Steven Universe: Onion Friend
July 15, 2015 3:37 PM - Season 2, Episode 16 - Subscribe

Steven and Amethyst go on their strangest adventure yet: a visit to Onion's house.
posted by Small Dollar (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by JHarris at 4:31 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Poor, weirded-out Steven.

Also, CALLED IT re: Sour Cream's parentage.
posted by nonasuch at 5:10 PM on July 15, 2015

Seriously, this episode might be top five for me. I mean, Amethyst and Vidalia hanging out! This is the first glimpse we've seen that any of the Gems actually hung out in Beach City. I wouldn't doubt that it was mostly Amethyst considering that Earth is where she was made. And Amethyst hasn't had much to do lately with Pearl and Garnet taking up so many episodes.

The first photo we see, Vidalia's curled A's hair to look half like Rose's! I've wondered in the past if Rose was generally known to Beach City's residents, given her affinity for humans.

Nice little moment from Sour Cream, who continues to be awesome. And Amethyst knows Sour Cream from when he was little!

The photos on the wall of Vidalia's kitchen are also great. Take a look at them! Young Yellowtail, little Sour Cream, baby Onion. That's worldbuilding right there.

Apparently Marty returned to Beach City at some point and hung out with Vidalia for a while. Maybe he decided to try to get back in with Greg? If Amethyst knows who Marty is, then he must have found out about the Gems and why Greg decided to stay. With this, Marty's current whereabouts becomes a mystery.

And then... ONION. Man, how amazing is it that the show contains magic space women with crazy powers but the weirdest thing in it is a little human boy?

Onion has an ad from Suitcase Sam's on his wall!

Vidalia turns out to be so cool, and well-written. She might be one of my favorite characters now. She's so great about Amethyst's weirdness, and all her dialogue sparkles:
  • "I know, kids." (Onion shows up) "...and here's one now!"
  • "It's just a little thing I like to call noodles and butter!"
  • "And stay out!" when they're out on the doorstep.
  • "Thanks for breaking into my house!"
  • "Don't worry about that other stuff, it's gonna blow over. You're a rock! ...that's what you are, right?"
"It's just been me and Yellowtail for a while now," with a lingering shot of the ring on Vidalia's hand. A simple and effective way to show they're married, and so unusual for a kids' cartoon. How many episodes of Ben-10, I ask you, contain a moment like this? And that list of dates with the words "DAD'S HOME" on it is such a great way to show that he's away from home (probably fishing) for a couple of weeks at a pop.

In the scenes where Steven says 'hi' to S.C. and sees Onion's sculpture, you can hear some of their conversation in the background. A saying to V "Dude, you used to complain so much about the smell at the docks!" V: "It used to be so gross over there!" Also, V: "Remember when we snuck under the mayor's boat and trashed it!" A: (laughs) "Yeah I remember!"

That moment where Onion is staring at Steven and the lights start flickering and weird music starts playing. Of course we find out it's Sour Cream, but man, it's really creepy for a moment. WHAT ARE YOU ONION??

There is actually a bag in Onion's room labeled STUFF. And of course he'd have a snake.

S: "You... gonna put on a movie? That'd be nice, and not creepy at all. Cool hospital setting. Is that your mom? ... What's happening?!" OH MY GOD

V: "You wanna eat this bag?" A: "Pft, yeah! My favorite!"

In Onion's sanctum. S: "You have GALS too??" The GUYS universe has expanded! But on the wall, the picture of Onion floating in space is odd. Also, about that sanctum, that's a mighty big duct leading to it, you expect to see John McClane coming down it from the other way. And he's got lights strung up in it; is Onion an electrician?

"What do you say Steven? You ready for another round with this guy?" Onion opens his mouth....

Finally, let's slot this episode into the greater picture. Vidalia knew Steven from when he was little, and knew Greg when he was younger. It seems likely, then, that she also knew Rose. Vidalia's familiarity with and casual acceptance of Amethyst's shapeshifting reveals that at least one of Beach City's human population knows more about the Gems than we previously knew. She even asks A outright "How are the Gems?" One can imagine scenes of Rose and Amethyst out clubbing together, maybe with Garnet tagging along once in a while, while Pearl waits at home worrying. I love that this show takes such pains to make its human world real and lived-in, it makes the stuff with the homeworld gems seem so much more alien.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 PM on July 15, 2015 [5 favorites]

I love Older AlternaMom Vidalia! LOVE IT. House filled with paintings, kids allowed to be weird selves.

And it captures perfectly that thing when your parents take you to someone's house so they can visit and you have to play with their weird/hostile/too young/too old kid. Though I always enjoyed seeing other people's toys/books/stuff even if we didn't get along well.

Onion is that kid, exactly. I'm reassured that someone is actually taking care of him, instead of him just being weird because Yellowtail neglects him and he has to wander around alone all day. Though maybe it's irresponsible of his mom to let him do so; on the other hand, it's a pretty safe town.

But on the wall, the picture of Onion floating in space is odd.

It seems like the kind of thing his mom would paint, doesn't it?
posted by emjaybee at 5:38 PM on July 15, 2015 [9 favorites]

Ah, yes! And everything you wrote I was thinking too, it just got kind of lost in the scene-by-scene recap. This is such a great episode.
posted by JHarris at 5:43 PM on July 15, 2015


posted by ocherdraco at 6:07 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Someone on tumblr pointed out that Vidalia probably painted the picture of Rose above the door at Steven's house. WORLDBUILDING.
posted by nonasuch at 6:18 PM on July 15, 2015 [13 favorites]

Sorta related to the last episode, but too good not to post: Every Day at the Steven Universe Office.
posted by emjaybee at 6:36 PM on July 15, 2015 [10 favorites]

Oh damn, emjaybee, you're right about the parents visiting their friends and being stuck with the friends' weird/awful progeny. You just gave me 40 year old flashbacks.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:46 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

This episode was super disturbing and after I watched it I had to look at cute animals for at least half an hour and I'm still distressed.

posted by Mizu at 7:25 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Karen I guess is the counterpart to Dave Guy.
posted by JHarris at 7:39 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

One of Vidalia's paintings was an Amethyst version of Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.
posted by Small Dollar at 8:19 PM on July 15, 2015 [5 favorites]

I love the "WTF, Dude!" arm gesture the mouse gives Steven.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:32 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

This whole episode was like watching a tennis match between Cute and Creepy.
posted by traveler_ at 2:55 AM on July 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

This whole episode was like watching a tennis match between Cute and Creepy.

You mean, kewpie?
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is one of the few Steven Universe episodes that put me on edge. I can't place it exactly, but Onion just kind of freaks me out. I love the connection between Amethyst and Vidalia, though I am really curious what exactly caused Amethyst to withdraw from her friends in Beach City (like V and Greg).

Also my daughter is speculating that Sadie's mom is related to Vidalia, since they have similar colorings.
posted by sleeping bear at 3:15 PM on July 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Vidalia's garage and kitchen are both finely observed and great, and say so much about her as a character in passing. Bits like the tarp over the garage entrance and doorway, the fan in the window, the dining table in the kitchen, the kitchen's overall design, all the things taped to the wall. You immediately get a picture of her life: not well-off, a bit cluttered, but loving, clever, creative, and happy with her place in the world.

Watching this episode again confirms my initial impressions, it really is excellent. My favorite thing about Steven Universe, above even the progressive politics, the humor and the sweetness, is how the Gems have changed over the years, and how Steven can be two things at once. That feels weird, in the pulp fiction sense, but takes that weirdness and uses it, not for the dread of the unknown like from Lovecraft, but to support and cherish the human experience, to say we do have a place in this universe, that the human has enough value that even magic alien space rocks can see it.

The next episode presents the Gems, circa 200 years ago in the play, as basically warrior goddesses. But here Amethyst is exactly like a fun mom hanging out with an old friend. I wonder what they talked about, years ago, what stories of monster fighting and magic adventure Amethyst told Vidalia, and what stories of mischief and romance Vidalia told Amethyst? I hope this means we'll see more of Vidalia -- and Onion too, this episode seems a great excuse to bring him in more.
posted by JHarris at 2:05 AM on July 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Episode winds down. Oh, I guess Onion isn't too bad after... AIIIEEE!
posted by comealongpole at 4:22 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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