I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to play games last night, but I did get to watch a few episodes of Steven Universe that were sitting on my DVR. I started watching the show a bit late, and I admit I was pretty baffled by the outspoken love for this show on my social media radar. The show is about a young boy named Steven and his alien gem friends/caretakers who protect the planet earth. It is a fairly normal-sounding premise for a generic kids cartoon, but luckily the delivery is anything but generic.
Steven Universe does so many amazing things I wish I had seen on TV when I was a kid. Almost all of the main characters are women and girls. It has perfect beautiful normal flawed queer relationships. I realize it is 2016 and I should be taking things like this for granted by now, but it is still amazing to me for a cartoon to step forward and say “these people love each other” without being either so subtle about it that it could be overlooked or so awkward that it is meant to be a lesson not a relationship. Likewise, the show covers some pretty grown-up sounding themes like consent in a straightforward honest way without ever having to mention sex, and without sounding like an after-school special. To top it off it packages it in a cheerful fun art style and some of the most amazing catchy music I’ve ever heard on television.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I really recommend you give it a try. Start from the beginning if you can, because the series is definitely telling a story. The most recent episodes pack a real emotional punch for fans, but might just be 15 minutes of confusion for someone new to the show. I was hooked within the first 5 or 6 episodes, and if you make it to episode 12 (Giant Woman) and aren’t completely sold then I think you can probably walk away safely. At this point the show has become enough of a cultural touchstone among my social circles that I couldn’t imagine being without it.