Honestly, I think I would’ve preferred this episode if it had nothing to do with the current plot/character arc, but I still greatly enjoyed the depiction of my frequent hobby: Community Theater!
Jamie: This is my first production, so it needs to be exciting! It needs to be classic! It needs to be fully funded, by Mayor Dewey, and it is, because he wrote it.
Steven gets the lead role because he’s the only one who shows up to audition, which isn’t quite as catastrophic as it may sound, because the script itself is terrible and an inexperienced actor is the least of poor Jamie’s concerns.
“Oh Captain William Dewey! You’re such a good captain! Never has a voyage been so super good!”
Jamie takes issue with the characterization of William Dewey (or lack thereof), but Mayor Dewey wrote the script about his ancestor who founded Beach City and refuses to make any revisions to his first draft script.
Jamie: It’s a terrible story. William Dewey is totally unbelievable!
Steven: Because he grows fifty feet?
Jamie: No! He’s got no character!
Steven: But the script kept saying he was really good.
Jamie: Exactly! How can a guy have no faults? To be human is to be flawed! A real hero must struggle!
And since this season refuses to let filler be filler, Pearl gets drawn into the drama drama.
Pearl: How do you know William Dewey?
Steven: I’m gonna be him in this play. But he’s totally boring! He’s perfect and he never makes mistakes!
Pearl: Wish I could say the same for myself…
Steven: Yeah, but nobody’s like that! Everybody gets stuff wrong. And then you have to keep going, and it’s hard, which is why it’s great when you never stop trying.
Pearl: When did you get so smart?
That’s just what you get for really listening to people – sometimes you’ll learn something profound, even if you don’t always know why it’s profound. And then Steven learns a little something from Pearl: She actually met William Dewey.
Pearl: This isn’t just boring – it’s historically inaccurate!
And she subsequently rewrites the play to better reflect reality, with a little help from Steven.
Jamie: This is the play we should be doing.
Steven: Well let’s do it, then! Let’s put on this version of the play.
Jamie: But how? We’d need new costumes, new props, we have no time! And Mayor Dewey’ll have our heads!
Steven: But Jamie, you said it yourself: A real hero struggles.
Jamie: By jiminy, you’re right! This show will go on tomorrow night, with you as Captain William Dewey, and I as the remaining roles.
I’d say a day and a half is awfully short notice just for the actors to learn all the new lines, but considering that the whole show seems to have been put together in under a week (and one of the two actors helped with the revisions), I guess I can’t say it’s much less realistic.
Jamie: This could either make or break my career.
Steven: You could lose your job at the post office?
Jamie: This could either make or break my hobby.
Jamie just keeps getting better every episode he shows up. And by better I mean more #relatable.
Steven (Dewey): Back home they called me Dewey the Dunce. Said I couldn’t find land even if I was standing on it! And I’m starting to fear that they were right.
The play begins by making the change in Dewey’s characterization extremely evident, and proceeds to break with the previous narrative when the Crystal Gems show up (or at least their silhouettes do – Jamie can’t play three people at once).
Jamie (Pearl): Greetings! I am Pearl, and I come to you as a messenger of the brilliant Rose Quartz! We ask that you turn your ship around. The land you are headed for is no walk in the park for your species.
Well, Jamie certainly nailed Pearl…
Steven (Dewey): I’ll just return home like the failure dunce I am. Ah! I can’t even turn a sail right! Why must I always struggle?
I love how Jamie is giving his all in every bit part and Steven is going around looking slightly miffed that his ship is sinking. Every thespian has been there. Probably both places.
Jamie (Buddy): Whatever you do, don’t give up your search! You’re the bravest man I know, because you try, even though you fail so, so much!
I also love how they get around the budgetary constraints by making shadow puppets for the not-kaiju battle!
Steven (Dewey): Thank you, Giant Woman!
Jamie (Giant Woman): You may not want to stay. This land is dangerous.
Steven (Dewey): No! I will stay. For I am William Dewey, and I don’t give up in the face of failure. That’s what makes me great!
Most of the townsfolk enjoy the play because of the realistically flawed main character, while Mayor Dewey is pacified with a “Vote for Dewey” banner at the end.
Mayor Dewey: I love the message – vote Mayor Dewey! How about I offer you another role – lead director of Beach City Community Theater. You could put on more plays, as long as the budget allows it.
Jamie: Thank you, sir.
I find it amusing to think of how the actual events might have been misconstrued by later generations until the story the family went with was “he grew fifty feet tall”, as if that makes any more sense than meeting a giant magical woman (when they have magical women living right there).
Pearl: You know, I don’t remember there being a campaign slogan at the end of that story…
Steven: Art doesn’t always need a reason, Pearl. Sometimes, it’s just gotta make the audience happy.
Until next time…