Steven Universe Review: "Together Breakfast" (Season 1A, Episode 4)

The Together Breakfast – so awesome, it defies physics! (Image screencapped from the Steven Universe wiki.)

Airdate: November 11th, 2013

Synopsis: The short story: Steven makes breakfast for himself and the trio. Hilarity ensues.

The long story: Steven makes breakfast since all the other Gems aren’t around. He manages to construct what is, in his mind, the perfect breakfast – literally well balanced, in fact. However, nobody really wants to (or is able) eat it with him – Garnet has to torch a poster, Pearl wants to be alone to fix up her room, and Amethyst just wants to gulp it all down. Kinda strange, then, when said breakfast comes to life and threatens to destroy them.

Review: Show of hands – who wants IHOP now? Second show of hands – who has a fear of IHOP now?

OK, really… just to let you know, this review is going to be somewhat shorter than usual, partially because this isn’t the most memorable of episodes. It seems inconsequential at first – Steven cooks breakfast, tries to talk to the other gems, and said breakfast tries to destroy them all. In fact, it almost seems like a Regular Show episode. (Worth noting, I don’t really watch that show, so no, that isn’t getting reviewed anytime soon.)

And let’s be real here – this episode’s plot is pretty “color by numbers”, with not a whole lot of real twists. Steven wants to please the Gems, and almost dies doing so. So, not a whole lot of points for originality.

However, within the plot, there’s actually more than a few things in here that help build the overall show even further.

For instance, this is the first episode to really confirm that the Crystal Gems’ house isn’t just a beach house with a weird portal thing in the middle. It’s a bit more complex than that… read, it’s a house that extends into a mountain... with four interchangeable rooms. Before you ask, we do get a scene of Pearl and Amethyst bickering over Amethyst’s slobbishness and Pearl’s neuroses, so this is the closest I’m getting to a review of Red Dwarf this year. (Still, I can totally see Amethyst naming a cup of mold Jeffrey and Pearl spending 95% of her study time creating study timetables.)

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, the temple.

Given we are only in the fourth episode, this particular episode also works as an introduction to the core four. At the very least, each room gives us a quick insight into the mindset of the main trio. Pearl is the perfectly organized sword-master, Amethyst is an impulsive slob on a level that gives Dave Lister a run for his money, and Garnet is the no-nonsense leader of the quartet. Each is told through the scenery, the music, the character’s actions in the temple, their interactions with Steven and each other, and so on and so forth.

We’re not told anything outright – we as the audience observe what happens. Not once is the audience talked down to like idiots. That’s the beauty of the show – in an age where arguments are still made that TV is meant for the lowest common denominator, there is so much out there that treats the audience like thinkers.

There’s also something about Steven’s desire to share breakfast with the rest of the Crystal Gems. To this extent, they are some strange combination of family, roommates, and teacher/students. This episode focuses on the former two. Here, Steven just wants to have an average meal, and has to go through hell to get to that. The breakfast, in fact, tries to kill them all. Poor guy.

Actually, the Together Breakfast is actually pretty interesting in its own right. In spite of Steven’s declaration at the end that it tried to drag them apart, this episode really does focus on the Gems actually fighting against an antagonist in a somewhat “tighter” unit than they did in “Gem Glow”. That, and they did get pizza.

Overall, though, this episode can be skipped, and not a whole lot would be missed. Yet. We’ve had curveballs thrown at us before, though, so… you can watch it. It’s certainly not a bad episode by any stretch of the imagination – it’s relatively simple plot is still pretty fun, and in reruns, it’s a bit refreshing after stuff like “Keeping it Together” and “Rose’s Scabbard” (ah, remember when Steven just wanted to have breakfast?) – but it’s not going to be a top 10 in my eyes.

Who knows, though? My opinion could warm up. It has before.

Tidbits:

  • Steven and Garnet standing by what is essentially lava pit. To paraphrase a certain fictional scientist… Reviewer! Lava! HOT!!!!
  • Also like how much this episode messed up gravity, as seen in the screenshot posted above. Steven Universe: great at geology, mixed track record at physics. I’ll chalk it up to Gem Architecture and move on.
  • On a personal note, might I just say, I am glad to be back! Let me tell you, if the hype for Gravity Falls’s “Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future” is to be believed, I might be too shocked to write a review for that. It’s on Monday, 8PM Eastern, on DisneyXD.
Favorite Scene: Garnet breaking through a waffle square like it was a removable panel is strangely hilarious. Second prize is the Gems all building a second together breakfast… before deciding to order some pizza instead.

Best Character: The Together Breakfast. Less a character and more a breakfast that happened to come to life and kill the Gems. Still, awesome.

Memorable Quote: “I built you to bring us together,  not tear us apart!” – Steven. Poor guy, just wants to have a breakfast, and can’t even have that. (Second place is the famed “pun” joke.)

Score: 7.25 (Bronze)

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