Author Topic: Let me tell you about Steven Universe  (Read 322 times)

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Offline Ambious

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Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« on: July 28, 2015, 05:40:18 PM »
If you've seen any promos for Steven Universe, you probably assumed (as those promos seem to suggest) that it's your run-of-the-mill kids cartoon with doe-eyed children and animals and maybe some strange characters, but basically a kid's cartoon.
Oh boy are those promos deceiving.

Steven Universe's backstory is about a group of sentient genderless stone-based super-powered aliens (called Gems) who arrived on Earth thousands of years ago to mine it for resources, but when they discovered it was populated a group of them decided to defect in order to protect the indigenous humans, and started a long and bloody civil war - which they ended up winning, but they were stranded on the Earth and so remained to protect the humans from whatever may come (which ended up being a lot of remnants from the war). Those remaining Gems - who also happen to live on a geological time-scale (meaning millions of our years is one lifetime for them) settled in what seems to be east-coast USA.
Fast-forward to the 1980's where one of the Gems (and also their leader) called Rose Quartz fell in love with one of the local humans - Greg Universe, a washed up self-proclaimed rock-star.

It's at this point that it's worth mentioning that while the Gems are technically genderless, they're all represented as female and use female pronouns. This is where it starts getting really interesting.

See, after Rose and Greg fall in love Rose gives birth (and in the process gives up her physical form - meaning that she turns back into her 'gem' form) to Steven, who inherits her gem and her powers. After a few years with his father, Steven moves in with the rest of the Gems ("The Crystal Gems") to start learning to control his powers, and that's where the series actually begins.

But there's so much going on in this series from all characters, and they're all equally interesting.
The Crystal Gems are Garnet - the big (and later revealed to be very VERY special in ways I can hardly describe) leader of the group and also the muscle, Pearl - who's portrayed as more of an intellectual, dancer and sword-fighter, and Amethyst - a shape shifting teenager-ish omnivore (she literally eats everything).

But here's the catch, and what makes Steven Universe so different and interesting.
Pearl was Rose Quartz's right hand - and was MADLY in love with her. She believed that Rose loved her too, until Greg. After Rose died to give birth to Steven, Pearl never really recovered and still suffers from pretty intense PTSD.
Amethyst was created on Earth by the homeworld Gems as a fighter - she was basically a weapon - and though she was freed by the Crystal Gems and reclaimed her own identity she has serious self worth issues, bordering on nearly suicidal depression. She at one point flat out says that she hates herself and never asked to be made, and wish she wasn't.
Still think it's a fluffy kids show? (Fans refer to it as "The Singing and Crying Show").

But it's not all doom and gloom - the show has TONS of SUPER positive messages: firstly, the Gems are all technically genderless but presented as female, and they're badass. For one, it's empowering for girls, but also it fights gender-role stereotypes by completely removing gender-roles. For example, Steven befriends a smart nerdy human girl who later learns swordfighting and appoints herself "his knight".
It also completely normalizes same-sex and gender-fluid relationships, by not only making nearly all of the romantic relationships in the show between Gems (and thus all homosexual), but they also introduce another aspect which I'll touch on later - because it's kinda of a spoiler.
Additionally, it really touches the issue of body image in a really favorable light. Steven is chubby and loves food without shame, Amethyst is very full-bodied (despite being a shapeshifter who can take whatever form she wants) and eats EVERYTHING all the time and Rose Quartz was HUGE and GLORIOUS.
This show touches everything, without shame - body image, self worth, depression, love, heartbreak, war, death - even to some extent (albeit only implied) sex and even sexual assault.
Which is where Garnet comes in... (spoilers ahead)

(click to show/hide)

To sum up, Steven Universe IS a kids show, but it's the kind of kids show that's bound to create a better generation. It's also a show that many adults (including myself) completely lose their shit over, in a completely emotional and personal way, both because it touches so many universal and ageless subjects, and also because it just makes me so damn happy and proud to know that kids today have such a brilliant and diverse medium to look up to and be influenced by.

It's definitely not for every adult, it's more kid-oriented than more adult action/adventure cartoons like Avatar: The Last Airbender (in fact I'd say it's more of a cartoon than an animated series), but if you can stomach the more childish aspects once in a while, it's really something else - and something good.
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"Teach thy tongue to say “I do not know”, and thous shalt progress."
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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2015, 06:10:42 PM »
It is a great show.  My kids are really into it, and while I was always planning on watching I never had, but watching with them, I was quickly drawn in.
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Online Henning

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2015, 07:43:02 PM »
Yes.

Now I would advise everyone to forget everything Ambious said and experience the arcing backstory as it is revealed in tantalizing (and heart-wrenching) bits over the first season.

This thread needs more pictures:




I could watch every episode again and only drink in the beautiful background art.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire

Offline Ambious

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 03:14:04 AM »
Oh yes, thank you, I was so caught up I completely forgot to mention the amazing art!
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"Teach thy tongue to say “I do not know”, and thous shalt progress."
–Maimonides

Offline samfoley

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2015, 02:30:47 PM »
Dont forget to mention Ronaldo! He's a parody of paranormal investigators and conspiracy theorists. His first major episode "Keep Beach City Weird" has some pretty good skeptical lessons.

Offline Ambious

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2015, 02:57:15 PM »
Dont forget to mention Ronaldo! He's a parody of paranormal investigators and conspiracy theorists. His first major episode "Keep Beach City Weird" has some pretty good skeptical lessons.

True, although there are four alien rock-women living in his town and doing crazy shit like making a pillar out of all the water in the ocean and destroy half the city with a huge flying metallic hand, so I'd say he has a little more credibility than your usual conspiracy theorist :-P
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"Teach thy tongue to say “I do not know”, and thous shalt progress."
–Maimonides

Online Drewish

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2015, 03:08:26 PM »
Is there any way for chord cutters to legally watch this show?
Be a bigot.  Or at least, be the kind of person who other people will call a bigot.  If people don't accuse you of bigotry, then they've successfully gotten you to self censor for fear of social rejection.  The truth is sometimes unpopular and often offensive.

Offline Ambious

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 03:14:36 PM »
You can find it online on Hulu, Google Play or Amazon Instant.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 03:23:54 PM by Ambious »
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"Teach thy tongue to say “I do not know”, and thous shalt progress."
–Maimonides

Offline samfoley

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2015, 08:17:29 PM »
Dont forget to mention Ronaldo! He's a parody of paranormal investigators and conspiracy theorists. His first major episode "Keep Beach City Weird" has some pretty good skeptical lessons.

True, although there are four alien rock-women living in his town and doing crazy shit like making a pillar out of all the water in the ocean and destroy half the city with a huge flying metallic hand, so I'd say he has a little more credibility than your usual conspiracy theorist :-P

Yea, but he doesn't blame the weird stuff on them at first. And then, when he finds out all the weird things are because of the alien rock-women, he's disillusioned because they're not as exciting as his theories. It's kinda funny: Since they've been around for most of human history, they're thought of (at least in Beach City) as kind of weird, but not interesting enough for a conspiracy theorist.

Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2015, 10:20:08 PM »
Watched the first two eps. Cute show, I enjoyed it.
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline Ambious

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2015, 06:42:12 PM »
Show's creator is Rebecca Sugar. Here's a fun lil' comic about her:



(click to show/hide)











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"Teach thy tongue to say “I do not know”, and thous shalt progress."
–Maimonides

Offline samfoley

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2015, 01:21:21 AM »
One funny thing I've seen is people posting out of context images and asking people who haven't watched the show to explain what they think is happening. It's one of the things that intrigued me into watching the show. Here's a few examples (no major spoilers):




Offline starnado

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2015, 04:11:51 AM »
LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE



...

I mean, what's not to like? The show is fabulous to look at and at times deeply touching.
'The little, stupid differences are nothing next to the big, stupid similarities'
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Offline Ambious

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Re: Let me tell you about Steven Universe
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2015, 07:15:02 PM »
And here's the marvellous and spoilerific extended theme song from SDCC:
(click to show/hide)

Sent from my Nexus 7

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"Teach thy tongue to say “I do not know”, and thous shalt progress."
–Maimonides

 

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