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  • Sapient Steed: Amethyst happily shapeshifts into a horse in "The Question", and remains in that form for the rest of the episode.
  • Scenery Porn: The series has gained a name thanks to its gorgeous artwork. In all honesty, it's rare to ever find words to describe how gorgeous most of this cartoon's scenery is.
    • The scene in "Ocean Gem" with the sea tower reaching into space is breathtaking.
    • The scene in "The Answer" with Ruby and Sapphire's waltz, and their time together on Earth in general.
    • The scene with Pearl's song "It's Over, Isn't It?" from "Mr. Greg". The night city background is just glorious.
    • The entirety of "Bubbled" takes place in outer space. Like Ocean Gem, it's filled with noticeable examples. Particularly, the very wide shot of milky way.
  • Science Fantasy: While some of the stuff the Gems have and can do is depicted as technology, a good portion of said technology seems to be Magitek of some kind, and the rest is straight up described as magic, and has no apparent technology behind it. Whether or not this is actually the case or was for Steven's benefit is never clarified.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: Jasper and Lapis, within Malachite's body. Lapis is able to trap Jasper in the fusion using the weight of the ocean and her own willpower, but she must actively restrain Jasper at every moment or Jasper will escape, or worse, Malachite will.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: In "Back to the Barn", professional engineer Peridot and self-taught Pearl get into an argument over who should lead the drill construction project. To settle things, they have a contest between two robots they built, which eventually devolves into a straight up fight. Even though Pearl ultimately loses, she demonstrates her engineering talents to the other Crystal Gems, who already believed in her, and to Peridot, who eventually acknowledges Pearl's abilities and agrees to work side by side with her.
  • Secretly Selfish:
    • Pearl and Garnet at various points. (Interestingly, Amethyst very rarely falls into being Secretly Selfish because she's so up front about what she wants). In this case, they're mostly aware of their own motives and try to address their issues, but occasionally they don't pick up on it until after the damage is done.
      • This is compounded when they fuse into Sardonyx. She displays a combination of Pearl's perfectionism and Garnet's brash tendencies. She loves to be the center of attention, and without realizing it, can put others down and sometimes makes herself look good at the expense of others.
    • On a general level, all of the Gems dote on and care for Steven, and are perfectly willing to risk their lives for him...but that's partly because Steven is their Living Emotional Crutch, and their behaviour often forces Steven to handle issues that, as a child, he shouldn't really have to cope with. However, that does not mean that they're bad parents, even if they think this is the case.
    • Pearl, the most maternal Gem, wouldn't let so much as a cold wind blow on Steven if she could help it... but a big part of that is the psychological holdover from being his mother, Rose's, self-proclaimed protector. She's been utterly bereft after losing that part of her identity, and really wants it back.
    • Garnet falls foul of this in "Future Vision". Letting Steven know how her power works initially seems to be her usual humoring of Steven's curiosity, but at the end of the episode she admits that really, she wanted Steven to understand her better so that she could be closer to him.
    • In the past, Lapis forcing Malachite came across as a Heroic Sacrifice to protect Steven from Jasper, with Lapis even saying "Just let me do this for you!", the nearly exact same words said by Pearl. Here it's revealed Lapis doesn't believe she did it for Steven at all, but rather for her own emotional self-harm and to use Jasper as a target of her anger and frustration.
  • Secret Test of Character: In "The Test", it's revealed that the mission to the Sea Spire was one of these for Steven. He's much better now, but at the time, he didn't do very well at all.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: During the climax of "Watermelon Steven", the melon army has gone rogue, indiscriminately attacking anything they perceive as a threat to Steven. Baby Melon stops them by punching Steven, causing the other melons to turn on him. Once he is slain, the melons have nothing left to fight.
  • Serendipity Shock:
    • "Alone Together": At this point in the show, Steven has been considered a child with no valid use to the Crystal Gem team, although he's learning. One of his desires is to learn how to fuse, since he's half-gem, and one of the fusion-triggering components is dancing. When he fails at the episode's start, he becomes disappointed, and confides in Connie. She's surprised he can dance, as she doesn't like to dance in public. Steven encourages her, and by complete accident, they fuse into Stevonnie. They (that is, the 'Steven' half of the fusion) are overjoyed at this, and go to show the Gems. All are struck dumbfounded, but Garnet is even more, as she drops her normally stoic demeanor, smiling like an idiot from ear-to-ear. We later learn why: because she's a fusion herself.
    • "An Indirect Kiss": After drinking from a juice box, Connie does too, and Steven finds out that he doesn't have healing tears, but healing ''spit'. Subverted for Connie, in that now she has to contend with more magical concepts than she has ever had to, plus her parents may not be so accepting.
    • Subverted in "A Single Pale Rose". For the show's majority, Pink Diamond was known as one of the antagonists, wanting to conquer Earth as a Gem Colony. Rose Quartz, wanting to save Earth and its life (instead of blindly following orders), rebelled against Pink's court, expanding into a planet-wide war. Later, in desperation, Rose shattered Pink to end the war, which brought upon the wrath of the Diamond Authority. Steven had to live with the knowledge that his mother was seemingly a murderer, until memory-based dreams implied Pearl was the true culprit. Questioning Pearl, Steven is brought into her memories, to find out it was Rose Quartz, except it was PEARL's shapeshifted form, and that Pink was only poofed, with her essence safe in her intact gem; in actuality, Pink was Rose Quartz, with Pink faking her failures, and "Rose Quartz" acting as the rebel, to drive her 'sisters', the Diamond Authority, off-world. Steven is understandably overwhelmed, but relieved at the revelation that Pink Diamond was not murdered, but now must contend with the idea that his mother was still not so innocent as everyone made her out to be.
  • Serious Business: Gem Fusion may seem like a a simple power boost for many, but Garnet treats this as a sacred right, and won't forgive anyone for abusing it or taking it lightly. Pearl learned this the hard way.
  • Servant Race:
    • Pearls are revealed to be this in "Back to the Barn", meant to be servants to more important Gems. More than that, they're decorative servants more than practical ones. They "hold things and look pretty".
    • The same episode also implies that Peridots are made to be technicians and engineers, and are low down on the totem pole.
    • "It Could've Been Great" heavily implies that all Gems are this to some degree under the Diamond Authority.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: In "Love Letters", Jamie meets Garnet when she stoically strolls out of the ocean covered in water. It's this in addition to how effortlessly she dries off that leaves Jamie smitten with her.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • In the "What Are Gems?" short, Pearl describes Gem-kind:
      Pearl: Simplified to our basic forms, Gems are, well, just gems! (giggles)
    • In "Rising Tides/Crashing Skies", Mayor Dewey is captioned as "Mayor Dewey".
  • Shared Signature Move:: Amethyst and Jasper both have the ability to roll up into a spiky ball and charge at opponents ala Sonic the Hedgehog. This is justified by the two of them both being quartz gems, who on Homeworld are made to be frontline soldiers. Jasper's roll is significantly stronger due to her being immensely strong for the average quartz, considered the perfect solider on Homeworld.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Parodied in "Say Uncle" regarding Lars/Sadie, when Uncle Grandpa shoots his head out of a cannon and causes Lars and Sadie's boat to sink.
      Lars: Our ship!
      • But it's just Uncle Grandpa's Head Cannon; the two do eventually become a couple.
    • Any ships involving Garnet were completely sunk in "Love Letters", as Garnet isn't interested in any relationships because she herself is a relationship.
      Garnet: Three's a crowd.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Everyone ships Steven and Connie. A meta example happened where even Cartoon Network themselves shipped Steven and Connie, when they aired a "Stevonnie Forever!" marathon on May 1st, 2016.
    • During "We Need to Talk", when Greg is having doubts about his relationship with Rose, Garnet offers some helpful advice.
    • After watching a marathon (of a single episode, apparently) of Camp Pining Hearts, Peridot becomes an actual Yaoi Fan Girl shipper of the male characters Percy and Pierre.
    • Steven ships Lars and Sadie. Hard.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Pearl tries to use the fact that Greg can't fuse with Rose (after fusing with her into Rainbow Quartz to make him jealous) to try to drive them apart. It fails. (In fact, it backfires completely, since it leads to important conversations that make Rose start to view Greg as more of an equal and less as the temporary boy-toy that Pearl thought he was.)
  • Shoot the Dog:
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Steven has never had a formal education, being homeschooled by the Gems. Up until Connie told him about it, he had never even heard the word "school".
  • Shout-Out: A whole page's worth.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Someone on the staff must really know their gemology, since barely an episode passes without some Fridge Brilliance relating to real-life gemstone science and mythology.
    • Alongside a love of music and composition, the show demonstrates a deep understanding of music theory through Steven, who has perfect pitch. He's able to recognize tones on the fly, even if they're from something other than a musical instrument (an electric drill, for instance), and shows knowledge of chord progression, cadences, and harmony construction, all at the age of 14.
    • When former Crystal Gem Bismuth appears, she asks about "Crazy Lace", "Biggs", and "Snowflake". These may sound like silly nicknames, but crazy lace is a type of agate, biggs is a type of jasper, and snowflake is a type of obsidian.
    • As for another kind of geology, Peridot mentions that a drill to reach the center of the Earth would need to withstand up to 360 gigapascals of pressure and 9800 degrees of temperature. 360 gigapascal is the current upper estimate of the pressure at the inner core, and 9800 is its actual temperature in Fahrenheit degrees.
    • Whenever one of Peridot's probes enters the atmosphere it is always signaled by a loud sonic boom, which is typical of re-entering spacecraft. When the Gem Warship hits the atmosphere, it breaks windows all over town.
  • Show Within a Show: This show has a lot of in-universe media, often introduced as a one-off gag:
    • Li'l Butler, a parody of series like Mr. Belvedere or The Nanny, that seemingly ended decades ago. Greg has an entire collection of VHS tapes.
    • Crying Breakfast Friends!, a cartoon about crying breakfast foods that Steven loves but leaves Greg utterly baffled. "Reformed" essentially indicates Crying Breakfast Friends! is the Steven Universe equivalent of itself, even having counterparts for each cast member. The show’s creator is even named Samantha Pepper
      Amethyst: Who wants to watch a cartoon about people crying?
      Steven: (tearing up) I do!
    • The Dogcopter movie series, which is Connie's favorite movie franchise, and is based on a book series.
    • The Spirit Morph Saga, one of Connie's favorite book series, which she shared with Steven. It appears to be more or less His Dark Materials, with a bit of The Hunger Games's derailing romantic subplot tossed in, along with a name that mimics Animorphs.
    • The No Home Boys book series, a pastiche of The Boxcar Children crossed with The Hardy Boys.
    • Under The Knife, a medical drama that is one of Connie's favorite TV shows, but her mother (who's actually a doctor) doesn't like for being too inaccurate.
    • Evil Bear and Evil Bear 2: Bear-ly Alive, two horror-themed movies about...well, a killer bear. It has a remake in which the killer bear is CGI instead of a guy in a costume, a change both Lars and Ronaldo dislike.
    • Camp Pining Hearts, a Canadian teen soap opera that Steven uses to introduce Peridot to human culture.
    • Sadie's DVD collection features a bunch of horror movies (and one romance), including the aforementioned Evil Bear.
    • The Lonely Blade movies are samurai movies among Steven's favorites. They seem to show up to foreshadow upcoming events. The first time, we see in the movie Lonely Blade discovering his "father" is an impostor. Steven comes to terms with the idea that Hologram!Pearl is not the real Pearl. The second time the franchise shows up, the gems watch a Lonely Blade movie in which he finds an evil, unbeatable sword. In that episode, Bismuth is introduced, and shows Steven a weapon that she made to shatter gems.
    • Keep Beach City Weird references several of Ronaldo's favorite anime, though the only one given much attention is Koala Princess, which seems to consist of taking every anime cliché and ramming them together with every stereotype about Australia. The title character eventually became a minor character in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Near the end of "Lars and the Cool Kids", Lars snaps from pressure and unreasonably blames the situation on Steven's "weird mom". Steven... doesn't react well.
      Steven: What do you know about my mom? I didn't even get to know my mom! But I do know, she saw beauty in everything....even in jerks like you!
    • In "Jail Break", "Stronger Than You" is pretty much a Shut Up, Hannibal! song. While beating up Hannibal to boot.
    • In "Back to the Barn", when Peridot puts down the idea that Pearl can be her own Gem, Pearl responds by punching Peridot in the face.
    • In "Message Received", Peridot makes her case for sparing Earth from the Cluster, but is unsuccessful; when confronted in turn, she lashes out:
      Yellow Diamond: Are you questioning my authority?
      Peridot: I'm... questioning your objectivity! My Diamond.
      Yellow Diamond's Pearl: Well!
      Yellow Diamond: You. Are. Out. Of line.
      Peridot: I just think...
      Yellow Diamond: I'm not interested in the puny thoughts of a Peridot.
      Peridot: But-
      Yellow Diamond: You have disrespected this channel and my time with your presence, and you would do well to...
      Peridot: But-
      Yellow Diamond: SHUT YOUR MOUTH! You have failed at every stage of this mission. Your only chance to redeem yourself is to obey this simple order: you are to leave the Cluster to grow. It will tear apart the Earth, and I will take immense satisfaction in erasing that hideous rock off of our starmaps! Is! THAT! CLEAR?!
      Peridot: I won't do it! I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting!
      Yellow Diamond: What do you know about the Earth!?
      Peridot: Apparently, more than you! You... CLOD!
  • Signature Sound Effect: Each Gem has a distinctive sound effect that plays when they summon their weapon or shapeshift. Additionally, there's the sound that plays when a Warp Pad is activated.
  • Significant Double Casting: All Gems of the same type, except for the Diamonds, share a voice actress (all Pearls are Deedee Magno-Hall except White Pearl, who instead uses the same actress as White Diamond, all Amethysts are Michaela Dietz, all Rubies are Charlene Yi, Sapphire and Padparadscha are both Erica Luttrell, Jaspers are Kimberly Brooks, Peridot and Squaridot are Shelby Rabara, Topazes are Martha Higareda, and Zircons are Amy Seldaris.) All beings created by Steven's Green Thumb powers share his voice actor, even though so far none can speak English. The tiny whale Steven creates while in Rose's room speaks in Rose's voice. As does Pink Diamond.
  • Significant Name Shift: Near the finale, the Diamonds learn that Rose Quartz, Steven's mother, was actually Pink Diamond. As he has his mother's gem, the Diamonds treat him like Pink, repeatedly referring to Steven as such. They also treat him rather poorly, punishing him and his friends for fusing or doing anything that disobeys their strict, caste system's rules. During a confrontation with Blue, Steven manages to show her how screwed up her world and family are. Now wanting to mend her relationship with him and having grown closer, when facing Yellow, Blue immediately corrects the other Diamond when she calls Steven 'Pink'.
  • Similar Squad: Many throughout the series. Generally a mysterious/distant leader figure, a calm headed character and a more boisterous one that form a duo at the same tier, and a junior member that's The Heart (who is more than likely Steven). They even tend to stand in the same formation with the leader in the back, foil partners on the sides, and TheHeart junior member front and center.
    • The Crystal Gems are the template, with Garnet as The Leader being stoic, hidden behind sunglasses, and less present than Amethyst and Pearl are with Steven especially early on. Amethyst is the boisterous one, who is Pearl's direct foil in most ways as a playful shapeshifter. Pearl as the cool-headed one, who is very prim, proper, and organized. And Steven, The Heart of the team, the newest Crystal Gem that helps everyone.
    • The Cool Kids to the Crystal Gems. There's Sour Cream's calm and organized demeanor as Pearl, Jenny Pizza's playful personality as Amethyst, and Buck Dewey's somewhat The Quiet One personality to Garnet. Bonus points for there being physical similarities as well. This is more or less lampshaded at the end of "Joy Ride", with a picture showing each Gem standing by their corresponding Cool Kid. Steven is The Heart here as well, just because he gets along with all of them without even trying. Lars at one point wanted desperately to be in the group but was too self conscious to do it. Later on Sadie essentially takes on The Heart role when they realize she also has musical talent, and she becomes the face of the Cool Kids when they reform as the band Sadie Killer and the Suspects.
    • The Diamond Authority. White is the distant leader figure, who even the other Diamond's fear as the head of the entire Gem society. Yellow is the boisterous one, who is a more direct and intimidating military leader. Blue is her emotionally manipulative cool-headed counterpart, that's often absorbed in her own feelings as well. Pink was Everyone's Baby Sister, as the smallest, most impetuous Diamond with only one colony to her name. However she was also the one that kept them together as a family, after her apparent death they all became more reclusive. Steven again becomes The Heart hereafter they learn he's inherited Pink Diamond's Gem, and he helps them change their mind about the rigidity of their society.
    • The Crystal Gems B-Team or the Crystal Temps as of Reunited. Bismuth is the large leader figure who being bubbled had much less screentime, but is a senior member of the original Crystal Gem rebellion. Peridot is a boisterous know it all, who becomes eager to learn earth's culture and ally herself with the team. Lapis is the cool-headed emotionally distant one who took much longer to warm up to the crew, and lived in a barn house with Peridot for a while. Steven is also The Heart role here as the one who helped redeem the others. However Connie also subs in as "The Steven" as a fellow human member.
    • Gar's bodegamen. This even crosses over to the its sister series OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes which is also the brainchild of Rebecca Sugar and Ian JQ. Mr. Gar is sunglasses-wearing leader. Rad is the boisterous bruiser who is always trying to prove his cool factor. Enid is the cool-headed one who is generally disinterested in the antics of the others (except when she isn't). KO is the newest employee at the bodega and a sweet little boy that loves his crew and his mommy.
  • Single Substance Manipulation: Multiple, since Gems have usually narrow power sets:
    • Lapis Lazulis are hydrokinetic, able to control water. The main one often uses it to make wings for flight, and once managed to drain an entire ocean in an attempt to get back to Homeworld.
    • Peridot discovers she can manipulate metal objects telekinetically. Her control over her 'metal powers' strengthens in her subsequent appearances and she is eventually able to levitate a garbage can lid to fly.
  • Sleep Cute:
    • Steven. Pearl often watches him sleep.
    • In "Escapism", after Stevonnie is thrown into jail for fusion dancing, Stevonnie unfuses into Steven and Connie. Steven decides to go into a sleep trance and out-of-body experience to seek help back on Earth; he lands on Watermelon Island inside one of the Watermelon Stevens, and he builds a raft back to Beach City, where he draws messages out on the sand, with Greg and Bismuth preparing for action. When he wakes up back on Homeworld, Connie had fallen asleep and unconsciously wrapped her arms around Steven, apparently unaware that she hugged him as she fell asleep waiting for him.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Played with top to bottom with Ruby, Sapphire and Garnet. In "The Answer", Sapphire (and everyone else) believed that Sapphire could see the future and that everything she saw was inevitable, representing Hard Determinism. Even in modern times she possesses an apathetic perspective on the inevitable as displayed in "Keystone Motel". When Ruby's impulsive act of saving her contradicted her prediction, Sapphire made the sudden realization that the future is not so clear. Garnet even stated that no one can see the future, and that she could only see different probabilities, and that it is one's free will that decides fate, accurately describing Soft Determinism.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very much on the idealistic side. We see the world through the very optimistic Steven's point of view, and even the jerks and most of the villains have sympathetic sides to them.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The series is very good at deftly dancing up and down this on a regular basis, almost to the point that the two becoming blurred. Over time the show has gradually been moving closer towards the "Serious" side of spectrum.
  • Slow-Motion Fall:
    • Garnet at the end of "The Return" when she's destabilized.
    • When Jasper curb-stomps Amethyst in "Crack the Whip", there's a shot of Amethyst falling upside-down inches in front of Jasper, before the predictable poofing occurs.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: One of the rooms the Gems travel in, from the episode "Serious Steven."
  • Smash to Black: The show uses this instead of its usual star-shaped Iris Out for more serious episode endings.
  • Smurfette Principle: Inverted; Steven is the only male Gem (and largely plays the role of The Chick on the team).
  • Solar and Lunar: The Zircons from "The Trial", of all characters, have been confirmed to have been designed with this in mind. The Defense Zircon and Prosecuting Zircon were designed with a moon and a star motif, respectively.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: While each recurring villain's power is all over the place, their threat level seems to follow this:
    • Peridot is dangerous and evades capture most of the season, but ultimately only until the Gems find out how to deal with her tricks, at which point she's easily defeated and captured.
    • The Cluster is a global threat to the world as a whole. However, it's ultimately a Non-Malicious Monster Steven is capable of talking down in the end, but only once it's on the verge of destroying the planet.
    • While Jasper (after returning in Season 3) isn't personally capable of worldwide destruction like the Cluster, she poses a much more serious threat to the heroes than Peridot or the Cluster, being the first villain to be both a dead-serious threat and genuinely evil. She's also the first villain to come within a hairsbreadth of actually shattering a Crystal Gem and gives Amethyst the most brutal beating of the series.
    • The two parter/half-hour villains also follow this pattern:
    • Lapis is capable of global damage, but ultimately has no desire to actually hurt anyone and Steven is ultimately able to nonviolently talk her down.
    • Jasper in "The Return"/"Jailbreak" is, while far weaker than Lapis power-wise, is the first sapient villain in the show who can't be talked down and has to be defeated through physical force rather than words, and managed to poof Garnet (albeit only with the use of technology) and knock Steven out.
    • Bismuth is as strong, if not stronger than Jasper (if much less evil), but unlike Jasper is actively trying to murder Steven during their fight (and nearly succeeds) and it is the first sapient villain that Steven absolutely had to take down by poofing rather than talking. When she is unbubbled again in "Made of Honor", she is much less hostile, and after Steven explains some things to her, returns as a permanent member of the Crystal Gems.
    • The Ruby Squad are pretty dangerous to the Crystal Gems, but don't want to hurt them if they don't get in the Rubies' mission, are Super Gullible enough that it's easy to get them to go away, and even the fusion of all of them is no match for Sardonyx. in Bubbled, Eyeball is plenty dangerous to Steven- but only because he's stuck in a bubble with her.
  • Space Age Stasis: Nope! The Homeworld Gems have continued to advance in the thousands of years they've been cut off from Earth, to the point that the most powerful weapons the Crystal Gems have are useless against their technology.
  • Space Opera: The backdrop of the setting has this feel, with a galactic empire of alien conquerors controlling what are implied to be many planets, with a small group of rebels resisting their plans for Earth. In practice, the show features comedic adventuring with many Slice of Life moments keeping it grounded. From the Crystal Gems' point of view, staying on an exotic planet with many diverse and strange alien cultures makes Earth a Planetary Romance.
  • Spanner in the Works: Yellow Diamond's plan to destroy Earth with the Cluster to spite Rose's rebellion ended up foiled partially by Peridot, a technician and a minor cog in the Gem Empire machine.
  • Special Edition Title: Episode title cards usually take place on a beach, but the few that don't have scenery appropriate to their locations. For instance, "Jail Break" has space as a backdrop and episodes that occurred while all the Crystal Gems were at the barn show the gate near the barn.
    • For the thirty-minute special "Bismuth", there is no title card at all. Instead, it starts with a cold open and plays out otherwise like any other episode until Steven comes face to face with the titular Bismuth. It's at this point that the title and the opening credits appear over the action.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Steven, the first Half-Human Hybrid. However, his full name, Steven Quartz Universe, averts this.
  • Spiritual Successor: An animated series starring a Half-Human Hybrid son of a human and a Humanoid Alien, said Half-Human Hybrid gains Parental Substitutes (one in one case, three in another case) in other aliens, and, though he'd rather be a pacifist, he has to help protect the Earth from evil aliens that come from his ancestral homeworld. Death Is Cheap because there's a way to revive fallen main characters, occasional instances involving monstrous versions of said Humanoid Aliens, the "war with beings from the ancestral homeworld" plotline gets really kickstarted with the arrival of two invaders loyal to said homeworld (one short and stubby with pointed hair, the other big and burly). Said Half-Human Hybrid causes one alien to go from Big Bad to Aloof Ally, the short invader pulls a Heel–Face Turn after a while. There are plot elements that involve fusion (mostly temporary, one being nigh-permanent due to being a special case). Also, the Half-Human Hybrid's Love Interest is a full human that's a pretty good warrior in her own right, and there are factors that point to said Half-Human Hybrid being a Superior Successor to his Humanoid Alien parent. Essentially, this is like a western equivalent to Dragon Ball Z.
  • Squee: Garnet's reaction to Steven and Connie fusing.
    • And then there's her reaction to Steven and Amethyst fusing. She squees for 20 seconds straight.
    • Amethyst's reaction to Steven meeting Connie in "Bubble Buddies", as well as Pearl's eagerness to set Steven up on a playdate:
    Steven [blushing]: She's just a girl I know, except she doesn't know me. We never talked.
    Amethyst [gasps as she teasingly smushes Steven's face]: You like her!
    Steven: Uhh... I like everyone...
    Pearl: Let's set up a play-date! I'll write up an invitation and work out a schedule. Ohh! We'll have to find out her favorite kind of tea...
    Garnet: No, just talk to her.
  • Squish the Cheeks: In "Jailbreak", Jasper Grabs and forces Lapis to look at her by grabbing her cheek and squeezing it.
  • Starfish Aliens: While they don't seem the part at first, Gems are fundamentally alien. Their humanoid forms are actually just Hard Light projections - the "real" body of a Gem is just its gemstone, making them a species of sapient crystals capable of holographic projection. Oh, and the gemstones are a source of infinite energy.
    • Gems are not born. Gems are grown. Homeworld's colonies include massive "Kindergartens" where massive machines inject the earth with incomplete Gems so that they can grow by leeching on the planet's life energy. Entire planets can be made barren and lifeless by growing Gems on them. When they grow enough, they burst out of the ground completely formed and with full knowledge of their purpose. It's unclear if there was originally a way for Gems to form naturally before they automatized the whole process, or if Gemkind is entirely artificial.
    • Gems exist in an extremely strict Fantastic Caste System, with the Diamonds at the top, followed by the aristocratic Sapphires, the high-ranking warrior-caste Quartzes, and then the other lower castes such as the Ruby grunts, the Peridot technicians, and the living plaything Pearls. With the possible exception of the Diamonds, all Gems are ready-made for their purpose and are expected to fulfill it for their whole immortal existence.
    • Their psychology is also notable. Being immortal and mostly unchanging, their ways of thinking can often feel rigid and somewhat incomprehensible to humans. Their sense of time is particularly weird, with Pearl considering 50 years a very short time. The fact that organic life seems fleeting and ephemeral to them means that their reaction to humans ranges from Condescending Compassion to arrogant amusement to outright genocidal disgust - at times, even the Crystal Gems seem to only be defending Earth because it's what Rose would have wanted.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Many of the Gems. They can go from Rose's eight-foot-height to Alexandrite's twenty-story height.
  • Status Quo Is God: Zig-zagged. Whilst changes ARE made to the status quo, they are often reversed or covered up so that things basically return to normal. A good example is Peridot. Her change of sides and status as a Crystal Gem are permanent, however, she has been stuck at the Barn so essentially the Crystal Gems are the core members again. And she never appears in any sort of mission. In fact, she only appears when Steven visits the barn twice a season. The Famethysts and Off Colours were also denied a chance to go to Earth since that would upset the status quo too much. And we all know what happened to Bismuth. Averted in Season 5, in which Nothing Is the Same Anymore is a major theme.
  • Stealth Pun: In Season 1's "Lion 3: Straight to Video", when he jumps on Steven and smothers him with his magical mane, it could be said that the big pink cat is "lion around" on Steven.
  • Steamrolled Smart Guy: Pearl is the "Mom" of the Crystal Gems, and many episodes of the show begin with her giving specific instructions/advice to Steven or Amethyst. Steven and Amethyst then disobey or mess up what they were supposed to do, leaving Pearl scrambling to fix their mistakes, often in the middle of a fight.
  • Story Arc:
    • "Steven's Lion", "Lion 2: The Movie", and "Lion 3: Straight to Video" form a loose one that culminates in "Rose's Scabbard", which confirms many of the hints the previous episodes had involving Lion.
    • "Warp Tour" introduces Peridot, who reappears as the villain of "Marble Madness". This sets up the final four episodes of the first season, where Homeworld Gems return to Earth.
    • Season 2 has two big plot threads left behind by the first season finale: Malachite and Peridot. Malachite only appears in Chille Tid, but her shadow looms large over the season. Meanwhile, Peridot reappears in "Keeping it Together", and then kicks off the plot in "Cry for Help" - which starts its own Story Arc about Garnet and Pearl. This arc continues in "Keystone Motel" and "Onion Friend" and concludes in "Friend Ship" with another fight against Peridot. Then in "Catch and Release" Peridot is captured by the Crystal Gems. The season's remaining episodes introduce Peridot's redemption arc, as well as the Cluster, a new antagonist alluded to in previous episodes. Season 3 opens with the two-parter of "Super Watermelon Island" and "Gem Drill", which conclude the Cluster and Malachite arcs. "Same Old World", "Barn Mates" and "Hit the Diamond" act as an extended epilogue to these arcs before the story returns to its old episodic format.
    • "Alone at Sea" begins an arc about the return of Jasper. It continues in "Gem Hunt", "Crack the Whip" and "Steven vs Amethyst" before concluding in "Beta" and "Earthlings"...which themselves lead into the season finale of "Back 2 The Moon" and "Bubbled". The first season 4 episodes, "The Kindergarten Kid" and "Know Your Fusion" act as an epilogue to this arc. Also, "Monster Reunion" can be thought of as a prologue to the arc as both deal with the nature of corrupted Gems.
    • The "Out of this World" event, consisting of five episodes where Greg is kidnapped and has to be rescued.. "The New Crystal Gems" acts an epilogue while showing what other characters did during the arc.
    • "Doug Out" and "The Good Lars" hint at a plot that culminates in the two-part Season 4 finale of "Are You My Dad?" and "I Am My Mom". This then leads into Season 5 which is almost a continuous story arc; episodes are either about major events or characters dealing with these events and making new choices. Even before the season ends, Nothing Is the Same Anymore. The actual season finale resolves almost the entire Myth Arc.
    • Earthlings begins the Pink Diamond Murder Mystery arc (though it had been hinted at before by background details, this is the first episode where a character directly mentions Pink Diamond), which focuses on discovering who Pink Diamond was, her role in the Gem War, and her ultimate fate. A Single Pale Rose concludes this arc when Pearl reveals what happened: Pink Diamond faked her own death, becoming her Rose Quartz Secret Identity full time.
  • Straight to the Pointe: Pearl's ballet-based fighting often has her going en pointe for pivots or dramatic posing. She is definitely strong and experienced enough to pull it off.
  • Strange Salute: Gems loyal to Homeworld salute to their Diamonds by crossing their arms over their chest, hands bent back to form a partial diamond shape. Apparently, the salute has remained the same for thousands of years, since the partially-uncorrupted Centipeetle recognizes it when Steven attempts to make the gesture, and makes it herself when fully uncorrupted.
  • Stress Vomit: Steven mentions almost succumbing to this in "Serious Steven." This actually leads to the discovery of how the dungeon works. All the rooms were spinning, giving Steven motion sickness. It's brought up again in "Steven's Birthday", where stretching himself to make it look like he aged makes him so stressed that even Connie mentions that he might be one step away from vomiting.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • "Rising Tides/Crashing Skies" is made entirely to look like it was filmed on a camcorder and edited with Windows Movie Maker.
    • "The Big Show" is similarly styled, with a shaky cam and occasional dutch angles, along with washed-out colors that look like it's from the 1960's.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: "Back to the Moon." The Crystal Gems are attacked by the five Rubies, but Steven manages to open the airlock in an attempt to suck them out, and even Sardonyx appears to deliver the awesome final blow... cue Steven getting knocked by a Ruby and being sucked into outer space, as Sardonyx looks on in horror, with Amethyst screaming his name as the episode ends.
  • Super-Deformed:
    • The Classroom Gems shorts have the gems in a chibi style.
    • In "Bismuth", the Eye Catch after each commercial break features Bismuth, Amethyst, Garnet, Pearl, and Steven running onto a warp pad. It also has the cast in a chibi style.
  • Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom: During the war, Homeworld Gems built an unknown number of facilities designed to siphon nutrients out of the Earth's crust and use them to grow new Gems, at the expense of all life on the planet. Said places are now decrepit, craggy canyons, littered with broken machines that closely resemble thirty-foot tall viruses. The walls are all covered in holes the exact size and shape to fit a specific humanoid, a la The Enigma of Amigara Fault. What did the Homeworld Gems decide to call these places? Kindergartens. Doubles as a pun because Kindergarten is German for child garden, and this was a place to grow young Gems.
  • Superpower Lottery: All Gems have a standard power set consisting of summoning a weapon, shapeshifting, regenerating from gem form if injured, Super Strength, and Super Toughness. However, they also have unique powers that vary in usefulness.
    • First, the winners:
      • All fusions of different gem types, since they are far more powerful than the gems that created them and definitely stronger than single-gem type fusions.
      • Jasper definitely won the Quartz Gem power lottery, as she's a rare Ultimate Quartz whose creation went absolutely perfectly. She has the general Quartz powerset (Super Strength and Super Toughness even by Gem standards and a Rolling Attack), but up to eleven; she's even stronger than Topaz, despite Topaz being a higher-level gem warrior.
      • Sapphire can see the future, run at Super Speed, create ice, and float.
      • Lapis Lazuli has this on Earth; her complete control of water wouldn't be very impressive on Homeworld, but since 70% of Earth's surface is covered with water she's practically a demigod as long as she remains on Earth. She's also capable of summoning wings made of water that are capable of interstellar flight.
      • The biggest winner is probably Rose Quartz, who had Combo Platter Powers- Super Strength and Super Toughness even by gem standards, a powerful Green Thumb, Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me, astral projection (not displayed by her, but Steven has them so she probably did), healing (she could even repair cracked gems, which is otherwise impossible), and Power Floats. It's actually Foreshadowing that she's Pink Diamond, since she doesn't have the powers of a regular Quartz gem (she's never been seen to use a Rolling Attack, for instance) and no Quartz gem has the variety of powers that she does.
    • On the losers' side:
      • Pearl, with minor telekinesis (shaping clouds and small sand figures, for example), and hologram projection, which is actually exceptional for Pearls.
      • Amethyst, who has a much weaker version of Jasper's abilities due to defects in her creation (she makes up for it by using Voluntary Shapeshifting as a Swiss-Army Superpower).
      • Peridot, whose superpowers come from technology and who doesn't even have most normal Gem abilities, as she's an Era 2 gem. Her Extra-ore-dinary powers are pretty neat, but she doesn't have full control over them yet.
      • The biggest loser is probably Padparadscha Sapphire, a sapphire variant whose future sight can only see the recent past. Though some of her "predictions" are helpful in that she doesn't just say what happened, but why (she saw Garnet making the other off-colors uncomfortable and Lars pressing the wrong button), most of the time it's more of a disability for her, since it gives her a constant case of Delayed Reaction.
  • Super Spit: Steven develops healing spit, which accidentally cures Connie's eyesight when she drinks from a juice carton full of "backwash" Steven drank from earlier. On another occasion, after winning a watermelon seed spitting contest against his father, said watermelon seeds grow overnight into sentient, Steven-shaped watermelons. Later still, Steven uses his spit to grow a sentient pumpkin for Peridot and Lapis.
  • Surprise Creepy:
    • The show is usually a lighthearted comedy, which makes the occasional foray into terrifying Body Horror all the more effective.
    • Steven's dream in "Chille Tid" starts off as a 50's sitcom parody... until he opens the door to reveal Lapis Lazuli, with water pouring from her eyes and mouth.
    • Any time Onion appears, expect something creepy and messed up to happen.
  • Surrealism: Downplayed, but it's there and not always Played for Laughs, though the show does sometimes veer into Surreal Humor.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • In "Hit the Diamond":
      Homeworld Ruby: The leader of the Earth mission must be around here somewhere.
      Crystal Gem Ruby: Well, she's definitely not in that barn!
    • In "Too Short to Ride", Peridot says that she doesn't steal Steven's clothes when he's not looking.
    • In "Restaurant Wars", while pretending to be Ronaldo's girlfriend, Kiki proclaims that he is "quirky in a way I can tolerate".
    • In "Greg the Babysitter", when Greg returns Sour Cream to Vidalia, he assures her very emphatically they had plenty of safe fun.
    • This is part of Amethyst's Bad "Bad Acting" as Jasper in "Back to the Moon".
      "Jasper": Yup! That's me! Always huge, never small! All the- all the time since I was made!
  • Sweeping the Table: In the episode "Steven's Dream", Connie swipes a stack of paper, a pen, and a paper cup off Steven's table to make room for Buddy Buddwick's journal.
    Connie: Ah! Sorry, I'll clean that up later!
  • Symbol Motif Clothing:
    • The Crystal Gems have a star theme to their clothing. Amethyst has them as holes in the knees of her leggings, Garnet has them on her weapons and part of a star on her torso, Pearl's shirt has a small star on the chest, and Steven has a large yellow star on his shirt. When Peridot makes her Heel–Face Turn, she wonders if she'll have to start wearing a star and where she'd put it.
    • Homeworld Gems all wear diamonds, with the color of the Diamond representing who they work for. Pearl's space suit and Sardonyx's shoes have diamonds on them, likely as a nod to Pearl's origins as Pink Diamond's Pearl.
  • Synthetic Plague: What Corruption is. A secret bio-weapon unleashed by the Diamond Authority upon Earth after Pink Diamond was killed. Any Gem exposed to the initial attack will start to mutate and transform into an almost-mindless bestial shape. Any Gem that attempts to fuse with a corrupted Gem will also be infected. It seems to be irreversible and incurable thus far.
    T - V 
  • The Talk: In "Log Date 7 15 2" Peridot asks Steven what the two characters from the show they are watching are doing (they are making out). He blushes and begins to explain, but is interrupted by her.
    Steven: My dad told me that in certain stages in your life...
  • Taking the Bullet:
  • Talking to Themself:
    • Stevonnie sometimes talks like this, since they're the fusion of Steven and Connie. This is seen a few times in "Alone Together".
    • Garnet at the end of "Keeping it Together". Upon seeing gem shards fused together, she has split feelings on the issue to the point where she nearly splits apart.
    • Malachite and Alexandrite also do this. It appears to be a symptom of an imperfect fusion.
    • Smoky Quartz does this as well in the form of self-congratulations. It comes across as Amethyst and Steven being encouraging and egging each other on.
  • Tell Me About My Mother: Steven asks Pearl what his mother was like at the beginning of "Rose's Scabbard", setting up the episode's story.
  • Temporal Duplication: In "Steven and the Stevens," Steven comes across a device that allows for time travel. He uses this power to create a band with himself and three other temporal duplicates. Things soon spiral out of control and dozens of Stevens are fighting each other.
  • Tempting Fate: Too many examples to list. One early example is "I might get eaten by a giant bird!" in "Giant Woman", followed by (chomp).
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: There are a few cases of an episode-specific Recurring Riff, such as in "Space Race" or "Watermelon Steven".
  • Theme Tune Extended: There is an extended version of the show's theme ("We Are the Crystal Gems") even longer than the pilot version that appears in one episode in a flashback. When it was first released a year earlier, it had lyrics censored for spoilers.
    If only you could know/What we really are
    When we arrived on Earth, from out beyond your star
    We were amazed to find your beauty and your worth
    And we will protect your kind, and we will protect your Earth
    And we will protect your Earth, and we will protect YOU!
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, AND STEVEN!
  • There Are No Police: Beach City doesn't just leave the monsters to the Crystal Gems, it seems to lack any form of law enforcement: none are present, even in situations where they logically should be, such as when a blackout nearly causes a riot or when there's a massive evacuation. Police finally appear in season four's "Last One Out of Beach City," when the cast are out of town, popping in out of nowhere when Pearl runs a red light.
  • There Are No Therapists: Both Amethyst and Pearl have some extreme self-esteem issues, along with attachment issues in Pearl's case, which have been allowed to go on for literal millennia; as a result, both of them handle their emotional grief in unhealthy manners. Steven himself has run into his own issues when it comes to coping with recent events (for a specific example, "Full Disclosure" centers around him dealing with the aftermath of the season one finale), however he tends to push aside his own internal problems because he wants to look like he can handle anything in front of the older Crystal Gems. Even Garnet isn't free from this; she explicitly states in "Friend Ship" that she does have weaknesses, but tries to look strong and reliable to the others — in other words, no matter how cool she appears, Garnet suffers from internalized anguish as well.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich:
    • "Together Breakfast" ends with the Crystal Gems making a new Together Breakfast, then realizing they no longer have the stomach for it (and ordering a pizza instead).
      Garnet: It did try to kill us.
    • "Secret Team" ends with Steven and the Gems ripping their secret team membership cards, which were free pizza coupons, Steven claims they would've gotten one if they didn't rip them up.
    • In "Onion Friend", Steven never does end up getting to eat his 'perfect' bagel.
    • Onion enjoys throwing good food into the ocean.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Beach City is home to less than two dozen people, for an area that should charitably require five times as many. Greg lampshades this when Steven says how the whole city will be at the concert he wants them both to attend. Greg says that's like 15 people, tops.
  • Time Abyss: All of the Crystal Gems, save Steven, and the 5000-or-so-year-old Earth-born Amethyst, existed for thousands of years before they came to Earth; existing on a (literally) geological time scale has caused them to develop a vastly different perception of time than humans. The Diamonds, who are implied to be the Monster Progenitors for the whole race, are likely much older still, with the so far unnamed fourth member seeming to be the eldest. When she's finally revealed, White Diamond implies that the last five thousand years since Pink Diamond was "shattered" was just a minor phase Pink was going through.
  • Time Dissonance: As a result of existing on a (literally) geological time scale, Gems tend to perceive time differently than people do. For example, In "Space Race" Pearl seems to forget that 50 years is a long time to a human, the Gems think that 1000 years with no TV is an acceptable punishment, and in "We Need to Talk" Rose says that she feels that things on Earth move so fast.
  • Time Zones Do Not Exist: No matter where Steven goes, it always appears to be the same time of day that it is in Beach City. Even a trip to Korea didn't change this.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl:
    • A downplayed example with Rose and Greg. Greg is taller than average but Rose is HUGE. It may have actually been part of the reason for the attraction, as hinted in "Story for Steven".
    Greg: I-I just can't stop thinking about that woman at the show.
    Marty: Oh, here we go. How big was she?
    • Steven has inherited his dad's taste for "Giant Women". He literally sings a song, called "Giant Woman", in the episode "Giant Woman".
  • Title Drop: Occurs in "Story for Steven", "Chille Tid", "Together Breakfast", "Giant Woman", "Log Date 7 15 2", among others.
  • Title Theme Drop: The theme song is often played in the background in clever ways, such as just using the basic chords from the theme, or remixing the melody very slightly.
  • Transformation Exhilaration: Many fusion transformations in the show result in this, since the fusion dance is a reflection of the characters' relationship. Stevonnie occurs when Connie and Steven are just laughing together, and Ruby and Sapphire's fusions into Garnet are generally a joyful reunion between two lovers. Pearl and Amethyst both express joy at fusing with Garnet because of the confidence boost being part of Garnet gives them.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Space travel works this way in the show. Lapis is apparently able to achieve intergalactic travel within months (or even weeks) using nothing but her water wings. After Peridot discovered the crystal gems, it took months for her to show up on Earth, but later Steven is shown to travel to homeworld within what appeared to be days at most (traveling via warpdrive in the ship of a high ranking gem). Despite this, Lars and the off colors spend season 5 traveling through space on a stolen ship while trying to make it from Homeworld to Earth.
  • Tomboy: Amethyst has a disheveled appearance, she messily eats absolutely anything, and generally lacks stereotypically "girly" refinement. In her very first scene in the series proper, she's introduced while picking her nose. When Steven thinks which Gem should represent his mom, he mentions that Amethyst is the most fun, but not very mom-like, accompanied by Amethyst making a face worthy to be in a Grossout Show.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Amethyst's complete lack of refinement and Pearl's delicate femininity clash throughout the show; although in a subversion, it's Pearl's insensitivity which eventually brings them to blows.
    • Among the humans, there are the Pizza twins - Jenny, a loud rambunctious party girl who hangs out with boys, and Kiki, who is calm, responsible, devoted to her family, and likes to stay tidy. They have many parallels with the Gems Steven teams them up with in the volleyball game, Amethyst and Pearl, respectively.
    • Rose Quartz was presented as femininity incarnate; she was empathetic, compassionate to all forms of life, graceful, beautiful, wore a long white dress and huge pink Regal Ringlets, and had a pink rose motif in all her weapons, powers and artifacts. In a particularly dark example, she has a villainous foil with a personal grudge appear as Jasper, a tough, muscular, ruthless and aggressive brute with a disdain for Earth and Social Darwinist views, who has an obsession with, in her words, "beating [Rose Quartz] into the ground." Jasper is also the tomboy to the girly Lapis Lazuli, a waifish Broken Bird with water powers who wears a long skirt, and can grow water wings like an angel or fairy. For a while, they get stuck together after Jasper coerces Lapis into fusion, only for Lapis to hijack the fusion and drag them both into the ocean, intending to keep her trapped.
    • In general, Gems made to serve Yellow Diamond (Peridot, Yellow Pearl) are tomboyish to some degree; they're arrogant, rude, assertive, hammy and wear form-fitting suits. Peridot is also a technician/engineer, a job that would be considered traditionally male. In contrast, Gems made to serve Blue Diamond (Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, Blue Pearl) are conventionally feminine, composed, soft-spoken, have a habit of clasping their hands and wear flowing dresses or skirts. Blue Diamond herself is introduced (in a flashback) wearing a cloak and gown and sitting on a throne like a traditional queen, and always speaks calmly even when she's losing her (very short) temper and ordering an execution. Meanwhile, Yellow Diamond has been compared to a businesswoman, wears huge shoulder pads, pants and Power Hair, and isn't as talented at remaining stoic.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Steven starts to become more mature as the show progresses and obtains new abilities and becoming a protector of the planet just as his mother was. After season 1, he's fully able to use his shield with ease. By season 3, he's grown enough to fight Amethyst to a draw in a sparring match and defeat the Knight Templar Bismuth when she was actively trying to kill him.
    • Connie; during season 2 is learning how to sword fight and together with Steven, they show amazing skills in combat.
    • This was implied of Pearl before the events of the show, until it was confirmed in "Back to the Barn". Pearls on Homeworld are made-to-order servants, and Pearl has become her own Gem by becoming a skilled fighter and learning various specialized disciplines such as aeronautics and swordplay.
    • Amethyst realizes she has no hope of beating Jasper after a crushing defeat by her being Unskilled, but Strong and begins training intensely. While she still loses the rematch badly, she's at least able to land blows on Jasper, unlike the first time.
    • Lars is definitely becoming this as of season 5. In "Off Colors", he not only destroys most of the Robonoids single handedly, but he temporarily gives up his life in doing so, and now that he's got the powers of Lion, he seems to be very involved in the main plot of the narrative. By "Lars of the Stars", he's become a space pirate leading a fearsome pack of rebels, capable of stealing one of Homeworld's best ships -protected by 67 highly trained guards- and embarrassing an Emerald, a top commander of the Homeworld forces, several times. Not only that, but his crew idolize him as their fearless leader.
  • Too Broken to Break: Blue Diamond's pathokinesis takes her grief and pushes it onto anyone around her, making even the most resilient Gem break down and sob... except for Lapis Lazuli, who, after spending most of the last 5000 years either imprisoned or in a living hell, is barely fazed by Blue's powers.
    Blue Diamond: What?
    Lapis: [wipes a single tear from her eye] I've felt worse.
  • Too Many Mouths: Alexandrite has a second, extra-toothy mouth that opens along the base of her chin, meaning her entire face is lifted up like an upper jaw. On the other hand, it means she can smirk at the same time she tosses out Bond One Liners. Obsidian - aka the Temple Fusion - has a similar facial structure.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Steven likes Cookie Cat sandwiches, which were unfortunately discontinued in the first episode.
    • Ironically, Lion's favorite food turns out to be the Lion Lickers that replaced them. Steven uses them to get Lion to listen to him.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • Most of the initial previews focus on the show's more happy-go-lucky, comedy elements, leaving its Myth Arc to gain notoriety via word-of-mouth.
    • On the flipside, Cartoon Network can generate hype by making the show look entirely like an action-packed series... when in fact said action scenes only take up a small portion of the series.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • When Cartoon Network aired sent-in reactions from fans, some were reactions to Ruby and Sapphire fusing into Garnet.
    • A more meta example: During the fourth "Stevenbomb", Cartoon Network accidentally aired a promo of Peridot giving a gift to Lapis Lazuli, who was supposed to be in the bottom of the ocean with Jasper.
    • More meta examples: on February 26, 2016, Cartoon Network UK put up two Spoilered Rotten clips from two upcoming episodes that involved Watermelon Stevens, the return of Alexandrite and Malachite, and Lapis as herself on their website. They eventually took the clips off, but the damage had been done. And then, in April 2016, the clips were put back up!
    • Cartoon Network released previews for the Steven's Summer Adventure new episodes, some of which were minor versions of this. However the biggest and most major instance of this trope is the one for "Monster Reunion" spoiling that Steven finally manages to purify Centipeedle. This one turns out to be an aversion, though; he "purifies" her within the first few moments of the episode, but in the long run it doesn't take.
    • The promo for "Crack the Whip" spoils the fact that Jasper apparently appears at some point in "Gem Hunt" and is now hunting down and attacking corrupted Gems for her own purposes.
    • The "Bismuth" promos plainly show Amethyst in a new regeneration.
    • Aimed to be subverted with the promo for the Summer Of Steven's final week, which covers up key objects/characters...but it still plainly shows the return of Sardonyx.
    • The promo for I Am My Mom (which aired before Lion 4) helpfully included dialog from the episode's final scene, making the details of its cliffhanger ending, where Steven gives himself up to the homeworld gems, obvious.
    • A CN Australia promo for the May 5th, 2018, the release of episodes shows past Pearl presumably wielding Rose's sword in a flashback.
    • In May 2018, CN released their first Drawn Podcast, an interview with Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey; This inadvertently used clips from yet-to-air episodes for its B-Roll, including extreme spoilers from the episode following "Reunited" at the end of the quick succession. Not only did this catch viewers off guard, but it wasn't clear at the time which episodes these clips were from or how far in the future they'll air. CN re-uploaded the podcast with the spoiler clips swapped out, but not before mirrors of them became readily available online.
  • Trash of the Titans:
    • Greg has a storage unit full of stuff he can't fit in his van. His aunt and uncle hoarded a barnful of old plane parts and stuff as well, which makes Greg wonder if their family has a problem. When Lapis and Peridot remodel the barn, the ground floor still has piles of stuff pushed toward the walls among the meepmorp.
    • Amethyst's "room" (actually a large cavern) is filled with enormous heaping mounds of garbage that she's collected over the centuries. At one point she finds, and eats, a fish taco that's several years old.
    • In "Maximum Capacity", Greg's storage unit finally gets to be too full to put anything else in it, and Greg reveals that he stopped clearing it out after Rose Quartz died, and it's hinted that Amethyst's messiness is also because she misses Rose. The unit gets cleaned out by the end of the episode.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Peridot does this in "Message Received", after she defies Yellow Diamond and yells in the matriarch's face. The fact that she does it right after offhandedly handing Pearl the soon-to-explode communicator really captures her mental state at that point. In "Hit the Diamond", when she thinks Yellow Diamond has sent a Ruby squad to shatter her, she curls up under a cardboard box.
  • Twist Ending: “A Single Pale Rose” completely changed virtually every aspect of the show, yet was the eleventh to last episode of a one hundred and sixty episode show.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: On top of Gem-kind's default language being English (or at least indistinguishable from it), they seem to hold the same calendar as humans too, Homeworld Gems referring to the length of time between the Gem War and the present day the same way.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Played with in the case of Greg and Rose. Rose is beautiful and majestic every time we see her, with a lot more attention than usual given to her graceful movements and huge shiny hair, and Greg is a schlubby middle-aged guy with a farmer's tan and receding hairline. But flashbacks show us that when he was young Greg was pretty good looking and cool, the somewhat well-known rock singer Mister Universe, with an awesome mane of hair that apparently inspired young Amethyst to grow out hers.
  • Ultimate Forge: Bismuth has an elaborate, apparently magma-powered forge hidden in a volcano, which she used to make Rose’s sword and all the Crystal Gems’ other non-summoned weapons.
  • Unknown Character: Lapis has three in her backstory once it's revealed; whoever attacked her when she was caught up in the rebellion while visiting Earth (eventually revealed to be Bismuth), whoever mistook her for a Crystal Gem and placed her in a mirror to be interrogated, and the random Homeworld Gem that trampled (and cracked) her as they were all fleeing.
  • Unnervingly Heartwarming: Pearl teaches Connie sword fighting and sings Do it for Her. At the start, it comes off as your typical training montage but, as the song goes on, it becomes clear Pearl is projecting her unresolved war trauma onto Connie and starts encouraging her to be self-sacrificial for Steven. This does not go unnoticed, as Steven is obviously alarmed.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Every event is effectively seen or heard through the eyes of Steven, who never actually narrates and rarely broadcasts his inner thoughts. As such, things that Steven is uncomfortable about or doesn't deem relevant are never brought to attention unless done so by another character in the vicinity. An example of this is the episode "Steven's Birthday", where the audience and Steven's friend Connie learns Steven's age and that the human-Gem hybrid hasn't physically aged in the past several years. Steven was already aware of this information, but it's only when Connie brings focus to it that it becomes a plot point.
    • Likewise, the knowledge we do receive may be cut down by other characters acting as Unreliable Narrators, who would rather Steven not yet become privy to certain pieces of information until some event forces it out of them or are simply biased. For example, a major element of the show is Steven learning about his late mother, Rose Quartz. Initially, Steven (and thus the audience) only hear about her from people who idolized her, such as Greg and the Crystal Gems (Pearl in particular). It's only as the show progresses that Steven learns more about Rose's flaws and mistakes from her enemies, and develops a more nuanced view of her as a result.
    • Played with in episodes where Steven is listening/reading a story, with what we see is how he imagines the story, but the actual events therein being from the perspective of whoever is telling or writing the story (be it Greg, Garnet, the town's founder, etc.)
    • For that matter, the whole of Gem Homeworld society appears to be a Cult of Personality built around the Diamonds, depicting them as perfect, flawless beings. It's Peridot's realisation that her leader Yellow Diamond is capable of being vindictive and irrational, and that Homeworld has been ignoring or outright denying the value of organic life, that drives her to finally rebel against Homeworld.
    • When Blue Diamond shows up for real, she seems different than what little we saw of her in "The Answer". While a lot of it could be her grief over Pink Diamond's death, it also could be that Garnet's view of her was tainted by the events. After Garnet tells the story of Rose and the rebellion in "Your Mother and Mine", Steven points out the inconsistencies with events that actually occurred.
    • It's a factor in every flashback sequence ever, including the ones most affected by that Reveal in "A Single Pale Rose". When people who know more, or were there for things the storyteller wasn't, get to weigh in, your (and the characters') understanding of a scene can change drastically.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Everyone in Beach City reacts like this towards the Gems. Despite their display of magical powers and brick red/paper white/purple skin, no one seems to care. When Ronaldo finds out they're responsible for a bunch of strange events he attributed to a Reptilian Conspiracy, he finds this actual explanation too mundane to accept. This is justified when you consider that the Gems have been on Earth since practically the dawn of humanity, if not longer (Pearl casually states in "Political Power" that she can remember when humans used to be hunter-gatherers, implying that her presence on Earth predates the Neolithic Revolution of 10,000 B.C.E). As far as humans are concerned, the Gems have pretty much always been there; it's old hat at this point.
    • Played with in "Lion 2: The Movie". Connie is suitably amazed by the giant pink lion and gem magic, while Steven is used to it and is more excited about the movie with the cyborg heli-dog. Once the flying robot shooting up the street is defeated, the ticket lady doesn't even question what happened.
    • "Beach Party" has Garnet explaining to the Pizzas exactly how the Gem Temple works. As she does so, the gem in her right hand sparkles.
      Kofi: What is wrong with your hand?
    • In "Ocean Gem", Mayor Dewey refers to the Gems as "those magical ladies", and while everyone is rather surprised the ocean has disappeared, they care less for this physical impossibility than they do the effect it will have on the town's summer tourism.
    • When Alexandrite shows up to a family dinner with Connie's parents, their reaction to a giant, multi-colored, six-armed woman is mild surprise and stammering through the usually expected niceties. And for another mark against the Maheswarans, in "Nightmare Hospital", Dr. Maheswaran treats two different Gem Clusters...and her reaction to an eight-armed monstrosity without a heartbeat and a headless torso with a clubfoot? A remark that the former "doesn't look like a car accident" and disparaging the hospital's low-budget stethoscopes.
    • Played with during Greg's story of how he met Rose; he sees nothing wrong with a purple owl with a giant gemstone on its breast until it talks.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Onion the Creepy Child has a pet snake (which he's perfectly fine feeding live mice to in front of guests) and an alligator in the comics. And of course a pink Lion with various magic abilities for the Crystal Gems.
  • Vacation Episode: While Greg and Amethyst are watching old recordings of Li'l Butler, Amethyst pulls out a two-part Hawaii special.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show:
    • The Homeworld Gems. Collectively, they're a planet of Scary Dogmatic Aliens which attempted to conquer the Earth thousands of years ago, leading to a war that lead to hundreds of casualties. In the current, Homeworld is responsible for forced fusion experiments of shattered gems - analogous to necrophilic rape within the show's context - and the production of a tortured superweapon made out of millions of these gem shards. It's telling that the show's darkest moments are all a direct result of Homeworld's atrocities. Some specific examples:
    • Jasper is a ruthless, Darwinian Blood Knight who marks as the show's first major Knight of Cerebus and introduction to Homeworld beyond Peridot. Notable as the first Gem Steven immediately knew he couldn't reason with, Jasper introduces herself by casually ordering Peridot to use their ship's cannon to vaporize the heroes, brutally destabilizing Garnet and headbutting Steven into unconsciousness. In all her appearances thus far, Jasper's been consistently treated as an intimidating and domineering threat to everyone and everything around her.
    • The Big Bad Duumvirate, the Diamond Authority, stand out as the biggest example of this. Though we've only seen three of them, it's clear they're the worst of Gemkind. Beyond being responsible for overseering Homeworld's atrocities, on their own record, they are incredibly petty and willing to murder anyone they perceive as insulting them. Yellow Diamond in particular is engineering the Cluster - the aforementioned superweapon - not out of any pragmatic purpose, but instead to obliterate Earth out of spite for not being able to conquer it.
    • When she's finally revealed, White Diamond is even worse. If someone doesn't obey her, she simply Mind Rapes them into submission. Even the other Diamonds when they come to plead Steven's case.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • Peridot narrowly eludes the Crystal Gems' grasp on multiple occasions. In one particularly close call, she detaches one of her own feet in order to escape.
    • Jasper, as the recurring villain in the latter half of season 3, does this a few times after she's beaten.
  • Visual Pun: In "Off Colors" and "Lars' Head", Lars dies when making a Heroic Sacrifice to save Steven and the off colors. When Steven resurrects him, he has a pinkish skin tone like Lion, which means that a resurrected Lars is now "in the pink".
    Steven: Oh my gosh, Uncle Grandpa! You're really here, I can't believe it! I mean, I literally can't believe it. How is this even possible?
    Uncle Grandpa: Don't worry bro, none of this is canon. But this is! [Uncle Grandpa takes out a cannon and puts his head in the cannon, firing it , leaving a smoke trail that says "April Fool's" and hitting a cruise ship with Lars and Sadie on it]
    Lars: Oh no, our ship!
    • Later in the episode, when Uncle Grandpa decides to run away with Steven to the U.G.R.V., the words "Run Away" appear onscreen, and Amethyst trips over the letter "Y" and cries out "Whyyyyy?"
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Deconstructed. The Crystal Gems have knee jerk reaction to solve whatever problem they have with violence, but this doesn't work all the time and makes the situation worse or what could've been so: Garnet tries to de-age Steven with violence and it only makes him age faster, their hurting Centipeedle only causes more distress towards the creature, and their refusal to hear what Peridot has to say could've led to more problems since she knows about the Cluster, and had Steven not released her, the Earth would've been doomed. As the show goes on, Steven's non-violent nature becomes the Crystal Gems' primary weapon in resolving conflict, though it still often takes some violence to get others subdued enough to listen to him.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Since Steven Universe is full of Battle Couples and strong female characters, the show has plenty of characters that are this.
    • When Rose and Greg were together, it would be a very bad idea to hurt him, as a Ferris wheel in "Greg the Babysitter" had to experience.
    • Hurt Sapphire and Ruby will end you. Most likely also vice versa.
    • Pearl will go ballistic for Rose. They weren't a couple, but Pearl was deeply in love with Rose and thus still fiercely protective of her love interest.
    • Connie is so obsessed with Steven that she not only masters sword fighting in the blink of an eye, she even at one point almost goes to the point of believing that dying in a fight for him would be the only reasonable way to go. She overcame that though and is now part of a Battle Couple with him.
    • Lars might be a Jerkass, but if you hurt him, Sadie will hurt you. In fact, she once defeated what would equal a grown gorilla to protect him - the first human in the show to beat a corrupted Gem.
  • Vocal Evolution: Steven's voice has deepened as the show has continued. It was a deliberate choice on the part of his voice actor, whose voice had already broken by the time he started the part, meaning he had to learn to act with a much higher pitch.
  • Voice of the Legion: When a fusion begins to break apart, or its components are unwilling to work together, the fusion's voice will change from one person's to the other's.

    W - Z 
  • Walking Spoiler:
    • Ruby and Sapphire, the two fusion components of Garnet.
    • The appearance of Lapis, Peridot, and Jasper spoils the fact that the Crystal Gems aren't the only Gems around.
    • Similarly spoilery is Yellow Diamond, one of the leaders of Homeworld.
    • Lars, now that he's been dyed pink by Steven's healing tears.
    • Pink Diamond, especially after "A Single Pale Rose".
    • Rose Quartz, even more after learning she's Pink Diamond.
    • There's not much you can say about Pink Diamond's Pearl without revealing that she is the Crystal Gem Pearl.
  • War Is Hell: Countless Gems were destroyed in the Rebellion. Greg even says outright that there's no such thing as a good war and characters who remember the war talk about how harsh it was throughout the series.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The Crystal Gems rebelled against Homeworld to stop them from making Earth into a fully-fledged Gem colony, which would require hollowing out the Earth and depleting its surface.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Rose Quartz's light cannon. It shoots a beam of light in the shape of a flower that blooms into a silhouette of Rose herself.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Gems all have a different magical weapon that they summon through their gems.
    • Garnet has a pair of gauntlets that are projected out of the gems embedded in her hands.
    • Amethyst uses a whip.
    • Pearl gets a spear and has a collection of swords in her room.
    • The titular character Steven has a shield that he inherited from his mother. His mother also used a sword that is not projected out of a gem, but is instead summoned out of Lion.
    • Lapis Lazuli does not have a weapon. Instead, she has the power to control water. Her official summoned weapon appears to be her fluid wings.
    • Jasper summons a Cool Helmet.
    • It's also worth noting that when two Gems fuse, their weapons combine into a new one too:
      • Opal turns Pearl's spear and Amethyst's whip into the limbs and string of an Energy Bow.
      • Sugilite combines Garnet's gauntlets into a giant meteor hammer with Amethyst's whip as the chain.
      • Sardonyx combines Garnet's gauntlets and Pearl's spear into a large, cartoonish war hammer.
      • Smoky Quartz uses Amethyst's whip and Steven's shield to form the string and end of a Killer Yo-Yo.
      • Rainbow Quartz turns Pearl's spear and Steven's shield into the stick and canopy of a Parasol of Pain.
      • Sunstone uses Garnet's gauntlets and Steven's shield to form suction cup gloves.
      • Obsidian combines Garnet's gauntlets, Amethyst's whip, Pearl's spear, and Steven's shield into an enormous Flaming Sword.
      • Alexandrite, Malachite, and Stevonnie don't have their own personal weapons. Instead, they use all of their constituent members' weapons interchangeably.
      • In "Keystone Motel", we see Ruby summon just one of Garnet's gauntlets. Sapphire can be assumed to have the other.
      • Left Topaz and Right Topaz wield identical maces that combine into a two-headed version- a sort of pugil stick- when fused.
    • Connie always showed a tendency towards sword-fighting, and eventually trained to become an expert with it.
    • Peridot's "limb enhancers" aren't her Gem weapon, but they're her main, and seemingly only, offensive weapon. With them, she can Wall Run, use a Tractor Beam built into her palm, use her Floating Limbs fingers to fly like a helicopter, and fire a Hand Cannon. Without them, she can only Wimp Fight with Steven.
    • Aquamarine has a powerful magic wand capable of immobilizing victims, but it's ambiguous if it's a summoned gem weapon or an artifact of Homeworld technology.
  • We Are as Mayflies: In "Keep Beach City Weird!", Pearl muses that humans live "short, boring lives." Gems, on the other hand, do not age, are very hard to kill, and can't die naturally.
  • Wedding Episode: In "Reunited", Ruby and Sapphire, who have planned to recommit themselves to be inseparable of their own free will in "The Question", decide to renew their commitment at a wedding ceremony, with Steven presiding, and Garnet makes her return after an emotional breakup in "Now We're Only Falling Apart".
  • Well-Intentioned Replacement: In the comic story from the Adventure Time 2013 Spooktacular. The Gems make a comic book for Steven after destroying Steven's pile of GuyMan (and GuyWoman) variants that a devious shape shifter turned itself into. Steven loves it.
  • Wham Episode: Enough for a subpage.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode-specific cases:
      • "On the Run": "...and we shut this place down so the Earth would be safe from parasites like ME!"
      • This exchange between Ronaldo and Lars in "Horror Club" casts their interactions through the episode in a new light:
        Lars: Come on, man! We Used to Be Friends!
        Ronaldo: And you threw me away!
      • "Sworn to the Sword": "Why won't you just let me do this for you, Rose?!"
      • A line at the end of "Hit the Diamond" exposes the episode's "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
        Giant Ruby: Where is Jasper?!
      • From "Bismuth", we have the revelation of exactly what led to Bismuth being bubbled:
        Bismuth: That's exactly what she said.
      • "Steven's Dream", immediately after the Wham Shot of Blue Diamond's palanquin:
        Blue Diamond: Poor Pink...
    • Scenes with series-wide implications:
      • "Ocean Gem": "All those monsters we fight used to be just like us!"
      • This line from "Island Adventure" casts Lars and his actions (from both before and after this episode) in a very different light.
        Lars: Sadie, do you ever get lonely... Even when you're around people?
      • The appearance of a Homeworld Gem in "Warp Tour" is treated with the gravity it deserves, but one specific line drives home how much of a Very Bad Thing it represents:
        Pearl: They're coming back. I can't do this! Not again!
      • In "The Return", Greg hints at the Gems' deepest regret, and how they don't want Steven "thinking of them like that". Steven presses the issue further:
        Steven: Like what? ...Dad, like what?
        Greg: Like aliens, Steven! Aliens who invaded Earth!
      • "Chille Tid": "No! I'm not Lapis anymore. We're Malachite now."
      • "Message Received" establishes exactly what, and who, the Crystal Gems are dealing with:
        Yellow Diamond: I want my Cluster, and I want that planet to die. Just make that happen.
      • From the same episode, Peridot cements her Heel–Face Turn:
        Yellow Diamond: What do YOU know about the Earth?!
        Peridot: Apparently more than you, you CLOD!!
      • From "Alone at Sea", we have this line from Lapis during a discussion of Jasper:
        Lapis: I miss her.
      • From "Earthlings":
        Jasper: I've been fighting from the second I broke from the Earth's crust, because of what you did to my COLONY! Because of what you did to my PLANET! Because of what you did to my Diamond!!
        Steven: Y...Yellow Diamond?
        Jasper: Wha-?! My Diamond! Your Diamond! PINK DIAMOND!!
      • From "Back To The Moon":
        Eyeball: I was there. I saw it with my own eye. I watched the leader of the Crystal Gems, Rose Quartz, shatter Pink Diamond!
      • From "Bubbled":
        Steven: But did mom really do it? Did she really shatter her?
        Garnet: She had to. The Earth belonged to Pink Diamond. Destroying her was the only way to save the planet. For Amethyst to be herself, for Pearl to be free, for me to be together. For you to exist.
      • From "The Trial":
        Steven (about the weapon used to shatter Pink Diamond): I probably had to use the "Breaking Point" to do it.
        Blue Diamond: IT WAS A SWORD!!! note 
      • In the same episode, once Defense Zircon realizes there are too many holes in the official story of Pink Diamond's death for it to make sense.
        Defense Zircon: No, whoever did this was already close to Pink Diamond. [...] and someone with the authority to cover it up afterwards! Someone with supreme authority, one of you! (points the Diamonds)
      • From "Jungle Moon":
        Yellow Diamond: Then why don't you act like it, Pink?!
      • From "A Single Pale Rose":
        Rose Quartz (actually Pink Diamond): I can't exactly shatter myself.
      • From "Change Your Mind", which is literally a wham line in how forcefully the character says it, plus it bluntly puts to rest the question of Steven's true identity:
        White Diamond: What is this? Where is Pink?
        Pink Steven/Half-of-Steven: [monotone] She's gone.
        White Diamond: What did you say?! Answer me!!!
        Pink Steven: [Suddenly Screaming] SHE'S GOOOOOOOONE!!!!!!
        (A crater forms in the floor, and the walls of White Diamond's Sanctum crack from the scream.)
  • Wham Shot:
    • "Steven the Sword Fighter" has two in quick succession: Pearl getting stabbed through the chest, and then poofing into a cloud of smoke.
    • "Mirror Gem": Steven freeing Lapis from the mirror.
    • "Maximum Capacity": Amethyst taking on Rose's form.
    • "Jail Break": Ruby and Sapphire re-fusing into Garnet.
    • "Cry for Help": Pearl being shown as the one repairing the Hub, not Peridot.
    • "Keystone Motel": Garnet defusing into Ruby and Sapphire.
    • "Message Received": Yellow Diamond's on-screen debut.
    • "Barn Mates": A Ruby soldier climbing out of the crashed scout ship.
    • "Alone at Sea": Jasper's hand grabbing the boat's anchor.
    • "Earthlings" has two: Steven and Amethyst fusing into Smoky Quartz, and Jasper becoming Corrupted.
    • "Steven's Dream" has a few: Steven seeing Pink Diamond's palanquin in a dream, Steven and Greg finding Blue Diamond's palanquin before seeing Blue herself, and Blue grabbing Greg.
    • "Off Colors" has two: Lars slamming against a stone wall, definitely unconscious at best and Steven cradling Lars' dead body in his arms.
    • "Jungle Moon" has one, immediately following after Yellow Diamond's scorning of Stevonnie (in actuality, it's them remembering Pink Diamond's memories), they angrily walk over to a window and punch it, but it's not Stevonnie's reflection, it's Pink Diamond's, finally revealed after a season, whose appearance could previously only be speculated from a simplified mural.
    • "A Single Pale Rose" has THREE in rapid succession: We see Rose Quartz shatter Pink Diamond, only to suddenly see that "Rose Quartz" has Pearl's eyes and gem., then Pearl-as-Rose-Quartz holds out her hand to reveal an intact Pink Diamond gemstone, then we go back a few minutes, and see Rose Quartz talking to Pearl. And then Rose Quartz shapeshifts, rotating her Gem to reveal herself as Pink Diamond.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Corrupted Gems Tiger's Eye, Serpentine and Beryl were never seen or mentioned again after the end of the series, although they were presumably uncorrupted.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Lapis Lazuli gives the Gems a huge one for leaving her trapped in the mirror for so long.
    • Garnet's reaction in "Cry for Help" to Pearl tricking her into fusing Sardonyx. Garnet already takes fusion very seriously, seeing it as a beautiful and sacred thing, not just a power-up for strength. But she's also furious because Pearl wasted their time when Peridot was still on the loose, and refuses to speak to Pearl by the end of the episode.
    • After the kidnapping events that occurred throughout Beach City in "Are You My Dad?" and "I Am My Mom", Connie gives Steven a similar reaction for turning himself in without considering another way to fight against Aquamarine and Topaz, and for disregarding the emotional turmoil he put his rescuees through.
    • Many in and out of universe are starting to have this reaction to Rose Quartz after the reveal that she was actually Pink Diamond the whole time, and has been lying to her closest companions and own family for thousands of years. Sapphire in particular seems to have taken this pretty seriously, for understandable reasons.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: While the heroes are flawed, they are still very moral people overall, and the villains generally are either Anti-Villains with clear reasoning for their actions, extremists who are opposed because of their methods, or Tragic Monsters unable to control their actions. It helps that Steven himself is an All-Loving Hero who befriends everyone he meets, even go as far to redeem the Gem monsters.
  • White Man's Burden: For all their righteousness and willingness to protect Earth, the Crystal Gems don't think particularly highly of humans, often having a downright condescending attitude towards most of them. (Steven is an exception, of course). Part of this stems from the fact that Gems not only are inherently super strong, powerful and have several advantages over humans, but also because the main heroines haven't bothered to learn much more about mankind despite all the time they have stayed on Earth. Greg has often called them out on how the only human they seem to truly care for is Steven himself, albeit this is somewhat toned down for Amethyst, who has had a human friend named Vidalia and still maintains a healthy friendship with her.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • "Story for Steven" and "We Need to Talk" are flashbacks told by Greg, regarding his relationship with Rose Quartz.
    • "The Answer" has Garnet explain how Ruby and Sapphire first met, and how she was created.
    • Most of "Log Date 7-15-2" revolves around Steven listening to Peridot's audio logs, depicting her "slow descent into madness" (rather, her efforts to understand the Crystal Gems, and Earth as a whole).
    • "Now We're Only Falling Apart" show Rose's origins and reason for rebelling against Homeworld via flashbacks.
    • "Greg the Babysitter" has Greg explaining how he ended up working at the car wash.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: What happens to Sugilite in "Coach Steven". The trope is lampshaded by Pearl.
    Pearl: Can't you see that a power that big/Comes with a bigger expense?
  • Womanliness as Pathos:
    • The extraterrestrial race of gems are almost all female-identifying, and while this is normally a non-issue on the show, the "feminine" qualities of the cast sometimes contributes to the story. For example, the fact that Rose Quartz (Steven's mother) was female and had to give birth to Steven by giving him her own gem is a major plot point. In addition to making her a Missing Mom, it causes Steven himself to be misgendered as "she" several times as people refuse to see the half-human boy and only the "female" gem wedged in his body.
    • In particular, three out of four of the Diamond Authority demonstrate extremely toxic elements of stereotypical femininity.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: A recurring theme throughout the series, and one of the main reasons several of the Crystal Gems came to desire protecting it to begin with, Rose most prominently. The beauty of Earth touched Sapphire and Ruby during their first few days on Earth, Peridot has come to be fond of the Earth (if only from a primarily scientific perspective and respect for its ecosystem), and Lapis chooses to stay on Earth after Steven gives her a tour and gets her to realize that despite being on Earth for thousands of years, she's hardly seen any of its beauty.
  • World of Action Girls: Steven is the Non-Action Guy (at first) of an otherwise all-female species of Magical Girl Warriors. Among the human characters, the two biggest Badass Normals are both girls, Sadie and Connie.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: The alien Gems have skin tones and hair colors that match their namesake gem, so they are all over the color spectrum. Examples include pink (Rose), pale purple (Amethyst), blue (Lapis), cyan (Alexandrite), light orange (Pearl), and cherry red (Spinel). The humans, though, have ordinary hair colors. One Season 4 episode features a punk-rock Badass Biker with Nonconformist Dyed Hair, and the technicolor aspect of Gems is lightly lampshaded when Pearl asks Steven if humans "come with pink hair".
  • Worthy Opponent: Rose Quartz was this to her enemies, apparently.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: White Diamond's Pearl has one of her eyes destroyed, paralleling the planet that has split in two.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Rose's Sword is effortlessly destroyed in "Reunited" by Blue Diamond.
  • Wrench Wench: Pearl from has shown good abilities at being a mechanic. She even created a relatively working spaceship from random spare parts Greg had in storage.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Pearl claims to have become familiar with the concept of being a knight at the beginning of the gem war. Considering how the gem war began six-thousand years ago, she was about five-thousand years ahead of her time. While the show explicitly takes place in an Alternate History owing to the gem colony, it is worth noting that this would predate the pyramids (by over a thousand years) in our own timeline.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: In "Sworn to the Sword", Pearl accidentally calls Steven "Rose" during an argument.
  • Xenofiction: Zig-Zagged. The show has Starfish Aliens as some of its main characters. Although they are similar to humans in a lot of ways, they are also dissimilar in a lot of ways, and rather than being Informed Attributes, the dissimilarities are consistently portrayed and often key plot points. Although many of the Gems' more fantastical aspects have parallels with mundane human experience, the parallels are generally fairly loose, not meshing with their ordinary human counterparts anywhere near closely enough to really be considered allegories of them; the show puts real effort into making them believably different from ordinary human experience.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • "On the Run", following Amethyst and Pearl's confrontation in the Kindergarten:
      Pearl: I just never thought of this as you. None of this is your fault! You didn't build this place! I... I'm sorry, Amethyst. I hope you can forgive me. You're the one good thing that came out of this mess. I always thought you were proud of that.
    • In "Sworn to the Sword", after training from Pearl (who has her own self-esteem issues), Connie begins to display the view that as an ordinary human, she's nothing compared to Steven's legacy and power. Steven shuts that down right away, reminding her how they work best as a team, and how much he admires her.
    • In "Friend Ship", after Pearl breaks down and admits that she's dependent on Garnet for strength and that she can't function without someone else telling her what to do, Garnet tells her what she needs to hear:
      Garnet: It's not easy being in control. I have weaknesses too. But I choose not to let them consume me. I struggle to stay strong because I know the impact I have on everyone. Please understand, Pearl. You have an impact too. There are times when I look up to you for strength. You are your own Gem. You control your destiny. Not me, not Rose, not Steven. But you must choose to be strong, so we can move forward. So I can trust you again.
    • Amethyst, having learned from her own experiences, talks to Peridot regarding the latter's shame of her diminutive size and lack of powers:
      Amethyst: This whole time we've been here, you've just been focusing on what you can't do. Of course you're not having any fun. You think that all you are is who you could be, but we don't hang out with you because of who you could be. We like you.
  • You Need to Get Laid: A subtle example happens in "Stronger Than You" song from the "Jail Break" episode:
    Garnet [while fighting Jasper]: I can see you hate the way we intermingle,
    But I think you're just mad 'cause you're single.
  • Your Other Left: Parodied in the episode "Rose's Scabbard". During a serious conversation between Steven and Pearl, we can hear Garnet and Amethyst in the background trying to maneuver an enormous battle axe through a doorway, and apparently no one ever taught Amethyst her directions.
    Amethyst: Turn it clockwise! No, your other clockwise! ... Yeah, lift it backwards. ... Not up, backwards!
    Garnet: You mean pull?
  • You Should Have Died Instead:
    • No one dies in in "Horror Club", but after Sadie is taken by the possessed lighthouse, Ronaldo blames Lars and says that it should've been him.
    • "Rose's Scabbard" heavily implies that, even though Pearl loves Steven with all her heart and would sooner die than see any harm come to him, there's still some part of her deep down that resents him for being born and taking Rose away from her. The saddest part? Steven is completely aware of this.
    • In general, averted. Although there is the lingering truth that Rose would be here if not for Steven, none of the Gems, or Greg, treat him this way, instead looking at him as the continuation of Rose.