Vlog Review: Steven Universe S3E08-9

Bonus episode! As long as my Patreon stays over $100, I’ll do one extra vlog a month in addition to the weekly ones!

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4 thoughts on “Vlog Review: Steven Universe S3E08-9

  1. Always nice to hear your thoughts on the show.
    Guess its pretty telling that I didn’t even think about the subtext of disability because all those ideas in the show really ARE so normalized that I didn’t even make the connection with Peridots limb enhancers etc. which basically proofs your point even more. ^^

    As for your appreciation for taking risk in kids media: I’m sure you’re glad to hear that at least from the vocal fan community perspective (I mean podcaster, fanarts, editorial writers etc. I see floating around) all this stuff seems to really strike a cord. Pearls solo musical number in Mr. Greg has become one of the fan favorites from what I can tell (even if that might be a flavor of the month thing because they put out so many great song that the ZOMG BEST THING EVER response changes constantly ^^) and in general lots of think pieces on the net what kind of subtle crazy shit the show has done and now and then a really sweet interview or convention panel where there talk about where they are coming from when they address specific topics…. and ratings seem to be doing fine was well.
    As for you point about representation and being able to identify with characters that are like you…. That basically what the SU crews has stated as there goal for the show in multiple occasions … that whole “Kids deserve better then the narrow perspective that cartoon have presented in the past” thing as been express by multiple people involved…

    Speaking of which… so you talked about Rose being bi and and I just wanted to add a little trivia: When Rebecca Sugar was asked about the fascination with LGBT themes in the show at one of those con panels recently she just straight up said that that’s incorperating that is very personal to her because she is bisexual herself.

    But what I really wanted to comment about was the other episode… specifically the metal powers plot point you were irritated about.
    First of I understand the worries about the Daredevil thing but I really wonder does that logic really apply here at all. Think about the “power levels” we are dealing with here. Is metal manipulation really that “magical” when basically ever Gem we have ever seen has (by human standards) powers we normally associate with super heroes and most of them use them without even thinking about it at all. Suddenly metal powers look pretty mundane in comparison.
    Obviously that’s all speculation and as always the show really plays the long game with its themes and ideas so even having seen the rest of the season I couldn’t tell you where they are really intending to go with this idea at all even if I wanted to but I have a suspicion why that’s here.

    I just assumed that metal powers are just a thing for some Peridot or even Gems in general that nobody thought / know about before. Think about how this was contrasted with shapeshifting which is seemingly a pretty generic power that most Gems share.
    What I found far more interesting about this reveal is that Peridot didn’t KNOW about those powers before. Remember Peridot has always been the geeky type who’s very proud of her knowledge of home worlds systems and Gem “functionality” because that was basically required information for her job as Kindergardener. I feel its not that much of a leap so assume that homeworld may not even have knows about that or only valued that trait in specific Gems or hidden those information or it really is some kind of unique gift / talent after all.
    I still agree that the fact that Peridot isn’t just bad at shapeshifting like Steven but can’t do it at all points to that subtext you talked about but what I’m trying to say here is that the metal power thing would be just another example for this running theme of Home Worlds very narrow view of purpose for Gems vs. the Crystal Gems strive for individuality and well this whole non-deterministic view on life.
    Because this whole ‘Gem finds a interest / talent / meaning in things that Home World deems “useless” / “inappropriate” for that Gems function’… well that basically describes all of the Crystal Gems. One of the interesting more subtle implication about this specific Home World attitude was that this doesn’t even come from a place of intentionality (e.g. social control) but maybe even just cluelessness / ignorance. I mean the didn’t even know how to deal with a warrior Pearl in The Answer and likely the same goes for Rose completely different lifestyle to whatever her original military(?) purpose may have been.

    I will just say that’s a theme to keep an eye on because more episodes with little lore implications will come up this season that will give more food for thoughts about what Homeworlds mindset really is in the first place… and even after all of that I feel we don’t have the full picture…. at least I still don’t know what to make of all of this yet. ^^

    But that brings me to a final point: All those big risks SU is taking also have a flipside and that is this constant talk about unfortunate implications when its addressing unusual subject matter (usual with implication that Crewniverse may have messed something up). You rarely touched on that in the first place IMO and even if you explain your concerns very reasonable (so don’t take that as critisism of this specific VLog or anything) and I actually really like that different perspective about specific themes but what I’m trying to say is it seems there is a increasing trend to talk about topic or characters that people see as all kinds of “problematic” elements in this show and that reaction always baffles me because that always seems like a really hardline stance that doesn’t even try to give the creators the benefit of the doubt despite the fact that they have proven so many times that they really care a lot about getting those elements right. Also people seem to forget alot that they all argue from a place of incomplete information and this show in some minor way is build like a mystery show so maybe thats also some kind of a structural problem that episodes aren’t as stand alone as the appear to be.

    I keep this vague for a reason. Most examples will come up later and I just wanted to bring that up as a thing that just happening around the show and seems like a really weird fandom obsession thing to me most of the time and it seems to bleed into other conversation more and more. Only no spoiler examples I remember would be how the whole metaphor stuff about Malacite really rubbed some people the wrong way because they seem to really zero in on the non-consensual aspect of that dynamic and then there is also the whole “Rose/Pearl in the past” stuff where people really go weird place that don’t seem to fit the text at all. I find that whole discourse really weird and sometimes worrying that might not make a lot of sense at this point without better examples.

    But if you care about that view point at all I can come back to you when you reach the big deal stuff around the season finale. Specially there is one double length episode that will come up later that really felt like a big deal to me (and most likely will to you as well) but also had the weirdest contradictory(?) fan reactions yet.

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  2. Wow, thanks for the thoughtful reply!

    Like I said, I am trying to give the creators of the show the benefit of the doubt, because they’ve earned it. It’s less something I feel was strongly implied, and more something I’m used to happening in this kind of situation, and I wanted to note that and make clear that I’m keeping an eye open for it, but it’s not really happened yet.

    What you describe going on in the fandom is a natural consequence of growing awareness of social justice, however. Nothing is perfect, and everyone has different levels of tolerance for different kinds of problematic elements. So people will get mad about elements of episodes, they’ll read things differently, angry battles will ensue. It’s just one of those things.

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  3. Always a pleasure. :)

    As a say that was just an alternative interpretation for me…. what the show wants to do with Peridot is still up in the air anyways. And I actually really appreciate all your anecdotes and personal interpretations because IMO that makes Vlogs interesting in the first place.
    But no matter where the story goes I’m also expecting them to go for some kind of disability metaphor in a different context because of specific phrasing in later dialogue… but you know… spoiler and I think you will notice soon enough anyway ^^

    As for the fandom drama… guess you’re right that its inevitable to get ugly when shows blow up like that. Seems like the end of season 1 really change everything because before that bombastic finale aired I really only saw some anime fans praise the show. But I also find it pretty difficult to express what annoys me so much about specific fandom tendencies. Doesn’t help that the well has been poisoned so much when it comes to well… discussing social context etc in the first place…. and that becomes especially bewildering for me when the actually topics become completely overshadowed by identity politics which are basically foreign to me (in terms of actual cultural differences but also weird subculture obsessions I don’t get)

    What I’m trying to say here is there have been 2 ugly incidents in the last year or so which point to bigger problems then just fans being fans but I also don’t like to bring them up because I feel how bad online media handles those stories is also part of the problem.
    So if you didn’t hear about this the short version is: in one instance a fan artist was bullied because other fans disapprove of individual character interpretation and in the other case a member of the SU team was bullied for …. well let’s just call it what it is…. bullshit shipping drama / fan entitlement. Both became bigger stories because the first involved a suicide attempt and the second went so far that the creator closed her twitter account. Both were framed as concerns about social topics but were very obviously just standard fandom insanity stuff. But the headlined obviously went totally clickbaity ala “SU fandom now toxic” etc. which is also a ridiculous way to look at those incidents.
    And as I said there is also another weird (story content) example coming up later where is feel people are really missing the forest for the trees.

    Guess in the end I’m just always a bit sad that shows that specifically choose to talk about themes like kindness, acceptance, etc. still attract the same kind of destructive fans as every other franchise. Seemed to me MLP fandom devolved to this over time (at least from an outsider PoV) but for SU a hadn’t really expected for this to become such a big part of the discourse as well.

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  4. in one instance a fan artist was bullied because other fans disapprove of individual character interpretation

    Specifically, she was bullied (into a suicide attempt) because she drew fanart in which Rose Quartz looked slightly thinner than she does on the show, thusly engaging in Problematic Erasure of fat people.

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