What if birthdays are just for little kids? What if even I'm too old?
Steven learns that the Gems are thousands of years old and decides to make up for all the thousands of birthdays they have missed. When the Gems don't take kindly to his childlike birthday parties, Steven sinks into a gradually worsening depression that makes him grow older the more he fears outgrowing things.
The episode begins with the Crystal Gems searching through Amethyst's Room for a stench that is contaminating the Temple. Steven finds the source: a tuna burrito Amethyst saved from Aqua-Mexican, a restaurant that closed five years ago. Amethyst eagerly takes a bite, disgusting Steven and Pearl. Steven then notices a photo of the Gems and Rose Quartz in pioneer clothes. Pearl states that the gems in the photo were them many years ago. Pearl tells Steven that they are immortal and do not age, although they can still get injured and die, which upsets Steven. Nevertheless, Steven is amazed at the Gems' age and wonders how they can find a birthday cake large enough for all those candles. Garnet then says that they do not celebrate birthdays. Steven is flabbergasted by this and decides to make up all the birthdays that they missed. Amethyst vomits from food poisoning as the screen cuts to black.
Steven first throws a party for Amethyst, which spirals into violence as she does not completely understand how to celebrate a birthday. Steven then throws a party for Pearl, who is unenthusiastic about the idea. Throughout the party, Steven acts like a clown and tells jokes, which Pearl does not find funny at all. Lastly, Steven throws a party for Garnet, featuring kazoo-racers. Before doing anything, Garnet and Pearl tell Steven that they are just "too big" for parties. This makes Steven deeply think about the childish things he does. Distraught, Steven wanders into town, contemplating the nature of birthdays and aging. His forlorn attitude inadvertently activates his gemstone, resulting in him aging into a teenager, making him hit puberty instantaneously. He continues to age as he begins to feel older and heads toward the Big Donut and asks for two of the "usual". Lars becomes confused as he does not recognize the older Steven. Steven looks in the glass case of donuts and spots his reflection. In shock of his older form, he becomes worried that he has to start doing older things now, such as eating sugarless cereal, aging him even more. He thinks that, if he has a reverse birthday, he will turn back to normal. He asks Lars and Sadie if they could help him into his "Birthday Suit" much to Sadie's shock and Lars' slight amusement. Taking this the wrong way, Sadie chases Steven out with a chair.
Steven starts running back home, aging rapidly as he runs. He trips and falls, and Lion comes and carries him in his mouth to the Gems. While the Gems clean up the supplies from Steven's birthday parties to them, Pearl admits that the parties were fun with Garnet still wearing Steven's Birthday Suit saying it "makes her important" before Lion arrives with Steven. Horrified, the Gems try to reverse his age by attempting to entertain him with birthday party activities, but Steven, depressed by the thought of outgrowing these, ages even more. Pearl, who could not bear to look at Steven aging rapidly, could not bring herself to help them. When Amethyst demands her to do so she is placed in front of Steven, wearing his clown costume from earlier. She tries to perform the pie joke like Steven, but upset by his worsening condition, starts crying, frustrating Amethyst who accuses her of "killing him faster". Pearl cannot keep herself together and runs over to Amethyst and hugs her, sobbing hysterically. Suddenly, both of them freeze when they see Garnet walking over to Steven, awaiting her response to the worsening situation. However, Garnet picks up Steven and violently shakes him back and forth. Pearl and Amethyst rush over to stop Garnet, shocked and appalled by her desperate actions. The three of them all begin to argue about what to do, and a fading Steven watches them from the ground. Garnet begins to shed tears when, suddenly, Steven stands up straight, telling the Gems to control themselves, turning into a young adult as he speaks.
The Gems realize that Steven's age is fluctuating due to his Gem reacting to his state of mind. They manage to get him to feel like himself again, assuring him that he does not need to feel like he is being childish if he is just being himself. He returns to his normal age but notices that he still has adult legs. He jokingly bounces around and laughs as the star iris closes in.
- Steven Universe
- Lars Barriga
- Sadie Miller
- Greg Universe (mentioned)
- Rose Quartz (pictured)
- Steven's Birthday Suit
- Old Gem Painting
- Skee Ball
- Whacker Man
- Whacker Man Jr.
- Tuna Burrito
- Beach Hunk Shirt
- Beach City
- "Birthday Song"
- The original title for this episode was "10,000 Birthdays". It is also referred as such on the video page for the show on the Cartoon Network Asia website.
- It is revealed by Pearl that while Gems are immortal, they can still get hurt and possibly die.
- Gems regenerate, so Pearl seems to have been referring to being shattered.
- The Gems claim that their age is an illusion because of their immortal nature.
- There are three other people in the photo beside Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Pearl, and Garnet.
- In Cartoon Network Philippines, the part where Steven said "But a boy on the cusp of manhood can't spend the whole day whackering" was cut.
- Steven's middle name is revealed to be Quartz, which is his mother's last name.
- It is revealed that, due to Steven's half-human/half-gem heritage, he ages differently than normal humans. His Gem ages him in response to his state of mind, literally making him as old or as young as he feels.
- This may be due to the Gem segment of his physiology, with his age actually being just a form taken.
- However, Pearl's nod to the possibility of Steven's death may also mean that, due to the human segment of his physiology, his age may have some effect on his body.
- When Steven reverts to his original age, his face looks babyish. This could mean that Steven would have originally aged younger at that point.
- If you look closely at the piles in Amethyst's room, you can see a Lion Lickers freezer.
- The photo itself seems to be a parody of a 1778s painting by John Singleton Copley titled Watson and the Shark.
- The three cars Steven's brought for kazoo-racing seem to be a reference to the cast of Transformers; a yellow Volkswagen Beetle for Bumblebee, a green Jeep J59 for Hound, and a less determinable red sports car that could be a reference to either Cliffjumper or Sideswipe.
- This episode shows how Onion wins so many arcade tickets, as seen in the episode "Arcade Mania", by opening the ticket vaults in the arcade machines with a screwdriver.
- In the episode, Pearl says that she likes pie, seemingly happy about it before Steven attempts to fall onto it. However, Pearl has stated that she hates eating, due to the nature of the digestive cycle. This is the second time she has implied that she likes food, with the first time being in "Together Breakfast" where she is okay with ordering a pizza, saying "pizza sounds good".
- After Pearl picks up the portrait and displays it beside her, Steven and the gems changed positions without moving. It appeared as they moved a few feet away from Amethyst's pile of stuff.
- Some of the fingers of Amethyst and the man being pulled onto the boat in the photo found in Amethyst's room are not colored.
- During Amethyst's party, there was a mat with food behind where Pearl and Garnet were sitting. But after Pearl tells Steven about his drawings on balloons, the mat with food disappears, instead, a table is there.
- When Steven shows the carts, the yellow cart is in the middle. However, later, the position of the cart changes.
- During Pearl's party, Amethyst is seen using two party hats, but when Steven slams the pie onto his face, Amethyst has three party hats.
- Amethyst picked up the balloons from the ground to clean the party Steven made for them, but when Amethyst was shocked at Steven's condition, the balloons floated instead of being dropped on the ground.
- The crown moved farther from Steven right after Amethyst calls Pearl to come and help. The crown is completely gone when Garnet is shaking Steven, and for the rest of the episode.
- Lion disappeared when Garnet said that they will work on the rest about the normal Steven still having adult legs.
- Amethyst's gem disappears when Pearl says that she likes pie.
- When Pearl was hugging Steven after he turned back to normal, her nose disappeared for a brief second.
- Middle-aged Steven's mouth overlaps his nose once he loudly announces in surprise that he's old.
View the episode's transcript here.