Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sadie Killer and the Suspects Rock the Big Show

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We’re so happy about Sadie Killer and the Suspects! Sadie’s love for music has been the spark burning away the monotony of her old life and blazing a trail towards something new and exciting. It’s allowing a lot more people to see the awesome person hiding away in the Big Donut. “The Big Show” spreads the good word out of Beach City and into Empire City, and it’s awesome. Sadie Killer is going to make it big.


“The Big Show” starts with a taped recording of Sadie Killer and the Suspects practicing. Steven’s recording everything for historical purposes, of course. Sadie’s mom comes downstairs as enthusiastically as ever but leaves when Sadie interjects. Guess they really talked out what happened back when Barb took over the talent show preparations and tried to turn Sadie into what she wanted Sadie to be as a performer.

Steven brings a recording of the band to his dad and invites him to a live performance. Greg takes him up on the offer. Because he’s great, he encourages them and talks to them about booking shows, merch, and publicity. But why talk when he can just do it himself? That’s right, Greg Universe is managing Sadie Killer and the Suspects! It’s so obvious we can’t believe we didn’t see it coming.

Buck’s excited for their rise and fall from stardom. Especially the fall. He takes it hard when Greg insists that won’t happen to them.

Greg gets to work immediately by reaching out to an old contact in the biz named Sunshine Justice with a recording of the band. (There goes the theory that Sunshine Justice was Mystery Girl.) She loves the song (not so much the recording) and books the band for a gig in Empire City! They get to work acquiring lasers and a fog machine. Barb delivers their props and Sadie tries to hide the gig. She fails, of course.

In Barb fashion, she again enthusiastically responds until Sadie shuts her down harshly. Poor Barb, though she does take the shut down in stride, accepting that her daughter wants her space any more fuss. Sadie talks to Greg about Sadie Killer being her own thing and not wanting her mom to take it over like she does other things. Naturally, Greg loves Barb’s enthusiasm because his parents never wanted to hear about his own musical ventures.

Backstage before the show, Sadie checks out the crowd and sees a woman she thinks is her mom in disguise. This will probably bother her into a bad show, right? No! Sadie and her band slay their performance. Afterwards, it turns out the “disguised Barb” was Sunshine Justice, and she’s thrilled with the show and will be happy to book them again.

On the ride home, it turns out Sadie was inspired by thinking Sunshine was her mother. She regrets her mom not being there and wants the next show to take place in Beach City so she can come.

Delightful Little Gems

  • We love that Jenny didn’t know what a camcorder is. Damn kids and their phones.
  • People are going to ship the hell out of the hug and blush between Sadie and Jenny. I mean, did you see Jenny in that suit? She looked amazing.
  • We’re glad they had new songs for this episode. The Working Dead song was cool, but might have gotten a bit old if repeated over and over throughout this episode.
  • Guess who was in the crowd for Sadie’s show? Mystery Girl! Now let’s hope that was Pearl she was texting with.
  • We wish Sour Cream had a bunch of large glow sticks to throw into the crowd. It’s kind of his thing.

Lingering Questions

  • How much of Greg’s royalty check is left? He’s been refreshingly sparse with his spending, only occasionally splurging and avoiding many of the pitfalls that waste a fortune.
  • Do we know how successful Greg’s music career ended up being? We’ve seen hints of at least regional success, and he does have contacts…we love that Sunshine said he was “ahead of his time.”

Closing Thoughts

We are so, so happy for Sadie. Maybe we say that after every Sadie episode, but lately, every Sadie episode gives you new reasons to mention how happy you are for her. Maybe her band’s style isn’t for everyone (we both love it), but you can’t help but love seeing her make it big. Can you believe only half a season has passed since she first sang with the Cool Kids? Now they have a manager, multiple songs, and gigs in Empire City.

It’s all so much so fast. We’re glad the sudden change hit Sadie by the end of the episode.

Don’t get us wrong, we love seeing Sadie grow into her own person and establish her independence. She asserts herself and her choices now, and we could not be happier. It’s good for her. Her influence on Sadie Killer and the Suspects shines through in every choice aesthetically and musically. However, this might be the first time in her life that Sadie has this kind of freedom over her life and maybe she let it get out of hand in her treatment of her mom.

That first real independence from your parents can be an overwhelming, exciting change. It can also be a frightening one for a parent, especially one as enthusiastically involved as Barb. We can’t blame her for that, and we can’t blame Sadie for wanting some distance. Most people at some point have experienced this, whether with their own parents or someone else’s. Any infringement into your life feels like your mom or dad trying to retain control over you.

While Barb is a loving parent, not a toxic one, her previous lack of respect for Sadie’s boundaries and inability to see that what she wants for Sadie and what Sadie wants for herself are different can be extremely difficult to deal with as the child. Wanting to create boundaries is normal for someone becoming an adult, and with a parent who doesn’t always respect those boundaries, even if in a well-intentioned way, creating that space isn’t easy. If you haven’t had creating boundaries modeled, falling into an all or nothing pattern makes sense. Sadie goes from not being able to speak her mind to speaking it so forcefully that she cuts her mom off from any and all inclusion in Sadie’s new project. It’s an extreme, but one that’s understandable because Sadie is figuring this all out on her own.

What’s so beautiful is that, once again, Steven Universe doesn’t judge Sadie for her behavior. She isn’t shamed into letting her mom in, either by Barb or by Greg or her friends. Greg offers his insight given his relationship with his parents, but he doesn’t then demand or even suggest that Sadie change her behavior or choice. Sadie comes to her own realization that she does, in fact, want her mom involved in Sadie Killer and the Suspects. It’s not demanded of her by others or the narrative. There would have been just as much respect for her if she hadn’t changed her mind.

That lack of judgement is what makes the show so great. Kids of all kinds are being modeled that what matters is their choice, no matter what that choice is. Adults and friends alike ought to respect one’s choices, even if they would make a different one. Which is precisely what Barb, Greg, Steven, and the rest of band do. She gets the space to have agency in her life no matter what.

Hopefully future episodes will explore how she and Barb navigate the boundaries. Because that’s just as important as showing how those boundaries get established. As someone who had a chaotic home without boundaries, Gretchen appreciates how sensitively SU handles even something as seemingly straightforward as this. Once again, SU is the show we needed as children.

You gotta love the thematic resonance with the previous episode, as Sadie’s song was almost definitely applicable to both her mom and Lars. The poor girl spent years feeling invisible to everyone. Now she is growing into her own, yet she’s worried no one will notice the new person she is becoming. She also wants to be recognized for who she is, that she doesn’t need someone to let the ‘true’ Sadie out—a likely callback to Barb believing that it was her job to get Sadie to open up in a way she wanted her to.

Gretchen was struck by how well certain aspects of the song work as a metaphor for mental illness. Sadie sings,

I used to be sick, sick and tired
Delirious, dizzy, terrified
But I’m suddenly up and out of bed
You will never believe I was almost—
Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see me?
I think I might be a g-g-g-ghost

Almost everyone Gretchen knows who suffers from depression or anxiety has had this experience, especially in the healing process. The feeling that despite work being done and progress being made to cope with your mental illness, people can’t see you. Either they don’t see how hard you’re working and refuse to acknowledge the change, or they just don’t see you at all. You, your struggle, and your growth might as well be invisible to the outside world.

Thankfully, Barb is learning to accept her daughter for who she is right now. Lars will likely need to do the same as well when he comes back. We hope Lars doesn’t just accept the ‘new Sadie’ but also opens up about his experiences learning to love and embrace himself.  Given how similar Lars’ and Sadie’s arcs are right now—evolving into new, more honest versions of themselves—we’re pretty damn excited for mutual healing and bonding between them. They’ve also each found a place and a home, Lars with the off-colors and Sadie with the ‘cool kids.’ We’re so proud of them!

We also think it speaks highly of the kind of mom Barb is that Sadie was inspired by thinking her mom snuck into the concert. Bo thought Sadie would be intimidated and blow it. Of course, Steven Universe has never been that kind of show. It almost always moves positively where others move negatively.

Really, this whole episode was a positive new change for everyone. Sadie has her band. Greg is back in the music biz to support the band. After struggling so long with feeling like his specific skills and abilities aren’t being utilized in a meaningful way, he finally has a place where they will be appreciated. He’s come a long way from singing sad songs on the beach about he wants the Gems to notice his expertise. Everyone’s happily transitioning into new stages of their life. Good for them all. We’re so happy to see our faves realize some dreams.

Hopefully Barb (and Lars!) will be there for the next concert.

Images Courtesy of Cartoon Network

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