When every other show on TV is gritty and dark, it’s hard to find a well-written same-sex couple with a happy ending. Real life is already gritty enough. If you want to watch something with a little whimsy, Adventure Time is the show for you. Over the course of 10 seasons, we watched the relationship between Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum unfold and grow, finally culminating in a kiss during the show’s very last episode. And with an upcoming special on HBO Max coming out later this year, now’s the perfect time to look back on Bubbline’s best moments.
S2E20 “Go With Me”
While this episode doesn’t focus on the couple, it laid out clues out for viewers. One such clue was the purple labrys taped to Marceline’s fridge. This wasn’t a onetime thing. The purple labrys appears almost every time we see Marcy’s kitchen. Was it a coincidence that it’s reminiscent of the lesbian pride flag? I think not…
In this episode, Jake convinces Finn that he needs a date to go to movie night. Since Finn has a crush on Bubblegum, the boys decide to ask her, enlisting Marcy’s help. She agrees only to annoy the princess. When initially asked, Bonnie declines. She would rather sit alone and whistle to herself than go to movie night with a boy.
Marcy is no help at all. She gives Finn bad advice. It’s interesting to note that thus far, Marcy has been the only one to call the princess by her first name. It plants a seed. What kind of history did they have?
S3E10 “What Was Missing?”
This episode doused that seed with rain. A Door Lord steals the gang’s most beloved items. The only way to open the Door Lord’s door is to sing truthfully about one’s emotions. Our resident songstress used her labrys shaped bass to belt out a jam.
What do you want to do Marceline? Tell us the truth! The song itself revealed so much about their past relationship in such a short amount of time. In response, Bonnie screams, “I never said you had to be perfect!” She leaves Marcy in tears after storming off. Eventually, the gang get their things back. It turns out, Bonnie’s most beloved item was one of Marcy’s T-shirts. She reveals to everyone that she wears it all the time… As pajamas. That’s suspiciously homosexual of you, Bonnibel…
S4E16 “Burning Low”
This episode focuses on another couple in Ooo, but our pink princess’s involvement sheds some new light on her previous relationship with Marceline. By now, we know Finn and Flame Princess are getting serious. While most people think that’s great, Bonnie worries. If Flame Princess experiences intense emotions, caused by something like a first kiss, she’ll burn right through the planet.
Bonnie decides she needs to talk to Finn about this herself. In her speech she states, “sometimes you want someone, and you want to kiss them and be with them. But you can’t because responsibility demands sacrifice.” The way she says it and the look on her face made it seem like she was talking from experience. Was she alluding to her relationship with Marcy? It sure seems like it.
S5E21 “The Suitor”
As a lesbian, I’ve given my family every excuse under the sun why I don’t want a boyfriend. So this episode was particularly relatable. Peppermint Butler thinks Bubblegum is spending too much time alone in her lab, so he forces her to go out with one of her suitors. These men have been waiting hundreds of years to go out with the princess. She’s ignored them all. What an icon. Understandably so, Bonnie becomes upset that he would even suggest such a thing.
Pep But goes so far as to use black magic to make this guy attractive to the princess. That fails. Being the scientist she is, Bonnie creates a robot specifically to get this suitor off her back. We find out later in the series that this wasn’t the first time someone pressured Bonnibel to date a man. Her Uncle Gumbald once forced her to go out with Mr. Creampuff when she was younger. Lads, she just doesn’t like men. Get over it.
S5E29 “Sky Witch”
You thought we’d seen the last of The Shirt? Surprise! Bonnie really does wear it to bed. And what’s the first thing she does when she wakes up? Sniffs the shirt then heads to her closet, where she keeps a picture of herself and Marcy. You know, just gal pal things. She doesn’t even take it off before going about her day.
Marcy needs Bubblegum’s help after Maja the sky witch steals Hambo, her treasured childhood teddy bear. The pair go on an adventure to find the sky witch’s lair. Once they find her, Marceline has to deal with the witch’s familiar. Bonnibel has other plans. She trades her beloved shirt to get Hambo back. Remember, this shirt is her most beloved possession. She was willing to part with it for Marcy’s teddy bear. But what would Maja want with this shirt, anyway? The shirt holds immense sentimental affection. We been knew. But that’s exactly what Maja needs to fuel her power. This won’t be the last we see of her.
The episode ends with the couple flying out of the sky witch’s lair.
Despite this happy ending, Bonnie never tells Marceline what she gave up to get Hambo back.
S5E38 “Red Starved”
Bubbline is mostly separated during this episode, but the last minute or so gives us enough interaction to fuel a lot of speculation. And if there’s anything lesbians are good at, it’s reading subtext where two female characters are “best friends.” We take crumbs and make them into loaves. In this episode, Finn, Jake, and Marceline are on a mission to retrieve something for Bonnibel. They become trapped underground. And when Jake accidentally eats all of Marcy’s red, things get tense. Once Princess Bubblegum comes to the rescue, Marceline feeds on her. Alexa, play Pynk by Janelle Monae.
Bubblegum wasn’t surprised or even angry about this. It’s almost as though it’s happened before. Sure, we can say the inconsistencies in Bubblegum’s pink color and the shape of her body are because of different artists working on her. But isn’t it more fun to think it’s because she is a literal snack?
S6E10 “Something Big”
You thought you’d seen the last of Maja? Fools. She’s back to show us just how powerful sentimental affection is by attacking the Candy Kingdom. The sky witch makes her return in Bubblegum’s shirt.
Maja summons a forest monster using the power of the shirt. She calls it the princess’s most prized possession. She also explains that the immense feelings contained within the shirt were used to summon the monster. And while Finn and Jake were able to defeat her, this is still not the last we see of Maja and The Shirt.
After P Bubs lost her crown and kingdom to the King of Ooo, she settles into a cabin by a lake. But when varmints destroy her pumpkin patch, Bonnie is out for revenge. The episode begins with Marcy humming “I’m Just Your Problem” as she visits her gal pal. To her surprise, Bonnie’s not home. She learned from the King of Ooo that the princess has been ousted. Marceline flies to the cabin, upset that Bonnibel didn’t talk to her about this. PB admits she was embarrassed she lost her kingdom. She also apologizes for not telling her about it. Marcy offers to help Bonnie with the varmints. The pair use this time to reminisce.
It doesn’t take long before the varmints make their move. While they track the creatures, we’re given more insight into their relationship. Marcy mentions a time when they hung out hundreds of years ago. In a rare show of vulnerability, Bonnie mentions how stressed she became as her kingdom grew. The bigger it got, the more responsibilities landed on her plate. Marceline asks if that’s why they stopped talking. Before PB can answer, they’re attacked by varmints. Who doesn’t love to see a couple fighting together?
But eventually, they’re overwhelmed and outnumbered. Like a true lesbian, Bonnie mourns the loss of her snapback. RIP snapback, you will be missed. But it isn’t just about that. She lost her hat, her crown, her kingdom… She pushed people away she cared about and she lost Marceline, too. Bonnie apologizes. But our soft-hearted vampire queen says there’s no need. Her comforting hand is enough to get Bonnie to stop crying.
Back at the cabin, Bonnie admits she’s been crazy tried for a long time. Marcy offers to look after the pumpkin patch so she can finally rest.
Just four episodes after “Varmints,” Glob blessed us with the “Stakes” storyline. When Marceline decides she doesn’t want to be a vampire anymore, she seeks Bonnibel’s help. But when the procedure causes vampires to return to Ooo, the gang needs to stop them.
Bonnie explains the consequences of removing Marceline’s vampirism, but is supportive of her decision. She spends quite some time comforting Marcy before the actual procedure. Marceline seems pretty happy.
During a flashback, we learn that Marceline got her powers by inhaling the souls of the vampires she staked. So, removing her vampirism also removes these powers, causing them to return to their original owners. And that’s how the Vampire King and his posse return to Ooo.
Now everyone needs to channel their inner Buffy to go vampire hunting. Luckily, Peppermint Butler stockpiled a bunch of vamp-killing gear in case Marcy snapped. Bonnie is upset about this, but Marcy thinks it’s absolutely fine.
And so Finn, Jake, Pep But, Bonnie, and Marcy go on a vamp hunting adventure. Marceline thinks she should hunt them on her own so no one else gets hurt. That was, of course, a terrible idea. She apologizes to PB for even attempting it. But even as a team, they struggle. The shape-shifting vampire, Hierophant, severely injures Marceline.
During her fever dream, she serves up a sharp Lesbian Look.
Bonnie is desperate to heal Marceline. She blames herself and her hubris for the incident. She’s desperate enough to try magic, something she dislikes and doesn’t believe in, to heal Marcy. But the only sure way to make sure Marceline is okay is to get the Moon’s healing power.
We see into the vampire queen’s dreams again. Is she dreaming of her future as a mortal? Perhaps. We get a glimpse of an older, more frail Marceline still playing her labrys bass while ever young Bonnibel comes over to give her a kiss. Is this the reason she no longer wants to be a vampire?
In the waking world, Bonnie has locked herself and a still unconscious Marceline into a locker to escape the Moon. Pep But comes in clutch and kills the powerful vamp just in time for Marcy to suck her soul. She takes a moment to rest in the arms of her princess.
Now that Marceline has all her powers back, they’re ready to face off with the Vampire King. But not before a snack break. Marcy takes the time to tell Bonnie about her dreams. She makes the princess blush when she tells her she was still “nice and pink.” Marcy then asks if they can have picnics all the time, PB doesn’t hesitate to say they can after dealing with the last vamp.
In a twist none of them expected, the Vampire King doesn’t want to be a vampire anymore. He wants his vampirism removed, too. The procedure is successful, rendering the once mighty Vampire King into a large cat. But when Jake accidentally opens the sealed bucket with the King’s vamp essence, a shadow monster rises and attacks Ooo.
At first, Marceline blames herself for this mess. She doesn’t want to fight because to her, it seems pointless. We’ve all been there. But eventually, she comes to her senses and saves the day. Not before the shadow monster bites her, causing her to become a vampire again.
Back home, Bonnibel asks Marceline if she’d like to stay with her at the castle once she wins back her kingdom. Marcy declines… For the moment, anyway. She needs to think about her life and process her new experiences. She thanks PB for all her help, then says now that she’s immortal again they can hang out forever. Marceline has a talent for making princesses blush.
S8E1 “Broke His Crown”
Meeting your girl’s parents is always nerve-racking. But what about meeting the man who served as your girl’s father figure then slowly went insane because of a cursed crown? And also he tried to kidnap you a few times. That’s slightly worse. And that’s exactly what Bonnibel has to do when the Ice king, formerly known as Simon Petrikov, invites the couple to a dinner party. Marceline really wants them to get along, but Bonnie is only a little irate about having to leave her work behind.
Once they arrive, they aren’t shy about holding hands in front of the Ice King. Marcy even takes a moment to clean off PB’s face when she spills her drink. It’s about the small moments of tenderness, ladies.
It isn’t long before the Ice King starts acting weird. His crown is malfunctioning. Bonnie zaps them into the crown to figure out what’s going on. They run into the real Simon. And just like running into any family member you haven’t seen in a while, he asks Marceline if she has a boyfriend. She laughs and shares a look with Bonnibel.
With the crown fixed, they head home. Marceline is happy to know Bonnie had a good time.
S8E10 “The Music Hole”
While this episode is mostly about Finn, we got a bit of Bubbline. Jake and PB decide to hold a battle of the bands contest to get Finn out of a depressive episode. Is it a musical episode without Marceline belting out the bops? Absolutely not. The beauty of the vampire queen’s songs is that she always sings exactly how she feels. She struggles with talking about it, so her art becomes her way of expressing herself. This episode features a cover of Mitski’s Francis Forever.
“I miss you more than anything…” Was she singing to Bonnie again? “I don’t think I could stand to be where you don’t see me.” Is she saying she can’t stand to be apart from her again? My lesbian brain cell thinks so. Also, shout out to PB for the assist when Marcy lost her pick. Supportive girlfriends? We love to see it.
After all the events on the Islands and the elemental disaster on Ooo, the vamp queen and everyone’s favorite robot BMO have time to catch up. That purple labrys makes its return along with a few pictures of Bubbline. Lez be honest ladies, they are not being subtle about it anymore.
After BMO retells the story of the island adventure, it’s Marcy’s turn. Her story reveals that she did her best to save Bonnibel from the elemental magic, but it wasn’t enough. She felt immense guilt over her failed efforts. So much so that she succumbed to the magic as well.
S10E7 “Marcy & Hunson”
Hunson Abadeer, Marceline’s dad, decides he wants to spend more time with his daughter, but PB’s Cousin Chicle is up to no good. When Hudson asks Finn if his daughter is dating anyone, Finn answers, “maybe.” Oh, you know she is, my dude. Marceline answers the door wearing a familiar sweater.
Recognize it? That’s the same sweater Bonnie wore throughout the “Stakes” storyline. Lesbian privilege is our wardrobe doubling because we can wear our girlfriend’s clothes. Marceline can’t keep her dad from attending her concert. It’s understandable why she would want to keep him out. She sings the gayest song since “I’m Just Your Problem.”
“Slow Dance With You” sent an arrow straight through the heart of every lesbian listening. It’s hard not to imagine the woman you’d want to serenade with this song. And while the straights tried their usual “they’re just friends” routine, the writer of the song confirmed that the love was supposed to be gay.
This is a lesbian only event, everyone else go home. We all know she wants to slow dance with Bonnibel. Chicle’s antics cut the concert short. The homophobia of it all. The gang escape and meet up with Bonnie in a restaurant. The last scene looks like a lesbian couple meeting up with their extended family.
S10E13 “Come Along With Me”
The epic series finale of Adventure Time did not disappoint. Bonnibel is on the brink of war with her Uncle Gumbald. By now we know how stubborn she can be, but that doesn’t stop Marcy from trying to talk her out of it. She’s seen the destruction of war, and she’d rather not see it again. But Bonnie’s mind is made up. She asks Marceline to wish her luck.
Bonnie and her family manage to avoid war, but just when everyone thought the trouble’s over… It really just begins. Normal Man and Betty use Maja, still wearing The Shirt to summon Golb, the embodiment of pure chaotic energy. Now they must fight its demons. And it’s during this fight that we get so see a kiss 10 seasons in the making.
My crops flourished. My skin was clear. Flowers physically manifested in my home. All it took was the threat of the world ending to get lesbians to admit their feelings for each other…
Bonnibel figures out the way to defeat the embodiment of chaos is with the use of harmony. She gets everyone to sing in harmony to weaken Golb and its demons. The princess of science figuring out that her girlfriend’s chosen art form is the key to saving the world is so poetic. And when you are someone who majored in the arts, who endured years of people telling you your craft can never make a difference, it makes you feel like maybe they were wrong. Maybe my art can make a difference. When you’re a lesbian on top of all that? You need a day to process all the emotions. Once the world is saved, we see all our heroes have their happy ending, Bubbline included. They’re cuddled up on a couch enjoying each other’s company.
Bubbline wasn’t the first same-sex female couple in a cartoon. We had Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune from Sailor Moon, Ruby and Sapphire in Steven Universe, and Korra and Asami from The Legend of Korra. But the story of Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum just hit differently. These were two well developed female characters in a whimsical world. They went on adventures, sometimes together, sometimes apart. They weren’t perfect, but who is? It wasn’t the usual girl meets girl story. They were close, then they weren’t. Time passed, and they grew into different women. Despite that, or maybe because of it, their relationship was relatable and grew organically. They bickered and fought, and they still had their happy ending. Together. “Everything stays… But it still changes.” Their love stayed, even if they changed.