YMMV: Steven Universe

  • Abandon Shipping: All the Garnet pairings sunk with three words: "Three's a crowd."
  • Accidental Innuendo: During the Uncle Grandpa crossover, the title character says he's Steven's uncle and grandpa and Pearl deduces that means he's Greg's brother and father, which causes Garnet to respond "That would explain a lot." Word of God has said she just meant that's why they call him "Uncle Grandpa", but more than a few people thought she was implying Greg was inbred.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The second episode has some of this regarding the Gems. Is their request that Greg not involve himself in magical matters out of concern for him, or do they see him as a bad role model and made the request to limit his influence on Steven? Or Greg is actually not responsible enough to be a full time parent? Or does he resent Steven for losing Rose Quartz? As of "Cat Fingers", it may be more because of how inherently dangerous the fledgling powers of a Gem are (learning to use his Voluntary Shapeshifting powers resulted in Steven turning into an amorphous blob of cats and nearly destroying himself), and Steven's dad just is not up to task to keep Steven safe from harming others, or himself. "So Many Birthdays" further supports this interpretation, as Steven almost died when he couldn't control his powers, even with the Gems there to help him.
      • Later episodes show that Greg is actually quite competent in 'normal' matters, even if he's useless at magical things. He even gives the Crystal Gems a small What the Hell, Hero? when he points out that they "never give up on anything, except for [him]".
    • After "Coach Steven", Sugilite's character has been subject to a vast amount of varying interpretations. Is her personality a result of Garnet and Amethyst's mindsets at the moment of fusion, or is it a reasonable mixture of their own distinct traits? Was her lashing out at Pearl an indication that the amount of time she spent fused was causing her to go out of control, or was she justifiably hurt that Pearl left her behind?
    • Lapis Lazuli of "Mirror Gem" and "Ocean Gem". Was she a threat that could've seriously hurt everyone around her? Or was she just some homesick gem that was just severely injured and didn't want to be on the planet anymore?
    • Lapis brings up one for the Crystal Gems: Are they heroic protectors of Earth, creatures whose personalities are based on instinct? Or heartless jailers imprisoning wayward gems regardless of their intent?
    • Pearl and Amethyst's amusement at humans' short lifespans: Are the Gems really an advanced race of warriors, or just a group of Smug Super thugs and that Lapis may have had a point in her argument? Or alternatively, are the Crystal Gems simply Noble Bigots in comparison to the rest of the gem race? Lapis herself seemed to show little regard for the Earth and its inhabitants and as of Warp Tour, it appears to be the case that the Crystal Gems really, really don't want other gems to come back to Earth. "On The Run" explains this further. The episode reveals that the Gem Race were willing to destroy earth in order to create new Gems. Rose, Pearl, and Garnet rebelled because they didn't want to end life on earth.
    • Connie's parents? Decent parents or, in the case of Connie's mom, a full blown Jerkass Abusive Parent?
    • Sadie. Misunderstood teenager with a crush, or Yandere who goes to excessive and cruel lengths to get back at Lars for simple pettiness?
    • The exact relationship between Amethyst and Greg as shown in 'Maximum Capacity'. Was Amethyst's reaction in this episode akin to a child who's working through the grief of her mother-figure getting into a new relationship and then dying? Or, as another fan contingent suggests, was there also something romantic/sexual going on between the two of them? Similarly, the fandom is also split between those who feel that despite her cruel actions in the episode, Amethyst was still sympathetic considering her back-story (and apology), and those who felt she crossed a line.
    • "Rose's Scabbard" has shed new light on Pearl. Was her relationship with Rose an adoring kind of Hero Worship? Was Pearl the Gem equivalent of a stalker who wanted to know all of Rose's secrets? Or was their relationship something a little less platonic?
    • Could many of Pearl's character traits be the result of having (the Gem equivalent of) high-functioning autism? She displays numerous traits typically associated with Asperger Syndrome in particular: taking hyperbole, sarcasm, and humour literally (eg: Steven's "Butter-fly" joke); an inability to pick up on social cues, difficulties empathising with those she doesn't have a close connection with (ie: most humans), being ultra-logical most of the time but highly anxious and emotional in stressful situations, and trouble understanding other people's perspectives - such as Amethyst's in On the Run. Given that the other Gems can seem to glean a basic understanding of earth and its inhabitants, Pearl's behavior may not be explainable by reference to her outsider status alone.
  • Author's Saving Throw: If you were absolutely despising the existence of the Uncle Grandpa crossover, the load may be lightened when it's stating within the first two minutes that it's not to be considered canon and that it was more of a Take That episode to the fandom.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Steven. Mostly for the fact that he unintentionally causes most of the episode's problems with his lack of forethought. Of course, considering that Steven is supposed to be 'the ultimate little brother' he is supposed to be annoying, so perhaps this is fridge brilliance. This has also begun to die down as the series has progressed, with Steven generally becoming more competent and mature.
    • Pearl has received a somewhat mixed reactions from fans. Some fans find her quirks (she's a bit of clean freak, and is extremely protective towards Steven) to be boring or annoying, others find them funny or endearing.
    • Amethyst managed to break the base with her carefree attitude. Some fans enjoy seeing her let loose and have fun with her powers. Others find her misuse of her powers obnoxious and wish she would be more responsible.
      • Usually, Pearl's fans are the ones annoyed by Amethyst and vice-verca, which amusingly enough mirrors the show.
    • Lars. He often acts like a selfish Jerkass, and any time an episode ends with him learning humility, it completely gets forgotten by the next episode. However, he still has his fair share of fans and has been involved with some of the show's Heartwarming Moments. This clip sums Lars up perfectly. He has his Jerkass moments, but deep down inside, he does actually care, as evidenced by when he gives Sadie his shirt at the end for her to keep warm. "Island Adventure" accentuates this, with a lot of people either hating on Lars and glorifying Sadie (for Lars coming across as even more of a jerk than usual for a lot of the episode) or vice versa (for Sadie taking matters into her own hands to "help" Lars without asking him, which may have just ended up hurting him and their relationship).
    • Jasper. Depending on who you ask, she's either a badass, cool antagonist with a rather creative design, or a boring, clichéd General Ripper archetype that just can't compare to the other non-standard antagonists like the comical Peridot or the sympathetic Lapis Lazuli. There's very little neutral ground.
    • Jamie, in "Love Letters". Was his reaction to his infatuation with Garnet funny and cute, or annoying and unjustified? Was he sympathetic in his heartbreak, or was he trying to be emotionally manipulative to get his way?
  • Bizarro Episode: "Say Uncle," an explicitly non-canon crossover with Uncle Grandpa that kills Pizza Stevenote  and by implication Lars and Sadie. The episode mostly consists of Uncle Grandpa doing bizarre things to help teach Steven how to use his shield, and later sending him into his RV. It's also the only time in the series that fourth wall jokes are used.
  • Broken Base:
    • The show moved to a slightly looser and less detailed style after it was picked up, which understandably upset fans of the pilot.
    • Whether or not Steven should be the main protagonist. Some think that the show would be far more interesting if it focused on the adventures of the three adult Crystal Gems rather than his Coming-of-Age Story, while others argue that the entire heart of the show is in the relationships of the characters and in particular between Steven and his mentors/guardians/family.
    • As more and more episodes come out, it's become increasingly debatable among fans whether or not Greg is actually a better role model than the Gems for a variety of reasons. The Gems themselves even question if they're capable of teaching Steven and providing for him in "The Test".
    • "Alone Together". Either it was a sweet episode and a unique Fusion, or it was a boring copout of an episode.
    • As soon as the crossover with Uncle Grandpa was announced, the fandom split into those who are excited about the idea, those who are indifferent, and those who think it is the worst idea in history. Even after the episode came out, the Fandom Nods and irreverent tone in poking fun at the show garnered mixed reactions of their own, with some finding it mean-spirited and others feeling that that was exactly what the joke was.
      • Within the same episode, the fandom became split over whether Pearl's Flanderized behavior in said episode was either gut-bustingly funny or a disservice to her character.
    • Garnet's behavior in "Love Letters" to Jamie. While the majority of the fandom agree that she wasn't entitled to go on a "pity date" with him, a few people think that she was a bit too blunt in how she felt.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • After The Reveal in Mirror Gem/Ocean Gem that the monsters the Gems have fought the entire time are actually corrupted Crystal Gems, on top of the pre-existing fact the Gems can survive anything so long as their gem is intact, some fans have compared the show to a Lighter and Softer Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
    • Jasper's muscular build, long hair, brutish nature, and role as a member of the main characters' race who came back to attack them lead to a lot of jokes comparing her to Raditz from Dragon Ball. Similar are comparisons of her to Nappa and Peridot to Vegeta, which the show's creative director found very amusing.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • There's Pearl x Lars.
    • And Amethyst x Connie
    • Amethyst x Sadie
    • Lars x Buck Dewey has been growing in popularity as of late.
    • LapiDot (Lapis Lazuli and Peridot) sprung up surprisingly strong after "Warp Tour", and before they ever even met.
    • Pearl x Mayor Dewey is nearly half-canon, due to Dewey describing Pearl as being 'the hot one'.
    • With the Uncle Grandpa crossover, there is now all of those characters, including Lion x Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
    • Jamie x Kevin popped up right away after his Day in the Limelight episode, "Love Letters", aired.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In Watermelon Steven, Baby Melon attacks Steven in order to get the other Watermelon Stevens to stop attacking the Gems. This gets Baby Melon killed and Steven picks up the remains and cradles them in his arms. He then yells at the remaining Watermelon Stevens about how noble Baby Melon was and sends them away. The Gems gather around him to comfort him in his loss. Before the Iris Out, Steven takes one of Baby Melon's remains and eats it. The Gems look appropriately disturbed.
  • Crossover Ship: Pearl x Jet Link aka Cyborg 002 is pretty popular, due to the fact that they have similar noses, hair color and style (although Pearl's hair is lighter and shorter), and love to dance.
    • After the events of "Arcade Mania", fans began shipping Garnet with Tien Shinhan because they both have a Third Eye.
    • Bill Cipher has started being shipped with Peridot. There's a consistent joke in the Gravity Falls fandom that Bill resembles a Dorito, and this joke seems to have started to apply to Peridot as well.
    • "Say Uncle" briefly teased Lion x Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
    • And now we have Lapis X...wait, WHAT?! WHY?! HOW?! Eh, it's kinda cute.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Maybe not quite abuse per se, but Sadie's behavior in "Island Adventure" would seem a whole lot less sympathetic if she and Lars had their genders swapped.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • If you just looked at all the memes and art Peridot gets, you'd never guess she's actually a villainous, if somewhat comically adorkable character that's only occasionally Played for Laughs, she's so far displayed no redeeming traits whatsoever, neither to the Earth nor her fellow Gems.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Peridot seems to be one of the most popular characters due to her Adorkable qualities, despite being a villain. The shape of her head quickly became a meme as well, earning her the Fan Nickname of "The Dorky Dorito". Anyone care for a bag of Peritos?
    • Ruby and Sapphire appeared in just one episode at the Season 1 finale, but they quickly became extremely popular subjects for fanart of the series. The fact that they're Garnet's fusion components helps too, which endears them a lot to the LGBT community.
    • The Beach City civilians have a lot of love, namely the cool kids (Jenny Pizza, Buck Dewey, and Sour Cream)
    • Vidalia from the episode "Story for Steven". Appears for a fraction of a minute, generates quite a bit of fanart from people fond of her "80's bad girl" design, as well as triggering many theories about her being Sour Cream and Onion's mother, due to the Theme Naming going on in the show.
    • Stevonnie is easily the most popular fusion, for obvious reasons.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Drawing Rose Quartz svelte at all triggers this for some fans, as many see her chubbiness not only as an endearing trait of her character, but a positively portrayed one as well. Unfortunately, this has resulted in name-calling and similar behavior directed at offending fan artists.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Only a few episodes in and the fandom is locking horns with the fanbases of Uncle Grandpa and Adventure Time. Uncle Grandpa fans are mad that Steven Universe took its previous Monday timeslot, and Adventure Time fans see it as somewhat of a ripoff due to its superficial similarities. Ironically, Steven Universe was created by Rebecca Sugar, a former writer and storyboarder for Adventure Time, and thus, many Steven Universe fans are also Adventure Time fans as well. On the other hand, a lot of Steven Universe fans see Uncle Grandpa as terrible, thus fueling the rivalry. To add even MORE fuel to the rivalry, a crossover between Uncle Grandpa and Steven Universe has been confirmed.
    • Some Adventure Time fans are upset that Rebecca Sugar left to create her own show and are demanding that she return, especially the ones that feel Season 5 has been a downward slide since her departure.
    • With reruns of Steven Universe now being pulled and replaced with The Amazing World of Gumball reruns, a rivalry between the fandoms of both shows is virtually inevitable. It doesn't help that the reruns were pulled with NO explanation, and that TV guides for services like Direc TV still listed Steven Universe in the timeslots when the show currently airing was, in fact, Gumball, though this has changed since The Amazing World of Gumball hasn't aired a new episode since March 5th, 2015note , Steven Universe has taken the 5:00pm timeslot that The Amazing World of Gumball had, and Cartoon Network is more content on rerunning Teen Titans Go! ad nauseum.
    • A fairly intense (although mostly one-sided) one with the Periphery Demographic of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. After a popular brony fan site announced it was launching a Steven Universe fan site along the same lines as Equestria Daily, Steven Universe fans revolted for fear of the "darker" side of the MLP fandom. Eventually the idea was called off, hypocrisy calls were made on both sides, moods were soured and now both fandoms are embittered with each other over the whole thing.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Garnet/Pearl is pretty popular. However, this ship was essentially sunk in "Love Letters", where it's revealed that since Garnet is a fusion between two Gems who are in a relationship, she has no interest in entering a relationship with anyone else. The pairing has now been moved into more of an "intimate friendship" territory, as has Polygems (Garnet/Amethyst/Pearl).
    • Amethyst/Pearl is also popular in some circles.
    • Pearl/Rose Quartz had a jolt in popularity after the episode Rose's Scabbard, which hinted that the two may have been a couple in the past, with Pearl very much still in love with her.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With the Gravity Falls fandom and, to a lesser extent, the Over the Garden Wall fandom. They are cartoons that set up a light and cheery tone with plenty of humor, but gradually become more depressing and horrifying. In the case of Gravity Falls, they both have cheerful protagonists (and Dipper), triangular characters affectionately referred as Doritos and have had their popular fan theories confirmed. Crossovers between them are frequent.
    • There's also a great deal of overlap with Legend Of Korra. While the two shows are very different in tone and content, they are both plot-driven, anime-inspired action cartoons with LBGTQ canon characters. Fanart which depicts Korra and Asami fusing is particularly popular.
    • They were pretty friendly before but as of 'Jail Break' Steven Universe and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fans have been getting along exceptionally well, especially with the introduction of Jasper as a tall, muscular, hot blooded, wild-haired character with a pompadour-looking helmet weapon who gets hit with a The Dog Bites Back moment and is trapped at the bottom of the ocean.
    • Among older fans, there's an overlap between the fandom of this show and Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It's the fact that both shows feature Joel Hodgson, as well as two uptight, intelligent moms named Pearl (although Joel never interacted with the other Pearl).
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • At the end of "Steven's Lion" Garnet justifies her decision to let Steven keep the lion by cracking "We kept Amethyst.", which Pearl laughs at excessively. It suddenly becomes less amusing when "On The Run" reveals Amethyst was born and grew up alone until the Crystal Gems found her, possibly in a somewhat feral state. She's also rather ashamed of her origins, and Garnet and Pearl making a joke like that speaks to how ignorant they were of such feelings.
    • In "Cat Fingers", Amethyst offers to teach Steven about shapeshifting and messes with Greg by turning into Steven. In "Maximum Capacity", Amethyst lashes out at Greg by taking Rose's form, hurting him deeply, and it's implied she did the same thing before.
    • Much of Pearl's My Beloved Smother moments towards Steven become a lot more heartbreaking after "Rose's Scabbard" where its shown just how much Pearl looked up to and adored Rose and the fact that she see's a lot of Rose in Steven.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Garnet's cube-shaped afro; the target audience couldn't reasonably be expected to know that the crystalline structure of actual garnet is cubic.
    • Peridot certainly seems alien compared to the main gems (even though they are all alien), and actual peridots can be found in meteorites.
    • The large devices strewn throughout the Kindergarten resemble bacteriophages, viruses which infect bacteria and hijack their own machinery to reproduce, killing them in the process. A rather apt metaphor for what the Kindergartens do to Earth.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The series really picks up once it starts dealing with its Myth Arc in "Lion 2: The Movie", seventeen episodes in.
    • "Mirror Gem" and "Ocean Gem". The ending of which implies much more serious matters will occur. So much so that the creators apparently consider this as the show's "true" beginning.
    • "The Return" and "Jail Break" introduce Jasper, a completely psychotic Knight of Cerebus Smug Super soldier gem whose tactics and strength are absolutely ruthless. While she was eventually defeated, her arrival also introduces a Big Bad that the Gems will have to focus on fighting sooner or later in the future.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • After the reveal that all gem monsters are in fact, crystal gems trapped in a different form, Monster Buddies just got a whole extra layer of Tear Jerker. Mmm, bittersweet.
    • Amethyst's complaints in about Pearl and Garnet being "on [her] back all the time", like in "Tiger Millionaire", have a lot more weight after "On the Run" shows how Amethyst joined the Crystal Gems.
  • Heartwarming In Hindsight:
  • He Really Can Act
    • Nicki Minaj is a surprisingly good voice actress.
    • Deedee Magno-Hall is pretty heartbreaking as Pearl in "Rose's Scabbard"
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • "Maaaayor Deeeewey, Maaaayor Deeeewey, Maaaayor Deeeewey..."
    • The mirror screaming in Steven's voice.
    "Nooooo! NoooooNOOOOOOooooo! NOOOOOOOOO!"
    • The mirror's laugh is incredibly creepy.
    • WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the pilot episode, Lars is confused as to how Steven is a member of the Crystal Gems when all the others appear to be female, telling him "You’re not exactly a hot girl." In "Alone Together", Steven fuses with Connie to become a beautiful feminine but most likely non-binary person that Lars is awe-struck just looking at.
    • In "Fusion Cuisine", Steven said Garnet would be a good mom substitute to have dinner with Connie's parents but she's not the best at conversation. In "Jailbreak", Garnet describes herself as a conversation between the two Gems that form her.
    • Amethyst calls Garnet "G squad" as a joke. When Garnet is revealed to be a fusion, the joke stops being a joke but it's still funny, if not funnier.
  • Holy Shit Quotient:
    • Many people were shocked to see Pearl actually get stabbed and temporarily die onscreen in "Steven the Sword Fighter".
    • "Mirror Gem". Many people were really shocked at the appearance of Lapis Lazuli, especially considering the previous very faint implication that main cast was the last of the Gems.
    • The all-out fight between Amethyst and Pearl in 'On The Run'.
    • The half-hour special "The Return" and "Jailbreak" dropped several bombs on the fandom with the reveal of Garnet being a fusion, a fight scene with Peridot, another Homeworld Gem, and Opal getting a cameo.
  • Internet Backdraft: The Steven Universe/Uncle Grandpa crossover episode got this a lot when it was announced.
  • It's Short, so It Sucks : "Story for Steven", the episode showing how Greg and Rose first met is sometimes said to be too short. While what the episode does have is well-liked, numerous people feel that it doesn't delve deeply enough into Greg and Rose's relationship, and that it doesn't properly explain why Greg was so quick to give up his music career for her.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: As you can tell from a few entries here, Pearl.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The show has garnered a sizeable one, thanks to the Les Yay between the Gems and Steven and Connie's fusion Stevonnie being interpreted as nonbinary by many fans.
    • All the gems are nonbinary as they technically have No Biological Sex and don't seem to identify with any human gender, so any pairing between two Gems is going to be somewhat queer. The Gems as a species (except Steven) don't seem to have a traditionally defined gender, even though they display appearances coded as female by humans.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Pearl's nose/Bird Mom/Pointy Mom.
    • Calling Garnet "Square Mom." Following 'Jail Break' she is also "Mom Squared".
    • Rose Quartz being portrayed as a goofy magnet for awkwardness, in a Like Mother Like Son relation with Steven.
    • Peridot is:
      • A lime-flavored (or alternatively, guacamole-flavored) Dorito.explanation  And in a variation of the previous, relating her with Mountain Dew (color scheme), an Xbox (vague color scheme; X on her chest), and combining all the previous, portray her as a stereotypical neckbeard or gamer girl. Memetic mutation indeed.
      • A rapper.
      • Canadian.
      • A Worm.
    • Calling Jasper:
      • An angry Cheeto. She's the "Big Buff Cheeto Puff".
      • A bara character (referred to as Bara Gem, Bara Mom, Bara Waifu, etc.)
    • Referring to Ruby as "The Red Macaroon". Also, her blank facial expression seen here hasn't gone unnoticed.
    • Referring to Ruby as Sports Crab.
    • Editing (read: vandalise) the Steven Universe wiki for it to call Peridot a Dorito, or in the case of Jasper, a "Big Buff Cheeto Puff", among others.
    • "If you defuse Garnet, the Crystal Gems is just Pearl standing over a bunch of child-sized munchkins."
    • The theory that Onion is either a Gem (possibly even Yellow Diamond) or Satan, which all started due to the fact that he has no ears.
    "ONION THEORY STILL REAL"
    "GOD DAMN IT"
    • Steven's weird face in Together Breakfast, mostly used to denote the use of a bad pun. Also, shopping it over Rose's face after Pearl said that Steven looked like her.
    • Ronaldo's explanation of, "Snake people or, sneople" being used as a template to snowclone other portmanteaus on that pattern. Crossed over a bit with a very similar meme known as snemes (snail memes) which developed independently on tumblr.
    • Amethyst's line of "Who wants to watch a cartoon about people crying?" coupled with images of S.U. characters crying quickly grew popular after "Reformed."
  • Misblamed: There were rumors going around that the show's design change from the pilot episode was because of Executive Meddling and apparently low budgets. In reality, the change was done by the show's creator, Rebecca Sugar, and was created and finalized long before the pilot was leaked. In fact, the show's budget is much higher than the pilot's.
  • Moe: Steven. He's not called the "ultimate little brother" for nothing. Connie as well, her enthusiasm and dorky personality are endearing, to say the least.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Peridot crossed it when she attempted to reactivate the Kindergarten which Pearl says would eventually destroy all life on the Earth. She later tries to smash Steven with a giant hand even after getting information out of him.
    • Jasper crossed it when she headbutted Steven into unconciousness and gave him a black eye, something which contributed to him being traumatized in "Full Disclosure", and cemented her in many fan's eyes as a true villain.
  • Narm: For some, a lot of the genuinely heartwarming moments can be ruined by the art style, which can border on Gag Lips at times.
  • Narm Charm: Some found Alexandrite—the combined form of the three gems—to look rather ridiculous. But the situation she first appears in—posing as Steven's mother while having dinner with Connie's parents—wouldn't be half as funny or awkward if she didn't. Plus, taking the gem's contrasting personalities into account, it's fitting that their combined form would be a complete mess.
  • One True Pairing:
    • Steven/Connie, after the events of "Bubble Buddies". This was only enforced after episodes like "Lion 2: the Movie", "An Indirect Kiss", and "Lonely Together" showed them to have a lot of heartfelt chemistry together.
    • Sapphire/Ruby has not only become almost universally accepted by the fandom, but was confirmed to be canon by the storyboard artist of "The Jailbreak".
  • OT3: A large number of people ship the Cool Kids as Polyamory.
  • Periphery Demographic: Though clearly a children's program, several factors (such as the creator being a well known former member of the Adventure Time crew, the flawed yet lovable characters, the impressive soundtrack, the surprisingly touching drama, and jokes that would fly way over most kids' understanding) have made it quite popular outside its target demographic.']
  • Rewatch Bonus: In the first two minutes of "On the Road", Amethyst is silent for the first two minutes and looks upset when Pearl talks about the Gem Homeworld. Considering the events in the episode, this makes a lot of sense. If you pay close attention when the conversation is about Homeworld Gems, Pearl mentions "and then there's gems like me and Garnet who stayed here to protect Earth". The absence of Amethyst's name is a big clue that something is wrong and it's also the same moment she makes an upset face.
    • Garnet's excitement about Steven and Connie fusing into Stevonnie makes a lot more sense in light of the events in Jailbreak.
    • In general, season 1 is very rewarding with a rewatch, where the Gems' every other line suddenly gains a ton of depth and laced with foreshadowing, and nearly every joke, odd line, or character quirk becomes much more meaningful when you have the context.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • "Open Book" helps teach that it's trivial for friends to fight over things like fantasy books by having Connie not be mad at Steven despite him liking the ending of the "Spirit Morph Saga" even though she hated it. It delivers the message more when she says that it's just a book, showing that you shouldn't care about stuff like book series or TV shows more than your friends.
    • "Say Uncle" has the message that you shouldn't judge others just because they're different, you don't understand them, or you don't like their sense of humor or personality and that you shouldn't just blindly hate things. This message was especially needed after the recent behavior of a chunk of the SU fandom towards fans of My Little Pony and of Uncle Grandpa.
    • "Love Letters" provides two regarding love and relationships: 1) Love at First Sight doesn't exist. Real love takes time and work, and you have to know the person. And 2) If someone is interested in you and you don't feel the same way, you are in your own rights to reject them.
  • Starboarding:
    • Ronaldo starts to develop a crush on Sadie in "Horror Club".
    • Comes up in "Political Power", where it's revealed that Mayor Dewey is rather smitten with Pearl, referring to her as "the hot one" of the Gems.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • "Beach Party" was the first episode to focus on the fact that the Gems don't understand humans, or really even seem to empathize with them at all. While all the stuff with the Pizza family is entertaining, the episode sidesteps the deeper issue of how the Gems view humans, to be saved for future episodes.
    • Instead of following the Gems minus Steven on an underwater adventure, "Island Adventure" is wasted on a Wangst-filled teenage romance plot with Lars and Sadie.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: A few in Say Uncle. Pizza Steve, one of the biggest Base Breakers in Uncle Grandpa, gets eaten by Amethyst. And despite the Take That, Audience! undertones of the crossover, it's worth noting that the Crystal Gems (arguably the stand ins for Uncle Grandpa's hatedom) beat up Uncle Grandpa before the end of the episode.
  • Uncanny Valley: Many of the things seen in Rose's room when it was glitching out, which was probably the point.
    • One that sticks out the most in "Jail Break" is Garnet's expression after she gets re-fused. Yikes!
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Ronaldo at times. He sees no problem with ignoring a person's personal liberties or feelings to validate his conspiracies. While this can be put down to being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and as such just unaware of how his actions affect someone he will still do so despite knowing how they feel about his actions.
    • Onion in "Onion Trade". Sure, he misses his father and he barely sees him. But to pass the time waiting for him, he steals, dupes Steven, is perfectly willing to crash a motorcycle for no good reason, and nearly destroyed the town. If anything, Onion came across as a psychopathic child.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Many viewers assumed Pearl was going to be male due to her haircut and flat chest (especially in the pilot episode, where her original design looked more androgynous than the version shown in the actual series).
    • In a more general sense, most people often mistake the Gems as being girls due to their feminine appearances and use of she/her pronouns, when they're actually genderless. (To a lesser extent, Ruby and Jasper are occasionally mistaken to be male).
  • What The Hell Casting Agency: Not in a bad way, but an odd way. The voice cast is a offbeat gathering of teen stars, pop singers, and radio personalities. It's almost as if a bunch of old friends in the entertainment industry had a reunion. Nicki Minaj as Sugilite in particular surprised many, as her voice for Sugilite sounds almost exactly like the voice actress for Amethyst.
  • What an Idiot: During Onion's rampage, Pearl tells Steven basically what the viewers were thinking at the time: that he could have easily used the Replicator Wand to replicate Ranger Guy instead of giving the device to Onion.
    Steven: (facepalm) DANG IT!
    • Starting to happen frequently with Amethyst.
    • Sadie in "Island Adventure". Good intentions or not, hiding the warp pad because she thinks it's good for Lars wasn't the smoothest move
    • In "Marble Madness", Garnet specifically tells Steven that Peridot is an enemy they don't know with technology they don't understand, and tells him and the others that they must stay hidden. So naturally, Steven waltzes right up to the enemy to chat like they're old friends. While he admits afterwards that it was a poor plan, his main goal was to try and coax information out of Peridot, and he was able to do so to an extent.
    • In "Joy Ride" Steven and the Cool Kids found Peridot's escape pod. Steven wants to inform the Gems immediately but the Cool Kids think it's a great idea to play around with unknown, potentially dangerous technology. It almost gets them all seriously hurt.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: A number of moments could qualify the show for this, but the most notable examples would probably be Steven almost aging himself to death or Pearl being stabbed through the chest and temporarily dying.
  • Win Back the Crowd: When Cartoon Network put the show on a three month hiatus, fans got worried that the show was going to be Screwed by the Network. Then the network revealed that not only did they add more episodes to the first season, they also renewed it for a big second season. The result was that Steven Universe would have a total of 104 episodesnote  for its first two seasons. Such news put the fans' minds at ease.
  • The Woobie:
    • Connie. She constantly moves from town to town because of her dad's job, and, as a result, has no friends to keep in touch with, something which drives her to tears when she thought nobody (but her parents) was going to miss her if she drowned in the ocean. Which makes Steven reaching out to her another one of the particularly poignant Heartwarming Moments.
    • Steven. He tries so hard, and it's impossible to not feel bad for him when he messes something up (especially since he's self-conscious about it). There's also the fact that he never got to know his mother. Additionally, one can feel for the fact that he constantly feels pressured to measure up to her. He also thinks that Gems might resent him because he is the reason Rose is no longer around.
    • Amethyst on occasion, especially in the episode "Tiger Millionaire". She doesn't act like it, but she clearly takes Pearl and Garnet's criticisms to heart. Even more so in "On The Run". She was a by-product of a horrible event on earth, and as a result, has a major case of self-loathing until Pearl reassures her that the event was not her fault and saw her as something good that came out of it.
    "I never asked for it to be this way. I never asked to be made!"
    • Definitely Lapis Lazuli, and very much of the destroyer-of-worlds variety. She was trapped in a mirror for who knows how long and wants to go home so badly that she tried to use the entire ocean as a tower to reach it, but ultimately can't due to her damaged gem. When she finally arrives home, she discovers that she's now a Fish out of Temporal Water, and that her home is nothing like she remembers it. Soon after she gets taken prisoner by Jasper and Peridot, forced to obey Jasper, and coerced into a fusion dance. Rather than get shoved around anymore, she decides to take control of the fusion, and trap both herself and Jasper at the bottom of the ocean for eternity.
    • Given the reveal that accompanies Lapis' appearance, i.e. that the monsters the Gems are fighting are corrupted members of their own species who they're incapable of healing, the Crystal Gems could qualify. Later episodes also show that they're the last survivors of a massive gem war, and that they are acting as The Atoner for their entire species.
    • Pearl in "Space Race". She so desperately misses her home that she flies Steven up to space in a rickety rocket that is literally falling apart around her, but refuses to give up until Steven talks her down. Made worse in "Rose's Scabbard", where it's revealed that she stayed behind on Earth because of Rose, and Rose says that if they win, Pearl will never be able to go home. Pearl asks "Why would I want to go home when you're right here?" Of course, Rose eventually dies/gives up her physical form and now Pearl has neither her homeworld or the woman she so looked up to. Her complete and total breakdown cements it.
    • Greg. The dude lost his wife, doesn't have custody of his own son, his musical career never took off, and he seems to be a loser in general, living all alone in his van. In spite of this, there's not a mean bone in the guy's body, and his constant upbeat attitude makes him incredibly endearing.
    • Lars, of the jerkass variety, especially in Island Adventure where he breaks down crying because he thinks they're going to be stuck on the island forever. There's also Sadie in that episode who went so far as to hide the warp pad because she thought Lars needed a vacation, and later risked her life to save Lars after he yelled at her.
    • Rose Quartz. She knew she'd cease to be when Steven was born. And despite her obvious happiness with Greg, there's an underlying current of sadness to the whole thing.
    • The Centipeetle. Sure, it was already corrupted, but it's clearly not aggressive like most of the monsters they fight. It only attacked when it was scared of the Gems' weapons; and it was really warming up to Steven, even enough to perform its final sacrifice to save him. Watching the gems beat it up when it meant no harm, even though they're just protecting Steven, is extremely saddening to watch.
    • "The Test" basically cements all three Gems as this. They're still lost without Rose to guide them, and have some deep insecurities about whether they can raise Steven.