Once upon a time, a dear friend and cartoon animation buff recommended a new Cartoon Network show called Steven Universe. As one who was mostly ignorant of but eager to experience a new generation of cartoons, and having previously fallen head over heels for Adventure Time, Bee and Puppycat, and Gravity Falls thanks to this same dear friend, I obliged, and together we watched the pilot episode of Steven Universe.
If you asked me now what the pilot was about, you would find me shamefully consulting Wikipedia for the answer. I honestly don’t remember much about this initial viewing, nor do I remember the reason why it didn’t immediately stick. I found Steven to be a bit grating, and, for whatever reason, I couldn’t situate myself in the world of Beach City and the Crystal Gems. I didn’t hate it, but I couldn’t say I loved it either.
One Year Later: I am talked into watching the most recent Steven Universe episode with my dear animation friend and now, roommate.
And I don’t know what happened between the pilot and that episode, but after watching “Alone Together” I needed Steven Universe to be my everything.
“Alone Together” is all about fusion, an ability that allows the gems to merge together to create one being: Pearl and Amethyst create Opal, Amethyst and Garnet create Sugilite, and all the gems together form Alexandrite. But what happens when Steven, a half-human, half-gem fuses with his human friend Connie? We get Stevonnie, a very tall, likely intersex character who steals the hearts of everyone in Beach City.
I don’t know whether it was the phenomenal dance scene that opens the episode (um, Garnet and Pearl? Holy WOW), the incredible experience that is Stevonnie, or just the look of sheer delight on Garnet’s face at Steven and Connie’s successful fusion that did it for me this time around.
All of the above? Yep, all of the above.
The concept of fusion plays a fascinating role in the mythos of Steven Universe, but so far Connie is the only person Steven has successfully fused with. What will happen if Steven fuses with one of the gems, or if all four of them fuse together? What does it mean if humans can fuse with gems, or does it only work with Steven because he’s half human? WHEN WILL WE GET MORE STEVONNIE?
I don’t know the answers to any of these very, very important questions, but I do know that I have now, after watching and rewatching all 40+ episodes, officially succumbed to the indomitable, heartbreaking cuteness that is Rebecca Sugar’s brainchild.