There seems to be a bit of hate about steven universe. It's not that I don't understand that notion. I think I tend to agree in fact. But I've actually watched the whole thing, and feel it's better than it's made out to be. Is steven unsufferable? He certainly is at the start of the show. And he's even worse in the sequel show. But there is a point some time at the end of season one, or middle of season two where either the flavor of his particular brand of annoying stops being annoying, or he actually subtlety changes enough that it's no longer annoying. The biggest problem with the show is that since it follows the America TV show formula of "BE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE" it simply is in no hurry to move the plot along. In fact, if you watch any random episode there is a high likelihood that "nothing important" happens, and you would be forgiven for even thinking the show is episodic. But it isn't. There isn't a single episode that is "episodic", anything that happens, "happens", no take backs, do overs. If there is a simple moment where steven rips his backpack strap, in a later episode there would be a small scene showing him sewing it back together, and every time it is shown after it would have the stitches visible. Now it might seem like this is a point so basic and pointless as to not warrant praise, but if you feel that way, then you just must not be bothered by the idea of episodic shows as much as I am. Something like ST:TNG is often claimed to be an episodic show as well, But it's not the show that's episodic, what is episodic is their lives. At no point is there an episode of TNG where something happens and in the next "it didn't". excepting of course time travel shenanigan episodes. When Tasha Yar has sex with Data, Their relationship is up to be mentioned in the future, when she dies, she is DEAD. This is in stark contrast to shows like South Park, or Bob's Burgers. I wanted to mention Family Guy as an example here, but there is a bit of a wrinkle in that example (which we may decide is worth examining). in south park Kenny dies in every episode (as far as I know, I dunno because I don't watch it because it sucks.) in Bob's burgers the kids never age, they have tina's "last Halloween" as a trick or treater, no less than 3 times. because time doesn't move forward, they are perpetually stuck in the same moment. The only way to explain a show like this in any terms that become relatable is to imagine it as some kind of hell or purgatory, going through the same beats never having any consequence or meaning, never learning any lessons, because everything needs to reset to the same status quo we started with. It's not even a situation like in the Bleach Bant arc where every plot beat is slowly unwound after the half way point, new chars dying, power unlocks taken away, so the end is the same as the beginning. No these shows tend to start at a known "quo" and move over the chorus of the episode to some different "quo" but the next starts right at the same point it always does. Family Guy once tried to make the bold decision to have a single event matter at all. They once tried to kill off Brian the dog. The american public shit themselves so hard that the writers had to throw together a several episode plot involving time travel bullshit to bring him back to reset everything back to the point it started. Nothing can be allowed to upset the sacred status quo. Now it is probably seems like a minor point, but I hope the last couple paragraphs have shown at least for me, it's really not. Just having events have consequences changes the entire nature of how a show plays out over time. It allows for a very important factor - the possibility of being invested. When nothing has consequence either you like the characters and how the interact or you don't. If there are consequences then you can hope that a bad character gets what's coming to them, or you can gradually learn about /why/ they are the way they are and understand them (and hopefully yourself, or some other people in your life) better. You can feel something in a characters success because it will have impact on what happens later. I don't think it's a coincidence that every western kids show that's considered good by basically anyone has this same form of time. Adventure Time, Avatar, The Owl House, Amphibia, Gravity Falls. All of them have actual stories that unfold over many episodes. I'm not a huge fan of AT, Marceline is the only character I like pretty much at all in it. Avatar isn't great either. I'd rather just watch basically any shounen anime. I haven't seen amphibia, so I don't have an opinion on it. Gravity Falls is pretty ok. Owl house is incredible and I still to this day wonder how the writers were able to con the disney board into letting them make it for as long as they did. Steven Universe isn't as good as Owl House, and I'd only say Gravity Falls is better because it is more focused on actually telling the story and is shorter. If steven universe was half as long there'd be no contest. The show really starts to pick up after the introduction of Lapis Lazuli, and even more so when Paradot comes into the picture. I would say that seeing steven so inept and stupid is too painful to sit through, but it does lend itself to the later parts of the show which are able to not just take the fact that he isn't like that anymore at face value, but to actually use the contrast to good effect. One point in particular I'm thinking about is after some bad times, the gems plot to give steven a win. They have a "test" to show that steven has come a long way from where he was in the start, but after he messes up a bit, he realizes that the test is designed to be impossible to fail, and "breaks out" of the test. He sees the gems talking and worried wondering why it was taking him so long to finish. He briefly gets upset, but realizes why they are doing what they are doing, and demonstrating his growth, goes back into the test, and speedruns through it, bursting from the exit. The gems congratulate him on completing the test, and he talks about how tough it was. They needed to give him a win more than he needed a win, and this moment wouldn't land as impactfully if we didn't see steven be a selfish inept child in the past. My favorite part of the series is nothing like that tho. steven learns he can shape shift his body because gem powers. he turns a finger into a tiny cat head. He spends the episode showing off his cat finger and slowly making more of them, some on purpose, some on accident. When he finally decides to try to make them go back to normal he finds he doesn't know how, and the cat fingers have minds of their own. The cat fingers becomes an eldritch cat abomination spreading over his body in some kind of "akira"-esque nightmare fuel for small children. he shambles to his dad's car wash, cat arm, legs, tentacles covering his body and bursting from his head back and chest. His dad seeing the nightmare cat monster his son had become is horrified, but the cats don't like getting wet, so steven goes through the car wash and comes out the other side normal steven again. I laugh my ass off every time I see it. There is something about the fact that it's a kids show, and is this event that would absolutely be nightmare inducing, with this dark depressing music that just mixes in my brain to form "hilarious". Anyway. The show is quite good. It could be shorter and be better for it. If for nothing else it's good for lapadot. .

incoming references