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Recap / Steven Universe S2E4 "Say Uncle"

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Original airdate: April 2nd, 2015note 

Production code: 1031-056

"Don't worry, bro, none of this is canon. But THIS [cannon] is!"
Uncle Grandpa

In this unusually silly episode, Uncle Grandpa comes to town to aid Steven in unlocking the power of his mother's gem. Unfortunately, the Crystal Gems don't take kindly to this Reality Warper whose idea of "help" appears to be aiming all manner of guns at the boy, and decide he must be stopped. Hilarity Ensues.


  • Abnormal Ammo: Uncle Grandpa has a Bee-Bee Gun, a bow that fires snakes, and a literal head cannon.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Doom-tastic Death Ray of Dastardly Destruction.
  • Alternate Universe: Uncle Grandpa's world, which Steven briefly visits, compared to Steven's own.
  • An Aesop: You shouldn't just attack people you don't understand. Although considering how deliberately exaggerated the characters are in order for said conflict to arise, it's more directed at the non-fans of Uncle Grandpa who needlessly harp on it. It's also a parody of the typical Steven Universe episode Aesop.
  • April Fools' Day: The excuse Uncle Grandpa gives for the Canon Discontinuity of the episode, since it originally aired on April 2.
  • Art Shift:
    • Steven ends up shown in the style of Uncle Grandpa's animation when they escape through the Plot Hole.
    • Tiger appears next to Lion near the end of the episode, really highlighting the difference between the art styles.
  • Ascended Meme: Mr. Gus calls his Original Character a "Gemsona", which is the fandom term for any OC Gems.
  • Aside Glance: Uncle Grandpa talks to Steven and suddenly faces the audience as he declares Canon Discontinuity:
    Uncle Grandpa: Don't worry, bro, none of this is canon.
  • Audience Surrogate: The older gems (until the end) represent Uncle Grandpa's haters.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the beginning of the episode, it looks like Steven's late mother Rose Quartz is going to appear to him with much fanfare. But it turns out to be Uncle Grandpa dressed as her.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: Uncle Grandpa has a quad-barrel bazooka which fires giant wasps, which he uses on Steven twice.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The Crystal Gems eventually catch up to Uncle Granpda, and kick up a cloud of sand/dust giving him quite a beating.
  • Black Comedy:
    • After assuring the audience that none of this is canon, Uncle Grandpa sinks Lars and Sadie's ship with a (head) cannon.
    • Amethyst eats Pizza Steve after he dresses up like Steven, then pulls his sunglasses out of her mouth, puts them on, and stands there giving a thumbs-up. She later says that she hopes Steven didn't care about him.
  • Bowdlerise: Versions shown on Cartoon Network's Arabia channel cuts the part where Uncle Grandpa is dressed as Rose Quartz.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
  • Broad Strokes: The episode isn't canon, but Steven did become more proficient in summoning his shield at will in subsequent episodes, so something happened...
  • Broken Aesop: The moral that you can't attack someone just because you don't understand them might carry just a little more weight if the Gems hadn't walked in on Uncle Grandpa firing snakes, bees, and a giant death ray at Steven. Although considering just how jokey this episode is, the moral probably wasn't the main concern anyway.
  • The Burlesque of Venus: Uncle Grandpa appears dressed like Rose Quartz in a giant, pink clam, surrounded by seagulls and dolphins added for fan-fare.
  • Call-Back: Uncle Grandpa watches a scene from "Gem Glow"... from an advertisement for his show.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Steven tries to do this when summoning his shield, but ends up summoning his bubble instead.
  • Canon Discontinuity: When Steven exclaims that he literally can't believe that Uncle Grandpa is here, UG says that none of this is canon, then pulls out a cannon and fires his head away, with the contrail saying April Fools' Day.
  • Foreshadowing: Despite the episode being non-canon, it still manages to predict several future plot beats:
  • Captain Ersatz: Keep Beach City Weird gives us Inter-dimensional Family Friend, which apparently crossed over with Crying Breakfast Friends in the show's universe.
  • Continuity Nod: The Bee-Bee Gun fires the wasps from Steven's Imagine Spot in "Future Vision".
  • Character Title: The "uncle" of Uncle Grandpa.
  • Chase Scene: The Crystal Gems chase Uncle Granpda (who Steven follows) that goes through an entire white space segment.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Steven expresses reservations about the safety of Uncle Grandpa aiming a rocket launcher at him. Uncle Grandpa has a less than reassuring response:
    Uncle Grandpa: Don't worry, kid, I'm wearing a helmet.
  • Crossover: With Uncle Grandpa.
    • An In-Universe one occurred between Crying Breakfast Friends and Inter-dimensional Family-Friend (who even resembles Uncle Grandpa). Ronaldo gives a review of the crossover on his blog.
  • Crossover Couple: Lion and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
  • Crossover Punchline: The episode ends with Uncle Grandpa reading a piece of paper listing characters from many other Cartoon Network shows.
  • Denser and Wackier: The comedy is a lot more cartoony and reality-breaking than the usual Steven Universe episodes.
  • Ear Ache: The Crystal Gems' beating of Uncle Grandpa results in his ear plopping off as Steven keeps them from doing more.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: During "gemsona week" on Tumblr (which happened before this episode aired), Mr. Gus used his own blog to show his gemsona.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Uncle Grandpa uses odd methods to help Steven with his powers.
  • Fake Crossover: Because of the significantly stylistic differences, it's not canon for Steven Universe and, given Pizza Steve is dead by the episode's end, probably not for Uncle Grandpa either (as much as anything is canon; Pizza Steve had also been eaten at one point on his own show). Heck, it's even lampshaded:
    Uncle Grandpa: Don't worry, bro, none of this is canon.
  • Flanderization: Played for Laughs.
  • Freak Out:
    • The Gems after their heads reattach to their bodies, especially Pearl, who faints out due to overwhelming shock, and Amethyst, who has her Head Turned Backwards.
    • Pearl has another one when she and the other Gems get caught in a Void Between the Worlds, and when she encounters Pizza Steve.
    • The Crystal Gems' reaction when they see what Uncle Grandpa can do? They freak the heck out.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The globe everyone's heads float show some distinct differences between Earth in real life and Earth in the show: Florida is not part of mainland North America (which was also shown in "Jail Break") and there seems to be a large landmass off the coast of central South America.
    • When Uncle Grandpa is leaving, he pulls out a clipboard full of other Cartoon Network characters, all checked off, with Clarence being next on the list.
    • When Pearl tries to talk to Uncle Grandpa, he and Steven play a Super Smash Bros.-style fighting game with Hopper from "Garnet's Universe" and Uncle Grandpa's robot friend Tiny Miracle as the fighters.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: The magical weapon of Mr. Gus's gemsona is a frying pan.
  • Head Turned Backwards: Amethyst lands her head backwards on her body.
  • Here We Go Again!: After helping Steven, Uncle Grandpa checks off his name on a list of other Cartoon Network characters (and some Hanna-Barbera characters). The next one on the list is Clarence.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Steven is having trouble summoning his shield and not his bubble. He finally manages it at the end when trying to stop the Gems from attacking Uncle Grandpa.
  • Huddle Shot: Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst huddle together, worrying that Uncle Grandpa is a threat to the fabric of space, only for him and Steven to cut them off.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Crystal Gems call Uncle Grandpa a monster... while both Pearl and Amethyst have pointed teeth and the latter is hissing.
  • Imagine Spot: At first it looks like Pizza Steve is making a really dramatic entrance, but it turns out that it's just his thought bubble.
  • In Memoriam: Parodied with the episode being dedicated "in loving memory" to Pizza Steve. invoked
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    Garnet: Pearl, you're overreacting.
  • Jaw Drop: GRFT's jaw drops when Steven summons his shield. Lion just looks on.
  • Large Ham: Deedee Hall (Pearl), Michaela Dietz (Amethyst) and Estelle (Garnet) all are noticeably far hammier than usual, and launch into histrionics at the slightest provocation. Amusingly, Zach Callison (Steven) gives a rather subdued performance, since he ends up acting as the straight man to all of Uncle Grandpa's insanity.
  • Losing Your Head: When Belly Bag explains who Uncle Grandpa is, it makes Steven's and the Gems' heads float off their bodies and orbit the Earth. Pearl is understandably freaked out by this, she feels to make sure her head is back on her body where it belongs and then proceeds to Faint in Shock; Amethyst freaks out because her head reattaches backwards, and Garnet visibly shudders after being frozen in an uncomfortable expression. Steven takes it a lot better, giving Uncle Grandpa a fist bump when they come back.
  • Magic is Evil: The Crystal Gems when they see what Uncle Grandpa is capable of. Instead of being mystified and whimsical about it, they're downright terrified, and quickly decide that he's a threat to not only Steven but also the world. Indeed, Pearl in particular seems to slowly Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • Meta Guy:
    • Unlike the more serious Steven Universe characters, Uncle Grandpa is able to break the fourth wall.
    • Mr. Gus knows all about Steven and the Gems, and even has his own Gemsona.
  • The Multiverse: Mr. Gus has "a comprehensive knowledge of all magical denizens of the multiverse", which is how he knows about Steven.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl perceive Uncle Grandpa as a threat to the stability of the universe. Their immediate solution? Kill him.
  • Nervous Wreck: Pearl spends the episode constantly having freak outs and crying.
  • Never Say "Die":
    Pearl: [Uncle Granpda], we have decided—
    Garnet: That you are a danger to Steven and the planet Earth, and we MUST destroy you!
  • Ocular Gushers: Pearl cries excessively after Steven delivers his Aesop.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Besides being a giant nod to many beloved CN shows, Uncle Grandpa's list will make you wish to see what some of his visits must have been like.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the gems declare Uncle Grandpa to be too dangerous:
    Garnet: That you're a danger to Steven and the planet Earth, and we must destroy you!
    Steven: What?
    Uncle Grandpa: Bad morning!
  • Original Character: In-universe, Mr. Gus created his own Gem, even using the fan term "gemsona".
  • Painting the Medium: Amethyst trips over the 'y' in "run away" that appears when Steven and UG flee the Gems.
    Amethyst: Why?!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Pizza Steve tries to pass himself as Steven to the Gems. Not only do they not fall for it, Pearl is very disturbed, and he gets eaten by Amethyst.
  • Plot Hole: Belly Bag summons a literal plot hole to escape the Crystal Gems. It's basically the giant white void where the intermissions happen in Uncle Grandpa.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Mr. Gus begins to explain how Steven's powers are triggered by a specific emotion, but gets cut off before he can finish. We can infer, however, that what he was going for was "love" or "protectiveness"
  • Reality Warping: Pearl directly describe Uncle Grandpa as a "reality-warping entity".
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Uncle Grandpa trains a rocket launcher on Steven to help his summon his shield. Luckily the projectile is tiny and only explodes harmlessly after hitting Steven.
  • Recycled Animation: When the Crystal Gems summon their weapons to attack Uncle Grandpa, the animation is identical to a scene in "Ocean Gem".
  • Rule of Symbolism: Uncle Grandpa tells Steven (and thereby the viewer) that "none of this is canon". He then produces a real cannon, puts his head in it, and fires it at Lars and Sadie's ship. So a headcanon sank the fandom ship.
  • Sanity Slippage: Pearl (whose character traits are heavily exaggerated in this episode) can't handle the zaniness brought upon by Uncle Grandpa and has multiple breakdowns.
  • Self-Parody: The episode is very much aware that this crossover can't be taken seriously, and makes several meta gags and Breaking the Fourth Wall jokes.
  • Ship Sinking: Parodied in universe when UG's cannon sinks a ship that has Lars and Sadie on it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Immediately after a quick shot of UG and Steven playing a Super Smash Bros.-like video game, the Gems summon their weapons, with "CRYSTAL GEMS" written out on screen and announced in the same over-the-top voice and fashion as the announcer from the game series itself.
    • The promo seen above has a matching style to the eyecatches of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, as well as a similar color pallete to SEX and VIOLENCE with MACHSPEED.
    • Uncle Granpda uses a bow that fires snakes was, which was also used to kill the Love Interest in Conan the Barbarian (1982).
    • At the end of the episode, Uncle Grandpa goes through a list of people he has to visit, all of them being characters of other Cartoon Network shows.
  • Significant Name Overlap: Pizza Steve meets Steven and complains about the presence of someone with a similar name, immediately assuming he's being replaced. So Pizza Steve tries to take Steven's place and gets himself eaten by Amethyst.
  • Spit Out a Shoe: Amethyst pulls Pizza Steve's glasses out of her mouth after she eats him. For an added bonus, she puts them on.
  • Spoof Aesop: Uncle Grandpa teaches "Don't be afraid of being super weird".
  • Status Quo Is God: Mr. Gus nearly explains to Steven exactly how his powers work (his explanation more or less mirroring what fans had already figured out), only for Pizza Steve to interrupt by showing that he's vandalized Mr. Gus's OC drawing.
  • Stealth Pun:
  • Stylistic Self-Parody: When Amethyst's head gets turned backward, she has to explain this out loud, because her body looks almost the same from the front as from the back, the main difference being her missing gem.
  • Super-Deformed: Steven, when he goes to stop the Gems from hurting Uncle Grandpa.
  • Take That, Audience!: The episode's Aesop seems to be directly inspired by the negative reaction within the SU fanbase to the announcement that there was going to be a UG - SU crossover, as well as the Hatedom Uncle Grandpa itself has received since its announcement. Given Production Lead Time, the message is scarily clairvoyant... though the crew's declaration that the episode was going to be the best thing ever and totally canon (as an elaborate April Fool's Day prank) did stir the pot quite a bit.
  • Too Powerful to Live: The Crystal Gems deem Uncle Grandpa too dangerous to exist and try to kill him.
  • Training from Hell: Using live ordinance to help Steven train would qualify. He later uses a death ray.
  • Visual Pun:
  • Void Between the Worlds: Belly Bag's Plot Hole takes the form of this.
  • Wingding Eyes: Pearl's eyes become two Xs when she faints after her head gets back on her body.
  • Wrap Around: While stuck inside the white voids where the Uncle Grandpa interstitials take place, the Crystal Gems' running always takes them off screen and back from the opposite side.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Uncle Grandpa's Reality Warping abilities freak the Gems out.


Video Example(s):


The Two Steves

Steven Universe meets a talking pizza named Steve, who isn't happy that they both share the same name.

How well does it match the trope?

4.64 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneSteveLimit

Media sources: