Ingrid and I are watching the entire Steven Universe series for the third time, and since we’ve been spending so much talking about it the first two times, I thought I’d blog some of my observations about it. Please note: I’m not writing these Steven Universe posts as a series summary or recap. I’m just writing down some of my observations and reactions (not necessarily coherently), both to the show as a whole and to the individual episodes. These posts will probably make more sense to people who are already watching/ have already watched the show, but I hope they inspire the rest of you to check out the show, as it really is one of the richest and most emotionally intense things I’ve seen on TV. Note: This post may contain spoilers about Steven Universe: the show as a whole, and/or about Episode 4: Together Breakfast.
“Now it has all the power of a breakfast. We have to destroy it!”
This episode really hits home for me. Steven wants the Gems to have a nice breakfast together — not just any nice breakfast, but the specific nice breakfast that he made for them. And he wants them to have it right away. “I can’t let this become together brunch!” He’s so attached to this that he doesn’t pay attention to the fact that this particular moment is not a good one: the Gems are distracted and have other things to take care of. As a result, the breakfast gets transformed into a hideous monster that he has to destroy.
In other words: Steven wants connection and togetherness. But he’s super attached to that connection taking a particular form. He creates the form of the connection first, and then tries to force the connection into that form. And this attachment actually interferes with the connection he’s seeking, and turns it ugly and unpleasant. Steven himself says it best, when he’s destroying the breakfast monster: “I made you to bring us together — not to tear us apart!”
This episode also touches on yet another repeating theme of the show: the ways that adults and children often have a hard time understanding each other, and in particular understanding each other’s priorities. Steven doesn’t understand why the Gems can’t drop everything to have breakfast together; the Gems don’t understand why the breakfast is so important to Steven. And the ways the different Gems tune Steven out are very iconically representative of who they are. Garnet can’t have breakfast because she has important, genuinely urgent business to attend to. Pearl isn’t very good at listening to things she doesn’t understand, and much like Steven in the episode, she isn’t willing to let go of doing the thing she wants to do (putting her sword away) right this second. And Amethyst is insensitive and self-involved: she hears Steven say that he wants a together breakfast, but she’s hungry and wants the waffles. Either that, or she wants to play a game of chase with Steven, and doesn’t catch on to the fact that he doesn’t want to be chased and is really worried about the breakfast. (I’ll get into this more later — but Amethyst can sometimes be a serious jerk. The other gems are merely oblivious to what Steven wants, but Amethyst actually hears and knows what Steven wants, and still ignores it.)
At some point, I totally want to make this breakfast. In much the same way, I also want to make Homer Simpon’s Patented Moon Waffles. (I clearly need to get a cheap waffle iron that I don’t mind destroying.)
This is the first episode (I think) where we see Amethyst in a male persona.
Ingrid commentary: The opening sequence, where Steven is making the breakfast, totally reminds her of Ren & Stimpy. The animation, the music — everything.
Ingrid and I are both wondering about a possible continuity error here — the fact that later in the series (in “Fusion Cuisine”), it’s made clear that Pearl doesn’t eat, and in fact is repulsed by food. While none of the Gems need to eat, Amethyst enjoys it anyway, and Garnet seems fine with it — but Pearl is so grossed-out by food that the entire “Fusion Cuisine” dinner has to be worked around it. In “Together Breakfast,” though, she seems open to the idea of eating, or at least not repulsed at the very notion. Our question: At the end of “Together Breakfast,” is Pearl just being nice and going along with the idea of the breakfast, even though she’s not going to eat anything? Or is this just a continuity error? Also, it seems like Steven should know that Pearl doesn’t eat. Is he just oblivious about this until “Fusion Cuisine”? (Kids can be weirdly both oblivious and observant — much like adults.) Has he only recently moved in with the Gems, and is still learning about them? (We know from the extended intro that he hasn’t always lived with the Gems.) Or, again, is this just a continuity error? (I’m voting for the latter: food comes up in a few episodes before “Fusion Cuisine,” and while I don’t think we ever see Pearl actually eat, we also never see her super-repulsed by food until then.)