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  • Before any of you lose your minds, hear me out. Steven Universe is not a bad show, far from it. It's one of my favorite shows on the Cartoon Network and I'll dearly miss it when SU Future finally comes to an end. But just like any show, it does have it's flaws. And the flaws I'm pointing out right now are ones I've had problems with for a while....and those problems have to do with the world-building of Steven Universe.

    It's been stated several times in the show that the Gems have been in contact with Earth for thousands of years, roughly 8,000 if I'm correct. But throughout the series, it seems like they focus more the history of the Crystal Gems themselves and how they met as oppose to their history with the Earth. They do mention having interactions with people throughout history, but that was mention like twice in the entire run of the series. And that's a real shame, it would've been interesting to see how the Gems have impacted human history. Wouldn't have been cool if we saw how ancient civilizations and other historical figures reacted to these strange human-like creatures. There could be recorded documents on the Gems, ancient cravings, Hell, maybe they might've inspired the creation of some of the most famous pieces of architecture though history! Unfortunately, this possibility is never looked into at all.

    On a lesser note, since Rebecca Sugar did say that holidays do not exist in this world, does that also mean that religions don't exist either? I know that some civilizations and historical events were also centered around these religions, so did those never happen either?

    And finally we have biggest world-building problem of the series....and that's media attention. Apparently it seems like the news doesn't exist in the world of Steven Universe. Which is redundant since Beach City deals with monster attacks on a regular basis, and you know damn well that a town that suffers from that would immediately be on the news! But we never see any news reporters, television broadcasts, or even a damn newspaper! And since Steven and the Gems have faced-off against monsters all over the world, you would expect that there would be world-wide panic! Hell, not the government get involved in the series, which is also redundant since if the news ever existed, you know damn well they would be investigating these news reports. This would've been also interesting since the Gems would have to face being interoggated by people who have more authority over them.

    Sorry if this is a little jumbled-up. I guess wanted to bring this up and see what you guys have to say about it.

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    • The problems with the world building of Steven Universe stem from the creative decision to tell the story entirely from Steven's perspective.  Normally telling a story from the point of view of a single character isn't a problem provided that the POV character is an active player in the story.  Steven isn't.  He's completely passive.  The plot happens to him and not because of him.

      Despite all the wonders around him Steven expresses no curiousity and asks no questions.  Unless he's driven by outside circumstances Steven spends his time just bumming around Beach City.  This wasn't a problem in the first season when the story was largely episodic.  But once Jailbreak happened the story moved to being plot driven with Rose Quartz, the Gem Civil War, the corruption attack and ultimately Pink Diamond.  At that point the story expanded to beyond that which could be told through the eyes of a 13 year old child.  Despite everything we as the audience saw as the story developed Steven didn't ask a single question about the gems and their history on earth. 

      The nadir of Steven's passivity was the episode Dewey Wins where after returning from Homeworld where he learned that Rose Quartz couldn't have shattered Pink Diamond, that he has the power to resurrect the dead, that there's an entire underclass of gems called the Off Colors who are being sytematically exterminated and that Lars is stranded on Homeworld he had nothing to say to the Crystal Gems about any of it.  He refused to talk about any of it.  Instead we watch him sit around moping about Connie not talking to him while Lars and the Off Colors are struggling to escape Homeworld.  This was just bad writing.  Or it would have been if Steven Universe had been a script driven rather than a board driven show.

      The show should have dropped the Steven Only Perspective after Jailbreak.  The story became too complex for that conceit to remain effective.  Steven became an albatross around the neck of his own show.  The Hollywood axiom of "show, don't tell" was ignored just to keep Steven in the frame.

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    • If SU is rebooted in a good way and not as dumb as other reboots. Then we could wish for the removal the Steven only perspective and focus on other characters.

      And if CN gave a 9 season plan as a "what could have been" instead of maybe 6 seasons. Then the world building would have been great.

      Heck I want at least 2 sequel series of SU just like Alien Force and Ultimate Alien instead of an epilogue series. But nope CN just keeps supporting 3 dumb reboots. Plus some "voice actors" have problems and it affected the whole plot and world building.

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    • InazumAzure wrote:
      If SU is rebooted in a good way and not as dumb as other reboots. Then we could wish for the removal the Steven only perspective and focus on other characters.

      And if CN gave a 9 season plan as a "what could have been" instead of maybe 6 seasons. Then the world building would have been great.

      Heck I want at least 2 sequel series of SU just like Alien Force and Ultimate Alien instead of an epilogue series. But nope CN just keeps supporting 3 dumb reboots. Plus some "voice actors" have problems and it affected the whole plot and world building.

      Nah, it'll be Steven Universe: Go! where they all live in the big city, regularly obliterate the fourth wall, have zany fever-dream adventures that make no sense and everyone acts like a four year-old on a sugar high 👍

      Hawas1983 wrote:
       The show should have dropped the Steven Only Perspective after Jailbreak. The story became too complex for that conceit to remain effective. Steven became an albatross around the neck of his own show. The Hollywood axiom of "show, don't tell" was ignored just to keep Steven in the frame.

      I cannot 👍 that enough ❤️

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    • Just give me an ending where Steven goes to Japan and enrolls at U.A. High. He will be happier over there than Beach City.

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    • Even with the Steven perspective I think they could of still had a scene where he watches a news report featuring the gems or one that covers that aftermath of The Return and Jailbreak 

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    • Hawas1983 wrote:

      The nadir of Steven's passivity was the episode Dewey Wins where after returning from Homeworld where he learned that Rose Quartz couldn't have shattered Pink Diamond, that he has the power to resurrect the dead, that there's an entire underclass of gems called the Off Colors who are being sytematically exterminated and that Lars is stranded on Homeworld he had nothing to say to the Crystal Gems about any of it.  He refused to talk about any of it.  Instead we watch him sit around moping about Connie not talking to him while Lars and the Off Colors are struggling to escape Homeworld.  This was just bad writing.  Or it would have been if Steven Universe had been a script driven rather than a board driven show.

      I don't have any problems with your complaints that the show could have been told from a different perspective, but if we are considering Steven's actions specifically and whether they are realistic or not, remember that at the time of this episode he was a 14-year-old child (and he's still only 16 or 17 in Future, folks) who had just gone through a heavily and complexly traumatic experience, for all of those reasons you just listed and more. The point of the direction that is being taken with Future is that all of this shouldn't have been put onto Steven at such a young age in the first place, as it would be traumatic for an adult, much less an actual child with incompletely developed emotional regulation and coping skills. The fact that he handled the situations of the original series as well as he did is astounding. I don't know if you've ever worked with 14-16 year olds who come from complicated and traumatic home lives with missing parents, but I have, and let me tell you from my experience that I got whiplash every single day just watching those kids act more maturely than adults at one moment and less maturely than Kindergarteners only an hour later. Developmental psychology is already complicated when a child is in a stable, loving environment, and every additional factor beyond that only complicates it further.

      So I guess what I'm trying to say is that whether telling the show from his perspective or not was the correct creative choice is entirely up to anyone reading this, but regarding whether Steven's reactions in the show are a realistic representation of a human child put in similar scenarios... I would say, if anything, he is naturally more resilient than most of us. Maybe any "bad writing" lies in him not being more selfish or taking things worse than he did, but even then, his surprisingly mature behavior is backed by evidence within the past 10 years regarding what we know about children from difficult backgrounds. (For example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3172314/)

      EDIT P.S.: pls get this boy some therapy

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    • Ethereal-Ineffability wrote:

      Maybe any "bad writing" lies in him not being more selfish or taking things worse than he did, but even then, his surprisingly mature behavior is backed by evidence within the past 10 years regarding what we know about children from difficult backgrounds. (For example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3172314/)

      The problem is not how Steven is depicted relative to normal children.  The problem is Rebecca Sugar trying to tell a vast and complex story with a large dramatis personae and a ton of moving parts through the eyes of a child with no interest in that story.  This is a writing problem.

      Far too many important plot and character developments happen off-screen because Steven isn't around to see them.  The development of Lapis and Peridot is the most egregious example of this.  Steven is also forced into episodes where is presence is detrimental to the story.  Last One Out of Beach City would have been a far more interesting episode if it was just Pearl and Amethyst chasing Mystery Girl into the night.  The show even lampshaded this in Little Graduation when Steven complained that he wasn't around to see Lars and Sadie work out their relationship issues and decide to go their separate ways.  Lars told him that of course he wasn't there because it was private.  Given everything Lars and Sadie went through over the course of the show I would have liked to have seen how they worked through it.

      Steven Universe would have been a far better show if it were told from a third person perspective.  That would free the show to move focus to where actual plot was happening.  Watching Lars and the Off Colors escape Homeworld, steal spaceships and piss off Emerald would have been far more relevant and entertaining than watching Connie ignore Steven for six episodes.  Rebecca Sugar is not a writer and it shows.  She maintained a death grip on the Steven Only Perspective even when it was hurting the show's ability to tell its own story.  She couldn't see how the episode Jailbreak changed the nature of the show and that she had to adjust accordingly.

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    • And again, I was only addressing your implication that Stevens behaviors themselves were bad writing, not your problems with the Steven only perspective. You have a right to that opinion, even if I disagree strongly with it from a personal perspective as someone who relates heavily to Steven's emotional development and is far more interested in seeing what the Crewniverse has to say about how to solve real and serious problems than in how many human societies worshipped gems or how often the gems get visited by the government. To each their own. I feel somewhat sorry for people who are not interested in the primary emotional focus of SU, but not too sorry, given that there are plenty of action sci-fi shows which exist only as entertainment already in existence and very few shows that thoroughly explore the psychological and social issues that SU has this far, to the extent of making almost the entire show's focus exploring those issues.

      Afterthought edit: also, given that Rebecca sugar is likely going to expand on the little details in comic form for the diehard fans like us who are interested in it, after the story which will have the most real world cultural impact on the children watching it is done being told on screen.

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    • ohh ok

      UWU

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    • Ethereal-Ineffability wrote:
      And again, I was only addressing your implication that Stevens behaviors themselves were bad writing, not your problems with the Steven only perspective. You have a right to that opinion, even if I disagree strongly with it from a personal perspective as someone who relates heavily to Steven's emotional development and is far more interested in seeing what the Crewniverse has to say about how to solve real and serious problems than in how many human societies worshipped gems or how often the gems get visited by the government. To each their own. I feel somewhat sorry for people who are not interested in the primary emotional focus of SU, but not too sorry, given that there are plenty of action sci-fi shows which exist only as entertainment already in existence and very few shows that thoroughly explore the psychological and social issues that SU has this far, to the extent of making almost the entire show's focus exploring those issues.

      Afterthought edit: also, given that Rebecca sugar is likely going to expand on the little details in comic form for the diehard fans like us who are interested in it, after the story which will have the most real world cultural impact on the children watching it is done being told on screen.

      If Steven's emotional development is what interests you in the show then by all means enjoy the show on that level.  But if that's the story Rebecca Sugar wanted to tell then she shouldn't have heaped on this epic story of intergalactic tyrants, war, genocide, love, betrayal, slavery, abuse, etc. and then shove it all into the background while telling fans that there's nothing to see here.

      If Rebecca Sugar wanted to make Steven's emotional challenges and development the focus of the show then that's what she should have done.  Other shows have tackled this subject and they did it a lot better than Steven Universe has.  I direct you to a 90's era Nicktoon called Hey Arnold.  That show was about a group of neighborhood children and the issues they had to deal with.  The show's poster child for issues was Helga G. Pataki.  Hey Arnold made the children and their issues the focus of the show without piling on distractions like intergalactic conquest and war.  The crown jewel of that show was the episode Helga on the Couch where we learned why Helga was the way she was through a realistically depicted therapy session with a realistically depicted child psychologist.  Sugar made her back drop far more interesting than the actual focus of her story.  That's bad writing.

      Steven Universe has a very large cast of characters who each have interesting lives of their own.  Not everybody who watches Steven Universe regards Steven as their favorite character.  He is, in fact, the least interesting character on the show because he doesn't do anything related to the story.  The story has to come to him.  There are fans far more interested in Pearl and her issues.  Connie had problems with her mother that were of greater interest fo some fans than Steven.  Other fans found the story of Earth's relationship with the Gem Empire of greater interest than Steven.  There is no shortage of plots in Steven Universe that are far more interesting than the plight of its main character.

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    • Bad writing smad writing. Every writer who wants an ambitious world building or a simple story has one notrorious blockade in their way. And that is corporate shenanigans!

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    • I had an epiosde idea that would involve world building and no Steven POV. What if some milittary area 51esq captured a corrupted gem to study, but then there broken into by Jasper, so this would be during the season 3 era where she wants it for her army. 

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    • I just want a full exploration of Pink's destructive powers and see it's full potential through an offense oriented Steven. I want to see what he is capable of in a battle. I would even like if Steven fights everyone, friend, family, or enemy whether be a Crystal Gem, Diamond, Human, or an Anti-Steven Rebellion heck all of them. Even if it's a one man/boy army who can bulldoze them. Just give me an enticing battle that can satisfy me.

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    • What happened to corporate shenanigans?

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    • Delivers wrote:
      What happened to corporate shenanigans?

      Oh yeah I forgot they won't give me that. Coz CN wants to hurry up and end SU immediately (sighs)

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    • Are you the crew don't just not like good fights, there was no reason not to give us Alexandrite vs Blue Diamond in Reunited 

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    • A FANDOM user
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