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Recap / Steven Universe S3E12 "Restaurant Wars"

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Original airdate: July 25th, 2016

Production code: 1031-091

When Peedee offers Steven some mozzarella sticks he found in the back of the freezer of the Fry shop, this ignites a war between Mr. Fryman and Kofi Pizza, which Steven and their kids must figure out how to break up.


  • Aesop Amnesia: After what happened in "Love Letters" when Steven and Connie interfered with Garnet's blunt rejection letter and when Steven in Lars's body confessed love for Sadie in "The New Lars" only to hurt her feelings, you'd think Steven would be more careful in setting up romantic ploys, even fake ones. To be fair, he too probably didn't believe Ronaldo about him having a girlfriend.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Kofi and Mr. Fryman beg Steven to close his restaurant.
  • Artistic License Law: The last Restaurant War ended when Kofi and Fryman agreed not to compete with each other as to drive a third restaurant out of business. In real life, this is called collusion, and is illegal.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Steven lampshades how Fryman's hair look like fries, which he seems oblivious to.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": While Ronaldo and Kiki are decent actors when it comes to pretending they're lovers in front of their parents, Steven is still terrible.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Kofi and Mr. Fryman look ready to run Steven out of town (for serving both pizza and fries that could compete with their businesses), but instead, they kneel in front of him and plead with him to close the restaurant.
  • Bifauxnen: Garnet and Pearl rock their male waiter uniforms.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The titular war is over, but the events leading to it had Ronaldo get dumped by his girlfriend.
  • Black Comedy Burst: Kofi attempts to replace the cards used for regular members by burning the words "VIP" into their skin with a branding iron!
  • Brick Joke: When Ronaldo complains about doing deliveries when he doesn't have a car, his father points out his shoes have retractable skates. After Jane breaks up with him, Ronaldo tries to run after her, but the wheels come out by accident and cause him to fall on his face.
  • Burger Fool: Peedee is back outside Beach Citywalk fries advertising the restaurant, now dressed in a pizza costume.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one believed that Ronaldo had a girlfriend when he said he didn't want to fake being Kiki's boyfriend. She then breaks up with him because she didn't believe Ronaldo when he said it was a ploy to stop the feud.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Viewers wondered why the box office girl from "Lion 2 The Movie" was hanging around Ronaldo and the cool kids in "Beach City Drift". This episode reveals that she was his girlfriend.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Amethyst's willingness to eat food, unlike most Gems, allows her to cook well.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The first plan to stop the Restaurant War causes Ronaldo to lose his girlfriend, which was exactly what he was afraid of before being pressured into doing it anyway. Absolutely no one but him cares.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ronaldo complains the feud made him lose Fish Stew Pizza's free Wi-Fi, something he previously mentioned in the Keep Beach City Weird entries for "Beach Party and "Secret Team".
    • Ronaldo's girlfriend, Jane, was the girl working the ticket booth in "Lion 2: The Movie" and was among the crowd in "Beach City Drift". She came by to return his DVDs of Koala Princess, which was discussed by Ronaldo's online post after "Lion 3: Straight to Video".
  • Creator Cameo: Ian Jones-Quartey appears as one of the customers outside the two restaurants, refusing food from someone else.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: When Ronaldo and Kiki are supposed to be pretending to be madly in love, the best Kiki can come up with is that Ronaldo is "sweet and quirky in a way I can tolerate."
  • Death Glare: Kofi and Mr. Fryman share one at Steven's restaurant.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Kofi immediately restarts the feud because he considers fried mozzarella sticks to be too similar to pizza.
  • Don't Look At Me: Peedee says this when Steven tries to talk to him, while he's wearing a pizza costume.
  • Enemy Mine: The last feud between Kofi and Fryman ended when a new buffet opened and threatened all the shops on the boardwalk, forcing the two to sign a treaty so they could focus on the bigger threat.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Mr. Fryman appears like this, with his visor providing the shadow, when he sees that Fish Stew Pizza is going to serve fries.
  • Face Plant: Ronaldo tries to run after Jane, but the wheels in his shoes come out and he falls face-first on the boardwalk.
  • Fanservice: Garnet in a tuxedo and Pearl in her waiter uniform.
  • Feud Episode: Steven inadvertently restarts a feud between Kofi and Mr. Fryman.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • While Steven is walking away from Beach Citywalk Fries eating a mozzarella stick, Kofi can be seen behind the door of Fish Stew Pizza with an angry look, waiting until Steven walks in front of the restaurant to burst out.
    • As Kofi and Fryman end their feud and the rest of their families gather around to celebrate, Ronaldo can be seen burying his head in his arms in sadness.
  • Gale-Force Sound: Kofi's yell ruffles Jenny's hair.
  • Genghis Gambit: Steven's final solution to the problem is to set his own house up as a restaurant that forces Kofi and Fryman to set aside their differences and work together.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Ronaldo claims to have a girlfriend, and everyone else but Steven gives him an incredulous look. Then Ronaldo's girlfriend turns out to be real.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Ronaldo calls Jane his "ohimesama" (princess) as she breaks up with him.
  • Heroic BSoD: After losing his girlfriend, Ronaldo spends the rest of the episode crying.
  • Hidden Depths: Steven and Amethyst are accomplished cooks.
  • History Repeats: Steven puts an end to the feud by doing the same thing that happened the last time the two fought: introducing another restaurant too good for them to compete against alone.
  • Hope Spot: It looks like Steven's "fake dating" plan is going to go off without a hitch... so naturally, Ronaldo's actual girlfriend Jane shows up at the worst possible time, causing him to expose the plan in a failed attempt to keep Jane around.
  • It's All My Fault: Peedee initially blames himself for frying up those mozzarella sticks and restarting the war... until Steven reminds him that he was the one who asked for them. Peedee then agrees that it's Steven's fault.
  • Karma Houdini: While Steven at least gets called out for creating the overall conflict of the episode (as mentioned above), he isn't called out for ruining Ronaldo's relationship with Jane.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Amethyst at the end mentioning that "[Pearl, Garnet, and I] on break" with the Iris Out focusing on Garnet seems to be a deliberate nod to the Crystal Gems' decreased focus for the majority of this season (with Garnet herself having been noticeably absent for the past five episodes).
  • Leonine Contract: Kofi tries to get Steven to sign a contract that wouldn't allow him to eat at any other restaurant.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: When Kofi thinks Ronaldo and Kiki are in a relationship, he interrogates Ronaldo to make sure they're "just hugging".
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Ronaldo pretends to be Kiki's boyfriend right as his real girlfriend shows up, who dumps him immediately because she doesn't believe him.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Steven serves the Frymans fries with ketchup baked in and cream cheese pizza bagels to the Pizzas. Fryman and Kofi act like he served them manna from heaven and promptly beg him to shut down.
  • Must Make Amends: Steven feels responsible for starting the restaurant war, so he decides he has to stop the feud.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Steven says this after Fryman offers him pizza bits and Kofi tries to brand him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Steven's first plan causes Ronaldo to lose his girlfriend Jane.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Ronaldo's girlfriend Jane arrives to the boardwalk when he and Kiki are pretending to be in a relationship, and she breaks off with him and walks away before he can explain what's happening.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Steven when Kofi catches him eating the mozarella sticks.
    • Also Steven when Kofi chases him with a branding iron.
    • Ronaldo when Jane shows up in the middle of the fake dating ploy.
    • Kofi and Mr. Fryman when they taste Steven's dishes.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: While Kofi puts up a "Now serving fries" sign on the window of Fish Stew Pizza, viewers are shown a shot of both restaurants, with no one else but Steven in sight. As Steven reads the sign, Mr. Fryman suddenly appears standing before Beach Citywalk Fries.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Steven was willing to create a fake love ploy to stop the feud, not taking Ronaldo's feelings into account.
  • The Quiet One: Garnet finally reappears after a five episode long absence... and just stands in a corner neither speaking nor interacting with the rest of the characters in the episode save for clapping at the end.
  • Restaurant-Owning Episode: Steven turns his house into a restaurant at the end, but only as part of his Genghis Gambit to end Fryman and Kofi's feud. Afterward, Steven points out he doesn't have time to keep running one.
  • Right on Queue: Onion appears outside Steven's door as Kofi mentions a line.
  • Sanity Slippage: The rivalry between the restaurants causes increasingly desperate business decisions, especially in Kofi, who chases Steven around with a branding iron.
  • Say My Name: "KOFI!" "FRYMAN!"
  • Serious Business: Boardwalk food being too similar to each other.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kofi references the '90s Bagel Bites jingle, "When pizza's on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime."
    • The entire episode is a love letter to Food Wars!, including the over-the-top reactions to Steven's cooking, detailed descriptions of the food, and the actual Food War itself, sans the gratuitous nudity.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Kiki and Ronaldo use this shtick à la Romeo and Juliet to get their parents to stop feuding. It nearly works but is foiled when Ronaldo's girlfriend shows up.
  • Supreme Chef: Steven and Amethyst, surprisingly enough, to the point that Kofi and Mr. Fryman end the feud solely so that Steven would close down the restaurant he set up in his house out of fear of the competition.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: While pretending to be Ronaldo's girlfriend, Kiki proclaims that he is "quirky in a way I can tolerate".
  • Title Drop: Uttered when Kofi and Mr. Fryman declare they're in a feud.
  • Thunder Shock: As part of the episode's more-Animesque-than usual style, Mr. Fryman gets one after tasting Steven's creation.
    Fryman: The ketchup... IS INSIDE THE FRIES?!?!
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Steven kicks off the feud because Peedee served him mozzarella sticks from the back of the fridge, which Kofi considers competition since bread, cheese, and marinara sauce are the basic elements of a pizza.
    • Ronaldo's girlfriend Jane shows up at the exact moment he and Kiki are faking a romance to get their fathers to stop their feud, which is right on the verge of succeeding, and misunderstands it all as him cheating on her, which leads to Ronaldo explaining the point of the whole charade. Jane still doesn't believe him, dumps him and runs off, and Kofi reinstates his feud.
  • Visual Pun: Kofi introduces "a brand new permanent VIP pizza card" and brings out a branding iron.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kofi wants to brand Steven with a VIP iron.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Ronaldo got a girlfriend at some point, one who shares his love of anime, but she breaks up with him over a misunderstanding seconds after this is revealed.