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Recap / Star vs. the Forces of Evil S2 E32 "Mathmagic"

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When Star refuses to solve a problem in math class, she learns that avoiding her least favorite subject may have cosmic repercussions.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop: Some things there are no magical shortcuts for, you just have to knuckle down and do the work. You might not get the right answer but it's just as important you at least try.
  • Alternate Universe: Omnitraxus shows Star a number of alternate versions of herself. As reality becomes more unstable near the end of the episode, Star and her classmates start turning into alternate versions of themselves.
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  • Anti-Humor: The most classic example of this, "Why did the chicken cross the road?", is used by Janna, and Star immediately takes great amusement in the Anti-Humor of it, dropping the name of this trope while doing so.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: One of the alternate Stars Omnitraxus shows to Prime Star has a body made of pastry and a donut for a head. Near the end, Star briefly turns into a talking slice of pizza.
  • Big "NO!": During the montage of time loops, when Miss Skullnick tries to get her to solve the math problem, Star shouts "NO!" as she tries to flee, with the occasional Big "NEVER!" for variety.
  • Call-Back: Star uses the dimensional scissors Marco got from Hekapoo in "Running with Scissors" to ask Father Time for help to escape the time loop.
  • Chicken Joke: Janna tries to amuse Star by telling the classic "Why did the chicken cross the road?" She has a different punchline every time the "Groundhog Day" Loop resets.
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  • Continuity Cavalcade: Among the alternate universe versions of Star Butterfly are Princess Star, Star in battle gear, wacky hairstyle Star, Mewberty Star, Star in her pajamas, ballgown Star, elderly Star, young Star, infant Star, swimsuit Star, punk princess Star, Mewnipendence Day reenactment Star, sleepover Star, rebellious not-a-queen Star and Ludo Halloween costume Star.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Star takes Miss Skullnick's demand to know "What's so funny?" literally, trying to explain what makes the Chicken Joke funny.
  • E = MC Hammer: The math on the chalkboard appears to be a hodgepodge of different mathematic disciplines far beyond high school level.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Marco seems to be the only person paying attention in math class.
  • Exact Words: Omnitraxus Prime said the other versions of Star solved the math problem, he never said whether they were right or wrong.
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  • Gender Bender: Near the end of the episode, as reality becomes more unstable one of the alternate Stars seen appears to be a male version.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Star ends up stuck in a time loop thanks to her stubborn refusal to answer a math problem. What's unusual is that every time the loop resets, there are various changes (like Janna wearing a different hat and having a different punchline to her joke), due to friction with alternate timelines where she did solve the problem.
  • Mr. Exposition: Omnitraxus Prime tries to explain to Star why the time loop is happening, and how to get out.
  • Reality Bleed: The changes in each loop repetition are the result of the timelines of Star's alternate versions colliding with hers.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Because our Star is the only version of Star in the entire multiverse who refuses to try and solve the math problem, she runs the risk of her timeline "colliding" with another and causing a catastrophic paradox.
  • Reality Ensues: Star ultimately does try and solve the math problem, but having not paid attention to any of her math classes, winds up getting the answer completely wrong. Luckily, stopping the time paradox only required her to try and solve the problem, not correctly solve it.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Miss Skullnick demands to know "What's so funny?", Star tries to explain why the Chicken Joke is "classic anti-humor."
  • Shout-Out: One of the alternate Stars seen near the end is dressed suspiciously like Link.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't be afraid to try, even when you're not good at something... because not trying might lead to a time paradox.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: When Star gets bored with Omnitraxus' explanation of the nature of space-time, he says, "I can't believe this is happening."

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