"Five Short Tables" is the ninth episode in the eighth season of Adventure Time. It is the two hundred and thirty fourth episode overall.
Fionna and Cake go on a cooking adventure to push Cake's art to an all-new level.
The episode opens with Ice King hastily flying after a worm in his castle. As he descends, he finds several pages from his fan fiction strewn about and discovers that Gunter, along with the other penguins, broke into his fanfiction vault to edit his works. After getting a critique from Gunter, Ice King freezes the penguin and uses the stray pages to create a new story.
Fionna and Cake are in their tree house, and Fionna waits impatiently for breakfast while Cake is making flapjacks. Once they are ready, Fionna tries to eat a flapjack, but Cake stops her and says that the flapjacks tell a story, so logically she can only eat breakfast in chronological order. After some struggle, Fionna tells Cake that the flapjacks only look like blobs, so she can't really tell which part is which. Cake agrees and declares that she must start making "non-fiction" flapjacks. After gathering all the proper ingredients, the duo set out to the candy kingdom.
At the kingdom, Fionna recommends that Cake uses Prince Gumball as her first subject because his absorption in his work can cause him to stay still for days. When the two reach the window they see Gumball frantically running about and searching for something. After he finds and consults his candy periodic table for a strategy, he clears his desk of his work and calls for Butterscotch Butler, the Scottish butterscotch butler. When she arrives, Gumball challenges her to a board game to which she reluctantly agrees to. As Gumball tries to apply the strategy, Butterscotch Butler states that his attempts are useless and renders his strategy null by prying on his insecurities. After dramatically losing, Gumball tosses the board game out the window, and Cake and Fionna decide to try somewhere else. Gumball demands to be told how Butterscotch Butler knows all these things about him, and she explains to his dismay that he simply just leaves his diary everywhere.
At the library, Cake tries to study the book readers at the library, but is disappointed that none of her Flapjacks are turning out right. Fionna recommends that Cake reads some pancake literature to help, but Cake lectures her about the difference between flapjacks and pancakes. As Fionna tries to find a flapjack book, she spots Flame Prince and quickly ducks out of sight. When Cake's comments about Flame Prince are louder than expected, Turtle Prince notices the fire prince. Worried that Flame Prince might destroy the books, Turtle Prince approaches him and asks him about the author. Flame Prince becomes nervous and leaves that part of the library after accidentally setting a section of the book shelf on fire. Turtle Prince follows Flame Prince around the library and smothers the fires that Flame Prince accidentally set. When Flame Prince tries to check out a book, he accidentally burns the table of contents and Turtle Prince refuses to let Flame Prince take the book home, though Turtle Prince does offer to read the book to him instead. Flame Prince blushes and confesses that he doesn't have a library card, and the only reason why he's there is because he had to use the bathroom, and wasn't sure if he had to check out a book to do so. The two chuckle, and steam comes out from what's assumed to be the restroom door.
In the forest at night, a coughing Lumpy Space Prince desperately runs away and hides from Marshall Lee. The vampire, holding a tablespoon and a potion, pleads with Lumpy Space Prince to drink the potion so he can stop coughing. When Marshall Lee finds LSP, LSP pretends to be someone else so he can avoid drinking the potion. To try to convince LSP to come out, Marshall pretends that a monster caused LSP's cough, and that said monster is currently attacking Marshall. The Vampire King uses his beast form to destroy trees in order to make sound effects for the imaginary fight, and pretends to lose once LSP comes out of his hiding place. LSP begs Marshall not to die, but Marshall feigns that it's too late for him. He gives LSP the potion and tells him to drink it and live as it's not too late for LSP just yet. LSP drinks the potion and pretends to die next to Marshall. When the two sit back up, Marshall Lee notices that the cough is gone, but soon large bumps appear on LSP's face and Marshall reluctantly states that he may have given him the wrong potion. Up in the trees, Fionna and Cake watch the scene unfolds, and Cake happily reveals that she's improving on her flapjack art, showing Fionna her flapjack depiction of LSP kneeling down by Marshall Lee's side.
At the Ice Kingdom, Ice Queen reads to her penguins the story of Ice President reading his own fan fiction to Flynn the human being and Jacques the Raccoon. When she finishes, she asks the penguins how they liked it and becomes upset when she sees that they are all distracted by Cake's flapjack art. Cake offers to make a flapjack portrait for Ice Queen, but she reluctantly refuses and begins to attack Fionna. Cake uses her newly developed pancake skills to make Fionna a flapjack sword. While Ice Queen and Fionna attack each other, Fionna compliments Ice Queen on her story before deflecting an ice beam that freezes the queen. Cake puts a flapjack face on top of Ice Queen's actual face and leave.
After Ice King finishes his story, he asks Gunter what he thinks the themes of the stories were. When Gunter guesses wrong, Ice King informs the penguins that it was about tables. The breakfast table where Cake served Fionna flapjacks, the Periodic Table for Gumball, the table of contents Flame Prince burned, and the table spoon Marshall Lee held. The Ice King doesn't know the table theme for Ice Queen's story, so he avoids explaining that story and almost exclaims that he'll call those short stories "gray-[bles]" but changes his mind to call them "Tables." While Ice King goes on a tangent about his new story structure, an out of shape Cuber turns off his T.V. and sadly says that he'll never be able to look at tables the same way again.
- Prince Gumball
- Butterscotch Butler
- Marshall Lee
- Lumpy Space Prince
- Flame Prince
- Turtle Prince
- Ice Queen
- Ice president
Mentioned and pictured
- This episode marks the first speaking roles of Flame Prince and Turtle Prince.
- This also marks Ice Queen's return after her absence from the previous two Fionna and Cake episodes.
- This is the third gender-swapped episode in which Finn and Jake do not appear nor are mentioned. The first was "Bad Little Boy" and the second was "The Prince Who Wanted Everything."
- Cake is shown making pancakes, which she calls "flapjacks," which is another name for pancakes. By coincidence, her voice actor, Roz Ryan, voiced the character Bubbie the Whale on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, which featured a protagonist named Flapjack.
- Several of the candy elements in Gumball's book are references to real-world confections, e.g. Jujubes, Pixy Stix, Maltesers, Tootsie Rolls, and Everlasting Gobstoppers, the latter originating from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (art imitating life, imitating art).
- The image of Gumball's Dream resembles the 1781 oil painting The Nightmare by artist Henry Fuseli.
- The image of Gumball's Ambitions resemble the Faravahar, one of the best-known symbols of the religion Zoroastrianism.
- The game that Prince Gumball plays with Butterscotch Butler initially resembles the Chinese strategy board game "Go," but it would seem that game has some parallels to checkers as well because Butterscotch Butler starts jumping pieces and says "king me" when she gets to the other side of the board.
- "Diary of a Youth" as seen in the library, is most likely a reference to "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank.
- The Ice Queen's story may be a reference to Cuil Theory, as the nested stories are each an abstraction from reality.
- When Cake throws the flapjack onto Ice Queen, she says she will call it a "Portrait of the Author" most likely referencing "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce.
- This is the fourth episode in the Fionna & Cake saga, following Season 3's "Fionna and Cake," Season 5's "Bad Little Boy," and Season 6's "The Prince Who Wanted Everything."
- When Butterscotch Butler mentions Gumball's "regrets", a clep of Marshall Lee is shown, referring to Bubblegum's regrets of leaving Marceline, as revealed in "Varmints".
- Ice King refers to Lumpy Space Prince as "purple thing," paralleling Cuber calling Lumpy Space Princess "other thing" from "Five Short Graybles."
- Ice King also acts similarly to Cuber by presenting five short stories with an apparent theme.
- This episode contains a scene in which Gumball is looking at the "Periodic Table of Candy Elements." One of the elements is named "Everlastinium," which could be the key that allows Bubblegum and Gumball to live forever.
- The 5th "Table" actually does reference a table like the other four. When Fiona and Ice Queen battle, Ice Queen says "we'll table this for later"
- The episode carries an additional hidden theme of the royal flush, the highest ranking hand in poker. Each story mentions a single card in the hand.
- Fionna compliments Cake's cooking, saying, "You're an ace in the kitchen".
- Butterscotch Butler tells Prince Gumball to "King" her during their boardgame.
- Fionna tells Cake that they still have ten minutes until the library closes.
- While running from Marshall Lee, Lumpy Space Prince pretends his name is "Jack".
- In the final story, Fionna says, "Oh, hey Ice Queen".
- The episode may have an additional hidden theme of stories/books being misused or abused. Cake can't determine the proper order of the flapjack story; Gumball's diary is read; books get burned in the library; Marshall tricks LSP using a story; and fanfic characters write their own fanfic (fanfic itself can be seen as a warping or misuse of a "canon"/traditional storyline.)
- Flame Prince is credited as "Flame Princess." In addition, Butterscotch Butler is credited as "Buttersotch Butler."
- `When Fiona takes a bite out of her flapjack, it appears behind her head.