Steven Universe: Story for Steven
April 9, 2015 4:28 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Greg tells Steven the story when he first met Rose Quartz.
posted by DirtyOldTown (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We got our first glimpse of the Gems before Steven was born. Their designs were subtly different; Amethyst has shorter hair, and seems to be a bit smaller generally, Pearl has floofy things off the shoulders and baggy socks, and Garnet has an S logo instead of a star. Pearl referring to Greg as an it was a little concerning, as was Rose saying Greg's life was short and he had dreams, implying that she maybe didn't. And of course the fence around the Temple (with the charming little please beneath the Keep Out sign) confirms that the fence Pearl was talking about in Full Disclosure wasn't the cliff fence put up in An Indirect Kiss but a different one. And Rose has a floaty power, cool!

Amethyst: "Hey play something music man!" Garnet (summoning gauntlet): "Better make it good."

This is also the first time we've seen Steven's eye-star thing on Rose. Greg's done it too, but those have been it. Speaking of stars, it's interesting to see that the yellow star symbol on Steven's shirt was originally Greg's thing, and the Gems don't have their star iconography, although, notably, the five-pointed star on the temple door was already in place.

Garnet comes back with two bubbled gems, implying they were at their corrupted gem collecting missions then.

The ominous appearance of Marty and Vidalia (who seems to be a Beach City local) is possibly even more disturbing. Steven Universe doesn't introduce characters unless they turn out to be important, and Marty is, in his way, as unsettling an appearance as Jasper's -- neither character has given us much to redeem them by.

Vidalia seems to be another element in the unknown parentage of Onion and Sour Cream. Could he be Sour Cream's father?

Greg: "It's a big show in a big city... and I didn't drop out of community college for nothing!"

And we get the name of a new place: Empire City! So far that's Beach City, Charm City (a real-world nickname for Baltimore, it seems), Empire City (New York?) and Ocean Town ("Too soon!").
posted by JHarris at 7:37 PM on April 9, 2015

There's a sign visible as Greg drives back into town: "Elect BUCK DEWEY for mayor." Piecen' it together, oh yeah.
posted by JHarris at 7:42 PM on April 9, 2015

Vidalia seems to be another element in the unknown parentage of Onion and Sour Cream. Could he be Sour Cream's father?

Wait, wasn't Vidalia a she?

Greg has a thing for Really Tall Women, ha. "How big was she?" "About eight feet tall, with huge hair." "You want one large woman, when you could have lots of smaller women!"

Young Greg: surprisingly hot.
posted by emjaybee at 7:51 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also I assume Amythest is just a kid here, thus smaller, and I think they are telling us that she loved Greg's hair so much she modeled her own on it.
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 PM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yes, Vidalia was female. By "he" I mean Marty. Or maybe I got my pronouns flipped.

Also, someone noticed, Garnet's gauntlet does have the star emblem on it.
posted by JHarris at 8:59 PM on April 9, 2015

So I think Vidalia must be Onion & Sour Cream's mom (if, indeed, Onion did not spring fully formed from the fears of man) & Marty knocked her up with Sour Cream before disappearing to wherever evil people go. Yellowtail, a kind local fisherman, perhaps became appealing to Vidalia after she got over her rebellious phase and had a kid. Is she still around, though?

I loved when young Greg declared that women were people. Aww yiss, feminist from the getgo.

I also enjoyed Pearl's legwarmers, and that Rose is so tall that she made Garnet and everyone else seem shorter than they actually were - I don't think anybody really grew much, it's just a matter of comparison to Rose.

Ultimately in terms of worldbuilding this episode is interesting because it shows Greg is not a Beach City native. For some reason I figured he must have been one, but it makes more sense that he was transient and decided to stay for love. Although, we've had references to Greg's parents, so I feel like he's probably not from too far away, ultimately.

Will Marty come back? What I'm hoping for is that he went on to work with some big band that will tour through Beach City and there will be a battle of the bands between them and Steven + Gems + Greg.
posted by Mizu at 10:41 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

We know that Greg had an uncle and aunt who lived nearby. There's probably a lot of backstory there as well.
posted by JHarris at 11:22 PM on April 9, 2015

I think what I love about Greg (and by extension Steven) is that they are both so ordinary looking. Pudgy, balding (presumably Steven will have the same issues someday), not geniuses, not superstrong. They do not look like superheroes or supervillains (as for example Garnet and Jasper do). Steven will grow up, but probably look a lot like Greg (at least if you go by the episode where he aged by accident). He won't be a ripped or superintelligent hero. But he is clearly destined to be a hero nonetheless.

But then, Rose didn't look like a warrior either. She looked like the ultimate mom, or your favorite aunt or teacher. But she possessed great power.
posted by emjaybee at 8:07 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised that everyone is immediately assuming Marty is related to Sour Cream and not Lars. Marty reminded me a lot of Lars, and "I never knew my dad" could be a root of some of Lars' anger.
posted by sleeping bear at 2:06 PM on April 11, 2015

The connection to Sour Cream is largely because of Vidalia - it's a type of onion.

What confuses me is how the Gems look super young here, when they've been on the planet for 5000ish years (at least Pearl and Garnet). How do they look like teens, unless Greg is actually a lot older than he looks?
posted by divabat at 1:16 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, nobody said Greg was a reliable narrator. I don't doubt Rose was that ethereal and gorgeous but maybe Greg wasn't quite such a cutey patoots.
posted by Mizu at 4:31 AM on April 12, 2015

If you buy that Vidalia + Marty = Sour Cream then you have a reliable timeline. Sour Cream is what, 17? So these events can't have happened longer ago than 17 years plus 9 months. Which gives time for a 5-year relationship before Steven is born (he's 12, right?). Given Greg's hair loss as of the video Rose left for Steven (vs. when they met), that seems plausible.

I like the idea of Greg being a semi-immortal being and all, but it's not really necessary to the story so far.

As to why the Gems looked younger, I have no idea. Might just be that they acted very differently when Rose was around.
posted by emjaybee at 10:32 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Young Greg: surprisingly hot.

Yes! He's like a not-horrible-person Scott Pilgrim with nice hair!

I think Greg is my favorite character; he is a bit of a mess, but he's genuinely talented and kind hearted. It's obvious where Steven's compassion and schmaltz come from. So, it was nice to see an episode where Greg is totally together at the top of his game.

I am a bit disappointed at how little of Greg and Rose's relationship was covered and how fast it moved; I wasn't expecting the episode to literally be just how they met. I'm waiting for the episode that will be the That Scene From Up of the series.

Also, this artist has been doing some Grownup Stevens and I kinda love 'em.
posted by byanyothername at 8:13 PM on April 12, 2015 [5 favorites]

emjaybee: "As to why the Gems looked younger, I have no idea."

It was the 80s, you'd have to have been alive back then to understand the fashions.
posted by pwnguin at 10:12 PM on April 12, 2015

**gasps at byanyothername's links** if I could do star-eyes like Steven, I would. I love Giant Sweet Hippy Dude Steven!
posted by emjaybee at 10:38 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Another fantastic song this week. I still think “Full Disclosure” is my favorite, but “Like A Comet” is right up there in all it's 1987 glory.

P.S. In the course of finding a video link, I ran across the Pearl Gem channel with really nifty lyric videos for many of the SU songs.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:32 PM on April 12, 2015

Now that the Lore Sjoberg/Brunching Shuttlecocks Pt. 1 megapost is out of the way, I can devote more attention to the Steven Universe megapost I've got in progress.
posted by JHarris at 12:49 AM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd put Greg as early to mid 20's in this, which assuming Sour Cream is the result of Marty's hijinks puts him somewhere in his 40s at the show's present. This does seem like a reasonable amount of time. Steven being around 11-12 means Rose and Greg were together for the better part of a decade. The cover art of Let me Drive My Van (Into Your Heart) shows him with a soul patch. Seems like he's easing into his goattee while figuring out what to do with himself before settling on the car wash.

Presumably Vidalia later got with Yellowtail to produce Onion before vanishing altogether. Maybe Marty showed up to whisk her away? Does Sour Cream live in whatever home Yellowtail maintains ashore?

The Crystal Gems seem younger in this, which is odd since they're thousands of years old. Amethyst especially seems young, which is strange because although she wasn't there to take part in the battle for earth she (presumably) existed in the Kindergarten at that time, and Amethyst was in fact present for the construction of the temple, since she is part of the fusion depicted on its exterior. Notably this means the temple and the crystal gems as a team exist post-rebellion. Perhaps after the battle ended with Rose only able to save Pearl and Garnet, they went to ensure the Kindergarten was shut down and found Amethyst. Anyway, I like all three of their looks in this one. Interesting to note that Rose's appearance seems unchanged since before the rebellion. Presumably she's never had to retreat into her gem.

I'm kind of surprised there's no indication that Greg has any history with Beach City prior to his concert there. Seems like he's from Delmarva, but not Beach City in particular. Just touring around his home area before heading to Empire City to make it big.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:21 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Why would a 40 year old be hanging out with a bunch of teenagers?
posted by divabat at 2:37 PM on April 15, 2015

In Laser Light Cannon, Greg tells Steven he used to tour the whole country. We do know that Greg has some roots in the area though: his aunt and uncle's barn is in easy travel distance of Beach City. Presumably his uncle's mansion (the deed to which is mentioned in Maximum Capacity) is nearby too.

I wonder about the whereabouts of that deed. For some reason I'm given to wonder what's in that chest in Lion's mane....
posted by JHarris at 4:55 PM on April 15, 2015

Well, to be fair Greg also failed to mention his asshole manager until now, so I wouldn't be surprised if he embellished his rockstar career prior to finally meeting the giant alien woman of his dreams.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:44 PM on April 15, 2015

Just as a side note, when this and the UG episode turned up on Amazon, it was listed as "Season 3" so apparently Amazon's conception of seasons has nothing to do with the show's actual seasons? I don't know. Could just be that after a given number of episodes, they start a new "season" and go from there so that you don't get too much for your $20.00 purchase of a season.
posted by emjaybee at 10:51 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's another fun fact: This video breaks down all the forms Pearl cycles through in Steven the Sword Fighter, and attributes two to "promotional artwork" However one of them is very clearly her 80's form, complete with shoulder-cape and legwarmers. I was hoping the other form was from their shark-punching painting but I get the feeling that the painting doesn't reflect what they actually looked like at the time, mainly because this is the only instance where Rose Quartz is depicted in anything other than her white dress.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:51 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Could just be that after a given number of episodes, they start a new "season" and go from there so that you don't get too much for your $20.00 purchase of a season.

It seems like that's what they've been doing with Cartoon Network shows once they made the season passes only be lump payments.
posted by drezdn at 3:18 PM on May 10, 2015

This is also the first time we've seen Steven's eye-star thing on Rose. Greg's done it too, but those have been it.

Not quite. Lars does a 5-point star eye once, too. I had to stop and freeze frame to be sure, but he does. (Let me figure out which episode it's in. He and Sadie are standing outside the front of Big Donut.)
posted by ocherdraco at 10:03 AM on May 24, 2015

I found it. Lars has the 5-point star eyes in Ocean Gem, when he says "Babe City, here we come!" It's not super clear in that gif, but it's clear if you're watching it on a relatively large screen.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:27 AM on May 24, 2015

My favorite part of this episode was Pearl's jealous "I can sing too!" and subsequent blush. I will take this as confirmation of the very heavily implied crush she had on Rose in the episode Rose's Scabbard.

Also, poor Pearl, she is a ball of anxiety and insecurity. :(
posted by Librarypt at 5:54 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Greg's song Destiny, sung from the temple's warp pad, has some similarities with Pearl's Strong in the Real Way. Not necessarily an intuitive thematic pairing, but still a nice musical reference!
posted by duffell at 12:09 PM on August 31, 2017

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