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Recap / Steven Universe S1E9 "Tiger Millionaire"

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Amethyst: In the ring, nobody can tell me what to do! And if they try, I HIT 'EM IN THE FACE WITH A CHAIR!
Steven: And people... like that?
Amethyst: "Like it"? They LOVE it! Aha, well, they hate it, but it's all part of the fun, you know? Everyone here, gets that. Urggh! You don't know what it's like having Pearl and Garnet on your back all the time!
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The episode opens with Amethyst getting a lecture from Pearl. Apparently Amethyst's penchant for violence led her to punch their last enemy — a blood polyp. Pearl is telling the shorter Gem off for not thinking that would cause the polyp to burst and cover them all in red gunk, especially little Steven. Steven, ever cheerful, says it's not so bad once you get used to it. Pearl insists he won't feel the same once it hardens. Steven wisely goes to wash off, but he's too late. The blood polyp gunk hardens and freezes him in place.

Amethyst, fed up with being yelled at takes over for Pearl, reciting a litany of her own bad traits as Pearl tends to call them. When Garnet is asked to give an opinion, she simply reminds Amethyst that she's a Crystal Gem and should act like it. Amethyst finally stalks off and runs to her own room in the temple. Pearl seems satisfied they've gotten through to her this time, but Garnet doesn't seem convinced. She walks off with only a sigh. Pearl goes into the temple as well, leaving the now resin-trapped Steven alone, forgotten.

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Some hours later, night has fallen. Steven has, with no other recourse, gone to sleep in his blood polyp shell. But Amethyst comes out of her room, covered in a black cloak, and sneaks out into the night. Steven calls after her but she ignores him or doesn't hear. He manages to fall over and shatter the resin so he can follow her. He finds her having used her Gem shapeshifting powers to become The Purple Puma, the most hated wrestler in Beach City's underground wrestling league.

Steven watches her make short work of "The Loch Ness Bloggster" Ronaldo Fryman and several other comers, before confronting her on her way home. Amethyst is upset to have been caught out and explains that she comes to blow off steam after having Garnet and Pearl on her back all the time. Amethyst complains that Steven wouldn't understand, but Steven counters by proving he does. He does imitations of Pearl and Garnet scolding him for bringing peanut butter on missions and for not taking his Gem duties seriously enough. He asks if he can join Amethyst in the ring. She considers telling him no, but having a partner would allow her to fight tag team. Steven gathers together a bunch of junk from his room and quickly assembles a costume to declare himself Tiger Millionaire, complete with Backstory. Puma hasn't got one, so Steven says they'll workshop it later.

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They return to the ring, but Amethyst won't let Steven fight, saying she's only using him for the ability to participate in fighting two people. He's willing to sit it out until one of the other teams is about to do something sneaky to Amethyst. So he lures in the other wrestler and attacks him. From that point on they're a team, with Tiger being a rich Jerkass type and Puma doing all the heavy lifting. Sadie says Tiger looks like Steven, but Lars scoffs. The duo have a great time until Steven-as-Tiger does one jerky thing too many and upsets Lars. The announcer rubs it in by calling Tiger Millionaire "the cruelest creature on the face of the planet." This hits generally sweet and kind-hearted Steven hard, and he is consumed by guilt. Amethyst tries to help him shrug it off in her tactless way, and inadvertently reveals that the constant scolding from the other Gems is getting through to her.

Amethyst: Listen, Steven. You can't let anyone make you feel like garbage.
Steven: Is that how you feel?
Amethyst: [scowling] I only feel how I wanna feel.

The pair are fighting one more tag team match when Garnet and Pearl show up, having found one of the prototype promo posters Steven had doodled in his room. When they demand that the Puma stop wrestling, Amethyst refuses, violently. Garnet and Amethyst begin brawling. Tiger takes the microphone and tells Puma's backstory: that Puma was too wild for the others in the jungle he came from, so he came to the wrestling league where he could cut loose, be himself, and not have to constantly live by the rules of those around him. Tiger turns a plaintive face toward the angered Gems.

Tiger Millionaire: So can't we just have this? Can't we just ... wrestle?

Garnet takes the mic from Tiger and says, no, dashing the audience's hopes. But to Steven and Amethyst's surprise, she goes on to describe herself and Pearl as the anti-wrestling league, here to stop wrestling. Pearl takes a second to catch on as well, before getting into the act. The audience begins chanting for Tiger and Puma. The Gems pretend to lose and while the fake fight is going on, Amethyst and Garnet exchange apologies.

Lars is a fan of Tiger Millionaire once more after he and Puma have saved wrestling. We Iris Out over a Single Tear that rolls down his cheek.


Tropes:

  • Asymmetric Dilemma: Mr. Smiley introduces Purple Puma and Tiger Millionaire by claiming they will "eat your kids and fire your parents!"
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Garnet and Pearl improvise their act as the "Order of Wrestling Haters", the former being no more expressive than usual and the latter going full ham.
  • Blunt "Yes": Steven confronts Amethyst after seeing her wrestle as Tiger Millionaire:
    Steven: Amethyst! Are you a secret wrestler?
    Amethyst: ...Yeah.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Steven imitates Garnet's British accent when telling Amethyst that he knows what it's like to have her on his back.
    I'm not going to say anything, but I expect you to understand that was wrong.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Being an episode on Professional Wrestling, this was inevitable. Pearl even gets in on it while pretending to be the Heel.
  • Covered in Gunge: An encounter with some sort of creature resulted in all of Steven but his face being coated in dark red gunk, which hardens and immobilizes him.
    Steven: It's not so bad once you get used to it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Amethyst trying to throw down with Garnet is pretty obviously one-sided. Garnet only needed one Power Fist to handle her, and likely would have laid a serious beatdown had Steven not stopped them.
  • Excuse Plot: Steven comes up with a backstory for his Tiger Millionaire character, but Amethyst says Purple Puma's story is just "Pumas are cool." He comes up with an actual one for Purple Puma, which is basically just why Amethyst started wrestling in the first place.
  • False Reassurance: Amethyst reassures Steven that the insults people have for Tiger Millionare "are just words people use to describe how they feel about you."
  • GASP: Everyone lets out a gasp when Amethyst shoves Garnet.
  • Heel: Amethyst's wrestling persona, the Purple Puma, is a violent Wrestling Monster who she specifically mentions the audience hates (Monster heel). Steven becomes an obnoxious and deceitful heel named Tiger Millionaire (Narcissist heel), but starts becoming guilty about it.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Steven and Amethyst's personas end up earning the crowd's favor when they defeat Garnet and Pearl, who claim they're trying to stop all wrestling. The pair of Faces they were scheduled against even decide to help Steven take the belt in thanks.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Steven gives a heartfelt request for Amethyst and him to keep wrestling so they can be themselves. Garnet says "no", but her hesitations immediately afterward makes it obvious that she's just playing along.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Pearl: Ugh, you are just so childish!
    Amethyst: Yeah, yeah, don't forget reckless, vulgar, loudmouthed; and that's just what makes me so awesome! Right, Garnet?!
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Tiger Millionaire being a jerk specifically to his only fan is seen as excessively mean even for a heel.
    Mr. Smiley: Never thought I'd see the day when a contender turned on his own fan.
    Steven: I thought we were just having fun!
    Mr. Smiley: Tiger Millionaire, you're the cruelest creature on the planet.
  • Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman: Though Lars acts like a jerkass to Steven and uses every opportunity to mock him, he becomes a HUGE fan of Steven's wrestling identity, Tiger Millionaire, and even shouts that he loves him while Sadie tries to point out the similarities between Steven and Tiger Millionaire.
  • Love to Hate: Amethyst discusses what's a "good job" when you're playing the heel.
    Amethyst: In the ring, nobody can tell me what to do, and if they do, I hit them in the face with a chair!
    Steven: And they... like that?
    Amethyst: "Like it"? They love it! Ha, well, they hate it but it's all part of the fun you know?
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Amethyst: Listen, Steven you can't let anyone make you feel like garbage.
    Steven: Is that how you feel?
    Amethyst: I only feel how I wanna feel.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Steven decides to make his wrestling character an obnoxious, lying Rich Bastard who fights dirty and trolls members of the audience. Eventually though, he ends up feeling bad for it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Steven disregards Lars's request for an autograph, and afterward starts thinking he's taken his wrestling gimmick too far.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Steven feels hurt by the responses to his wrestling persona's meaner actions, and Amethyst consoles him by saying they're "just words that people use to describe how they feel about you." which makes him feel much worse. Amethyst's followup about not letting other people make you feel bad isn't any more convincing, because it's pretty clearly an idea she isn't living up to.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Steven's wrestling persona Tiger Millionaire consists of a business suit and a fake cat nose, and Sadie is still the only person who notices any similarity between the two. Amethyst's persona, the Purple Puma, at least has her shape-shifting powers behind it, but she's still the only person in the city with purple skin and a visible gem in her chest.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame: The last shot is a high-detail close up of Lars' face as he sheds a Single Tear and only his mouth moves.
  • Percussive Therapy: Amethyst became a pro-wrestler so she could beat people up to relieve the stress from feeling she doesn't live up to Garnet and Pearl's expectations.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: The episode is about Amethyst and Steven's careers as amateur pro-wrestlers in the local circuit.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: At least some of the wrestlers are playing characters, but others seem to be genuine, and almost all the actual wrestling is unstaged. Ronaldo, AKA "The Loch Ness Blogster", was not aware of this.
    Pre-fight: Don’t worry about yours truly getting hurt, though… we all know wrestling is just pretend!
    Post-fight post: I TAKE IT BACK, WRESTLING IS VERY REAL.
  • Pun: "Looks like this tiger's gotta turn cheetah!"
  • Ship Tease: Sadie looks adoringly at Lars when he's cheering for Tiger Millionaire.
  • Single Tear: Lars sheds one at the end of the episode, in awe of Tiger Millionaire.
  • Something We Forgot: Steven gets stuck in place when the goo covering him hardens before he can wash it off. Amethyst and Pearl have an argument, which Garnet more or less takes Pearl's side on, then they all storm off, leaving Steven there until late in the night.
  • Split-Screen Reaction: The screen shows cut-together closeups of everyone else, including Pearl, in reaction to Garnet's Little "No".
  • Stock Sound Effects: A shattering sound heard after Steven breaks free of the hardened blood polyp substance is the same one heard as Picard tosses aside his Kurlan naiskos in Star Trek: Generations.
  • Tag Team: Amethyst and Steven as Purple Puma and Tiger Millionaire.
  • Verbal Backspace: Steven recounts Purpla Puma's backstory, while actually explaining why Amethyst became a wrestler, and corrects himself when he refers to Puma as "she".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: This is where Pearl and Amethyst's relationship is TRULY demonstrated.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: All over the episode. Considering its source of parody, it zigzags between shoot and sell.
    • The crowd boo Steven especially hard for rejecting Lars's autograph.
    • Pearl and Garnet also give a major one to Amethyst for going behind their backs on what she and Steven have been doing, especially noting what a bad idea it is to use her powers against humans.
  • What Were You Thinking?:
    Pearl: [to Amethyst] How could you possibly think punching a blood polyp was a good idea?
  • Wrestling Monster: Amethyst's persona is an actually super-powered giant who's basically unstoppable in the ring.


Alternative Title(s): Steven Universe S 1 E 5 Tiger Millionaire

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