Out of This World

Go ahead and try to hit me if you’re able,
Can’t you see that my relationship is stable,
I can see you hate the way we intermingle,
But I think you’re just mad ‘cause you’re single!

Estelle’s rich voice moves effortlessly over a catchy synth track. The music is paired with animation of a curvy, three-eyed woman singing while she fights a tattooed woman with a gemstone nose. They also happen to be on a spaceship. This clip was my introduction to Steven Universe, and if that doesn’t make you want to watch the show already, then I’m not sure that we can be friends. (Full disclaimer: the show doesn’t always feature sweet musical numbers like this.)

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Jasper (left, Kimberly Brooks) fights the agile Garnet (right, Estelle).

The Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe might seem like a lot to take in, at first. Thankfully, the series takes it slow with its world building. The show’s namesake is a pre-pubescent human boy… sort of. He’s also the son of Rose Quartz (Susan Egan), leader of the Crystal Gems. Rose Quartz sacrificed herself so that Steven (Zach Callison) could be born. Since then, he’s been raised by the remaining members of the Crystal Gems: Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), and Pearl (Deedee Magno). His very human dad, Greg Universe (Tom Scharpling), is also an important presence in his life.

The Crystal Gems are a group of rebellious aliens who have been protecting Earth from their Homeworld for thousands of years. As the newest member of the group, Steven struggles to control the powers that he inherited from his mother. However, what Steven lacks in badass alien abilities, he makes up for in pure joie de vivre. He’s always asking questions, seeking adventure, and demonstrating an unmatched compassion for those around him. Steven is a grounding force for each of his super-powered guardians, and a deeply loving son to his bumbling father.

Of course, Steven’s not the only reason to love this show. All of the characters are charming and interesting in their own way, if not a bit perplexing at times.

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I’m talking about you, Onion.

On top of the stellar cast, the series is beautifully animated, well-written, and features an outstanding soundtrack. As if all of this weren’t enough, the Emmy nominated Steven Universe is also very queer-friendly. All of the full-blooded aliens in the show (both Crystal Gems and Homeworlders alike) present as feminine humanoids who use she/her pronouns – automatically making any romantic pairings between Gems queer. Warning: there be spoilers ahead.

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