventure Time's stories. The truth is for me, Adventure Time is more likely to be embedded in the public conscious because of what it does right and what it evolves. It's never afraid to show your kids that there are scary things in life and sometimes kids need to see these kinds of things to strengthen them. We are at a point where Adventure Time and Regular Show have gained a Spongebob like audience in terms of demographics. Adults and children alike are flocking to these shows and as an adult viewer of animation, my opinion in a hearty debate on these two shows... I really wanted to get off my chest. How do you guys like these shows? Adventure Time your favorite show as of now, Regular Show the best thing since sliced bread? Sound off, cause believe me, I'm interested and at this point in time, I'm sure a lot of viewers are too.
Overall: Adventure Time Wins