Steven Universe: Lars and the Cool Kids   Rewatch 
January 8, 2015 11:41 PM - Season 1, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Steven helps surly Lars of Big Donut get in with the cool kids of Beach City, but they end up entangled in the legacy of Steven's mother, Rose Quartz.

Written and storyboarded by Lamar Abrams and Matt Braly.
posted by JHarris (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
  • "Steven's here!"
  • Several times during the episodes we've seen so far, we get glimpses of Rose's plant-related powers. (Another one in which they feature is 1-24: An Indirect Kiss, and of course there's the Watermelon Stevens.) The show presents it as both something to wonder over and be disturbed by; both views are shown off here.
  • Pearl has a move that lets her pull stored objects out of her gem, in this case a spool of police tape. It seems oddly Japanese in influence. Steven's reaction to it: "This is why I get up in the morning!" She does it again in 1-25: Mirror Gem!
  • On the tape, Pearl: "Isn't this great? This way we don't even have to use magic! Humans will see this and just walk away!" Pearl likes practical solutions; remember her excitement when she saw Steven brought a raft in Cheeseburger Backpack? She's so happy with her idea that she's singing here.
  • And so we come back to Lars. Beyond Steven and his guardians, the closest we have to primary characters are Greg (of course), Sadie and Lars. (Of them all, Greg's the only one who wasn't in the pilot.) This episode is the first real indication that Lars isn't the jerk he seems at first, that his sarcastic facade hides deep insecurity. Even when he's ridiculing Steven, it's difficult to hate Lars too much. Sometimes Steven is pretty goofy, and Lars is the character who recognizes that best.
  • This episode is our first introduction to the "cook kids" in town. They are Jenny (we'll see her again in Beach Party), the blonde-haired Sour Cream (Word Of God has said he's Onion's brother), and the mayor's son, Buck Dewey, in his sunglasses.
  • Sour Cream is the only member we've seen of his family who speaks intelligible English.
  • Steven is absolutely immune, it seems, to self-consciousness. He shows no indication of noticing how embarrassed Lars is to introduce himself to the other kids.
  • Here's a question. We find out later that Steven doesn't go to school, but Connie does. Do Sadie and Lars? We know that Sadie's mother sometimes makes lunches for her. We know that Sadie has been working at Big Donut for two years. Meaning she pretty much has to be at least 18 now, maybe she's graduated, or dropped out? Sadie and Lars seem to be friends, maybe from school, and anyway seem like they're meant to be about the same age. So little of school has played a role in the show so far, it's almost weird.
  • A trope dating back decades shows "cool kids" as shallow and self-absorbed. These three, well, it doesn't seem as simple as that. There's some of it, sure, but mostly they seem pretty down with Steven and his direct honesty and kindness.
  • Jenny can drive. Surprisingly few characters drive in Steven Universe. Gary and a bodyguard for Mayor Dewey are the others we've seen to date.
  • "Where'd you get that rad shirt, Steven?" "I have no idea where any of my clothes come from." Remember the episode title cards, with the washer, dryer and clothesline held way up by the Gem Temple statue? I'll have more to say about that when we get to Beach Party....
  • Sour Cream: "Hey man, there's nothing lame about seat belt safety!" Is this all part of that "new earnestness" we've heard about?
  • Also from Sour Cream, on the arcade: "Man, I beat all the "g"s in there like three million times." Remember, in arcade mania, Sour Cream is in the establishing shot of the interior of the arcade. Yeah, that's what I'm here for, showing you aaall the ultra important stuff. "Honestly though, I'm just exaggerating to sound cool."
  • More Mayor Dewey, here kissing a very embarrassed-looking baby.
  • You have to feel for Lars here. He tries everything to fit in with the cool kids, and none of it works. It's like they're being willfully antagonistic to him.
  • When they get to Dead Man's Mouth and it turns out to be the same place the Gems marked off at the beginning of the episode, Steven is unusually circumspect in what he says to keep them away. Usually Steven seems to take every opportunity to tell people who the Crystal Gems are and how they protect humanity and how he's one of them etc. He doesn't here. Of course, if he did tell them, they'd probably want to look inside even more.
  • The way the moss grows over the cool kids... yeah, that's some nightmare fuel. One of the many great things about Steven Universe is, when things get weird and creepy, the show isn't afraid to play those aspects up. Gem magic can be bizarre, dangerous and frightening, and it doesn't let us forget that.
  • Lars shouting at Steven about his weird mom provokes the first outburst of anger we've ever seen from Steven, and the first (and so far only) time he's called Lars a jerk.
  • Driving shenanigans with Steven and Lars!
  • "Steven?" "What?" "... THIS SUCKS!"
  • The moss blooms has what look like little gemstones in the middle of them. They're referred to in Keep Beach City Weird.
  • Let's recap the previous episodes: Steven gets a magic pet lion, Garnet becomes hypnotized by an arcade game, Steven discovers Gems can fuse their essences together, and Steven discover that Gems don't age. That's nice, but Beach City is nice too. Several Beach City episodes are in the next set, and we get to hang out with Lars some more. I'd like to see at some point a "22 Short Films About Beach City" episode, where Steven and the Gems take a back seat to the human cast.

posted by JHarris at 11:49 PM on January 8, 2015

Small Dollar is probably going to post yesterday's new episode, which is very ominous....
posted by JHarris at 11:52 PM on January 8, 2015

The peril in this is almost identical to one of the stories in a Tales from the Crypt-style anthology film from the 80s. Teenagers go in a no swimming lake, are overtaken by moss-like substance.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:39 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Heh. When the kids are in a heap on the hill, all covered with moss, you can still make out the outline of Buck's shades.
posted by duffell at 8:13 AM on August 30, 2017

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