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Why Everyone Needs To Watch "Steven Universe"

It's the show we wish we had as children.

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Meet Steven Universe, the half-human, half-"Gem" star of the show. He's being raised and trained by a group of extraterrestial beings called the Crystal Gems.

Cartoon Network

That's right — Steven basically has three moms training and protecting him as they go on missions to save the Earth. The fact that Steven has the gems as his role models and guardians is constantly celebrated throughout the series.

Though it initially might have been geared toward children, the offbeat space adventure is incredibly appealing for adults and teenagers.

Cartoon Network / Via lacasadeel.net

Yeah it's a fun cartoon, but the creator Rebecca Sugar (who is also the first woman to create a show for Cartoon Network) has gifted us with a masterpiece. She has managed to weave richly developed characters and gut-wrenching subplots into a world that's lively, colorful, and at times a little kooky.

One huge pull for the series? It's a huge leap forward in regards to queer representation in animation.

One of the most beloved relationships in the series is one between two Gems who love each other so much, they can't bear to be apart. Their relationship isn't built on hints or euphemisms — it's explicit. You get to see a beautiful and genuine romantic relationship on a kids show.

There's also an incredibly diverse representation of body types throughout the series.

Cartoon Network

Some Gems are tall, some are short, some are heavyset, muscular, or thin. They also rarely show insecurities about their bodies, and the few times they do are in regards to physical strength and wanting to be better fighters. They actually sing a great song about it.

Though physical strength is a source of insecurity for several characters, it's made very clear that anyone can be strong.

Cartoon Network

Connie Maheswaran, Steven's shy and bookish best friend, is by far one of the bravest characters in the series. Even though she's only a human, she trains in sword fighting so she can protect Steven at all costs, and openly admits that she's willing to lay down her life for him in the process.

Also, a majority of the voice actors, including every member of the Crystal Gems, are voiced by women of color.

You might actually recognize Estelle, the voice actor for Garnet (pictured above) from her song "American Boy." Don't worry, you get to hear her sing in the show, too. There's just a lot of singing that happens.

Though it's fun and quirky, and at times a little silly, the show is very emotionally complex.

One of the heaviest recurring themes of the show is that all of the Crystal Gems — Steven included — live in the shadow of Steven's mother, Rose Quartz, who gave up her body to bring Steven into the world.

Pearl in particular has a hard time letting go of Rose after fighting by her side for thousands of years. As the series goes on, her breakdowns and emotional turmoil over the loss of Rose run parallel to Steven's increased responsibilities and expectations for him to fill the role of a mother he never got to meet.

This is a show that hits you in the feels, and it hits you in the feels hard.

And those emotions are heightened by animation, artwork, and music that completely transport you to another world.

Cartoon Network

The pastel color palette, the otherworldy music tinkling in the background...even though a lot of the series is set on Earth, the ethereal qualities of the series make you feel like you're on another planet. It's an aesthetic that perfectly matches the journey of the Crystal Gems as they struggle to feel at home in the world that doesn't always seem to want them, even though they save it over and over again.

It's an incredibly dynamic series, and while many fans wish they could have grown up with it, at least it's the type of show you can enjoy at any age.

Cartoon Network

So if you haven't seen it yet, go ahead and give Steven Universe a try. Also, thank you Rebecca Sugar for blessing us with this gem of a show.

The post has been updated to remove direct references to the Gems' gender, except for Gems who use she/her pronouns in the show.

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