Marceline’s Gayest Hits
By: Sam Quattro
We are in the most queer age of animation thus far, and one of the primary leaders of this revolution is noted bisexual Marceline the Vampire Queen of Adventure Time. Her relationship with Princess Bubblegum has been the cause of much speculation over the years, but through song it seems that the true nature has shone. From the volatile bitterness to the distant longing, Marceline has given us a map of her feelings. Let’s journey through some of it.
“I’m Just Your Problem” from What Was Missing (Season Three, Episode Ten. 2011)
This is the song that was the signal fire of Marceline and Bubblegum’s (past) relationship. Written by Rebecca Sugar, the song delves into boiling feelings of anger, inadequacy, and ultimately loss. Marceline sings of Bubblegum’s megalomania and how it affected their relationship, how Marceline’s a “problem” in Bubblegum’s life due to not fitting into the narrative of worshiping her. She believes she’s dirt to Bubblegum. They are broken from each other in a bad way, but in the end Marceline wants to mend it. Or kill her and drink her blood. It’s the anthem of a generation.
“Yeah Girl, It Stinks” from Astral Plane (Season Six, Episode Twenty-Five. 2015.)
It’s a big gap in time between gay songs. While I could include some less explicit songs on the grounds of things like daddy issues/loneliness/etc. being apart of the gay culture meme, I think “Yeah Girl, it Stinks” is our next successor. It’s a short little ditty written by Jesse Moynihan in a Finn focused episode. But thinking of helplessness in the face of time dissolving your memories of the past and the mention of a less than desirable being smelling up a palace, lamenting that “yeah, girl, it stinks”? Hm hm hm, sounds like SOMEONE’S relationship dynamic I know.
“It’s Spring Again” from Take Her Back (Season Seven, Episode Eleven. 2015)
This song is again a lament on Bubblegum’s power hungry nature via Marceline’s dying fever dream, primarily the thought that Bubblegum sees even good things as dangerous and needing to be controlled. Perhaps Marceline sees herself/her vampirism as being one of those things that Bubblegum wants to control, at least in the context of the Stakes miniseries that this song takes place in. It’s a sweet sounding little song, but the question of what the metaphor is is up in the air here. Either way it’s a bit of a duet between our two girls, so there you go.
“Happy Ending Song” (Online. 2016)
So this is on the borderline of what canon is, I think. It’s an online only release, supposedly an outtake from the recording session featured in the episode Marceline’s Closet. But it’s still an official release nonetheless. It’s really just a reworking of the credits song, but the mentions that it’s about “someone kinda special” and the visuals to go along with it that include both Marceline and Bubblegum spell it out. And come on, it’s called “Happy Ending Song”! Running away to start a new life together? Gay dreams.
“Francis Forever” from The Music Hole (Season Seven, Episode Thirty-Six. 2016)
So this song is not actually an original Marceline song, it’s by Mitski off her 2015 album Bury Me at Makeout Creek. However, songs being appropriated in order to fit some sort of fictional narrative is a grand tradition in the moving arts. I hardly think the choice of song is an accident in the terms of this narrative. It’s a song about wanting to be recognized in the eyes of one person, longing to be seen, and I think it works as a nice continuation of the concerns Marceline brought up in “I’m Just Your Problem.” In the evolution of their relationship throughout the years, we’ve seen some of the bitterness and angst wash away. But there’s still a lot of worry about being forgotten on Marceline’s part. She’s good, she’s better than she has been in the past, and she wants Bubblegum to see that, see her.
“Slow Dance With You” from Marcy and Hunson (Season Nine, Episode Seven. 2017)
And finally we have the most recent beacon of gayness. Written by Babeo Baggins who lent the song to the show, this hits all the gay sentimentalities to a T. Slow, soft, speaking of the small action but aching desire to slow dance with someone. Though in the face of “the other boys” being tough and smooth? It’s a fantasy. It was written with queerness in mind, so is there even a question on what this is about in the context of the show? Especially with Hynden Walch (voice of Princess Bubblegum) being the voice of the backup singer? It is such a little gem of a song that I think perfectly sums up a complex blur of emotions in a simple way. Pleading for a chance, a great allegory.