Cookie Cat Theory
So I’ve been thinking a lot today about foreshadowing in the early episodes. There’s a lot that happens that I initially dismissed as ‘random’ humor before it became clear that wasn’t really a direction this show was taking. The jokes in SU tend to have a purpose and add to the story. And even from episode one they were very directly referencing things that would happen much later (like connie’s bracelet in the back of the freezer).
So it seems unwise to dismiss anything as just humor, especially something as unexpectedly dark as cookie cat.
He’s a frozen treat with an all new taste!
'cause he came to this planet from outer space!
A refugee of an interstellar war!
But now he’s at your local grocery store!
He’s a pet for your tummy!
He’s super duper yummy!
He left his family behind!
Cookie Caaaaaat! Now available at Gurgens off Rt. 109!
This is the first song Steven sings in the first episode of the show (not counting the pilot) and it and the cookie cat ice cream sandwich itself are directly connected to making his gem glow for the first time. Not because of the sandwich itself as Steven first suspects, but rather because of the contentment and love Steven felt that his friends would go out and buy a pile of his favorite icecream for him before it was discontinued.
The lyrics of the song are unexpectedly dark for the mascot of an ice cream sandwich. Abandoning your family to escape an interstellar war is not exactly kid friendly.
It was obviously one of the first hints we received that the gems weren’t just protecting earth for the heck of it. We would later find out how closely cookie cat story paralleled their own. Aliens caught up in a war, now living on earth. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I think the implications of this intelligent alien with a family, being reduced to ‘a pet for your tummy’ might be related to the later reveal about Lapis Lazuli.
The question is, does cookie cat still contain hints about the future? I would have thought no, except cookie cat has continued to show up through out the series. In Space Race, the cookie cat theme is playing on Greg’s tv, suggesting the ice cream might not be as discontinued as we thought. This is also the episode where we see Pearl longing to return to space. Then, in Future Vision, Steven imagines Cookie Cat in a flying saucer, killing him with a laser beam. “I never considered you’d be evil!” Steven shouts.
That’s a heck of a line there, and almost definite foreshadowing.
But is it just foreshadowing that not all gems are good? Or is suggesting that the last person Steven suspects, the Crystal Gems themselves, might not be good. Might, in fact, be a danger to him. Perhaps not even intentionally.
A theme in some of these later episodes has been Steven having to take responsibility and put his own feelings and safety aside for the sake of protecting the adults in his life, the people who are supposed to be taking care of him.
Consider ‘The Test’ and ‘Maximum Capacity.’ In both of these, Steven is forced to confront that the adults in his life don’t know what’s best for him, or even for themselves. The Crystal Gems and his father are all lost. Instead of panicking or getting angry at being lied to, Steven calmly steps into the adult roll, doing what he has to do to keep the family stable and together. This is reflected in the promo art of both episodes, which shows the gems and Greg as students in a class where Steven is the teacher.
As of the end of Season 1, Steven has no reliable adult figure he can turn to for guidance. Connie, a girl his own age, has been the only one he’s been able to rely on. And it doesn’t take a genius to realize two kids trying to take care of themselves as well as a bunch of frantic, directionless superpowered adults is not going to end well.
I believe Cookie Cat foreshadows some increasingly dark revelations about the Crystal Gem’s history, and who they left behind. Weather they turn out to be the evil Steven never considered remains to be seen. Regardless, the innocent days of crying over icecream have been discontinued for Steven, and he’s being forced to grow up weather he’s ready for it or not…