Cartoon Network series "Steven Universe" celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday with an early double-length fall special, “Gem Harvest.”

What happens during a Thanksgiving that isn’t Thanksgiving?

The series details the misadventures of a boy named Steven who lives with the magical Gems, magical beings made from various namesake gems, who protect the Earth, as he is the son of their deceased leader, Rose Quartz, and a human.

In the episode, which first aired November 17, 2016, Steven meets his father’s cousin, Andy (voiced by guest star, Dave Willis, who older fans of the network may recognize as the voice of Carl from "Aqua Teen Hunger Force.") This new “uncle” seems bitter over how Steven’s father Greg seemed to have moved on away from the family, so Steven and the Gems try to host an outside dinner party to commemorate past, forgotten family reunions.

In the show’s universe, there is no equivalent to many real-life Holidays, which becomes something of a running joke throughout the episode. In one line, a character jokes about a potential holiday that involves giving away candy to children, an allusion to Halloween, in addition to the feast celebrated within the episode is meant to serve as a parody of Thanksgiving.

Making light of the topical conversations the holiday has become infamous for, with subtle references to talks over politics (the Gems innocently discuss the issue of colonization from more villainous Gems, a recurring threat within the series, likely a play on modern conversations of immigration or controversy over past colonization associated with the holiday) and religion (in a bit of black humor, a character is criticized for having a relationship outside of a legal marriage.)

Conflict arises in the climax of the episode with mixed feelings over these conversations.

Could the special be an ironic play on the division caused by the 2016 election?

Zach Blumenfeld of Paste Magazine praised the episode, saying it was “timed perfectly,” and compared the conflict between Andy and the Gems as a parallel to the divided mentalities that appeared during the recent election. In this comparison, Andy represents those who felt “mistrust” during the current administration and were looking for some form of freedom, emphasized by the character’s obsession with flying. Likewise, the Gems ironically function as those on the left-sided mentality, even functioning as a literal play on the concept of “illegal aliens.”

Most episodes of the series only last close to fifteen minutes each, but the episode is the few of its kind to be a full half-hour.

Ironically, a previous half-hour episode from the series, “Bismuth,” had been pointed out by audiences as having a similar plot, both with Steven encountering someone from his parents’ past, although the more recent episode seemed to have a more up-beat take on the subject matter.

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