ooh, good one. I’m going to start at the beginning, here, and work my way up to the present. when pearl first met greg, she was, of course, prepared to dismiss him as just another human. she didn’t think rose would find him interesting for long - because pearl certainly didn’t find him interesting. she disliked him as soon as he showed persistent interest in rose, but, for a little while, held out hope that rose would grow tired of him. after all, rose found humans fascinating as a rule, for whatever reason; that didn’t the interest would stick.
but greg kept coming around, and rose kept laughing at his jokes, and suddenly she was singing with him and spending all her time with him and pearl found herself hoarding whatever time she spent with rose, never sure how long it would last before greg came around. as we see in we need to talk, it brought out some of the worst in her. she was jealous, and petty, and vindictive.
the thing is, she didn’t dislike greg because of him. he was annoyingly persistent, not nearly organized or driven enough for her standards, and instilling positively deplorable habits in amethyst, but that’s not why she disliked him. to delve into why she disliked greg so much, let me actually pull directly from a meta i wrote in january about her self-esteem:
here we see a different side of pearl - arrogant, jealous, petty, vindictive. all stems from her inferiority complex. because, listen - humans are less than gems. more importantly, they’re less than pearl. sure, their scientists are progressing in leaps and bounds, but pearl built a spaceship out of junk in a single night. yes, it failed, but it still nearly made it to the atmosphere. junk. single night. she’s a genius by human standards, even though she’s the lowest gem class there is. finally, finally, she’s better than someone. she protects the humans because rose cares about them, and because she agrees that they’re sentient, at least semi-intelligent beings - funny, even good company sometimes - but she’s still better than them.
and yet here’s one of them stealing away the person who serves as the foundation for pearl’s entire self-worth. one little short-lived human, stealing away the person pearl worships. pearl would do everything for rose, has done everything for rose - has spent her life trying to be better, sacrificing herself, pushing herself, because rose wanted her to - and rose is picking the human. and pearl is hurt, and pearl is jealous, and pearl doesn’t understand. she’s vindictive to greg because he’s threatening the relationship she holds most dear, and because she should be better than him, even the lowest gem is better than a human - but she isn’t. even now, a human is beating her out. even now, she’s failing.
so yeah, you could say they start out with a rocky relationship. for a while, pearl is actively rude to greg, as we see in we need to talk. she tries to sabotage him, because she’s scared of losing rose’s love, because she’s scared of being one-upped. she hates that rose cares about him so much when pearl doesn’t even understand him. she hates when greg tries to be nice to her, because she wants him to validate her own dislike for him.
eventually, of course, rose takes her aside and tells her that she needs to be nice to greg, at least make an effort. her meanness is hurting rose, is disappointing rose. “please just try to get along with him,” rose tells her. and pearl stews in her own anger and jealousy, and pearl cries angry embarrassed tears afterwards, but what can she do? she doesn’t want to disappoint rose. she doesn’t want rose to hate her.
so she tries. she tries to be civil. she tries to accept that greg is here to stay, apparently. they enter a tentative truce. pearl doesn’t like it. she doesn’t like bringing greg along when they do fun things. she doesn’t like him knowing about gem things. she doesn’t like him taking up rose’s time. but she tolerates it, because she doesn’t want rose to be mad at her. and because he’s…not terrible, really. he tries, anyway. and he seems to care about rose. that’s the thing, in the end, that softens pearl to him at least a little. he really does care about rose, in the small, temporary way humans love, and that’s something.
it still hurts, of course. her smiles are brittle. she doesn’t allow herself to be touched by him the way amethyst does; she doesn’t go and spend time with him like garnet does. she tries to ignore him when possible, and treats him with distant civility otherwise. it works, she supposes. she still looks forward to the day he leaves or dies and rose is all hers again, but she can deal with this until it’s over.
and then. and then of course steven happens. and pearl can’t forgive greg. not for this. not for taking rose from her. it’s his fault, if he hadn’t walked into their life and hung on like the stupid grasping human he was, rose wouldn’t be doing this. her anger with greg went deeper than pettiness or jealousy. she was grieving, and he was there, and rose wasn’t, and it was his fault, he was the one who had planted this idea about children in rose’s head, he was the one who had planted the child itself in rose’s…well, she didn’t want to think about that. she couldn’t bring herself to be angry at rose. or, that’s not true - she was angry at rose, she was furious and terrified and betrayed. but she couldn’t lash out at rose; it was unthinkable. so she transferred her anger to greg instead, and her manner towards him became positively icy during rose’s pregnancy.
the first several months of steven’s life were spent grieving. she hardly saw greg then; she didn’t want to be anywhere near him or the child. that changed, of course. gradually she met steven and grew to love him, though she was more than happy to let greg handle the actual raising. for a while, she still didn’t really speak to greg, even when he was over with steven. she hadn’t forgiven him. her anger had cooled, perhaps, but she hadn’t forgiven him.
eventually, though. eventually they talked. really talked. greg was grieving too; his hair was falling out, he had dark circles, he was raising a child by himself out of a van and he missed rose. and one night he demanded pearl at least listen to him, and so they talked, and pearl grudgingly realized that rose’s absence was devastating for him too - though certainly he couldn’t begin to understand what she was feeling, it was…it was hard for him as well. because they both loved her, in the end. and they both, she was coming to realize, loved steven.
so they entered into another truce of sorts. pearl’s frigidity towards greg slowly faded. she certainly wasn’t friendly with him, but they were civil to each other, and formed a sort of alliance in their mutual protection of steven. greg agreed to let them take over steven’s education and training as he grew, and that earned him some goodwill with pearl. she deferred to him on the human matters of steven’s growth, and he deferred to her on the gem ones.
that brings us to the series proper. at the beginning of the series, pearl tolerates greg, but clearly doesn’t think too highly of him; she doesn’t trust him with technology like the wailing stone or the laser light cannons, and she really doesn’t want him living with them in house guest. she’s okay with greg, as long as she gets to keep her distance.
their relationship has been getting a bit better as the series progresses, however. at this point, while it would be a stretch to say pearl likes greg, she does trust him with steven, and she’s willing to work with him. she’s polite, if not overly friendly, and helps when she can, as when she fixes his van and cleans out his garage. she doesn’t really have a lot of confidence in his abilities to get things done, but, though there’s some resentment there, she doesn’t hold any active animosity towards him.
i’m looking forward to watching mr. greg, as it looks like we’re going to get more pearl/greg interaction - from the promo, pearl’s obviously uncomfortable to be going on vacation with greg, but begrudgingly allows herself to have fun with him and steven, right up until she asks him to dance. this doesn’t surprise me; pearl associates dancing with intimacy, as she uses it to fuse, and the prospect of dancing with greg would no doubt bring back memories of his own attempts to fuse with rose. i’m really interested into seeing how that all goes down.