Ep. #48 ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Apr. 9th, 2015 SONG: Yes, "Comet" and "Destiny" SYNOPSIS: Greg tells Steven the story of when he first met Rose Quartz.
Greg bonds with Steven over music during a rainy day inside his van. Steven eyes an old photo of Greg in his younger days with a blond-haired man. That would be Marty, his old manager. He's dead to Greg. Ouch! Greg is one of the nicest guys in the show, so for him to say that means Marty must have done something truly awful! Steven isn't familiar with Marty, so Greg takes this opportunity to tell him the story of when he first met Rose Quartz.
The flashback opens up with an incredible song written and performed by a young, twentysomething Greg. It's a dazzling showcase of neon colors, cheesy space themes, and dramatic special effects to indicate the obvious passion he puts into his work. Greg's one-man band has a space gimmick, an acknowledgement to his surname Universe and the coincidental connection he'll eventually share with the Crystal Gems. Alas, the fancy background and production value is nothing but Greg's imagination. In reality, he's nowhere close to being famous, having just performed for an empty stage and a slipshod one at that. The only one who arrived to his concert is Rose Quartz.
She's impressed by Greg's talent and amused by his space gimmick. Greg is instantly enamored with her and hands out a copy of his CD for free. He also gives her one of his promotional t-shirts, but lacks one in her size upfront. Greg heads to the back of his van to get a bigger size for her, but instead catches his manager Marty with a woman named Vidalia. No need to guess what they were doing. Right from the start, Marty proves to be a sleazebag, disgruntled that Greg is freely giving away his merch and taking an unfair 75% cut of his money. Another thing "Story for Steven" reveals is that Greg is not a native of Beach City, but instead came here during his tour.
While Greg and Marty argue, Rose Quartz silently disappears. Greg is too captivated by her to just end things without at least giving her the shirt, so he quickly seeks her out. He eventually arrives at the end of the beach where a fence and a "Keep Out" sign prevents him from progressing. Greg wonders out loud to an unusually purple-colored owl if its seen a tall, pink-haired lady. The owl answers that yes, she has, then flies away.
Once he gets over the initial shock, Greg climbs over the fence and follows the owl. The owl tells a younger Pearl what she just saw, then shapeshifts back to her original form: Amethyst. Still as feisty as ever, Amethyst crowds Greg, fascinated by this new person. Pearl (whose 90s-era outfit is to die for, leg warmers and all) is apprehensive and once Garnet arrives, the Crystal Gems agree to toss him over the fence and be done with it. Humans should stay on the other side so they don't poke their noses where they don't belong! This episode provides a simple explanation on why the Crystal Gems have such a troubling time understanding human culture even in present day: they made sure that any trespassing Earthling was kept as far from their home as possible. Amethyst is interested enough in Greg that we get why she'd be willing to learn about Earth culture and Rose has left the temple numerous times to witness the variety that human nature brings. In fact, Rose is the one who vouches for Greg, leading him to pitch his one-man band and hand her the t-shirt. He doesn't stay long though since he's in the middle of a tour, so they all exchange good-byes before he departs. That seems to be the end of it.
As Marty drives Greg to Empire City, he proceeds to demean his client, chiding him for his naive crush on Rose. Why settle for one tall woman when he can be showered in hundreds? Greg is disgusted by Marty's callous sexism, but he really can't get Rose out of his head and he wonders, maybe he should go back? Marty thinks he's delusional; doing so would end his rock star career and it's already fleeting as is! Marty's a jerk, but he's got a point, Greg is potentially risking his one chance at being famous. Not that it gives Marty the right to treat Greg like a footstool. Fed up with his condescending attitude, Greg yells at him to get out of his van, then drives it back to Beach City with only a smidge of hope that he has a shot with Rose.
With a song he made up on the spot, Greg serenades in front of the temple until Rose comes out. She's wearing his t-shirt, but her mood is anything but happy. She tries to encourage Greg to leave Beach City and pursue his dreams; after all, human life is so short and staying with her isn't a good idea. Greg's sudden decision is an indicator of his youth. His downtrodden life isn't hampered because he has the determination and immaturity to just go with the flow. "Story for Steven" doesn't necessary condone this behavior yet it treats his decision as the right one. He is both a foolish manchild for acting on impulse, yet easy to root for because he puts everything on the line for someone he's only met for a night. Even Rose's choice of word is suspect: notice she wants to "play" with Greg. You don't "play" with someone unless they're a pet. This is very deliberate and hints just how Rose views humans, but we'll put a pin on that later. For now, "Story for Steven" presents what looks like a fairy tale romance with minor hints that something could go wrong in the process. Rose is game though and accepts Greg's courtship.
Once the tale is concluded, Greg tells Steven that he can at least thank Marty for one thing: he made it easy for him to stay in Beach City. It's a beautiful capper to the episode and a firm reminder of Greg's good natured personality. He may be an impoverished man with a failing car wash and a van for a home, but he doesn't regret loving Rose. He certainly does not regret having a child with her either; Steven is a constant reminder that his life is as glamorous as a rock star.