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-   -   Steven Universe: Intriguing beyond belief (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=753087)

Sir T-Cups 03-30-2015 01:16 PM

Steven Universe: Intriguing beyond belief
 
I woke up Saturday morning with a cool gray rain falling outside and thought "Yeah I'm staying in bed." I was channel surfing and came across a Cartoon Network mini-marathon of their show Steven Universe, and I couldn't turn away.

The episode I started with was hella intense for a kids show. The good guys were fighting some universal baddie, Steven wanted to help but they didn't want him to get hurt (read: killed), his dad was saying he already lost Steven's mother and didn't want to lose him too.

Then in the next episode they are still fighting the baddie and see tortured and saddened characters in the baddie's jail, Steven finally frees one of them, finds the other who eventually snuggle/kind of kiss (also I swear they were both female) they merge into one of the characters (this is a thing apparently) who then starts to sing while she's facing the baddie. Baddie ends up merging with another one of the tortured soul prisoners who eventually rebels and drags the newly created person into the ocean to save the world.

I continue to watch the marathon with awe. This show will have a couple of silly kid show plots, then suddenly throw in a curveball of Steven trying to shut himself off with his best (girl)friend because he's scared he will hurt her.

Then more fun kid plots....until they get to the episode where he finds old home movies of his dead mother saying how much she loves her son.

Has anyone with kids (or just a CN lover) have any experience with this show? Like I said in the title...I am just fascinated by this show

ZipperJJ 03-30-2015 01:25 PM

I LOVE it!

I love that it features three female superheroes, and female baddies, and it's a young boy trying to fit in to this female superhero world. And he is compassionate and has emotions and can be dumb and get scared and is stubborn. And I like his girlfriend too, who is just as cool. And his dad is a doofus but he totally cares about Steven, and seems very realistic not just cartoony doofus.

I find myself sitting around with nothing in my mind and immediately start singing the theme songs.

I am still working through the first 50 episodes and will be sad once I can't binge anymore.

I'm a big Adventure Time fan and this show is related to that one (people from AT created SU). I also love Clarence, if you see that one. It's also got that goofy-kid-woah-serious-topic thing going on.

I am a grownup person with no kids, BTW :)

Push You Down 03-30-2015 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZipperJJ (Post 18249444)
I LOVE it!

I love that it features three female superheroes, and female baddies, and it's a young boy trying to fit in to this female superhero world. And he is compassionate and has emotions and can be dumb and get scared and is stubborn. And I like his girlfriend too, who is just as cool. And his dad is a doofus but he totally cares about Steven, and seems very realistic not just cartoony doofus.

I find myself sitting around with nothing in my mind and immediately start singing the theme songs.

I am still working through the first 50 episodes and will be sad once I can't binge anymore.

I'm a big Adventure Time fan and this show is related to that one (people from AT created SU). I also love Clarence, if you see that one. It's also got that goofy-kid-woah-serious-topic thing going on.

I am a grownup person with no kids, BTW :)

Stephen Universe is a lot of fun.
I really love Clarence (he's kind of like kid-Homer Simpson which can sound really terrible, but actually works). The Wrath Bader Ginsbot episode is my favorite.

Sir T-Cups 03-30-2015 02:07 PM

I could never really get into Adventure Time, maybe I'm too hipster for it and don't want to cuz everyone else is all obsessive over it.

There seemed to have been a plot where an overlord baddie steals a bunch of water? That sounds like it would have been interesting to watch.

Fun Fact: The mayor is voiced by Joel Hodgeson of MST3K fame

Johnny Ecks 03-30-2015 02:34 PM

I've been watching Steven Universe since the beginning, and it's really a great show. I was hoping someone would start a thread.
It's one of those shows with a deep backstory that is constantly hinted at, but only slowly revealed, and the show is getting darker as the secrets come to light, but the main character retains his innocent optimism- and this is what will save everyone in the end, I believe.

Sir T-Cups 03-30-2015 03:42 PM

It's also super diverse I noticed.

Strong female characters, an Indian girlfriend for Steven, one of the gems is black (voiced by a black actress too)

Aestivalis 03-30-2015 03:47 PM

I love it too! The first time I watched it with the kids, I wasn't so sure, but I got pulled back into it with the catchy songs and the deep themes. The strong female role models and underlying value on empathy were really what sold me. My son likes it as much as my daughter does, and they are both Adventure Time fans (even though that gets a little deep for them too).

typoink 03-30-2015 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZipperJJ (Post 18249444)
I'm a big Adventure Time fan and this show is related to that one (people from AT created SU).

Even more specifically, Steven Universe was created / is run by Rebecca Sugar, a writer / storyboard artist on Adventure Time who wrote several of the songs and stories that really pushed the emotional boundaries of that show in the early seasons.

I haven't really had time to check out SU, but it sounds like it's in good hands.

AndrewL 03-30-2015 08:51 PM

It is really good. I just started watching it a few days ago. Already hooked. Remarkably soothing and catchy theme. Interesting characters. Surprisingly deep stories. I love it.

RandMcnally 03-30-2015 09:55 PM

I've wanted to catch this for a while. Hopefully I can find it on Netflix or Amazon.

Barking Dog 03-30-2015 11:43 PM

It is really a wonderful show. I too am a childless adult that recently found it and got immediately hooked. I spent pretty much the whole of last week binge watching the whole first season.

grude 03-31-2015 07:53 AM

YES! I was going to make a thread on this show, my new favorite show.

I think what I love most is that the show starts so slow, but you notice little background details and start going huh Garnet has two gems on her body....while everyone else has one wonder what that means? Then something is revealed and you go wait is Garnet a fusion? Then......YES!

The backstory is getting increasingly dark and weird, and I love how we're discovering it along with Steven as he ages.

What I am wondering about now is what exactly Rose's long term game was with Steven, and I definitely think she had one! I'm assuming here that Steven is intended as a proof of concept for the homeworld, a way forward for their stagnant immortal society.

ZipperJJ 03-31-2015 08:42 PM

Everyone who likes Steven Universe please go watch Clarence (on Google Play or Amazon) and then start a thread so me and Push You Down can talk about it with you :)

Achren 03-31-2015 11:05 PM

The same friend who got me into Gravity Falls told me about this show. I knew I was hooked when I spent a day with the "Giant Woman" song in my head and didn't really mind. I like that the emphasis is the team relationships - like the Steven's test episode were the lesson isn't just that the Gems need to give him a real test, but the more important realization that they sometimes need reassurance as well. The Junji Ito reference bit ("This is my hole, it's me-sized!") surprised me and creeped me out a bit. I wonder if people who don't know the other story found it as unsettling.

Barking Dog 04-01-2015 12:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Achren (Post 18253776)
The Junji Ito reference bit ("This is my hole, it's me-sized!") surprised me and creeped me out a bit. I wonder if people who don't know the other story found it as unsettling.

Probably. I don't know the reference, but that part of the episode definitely clicked a few notches into the disturbing for me.

Johnny Ecks 04-10-2015 09:32 AM

So, since the last discussion there have been two episodes aired, Say Uncle and Story for Steven. Both solid, but not adding too much to the deeper story. Story for Steven was interesting, in that it looks like we met Sourcream's parents, and got a better idea of the timeline. Greg and Rose had a lengthy relationship before Steven's conception, given his youth in the flashback and age in the videotape from Lion 3. It also shows that the gems, until Greg, did not mix with humans.
It's quite depressing if you think about it. The war is over, and 4 (or 5) last survivors (or last sane survivors) of the winning army, spend 5,000 years cleaning up the residue of their war. It seems that they really view themselves as the guardians of the planet, and of people only incidentally.

grude 04-10-2015 11:27 AM

You know when you put a few things together, the corrupted gem monsters they fight and bubble? That has to be Rose's army, remember Greg said she could only save her few closest friends in the end?

I' guessing homeworld dropped a gem pathogen, or insanity bomb or something.

Was Lapis Lazuli going to homeworld the reason Peridot started trying to fix the warps?

Johnny Ecks 04-10-2015 12:20 PM

Or a weapon the crystal gems used themselves. Remember that Jasper said she admired Rose's tactics. That's not a compliment.
It's very dark, but I can see the use of a last resort doomsday weapon to save the planet at the cost of both armies. The real question is what was happening back on homeworld, and what is Gem society like. I suspect there is a warlike caste-based system with social position based on power. The war may have been a part of a larger civil war that the good guys lost, which is why it took so long for the Gems to return, and why Lapis was so scared of what homeworld was like.
All this is speculation, of course, but we'll get real answers eventually.

Sir T-Cups 04-10-2015 01:52 PM

Has anyone watched Uncle Grandpa before? I know that this was a funny little one-shot, but is that how the show is? It seemed really funny in a breaking-the-fourth-wall-and-still-using-literal-humor kind of way

AndrewL 04-10-2015 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grude (Post 18278959)
You know when you put a few things together, the corrupted gem monsters they fight and bubble? That has to be Rose's army, remember Greg said she could only save her few closest friends in the end?

The gem shards that have shown up in a few episodes have some really dark implications too. Gems can only be permanently hurt by damage to their gemstone, but even shattering it doesn't actually kill them. Apparently the fragments still have some limited form of sentience and power, and need to be contained (or even use to power machines) to keep them from running wild. It really puts a their apparent immortality in a more disturbing light.

Quote:

Was Lapis Lazuli going to homeworld the reason Peridot started trying to fix the warps?
Maybe, although Peridot did send the Red Eye to Earth way back at the start of the season, so there was some interest in returning to Earth even beforehand. Lapis did tell them exactly who was responsible and where to find their base however.

Teuton 04-10-2015 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups (Post 18279415)
Has anyone watched Uncle Grandpa before? I know that this was a funny little one-shot, but is that how the show is? It seemed really funny in a breaking-the-fourth-wall-and-still-using-literal-humor kind of way

Stephen Universe is a great show, but I'm not nearly so fond of Clarence, and I find Uncle Grandpa unwatchable. But I have kids, so it's occasionally on.

furryman 04-11-2015 03:04 PM

I can't believe they went to all that trouble for an April fool's joke. If you like absurd humor you might enjoy Uncle Grandpa.

Sir T-Cups 04-13-2015 08:37 AM

Is this on Netflix or something like that?

I'd love to see it from the beginning and watch whatever happened before the giant hand robot when I came into the series

psiekier 04-13-2015 02:15 PM

Adventure Time is still my favourite CN show, but Steven Universe does have its charms. I'm especially fond of the character designs. They remind me of the manga that begat anime around 1970 or so, like Ambassador Magma, Astro Boy, and Tetsujin-28.

Jeep's Phoenix 04-13-2015 02:41 PM

I love the art and character design of this show...and, like Adventure Time, I started paying more attention to it when I realized there was a deeper story line.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups (Post 18279415)
Has anyone watched Uncle Grandpa before? I know that this was a funny little one-shot, but is that how the show is? It seemed really funny in a breaking-the-fourth-wall-and-still-using-literal-humor kind of way

Belly bag! I've caught a few snippets here and there...I think this show would have really appealed to me when I was a kid, but it doesn't hold my interest.

grude 04-21-2015 12:00 AM

I thought the most interesting part of Story For Steven wasn't seeing young Greg and Rose, but how young in looks and demeanor the other gems were!

Amethyst seemed to be about the level of a five year old! Even being carried, Pearl and Garnet both looked different and younger somehow too. Garnet seemed less stoic and silent even cracking a joke.

Either living without Rose, or the years in between some harsh trauma happened to them. Or raising Steven.

Johnny Ecks 04-21-2015 08:17 AM

I would say that the loss of Rose has forced the gems to be more responsible and independent, and exposure to Greg and raising a partially human child has made them interact with humans much more. Also, story within a story, so Greg may have misremembered or exaggerated.

Any thoughts on Shirt Club? Nice little story, good character building, explains the events of Joy Ride a little. Also, the rooftop sniper bit was great- "I've been shirt!"

RandMcnally 05-07-2015 08:33 AM

I just found out that the first season is now streaming on Hulu.

They also have the first five seasons of Adventure Time.

Sir T-Cups 05-07-2015 08:43 AM

Yessss

This is awesome news cuz I have a Hulu account I can borrow!

DSeid 05-07-2015 11:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grude (Post 18251361)
What I am wondering about now is what exactly Rose's long term game was with Steven, and I definitely think she had one! I'm assuming here that Steven is intended as a proof of concept for the homeworld, a way forward for their stagnant immortal society.

Also very much enjoy the show turned onto it by one of my adult sons.

What part is the proof of concept? Is it a bigger deal that Steven is a child or that he is, well, he, while they are officially genderless but clearly all female in form and pronoun?

Interesting that his power is protection ... which is what Rose was doing for the Earth.

Johnny Ecks 05-08-2015 12:15 PM

Given that the gems are stated to be immortal and sexless, and apparently reproduce using machines that destroy the planet, finding a way to create new gems without killing anything is probably what she was going for. (If this theory is correct)

grude 05-09-2015 10:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DSeid (Post 18349367)
Also very much enjoy the show turned onto it by one of my adult sons.

What part is the proof of concept? Is it a bigger deal that Steven is a child or that he is, well, he, while they are officially genderless but clearly all female in form and pronoun?

Interesting that his power is protection ... which is what Rose was doing for the Earth.

Well we know Steven wasn't an accident, it isn't like Greg and Rose got a little carried away one night and forgot the condom. He was the result of great effort most likely, including the sacrifice of Rose's life and leaving the other Gems sort of unprotected not to mention Earth(see the early episode where they are like if Rose was here this would be easy).

So yea I'm definitely thinking he was intended as part of some project toward reproducing without killing planets full of life.

Johnny Ecks 06-17-2015 01:22 PM

So, Steven Universe has returned- with a new opening sequence and a full week of new episodes. Monday's Sworn to the Sword was one of the best yet, and Rising seas/Crashing skies was.. good, I guess. We have a little more backstory on Pearl- confirming what has been theorized, that her gem type is not meant for combat, and thus further suggesting that Gem society is Caste based. Also, sword fights, self abnegation, and Connie moving be be a main cast member.
I'm looking forward to tonight- dark secrets uncovered at the kindergarten. Periodot, maybe?

grude 06-18-2015 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny Ecks (Post 18446472)
So, Steven Universe has returned- with a new opening sequence and a full week of new episodes. Monday's Sworn to the Sword was one of the best yet, and Rising seas/Crashing skies was.. good, I guess. We have a little more backstory on Pearl- confirming what has been theorized, that her gem type is not meant for combat, and thus further suggesting that Gem society is Caste based. Also, sword fights, self abnegation, and Connie moving be be a main cast member.
I'm looking forward to tonight- dark secrets uncovered at the kindergarten. Periodot, maybe?

Well you were right, I'm still trying to figure out what we learned last night exactly.

Does this mean all the "corrupted" monsters are these forced fusions? Did Garnet recognize the silhouettes when the abomination was trying to form? She did say they were crystal gem shards, not just gems. And that this was a punishment.

grude 06-18-2015 10:16 PM

Another good one, Rose and Greg flashback ep.

WHOA this show is amazing with continuity, to back to Marble Madness and watch what Peridot is trying to do remotely before they smash the connection. Now go back to Jailbreak, she tells Jasper the whole point of coming to Earth was to check on the clusters, and Jasper says no capturing Rose takes precedence.

Another small one in Monster Buddies, when Centipede gets released you can see it first assume a female humanoid silhouette with spiky hair.

Johnny Ecks 06-19-2015 08:14 AM

My interpretation is that during the rebellion, the homeworld gems were experimenting with fusion- probably as a weapon- and mashed bits of captured/shattered crystal gems together and left them to incubate. (This is about as blatant a rape metaphor as you can get in a children's cartoon-hence Garnets horror.) Periodot's job was to check on the results. I had hopes that she would be redeemed by life on Earth, and become an ally- after this, I don't think that's possible.
What I've come to realize is that this show is really about relationships of all types- parent-child, friendship, romance, community, commander-subordinate. It is looking more and more like the gems have a society based on a strict caste based hierarchy, and the crystal gems rebelled over fusion- and the freedom to form personal relationships generally, in addition to the whole sucking planets dry thing.
While last nights episode was great- and a wonderfully realistic and emotionally true examination of love and the way we become couples- it ended on a more ambiguous note.
A Connie and Greg bond over their shared humanity, Steven holds his gem and suddenly realizes that he isn't human- and not truly a gem either. This is going to cause problems in the future.

Gyrate 06-19-2015 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups (Post 18279415)
Has anyone watched Uncle Grandpa before? I know that this was a funny little one-shot, but is that how the show is? It seemed really funny in a breaking-the-fourth-wall-and-still-using-literal-humor kind of way

I'm a fan of the absurdist humor of Uncle Grandpa but it's a show that deliberately flouts internal logic and narrative continuity which would clash with any "normal" show that relies on them.

grude 06-20-2015 04:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny Ecks (Post 18451423)
My interpretation is that during the rebellion, the homeworld gems were experimenting with fusion- probably as a weapon- and mashed bits of captured/shattered crystal gems together and left them to incubate. (This is about as blatant a rape metaphor as you can get in a children's cartoon-hence Garnets horror.) Periodot's job was to check on the results. I had hopes that she would be redeemed by life on Earth, and become an ally- after this, I don't think that's possible.
What I've come to realize is that this show is really about relationships of all types- parent-child, friendship, romance, community, commander-subordinate. It is looking more and more like the gems have a society based on a strict caste based hierarchy, and the crystal gems rebelled over fusion- and the freedom to form personal relationships generally, in addition to the whole sucking planets dry thing.
While last nights episode was great- and a wonderfully realistic and emotionally true examination of love and the way we become couples- it ended on a more ambiguous note.
A Connie and Greg bond over their shared humanity, Steven holds his gem and suddenly realizes that he isn't human- and not truly a gem either. This is going to cause problems in the future.

I think the overall feel of the show is invoking the experience of growing up with a deceased parent(duh right?) or in a broader looser sense the second generation immigrant experience. Steven gets told of all this stuff he has never personally experienced, an entire different way of life.

Oh the Ronaldo episode in this block I think like previous ones revealed very important info and hints at coming plots. Watch Keep Beach City Weird again, Ronaldo rants about polymorphic sentient rocks killing the earth, and "the diamond authority".

This is all confirmed by later episodes.

Well in this latest one it mostly focuses on the Gems bringing threats to Earth by their being here(future plot arc) AND a very significant background sight gag. A pic of Steven's stomach with pregnant? written on it.

I think Rose is still "there" inside Steven's gem, and she will come out and have to tearfully choose to go back so Steven can live.

DSeid 07-13-2015 08:41 PM

So new ep today.

A bit sad.

And I must say
SPOILER:
I am glad they gave Amethyst empathy.

Johnny Ecks 07-14-2015 01:56 PM

Yeah, that was a depressing one. First, they build you up with the fun and goofy new fusion, then they turn the whole thing into sadness. Pearl doesn't just have issues, she has whole subscriptions. She really needs a new girlfriend (boyfriend? Sexless -but-female-presenting-space rock-friend? Gems are so confusing).
Also, check out youtube for the Steven Universe panel at comicon- including an extended opening with new verses.
Looking forward to the rest of this weeks episodes.

furryman 07-15-2015 01:48 PM

In yesterday's episode they actually show Ruby and Sapphire making out. Not only (possibly) the first yuri in an American cartoon but quite possibly the first romantic relationship displayed in an American cartoon!

furryman 07-15-2015 01:58 PM

Oops forgot about Greg and Rose.

grude 07-16-2015 02:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by furryman (Post 18519942)
In yesterday's episode they actually show Ruby and Sapphire making out. Not only (possibly) the first yuri in an American cartoon but quite possibly the first romantic relationship displayed in an American cartoon!

This show about lesbian space rocks is possibly one of the most emotionally realistic depictions of relationships I've ever seen.

Great episode, loved when Greg walked in the room and saw Sapphire on the bed and asked Steven tiredly "oh boy, where is the other one?":D Greg must have helped deal with Garnet's relationship problems before.

Sir T-Cups 07-16-2015 09:12 AM

Not having cable is driving me crazy!

And I do have a Hulu subscription, but only one TV in our apartment works for it, so I can't just hole myself up and watch cartoons without probably damaging my relationship even more than "wants to sit all day and watch lesbian space rocks" already does...

Johnny Ecks 07-16-2015 09:53 AM

So, important question: What exactly was that on that sandwich that Steven was making himself? It looked like:
Toasted bagel
Fried egg
cream cheese?
Some kind of fish?
If lox or similar, delicious. If tuna or similar, not so much.


With a side of limited edition extreme BBQ chips (attempted)

smsaks2000 07-17-2015 12:44 PM

Steven Universe
 
Cookie Cat, he left his family behind!!!

Leiko 07-17-2015 08:29 PM

Johnny, it looked like lox or gravlax to me, with cream cheese and a fried egg.

I am shocked I haven't posted in this thread yet. SU is my favorite show on television. Even the filler episodes aren't truly filler, and every character is interesting. How many shows can say that?

Plus, non-binary lesbian space rocks are pretty darn cool.

Johnny Ecks 07-19-2015 04:04 PM

So, Steven bomb three is over, and Periodot has lost a foot- I'm fairly certain that means she is not a gem projection like the others, perhaps a cyborg? Gem powers, mechanical body? More importantly, she said that Earth has an expiration date, and she didn't want to find out when it was. I'm seeing a major new plot arc there.

Jragon 08-15-2015 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Barking Dog (Post 18253841)
Probably. I don't know the reference, but that part of the episode definitely clicked a few notches into the disturbing for me.

The Enigma of Amigara Fault, which is a classic well known horror manga. It's short and worth a read, and the show was almost certainly invoking it. (BTW, the bubbles read right to left)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny Ecks (Post 18530890)
So, Steven bomb three is over, and Periodot has lost a foot- I'm fairly certain that means she is not a gem projection like the others, perhaps a cyborg? Gem powers, mechanical body? More importantly, she said that Earth has an expiration date, and she didn't want to find out when it was. I'm seeing a major new plot arc there.

I have to guess some of the gem seeds may have hit the planet's core...

grude 08-15-2015 01:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny Ecks (Post 18530890)
So, Steven bomb three is over, and Periodot has lost a foot- I'm fairly certain that means she is not a gem projection like the others, perhaps a cyborg? Gem powers, mechanical body?

I think Peridot is actually a Ruby or Sapphire sized gem, and her arms and legs are a kind of suit to assist her in her work as a sort of gem tech technician.

Watch how surprised she is at her powers, she has never seen combat and is just learning how to use the offensive capabilities of the suit.

A weird thing Lapis told Steven Homeworld has vastly changed, everything was different and worse and she felt lost like an outsider. Considering what Homeworld was like 6K years ago this must be a hell of a feat!

Weirdly in the early eps like Sea Spire one the gems seem to be wistfully nostalgic for Homeworld and the past gem society on earth, Pearl especially.:dubious:

Oh did anyone else in the beginning think the warp pads were taking them to different planets? Like old gem colonies or something, I was shocked to learn it was all earth!


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