Star Versus the Forces of Evil: A Timeline and Analysis of Feelings, Part 2
Here’s a link to Part 1!
Yea okay so life slowed me down a lot on writing this but then I remembered that if I believe in dinosaurs, then somewhere, somewhen, they believe in me too. So I busted out and got this finished. Well, except for part 3 (Just Friends, Face the Music, and Starcrushed) but MOVING ON.
TL;DR: Sleepover confirms Star’s crush on Marco (even though she is not consciously aware of it), while simultaneously confirming that Marco does NOT have a crush on Star (conscious or otherwise). Bon Bon the Birthday Clown has Star consciously realize that she has romantic feelings for Marco. The process sucks. She decides to bury those feelings due to her own issues and the circumstances, and to change her behavior in the future.
Sleepover is a great episode on several levels (art style,
characterization, etc.). But this is about shipping uh I mean unbiased
and objective feeling analysis and timeline stuff that’s no way tainted, uh, influenced by my own experiences. Yea. So let’s hop
OKAY THIS EPISODE PUTS STARCO IN THE TRASH WHERE IT BELONGS THAT’S ALL FOLKS *cackles maniacally, then cries*
One of the big themes of this episode is honesty and the truth, especially how mutable those things are with regards to emotions. The Truth Cube is asking “who do you have a crush on” to a bunch of young teenagers. Nobody in the group is over fifteen, and when you’re fifteen, your definition of a crush and true love and all those things is pretty limited. Case in point, when the Truth Cube goes around asking for everyone’s crush, Jackie answers “this really cute guy from skate camp last summer” and Janna answers “John Keats.” Jackie barely knows the skate camp guy beyond “he’s really nice” (she doesn’t even say his name!) and Janna’s talking about a long-dead poet. A crush is a pretty surface sorta thing, as opposed to being in love, so let’s keep that in mind. These answers are deemed truthful by the Truth Cube, and it’s not that Janna and Jackie are lying, it’s that their experiences of crushes (and love, although it’s not brought up here) is somewhat limited (due to their age) so they genuinely, fully believe their answers.
Why is this relevant?
When the group is going around trying to figure out who is lying, Star says “and I love Oskar Greason” as opposed to “I have a crush on Oskar Greason.” Sure, Star probably didn’t mean that on a deep level, but it also shows what her concept of love is still fairly naive and unformed. She’s a 14 year old princess so that’s kinda to be expected, but the use of “love” fits with Star’s character/development arc. Star thinks she wants a bad boy who defies the rules and who does what he wants (Oskar), but as she grows as an individual through the course of the show, her romantic interest also changes (to Marco). But like many people, Star isn’t aware of this shift. Star’s brain genuinely believes what she is saying, that’s why she answers the Truth Cube without any hesitation. But her heart doesn’t agree, and that’s what the cube uses to determine that Star is “lying.” Even at the end of the episode, when the Truth Cube reveals that Star has a crush on Marco, Star clearly isn’t aware of it.
The Truth Cube can be fooled if a person genuinely changes their mind, but it cannot be fooled by feelings that are not actually there. Star’s answer didn’t fool the Truth Cube because in her heart, she doesn’t actually have romantic feelings for Oskar, which is independent of whether Star realizes this. Also, this makes what Star’s saying in the above photos hilariously ironic.
This has a big implication though for Marco too: the Truth Cube would have detected any unconscious crush Marco had on Star even if Marco said that he only had a crush on Jackie. Thus, as of Sleepover, Marco doesn’t have a crush on Star (or at least romantic feelings to a noticeable degree). Sob.
One last important takeaway from this episode that can be easily overlooked is Marco’s perspective on Star’s feelings. A lotta people think Marco can be an idiot when it comes to his emotions (they’re not wrong), and that he should’ve known that Star was getting a crush on him (that’s wrong). Remember at this point, Star has still explicitly shown (sexual) attraction (even though it’s comparatively shallow) to Oskar and barring Blood Moon Ball, only Oskar. Marco’s seen this several times in Season 1 alone, such as during Mewberty (when Star lifts up Oskar and his car), and has been told directly by Star herself, during Cheer Up, Star. Most recently though, Marco saw Star’s attraction to Oskar during Star on Wheels, and he wasn’t surprised or jealous at all. By the time of Sleepover, Marco has no reason to doubt Star’s crush on Oskar. One, he’s seen the evidence that she does have a crush on Oskar, and two (and more importantly), Marco trusts Star and what she says regarding her feelings. Granted, the point of this episode is in large part “people don’t necessarily know how they feel towards someone” but that doesn’t really negate the whole trust dynamic. Now, you might be thinking “but the cube said that Marco wasn’t lying, so Marco could have deduced that Star was the one lying.” Keep in mind that 1) Marco knows that the Truth Cube can be fooled by feelings, so he’s not sure if it can even be trusted and 2) what Star said threw Jackie’s own feelings into doubt, and Marco’s attention was pretty focused on that change. The end of the episode even has Marco in a daze, since he confessed his crush to Jackie and she gave a strong signal that she might reciprocate it. Basically, lotta stuff going on that probably prevented Marco from focusing on Star’s (unknown) lie.
BON BON THE BIRTHDAY CLOWN
Whenever you can use this Simpsons reference, you know it’s gonna be good. Terrible, soul-crushing, but good.
But that’s skipping ahead, so let’s go back to the beginning of the
Remember that at the beginning of this episode, Star is still not consciously aware of her own feelings towards Marco. We see this reflected in how she is still pushing Marco and Jackie together, and is totally supportive of Marco going to dance with Jackie.
It’s only when Star sees Marco in the suit does her heart finally get her brain to realize that it’s been bamboozled. Previously, Star’s heart was basically fully in the “falling for Marco hard” stage but her brain was still on the greasy Oskar page. But when Star sees Marco in the suit and makes this face, the gears in her brain start turning that page.
Now, the juxtaposition of this particular shot is interesting, because in a vacuum (i.e. without Sleepover and the rest of this episode), it could be argued that Star’s making a “wow Marco looks so good in that suit” face in a totally platonic manner. In fact, the very next shot is of Marco’s parents going “OUR SON” and being proud of how handsome he is, and they have a similar expression to Star and that sure as hell is non-romantic.
But the thing that really starts dragging Star’s brain into consciously realizing (note, not accepting) “I HAVE A CRUSH ON MARCO DIAZ” isn’t actually Star seeing Marco in the suit.
It’s Star seeing Jackie’s reaction to Marco in the suit. Jackie’s pretty STARstruck (kill me), and that arouses some jealousy in Star. Oh, Star doesn’t want to acknowledge that. She takes the photos that Marco’s parents want, and watches dejectedly as Marco and Jackie leave.
The above photo is when Star realizes that not only has Marco gotten his dream girl, but from Jackie’s expression, she’s gotten her dream guy. Star’s seeing a bit of herself in Jackie, in that they both had a similar reaction to Marco in the suit. But Star’s not going to the dance with Marco, Jackie is, and that’s what’s starting to sink in here.
As the episode continues, we see Star being more and more not-okay with Marco and Jackie going to the dance. There’s the bit with Star asking Janna if Marco changing his mind and gonig with Jackie was cool, Jackie’s “moles,” and Star calling Marco several times. It’s pretty typical jealous behavior, and it’s amusing but painful to watch.
Star’s jealousy in the episode culminates in using The All-Seeing Eye to spy on Jackie and Marco. When Star sees Jackie help hold up Marco on her skateboard, say “Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” and Marco and Jackie look so happy together, we get this very telling reaction.
Jackie’s not only close to Marco in a way that Star isn’t (romantically, not physically), but she’s able to make Marco genuinely happy as well. And that’s torturing Star, who has been jealous of Jackie the entire night. And it’s at this point, Star is FINALLY truly, consciously aware of her feelings for Marco.
Because Star wants so badly to be in Jackie’s spot-not just on the skateboard, but in Marco’s life-at this moment. But she isn’t. And she can’t.
The climax of Bon Bon the Birthday Clown is a turning point for Star in her character arc as well. In a tiny span of time, she’s lost the Book of Spells, an incredibly important part of her family history and her position as princess and her mentor Glossaryck. I also believe that this scene at the end of BBtBC shows that Star thinks/accepts that she’s “lost” Marco to Jackie, in a romantic sense. It’s all hitting Star all at once and understandably, she gets a bit overwhelmed.
From here on, Star changes her approach to a lot of things. She takes studying magic (Raid the Cave, Baby) and her role as princess (somewhat) more seriously. She’s trying to be a better princess and person, be more responsible, even though it’s hard for her. And in line with how Star’s trying to take more responsibility for her actions and mistakes (but not always going about it the right way, or succeeding), Star’s gonna “give up” on her crush on Marco and push him closer to Jackie. Because that’s the “responsible” and “right” thing to do, since she missed her chance fair and square. The consequences of this line of thought will come up soon.
Anyways, that’s all for now. Next time-which will be before the S3 premiere I swear-I’ll look at Just Friends, Face the Music, and Starcrushed, and explain how and why Star keeps digging herself deeper and deeper.