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Broken Base / Steven Universe

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As with all shows, there are certain decisions or issues that cause contention within the fandom.

  • Early in the show's run, it was increasingly debated by fans as more episodes came out 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".
  • The fandom is split over what, exactly, fusion is a metaphor for. Some argue that it's a straightforward metaphor for sex, and others see it as a metaphor for any and all kinds of intimacy within relationships, including friendly and familial ones (aided by Steven and Amethyst fusing in a moment of mutual understanding and support, more akin to sibling relationships). Which view you subscribe to will understandably affect how you think about Steven fusing with any of the Gems or with Connie, though Word of God has stated that it's the latter.
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  • The idea of a male Gem appearing on the show has the fanbase split. According to Word of God, the Gems are a race that have no gender whatsoever. Conceivably this could mean that all of the Gems shown so far have just coincidentally decided to take the form of females and could just as easily be male. Some fans would like to see a male Gem, while others are strongly against the idea. Discussion of the topic sometimes results in feuds between fans. Some also argue that Steven is a male Gem while others state that, because he's half-human, he's not technically a full Gem. And then there is the issue of Amethyst's transformations as a "dumb policeman", a wrestler and (along with Garnet) as Steven count as male forms or simply female forms that look male (although an official guide suggests the former).
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  • Peridot's Heel–Face Turn in "Message Received" and whether or not it happened too fast. Some feel that it contradicted her characterization in the previous episode, where she still didn't understand why the Gems wouldn't want the Earth hollowed out, and that it doesn't make sense for her to insult Yellow Diamond to her face given how much she worshiped her. Others feel that it does make sense, and Peridot turning against Yellow Diamond may have been not so much out of appreciation for Earth as it was Yellow Diamond showing she wasn't as logical as Peridot believed.
  • Predictably, Lapis/Jasper is one of the most popular ships in the fandom. But since it is a toxic, unhealthy relationship, it has a very prominent hatedom with the reasoning that it's glorifying abuse. It became even more polarizing after "Alone at Sea".
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  • There's been a heavy backlash against Rule 34 (not exclusive to this fandom, but getting a lot of steam here), mostly for the fear of making it difficult for the intended audience of children to search for show online without coming across adult content, as has happened with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (also tying into Fandom Rivalry.) It varies from "keep it on a separate tag" to "drawing porn of a children's show is basically pedophilia." That said, this fandom is definitely not short of smut, and according to Ian JQ, the crew is not only okay with it but "the writers room talks we have about the actual canon is waaaay sicker than stuff I see on tumblr. So shine on you crazy diamonds. Get weird."
  • Because Garnet is literally the embodiment of a lesbian relationship, many fans see Garnet as a lesbian herself. But her statement of "Three's a crowd" in "Love Letters" has led to many interpreting her as an aromantic asexual, with the argument that Ruby and Sapphire are lesbians but Garnet is not, and may see any ships involving Garnet as erasure. Debates around this can get heated.
  • In "Barn Mates", many viewers felt that Lapis was being unreasonably cruel to Peridot by refusing to even consider she's changed. Many other viewers felt Peridot was Easily Forgiven and the episode gave a Broken Aesop of how victims aren't allowed to be angry at those who hurt them if it's at the expense of their friends, especially after Peridot apologized to Amethyst for being Innocently Insensitive in an earlier episode.
    • Lapis and Peridot's new friendship has even caused contention with Lapis fans. Some love it for Peridot being sensitive and respectful to Lapis' trauma and doing her best to help her recover after Malachite, while others are still upset that Peridot was forgiven for hurting Lapis so quickly and feel like Lapis' Character Development, especially with the other Crystal Gems, has been rushed.
  • The episodes following "Alone at Sea" have brought more character and plot development. However, these episodes have caused a divide in the fandom, depending on whether or not you find the episodes to be too "rushed" or not. Some fans don't mind it or don't notice it and are just happy to see what the episodes give. Others think the episodes cram too much into the last few minutes without lingering on them long enough. The most obvious examples being the ones where Jasper makes an appearance as most of the time she would only show up within the last few minutes despite the show clearly making a far bigger deal regarding her presence.
    • Related to the above example, discussions on if the episodes focused on humans that sometimes don't even feature the Crystal Gems should be considered filler or not can get rather heated. Episodes like "The New Lars", "Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service", and "Future Boy Zoltron" are among the biggest points of contention. People against this will mention that Word of God stated that there's no such thing as filler episodes, while people who think that they are claim that such a statement is a case of Show, Don't Tell.
  • Pearl's crush on Mystery Girl. While most fans are genuinely enthusiastic about the potential relationship and are intrigued about how it will play out, their opinions on Pearl's crush differ. Some fans think it's cute and a sign that she's finally gotten over Rose, especially since Mystery Girl and Rose seem worlds different, but other fans cite that fact that she looks similar to Rose and she crushed on her without ever getting a full word in with her until the end of the episode as the reason why it's so skeevy, and see it as Pearl not truly moving on. Others simply dislike the idea that an ephemeral, fleeting relationship with a human is something Pearl needs fresh off of losing Rose.
  • Malachite is an obvious metaphor for an abusive relationship, but as the show's portrayal is a little nuanced and ambiguous, the fandom is often split on which of the components was the abusive one. While Jasper's treatment of Lapis has been consistently aggressive and the "I can change" line from "Alone at Sea" is commonly attributed to abusers, Lapis was the one in control of the Fusion and in the episode mentioned "being terrible to [Jasper]" and taking everything out on her. Some fans claim that Jasper in "Alone at Sea" was manipulating Lapis into thinking she was in the wrong, others claim that Jasper is only considered the abuser because of her unfeminine traits while Lapis is more traditionally feminine, and some even claim it was mutually abusive. Debates about this get very heated, to say the least.
  • The continued choice of telling the entire show from Steven's viewpoint. Some fans find it appropriate, since the show is titled after him, and the fact that we don't see how other characters behave when he isn't present makes it a little more realistic (after all, most people don't know what kind of lives their teachers/bosses have outside school/work). However, there's an increasing number of fans growing restless for a departure from it, with some even accusing it of being a cheap excuse to keep holding back big parts of the show's mythology. It got especially heated after "The New Crystal Gems", with several complaints that the team-up of Connie, Peridot, and Lapis could have been a lot better if the first few minutes hadn't been used to set up that Connie was telling Steven what happened.
  • The quality of the art style and animation became the subject of much controversy during the show's fourth and fifth seasons, and can be categorized into three groups of people regarding the subject. One group dislikes the show's stylistic choice of having animators closely mirror the storyboard art to retain the style of individual boarder, stating that (despite the crew's claims of having general rules) there's no consistency with how the characters look. The other side of the spectrum argues that the approach can be used for humor and that the series has updated its look since the first season to better accommodate this artistic decision. Some find a neutral middle ground, usually not caring about the whole mess but noting that there are certain moments where this style becomes overly distracting and breaks the experience of watching the show.
  • Peridot and Lapis becoming side characters instead of main characters ended up being one of the most divisive parts of the narrative: there are those who don't mind it, either due to feeling that it keeps the cast of characters in a show with such limited runtime from being clogged up, or simply viewing Peridot and Lapis' hijinks at the barn as hilarious and cute. Others feel that it does a disservice to them by slowing their development to a halt due to how little they appear, while others are mad that it keeps them from being involved with plot points like the Human Zoo break in or the fight with Aquamarine and Topaz (especially since Peridot is the reason why they're there), as well as Steven surrendering himself to them, leading some to feel that their potential is being wasted.
  • Bismuth's episode brought up a fierce debate over whether it's right or wrong for the Crystal Gems to poof their opponents from Homeworld instead of outright shattering them, essentially rendering them Deader Than Dead. Some think it's perfectly justified after everything Homeworld has done, others point out that, since they have a method of putting Gems in indefinite stasis after poofing them, there's no need to shatter them and doing so is unnecessarily cruel.
  • The continued addition of Beach City episodes has started to come under fire as of Seasons 4 and 5. On one hand, you have fans who like them and continue to endorse them, seeing them as the best way for side characters to have their time in the spotlight while allowing the show to take a break from the more serious episodes. On the other, you have the fans that are growing sick of them, seeing them as pointless fluff and arguing that, at this point in the show, they don't need a break from the main plot. A third group of fans don't mind them, but do wish that there were less of them.
    • A common argument against the Beach City episodes is that they could've worked if the show had a normal update schedule, but the infrequent release schedule forced on them by CN makes them more aggravating, which creates another broken base over whether the writers are still at fault for not adapting to this release schedule and focusing more on moving the main story along, or whether they should just stay the course because the release schedule stops being a problem after the episodes have already been aired for a while.


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