Steven Universe: Maximum Capacity
February 27, 2015 10:18 AM - Season 1, Episode 43 - Subscribe

Greg and Amethyst end up binge-watching their favorite old sitcom Li'l Butler instead of cleaning out Greg's storage locker.
posted by Small Dollar (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was an unexpectedly adult episode, in the sense that I actually cringed and pulled back when little Steven got that painful look at what adults are capable of doing to each other, when they're hurting and feeling rejected. It was a very real-feeling episode. That look on his face....

On the happier side, Li'l Butler is a little piece of joy. Give it up for Dirtbike the Dog! In the background of one of the scenes you can hear a male voice say "Well I never!" and then a female voice say "Well I always!" SU's pop culture parodies are terrific.

I have a full geeklist made for this episode already, but am going to hold off on posting it for a little while as I'm trying to be more sensitive on posting big blocks of text too early in threads. Suffice to say, there's a lot to notice in this episode....
posted by JHarris at 10:54 AM on February 27, 2015

Between this and The Test Steven is getting to see a lot about how the adults in his life don't have everything figured out. And I know it's probably hard for Amethyst being the youngest gem and losing what was probably an important mother figure in Rose but that was still a jerk move, especially since it was over Greg trying to be a good father for Steven.
posted by Peccable at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

JHarris: “Suffice to say, there's a lot to notice in this episode...”
Indeed there was, even though most of it had to be greeked. I do wonder if kids today know what book was on top just from the cover illustration? Do they still use that cover?

Anyway, what I took away most from the episode was the fact that Greg and Amethyst apparently got through losing Rose Quartz by sitting and binge watching Li'l Butler together. Steven said, apparently directly to me, and to any of y'all who might have found yourselves in a similar situation, that things like that don't actually help you get past anything. It just puts it off for another day.

Then again, sometimes that's the best you can do.

P.S. Everyday, y'all. Every. Goddamned. Day.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:14 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I wonder if Greg was into saucy books about big alien ladies romancing human dudes before he met Rose.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:17 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

The book ob1quixote is referring to is Lord of the Flies, which is just about the last thing I'd expect to find references to in Steven Universe. I just had a look on the shelves of the bookstore I'm typing this from and don't see any versions of that cover, unfortunately.

And yes, the cover of "Passions of Xanxor" makes it look a lot like a male version of a romance novel. Do they publish things like that in real life? Note, the Newsarama "interview" with Steven, Greg and Pearl contains a similar joke, but instead of a fictional novel that Greg says Steven can have later it's a collection of Heavy Metal!
posted by JHarris at 4:55 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, I meant Lord of the Flies, specifically the Perigee 1980 cover illustration by Barron Storey. I was being needlessly cryptic. Apologies.

It looks like The Guardian ran a cover art competition for a centennial educational edition a few years back. That doesn't appear to be what's on the cover of the U.S. edition, though.

I also caught UNIX in a Nutshell, greeked, of course, on the floor at some point.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:05 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes! These are things I noted in the geeklist, which I'll probably put up in a day or two. That Greg would have an O'Reilly book -- it feels like a reference shouted out specifically to me. Was he a sysadmin earlier in life? Maybe a developer?

I really can't wait for Story For Steven, an upcoming episode that reveals how Greg and Rose met.
posted by JHarris at 6:24 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I initially misheard Amethyst's statement during their confrontation and thought it was GREG who was always there for Amethyst until Rose entered the scene, which played hell with my perception of the past relationships.

It's a little interesting to think about, since if I had to pick any of the Crystal Gems to have a relationship with a human (including Rose, who seems more like a fertility goddess than a normal woman) it'd be Amethyst. After all, why would her hedonistic appetites be limited to food? Other than this is a cartoon for children.

Anyway, this is just another example that everyone who knew Rose Quartz feels very strongly about her decision to bring Steven into existence, and most would probably resent that decision if it wasn't for the incredible amount of respect she commanded. As is, it's pretty clear the Crystal Gems are somewhere on the scale of "confused, but optimistic" and hope that Steven will become an even greater ally and protector to humanity than Rose was. So far, this optimism seems justified.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:59 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Greg strikes me as the kind of person who decides to learn something, buys a book, and then loses interest after a short time. I'm guessing he never got far with the Onix book.
posted by isthmus at 9:24 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

"I like to think of myself as the kind of person who would administer Onix systems... eventually."
posted by JHarris at 8:23 PM on February 28, 2015 [7 favorites]

Warning to everyone: the word is that next week they're going into overdrive and airing a full week of new episodes, including the season one ending two-parter ahead of time, actually leaving two episodes of the first season unaired! If you were expecting the remaining nine episodes of season one to roll out at a leisurely place, well, prepare for maximum lore bombing heart tearing action!

I had known they were far into producing season two behind the scenes, but wow. They must have a gigantic backlog of episodes. The Crewniverse rocks.
posted by JHarris at 12:43 PM on March 3, 2015

Well, they did this for Adventure Time a couple months back, so there's precedent. Considering Cartoon Network only airs new episodes of things I care about one day a week, this isn't too unreasonable.
posted by Small Dollar at 4:32 PM on March 3, 2015

It's not a bad thing at all, you misunderstand. I commented entirely because I was afraid you guys wouldn't notice otherwise, and would miss them. I hope you're ready to keep up the pace there, Small Dollar....
posted by JHarris at 6:37 PM on March 3, 2015

I finally got home from enormous extended family drama to watch an episode of SU about extended family drama. Irony, because I was all "thank god I'm home, I just want to binge watch tv and forget all about this crap for a little while" AND LO, STEVEN SAID UNTO ME: "TV BINGE WATCHING SOLVES NOTHING AND CAUSES THEE TO HARM THINE LOVED ONES, IF THOU ART LUCKY ENOUGH TO STILL HAVE THEM."
posted by Mizu at 8:50 AM on March 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

Greg!Amethyst's tan. All of the color work on Amethyst's shapeshifts in the light of the TV. The reflection in the tilted picture frame. "COOL DAD!" This show is so gorgeous.

Is Steven a little taller in this episode though? Maybe it's the sweater.
posted by books for weapons at 11:37 PM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Am I the only one who picked up a sexual undertone between Greg and Amethyst?

"Don't worry Greg, I've seen your junk before."
posted by signal at 3:40 AM on March 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

I think hanging out with Greg Universe, you will probably see his junk. Not in a sexual way, but something like he decided to do all his laundry at once and thought nobody was awake.
posted by RobotHero at 6:17 PM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

Seeing Amethyst in flashbacks vs Amethyst today...
She has young!Greg's hair.
She added rips on her "jeans" like Greg's before finally turning them into stars.
She has a hoarding problem, even worse than Greg's. In fact, she takes all of the stuff designated as "junk" from the clean-up effort and puts it in her room.

She was basically a feral child in the kindergarten, the gems (except for Rose) weren't great at empathy when they found her. Obviously Amethyst depended upon Greg when Rose left. She has a really strong connection to him.
posted by domo at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

> "Am I the only one who picked up a sexual undertone between Greg and Amethyst?"

No, you weren't. This episode was totally about the fling Greg and Amethyst had during their grief over Rose's disappearance, which ended on a sour note and led to them not hanging out so much anymore. I'm astonished anyone can read this episode any other way, although I know that many do.

For me, that also brings up the question of exactly when Amethyst was taking Rose's form. My assumption is that it was while they were, you know. Which eventually led to Greg realizing the whole thing was toxic and calling it off. Which fits into the episode's theme of getting beyond the past. Rose is gone and "Watching Li'l Butler" with Amethyst-in-the-form-of-Rose wasn't going to make things better. It was only going to keep them trapped in mourning.
posted by kyrademon at 3:37 AM on July 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’m literally years late to the party here, but the moment I officially fell in love with how smart this show is was when I realized in the shower, a day later, that “I’ve seen your junk before” wasn’t just meant as a (very good) it’ll-go-over-kids’-heads joke, but also as actual foreshadowing that they probably did actually have a relationship after all.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:22 PM on September 29, 2018

I’m even years later to the party and couldn’t help but notice that the Lil’ Butler theme sounds like the Facts of Life intro
posted by dr_dank at 8:59 AM on November 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Welcome dr_dank! If you want to geek out about Steven Universe I'm always down for that.
posted by JHarris at 10:59 AM on November 19, 2020

Thanks, JHarris. Slowing making my way through the series for the first time with my oldest. Nice break from watching the new MST3K Netflix era episodes on repeat.
posted by dr_dank at 5:36 PM on November 20, 2020

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