Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S03E07 – Drop Beat Dad

In the seventh episode of the third season of Steven Universe, Steven helps Sour Cream deal with a surprise. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe. 

You know, this is a dense episode when you think about it. Sure, it might seem to be about Sour Cream learning who his father has become, but it’s layered with a complicated exploration of both of his fathers. Yellowtail is a strange character, sure, but the writers still manage to demonstrate how Yellowtail distances his stepson while also learning to support him.

However, it’s Marty I’m most interested in. Unlike the story with Dr. Maheswaran, “Drop Beat Dad” presents us with a parent who isn’t redeemable, who uses their child and treats them with disrespect and cruelty. It’s uncomfortable to watch, especially once you realize just how manipulative Marty is in this episode. But you know what? Some people have shitty, disappointing, manipulative parents. They have fathers who weren’t in their lives, who try to bond with them when they’re much older. I couldn’t help but think about my reunion with my birth mother years ago and how odd I felt about the whole affair. I was so used to reading or seeing reunions end positively that I was convinced I’d done something wrong. How come I felt none of those things? Why didn’t I have the instantaneous connection others spoke so highly of?

Like my own life, Sour Cream has two complicated relationships with his fathers. Yellowtail, who spends most of his life at sea, wants his son to follow in his footsteps. HOW MANY OF YOU CAN RELATE TO THIS. I always wanted to be a writer, and my parents desperately wanted me to pursue something more “stable” and traditional than writing. I’ll state this plainly: it really sucks when your parents don’t want you to pursue your dream. So props to Steven for continuing to help out Sour Cream throughout all of this. It is a wonderful thing to have friends like Steven in your life. And note that once Marty tries to hijack Sour Cream’s DJ gig, Steven speaks up to defend Sour Cream, pointing out that Marty failed Greg Universe the last time he was in Beach City.

Marty’s a liar, though. Prior to his lie being exposed, though, I still hated the way he talked. He is barely a parody of ACTUAL PEOPLE I have met in Los Angeles. When I was working much more closely with people within the music industry, I’d come across men exactly like this. They dressed in an approximation of what they considered modern and hip, which always ended up as something that was popular five years prior. They spoke in a terrible, appropriate mess of lingo and slang. And they always sought out any new means to make themselves money or boost their reputation. Hollywood is a slimy place, y’all, and I used to have sit in meetings with agents, A&R men, and managers who were THE WORST.

So I didn’t trust him based on that alone. He just felt so sleezy, as if the things he was offering his son all had some catch attached to them. Plus, who offers to catch up on nine years of missed bonding by doing it all in one evening??? That’s just gross. Thus, it wasn’t surprising that he revealed himself to be a narcissistic scumbag trying to promote THE GROSSEST DRINK EVER at his son’s expense.  I had been waiting the whole episode for the other shoe to drop, you know? Steven Universe then addresses an important lesson: there are some people who don’t deserve to be in your life, and it’s perfectly fine if they aren’t redeemed. The writers don’t bother to show us Marty learning what he did was awful; instead, he’s just awful. You know who isn’t? Yellowtail. Yellowtail realizes how important DJing is to his son, and he comes through in the end. Thus, he’s earned a place in Sour Cream’s life, and Sour Cream sure appreciates it. (As do I!)


The video for “Drop Beat Dad” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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