The Case Against Lumpy Space Princess

I'm torn, here. On the one hand, I have a deep, abiding love for Adventure Time. This show's my jam. On the other hand, I straight-up despise Lumpy Space Princess.

She's selfish, short-sighted, and incapable of holding down a job or a relationship. She's petulant, rude, entitled… and as of the latest episode, Bad Timing, a danger to herself and others.

Princess Bubblegum unveils her latest invention, a complicated time machine that can send a person back in their own timeline, to a point after they've already entered it and recorded an experience. LSP doesn't hear this, of course. She just hears "time machine" and scrambles into it to be sent back to high school, to a point when her first boyfriend still loved her. It doesn't work, because PB's machine doesn't work that way.

Feeling grouchy, LSP drowns her sorrows (with cucumber water) at a Candy Kingdom watering hole, only to run into 'Ugly' Johnny, her old lab partner from high school. Johnny grew up and is looking much handsomer now, and is the owner of his own successful small business. LSP and 'No-Longer-Ugly' Johnny hit it off and spend the night watching TV at his leased apartment.

At which point, LSP ruins everything. Johnny has a business meeting with Princess Bubblegum, which LSP thinks is a romantic dinner. She reacts badly to this notion, and overreacts– but only after a moment of reflection where she questions whether or not she's big enough to let someone she cares about, go on and be happy. Short answer, she's not. She tosses a molotov cocktail (with root beer) into PB's castle, then crashes a truck through the front doors.

Racing through the castle amid the chaos, LSP crams Johnny into the time machine, hoping to send him back to a time before his 'romantic dinner', when he still had feelings for her. Then she turns on the machine.

Unfortunately, LSP wasn't listening when Princess Bubblegum explained how the machine worked… so she accidentally banished Johnny to a dimension outside time, probably forever.

I hate Lumpy Space Princess. She's just the worst. Her egotistic choices sabotage any chance she has for happiness, let alone stable living conditions. (LSP is homeless, too arrogant to apologize to the people on the far sides of bridges she's burned.) She doesn't even have the benefit of learning anything from this tragedy, as she begs PB to send her back through time to a moment before her heartbreak, which PB does. Unfortunately, the unique 'window' we're watching this particular episode through shows usthe dimension outside time… where Johnny still resides. He's screwed. And Lumpy Space Princess has forgotten about him entirely.

Themes of Crime and Punishment have been used before in Adventure Time, and it's frustrating to see that it's not being used here. The citizens of Ooo know LSP is kind of a nuisance– an entire episode centered around keeping her away from Tree Trunks' wedding, because they knew (correctly) that LSP would make Tree Trunks' big day about herself.

And now, Lumpy Space Princess has essentially killed a guy– banishing him from time and space, likely forever– and she doesn't even remember doing it.

One of Adventure Time's greatest strengths is the fact that it looks like a children's cartoon– it even works as a children's cartoon– but its writing is on a sophisticated enough level for grown-ups to enjoy. Even characters that fill traditional 'bad guy' roles are shown to have depth, backstory, and dimension that isn't immediately visible. They have redeeming qualities. LSP has none.

What does her presence in Ooo say? Other characters previously seen as goofy or (frankly) kinda useless have found agency outside their comfort zone. The literally half-baked Cinnamon Bun found his inner hero at the side of Flame Princess. Ice King has shown there's still a good man inside, buried under all that facial hair.

Lumpy Space Princess stumbles through life, learning nothing and wreaking havoc with her rampant selfishness. There's no growth here. The one time LSP's managed to look at an alternative to her egotistic behavior, she rejected it and set someone's castle on fire.

What do you think?