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10/09/2019 18:05:22 •••

It's good, but man does it have some flaws

Steven Universe is somehow praised for being the best modern cartoon out there, yet simultaneously hated with a passion as if it killed their pets. I feel both sides are overblown. Steven Universe is far from bad, but its also far from perfect.

  • The good:
    • The main characters are well developed, and they explore certain themes like abandonment issues, codependent relationships, self-worth, PTSD, child soldiers, Parents as People, and He Who Fights Monsters. No one hogs the spotlight, and each character is given the chance to shine.
    • The Villains aren't one note. When introduced, they may start off flat, but they later reveal their layers. Even the Diamonds aka Space-Napolahitler, have Deliberate Values Dissonance, bottling up emotions, and grief to explain them.
    • The songs are beautiful. A lot of them explore the characters and their feelings. Two of the best songs, Made of Love and Here Comes a Thought, encapsulate simple ideas, yet the visuals and singing are enough to bring a tear to the eye.
    • Fusion is a nice metaphor for relationships. The closer the bond, the easier they fuse and the more in sync they are, best evident with Smokey Quartz and Steg, fusions of Siblings & Father and Son respectively. Conversely, those with little bond or toxic relationships are more volatile and unstable, such Malachite.
  • The bad.
    • Steven's First-Person Perspective limits the show. If Steven isn't there, we don't get to see it. Some characters have development off-screen as a result, so it can feel sudden or forced.
    • The characters can come across as frustrating or unrealistic, because Reality Is Unrealistic. They have realistic reactions, but like real life, it can make them unlikable.
    • The pacing is off. Numerous Slice of Life episodes with the people of Beach City, but most don't matter in the long run since they come across as unlikable or insignificant to the plot. Add on the hiatus' and the show can suffer from Arc Fatigue.
    • The show believes "Anyone is redeemable", but it can get repetitive when Steven manages to redeem nearly every antagonist by Talking the Monster to Death, regardless of what they've done. While I could understand and was okay with redeeming Blue and Yellow Diamond after it was clear they were victims of White Diamond's abuse, I feel redeeming White Diamond was a mistake. White has no existing Freudian Excuse and is just The Perfectionist. They could have benefited from the idea that there will be people Steven can't redeem. Granted, they needed White to heal The Corruption, but they could have wrote it different.

I can overlook some flaws and say that Steven Universe is a good show. Is it the best modern cartoons has to offer? No. Steven Universe has a lot of flaws, and these flaws can be deal breakers to some people. In the end though, I'd say Steven Universe is a good show. If you can overlook the flaws, you may like it. If you can't, then it's not for you.

09/18/2019 00:00:00

I've always said that the issue western audiences have with this new shows for what they call "filler" is really to the detriment of the genre. Shows like Steven Universe, Star vs the forces of evil, etc. that started basically as episodic shows that eventually developed a plot and that despite it's focus being more on character than lore, non-plot related episodes are considered bad/filler, etc. despite those being the roots of the show(s).

I also don't agree with the notion that the show is saying anyone is redeemable, but on the contrary that people are not black and white, that they can change their minds and at different levels. In the movie we see White Diamond more as a racist grandmother/mother that's still a product of her time, still accidentally slips an N word or politically incorrect remark, while trying to follow and acomodate their progeny's more progressive vews but still deep down feels is just modern hippy love crap.

09/19/2019 00:00:00

[up] In regards to the episodic moments: there are several problems with that line of thinking though:

  • 1. The series becoming more serialized is when it was considered to have \"grown the beard\", as even from the beginning the \"townie\" episodes weren\'t all that enjoyed. To revert back to before that would be seen as shaving the beard. Just because something is the roots of the show doesn\'t mean it should return to its roots, especially when the roots aren\'t favored compared to the beard.
  • 2. When a serialized plot is introduced, most expect the serialization to continue rather than return to one off material that has no bearing on the plot. This is not something restricted to Western Animation. This is found in many forms of media, as people care more for the greater plot than they do for things that ultimately don\'t matter. Only two characters in Beach City matter to the greater plot: Lars and Greg. And even Lars was hated until he became Captain Lars. So if an episode involving Beach City doesn\'t focus on them, its seen as superlative. It\'s one of the reasons why Onion and Ronaldo get so much hate, they get so many focus episodes yet neither really develop as characters, nor do their episodes matter in the long run.
  • 3. The show suffers numerous hiatus\', so when the show returns from a hiatus, people expect the show to continue its narrative. But there was an entire Stevenbomb that was nothing but Townie episodes, and so people would naturally get pissed they\'d have to wait even longer for the plot.
In regards to redemption: I was never saying the characters aren\'t multifaceted. I was however arguing against one of the themes of the show: \"Everyone deserves a second chance.\"
  • Just because everyone deserves one doesn\'t mean everyone will take one. Some people just don\'t change, and its a fact of life. It\'s honestly why I found Bismuth such a compelling episode. Bismuth was presented as the antagonist, but this was a case of Both Sides Have a Point. Bismuth had her reasons for wanting to shatter the Diamonds, and she had a sympathetic narrative, but at the time, there was no redemption for her. She was too filled with hate and resentment towards Rose to want redemption, even trying to kill Steven because of it, and it took until Made of Honor for her to want redemption, with her seeing just what her actions would have done and learning the truth behind Rose\'s decisions for her to let go of her hatred, and then for Steven to convince her it was okay to feel remorseful for what she did, but that they didn\'t hold it against her. Only then could she find redemption. This was ultimately followed up in Mindful Education, where Steven\'s inability to redeem Jasper, Bismuth, and Eyeball brought him inner turmoil, and Connie managed to convince him that it\'s okay to think about it. It\'s something I think should\'ve been explored more: even if you offer redemption to someone, not everyone will want it. Even if everyone gets a second chance, not everyone can change.
  • The reason I offered White Diamond as someone who shouldn\'t have redeemed herself is because of that fact she started Homeworlds traditions. She is akin to the racist grandma that only acts like they\'ve changed when really they\'re still bigoted. But there in the lies the problem with her sudden redemption. If she\'s so deeply ingrained in her beliefs, then she is less likely to suddenly change her mind about Steven and Pink as well as dismantling her entire empire. 2 years is more like an hour to millennia old beings like the Diamonds, and while its possible Blue and Yellow would be similar, I\'d more willing to believe they could be redeemed under the idea that they\'re love for Pink superseded their desire to maintain old values. White however is the root of Homeworlds system, and yet Steven managed to convince to change in only ten minutes, as well as dismantle the Gem Empire in only two years. If White Diamond had to be redeemed, it should have taken longer like it did with Bismuth.

09/22/2019 00:00:00

1. Except you know...not. Shaving the beard is toning the overall feel of the series down. That's not what the episodes do by the very nature of being episodic. Today we learn something new about Rose, tomorrow Steven hangs with the cool kids. The show followed that idea, of course plot heavy episodes will be more popular, but there was already a backbone of how things were layed out.

2. Beach episodes mainly develop Steven and the gems, even if they focus on a secondary character and even when not they still deliver a message/aesop which is the core of the series. Using the Joy Ride episode again, we see that Steven does have PTSD from the plot heavy episodes, Onion Friend showed that Amethyst was affected by the aftermath of the Sardonyx incident; I personally dislike old Lars with a burning passion but it was always clear it was building his character up to something.

3. That sounds more like whinning than anything. Writters make a story, so they should exposition dump because some people are anxious? It's not ideal but the end result is more cohesive than series that do that, aka series there were promised a number of episodes only to have them redused.

As for the rest, think about it. Does Steven Universe really promote the message of everyone is redeemable? If anything, it just promotes that you should try. If we look at the "antagonists", there's Lapis, Peridot, Jasper, Bismuth, Aqua Marine, Yellow, Blue, White and Spinel, more of less in that order. Lapis was a victim from the start, only wanting to go home; Bismuth was even an old friend, but just a well intentioned extremist; as you said, Blue and Yellow were a result of White (with Blue more often than not being downright helpful and "good" to Steven) and of course we know the whole deal with Spinel. That leaves us with Peridot, Jasper, Aqua Marine, Eyeball and White. Peridot was a long and grewling process (months as she said in the movie), White as I said is not really "redemeed" to the annoyance of Steven and Jasper, Eyeball and Aqua Marine were actually never changed. If anything, Spinel opens up the idea of resentment in this new age. Other gems besides the diamonds that benefited from the class system (Aqua), that might not adapt to this warless, non-colonionist future (Jasper) or simply doesn't accept Pink's replacement (Eyeball).

09/22/2019 00:00:00

White was actually not even an original or hard concept. She was a perfectionist narcisist. She viewed herself as perfect and gaslighted any opinion on the basis of she can't be wrong cause she's flawless, to the point that she was a victim of her own delusion. A view based on perfection is easily cracked.

White: this can't be happening. I can't have a flaw, I'm suppose to be flawless. If I'm not perfect then...who am I? If you're not Pink then...who are you? W-who is anyone?

09/25/2019 00:00:00

1. Except there is no balance. That was my main issue. Its understandable that Slice of Life needs to be put in between the heavy plot, but this show overdoes it. There are times where the equivalent of an entire Steven Bomb, five episodes, is nothing but Slice of Life, and whether its coming after a hiatus or even just a weekly format, it can get kinda frustrating and lead into Arc Fatigue.

2. Except more often than not, the develop of the main characters is left to the background and is more footnotes than anything. How did \"Kiki\'s Delivery Service\" develop anyone aside from Kiki and Jenny? How did \"Rocknaldo\" help out anyone in the long run. Even with \"Onion Friend\", the Amethyst bit was about a minute long and just stated what was already inferred. Show, Don\'t Tell is a rule afterall, but the episode was more content to focus on Onion.

3. So its whining to say a show is padding? Just because the writers made the story doesn\'t mean its exempt from criticism. The hiatus\' have been going on since Season 2, meaning the writers should be aware of frequent hiatus\' in the future. In this case, they should try and adjust the pacing to compensate. Maybe instead of five filler episodes and then two plot episodes, why not two to three filler episodes and then one plot episodes. Proper pacing is all that a lot of people ask for.

4. Even if Lapis was a victim, she still attacked the Crystal Gems in her quest to get back home, and nearly drowned Steven and Connie as well as injure Greg. Jasper the narrative went to great pains of humanizing, and the end of \"Change Your Mind\" implies she either is gonna redeem herself, or at least be neutral. Bismuth still tried to murder Steven over the sins of Rose, and that didn\'t fall under the Well-Intentioned Extremist part of her character, and she only relented and began to reform after she learned just why her plan would have failed thanks to the corruption. The only villain out of the list you gave that didn\'t redeem themselves was Aqua Marine, but even then her partner, Topaz, came very close to doing so had it not been a case of Reality Ensues. So the only gems in the show that actually matter and didn\'t get redeemed were Aqua Marine and Eyeball. 2 out of 10. So if only 1/5th of the antagonists aren\'t redeemed, and redemption can happen regardless of their sins, it makes the show come across as saying anyone can be redeemed.

5. Except there in lies the flaw behind White\'s redemption, best demonstrated through the show\'s best redemption: Peridot. Peridot took over half an entire season to redeem herself, and it required she go through a character arc and develop from it. Peridot\'s redemption took time. White however the narrative has considered redeemed. She is no longer the Big Bad, she\'s Steven\'s prejudicial and clingy grandma. Any of the horrors she or any of the Diamond\'s committed, from shattering gems, to counquering worlds, to brainwashing the other diamonds and the C Gs, to nearly killing Steven by ripping out his gem, all of that has been swept under the rug. While Steven is understandably wary of all three diamonds, the narrative treats them as if they\'re redeemed.

White\'s redemption was rushed is what my main issue is. I suggested she not be redeemed to teach the idea that not everyone will be redeemed, an idea they seemed to touch on with the minor Gem Navy, but didn\'t follow up on. Even if White isn\'t an original concept, her turn around is too abrupt. She goes from trying to kill Steven to bring back Pink only to be called a child, throw a small tantrum, and Steven then suddenly redeems her. For someone so ingrained in her beliefs, who has to see herself as perfect, you\'d think she\'d first go through the five stages of Grief rather than immediately accept she\'s flawed, that she\'d lash out and blame Steven for making her seem flawed.

I\'m not here to talk about what the show will do going forward, I\'m here to talk about what the show did. And what it did was rush White\'s redemption. White in my opinion either shouldn\'t have been redeemed similar to Navy, or followed in Peridot\'s footsteps and had her redemption come naturally and with development. You can\'t use the argument the ending was rushed cause if the writers are to be believed, this was their intended ending from the start before they were green lit for a sixth season. If they knew from the start how they wanted to end it, they should have paced out the story better rather than rush it at the ending.

I like Steven Universe, and I like a lot of the characters and developments. But I won\'t ignore when the show has a misstep. And the way they handled White Diamond was a misstep.

09/30/2019 00:00:00

1. Ok then, now that is a point. Though it just means is actually just your argument on point 3 again. ps. what 5 episode steven bomb does that? cause I've seem debunked statements like that pop-up like that on youtube.

2. Except more ofen than not See I would disagree with that, of course, not all of them, but the overwhelming majority are about Steven's daily life, learning and developing as a kid, even Ronaldo episodes tend to hint a lot of stuff in his conspiracy theory way before they're revealed properly.

3. It's whinning to want exposition dump because you're impatient. So the writers have to expect hiatuses and change perception but not the audience? it's been months since the last episode when Jasper revealed Pink diamond, they must reveal she was Rose this next bomb. The issue is that is not about proper pacing, is about feeling you're owed a certain amount of plot development because of the time. It's ok to be frustrated about the release schedule, but the series has always had a flow.

4. I don't get it. I argue she's not redemeed and you start with there lies the flaw of her redemption? who are you having a discussion with? the narrative doesn't consider her as such, you're just stating it as fact. Like I said, even Steven doesn't stand her, you gotta remember the movie is not about them. She's in a state where she clearly doesn't believe (and is annoed by) what she's saying and is only doing it to appease Steven. She changed, yes, but like you yourself said, she didn't do a Peridot. The core of the issue is that you're treating her with 2 absolutes: Big Bad or completely redeemed. The crystal gems took Peridot in, tried to get along with her and get her to understand, but still had many major issues with her throughout, it wasn't until after Message Received that she could've been considered redeemed. My point is that that's the state of the diamonds, specially White, are at.

I'm not here to talk about what the show will do going forward
you can't use the argument the ending was rushed

ok, I never said that, so I suggest you figure out who are you discussing with as I'm not a set piece for all your issues with given counter-arguments.

10/03/2019 00:00:00

1. I said the equivalent of a Stevenbomb, not a literal Stevenbomb. But if you want examples.

  • Season 3 during the Summer of Steven. Too Short to Ride, The New Lars, Beach City Drift, Restaurant Wars, and Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service. The only thing that ultimately came out of those five episodes was Peridot learning she had ferrokinesis.
  • Season 5: Dewey Wins, Gemcation, Raising the Barn, Back to the Kindergarten, Sadie Killer. The only episode that really mattered was Raising the Barn, and all that amounted to was Lapis leaving again.

2. Agree to disagree.

3. I never said exposition dump, I said "continue the narrative". Continuing the Narrative doesn't just mean Exposition Dump. There are numerous ways to explore the narrative while spacing out the reveals. There were still three Ruby's out there, why didn't we get an episode about them causing havoc or Steven trying to do for them what he failed with Navy? Why didn't we get a follow up on Lars' adventures against Emerald? Why not a training episode for when the Diamond's inevitably attacked. I only put down what one of the biggest complaints of the series is. And that is the pacing is abysmal. If you went to see a movie, and it ended on a cliffhanger, and you wanted to see more of it explored in the sequel, would you call it whining if you were upset the sequel did nothing but tease the plot and instead focus on random stuff inconsequential down the line?

4. You were using Peridot as an argument against White Diamond having been redeemed. I however was pointing out that the narrative considers her redeemed, and in turn pointed out how rushed White's "redemption" is compared to Peridot's. You think she isn't "redeemed", but the narrative begs to differ. I'm not dealing in two absolutes. The narrative is treating her with two absolutes. Steven is annoyed by her, but the narrative doesn't frame her as someone that needs to be considered an Antagonist anymore. If frames her as just an annoying family member. The narrative is treating her in absolutes. She's either Big Bad or Racist Grandma.

5. You literally put this here: If anything, Spinel opens up the idea of resentment in this new age. Other gems besides the diamonds that benefited from the class system (Aqua), that might not adapt to this warless, non-colonionist future (Jasper) or simply doesn't accept Pink's replacement (Eyeball). That's what I meant when referring to the future. You are discussing the future right here. I was saying I didn't want to discuss going forward. Had the show ended here, with Change Your Mind as it was originally believed too, this is what the show would have ended on. So I'm judging what we've been given. Not what we've yet to receive.

10/09/2019 00:00:00

1.

The only thing that ultimately came out of those

I could talk about how obviously The New Lars as I talked about before, develops Lars, Drift develops Stevonney, Steven and Conney's relationship but doesn't that line in itself disproofs your point? using the exception fallacy of my point works if you don't count this or that.

3. Except this isn't a movie, this is a series. The issue here is that a major counterargument used against the pacing is that it flows through the season, that is, that there's less to no complain by late-comers who binge the seasons/series, since almost every episode is actually 15 minutes long and have a nice flow. Look I get it, I was there, Aqua Marine arrives, Steven leaves, Lars dies and all that, then they go months without releasing a new one and then the new episode is about the run for mayor, but when you see the season as a whole, it's the building up to a major event (with people dissapearing), followed by the repercussions of it (issues with Conney and Steven, Lapis leaving, Peridot dealing with it, etc.) over the next episodes.

4. I don't see how this does not prove my point? She's not an antagonist but she's not a good, redeemed person. You are using two absolutes as you're equating no longer being the Big Bad with being completely redeemed. That's why I keep going back to Peridot. Peridot agreed to help the crystal gems and stop the cluster, at that point she was no longer a villain but as we saw, she wasn't redemeed. You literally said and I quote "She's either Big Bad or Racist Grandma" how is "redemeed"? Racism is a big part of her issue and the system she implemented.

5. That line was about the concept of the show having a message of "everyone is redeemable" and that we have both characters that never did and the implication and idea that not everyone is peechy with the current situation, not that it will happen in the future. Part of the main issue that I keep going about is dealing in absolutes. Going back to your example of movies, many movies leave unanswered questions that are not necessarily a Sequel Hook, they're just that, an open idea. A big message of the movie is that happy endings don't exist, things are always changing and you have to keep moving.


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