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“Steven Universe” Recap: “Bubble Buddies”

Do you realize it’s been over a decade before Spongebob Squarepants aired “Bubble Buddy?” That’s all I could think of as Steven Universe started this week. With that Spongebob still imprinted in my mind (booboo keys…) and Steven’s history of having minimal acquaintances, I assumed he too would be making poppable companions. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. There were earthquakes, a couple of new characters, and a budding romance.

The Gems mention earthquakes, but we never really circle back to that with so many words. In the midst of that conversation, they notice Steven taking a Sisyphean bike ride on the sand. They quickly realize he’s trying to impress a young girl reading on the sand, and though they can’t wait to get involved, Steven warns them not to interfere as they could really mess with his “funky flow.” Up until this point, I assumed Steven was too young to have feelings like this. He seems so immature that it’s weird to think that he’s developed a serious crush on a girl and is acting on it.

Let’s take a step away from the story to talk more about this love interest of Steven’s—Connie. She’s taller than Steven with a darker complexion than him as well. I wanted to say she was black but assuming that Garnet and Amethyst are black due to their characteristics, I’d say Connie was more Hispanic or Indian. The idea of race seems to never play a part in this world, and why should it? As someone who is mixed, this is an exciting factor of the show because it never fails to make me smile when a couple is interracial, animated or not. That aside, Connie knows a lot about boats due to spending too much time on the various beaches that her father works at as a private security guard. If things get serious with Steven, will we meet the dad – perhaps on a first date?

Steven’s fumbles to impress Connie are all too familiar with what we’ve come to know about him: he screws up, saves the situation, and then plays that cycle on repeat. This is proven when Steven saves Connie from being flattened by a boulder, gets them stuck in a bubble, follows that with failed attempts to burst the bubble, and, finally, saves Connie from a glow-eating worm.

Other than Connie we meet Onion…man oh man. The little mute actually looks like a baby onion with that odd shaped head. This is the first time, other than the Gems, that a character has looked like their name. Is that a sign that Onion’s more important than we are led to believe? Like Peedee, who makes quite an appearance in this episode, I hope we see Onion again soon.

It always appears to me that Steven’s sort of a loner, but then we met Connie and realize Steven’s pretty sane for only having the Gems and Peedee by his side. Connie’s breakdown over dying—and only expecting her parents to care—was heartwrenching. It showed the maturity level of the show just as Peedee’s speech did in “Frybo.”

Another human level that was touched on was this idea of purehearted stalking. Okay, that sounds weird but who hasn’t lurked their crushes on Facebook before? Steven totally teetered on the line between sweet and weird when he admitted to holding onto Connie’s bracelet for over a year after she lost it. Did he know he’d see her again?

And like clockwork “Cheeseburger Backpack” accompanied “Bubble Buddies.” So far we’ve gotten a good grasp on Steven, the Gems, and some colorful acquaintances. The big question I still have after all these episodes is about Steven’s mother. All we know is that she had to cease to exist for him to be born, but that’s it. Let’s hope the next wave of episodes dive further into that aspect and that Steven gets a little further with Connie.

“Bubble Buddies” was storyboarded by Kat Morris and Aleth Romanillos.

  • Roberto Severino

    Another pretty good episode. I really like how they’re turning Steven into a much more likable, relatable character and continuing to explore his personality and the relationships he has with the other characters. It’s more than enough to keep me watching on a regular basis. I’m also amazed at how much they’re able to do in just 11 or 12 minutes of screentime and be able to subtly handle these sorts of mature themes cleverly while still being able to appeal to kids too without having to be mind numbingly devoid of any intelligence or wit whatsoever.

  • Arnaud

    “Do you realize it’s been over a decade before Spongebob Squarepants aired “Bubble Buddy?””

    Wait ! I should ?! I dont think I can remember one single episode of Spongebob. Maybe I should worry ?

  • droosan

    I’m pretty sure Connie is in the show’s main-title sequence, turning to look at Mr. Universe’s van as it speeds by.

    • LrsDude

      Yeah, I was like “so THAT’S who that girl is!”

  • ddrazen

    This show needed a good shot of Heart, and while any further explanation of the life of Rose Quartz would be a natural, this was good, too, especially Connie’s meltdown. Her whole pretty-much-nobody-would-miss-me speech was very realistic for someone with no real social ties. The next occasion for Connie’s dad to move on would be more devastating to Steven than the decision to stop production of Cookie Cats.

  • LrsDude

    I always thought of Amethyst and Garnet as being lavender and burgundy, but I get what you’re saying. (Yay for us biracial cartoon-lovers!)

    One thing that really struck me about this episode was when Steven said that he and Lars were BFFs. Really surprised me, and almost redeemed the character of Lars for me, to realize that Steven sees their relationship in such a positive way.

    • it really highlights the “happy-go-lucky” qualities of his character, as even the snotty teenage character can be seen like that! he also said that he gets along well with sadie, which just makes me continue hoping for an episode that focuses on the three sometime.

      • LrsDude

        That would be really interesting, would be cool to see how much Steven was just putting a positive spin on things for Connie’s sake.

  • Trevorton Thompson

    Very good episode.
    I never knew that Connie was abandoned as a child. Rebecca Sugar and show staff have really put a lot of heart and soul in making these episodes.

    BTW, Garnet is black, but Amethyst is not.

  • LrsDude

    The glow bracelet in this episode can be seen in the freezer during the first episode, “Gem Glow”, behind all the cookie cats.

  • Janjay Mason

    I really liked this article! I’m just hoping that when you said you thought Connie was either Hispanic or Indian since her characteristics varied from the other black characters on the show that you were talking about physical characteristics rather than the way they talked/their attitudes. I’ve known some people to question the race of obviously black characters just because they didn’t “act” black or just seemed to “white” (non-ghetto?) to be black. But yeah, I thought Connie was Indian when I first saw her. This show is awesome!

  • Grace Rolek

    Zach Callison (Steven Universe) and Grace Rolek (Connie) at the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards! :) Thanks everyone for watching our show and giving it good reviews.

    • Glenn Leider

      That’s nice. I see from your official website that you are 16. But how old is Connie? Indeed, how old is Steven for that matter? I see that Connie’s coming back on the 23rd in “Lion 2: The Movie” so I hope for the best.

  • Domonic Thomas

    So far my favorite episodes have all been co-storyboarded with Kat Morris :) (and of course our Rebecca S.) :)

  • What if Connie’s father has been evil?
    Could her father has ever got even more bad histories with Finn the Human,from about 15 years ago(since he and his daughter first got to beach city)?
    If so,What ally of 2 that her father have secretly kept hidden in his house(or Lair)?
    Well,according to my theory,his house(connie)have kept his secret experiments,and his allies,The Lich King(disguise as her uncle/assistant scientist,Lenner Tyson) and the same pink lumpy space gal,Melissa(now in a disguise persona as connie’s sister,Jessica,while touching and rubbing the shiny orb) and her wife(Z-H’s human bio skin of her persona transcending mostly at every morning and mostly at night) 15 years, ever since his last defeat of Finn the human, even though which he didn’t.

  • Didn’t you’ve think that Connie is little suspicious?
    I’d mean in Lion: the Movie recap ,her father didn’t like snack…only for the trans fat meal.
    And Connie when she’d went in the cave said “Boop” as she touch Steven’s nose.
    from throughout of episode of two,Her father’s actually a scientist.
    and I’d expected for that all these creatures wasn’t come from crystal gem’s temple,but also,the violent issues of all these creature’s indicated to hunt down 2 target from about 15 years ago(Finn the Human & Princess Bubblegum)but afterward,Finn And Princess Bubblegum gone in hiding, and living the 3 gem’s in hiding in the temple,undisturbed,and jamming the creatures signals, recently targeting at the the crystal gem’s temple like a command prompt of array of an signal like cell phones of some pointing origin of any satellite array through a feed on a back side.