Or, to be more accurate, the FILLER in Steven Universe.
I’ve never really had a problem with Steven Universe before. I binged watched all the way to the last episodes of the third season. Somewhere around Adventures in Light Distortion was when I started watching it live. So, every filler episode I watched was the lead-in to the next episode. I didn’t have any context for what was coming in the future; I walked in cold. I’ve heard of the show, much like I’ve heard of Adventure Time. I see the cosplay, I see the absolute rabid fanbase, and I was nudged by a fan of the series to watch it and see if I could maybe write a story around it, because outside of this podcast, rihaansfics.com, is a fansite I made a decade ago, for fanfiction. I haven’t written a Steven Universe fic yet, because I’m not used to writing about a story unless it’s finished; Steven Universe will be one of my only exceptions.
My thoughts on it – it gives a bit of a Power Rangers, Sailor Moon vibe, Josie and the Pussycats, etc., etc. And the filler is attempting to draw us closer to the characters that live there. Sometimes you get a hit, like Lars and Sadie, and Onion, and Connie, but sometimes you get Ronaldo, and Pizza-dad. And one of my favorite early episodes was Keep Beach City Weird. And trying to put it into words, I loved that episode because it was fun, and something that I hadn’t seen before. And he became a favorite character, because he made a lot of predictions on the show that turned out to be true. Because he’s the conspiracist that represents the fans of the show, that’s what made him a fun character. But that Rocknaldo episode has killed him as a character for me.
I understand the story structure, even though it’s a bit misguided. You have a bunch of secondary characters because otherwise it’s a nameless, faceless town with no life and a bunch of faceless, nameless bodies that a gem can kill off whenever they need the story to get tense. You have filler because otherwise, it’s Power Rangers, a new threat every week. Seeing as this has an actual end goal, a plot that will eventually reach a conclusion, a mystery that will one day be solved, It’s a complicated web of stories weaving together, so I can understand spacing it out somewhat, but it could be on the demands of cartoon network, and they’re allowing them to do their own filler. Maybe CN just doesn’t want too much info out at one time, seeing the success of the show. Going by ratings just in the United States, people are gonna watch the show anyway, it’s understandable to drag it out. I can appreciate the fact that if it’s a filler episode, they’re not going to show you Yellow Diamond or some other excuse to trick you into watching. They’re world-building with the characters in Steven’s Universe. They want you to be familiar with the characters in the beyond and the ones on earth. If you’re not gonna like them, then they want you to at least know them, because I have a feeling that all of them are going to go through major character changes in the future, maybe not on the same level as Lars, but they will all go through a type of ritual brought on by Steven. He is the town hero, over and over again, and all of them are gonna be grateful to a point that they’ll fight for him.
Improving on those filler episodes, I think it would help if at least one gem is helping Steven help them, or Connie, so he doesn’t always have to go it alone. He’s making friends, and when that payoff comes, there’s actual experience to draw from, and you remember those moments.
I will admit: I’ve watched them once, at a request, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to them. Around episode twenty, I got invested, and since there was no war that I knew of, I liked the comedy, and I got invested in that.
So it’s weird for me to see episodes that don’t matter in the slightest when it comes to an over-looming threat, and not seeing the next episode confront that problem. Episodes like when Steven found a mysterious key, that mattered. Helping Dewey run for office does not. The moral of Steven being completely wrong and Connie being completely right just pisses me off. Usually, they’re really good at morals, but I would have really appreciated if Connie admitted that they did not stand a chance.
Okay, I’m done. For now. Enjoy the episode(s).