It’s time to explore the universe some more; needless to say, there are spoilers ahead! You don’t need to worry about that with this show in general as the average episode tends to be a funny micro-adventure and not involve the broad strokes of the show’s lore.
This week’s episode has Steven designing a poster to advertise for his dad’s guitar lessons, but his artwork is quickly seized upon by Buck Dewey who wants to transform it into an ironic teen fad.
I must admit that after the epic season finale I was hoping the show had hit something of a turning point and that there wouldn’t really be more episodes that don’t tie into the broader narrative. Whether I like it or not, ‘Shirt Club’ is very much like the earlier episodes.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have anything to say of course. When Buck takes Steven’s stylish drawing and transforms it into a line of T-shirts we get a look at the relatively new ‘hate’ culture of the internet. All entertainment that is supposed to be good is overly corporate or rote, so young people have turned to bad entertainment and crafted a way to enjoy things that are ‘so bad they’re good’. While it’s often in good fun to criticize a flawed work of art or entertainment, sometimes it winds up taking advantage of the young or clueless creators involved. (Think about how much more you enjoy bad auditions on American Idol and similar shows than the good ones.) The negative effects are evidenced in this episode when everyone stops to take pictures of Greg and tell him he’s ‘hilarious’ but never stay for the guitar lessons he was advertising. Nobody, not even a comedian, wants to be treated like their life is a joke.
As usual, Steven’s bumbling idiocy gives way to his incredible emotional maturity and he finds a way to communicate the problem with this culture without actually hurting anybody. This takes place in a funny little scene where Steven ‘assassinates’ mayor Dewey in front of his son with a T-shirt cannon. Buck sees the shirt emblazoned with his own scribbles honoring his dad and realizes that Steven’s creation was an honest expression of affection and support and not something he should capitalize on. Things end with Buck showing up for a guitar lesson.
When it comes down to it this is kind of a weak episode compared to last week’s emotional ‘Story for Steven’. It’s still stronger than the Uncle Grandpa crossover. That’s it for this week! (Hopefully someone or something will actually get punched next time.)