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Recap / Steven Universe S4E1 "Kindergarten Kid"

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Steven and Peridot chase after a speedy gem monster in the Kindergarten.


Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Despite the fact that the Peri-Plans backfire and lead to him and Peridot getting injured, Steven tells Peridot over a campfire that at least the plans were funny. The Gems agree with him, given they watched for that reason.
  • Amusing Injuries: Peridot and Steven both suffer their share of comical injuries. Peridot is crushed by various falling things, while the monster mauls Steven a couple of times and leaves him with torn up clothing.
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  • Bag of Holding: Steven spends a half-minute grabbing fistfuls of marshmallows from a bag and throwing them at Peridot. The bag should've long run out of marshmallows before Peridot grabbed it.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Peridot stands underneath an injector dangling from a cliff face by a thread and angrily kicks the wall because it didn't fall when she wanted it to. Steven notices the obvious danger in this and warns her, so she moves slightly out of the way and kicks the wall again... and a huge pile of boulders immediately falls on her. Then she climbs out and the injector falls on her.
  • Break the Haughty: Peridot finds out that capturing a Corrupted Gem monster is harder than it looks.
  • Breather Episode: Following an emotional second half of season 3, we get this mostly comical episode filled with slapstick.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Both Peridot and Steven get banged up a bit in this episode.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Gems are cleaning up the remnants of Jasper's monster army from "Beta"/"Earthlings". Peridot also mentions how she took Jasper down.
    • The magazine Lapis is reading is Pretty Hairstylist, an issue of which appeared in "Maximum Capacity".
  • Combat Pragmatist: In fairness to Peridot, all her Peri-plans involve not actually taking the monster head on since it managed to launch a Curb-Stomp Battle against the Crystal Gems. Peridot finally sheds this by attacking the monster head on after bonding with it, and then clinging as tightly as she can.
  • Complexity Addiction: Peridot claims that relying on the Injectors caused too many variables in the first two "Peri-Plans", so she decides to just push a rock on it.
  • Continuity Nod: Steven comments on how Peridot doesn't "poof easily," referring to when before Peri's Heel–Face Turn Garnet managed to poof her.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Gem Monster versus Garnet and Amethyst, which Peridot lampshades. She and Steven then lose in every subsequent encounter with the monster.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: After suffering the Running Gag of getting crushed under boulders twice, Peridot sets up her third plan (a boulder) on a cliff above where anything than can fall on her. Unfortunately for her, the monster takes advantage of this by shoving her down that cliff, and shoves her boulder down after her.
  • The Determinator:
    Peridot: Let it be known that I, Peridot, refuse to move forward, or back, until I am victorious.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • Peridot repeatedly calls the Gem monster dumb, despite it clearly being intelligent enough to avoid getting captured repeatedly. Steven says it's not dumb, it just thinks different, explaining how stressful it is for the monsters to live in a world where nothing understands them and only seems to want to hurt them, clearly reflecting on the prejudices directed towards the intellectually disabled.
    Steven: (pelting Peridot with marshmallows) Pretend I'm a freaked out human screaming at you in fear! Pretend I'm an Earth animal chasing you away from your first safe hiding spot! Pretend I'm an angry green gem trying to poof you! This is life for you now! End. Less. SUFFERING!!
    • Steven pelts Peridot with marshmallows while describing a world that belittles her at every opportunity until she gets fed up, grabbing the bag out of his hand with her teeth and ripping it apart in animalistic fury, proving Steven's point that anyone who has to deal with that kind of situation with no relief would act out eventually. This reflects on the frustration of racial/social minorities who are frequently told by people of privilege to "get over" prejudice while not realizing just how much they have to endure it.
  • Emotional Powers: Like Steven when he was starting out, Peridot seems to activate new powers when she's feeling some strong emotion. In this case, her ability to bubble is tied to her feelings of empathy.
  • Epic Fail: All of Peridot's "Peri-Plans" fail and backfire on her and Steven (but especially her).
    • Her first plan is to drop an injector on the monster, but it refuses to fall even after she's removed the legs supporting it. Then she walks over and kicks the wall to shake it loose, causing a bunch of rocks to fall on her head, followed by the injector when she climbs out of that.
    • Her second plan is to hit the monster with an improvised cannon. The test fire flings a rock a considerable distance. The next shot flings her into the canyon wall behind her (due to her not actually loading the cannon with ammo.)
    • Her third plan is to just drop a large rock on the monster from atop a cliff. The monster instead scares her off the cliff and then pushes the rock down after her.
  • Expy: The Gem monster that Peridot and Steven are chasing is a homage to the Road Runner; it even has Wheel o' Feet in some shots! The various indignities Peridot suffers throughout the episode are highly reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote's self-inflicted knocks as well.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Peridot is able to turn part of a thousands-of-years-old injector into a cannon in a few hours at most.
  • Hammerspace: Where was Steven keeping the bag of marshmallows?
  • Hartman Hips: Peridot possesses these in this episode.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: All of Peridot's plans backfire on her. Most notably, the Gem Monster runs up after she explains Plan C (crush it with a rock from a great height where nothing can fall on her or Steven), pushes her and Steven down, and then pushes the boulder down.
  • Homage: To the Looney Tunes Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner shorts.
  • Home Sweet Home: Apparently, bubbles teleport to the location the bubbler thinks of as "home". For the other Crystal Gems, it's the Temple. For Peridot, it's the barn.
  • Hypocrite: Peridot says that the Gems merely use brute force on the Gem Monsters, and that she's going to outsmart the one that escaped. By the time it's demonstrated some form of intelligence and all of her plans have failed, she resorts to grabbing onto it and trying to force the gem off of it.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Peridot's attempt to empathize with the gem monster seem to last only long enough to start kicking it. After it's beaten, she does express genuine sympathy toward it.
  • Impact Silhouette: After Peridot falls off the cliff while wrestling with the monster, Steven reaches the bottom to find that the two have made a hole shaped exactly like themselves, Peridot's hair included. Peridot climbs out with the corrupted gem in hand.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Despite all the physical abuse Peridot goes through in this episode, she doesn't poof once. Lampshaded by Steven.
    Steven: You don't poof easily, huh?
    Peridot: Us Peridots are tougher than we look.
  • It Amused Me: Garnet let Peridot capture the Gem Monster because she knew it would be funny for the Crystal Gems to watch.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Steven uses female pronouns for the Gem monster, and puts emphasis on she so Peridot will do the same.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After Peridot laughs at how the Crystal Gems failed to capture the Gem Monster, Garnet decides to pretend to leave with Pearl and Amethyst and watch Peridot's comical antics.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: The cannon malfunctions and causes Peridot to slam backward into a cliff.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: "Okay, just to make sure my Earth vocabulary is correct on this; let's say I'm a monster. I spend all my time slamming my face into hard objects and throwing my tongues in the air for fun. How am I not dumb?"
  • Lets See You Do Better: Amethyst says this word-for-word when Peridot laughs at how the Crystal Gems fail to capture the Gem Monster.
  • Literal-Minded: When Peridot asks how the Gem Monster clobbered her, Amethyst and Garnet, Pearl starts to go through the "blow-by-blow" before Garnet interrupts her.
  • MacGyvering: Peridot manages to cannibalize an injector to make a cannon.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Twice the monster reacts to Peridot's (self-defeating) plans to capture it by attacking Steven, who was doing nothing.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Peridot's third plan is to drop a large boulder on the Gem Monster when it moves to a certain spot. Steven immediately questions how she plans to get it there or make it stay still to be crushed.
  • NEET: This episode reveals that Lapis has no interest in doing Crystal Gem work, preferring to lounge around in the barn all the time.
  • New Superpower: Turns out Peridot has another power she didn't know about — she can create bubbles too, which go to the place she considers home: the barn.
  • No-Sell: Peridot gets close enough to the monster and attempts to poof it by kicking it, but all that does is anger the monster.
  • Not So Different:
    • Amethyst brings this up when Pearl complains about how Jasper was treating the monsters. Garnet explains that it's different because bubbling the monsters keeps them in stasis, unable to hurt themselves or others.
    • Steven tries to get Peridot to see the similarities she has with the monster to better understand it and allow her to capture it.
  • Off-Model: Quite a bit, with the Looney Tunes homage including more elastic animation. Peridot also gets the same oversized hair from "Same Old World" during the campfire scene.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Jasper managing to catch the monster in the first place.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Steven offers one to the Gem Monster when Peridot's second plan fails and the Gem Monster confronts him. He nervously laughs and says "Hey. You win this round" before it mauls him.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Peridot and Steven end up in a slapstick Looney Tunes Homage instead of the usual space drama or day-in-the-life antics that they know.
  • Pass the Popcorn: The Crystal Gems watch Peridot's antics from behind a boulder as she fails over and over again.
  • Pastiche: This episode is almost hilariously off model (with stretchy limbs and odd faces), no doubt to invoke the feel of the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons it is parodying.
  • Raptor Attack: The Gem Monster appears to be slightly influenced by this, along with the Roadrunner—she's intelligent, fleet-footed and birdlike.
  • Running Gag: Peridot falling and/or getting crushed by rocks.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Marshmallows, in Peri-speak, are 'confectionery puff-rocks'.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smarter Than You Look: Steven says this about the monster, which keeps avoiding capture despite Peridot calling it dumb.
  • Squashed Flat: Strangely averted, despite this episode being a homage to the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner shorts, Peridot doesn't flatten during the scenes where she collides with the side of a cliff, or falls face-first on the ground, or is on the rolling boulder.
  • Super Toughness: Peridot is battered and bruised, but she doesn't poof even once throughout the episode, even during the fall that finally poofed the monster.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Peridot claims that she and Steven should catch the monster easily because she will use brains rather than brawn to outsmart it. It turns out this Gem Monster is Smarter Than You Look.
    • After the first two plans fail, Peridot boasts that her third (drop a rock on the monster) is foolproof because now they're high enough that nothing can fall on them. Cue the monster scaring them off the cliff then pushing the rock on them.
  • The "The" Title Confusion: The episode is titled "Kindergarten Kid" according to its title card, but most official sources (such as iTunes and the Cartoon Network website and app) call it "The Kindergarten Kid".
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Steven suggests Peridot tries thinking from the monster's point of view to understand it better. Peridot decides to mimic its bobbing and tongue flailing, which lets her get close enough to it to (eventually) bubble it.
  • Toon Physics: Lampshaded.
    Steven: You don't poof easily, huh?
    Peridot: Us Peridots are tougher than we look.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Peridot spends the episode convinced that the corrupted Gem monster is mentally inferior and continually mocks it for this, even while it always manages to outsmart her. Thanks to Steven, however, she learns to better empathize with the monster by the end.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Peridot explains all of her Peri-Plans in great detail to Steven (and thus the audience) before putting them in motion. And naturally, they all fail.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Lapis barely glances at the gem Peridot bubbled appearing in the barn.
  • Victory by Endurance: Peridot eventually falls off a cliff with the corrupted Gem, but she "wins" simply because she was durable enough not to be poofed even when the monster did.
  • Wheel o' Feet: The Gem Monster does this in long shots.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Has been described as Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, only with two coyotes, and one of the coyotes knows how things can (and do) go wrong.
  • Worthy Opponent: Peridot admits that the Gem Monster was this after claiming it was dumb.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Peridot comes up with plans that would actually work in the show's normal setting but the genre of the day is comedy, not action, so she winds up continually thwarted.

Alternative Title(s): Steven Universe S 4 E 1 The Kindergarten Kid

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