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Lemongrab, publicly known as the Earl of Lemongrab, is a major antagonist in the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. He serves as a major antagonist in seasons 3 and 4 and the main antagonist of season 5, before becoming an anti-hero in seasons 6-9.
The Earl is one of the few overtly humanoid candy people.
However, his behind sticks out noticeably and the profile of his body resembles a jelly bean. His behind consists of one large, round butt cheek. Despite being far more humanoid than the average candy person, he has no toes, nipples, or belly button. He often has lines around his eyes when stressed, and visible frown lines when particularly upset. The Earl wears a dark-gray bodysuit, black boots, a green belt with a lemon-shaped buckle and carries a sword in a brown scabbard. The sword is later revealed to be a "sound sword". For bed, he wears a light gray one-piece with snaps on the butt. He sometimes uses a pair of half-moon spectacles to read. His preferred choice of underpants is a pair of light-grey briefs with three buttons on the front. In "Too Old", he has become obese and wears a full black bodysuit with a frilly collar and wristbands.
The Earl was created in Princess Bubblegum's laboratory. Upon being created, Lemongrab screamed hysterically and violently flapped his arms, causing the Princess to realize that the experiment had gone wrong.
He lived an extremely sheltered, and presumably wealthy, life ever since. He was raised by servants and became spoiled and ignorant due to having everything he wanted handed to him without a connection to its source. In the storyboards, it was shown that the Candy People said things like "Who's that again?" when he came to Princess Bubblegum's castle, indicating that he had been isolated from the rest of the people of Candy Kingdom.
After being informed that Princess Bubblegum was under eighteen, the Earl traveled to the Candy Castle on his Lemon Camel and immediately began giving orders and threatening the Candy People with time in the dungeon. Princess Bubblegum conceded his right to the throne because, as she claimed, he was currently older than her. As acting ruler, he behaved in the manner that made sense to him: screaming at the candy people and sending them to the dungeon without trial. Finn and the young Princess Bubblegum attempted to force the Earl to leave by playing pranks on him, but he refused to go anywhere. After the pain and embarrassment of the spice prank, he sentenced Finn, Princess Bubblegum and Peppermint Butler to 1,000,000 years in the dungeon. After Princess Bubblegum returned to her correct ruling age, the Earl of Lemongrab was unceremoniously fired and insulted. He rode off on his Lemon Camel, upset and muttering to himself.
In "You Made Me", Lemongrab returns to the Candy Kingdom for two weeks to spy on its residents while they sleep. Princess Bubblegum gets Lemongrab to admit that he does this out of loneliness and a desire to rule over people. Lemongrab then proceeds to have an emotional meltdown in which he wails "You made me! You're my glob!" and rips off his clothes. She sends the Pup Gang - a gang of neighborhood troublemakers - to be his subjects, but they act obnoxiously and insultingly, and Lemongrab becomes increasingly erratic in his behavior. He responds to the insolence of the children by screaming at them and attacking them with his Sound Sword, which renders them unconscious. Lemongrab puts the Pup Gang in his "Reconditioning Room", which electrocutes them. After three days, he comes back to the Candy Kingdom to continue spying on its sleeping residents. When Princess Bubblegum questions him about his new subjects, he responds monotonously "They didn't understand my lemon stylez. I like this way better". Princess Bubblegum tries to coax Lemongrab into being more empathetic towards the Candy People by showing him how to coddle an infant. Lemongrab is incredibly uncomfortable and disturbed by this act of affection for a candy person and ends up poking and slapping Crunchy while screaming "Put you in my oven! That's gross!" He tells Princess Bubblegum that his "lemon heart" tells him to do the things that he does and that, since this is the way she made him, then it must be right. He then proceeds to scream, flap his arms and ride away back to his castle. Princess Bubblegum, Finn and Jake follow Lemongrab back to Castle Lemongrab, where they are locked in his Reconditioning Chamber. Princess Bubblegum attempts to coax Lemongrab into letting the prisoners go, but he snaps, and screams "No more helping! You're the one who made me this way! You're poison!" He attempts to attack his creator with his Sound Sword, but Finn breaks out of the chamber and takes the blast instead, rendering the boy unconscious. Lemongrab is puzzled by this act of heroism and at that moment, Lemongrab 2 wanders into the room. Lemongrab and the Lemongrab Clone make friends very quickly, cheer up, calm down and decide to let the prisoners go. At the end of the episode, they happily bid Princess Bubblegum and the others goodbye and ask them to visit, showing that there are no hard feelings.
The Ice King kidnaps Lemongrab and takes him to the Mystery Dungeon and, in this adventure, the earl meets Tree Trunks, Neptr and Shelby. Lemongrab is angry and anxious from being separated from Lemongrab 2 and being in an unfamiliar place and he nearly dies until Tree Trunks saves him. Lemongrab nearly kills the Ice King on a few occasions and also KO's a giant rat with his fist. He escapes just fine and says good-bye to the others, but then immediately follows it up with "Don't follow me." He returns to Castle Lemongrab to be with Lemongrab 2.
The Lemongrabs find that Princess Bubblegum accidentally left behind the secret formula for creating candy life. Believing that the princess wished for them to "keep making more family", they use all of their candy (a lifetime's supply) to make children for themselves. In the process, the Lemongrabs discover their capacity to love and care for their children, but everyone in Castle Lemongrab almost starved to death. At the end, Princess Bubblegum gives them a minor brain surgery to literally erase their memory of the secret formula from their minds.
Personality and Traits
Lemongrab has a personality which embodies what lemons are: sour, repellent, difficult to handle and overhwleming. It's in his nature to push others away as he is perpetually stuck in a cycle of social self-sabotage due to how insufferable he is. Though he was an antagonist in his first episode appearance, the Earl of Lemongrab is not completely evil, "just completely unadjusted to living", as claimed by Adam Muto on his Formspring. However, Cole Sanchez merely calls him an "off" person who unjustifiably and arbitrarily treats others badly. According to Patrick Seery, he likes order, and he can only properly function in a society in which everybody obeys him and agrees with him. The actions that he takes against people are entirely reasonable in his perspective — he only punishes those who don't adhere to his strict standards of behavior. He at least tolerates those who do. Although he is exceedingly sensitive to his own emotions, Lemongrab is extremely insensitive to other people's feelings up to the point of being unintentionally cruel, harmful, and treacherous. Although this is due to his extreme social awkwardness, he has a knack for making other people miserable, and even afraid. In an unused scene, it was shown that Lemongrab had no qualms about sending a small candy child to the dungeon for an extremely petty and despiteful reason, and terrorizing the youngster up to the point of making the child cry. Most likely, he doesn't realize how toxic he is to other people. Even though he is an exceedingly troubled and pitiful person, he brings a great deal of misery upon himself, by being extremely unkind, rude, obnoxious, and argumentative to everyone around him who even remotely disagrees with him. Although the circumstances of how he came into existence and became a sourpuss are regrettable and depressing at best, a great deal of his unhappiness is self-inflicted due to his steadfast willingness to stay unhappy and impose that unhappiness on others when the opportunity arises.
He seems to suffer from many mental and emotional issues, and overreacts to small problems in the manner of an angry and obstreperous child. He appears to be a bit of a neat-freak, as he is noticeably agitated and cantankerous when he sees that Princess Bubblegum's Castle is "unacceptable" by his standards. He also appears to have haphephobia - a fear of being touched. He screamed and acted alarmed when Finn slapped him on the hand, and he sentenced Peppermint Butler to five extra years dungeon for pulling on the leg of his pants. He is very mean, strict, ruthless, and threatening, to send Candy People to the dungeon without a trial. He became so angry after being pranked by Finn and Princess Bubblegum, that he sentenced candy people to the dungeon without knowing who did it. However, once Peppermint Butler assures him that it was in fact a prank "for laughs", The Earl calms down and begins to laugh. After being punched in the gut by the "little ghost pranksters" and pushed to the ground, the Earl still tried to laugh it off, claiming that he wasn't going anywhere. Although, after eating the spicy solution that Princess Bubblegum put on his food (causing him much humiliation and pain), the Earl becomes as angry as ever and puts her in the dungeon along with Finn and the other candy people. Furthermore, when unsupervised, he not only imprisons, but also tortures candy people in a shock chamber in Castle Lemongrab. He also tends to raise his voice and scream a lot - all but a couple of his lines are screamed. He only smiles twice in the episode; once after being pranked by "the thing", and once after being beaten up by Princess Bubblegum and Finn - though this was in an unused storyboard, he is seen holding a rice cake and grinning to himself, saying, "Jealous of my rice cake, little ghost pranksters?" According to Andy Ristaino, Jesse Moynihan said this storyboard was a reference to Lemongrab liking really bland foods. This can presumably be the reason he was excited about the mashed carrots. He also seems to be fond of the colors green and gray - all of his clothes are gray, and his belt and Lemon Camel's saddle are green.
The Earl of Lemongrab has little to no sense of humor, but he seems to try having one, albeit unsuccessfully. He also tries to rule the kingdom to the best of his ability in a way that makes perfect sense to him. The Earl is not exactly evil - just perpetually confused and unintentionally harmful to his subjects. He is overly sensitive, touchy, high-strung, argumentative, and easily offended, but tries his best and is under the delusion that he is doing the right thing. Andy Ristaino claimed on his Formspring that the Earl's sour temper and perpetually unhappy disposition are due to a combination of his willingness to stay bitter, and circumstances that caused him to be this way. The Earl does not get along with others, and according to Jesse Moynihan, he doesn't have any friends.
The Earl doesn't appear to think logically; he claims to not know where food comes from. More evidence of his lack of thought would be his sentencing everybody in the Candy Kingdom to 1,000,000 years in the dungeon. It most likely didn't occur to him at the time that he would only be in power for five years; only until the princess turned eighteen, as he said. In addition to this, he imprisoned all of the castle staff for seven years (twelve for Peppermint Butler), but immediately released Peppermint Butler once LG realized that he was hungry and couldn't make food for himself. Despite his bossy, nasty, arrogant, and domineering disposition, he often hints to having a kind of helplessness resembling that of a child's. His actions appear to be driven by unspecific anger and indirect malice towards anything or anyone in particular. Despite his negative attributes seemingly outweighing any positive ones he may have, the Earl is shown to be a fairly stubborn, resilient, and headstrong person, which occasionally seems to work in his favor in times of adversity. Despite being despised by everybody else, he stuck to his job until he was required by law to leave - rather than quit and neglect his responsibilities.
According to Jesse Moynihan, on his website, "I don’t know what exactly is going on with him. The two times I've written for his character I've tried to play him as weirdly sympathetic. He does a lot of things wrong, but you can see that he's trying to do what makes sense to him... I wanted the viewer to feel sympathy for him, or at least conflictedt his motivations.". According to Pattick Seery, Lemongrab is under the delusion that he is always right, hence why he hates being corrected or reprimanded for his mistakes, and why he is so quick to irresponsibly blame his life problems on others.
Thankfully when he was resurrected as lemongrab 3, he retained his unique nature but had mellowed out considerably and although he still remained firm and authoritarian, he is now a more compassionate and reasonable leader. He devided Labour out fairly and made sure his subjects where well-rested and properly fed, allowing a healthy and prosperous community to flourish under his pragmatic leadership. His subjects lead happy and prosperous lives without the need for shock collars, and voluntarily worked hard to run the empire. As a more sane and balanced person, Lemongrab's better qualities shined through and he finally had a good social life and was content. He appears to be on better terms with Finn and Jake as he helped them defeat golb.
- Some fans theorize that Lemongrab (as well as the other Lemon-People) are meant to be a parody of Communist Russia.
- The fact that Lemongrab's name resembles the name of the Russian city of Leningrad, supports this theory.