Thursday, 12 December 2013

Favourite Film and TV Characters: B.M.O

While not the first choice for many Adventure Time fans, B.M.O is one character that I myself don’t fully understand my own fondness for. After only watching the cartoon series for the last couple of months I’ve already become somewhat addicted to its bizarre and outright wacky concept of animated comedy. Comparisons have often been drawn to the likes of Ren and Stimpy and Courage the Cowardly Dog, and it’s fair to see why. While Adventure Time definitely plays it more child-friendly and whimsical in tone, the show’s creator Pendleton Ward doesn’t cower away from exploring some of his more eccentric and vivid sentiment and imagery. 

The entire show has a barrage of insanely “unique” and hilarious characters that cater for a wide audience. From Jake the Dog, a talking canine voiced by John DiMaggio who can manipulate his body into different shapes, to Lemongrab, an immensely creepy “experiment gone wrong” with a lemon for a head and a tendency to scream, Adventure Time isn’t short on variety. Yet amongst the craziness of it all, B.M.O has always stood out. While not a lead character per say, B.M.O manages to create an instantaneous connection even with his/her limited screen presence. 

Following on from the show’s surrealistic and “imaginative” entirety, B.M.O is a cross between a Gameboy and the original Macintosh. He/she (its gender is unknown) is Finn and Jake’s “living video game console, portable electrical outlet, music player, roommate, camera, alarm clock, toaster, flashlight, strobe light, skateboarder, friend, soccer player, video editor and video player”. There’s a joy to simply watching B.M.O walk into a room on its adorable little legs, or doing a kick-flip on a skateboard. Maybe it’s the notion that amongst candy people, walking mudfish and a psychotic heart voiced by George Takei, there’s a walking/talking/singing Gameboy that plays Abraham Lincoln Football on the screen. 
Personality-wise, B.M.O is a difficult one to summarise. Naturally protective of Finn and Jake, there’s a childlike wonder to its interactions and understanding of “normal” behaviour.  He/she regularly sings about emotions and human experiences such as friendship and pregnancy, offering a Pinocchio parallel. It regularly speaks to its reflection, known as Football, and teaches it the joys of real life. Yet it has some rather sinister motivations in certain instances. The simplistic yet precise animation of B.M.O’s body language and facial expressions goes a long way in adding further charisma and charm to the character. From its bouts of happiness to its scepticism over Jake and Finn’s intentions, B.M.O constantly shifts its personality but manages to remain enthralling throughout.

One particular episode sees B.M.O investigate the whereabouts of Finn’s sock. Not an interesting plot on a basic level. But with Ward’s twist of it being a 1950’s crime noire story animated in black and white, its a really bizarre and interesting look into B.M.O psyche. B.M.O narrates the entire episode and this highlights one feature of the character I can undoubtably justify, it’s voice. A lot of my love for B.M.O rests on its voice. Niki Yang, who also plays the Korean speaking Lady Rainicorn, offers a charming and rather cute personality to B.M.O. Whether it’s the “Engrish” nature of her accent or the fact that the character itself isn’t too sure on what’s going on, Yang brings an endearing quality. The line “B.M.O Chop. If this were a real attack, you would be dead”, is spurred at the most random timing, like many of her appearances, yet still manages to stick in the brain. 

While I keep hammering the essential notions of a true “character”, both in this feature and in my reviews, B.M.O is an odd exception to the “laws” of that criteria. It, like many of the show’s components, isn’t fully explained and honestly doesn’t need to be. While many have tried to read into the sketchy and convoluted question of B.M.O’s gender and feminism, what’s wrong with taking something at face value. B.M.O isn’t your typical animated character, and nor should he/she be. If character design or voice-acting has the capability to gain your attention and subsequent affection, then that’s enough for me to appreciate that individual. I genuinely want a real-life BMO. That’s not sad is it? -_-

No comments:

Post a comment