2/20 | BIPOC minutes
: Rose's Room
January 22, 2015 3:24 AM - Season 1, Episode 19 -
Steven's Gem unlocks the old room of Rose Quartz in the Temple, which appears to grant him anything he wants.
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It's nice to see, sometimes, how
Steven Quartz Universe is, doing goofy things like eating four cans of creamed corn for coupon labels. I hope, as the show's weirdness factor continues to rise, that this aspect doesn't get lost.
Some have remarked in these threads that they enjoy the thought they put into the random consumer products in the show, so I'll start noting them here. Steven is eating Colonel Kernel's Classic Creamed Corn. "It's Creamtastic!" Ugh.
He ate the corn for minigolf coupons. For the four of them. I guess this means there's an affiliated minigolf course in Beach City (in walking distance, I presume). Steven's love for the Gems is really wonderful. But think about this for a moment. In most cartoons, kids don't do stuff like this for the benefit of their parents or guardians. One senses that Steven's relationship with the Gems is subtly different from that. Possibilities: 1. he doesn't just see them as authority figures, but kind of as peers too. Makes sense to a degree, but one could
see him doing this for his Dad. He's just that big-hearted. 2. Maybe he sees the Gems are outsiders in Earth culture and is introducing them to new sights? This angle has been explored by the show a couple of times (most notably in Arcade Mania).
Continuing on this topic. I sometimes talk about a show's
, which is a term I use to describe its compelling aspect, the power it has to invite thought and draw interest. Weirdness is a powerful source of this energy, and Steven's relationship with the Gems, the state of being simultaneously ward-to-guardians and peer-to-peers, is very weird. This is a good episode for exploring this relationship.
Instead of warping in, the Gems enter through the Temple door. Remember, you can tell which room they left by the design of the crack in the door as it opens and closes. This time, they are leaving from Pearl's Room.
Garnet: "A dangerous artifact has appeared in the Northern Hemisphere, we need to go retrieve it." Previously I speculated that warp pad destinations tend to be near to Beach City on Earth, but, while the US is in the Northern Hemisphere, this seems vaguer than that. Are there warp pads world-wide? What would happen if a pad gets taken out when the Gems are far away? Do they take commercial air back to Beach City? How would they get through security without (presumably) passports and identification? Also, the way these artifacts
is concerning. Has this been happening for the thousands of years the Gems have been on Earth? Is something causing Gem ruins and artifacts to begin activating? Is this part of the long-term story arc of the show, or is it just a convenient excise to have the Gems warping off everywhere?
"Look what I brought. I pulled out my Dad's old clubs, and also found a pair of his old gold pants!" NOTE!
These are the same golf clubs I pointed out in Laser Light Cannon, the ones with the rose symbol on them.
Did they actually belong to Rose Quartz? It's amusing to think of Rose, who the series has built up over 37 episodes into being practically a demigoddess (she's got a
for crying out loud), enjoying a round of golf with her boyfriend.
On the pants, S: "They're a little big on me, but you can wear them Garnet!" The other Gems seem amused by this, but stoic Garnet doesn't change expression. Hold the image of those pants for later.
A: "See ya buddy!" P: "We'll bring ya something back!" Steven loves the Gems, and they seem to legitimately love him back. Why? We have reason to believe that familial love is alien to them. Is it just respect for their old leader? Have they come to appreciate Steven for who he is, or have they become endeared to him in some other way? Greg mentioned in the Newsarama interview that they're really
Gems, who try hard to understand humans. The gulf between cultures can be vast at times; that between species originating on different worlds must be much larger. The Crystal Gems have had thousands of years to learn about and appreciate human beings. When we finally start seeing more alien Gems on Earth, how will they react? I greatly hope that outside Gem society isn't used just as a bogeyman threat; I'd love to see some Beach City culture shock go down with them!
Steven: "Well you're not the
ones with a dangerous adventure to tackle!" That brings us to Steven's video game, Golf Quest Mini. I've got a TON of notes on this....
First, evidently Golf Quest Mini is a home version of Golf Quest, a game in the arcade from Arcade Mania. The idea that a home version of an arcade game is a
version of it seems quaint now; that's not been true for a couple of decades now -- unless it's referring to minigolf! Yes, that's got to be it, never mind.
Steven's playing it on his N64. Steven Universe takes particular care to get the details of their Nintendo game consoles right. I have a Nintendo 64 right in front of me here and it's depicted accurately, down to the tiny upturn in the system name on the label on its front (which is the "64" on it).
The cartridge itself isn't the standard gray of N64 carts though, it's yellow. Colored cartridges were used for some special releases. Donkey Kong 64 came in a yellow cart; The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in a golden one. (I still have mine!)
The bag of chips Steven snacks from has a girl's face on it. That face is often used in conjunction with potato chips in Steven Universe, I'm noticing. A similar bag is used to reward the Centipeedle in Monster Buddies, but it actually reads "CHAAAAAPS" or something like that. It would be interesting to track the use of that brand of chips in the show.
The game seems to be a roleplaying kind of thing. Show creator Rebecca Sugar has expressed something of a fondness for these games in interviews; she's said that, if there were a Steven Universe video game, she thinks an RPG would be the most appropriate venue. As someone who thinks about these things more than a little bit, I think that'd be interesting, although possibly spoileriffic. Speaking as a sometimes-game-designer, though, it'd be interesting to take a crack at.
The character's mentor and final boss in Golf Quest Mini are the same guy: Professor Sandtraps! He has a bit of Robotnik/Eggman in his design. The first thing he says? "IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS" Heh. "RECEIVED MYTHRIL PUTTER" What? But everyone knows the RPG item upgrade path is Copper -> Bronze -> Iron -> Steel -> Silver -> Gold -> Mithril -> Diamond -> Magic stuff. He's jumping in at the deep end.
Steven's entered his name as "stevenU".
RANDOM ENCOUNTER: WINDMILL WANTS TO FIGHT! It's a
Windmill at that. I notice that, even though they have no text, the other characters in the game's party have consistent designs. Note however, while the lead character is named "stevenU" in dialog, in combat it seems to be Ace. The others are Lina and Wedge. (That last, in addition to being a golf joke, probably also refers to Square's practice, in the 16-bit era, of using Star Wars names Vicks and Wedge for bit characters.) Will we see more of Golf Quest in later episodes? Or maybe in a Flash game on the Cartoon Network website?
"Oh Windmill, why must we always fight?" The battle system has menus that read ATTACK/DEFEND/MULLIGAN, STROKE/TECH/ITEM and PUTT/CHIP/DRIVE. Why would you drive in a miniput game though?
Steven plays it all night long, which is something most parents ordinarily wouldn't let their kids do. Of course the Gems are out on a mission. This shows us another aspect of the weird relationship between Steven and the Gems:
often, the Gems don't seem to be very good parental figures
. Amethyst is hopeless in this of course, but Garnet and Pearl don't seem to be hugely better. (They do manage to get their act together well enough to punish him in Fusion Cuisine, though.) They're helped in that Steven is rather self-sufficient and doesn't have an evil bone in his body.
The next morning, Steven is at the end. A giant Professor Sandtraps is going down in defeat. He's shirtless (with an anchor tattoo), and considerably bulkier than in the opening. Ace has left Lina and Wedge for a robot and some kind of animal. "SECRET ENDING UNLOCKED" Aw yiss. But then the Gems warp in.... Cosmic aliens know nothing of your Earth vidyagaems.
"Project F.L.O.G.... that's 'Golf' backwards!"
They not only block Steven's view of the ending, but they accidentally break his TV -- again! (How many of those do they go through? I remember three breakings off the top of my head: here, in the first episode, and in Steven the Sword Fighter.) But interestingly, the Gems are just as enthusiastic over the stuff they did and brought back as Steven is over his game. They really want to include the kid, even if he can't go on a specific mission. Their excitement actually seems genuine, like there's something a little childlike about
"That was the secret ending! Now we have to replay the final dungeon all over again!" I feel for the kid.
S: "I just wish I had a place for myself." (His gem glows.) UH-OH, A WILD PREMISE ATTACKS!
This is the first, and so far only, time the Door to Rose's Room has opened. The Star shrinks away and a pink twirl with a bright triangle inset fills the surface. Unlike the other doors, which show physical space behind it, Rose's Room is luminous inside and looks like a flat portal. The Gems tell him not to go in there, but Steven's angry and won't listen. He runs inside. It's Magic Adventure Time! (shink)
The other doors open on a wall (well, Pearl's and I think Garnet's do, I don't think we've seen Amethysts from the inside), but Rose's door isn't hosted on a solid surface. It vanishes into thin air.
So, what is Rose's Room like? It seems to be a brightly-lit pink cloudy space. We know it takes up physical space inside the Crystal Temple (Steven passed through it briefly in Together Breakfast), but it seems to be of indefinite size. It seems to function kind of like Star Trek's Holodeck, a space that can bring fake matter and environments into being.
"So this is my mom's room? She must have liked clouds a lot."
Apparently, Rose's Room has knowledge of Steven's video game somehow, and allows him to watch his ending. It also somehow has enough knowledge of Beach City to reproduce much of it (even if simulating it all causes it to go nuts).
"What next... a tiny floating whale?" It appears. But later it talks, maybe on behalf of the room. This whale appears to be something other than just a creation of the room, but maybe an interface to it. BTW, I heard that the whale has the same voice actor as Rose Quartz in the video tape in Lion 3....
The astral N64 that Steven summons has a Gem star emblem in place of the N64 logo. (It also doesn't have the side air vents.) INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT NOTE OF MAGICAL SUPER-ESSENTIALNESS: The N64 produced by the room has the controller plugged into port 2, not 1.
Steven high-fives the whale when the game appears.
The secret ending, the mystery of project FLOG? Apparently Ace's dad was in cyro-stasis, in his golf outfit and everything. The ending screen says CONGRATULATION!
Okay back to the serious stuff. Matter created by Rose's Room apparently cannot be eaten.
Steven says "Now I have to go out for doughnuts," and a door appears... but we find out later, it's not THE door (even though it uses Rose's opening effect), Steven is still in Rose's Room.
It's dark outside now. Has that much time passed since Steven went in? It seems to be a limitation of Rose's Room; when Steven actually does exit later, it's still daylight.
The degree with which Rose's Room can simulate people seems to depend on how well Steven knows them, and all the characters he meets are people he knows, so maybe it's getting its information from his mind, or his gem somehow.
Inconsistency! Steven runs through the back of Big Donut after fake Sadie and Lars, but doesn't seem to think anything of it. Two episodes later he gets officially introduced to the back room of Big Donut and calls it
the most magical place he's ever seen
. This might have to do with episodes being aired slightly out of order, maybe?
"Hey Onion! Have you seen Lars and Sadie?" Onion replies how he always replies:
THE RETURN OF FRYBO. Steven: "...Peedee?" There's a Keep Beach City Weird flyer in the window of the shop.
We get a look at a few of the rides in Funland, oddly the best look we've gotten so far. There's a carosel, a ferris wheel, and one called Hyper Space.
There's the arcade. It advertises 10 cent games (it did in Arcade Mania too), which seems odd for an arcade after the 70s.
Oddly, Steven runs away from the arcade into a shot... that contains the arcade?
"Connie! I can't believe it's you! When did you get back in town?" I guess she's away during this episode. BTW, an interesting fact about Connie I just recently found out about: every time she's appeared, she's been wearing different clothes. She actually has a decent array of clothes! This is unlike convention in most cartoons, or at least Steven's one-note wardrobe. Anyway, here fake Connie's holding her glow bracelet.
We see various Beach City regulars done in an (even more) cartoony style, with apostrophe eyes. The style is similar to how most characters are drawn from a distance in Steven Universe, but it's weird to see it up close. Among those seen in this style: Mr. Smiley, Mr. Fryman, Sour Cream, Jenny. From more of a distance: Mayor Dewey, Buck Dewey and Jamie the Postman (who hasn't been named on-screen yet). Seen scrolling by as Steven runs: Lars (out of uniform but without his snake T-shirt), Sadie (in uniform, with doughnut bag), and Kiki (facing away). Then Lion, who looks
drawn in that style.
A lot of times, Steven's problems get started, or solved, when he says something aloud, and
something is listening
. Lion seems to have a number of unknown commands, for instance, and Rose's Room also seems to work this way. When he shouts "Could someone please explain this?", he's taken to the fake version of Greg -- although he doesn't really explain anything. He is simulated to much greater fidelity than the rest of Beach City though. Maybe it's also drawing from Rose's memories of him?
When the simulated reality begins to break down, it gives us a cross-section of Greg's van. He has clothes hanging up back there.
Steven bites Garnet to make sure she's real. Amethyst, caught up in the spirit, bites Pearl. Heh heh. BTW, notice: the other Gems didn't appear in the simulated Beach City.
S: "I get it now. I can't always have things how I want." (a few seconds later) "I ALWAYS GET WHAT I WANT!" In that last shot at the minigolf course: Amethyst is eying the hole, Pearl is looking strangely as a windmill, and Garnet is wearing Greg's golf pants.
on January 22, 2015 [
I remember a post on Steven Crewniverse about the "distance models" of the characters around when this episode was released. I think that they took the small versions of the characters with simple designs for the background and blew them up for the characters in Rose's Room.
When Room-Greg's dialog devolves into hilarious word salad, Steven's response ("Dad, you're making even less sense than usual") is one of my favorites.
on January 22, 2015 [
The bag of chips Steven snacks from has a girl's face on it. That face is often used in conjunction with potato chips in Steven Universe
I think it's probably meant to be an allusion to the Utz girl.
Fascinating little article about the history of the Utz mascot and a similar Japanese mascot, Peko-chan.
Knowing Steven Universe they could be "Butz Chaaaps". (I'm about as mature as the intended audience.)
on January 22, 2015 [
Yeah, the chips seem to be a pretty direct callout of the Utz girl.
on May 22, 2015
I love how much detail you've gone into on everything but especially Golf Quest Mini. I do admit to liberally screencapping all the videogames in this series, great stuff so far!
on August 22, 2016 [
I've made it through Restaurant Wars thus far... working my way through the FanFare posts!
I hadn't thought, JHarris, that the room was working from Rose's memory--I assumed it was attempting to reconstruct the town, etc from Steven's memory, and where he didn't have specific memories, maybe filling in the gaps with conjecture. That might explain why the back room of the donut shop isn't anything special (he hasn't seen it yet).
on August 3, 2017
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