“And we will never be alone again, ’cause it doesn’t happen every day.
Kinda counted on you being a friend. Can I give it up or give it away?
Now I thought about what I wanna say, but I never really know where to go.
So I chained myself to a friend, cause I know it unlocks like a door.”
– “Instant Crush”, Daft Punk ft. Julian Casablancas.
Airdate: July 19th, 2016
Written By: Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu.
Plot: Having netted a cool $10M from royalties for one of his songs, Greg is left wondering what the hell to do with all of that cash. Steven comes up with an idea to start – a night out in Empire City, complete with tagging Pearl along. Now, this is a risky gamble – Pearl and Greg have had a tense relationship for years now. Pearl, though, agrees to go, and is slowly pulled into the silliness of the resultant trip. However, deep inside, the agony of losing Rose still pierces Pearl in her core. And at the depth of night, she finally breaks down to herself…
On October 11th, 2010, Cartoon Network debut the second season of Adventure Time. The episode, entitled “It Came from the Nightosphere”, revolved around rock-bassist vampire Marceline and her strained relationship with her father. Central to the episode is a song entitled “The Fry Song”, which revolved around Marceline contemplating her father’s betrayal and his love… over the fact that he ate a box of fries. (Turned out, he did.)
The episode was the first penned by Rebecca Sugar.
I don’t think there could be a better opening salvo for Ms. Sugar’s television career. Not only did she help (alongside Adam Muto) pen an episode revolving around the interpersonal aspects of speculative fiction characters, but “The Fry Song” was also her first song for the show, taking such a silly idea and adding pathos to it. It would wind up being something of a trait for Sugar-driven episodes, using musical numbers to convey the themes within. Such was Sugar’s power that she wound up returning to write a song for the show’s very last episode.
Even further, it was the Sugar-penned “What Was Missing” and the song within (“I’m Just Your Problem”) that kicked off speculation that there existed a wayward romantic relationship between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum – even if merely implied and speculated, it was seen by those that saw it as romantic as a rather gutsy depiction of gay/bisexual characters at the time.
When she departed Adventure Time in 2012 to pen Steven Universe, it was clear that the musical numbers would follow. In fact, it was hearing “Giant Woman” sometime around the debut of that episode that made me suspect that her skills would really shine on her own show – enough for me to consider the show “awesome” even before I “properly” became a fan – and others have tended to agree. (Personally, cue the summer of 2015, I got a glimpse of “Rose’s Scabbard”, SOLD.)
Anyway, it’s the long, hot summer of 2016. Most of us remember it for the seismic changes that went on, be they political, cultural, or both. In this epochal moment in history, Steven Universe was in the middle of the Summer of Steven, new episodes every day for an entire calendar month.
But even within SU’s production, the world was changing. Joe Johnston, one of the show’s most prolific and (within the fandom) celebrated penmen, was promoted to a supervisor role. This would be his last episode. Concurrently, Rebecca Sugar was also yearning to write a musical episode. And in the universe, there was this question of the relationship between Pearl, Greg, and Rose that had yet to be settled.
What resulted is often regarded as not only Steven Universe’s most idiosyncratic and memorable outing, but in terms of episode quality, is often cited as one of the greatest moments in the entirety of the SU Canon. Continue reading