statue of woman

Steven Universe and building trust with fans

You’d be hard-pressed to find a show more instantly likeable than Steven Universe. Granted, the grouchier among us may turn their noses at the inherent silliness of its title character, especially in those early episodes. Yet, what comes across pretty much instantly is how rewarding the show can be to a first time viewer.

Steven is a flawed but endearing character when we first meet him and though his eagerness and child-like enthusiasm can get the better of him, he still makes us laugh as he makes mistakes and learns from them. One episode in and we’re just seeing the world through his eyes, it’s bizarre and it makes us laugh but it also doesn’t outstay its welcome.

More importantly, it allows the show’s mysteries time to reveal themselves. There are no instant explanations to who Steven or his alien cohorts are, nor why they reside inside the statue of a giant woman. It’s one of the reasons why it hooks you so fast. There’s no hasty need to show all its cards, it just settles you in with a silly story about Cookie Cats and magic shields.

Then slowly, as the show unspools before us, we learn more about Steven and the Crystal Gems but by then you’re already hooked. For me, the moment I knew this show was something special was in the second episode when ‘Let Me Drive My Van Into Your Heart’ accompanied a scene of Steven and his dad coming to the Gems rescue.

It’s the musical moments that always get me hooked, yet Steven Universe rewards its audience in many others ways. The creators ask us to let them tell the story at their own pace and in turn, we get smartly written, loveable characters, great comedy and wonderful music.

Compared to something like the perfect brew of Parks and Rec, which took an entire season of floundering with its concept to find its way to greatness, Steven Universe had all of its pieces in place at the start, it just needed the trust of the audience to make it work.

A common meme associated with the show is the conflict in episode one compared to episode one hundred which, in a non-spoilery way, saw the character mature into adolescence and the show move into an altogether more mature territory. Not every show needs to become quote-unquote darker to be viable as a drama, darker is just another way to describe a show evolving and becoming more mature.

In that sense, the creators of Steven Universe took a cue from the brains at Pixar and made a show that literally grows up with its audience. It’s still funny and still very silly sometimes, yet it’s put the trust the audience gave it in that first episode in the bank and rewards them some of best writing on Children’s TV.

Of course, as with the majority of modern animated fare, it’s not just for kids and the complex themes it delves into are difficult for adults let alone children. Yet with a remarkably malleable ability to be different each week yet still retain its personality, Steven Universe ultimately succeeds in bridging the gap between audiences.

With fans waiting in anticipation for season five and with the show closer to the end than the beginning, Steven Universe is still rewarding its audience for putting trust and patience into it years later and frankly you’d be a fool to miss it.

  • tony: clay, calm down. you didn't kill hannah baker. just let it go, okay?
  • clay: let it go❓❓ no time❌⏰ for letting go🏃🏃 when i gotta find out what happened🤔💡 must investigate🔍👀 and interrogate🕵️🚔 grind never stops❌🛑 need to listen to all the tapes📼📼 redeem my best friend status👏💯 and avenge💪😈 the woman🙅💄 i love💕💕