The stop-motion “Bad Jubies” episode of Adventure Time creator Kirsten Lepore’s show I Am Groot features a Baby Groot who follows his curiosity through a series of hilarious micro-adventures. As an animated spinoff of the MCU, these silly, mischievous bits are lovely, but they also have a peculiarly dark sense of humour because of Groot’s own temper and propensity for being blunt.
No matter how pointless the project may be, for those who care about canon, the events take place between Guardians Vols. 1 and 2, focusing on Groot’s regeneration from sapling form and mostly portraying the tiny hero as he was shown in Vol. 2. He is tenacious, but he lacks the intimidating height to intimidate. He’s foolish, yet he’s still ready to start a fight if he feels wronged.
In this episode, Vin Diesel returns to voice the most absurd and boisterous iteration of Groot (along with one other Guardians actor). There is an elegance to these little episodes of I Am Groot, a warped beauty resulting (heh!) from Groot’s oddity and occasionally lack of conscience, despite how few there are and how swiftly they pass. Almost every story ends with a kind of “twist,” when Groot’s wild card pettiness triumphs.
These Groot cartoons aren’t particularly edgy, but they are made of a different material than, for instance, the Baymax! cartoons that launched in June and had a soft lead and a soft heart. Groot is a lovely rebel who makes it a point to find excitement and/or joy in the minutiae of cosmic life. Groot, like a restless youngster, yearns to find entertainment whether he is on the Elector or exploring a woody alien land. In this case, it is the only motivating factor. That and the want to show his disapproval, I suppose.
You’ll witness Groot transform into an imp with mud, surf on some soap, fight a bonsai, compete in a dance-off, and otherwise sneak around. Groot’s prickliness is a blessing in this scenario because brats are rarely shown in these kinds of flicks. Although he does learn and develop, there is always a core temperamental element at play that gives these incidents a little bit of wiggle room and allows for a little bit of the unexpected.
I Am Groot is naive and cunning, acknowledging its superfluous existence and lending support to Baby Groot’s own impulsive, disorderly actions. Since these five shorts are so light and quick they hardly deserve their assigned thumbnail in the Disney+ catalog, it can be difficult to distinguish I Am Groot from its “content” -ness at times. However, the stories saddle up to the most monstrous Guardian in his most vulnerable and vehement state.