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Recap / Steven Universe S2E20 "Sadie's Song"

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It's Beachapalooza once again! Steven is helping Mr. Smiley give out flyers. He tries to give one to Lars, who ignores him. Steven being Steven, he leaves it outside. Entering the Big Donut, he calls for Sadie, but she's nowhere to be found. Curious Steven looks around and finds her in the stock room, singing and vamping along with a cheesy pop song on the radio.

Steven cheers and Sadie is absolutely mortified that Steven caught her singing. But Steven tells her that her voice is great. Sadie insists that anyone could sing along with the song due to how cheesy and catchy it is.

Sadie: And I know...every word.

Steven encourages Sadie with his usual innocent enthusiasm to sing at Beach-a-Palooza! Before long, they're back at Sadie's house. Her bedroom is in the basement, and Steven thinks that's cool. He also thinks the giant pile of plush toys is cool. Sadie tells Steven offhand that they're not really hers, but that he's welcome to take one.

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Steven: I couldn't break up a family.

As Steven begins suggesting routines and outfit items for Sadie's performance, a sound alerts her that her mother is home. She tries to usher Steven off, but Barb the mail carrier comes down with a new plush toy for Sadie's already enormous pile. Barb asks what they're up to. Sadie tries to muffle Steven from saying but it gets out: Sadie is considering singing at Beachapalooza. Immediately Barb is excited and on board, launching into Sadie's closet to take out Sadie's ballet outfit, her swimsuit, and her softball outfit. Sadie has a story for each one, and how briefly each thing lasted — particularly the softball; Barb punched out the umpire for "trying to cheat Sadie out of a double."

Before long, Steven and Barb are trying to turn Sadie into a pop star. They're doing her hair and making her walk in heels she's obviously too uncomfortable and self conscious to walk in. They pick out a midriff-baring dress, and drag her back when she walks away from them in disgust. Sadie expresses worry about her name being on the flyer. Steven counters enthusiastically by saying if they leave her off, she'll be the Mystery Guest!

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Finally the big night comes around, and Mr. Smiley introduces some of the acts. Kiki Pizza and Gunga Nanafua as a ventriloquist and dummy.

Nanafua: How does pizza tie its shoes? With a garlic knot!

Jamie the mailman does a mime act with snarky commentary from Jenny Pizza in the audience.

Ronaldo Fryman gives a lecture on what he knows of Rock People.And as the evening goes on, we finally get our first look at Sadie, who is made up to a fare-thee-well, and is clearly nervous and uncomfortable about the whole thing. Mr. Smiley tries to help with her stage nerves.

Mr. Smiley: A smile never hurt anybody.

Sadie manages a smile, along with Barb and Steven, who begin showering her with glitter until they run out. Barb goes to the car to get more, leaving the two kids alone. Sadie rushes to get a drink of water and in the process washes off her lipstick. Steven goes to reapply it, and Sadie hits her limit. She dunks her head in the drinking water keg and washes all her makeup off, until she looks like she normally does.

Finally, Sadie explains that she thought this might be fun to do, but on her own terms. But soon as her mother found out, her mother rushed right in, took over, and started steamrolling Sadie into doing things her way regardless of how Sadie felt about it — to the point that when she was interested briefly in softball, every gift was softball-related until the umpire incident got her kicked off the league.

Of course just as Sadie reaches the summit of her rant, her mother returns to hear it. Stunned, Barb says she just wanted the world to see how talented her daughter was. She says, confused, she thought Sadie wanted to do this.

Steven steps up and says that Sadie never really said she wanted to do it. Steven suggested it and got the ball rolling, and Sadie simply didn't stop him.

The announcement is made from Mr. Smiley that it's the Mystery Guest. The curtain rises, the music starts — but instead of Sadie, it's Steven, all made up like a pop diva, wearing Sadie's glitzy, glittery outfit, and singing.

A day or so later, Steven is playing the same pop song on his ukulele, and Sadie is singing along, no longer unhappy that she was being railroaded into doing something, but now happy that Steven still admires her singing without trying to turn her into something she's not.

We Iris Out on Sadie singing after Beachapalooza.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: For the second episode in a row, the Gems are absent.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This is the first (and only) Sadie-centric episode of Season 2.
  • Adorkable: Sadie singing while stocking the shelves.
  • An Aesop: If you're uncomfortable doing something (like Sadie performing on-stage), that may be a good enough reason not to do it. Other times (like Sadie confronting her mother), not doing it just makes things worse.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The way Sadies mother is introduced, with her scared reaction and the heavy thumping down the stairs, it sounds like the introduction of an Abusive Parent.
    • When Sadie lets slip that she's going to perform the camera lingers on Barb's shocked expression with the soundtrack playing foreboding music... instead she loves the idea.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The outfit that Steven and Barb decide on for Sadie to wear for Beachapalooza.
  • Basement-Dweller: Sadie lives in her mom's basement (though she likes to think of it as a bunker).
  • Breather Episode: Much lighter in tone than "Nightmare Hospital" was, but with the same central theme.
  • Call-Back:
    • Beachapalooza has come around again since "Steven and the Stevens", and the previous episode establishes that it's been about a year since "An Indirect Kiss".
    • Barb, who Steven met in "Love Letters" had already been confirmed to be Sadie's mother by Word of God, but here it's finally asserted in-universe.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Sadie breaks down and finally tells to her mom how much she hates how Barb goes overboards on whatever Sadie shows an interest in, never considering how she feels or letting her do things her way.
  • The Cameo: The pop song on the radio is sung by Olivia Olson, who'd previously sung several songs written by Rebecca Sugar on Adventure Time as Marceline.
  • Connected All Along: As it turns out, Barb is Sadie's mother.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sadie has an Evil Bear 2 poster on her wall. Ronaldo screened the original in "Horror Club".
    • Ronaldo's "act" is a lecture on "Rock people: Identification and Defense", apparently a continuation of his "polymorphic sentient rocks" theory from "Keep Beach City Weird". On his chalkboard is an equation with the four-diamond version of the Homeworld symbol plus what appears to be a crude representation of the Injectors from the Kindergarten, which Ronaldo has equated to Peridot. The latter references "Cry for Help" and the corresponding Keep Beach City Weird post where he saw her broadcast on television. It's not clear how Ronaldo stumbled upon the other two.
    • Barb's still calling Steven "Greg's boy".
  • Control Freak: Barb increasingly shuts Sadie out of the decision making process for her performance.
  • Disappeared Dad: Sadie's father is never even mentioned.
  • Ear Worm: In universe, Sadie describes the song she's singing as catchy, to the point that she knows every word of it.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: Barb mentions numerous hobbies Sadie had picked up when she was younger (ballet, softball, swimming) and Sadie points out she stopped doing all of them rather quickly. Sadie states later that she was never that interested in most of them, Barb just took any attention Sadie gave as a reason to shove her head first into some new way to show off how great her daughter was.
  • Foreshadowing: Sadie says the pile of toys aren't hers, implying they belong more to her mom than to her, an early red flag on how Barb pushes things on Sadie to exaggerated levels and how Sadie feels her mom does it more for herself than for her.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Ronaldo's chalkboard clearly has a drawing of Peridot, but in a wider shot as Kiki and Nanafua walk by, the board is also shown to contain the "Diamond Authority" (Homeworld) symbol and what appears to be a crude representation of the Injectors in the Kindergarten, the two of which Ronaldo has linked to Peridot.
    • One of the parental couples with their kid in the audience are two women.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Sadie has a pile of stuffed animals that Barb gets for her, despite Sadie not wanting any.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Sadie gets so stressed before the act she runs off to get a cup of water, then the second time she dumps her head into the water container which washes her makeup off.
  • Jerkass Realization: At the climax Steven realizes that Sadie never really wanted to sing, and that he was unwittingly pressuring her into it (along with Barb).
  • Mama Bear: Barb, who once punched Sadie's softball umpire in the face because she believed that he was trying to cheat Sadie out of a double.
  • My Beloved Smother: Barb has a few shades of this, as she's even more enthusiastic about Sadie performing than Steven is. And she's done this kind of thing before.
  • Naked People Are Funny: As mentioned under Noodle Incident, after Steven's Beachapalooza performance 2 years ago, the need for clothes was made a rule.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently Beachapalooza has been a clothing enforced event since Steven pulled an unknown act two years ago.
    • Barb once punched Sadie's softball umpire.
    • Barb's knee brace.
  • Performance Anxiety: Sadie gets anxious and flustered when she realizes that Steven was watching her.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Sadie reaches her breaking point and vents her frustrations towards Steven and her mom after he tries to re-apply her lipstick.
  • Real Time: In-universe, this episode takes place one year after "Steven and the Stevens", at the next Beachapalooza. The two episodes also premiered just about a year apart in real life (one year and thirteen days to be exactly).
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Instead of being encouraged to sing by Steven and Barb's 'help', Sadie ends up cracking under the pressure.
    • When Barb punched out the umpire for supposedly cheating Sadie out of a double, Sadie was banned from the league.
  • Right Behind Me: Barb was just returning with more glitter when Sadie yelled at Steven that he was just as pushy as she was.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Nanafua correctly guesses that the Mystery Guest is Steven because it's something he would do. However, it was Barb's idea and the original plan was for Sadie to sing.
  • Rock Star Song: "Haven't You Noticed (I'm a Star)" is about how great it is to be a celebrity. It has a slight satirical element that may or may not have been intended by the in-universe writer, as the singer doesn't seems to appreciate the difference between friends who know her and fans of her music and seems fast-tracked to burn out.
    Everybody needs a friend,
    And I've got you and you and you
    So many, I can't even name them,
    Can you blame me? I'm too famous.
    Haven't you noticed that I'm a star?
    I'm coming into view as the world is turning.
    Haven't you noticed I've made it this far?
    Now, everyone can see me burning.
  • Rule of Symbolism: You know the scar on Sadie's cheek from "Island Adventure"? While giving her daughter a makeover, Barb covers that scar with a make-up star, as though representing how she's covering up Sadie's "imperfections" (her tomboyish but shy personality) without understanding that they are a part of Sadie.
  • Shaking the Rump: Sadie does this when she's dancing and singing in private.
  • Stage Mom: Barb is very pushy over Sadie's performance for the Beachapalooza, ignoring Sadie's obvious discomfort. Wherever it was ballet, swimming or softball, she wanted Sadie to be a super star when Sadie just wanted to keep things simple and have fun. Even until today, she shows not-so-subtle hints that she wants Sadie to be famous on something, according with six years of bats and softball caps as birthday gifts.
  • Stealing from the Till: Barb admits to Steven that she takes from the lost mail bin, and tells him to keep it between them. It's implied that's where she got all of Sadie's teddy bears.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: When we finally see Sadie with make-up she's actually unrecognizable while looking absolutely scared.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Steven gets one from Sadie after realizing she didn't want to be coaxed into singing.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: When Steven ends up singing instead of Sadie, he wears the outfit too. Complete with a midriff baring skirt.
  • Your Make Up Is Running: Averted. Despite shoving her whole head inside a water cooler, Sadie comes out clean of any make-up without the need of removal.

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