Two cartoon characters stand in the woods while one whops with his shirt off in "Smiling Friends"
(Adult Swim)

‘Smiling Friends’ Season 2 Ending Is Predictably Unpredictable

I don’t know what needs explaining, gang. You don’t get it? This is the episode where Pim finally turns green, right?. That’s what the story of the Season 2 finale episode “Pim Finally Turns Green” is all about. And snowmen. And Yetis. And existential dread. Wait, what happened again?

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What happened in “Pim Finally Turns Green”?

We begin the episode on the most whimsical sort of days imaginable: The Snow Day. Not a pillow, or a sheet, but a BLANKET of snow has covered the Smiling Friends headquarters and the surrounding neighborhood. Allan spots Charlie and Glep building “the worst Snowman ever” and proceeds to tell them that their disgusting, misshapen snowman looks rotten. Charlie says that was the idea all along, before christening the snowman Rotten.

Pim (who is not yet green) comes out and expresses his admiration for Rotten. Charlie tells Pim he can add something to the snowman, and after Pim places a daffodil on his head, Rotten comes screaming to life. Unlike Frosty the Snowman, Rotten is decidedly NOT a jolly nor happy soul. He is racked with existential dread, questioning the accident of his birth and the weight of his existence in a seemingly unfeeling universe. Yikes. Sounds like the PERFECT Smiling Friends client!

Mr. Boss remarks that the daffodil was pulled out of a pile of radioactive waste, and that Rotten is some sort of mutant abomination. He offers to put Rotten out of his misery, but Pim (still not green) says that Rotten will want to live if he is able to teach the snowman the meaning of life. Mr. Boss acquiesces and blasts off to the Moon while the rest of the gang make up excuses and dip. Rotten is now Pim’s problem.

After playing in the snow for a little while, Rotten sees a sign advertising for the beach. Rotten says he wants to go, but Pim explains that if Rotten goes to the beach, he’ll die. Rotten freaks out, demanding to know why he has to die and lamenting his own mortality. Pim commissions Bill Nye, who just so happens to be passing by in a hot air balloon, to explain to Rotten that death is a natural part of life. Bill Nye does so, in song, before crashing his hot air balloon into a power line and fatally electrocuting himself. Pim is still not green.

After a group brainstorm, Allen suggests that the gang should take Rotten to a snow-covered mountain peak where the little snowman will be able to live forever. They leave him up on a mountaintop, but Rotten is dragged back to Smiling Friends HQ by a frustrated yeti who says Rotten’s antics were terrorizing him and his family. Out of options, the Smiling Friends stuff Rotten in a freezer, where he lives for six months. During those six months, Pim remains his natural color and does not turn green.

That summer, Rotten overhears Pim and friends say that they’re going to the beach. Rotten requests to join, and Pim figures out how. They stick Rotten in an icebox, letting the snowman enjoy the beach while the gang plays volleyball. Seconds after Rotten begins to enjoy life and be rid of his existential dread, his cooler is knocked over by a beachgoer, and he begins to melt into the sand. Pim (who is still not green) is distraught, but Rotten tells him not to worry, that in the end, the snowman lived a happy life. Rotten melts away.

Pim mourns Rotten’s apparent death, but turns to see that Rotten has been reincarnated as the ocean! Hooray! Why? Because after all, Rotten is just conscious water. When Rotten melted, his molecules went into the ocean and he became a bigger, non-frozen body of water! Mr. Boss surfs on Rotten’s waves, and the ghost of Bill Nye appears to profess his undying love for science. Seeing the spectacle, Charlie waxes poetic in a speech about how much he loves his friends, his country, and God.

Pim and Charlie debate whether or not Rotten came back as just a wave or the entire ocean. Rotten appears to provide an answer to that question by swelling a cruise liner and then summoning a massive tsunami towards the beach to drown the beachgoers. Even in the episode’s last moments, Pim has not yet turned green, nor will he ever.

So did the Smiling Friends die in Rotten’s tsunami? Unlikely, considering the series has been renewed for a third season. It’s likely that the devastation will all be undone by the Reset Button that erases all the end-of-episode mischief in a cartoon world. Rotten’s tsunami was just a gag. Everyone’s gonna be fine (probably). As for why Bill Nye came back as a ghost? Simple: he really loves science, in life, and in death.

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.