This February, Cartoon Network announced that there would be a crossover episode of the two shows, Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa. When I heard this announcement, I was uneasy. But when I got to watch the crossover episode (titled, “Say Uncle”), I had a good laugh.The episode starts with Steven practicing on summoning his shield magic through his crystal. However, he can only summon his bubble barrier. Feeling distraught, he is visited by a man disguised as his mom. The bizarre character is Uncle Grandpa, a being known to help any kid in need of guidance. He first breaks the fourth wall by revealing that this scenario is non-canon, announces “April Fool’s” and blows up a ship carrying Lars and Sadie (with Lars screaming “Our Ship!”). After observing Steven, Uncle Grandpa (now shortened as UG) diagnosed him with “belly blues” and focused on activating Steven’s shield.
Witnessing UG attacking Steven, the crystal gems interfere and attack UG. The weird man responds by breaking the fourth wall again by transporting everyone through a blank dimension. Steven and UG then arrives at UG’s RV where they look around the vehicle and meet all of UG’s friends, including a jealous Pizza Steve. They hang around until a giant UG’s fanny pack sucks the crew up like a vacuum.
Meanwhile, the gems run around the empty space, fed up with being stuck in the dimension. They find Pizza Steve, who is eaten by Amethyst. Fed up with the episode’s craziness, Garnet breaks the fourth wall and shatters the dimension, transporting them home. The gems find Steven, Lion, UG, and his friends enjoying tea. The gems attack, leaving Steven to defend with the shield. With the mission completed, UG and his friends return home. The strange man looks at a list of cartoon characters, and sees that it is Clarence that he must visit next.
I will admit, I am not a fan of Uncle Grandpa. The characters are bizarre and UG’s antics are annoying and creepy. However, “Say Uncle” is actually funny. There is some creative moments such as the ship sinking with Lars screaming, “OUR SHIP!”. The announcement of it being an April Fool’s joke comes from an earlier Twitter statement by Steven Universe writer, Matt Burnett, saying that the episode is ‘100% canon’, only to reveal that it was a prank in the episode.
Well done, Rebecca Sugar, well done.
I will also compliment the use of other fourth-wall breakings such as Garnet breaking out the dimensions while still keeping her serious and cool character, as well as changing art styles as Steve traveled between shows from Steven Universe to Uncle Grandpa. I will also give bonus points to Mr. Gus for making a ‘gemsona’ on Photoshop (only to have it ruin by Pizza Steve), the “Super Smash Brothers Melee” nod, yes, Melee because of the Gamecube (see clip below at 2:16), and Amethyst for eating Pizza Steve (mainly because Pizza Steve is a jerk, not just in this episode).
The best part of the episode is seeing the gems face something that can bend the fabric of space and how they react to this type of phenomenon. It somewhat makes UG a great antagonist for the gems, even though he has no ill intentions (just crazy and creepy).
But then again, Uncle Grandpa is right; it’s okay to be weird. Because being weird by breaking the fourth wall many times is a great break from a show that tends to be on the serious, yet heartwarming side. Why not? It has worked for Deadpool and the Marvel universe and Pinkie Pie in the My Little Pony universe.
In short, don’t jump to conclusions. If a series you like is combining with a series you don’t like in an episode, give it a shot. First of all, don’t assume it’s canon unless it’s the creator’s say-so (in which case, it was an April Fool’s joke). Second, treat it as another episode and see how creative it gets when worlds collide. There has been some great crossovers, canon or not. It’s all about enjoying the collaboration.
Again, well done Rebecca Sugar. Well done.