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ENTERTAINMENT: Steven Universe – the Perfect Cartoon for Adults

Steven Universe

Television wasn’t a big part of my life growing up, since my parents refused to shell out for cable on principle. Now that I’m an adult, I feel like I’m making up for lost time in watching what is ostensibly kids’ programming. Like millions of others, my current TV-Y7 obsession is Steven Universe.

Created by Adventure Time’s Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe tells the story of a magical young boy whose adventures with three ageless, shape-shifting space rocks will decide the fate of the planet. It’s got all the absurdity I crave to take my mind off my own problems, but it’s also grounded enough to be intensely emotional, and the lessons it imparts can legitimately impact people’s lives for the better.

When I say “people,” I mean both kids and adults. For years, the common barometer of quality in an animated TV show or movie has been if grown folks can reliably find snippets of enjoyment here and there. With Steven Universe, though, nobody needs to go searching for things to enjoy; it’s sufficiently sophisticated to entertain adults and simple enough to hold a child’s attention. I had my suspicions from the outset, but watching a few of the best episodes with my mother really drove home how well Steven Universe appeals to folks of literally all ages. Here are five ways Sugar’s gay sci-fi masterpiece has achieved what some thought was impossible: a show kids and their parents can enjoy together in harmony.

By Sam Riedel – Full Story at The Mary Sue

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1 thought on “ENTERTAINMENT: Steven Universe – the Perfect Cartoon for Adults”

  1. Oh, for Christ’s sake, it’s a cartoon. For Children. Can we let children be children? I grew up with Bugs Bunny and Sylvester. While there were many adult references in these cartoons, they were created to be entertaining for children with clever asides that the adults watching could get and laugh at. At some point in the child’s development. he or she might (or might not) get the references. Fine. But to program a cartoon with references/ ideas intended to influence the thinking of a young child is wrong. Yeah, the old cartoons were embedded with cultural references of the time they were created – that’s normal. But they were not created with an intent to promulgate a particular ideology. Whatever anti-establishment ideas presented in the old cartoons were subversive – and therefore powerful. Once an idea/ideology is presented as ‘normal’ it loses it’s power and it becomes suspect as the ‘norm’. Above all, let children be children. Present all the wonderful panorama of humanity but don’t attempt to ram one particular paradigm down their throats. Let them be be young, let them be silly, let them – as Marlo Thomas so famously said – free to be you and me.


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