Steven Universe built its universe more effectively than anything I’ve seen, and the reason is because of all the continuity.
Ok, I take that back. ATLA. ATLA. But ATLA is also an exception.
I mean it’s built its universe more effectively than most adult TV shows ever manage.
Literally everything that’s ever happened in any episode has either come back to be a relevant plot device, plot point, or at least referenced.
It’s not this discordant mess of sounds, songs, and images.
Even if it doesn’t start off that complex in the beginning, there’s a lot of hidden depth that is explored later, or at least, we can assume will be explored later.
The universe has clear rules and restrictions and there’s a whole history that’s constantly being referenced.
So you know that every episode is crucial in some way to that universe.
I just think it adds a lot of depth to the show, really.
Like I’m a fan of Spongebob (classic SB, tho, because the humor has gotten so weird on that show), but nothing on that show is permanent.
Everything is erased by the next episode. And that’s fine, because SB is just a comedy and rule of comedy: brevity is wit.
But in SU, you do have to watch most of the episodes (most; some aren’t as important honestly), because if it’s not building its universe, it’s building its character.
And I can’t help but thinking of how every character’s motivations and back stories are referenced subtly (and sometimes not) in just the frames, in their emotions, in the way they act, speak, think.
Like remember when Sugilite was going out of control and Pearl’s doubting herself and you realize that she’s horribly insecure about herself?
Not only does her character remain consistent, it’s later mentioned that she always pledged to protect Rose Quartz, but was so weak she was constantly getting destroyed.
Which would also explain why being impaled by her own holo-pearl didn’t seem to bother her as much as Steven being alarmed.
And in the Sugilite episode, before you even know about her and Rose’s past, she glances up at Rose’s image on the beach and gathers strength from that, because the small amount of self-worth she got was from her.
The only reason I noticed was because tumblr spoiled most of the more complex relationships before I even watched it.
So I was super attuned to the subtle references to the future relationships.
I just think this show is amazing and it’s really, really funny, even in the more depressing episodes.
And everyone is just so darling.
It was also a really good idea to build up their characters through comedy and THEN breaking them and revealing that for all their cute, hilarious actions, all the misunderstandings with “human” ways, their usually humorous reactions to the weird adventures Steven gets into, there’s a dark past that is revealed when real trouble arises.
I just…. love this show and can’t wait to see Steven 3.0 and I’ll get to watch it on TV with ya’ll for the first time instead of watching the fandom from a distance and debating whether or not I should watch it.