Ah, there’s nothing like having a new obsession, am I right?
After putting it off for ages, I finally got around to delving into Steven Universe, and let me tell you..This show is everything! And because I’m the giant nerd that I am, when I like something, I fall hard – as in I can’t stop rewatching all the episodes and consuming all the fan theories and fanfiction and fanart that I can get my greedy little hands on.
So what makes this show so damn great? Steven Universe is one of those series that’s so crazy and brilliant that it’s really hard trying to explain it to other people. There’s a kid who has a jewel in his belly button and he also has magic powers and he’s also kinda sorta his own mother? And there are gemstones that are also people (kinda)? Plus LGBT representation? And fat heroines? Wait, how did we end up discussing the ethics of war? And this is all on a Cartoon Network show?
In the course of just a few short days, this show has become my everything. What started out as something to watch when nothing else was on became a full-blown addiction midway through season 1, and let me tell you why.
For starters, it’s just so damn positive. Despite the perma-frown I wear in real life, in all actuality I’m a very positive person who’s 100% over the whole grimdark trend. I’m sick of watching fictional characters get gruesomely murdered or whatever else just for the sake of being “edgy” and “realistic” – these days, I’m craving media that’s lighthearted and fun that I can watch while I unwind for the day.
But don’t get me wrong – while this show is a total ray of sunshine, there’s also some seriously engaging, realistic (yes, realistic) drama that will keep you addicted to the storyline (but it’s not dark just for the sake of being dark, is what I’m getting at here). You’ll be watching for the cute stuff and then the next thing you know you’re completely sucked in to a plotline about characters dealing with guilt and grief and the ramifications of war.
Plus, the characters actually learn and grow, something that doesn’t even happen often enough in live action shows. Steven, and all the characters around him, go through some pretty major character arcs that are so, so satisfying to watch. And the writers manage to deliver pretty poignant messages while they’re at it without being heavy-handed; this may be a kid’s show, but there’s no talking down to the audience here. You’re in for some seriously inspirational moments that will probably get you in your feelings, so just consider yourself warned.
And one of my absolutely favorite things about this show? Its treatment of gender and relationships. Steven Universe doesn’t subscribe to any of the old, boring rules that many stories with young male protagonists tend to cling to – for starters, Steven’s strength as a burgeoning hero isn’t rooted in his physical power, but in his love for others and the kindness he constantly shows to everyone around him. Having emotions doesn’t make him weak, and being “strong in the real way” (to quote the show) isn’t about being the biggest and the loudest and overpowering others with brute force. When’s the last time you saw a message like that in a kid’s show?
I know I’m being dramatic because I’m in love, but Steven Universe is a masterpiece and I will fight you about it. (It was also created by a woman, just throwing that out there – shout out to Rebecca Sugar for being amazing). And also? The songs – yes, there’s occasionally singing, stay with me – will make your soul happy.
I don’t want to say much more about it because I don’t want to ruin the experience for you. Let me put it this way – there are two series I wish I could erase from my mind so I could experience them fresh and new from the beginning, and that’s the Harry Potter books, and now Steven Universe.
It’s the kinda show that will make those who turn their nose up at cartoons reconsider their stance- that is, if they can watch it with an open mind and give the story time to get its footing. It’s more than just weird monsters and that crazy ass cat fingers episode – so, so, so much more. Just stick with it, guys. You won’t be sorry.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be mentally designing my own gemsona (My gem would be on my belly button so I could wear crop tops all the time, js) and waiting feverishly for my next 11 minute fix like the rest of us. (Seriously, when are we getting new episodes fam? I can’t take this.)