In the Thanksgiving episode, Steven discovers the joy and awkwardness of family gatherings!
The episode begins when Steven discovers that Lapis and Peri have taken up farming, working under the delusion that the vegetables will be able to walk and talk (since Gems can be grown like that, too!). And they’re so disappointed to discover that vegetables don’t really do anything except grow, that of course Steven tries to cheer them up by secretly making a “living” pumpkin.
Steven: Garnet says not to lick stuff I find on the ground, but this is for a good cause.
At first Pumpkin will only listen to Steven (so it’s a dead giveaway that he planted it), but it promptly switches allegiances when he starts carving up one of its vegetable brethren to make a jack-o-lantern.
Then an angry human shows up in a biplane.
Andy: Hobos broke into the barn!
Peridot: Hey! Don’t you touch our things!
Andy: You hobettes? A hobo is a man’s job!
Lapis: Who’s the human, and what’s he yelling about?
Peridot: The real question is, where are my attack drones?
Andy: Wait a minute…those mysterious constructions, your weird appearance, your strange jewels…I know what you are. You’re hippies! I heard about you on AM radio! What are you doing coming in here, socializing this fine American barn!
It was only a matter of time before a redneck showed up to object to the presence of the “hippies”.
Steven: Wait, don’t hurt him!
Lapis: But he’s attacking us and our home.
Steven: Uh, hello, how’s it going?
Andy: Uh, how do you think?
Steven: Yeah…we just wanted to know what you want.
Andy: What I want? I want you hippies out of my barn!
Steven: Your barn?
Fortunately, Greg turns up shortly to clear things up, as it turns out that he’s acquainted with Andy.
Andy: Who told you you could move in here and mess this whole place up?
Greg: I did, Andy.
Andy: You did? This is my parents’ barn!
Steven: Um, Dad, who’s this?
Andy: Dad? You mean…no way!
Greg: Steven, this is Andy. He’s my cousin. Andy, meet Steven. He’s my son.
Steven: Wow! It’s really nice to meet you! Does that mean you’re my…first cousin once removed?
Andy: Forget that nonsense! You call me Uncle Andy. I’m an uncle! I can’t believe it. Greg, you little turd! How come you never told me?
Greg: How was I supposed to? I haven’t seen you in years!
Andy: And whose fault was that? You thought you were so much better than us, you just got in your van and drove away!
Greg: That was, like, two decades ago!
If the rest of the family was this conservative, it’s not hard to see why Greg might’ve been tempted to run off and become a musician.
Greg: Rose is…no longer with us.
Andy: Ah…wow. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.
Greg: These people are sort of like her family, so I offered to let these two stay in the barn.
Andy: Yeah? Well that was real nice of you. But the barn’s for the Demayo family!
Steven: What’s a Demayo?
It turns out Greg used to be Greg Demayo, and of course Andy gives him crap about changing his name.
Greg: Andy, look. They just really needed a place. They’re alien refugees from space and-
Andy: They’re illegal aliens? You couldn’t even marry an American?
Greg: What does that matter?
Andy: You turned your back on your family just so you could get in with a bunch of weirdo hippie martian immigrants? You two! Get the heck off my planet, out of my country, and out of my barn!
Obviously they’re not from Mars, but I suppose one could describe the Gems as “martial”, being a rather warrior-centric race…
Anyway, Steven steps in to mediate the conflict, as usual.
Steven: Uncle Andy, I’m sorry we took over the barn. I didn’t even know we had any other family to share it with.
Andy: You didn’t, huh?
Steven: But this barn, it means a lot to all of us. We spent so much time together here.
Andy: Well my family spent a lot of time here, too! Once a year we’d all meet up here, catch up, eat a big meal, have a good time. Years and years of family tradition.
Steven: Oh yeah? Well we can do that too! We’ve got a farm here with plenty of food. Let’s make a big traditional meal and eat it together! You’ll have a good time, and then you’ll have to admit they’re family! And would you kick family out of the family barn?
Andy: Greg, you’re lucky you got such a cute kid. I know he didn’t get it from you.
Greg: So you’re letting them-
Andy: I’ll give your coven a chance and eat your food. But only cause I lost my sandwich over the Atlantic.
Steven: You think this’ll work?
Greg: Maybe. Andy’s never been the type to change his mind about something, and he’s really got his longjohns in a twist. It’s gonna take a lot to calm him down.
Amethyst: I don’t like this guy. I don’t like some new Greg just showing up out of nowhere.
Pearl: Our Greg is clearly the superior one!
Lapis: We’re not leaving our home.
Peridot: If that clod thinks he can push us around-
Garnet: Andy is a part of Steven’s family. We should make an effort to get on his good side.
Steven: If he’s my family, then he’s yours, too.
Garnet: Gems don’t have family. At least…not before we came here. So for the sake of our family, tell us what to do.
While it’s obvious that Lapis would never let Andy push her out of her new home, he could still potentially cause them a lot of trouble if he wanted to, so it’s a good idea to try to get his blessing. And thus we have our setup for the Gems’ first Thanksgiving, wherein they attempt to appease the natives!
But Uncle Andy is still ultra-sensitive, particularly when it comes to tradition.
Andy: It’s the engine, boy, the engine! They butchered my parents’ plane and made…made…whatever this thing is!
Pearl: It’s an oven/stovetop combo!
Andy: It’s terrible! That was the heat of the legendary wings of the Daring Demayos. I learned to fly on this plane!
Lapis: No one was even using that junk.
Peridot: Now it’s actually good for something.
Andy: See, that’s the problem with people like you, you think everything just belongs to you, cause nothing belongs to anybody, and you take it, and everything’s cool. And it ain’t cool!
I’ve never been on the receiving end of this kind of nonsensical argument before, but I certainly sympathize.
Steven: This is going down in flames.
Pearl: I’m sure Greg will turn this around.
Andy: What do you mean you weren’t technically married?
And now we see why Greg didn’t bother to get in touch with his family! It’s still a bummer for Steven, though.
Steven: We gotta up our game. It’s going to take the ultimate party to turn this around, like all the best parties of all time put together!
Pearl: I think that’s doable. See you in a bit!
So the Gems take off in search of a party, and the humans get to spend some quality time doing food prep.
Steven: You’ve been all over the world?
Andy: You better believe it. It’s really something else, you know? Just you and the hum of your engine up in that thin air, no other people, no living things around to uh, keep you company…but, you know, it’s not like there’s much for me down on the ground these days either, though.
And then the Gems return.
Pearl: So, Andy, we heard you like marriage, so we thought, why don’t we all marry each other? And if that’s not human enough for you, we can throw in a little being born and some dying…
Lapis: We’re very sorry for your marriage.
Pearl: We tried to cover as many celebrations in the human lifespan as we could.
Good job, Pearl. You sure covered all your bases.
(seriously though THIS SHOW)
Thus commences the weirdest Thanksgiving dinner ever. Only partly because most of them don’t eat anything.
Peridot: The shopping cart! We should’ve taken it.
Lapis: We could’ve put it in the wall next to the truck.
Pearl: That would’ve been stealing!
Steven: Cause it’s made out of steel?
Peridot: Didn’t we save the Earth? We should have access to everything on it by right!
Lapis: Or at least get a discount.
Andy: You guys think you’re saving the Earth-
Pearl: Saving the Earth from Homeworld is its own reward.
Peridot: You know what else would be a reward? A reward!
Greg: Alright, we don’t want to start another Gem war at the table.
Garnet: Ooh, don’t start it!
Peridot: What if I just came to this table and started colonizing it because I’m a Homeworld Gem?
Amethyst: But you can’t! This table has corn on it, and it’s beautiful, and we’ll defend it!
Peridot: Now that I’ve spent time at the table, I can see the value of corn!
Lapis: Why don’t you put that corn in a mirror for thousands of years and then see how it feels about the table!
Then they begin an impromptu giving of thanks (to each other), and it is adorable.
Greg: You know what, thank you Steven. Putting this meal together was a great idea.
Steven: Oh no, I should be thanking Garnet. She gathered up all the vegetables.
Garnet: Lapis and Peridot grew them. Thank you.
Peridot: No, but it was Pearl that drove us to the “store”.
Pearl: Well, I have to thank Steven for cooking the vegetables, and Amethyst for putting out that grease fire!
Amethyst: And starting it! Oh, and thanks to Greg for lending his van.
Greg: I guess you could say we can thank everyone. […]
Steven: Hey uh, what about Andy?
Peridot: Hm…thank you, Andy, for showing up! Because of you, everyone came out here to the barn and, and now we’re all together for the first time in a while. And it’s actually pretty great.
But it’s still doubtlessly very different from what Uncle Andy is used to, and it doesn’t help that he’s completely out of the loop on their conversations.
Andy: You can have it. The barn. It’s yours.
And then he gets up and flies away.
Which is an abrupt end to the affair that Steven won’t stand for!
Steven: I thought everything was going really well! Is something wrong?
Andy: Yeah, something’s wrong. You’re a mile in the sky hanging off a floating lady! Go home!
Steven: Why’d you leave?
Andy: I’m the only one who didn’t! It was your goofball father who was the first one to hightail it outta here. Then after him it was Aunt Deb – she and her partner got the RV. No reason to stick around with that thing. Grandpa moved to the Keys, too old to make the drive anymore. I was the only one who tried to keep everything how it used to be. I knew what it meant to really be a family. And look what it got me, huh? Nothing!
Even the closest of families can go their separate ways eventually – sometimes it’s because of a big event, like the death of a patriarch/matriarch, but as often as not it’s a gradual dissolution. He might blame Greg more because he was the first to go, but he’s not responsible for the actions of everyone else.
Steven: Andy! I love that we both eat cake! […] And you have that cool hat! And you know how to peel potatoes! And you need a plane to fly! I love the Gems, but I’m a human, too. I never had a chance to know that part of my family, but now I do! Andy, I want to be your family. Isn’t that why you came back?
Honestly, Steven is lucky to have an uncle so willing to embrace change.
Steven: That was a close one, Uncle Andy! You sure are good at-
Andy: Do you have any idea what coulda happened to you? What good are you to me as family if you’re…sorry. Look, I just…I’m glad that you’re safe. Just doesn’t feel fair. Everything got so different. I wanted everybody to stay the same but they, they just didn’t. Geez, what am I even doing? I got an airplane. I coulda been visiting everybody everywhere they went. I coulda known about you. Guess I coulda just changed, too, you know?
Steven: It’s not too late. We’re here, if you want us to be.
I suppose they just caught him at the right moment. He’d had enough time to realize that the world was changing whether he wanted it to or not, and since everyone was drifting apart anyway, he had plenty of space for new people in his life.
This episode was a bit indulgent – I don’t think it really needed to be double-length. But it is a holiday episode after all! And the theme of reconnecting with family is surprisingly prescient…
Until next time…