Watermelon Universe: Straight to Video

Originally published at: https://hcat.geektherapy.com/2019/06/05/watermelon-universe-straight-to-video/

Get ready for a three episode extravaganza. Listen to us cover Steven’s childlike perspective on Garnet and whether that is appropriate to his age in Garnet Universe. Ponder the ethics of a God-like Steven in Watermelon Stevens. Last but DEFINITELY not least, we go into a deep dive of the Emmy award nominated episode Lion 3: Straight to Video. Marc talks about the profound sense of loss Steven feels and Sadie’s reevaluation of the relationship with her own mother. Kat talks about what the Pink dimension in Lion’s mane implies about Steven’s relationship with his mother. Lastly Gian goes on a long tangent about how inspired he is by Dogcopter’s words and the art of home videos (?) .

Special Thanks to Joe Jeremiah for letting us use his version of “Here Comes a Thought”

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I see what you are saying in “Garnet’s Universe” about Steven maybe being too young to be thinking of such fantastical things and that he thinks he’s the center of the universe. I had a different take on it though and I’ll try to explain why without spoiling too much (I’m not sure how much of the show you’ve seen).

In regards to the fantastical story that Steven created, I think it makes a lot more sense when one remembers who he lives with. His guardians are magical beings who deal with crazy, fantastical stuff on a daily basis. They travel to ancient, magical ruins, fight monsters, and collect magical artifacts, with Steven occasionally tagging along. These are things that happen in his story too. But he only sees a small slice of the missions the Gems go on and as we lean from “The Test”, these are only the most minor of missions. So the things he’s imagining that Garnet did aren’t so crazy. Talking animals doesn’t seem too outlandish to me, especially considering that Steven has a magical pet lion who seems to be able to understand what he’s saying (see “Lion 2” and “Lion 3”). I also don’t think he thought his story was what Garnet actually did as he’s in disbelief when Garnet says that’s pretty much what happened. But I do see how that could also be interpreted as him just being surprised that his story was exactly right.

In regards to the “center of the universe” concern, I saw it a bit differently. This episode sort of represents Steven’s belief that Garnet doesn’t express her love towards Steven enough, or at least not as much as he’d like. In the story, Garnet tells her animal friends that Steven is the most important person to her. When they ask her if she’s told him that, she says no. When they inquire why, the best reason Steven can think of is, “I’m not strong enough”. Which isn’t really a reason at all. I think this is meant to represent that Steven knows Garnet loves him but doesn’t understand why she won’t outwardly express that to him. But Steven can’t just say something like that directly to Garnet, so his story does it for him. And we will see from this point going forward that Garnet does become more affectionate towards Steven. Yes, this might still be seen as a selfish thing that Steven wants, but it makes it more understandable for me. Plus, Steven just isn’t the kind of person to be so self-centered, which we will see more as he matures.

This isn’t to say that I disagree with your concerns, just that I saw things differently. Have a nice day.

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I completely feel your take is great.

I agree on how the fantastical elements are not too far from reality in Steven Universe. But also, I think Rebecca Sugar filled this episode intentionally with dozens of pop culture references to convey the message that Steven is an avid consumer of pop culture especially video games and anime and this eventually melds its way in the way he conceptualizes his fantasy of what a Garnet adventure would be like. I think what this tries to convey is that the change in art style and the multiple tropes show that Steven draws more from the narratives that he has come to love in media than from his magical experiences in life.

We could envision a possibility in which Steven wishes he has more affection from Garnet. Although to be honest, Garnet is the most affectionate of all the crystal gems. Amethyst is loving and friendly but she’s the type who will mock Steven by saying: “Ooooh you like me!” whenever he worries about her. Which is to say she tends to deflect emotional discourse. And Pearl loves Steven in her own way but often It won’t be read as affectionate. Garnet is often the only one who says “Steven’s the best!” or stuff like that, and she’s the one who fully embraced Stevonnie (we all know there’s another reason for that)

This, by no means, means that Steven is satisfied with the amount of affection he receives from Garnet. Which still makes it plausible for Steven to just be trying to indirectly tell Garnet: “Why don’t you love me MORE?” Craving the affection of your parents is not a completely selfish thing to want, for many of us its a necessity. Perhaps Steven thinking that Garnet believes him to be “the most important person” in her life is a sign of him knowing deep inside that Garnet truly love him. Perhaps, its the inner selfishness inside of us where we are unable to think of a life for our parents before we existed. I think the answer lies somewhere in between. The expectation for our parents to love is, I think at times, can be at odds with our expectation that they see us as their main priority in life and the lines might seem blurry at times, I prefer to keep those lines blurry for now.

Thanks so much for your Input, with this alone, we could’ve made the episode 2 hours longer which I think @HereComesAThought would reaaaaaallly love as much as I do.

Please don’t be afraid to let us know what else have we missed, exploring these points of difference is what I live for!

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Thanks for the response. In regards to the inspirations for “Garnet’s Universe”, I totally agree that it draws a lot from other media. I guess I was trying to say that the reason Steven might think that the story is something Garnet might have actually done is because the Gems already have fantastical lives. Like, I would never think that my parents might have a day like the one in the story but Steven can believe that Garnet might have because they already deal with similar things on a day-to-day basis.

In my opinion, Garnet doesn’t really get that affectionate towards Steven until after this episode. Before this point, she is definitely the most supportive of Steven and has the most confidence in his abilities. She’s willing to put more faith in Steven than the rest of them, a theme that is repeated throughout Season 1. But she doesn’t tell him that she loves him, she doesn’t fuss over him or show emotions much.

One reason I think this episode represents a turning point for Garnet’s characterization is that only a few episodes later, we get “Future Vision”, the first really Steven and Garnet-centric episode. There is the memorable and cute moment when Garnet says that Steven’s middle name is “cutie-pie”. But the more important one is at the end of the episode, when Steven is on the roof and Garnet calls out to him. She says that she knew telling him about her powers might cause him to freak out. When Steven asks why she did it then, she responds, “I took a risk at your expense. There was a chance you’d understand this, and we’d be closer. Steven, I see so many things that can hurt you. I should never have let one of them be me.” This is the first really vulnerable moment we get from Garnet and we learn that she did all this so they could be closer. And as the show goes on, Garnet does become more outwardly affectionate. I think the ordering of these episodes was very intentional.

I personally think “Garnet’s Universe” has a lot of stuff going on under the hood. I made a reddit post about it a while ago. You can check it out if you’re interested. https://www.reddit.com/r/stevenuniverse/comments/79goa7/new_meaning_for_the_most_filler_episode_of_steven

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