Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, August 5, 2016

SU Recap: Summer of Steven (Week 2)

Well, it looks like Steven is continuing to harvest his new powers, from mind-swapping with other human characters to entering their dreams during their sleep. Obviously, such powers are being developed for a reason and purpose, and we can expect such a reason to be revealed in future episodes, perhaps even later during this Summer of Steven.

Until then, here’s a look at the episodes for the second week of Summer of Steven:

Restaurant Wars

As I mentioned before, one thing I love about this “Summer of Steven” has been the focus on side characters. It’s one of the things I love most about the series as a whole.

And I have to say it was quite entertaining to see the patriarchs of the Fry and Pizza families try to outdo each other by seeing who can better create their rival’s signature food. The best part was obviously seeing the different concoctions they came up with—which I’m sure some fast food place out there is going to try to emulate. (Seriously, I enjoy the macaroni and cheese pizza at CiCi’s. A French fry pizza would not be out of place on their buffet.)

And I can’t be the only one who felt sorry for poor Ronaldo in this episode. Not only did no one believe that he had a girlfriend, but when it was revealed that she was real, she broke up with him due to the others forcing him to pretend to like Kiki. (Well, at least he still has his wheelies!)

Best Quote

Ronaldo: No way! We can't do this because I... have a girlfriend.

Jenny: Where's she at, though?

Peedee: You said what I was thinking.

Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service

First of all, love the name! It’s no surprise that Rebecca Sugar is a Miyazaki fan, since her series has an almost Miyazaki feel to it. (Great! Now I can’t stop thinking of Studio Ghibli creating a Steven Universe movie. Tell me that wouldn’t be awesome!)

The past few episodes have been expanding Steven’s mind powers. First, we see him taking over Lars’ mind. Now we have him entering the dreams of the other human characters like Kiki. It makes you wonder what the series has in store for his new powers.

As for the episode itself, it offers a good lesson that’s often neglected in other series. Often, we’re told that we have to put others before ourselves and never say “no” to anything. Granted, it’s best to be selfless, but there is such a thing as taking things too far; and while refusing to help others is selfish, puts others needs before your own at your own expense can be as bad. It’s great to help others, but it’s also great to respect other people’s boundaries and not take advantage of them. Sometimes, no really means no. (Also, Pizza Jenny is creepiest thing this season!)

Best Quote

Steven: Pizza? For breakfast?

Kiki: It's 3:00 o'clock.

Steven: Oh. More of a late-afternoon lunch.

Monster Reunion

Only a series like Steven Universe can have everyone fall in love with a cross between a lion and an alligator. Don’t lie! If Centipeddle didn’t give you the feels, you simply don’t have a soul.

Seriously, this was a very moving episode. Not only did we get to see Steven reunite with Centipeddle, but we also learn more about her backstory and that of the other corrupted gems. Turns out that she and the other corrupted gems were humanoid like the Crystal Gems, and that something created by the Diamonds turned them into the monstrosities that they are. And they episode offered this exposition in the best way possible: crayon. Crayons always makes stories more interesting!

As light-hearted as the tone of the episode may have been with its crayon exposition, the overall theme was rather dark. Turns out the corrupted gems are more than damaged physically. Whatever Homeworld did though that mysterious blast corrupted them on a mental level. (Almost like PTSD.) While it’s refreshing to see Centipeddle reunite with her loved ones, we’re still left feeling empty knowing that there’s little Steven and the others can do for them.

Of course, considering that it was hinted that the corrupted gems are “mentally broken”, and the past few episodes have been exercising Steven’s new mental powers, it doesn’t take much to put two and two together and figure out how things are going to be fixed.

Best Quote

Steven and Centipeetle: You love chips, and I love chips! We love chips from Chaaaps!

Alone At Sea

Jasper is back! And she’s one a boat. She’s on a boat. Take a good look at her because she’s on a boat. Take a good look at her and the motherf***ing boat! (Sorry, had to make the obvious reference.)

In all seriousness, this was an excellent episode that managed to tackle a serious subject in a very mature manner. Abusive relationships are a heavy subject manner that even adult television shows have trouble handling—and in worst case scenarios, these shows do more harm than good. (Looking at you, Family Guy and your "Screams of Silence" episode!)

So seeing a children’s show such as Steven Universe address the subject of abuse more maturely than most adult shows really proves how children’s shows can be more grown up than most shows for grown-ups.

This episode alone has garnered a lot of discussion on Tumblr, most of which is from abuse victims themselves who claim to have felt a sense of catharsis with this episode and how accurately it managed to portray such relationships.

More often than not, abusive relationships are shown as one person dominating another, when, in most toxic relationships, both parties tend to be mutually abusive, with each other feeding off of the other. In other words, most abusive relationships aren’t as clear-cut black-and-white as portrayed in other shows. There’s usually a lot of gray matter involved with them. (And as someone who lived within a household for 17 years with two parents who hated each other, I can attest to this.)

This is why I love this series so much. Far from being a show for children, it manages to convey a lot of mature subject manner more maturely than most other shows for grown ups. (Again, looking at you, Family Guy!)

Best Quote

Steven: We bought a boat!

Greg: Uh, correction. We rented a boat. I may be rich, but buying a boat would be going a bit overboard.

Greg The Babysitter

Um, am I the only one that was slightly creeped out by baby Sour Cream? I know his deep voice was supposed to come across as funny, but all I could think about was Little Pee-Wee from Bebe’s Kids.

That aside, this was yet another charming episode that revealed the back story of Greg and Rose. We get to learn more about Rose herself and how much she had to learn about humans, despite having spent thousands of years trying to save them, while we also see how Greg managed to develop from a frivolous youth mooching off of his single mother friend (yeah, not cool Greg!) to becoming the responsible adult that he is.

As such, this episode managed to convey yet another important message. Being a grown up is more than simply age. It’s also a state of mind. Even when you reach your 20s or 30s, until you start taking life seriously and take responsibility for yourself, you’ve still yet to reach adult status. (That's a lesson many Tumblr SJWs need to learn!)

Also, am I the only one curious as to how a baby like Sour Cream managed to crawl to the top of a Ferris wheel by himself?

Best Quote

Rose: When a gem is made, it's for a reason. They burst out of the ground already knowing what they're supposed to be, and then... that's what they are. Forever. But you, you're supposed to change. You're never the same even moment to moment -- you're allowed and expected to invent who you are. What an incredible power -- the ability to "grow up."