Zoltron sees sadness in your future, no matter what you do.
This season has had a lot of filler so far (including this episode), but I’m kinda okay with that. After everything he’s been through, Steven deserves some chill time!
Anyhow, we begin when Mr Smiley brings a robot fortune-teller thing out of storage.
Steven: You used to be a comedian?
Smiley: Yeah, but that was a long time ago.
Steven: What were some of your jokes?
Smiley: I’d rather not talk about it.
Steven: Did you have any knock-knock jokes?
Smiley: You wanna ask questions, ask Zoltron.
Steven: Hey Zoltron, why did Mr. Smiley quit comedy?
Smiley: Do you know how expensive this machine was?
Steven: It was an accident! I’ll make it up to you. Please, I just don’t want to be banned from anymore of your businesses!
So Steven is cast in the role of Zoltron, and honestly I think Smiley would get way more business that way, judging by the nonsense the actual robot was saying. Also it seemed kind of broken down to begin with.
Lars: Sadie, come on! It’s like all you wanna do is work. Let’s go watch a movie at your place or something. Nobody’ll even notice we’re gone.
Sadie: Somebody’ll notice – you know, when they need a donut or something.
Steven: Beep, bop, boop. I am Zoltron, robot fortune teller from the future. Fetch me a quarter and I’ll find your fortune.
Sadie: Alright Zoltron, since you know everything, should we skip work?
Lars: Oh great, sic the robot on me!
Steven: You should go to work because…because…even though Lars won’t admit it, he really likes to do a good job. Letting people depend on him fills his heart with warm feelings, like love, and trust.
Lars: No it doesn’t.
Steven: And even though Sadie loves to take charge-
Sadie: No I don’t!
Steven: She’ll still be really impressed with all of your effort.
Sadie: Is it weird that it knows our names?
Lars: I don’t wanna talk about it. You wanna go to work?
Sadie: Yeah, let’s.
It’s nice to see these two getting along better (and actually acting like friends, if nothing more). Although I imagine Steven urging them to go to work had some element of self-interest (I’m sure he intends to get a donut once he gets off “work” himself), this is mostly just his desire to offer advice to everyone at work here. And then he subsequently offers advice to pretty much everyone else.
Smiley: How’s it going out here?
Steven: Great! I really feel like I’m making a positive change in people’s lives!
Smiley: Are they paying you for it?
Steven: Yes sir!
Smiley: Then keep it up, Zoltron!
Frowny: Hm. A fortune-telling machine. This should be good for a laugh.
Steven: That’s right. I am Zoltron! Bee-boop! Give me your questions and your money!
Frowny: Was it a mistake to come here?
Steven: Zoltron says, uh…of course not? Funland is fun, for all ages!
Frowny: Will talking to him make any difference? Any difference at all?
Steven: Zoltron isn’t sure. Human emotions are really complicated for Zoltron!
Frowny: Tell me the truth. Do I really just drive everyone around me away?
This man is kind of adorable in an Eeyore way, and I completely understand Steven’s desire to cheer him up.
Steven: Poor guy. I wish I knew what to tell him. If only I could see into the future like Garnet can.
Garnet: I knew you’d say that.
Steven: Can I borrow your future vision? I want to help some random stranger I just met.
Garnet: That seems like an appropriate use of my powers.
I love how Garnet enables Steven’s desire to help every “friend” he meets.
Frowny: What would he say if he saw me now?
So he plays out three scenarios with Future Vision
Steven: He’ll say, “I’m happy to see you!”
Frowny: You’re lying! Nobody’s happy to see me.
Steven: He’ll say, “It’s been too long!”
Frowny: I’m too late! I should’ve come sooner!
Steven: I don’t know, I’m just a boy in a costume!
Frowny: Of course. Everything in my life’s a disappointment.
Of course it would help if he had some idea who the “he” is (and who Frowny is, for that matter).
Steven: Zoltron sees sadness in your future, no matter what you do.
Frowny: That sounds about right. Guess the curtain really did close on Mr Smiley and Mr Frowny.
Steven: You’re here to see Mr Smiley?
Frowny: Nobody misses our act, not even him. I don’t know why I’m talking to a machine. I’ll just get on a bus and leave.
So naturally, Steven tells Smiley about Frowny as soon as he sees him again (although that is a bit later).
Steven: How did you know him?
Smiley: We used to have a routine.
Steven: Oh, comedy! But he didn’t seem very funny. Actually, he was really depressing.
Smiley: Yeah, that was the bit. At least I thought it was, but even offstage he was always sad. Nothing would cheer him up, not even a packed house, not a standing ovation, not even me. Boy did I try.
Steven: Well, he’s about to leave town on a bus! You should go talk to him before it’s too late!
Smiley: I don’t know what’d happen if I did.
Smiley certainly has a colorful past, and the one common thread in all his activities is entertaining people – making them smile. He seems to have grown cynical and capitalistic by this point, but he still specializes in fun.
But after running a few more scenarios, Steven comes to the same conclusion as earlier.
Steven: Zoltron sees sadness in your future, no matter what you do. […] Wait a second – you said you were always trying to make him happy. Did he even know that he was making you sad?
So he convinces Smiley to run after his old friend.
Frowny: Did you just come here to laugh at me?
Smiley: No! I’m here to tell you that…I wanted it to work, alright? But it wasn’t making you happy.
Frowny: I just wanted you to take it seriously.
Smiley: And I just wanted you to have fun!
Frowny: Oh, I guess it was never going to work. But I really thought we had something.
Smiley: You…having a bad day, Frowny?
Smiley: Well, why don’t you go outside? The sun always cheers me up!
Frowny: I did, but it rained.
Smiley: Why don’t you use an umbrella?
Frowny: I did, but it blew away!
Smiley: Ooh, you must’ve been shocked!
Frowny: Yeah, that’s when the lightning hit me. Smiley, what do you do when you’re feeling down?
Smiley: I just take my frown, and turn it around!
I’m not sure how Frowny expected anyone to take comedy “seriously”, let alone why he would join a standup act, but it’s cute when he finally laughs.
Frowny: I think I finally got the joke.
Until next time…