This episode is just one bad idea after another.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never liked this episode, mostly because I don’t get Onion, but also perhaps because I myself never would have bought another copy of a toy to replace one I’d lost, let alone at anything so treacherous as a gashapon machine.
Steven: I lost Ranger Guy…one of my GUYS, from our special day at the beach last summer? You bought it for me at the end of the day. He was one of a kind! He had a miscolored hat! How could you not remember?
Greg: Oh! Was that the day we ate that awesome funnel cake?
Greg: Yeah, man. That funnel cake. I even kept the plate!
I do appreciate this little nod to how different people (not to say children and adults) attach importance to different things in different ways. It’s not a wholly bad episode, just lacking in areas like character development (which is generally a strength of the series) and suffering somewhat from lack of originality.
Anyhow, Greg gives his son a bag of quarters to use at the local GUYS gashapon machine (basically a fancy version of those toy/candy dispensers you see at grocery stores) in order to replace his Ranger Guy.
But fortune doesn’t favor him, as he gets 30 Dave Guys before the machine runs out.
And fortune fails him further when he runs into Onion.
Onion is (allegedly) a kid from town who rarely speaks, and then only in murmurs which are apparently only intelligible to his family (think “adults in Charlie Brown”). He also happens to have a Ranger Guy, so Steven tries to make a trade, as kids are wont to do.
But whether he senses Steven’s desperation or just prefers Ranger Guy to all the Dave Guys in the world (like Steven), he wants more than just the thirty Dave Guys that Steven has to offer.
Steven: Stupid Dave Guy. Got no future, your haircut’s gross, you smell bad…
Amethyst: You talking about Pearl?
Steven: No, I’m talking about dumb old Dave Guy. I mean, just look at him! Does it look like his life is going anywhere?
Amethyst: Ah, cut him a break. Maybe this is the year he gets his life together. Maybe he’ll get a cool internship.
I get the impression Dave Guy is inspired by a real person. And I’m pretty sure I’ve met one. Stupid Dave Guy is seriously my favorite part of the episode.
But bad things always seem to happen when Steven looks to Amethyst for help (even if there’s usually some good mixed with it). This time she just offers him a replicator wand to help him bargain with Onion.
THIS IS NOT A CHILD YOU WANT TO GIVE POWERFUL MAGICAL ITEMS TO, STEVEN.
But of course he trades it anyway.
Steven: Were you always this boring, Ranger Guy?
Naturally, this quickly escalates into A Situation.
Pearl: Steven, why didn’t you just replicate Ranger Guy?
Honestly, commenting on it doesn’t make it less stupid. I know Steven always tries to see the best in people, but this is just blindness. Creepiness aside, how could he think entrusting the replicator to ANY kid that age is a reasonable idea?
Then Steven discovers that the Ranger Guy Onion traded him is actually his own lost Ranger Guy, resulting in the nullification of the trade (and at least Onion accepts the justice of that).
Steven: I think I understand why you took my Ranger Guy, Onion. I bet you get pretty lonely waiting for your dad all day. You were probably really bored, too. And cause you missed your dad, you took my Ranger Guy, which is a symbol of the relationship I have with my dad. No? Just the first thing? Well, here. You need him more than I do.
I imagine this would be a bit more impactful if Toy Story 3 hadn’t already done that twist so much better. As it is, all I can see is how single-minded Steven got about a toy we never even saw him play with before (I’m not even sure if it showed up in the background anywhere, and this series loves to plant things like that).
But at least we get a little father-son bonding.
Greg: That was really cool what you did back there. […] But you went through all that trouble for a toy?
Steven: It was more about the memories than the toy. Now we have new memories! Horrible, horrible memories.
Until next time…