When I was much younger, cartoons seemed so… simplistic. I mean they’re made for child audiences, right? So why wouldn’t they be simplistic, as children don’t have the capacity to understand greater… more complicated… deeper things. So I grew up on shows like Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly Oddparents, and really just about any show that had quirky characters and a color scheme that burned my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching these shows as a kid, they were my childhood, and I still do watch them from time to time when I cross them on TV and I simply want to go into a daze for awhile. But what I’ve noticed is that children’s television seems to be getting deeper… and I really like that.
Honestly there’s… so many examples and ways I can approach this topic because recently there have been more and more shows popping up that can appeal to a wider range of audiences intellectually. There’s Gravity Falls with Alex Hirsch‘s rather… out there… ideas and approaches, he uses the innocence of children to explore the evils of the world with a complicated plot and very diverse and interesting characters, plus I enjoy the different approach to morals we all hear over and over again (like Dipper giving Pacifica a second chance, even though she is the sworn nemesis of his twin sister). Then you have Adventure Time, exploring a post apocalyptic world, one that can be bent and distorted in unimaginable ways. Plus, what I love about Adventure Time, it experiments with many issues such as mental disability (alzheimer’s disease in the Ice King’s case), physical disability (when Finn loses his arm for a short period), and even gender roles and sexuality (in Marceline and Bubblegum‘s case). I mean I can talk all day about these shows, I love them so much, but what I really want to gush about today is the recent episode(s) of Steven Universe: Jailbreak.
I’ve seen it being discussed all over social media, but if you haven’t heard, Jailbreak takes place on an alien ship where the crystal gems have been captured. A few facts about “home world” and the gem war are learned. We meet Jasper, a rather muscular gem and one that is out to just plain ruin everyone’s day, and possibly take over the earth, enslave the human race, yadda yadda. We learn that Garnet is in fact a fusion, consisting of two gems who are in love, Ruby and Sapphire, joined together forever through their bonds of love. Honestly… this reveals… so much about the show and what the upcoming plot is to be, but before I talk about that I want to give a short highlight over what I love about steven universe.
Now… Steven Universe is a show just… overflowing with representation. You have people of color, people of different genders and sexualities, interracial and interspecies couples, it’s lovely honestly. It shows issues such as social anxiety and the fear of disappointing your parents. It’s a show filled with love and great messages, and I really wish that more people watched it.
All the Gems are confirmed as Nonbinary, which is something that is very…unconventional to see in a children’s cartoons for Children don’t have to worry about this sort of thing right? Well… I think it’s really great because it’s just so healthy for kids to explore this sort of thing while they’re young. Not only Gender Representation, the women of the show, oh boy… majority of the time when animators design women… they are carbon copies of one another… something dolled up and pretty, attractive tot he viewer so that we’ll “like” the character, but what I like with Steven Universe is they really push the boundaries of the characters, especially females, as no two really look all that alike, unless you have the case of a Fusion, where the fusion takes traits of both the gems it hails from. You have your tall, thin and elegant females, like pearl, and your shorter, thicker characters, like Sadie and Amethyst, and you have your big buff and gruff characters, like Jasper, and all of them in between, I can’t even name them all, wow so many girls, its incredible. And then you have…. Ruby and Sapphire who are two gems of the same gender (nonbinary or female, however you see them) and they’re in a homosexual relationship, which is even rarer to see on television. I love it because, homosexuals or really anyone queer are usually seen as the butt of the joke, but not in this instance because Ruby and Sapphires love is just so strong that it holds them together in a never ending bond. Plus you have Rose, who is… rounder. She is chubby, and so are Greg and Steven, but aside that point, Rose shows that the character trope of fat characters on TV is broken. She is… elegant. She is beautiful. She is the leader of the Crystal Gems. And she’s loved by everyone, and overall she’s just a great character.
UGH, I could just gush about Steven Universe forever, honestly, I love the representation it shows, and the plot line and the story. It’s magnificent.
So much is happening with the plot and it’s really interesting… Like apparently Gems are coming back to Earth from Home World, with plans on enslaving the human race, again. Even though the war was fought years ago, apparently with Rose Quartz gone, those other Gems believe they have a chance to come back to Earth and regain it in name of “Yellow Diamond” who we have yet to see. There’s been much character development with just about every character as well. We see the emotions of all the gems, as they’re still grieving the loss of Rose, but making up for it with their love for Steven, and how Steven has grown up so much in all these episodes, going from a sort of fool who had no idea how to use his gem, and slowly learning his powers and understanding himself better, all while not losing his initial good wit and silly nature.
I really wish for everyone to support Steven Universe, here’s a website that everyone can watch episodes of Steven Universe online for free, plus there’s download links, and its all run by the creators of the show, so it’s totally fine, but seriously please watch Steven Universe it’s the best.