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Parent reviews for Steven Universe

Common Sense says

Quirky cartoon values family, fun, and finding your purpose.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 134 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 325 reviews
Adult Written byemilylynng January 13, 2015

Everything you should ACTUALLY know about Steven Universe, okay?

I was so blown away by how bad the top review for this show was so I made an account:
Hello, My name is Emily, I'm not a soccer mom, and here's everything you should know about Steven Universe that most moms wouldn't find in a Common Sense Media review:

Steven Universe is the first cartoon on Cartoon Network to be written by a woman. Anyone who is saying the show perpetuates race or gender stereotypes either a. Hasn't watched the show or b. "watched it" by having it on in the background while cooking hamburgerhelper and isn't paying attention. The series is about a band of mystical interstellar fighters, The Crystal Gems, and young Steven, a half-Gem by his late mother, fighting monsters while Steven grows into himself and learns more about himself, his mother, and his destiny.

All of the physically strong characters in this show self-identify as female. They are NOT, however, women-they are gems. They are not human. They take on a physical form of their choice. There is nothing WRONG with curvaceous women. I applaud this show for having female-bodied people with varying shapes and so should you. Amethyst and Garnet both present themselves as people of color (POC), a catch all for "ethnic" where ethnicity is not implied, and have bodies you don't see often in cartoons (or in the media, for that matter) . Amethyst is not dressed inappropriately-she dresses how young people normally dress ; an off-the-shoulder blouse above a tank top is not scandalous. Garnet is voiced by a British POC and, despite appearing as a black woman, is arguably the strongest and most level-headed of the Gems. Her body is never sexualized and, though stoic, has had whole episodes dedicated to her power to love. She has been called the leader of the group, so imagine. Pearl is tall,flat chested, and thin , a body type a lot of girls also find in themselves that they can't always find in media in a positive light, and is educated and graceful. She displays some social anxiety and traits of OCD that, instead of hindering her or making her unlikeable, actually make her achievements and contributions to her team all the more impressive. As someone who grew up with a learning disability and social anxiety, I enjoy Pearl's character a lot. These are NOT "tropes", they are character traits, and it's important your kids have diverse representation to look up to.

Steven is a great role model for children. Hopeful and upbeat, nothing ever, ever gets Steven down. Even when Steven fails in an episode-and he does-the Gems are sure to reassure him, since failure is the best way to learn. This doesn't make him annoying, it makes him human and relatable to your kids, who are goofy and fallable. Steven also challenges gender norms. While displaying an innocent love interest in (POC!) human girl Connie and having a boyish love of video games and explosions, he isn't afraid to embrace the cute and pink-his Gem is Rose Quartz so he brands a pink shield and pink lion, and won't hesitate to call something like a cartoon animal "cute". A little mind-blowing to some parents, but I believe the right ones can appreciate the message that colors and things don't equal "being gay".

The relationship dynamics are also great and, for a show about freakin alien humanoid gems, pretty darn realistic. Steven is raised by the Gems. It's unclear why-hints are made that it's to make sure he gets the proper instruction he needs as a Gem, or that his father Greg isn't in a situation to raise him- but the Gems are great parents, if awkward, given their limited know-how on humans, but what parents are perfect? While Greg does not live with his son, and ebbs out a meager existence as an owner of a car wash, he's seen in several episodes giving Steven fatherly advice and disciplining him when he needs it. I think its great that we are given a unique family perspective in a kids show. Not all families are nuclear and this doesn't have to make them bad; not all children live with their fathers, but this does not have to keep them from having a healthy relationship with them. Hell, I wish my Dad was as approachable as Greg, who seems to be the progenitor of Steven's "never give up" attitude. Stevens never shows anything but pride in his Gem family or his father. In the episode where he meets Connie's parents for the first time, two married well-to-do people, he brings his whole family and expresses anger at the idea that anyone would be "ashamed" of them. As for the deceased mother, well, she gave up her life to bring Steven into existence. Rose Quartz expressed a love for all living things, and humility, and is inherited in Steven, who gradually tries to subdue and convert monsters to good instead of destroying them. That's some beautiful stuff.
The other characters in Steven's town are also fun and diverse, many POC. Any "sexualization" you've heard of in the show, as I typed this, has been hand-holding and dancing. That's it. Nothing you wouldn't find anywhere else. No blood or death in the series except for post-show death of mother, and the monsters aren't even "killed"-they are captured and stored away.
As a young person and lover of animation, I can't push this show enough. Music is beautiful, animation is an actual pleasure to your eyes worthy of being called art, episodes range from goofy and fun to heart-warming and moving, and a range of ages-your baby to your elem. school aged child to your tween or teen-can be in the same room to watch this and, honestly, will love it the OLDER they are. You should probably watch it too.
I plan on being a stay-at-home mom and watching it with my kids one day. If you think children's entertainment shouldn't engage your kids at all and just jingle keys in their face while you fumble with a car seat, or are backwards enough to dislike interracial coupes or strong black women or people wearing whatever they want or boys wearing pink, that's one thing, but it's an A+ great show for our times, I want it to get more support so we can have more like it because, honestly, it's what we deserve.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byPeridot I. August 5, 2017

This is Peridot.

CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS CLODS! This is Peridot, reporting for this, Common Sense Media website. And I say to everyone with complaints, CLODS! STOP IT YOU CLODS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE DOING! Peridot, out.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 2 and 3 year old Written byDperez106831 June 3, 2016

I loved this show until..

My kids are not old enough to be into these cartoons yet but I found myself falling in love with it. Being a 90s baby it reminded me a lot of Dragon Ball Z only a female version and I thought it was really cool . I liked it so much that I recorded every episode on my DVR. I was so into it until I couldn't help but notice how strange the later episodes were getting. It just got wierder and weirder! Steven experiences "fusion" with his female friend and turns into one person... a woman... I just had so many questions and I was really confused. Not only that but she goes clubbing and all of a sudden there's this guy hitting on her and I find some of their dance moves to be a little too sensual. It has just a little too much Romance for kids I think. And its basically all about relationships. I really like this cartoon for myself but I'm not sure that it should be on Cartoon Network for all children to watch. A lot of the lessons seem to be directed toward the transgender and gay community. Not sure if they meant to do that. Oh yeah and this show has NOTHING to do with race or racism. Don't know why people are going there.
Adult Written byIcyteasupport March 14, 2014

Believe in Steven Universe?

Amazing show, the pacing is perfect, it doesn't need a 2 part episode to explain something with loads of action and emotion.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 9 year old Written byaborer2002 January 1, 2014

Great Show with Realistically Imperfect Characters

A show with some minor faults, but is beautifully animated and has wonderful music. Stephen is, to me, a tragic figure, who has lost his mother, but still loves his deadbeat father. He is guided by an all-female household, all of who have good points and bad points. And they live in a rundown resort town, which to me is more realistic than any number of shows about suburban cul-de-sacs. Magical beings with flaws? Show me who is without flaws, and I will urge them to cast the first stone.
Adult Written bymilanestablished January 20, 2014

It's Great

When you search for wrong things you can find them! Even in a Tom and Jerry you can see stereotypes and mildly sexual behavior.
People complain when there are too thin characters and people complain when they're too big! We all come in different shapes and sizes and I think it's refreshing to see a character that doesn't fit the "physical mold". Whether she be Darker skinned with a cubed futuristic afro or thin with spikey blonde hair.
Each of the characters on Steven Universe are modeled after the meaning behind the gem they dawn.
Garnet- Protection
Pearl- Sophistication
Amethyst- Playful

Stevens character lost his mother at birth and the whole story line is not only him saving the world but finding himself while being taken care of by his late mothers "sisters". The father isn't an active or constant part of his life but he continues to be fun loving and learns himself each episode with the women in his life. He takes trips to see his father they mourn as well as celebrate the life of Stevens Mother. I think it's a positive message for racial, physical, and emotional tolerance.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byGamerMedic July 11, 2015

Believe In Steven!

This show is sweet, well-written and all-around awesome that anyone, child, "tween" teen, or adult can love. Me and my friends are just as eager to tune in as my younger cousins and even my mom doesn't mind sitting in to watch. Younger kids can love the colorful characters and older teens can appreciate the writing, suprisngly detailed world building and more surrounding the Gems and, yes, brief occasional innuendo. (*sarcastic gasp*)

I honesty can't really think of anything overtly inappropriate about this show, but its willingness to push boundaries is very appreciated by me and my friends who watch it. At its core all the characters are multifaceted people trying to get through the day and show each other how much they love one another. It's one of the best written families I've ever seen on television. The positive female and male characters of all shapes, sizes, and colors is encouraging and I think there's much to be learned about tolerance and acceptance from Steven and his unusual family. I hope you can learn to Believe in Steven too!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byRaptorkaz November 20, 2013

You can be a hero and still be heavy, just look at amethyst.

I think that saying Steven Universe can cause body image issues for kids because there are portly characters is a very strange way of thinking. I like watching cartoons with my daughter, and I try and monitor the media she consumes. Because I watch shows with her I have noticed that nearly all the shows on Cartoon Network show skinny male characters as the heroes. I think it's refreshing for her to be watching a show where the heroes, if not the titular character, are women. I think it's also important that not all the characters are skinny. I want my kids to make healthy choices but I also don't want my eight year old giving up treats because she thinks they'll make her fat. I want her to see that you can be "portly" and still be a hero.
Parent Written byDarla Tea November 4, 2013

Special New Show

I found this show to be sweet and creative with a cute 80's retro sensibility. Because the creator came from Adventure Time ( Rebecca Sugar) the storyline doesn't condescend to adults or kids, female or male members. The main character is a kind of outcast trying to find himself and connect with his imperfect father and apparently deceased mother ( from whom he received his powers?). It's already engaging. Our family is looking forward to more.

This title contains:

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Positive role models
Parent of an infant and 5 year old Written bymiiesha120 July 19, 2015

The name of the game is relationships

Steven universe is a show that almost primarily focuses on the strong relationships between the characters and how they react to each other as a whole. It promotes deep personal growth by exploring how people can rely on eachother, or draw on the strength of thier love for others to defend what is important to them. It is also groundbreaking in its depiction of body types that encourage self esteem among those that do not have the media-accepted form of this day and age. My son loves the characters so much, and how they aren't afraid to be themselves no matter how odd it might look to some people. A few of the episodes have actually driven me to tears with the level of emotion present there. For Halloween this year, I'll be amethyst. And he's already called garnet. Her self assurance has made it so he won't doubt himself. And Steven's openness to new things means he no longer fears liking 'girl' things. This show broke every gender stereotype out there. Thank you Rebecca.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byRipley April 3, 2015

This show needs higher ratings!

I baby sit a lot, and I typically play this show to all of my kids, and 2-10 (10 is the oldest) all enjoy it! The show has beautiful visuals and charming comedy. The show has great morals, and supports major body positivity. The diversity in this show is amazing! People of all races, sizes and ages are all looked upon equally in the show. It's the first Cartoon network show to be written by a female too! The show deals with real life issues (stevens mother dying before he met her) and also has an amazing plot and I can't wait to see what they do with it next.

People keep relating this to Adventure times series but I don't see the relation, maybe in the early episodes, but Steven universe definitely takes more towards the 90's anime craze, just with a cartoon skin over it.

In summary of why I love this show:
1) It interests all kids, and even adults!
2) diverse cast
3) Positive humor (no one makes fun of eachother for laughs)
4) amazing art design, Animation, music, and writing!
5) You can tell so much love was put into the show!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 9 year old Written bymcgintymk January 24, 2015

Better than Expected

I admit I was skeptical about the quality of the show when I saw it advertised. But, being an illustrator, I've had a lifelong interest in cartoons. I was surprised that the heroes of the show are women even though Steven is the focus. As well, I thought it refreshing that the women represent ethnicities besides Caucasian and their body types are not idealized "Barbie" types. Yes, their is bloodless fighting but this is a show about superheroes. What really strikes me about every episode is the affection between Steven and the gems. Steven is kind, caring and thoughtful and the gems are supportive and nurturing to Steven. Essentially at the end of the episodes I'm left thinking how sweet the show is. I'm glad there is a cartoon like this on television.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written bylistenhere January 19, 2015

Are we watching the same show?

The warnings are so off the mark. Here are some clarifications:
1. I want to make it clear that Steven has never done anything sexual, there are no crude jokes at all in this show. The warning about rubbing against the light canon is completely false, he climbed on and fell off of it!

2. There aren't any black people depicted stereotypically. There is a family from Guinea who run a pizza shop, and a dark skinned girl with long puffy hair who goes to tennis lessons and who's mother is a doctor. Yes, a character has a cube shaped afro, large hips, brownish red skin and is played by a black voice actress - and she is from another planet and has magical powers. She might be racially coded but there are no stereotypes associated with her. Another crystal gem is referenced here as a crude loudmouthed black stereotype, a character that isn't purposefully racially coded by the creators of the show and played by an asian voice actress. You know what they say about assumptions ...

3. There's some mention of how 'unhealthy' the characters are for eating junk food and having a round character design. Yes, Steven is chubby. How many chubby kids will be happy to see him having adventures that have nothing to do with his weight? Fat people appearing on tv in positive roles hurts no one, and shame on the author of this page for implying anything to the contrary.


I would like to encourage parents to watch this with their kids. A story about a little boy looking up to three powerful women and learning about his history and his powers as they relate to his emotions is something we should all cherish. These are things we don't see little boys do on television. This is essentially a magical girl show with a boy as the main character. Not every episode has a fight scene, because this isn't a show about action it's a show about team work and friendship and donuts.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byjustatyler April 2, 2015

Interesting and emotional

Honestly i don't like many Cartoon Network shows today, but Steven Universe is among those that are really great,the main character Steven is just so goofy, yet cool, and the Gems are such strong female rolemodels ( although they are sexless by term on Wikipedia) . The story is great, I'm about to watch the only episode i regret to watch and thats because Uncle Grandpa is in it (terrible CN show) give this show a try and all but dont expect much from the UG crossover episode, everything else is 10/10

This title contains:

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymintyrainbow April 1, 2015

wonderful

This is a great show with a lot of good lessons, although I don't agree with the sex point made in the review. I searched that episode because I found it concerning but the reason he was being rubbed against the canon was to activate it with his gem which is on his belly button. The other didnt tell Steven to stop but told amethyst to stop because she was hurting Steven. I really like this show and recommend it to anyone reading this review. This show supports things like being happy with your weight and your skin color, also teaches great morals and even a few gem facts lol.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bynaomitheepic December 28, 2014

Absolutely Inaccurate review by CSM! This show is great!

I feel that Emily Ashby is grasping for bad things to say about this show, and it has left her review with very ridiculous and unjustified arguments. Steven Universe tells kid about life and how it is never easy. Steven is raised by 3 of his passed mother's best friends. 3 STRONG, POSITIVE, FEMALE role models, each with thier own body types, personalities and characteristics, but each with their own flaws, showing even heros are not perfect , a very rare find in children's TV shows. Steven looks up to them and longs to be like them. Stevens family is far from perfect, but he accepts it and wouldn't have it any other way. He looks on the bright side of everything and sees good in all, even Lars, the teen who picks on him daily. Don't get me wrong, Steven is not perfect. Like any other child he makes mistakes and learns from them, gets into trouble and other things. This show gives an accurate portrayal of how life works in mysterious ways and how things don't alway turn out the way you want. How did this get the same rating as Uncle Grandpa. HOW!? This is a downright insult to Rebbeca Sugar and all the effort she put into this work of art. I have seen every episode and can barely recall a single "Sexual Innuendo" they are so vauge that they would fly over any child- even tweens' head. The racisim claim is probably the most pathetic thing in this review. Ugh. SUMMARY: Steven Universe is all about self discovery, family, bravery and most importantly . Love. I always recommend this show to adults and children alike. VERY positive role models, engaging backstory (some tear moments) and GREAT messages sure to sick with many children!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byInfinity8 April 14, 2014

Emily, your review of the characters is so off mark

You make it sound as if having different body types is somehow disrespectful, but its not. Steven Universe character designs embrace the differences. I also find it funny how you're review says nothing about pearls body type because in your mind its probably "normal". Embrace differences, don't erase them. Heres a more accurate review of the characters.

Steven is a boy who is also a crystal gem. Hes very energetic and looks up to his 3 friends Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl. His curiosity and awe often gets him into trouble but the rest of the Gems are always around to help him solve the problem while teaching him a lesson in the process.

Garnet is the cool and level headed of the Gems. She almost has a leadership role in the group. Shes very patient with Steven and the rest of the Gems. She always gets along with along with everyone because she doesn't judge. The right amount of seriousness and fun.

Amethyst is a silly, rambunctious girl who likes to have fun all the time. She and Pearl have a bit of a friendship rivalry since their characters are almost opposite to each other. She doesn't like responsibilities and doesn't care too much for tidiness. She reminds Steven to have a little fun sometimes and encourages him to continue being himself.

Pearl is the gentle but strict one. She likes order and cleanness and is often seen bickering with Amethyst about Amethyst's untidy habits. She reminds Steven that he has to be responsible and in my opinion is almost like Stevens mother figure since he doesn't have his motherly around anymore.

This title contains:

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Positive role models
Adult Written byprettyboy March 15, 2014

One of the best new shows on air!

Steven Universe is a sweet, considerate, adorable kid being raised by three incredible women and protectors of the universe (both Steven and the one we live in). Not only is the show cute, funny, and action-packed, one of the things that really hit me was the positive representation of fat characters (such as Steven himself and Amethyst, a shapeshifter), and Women of Color (such as the cool and collected leader Garnet, Amethyst, and Steven's friend Connie),an aspect that many shows unfortunately lack.

This title contains:

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Positive role models
Adult Written bytaintedtea May 25, 2016

amazing representation!

this is a fantastic show that promotes acceptance of all different types of people and positive life messages

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Positive role models
Adult Written byE-OWL June 16, 2015

Beautiful, Artistic, Musical Show For All

I love this show and i feel that this site really doesn't do the show justice and only covers the first episode. As of writing this review the show has just started its second season and is one of the best shows on the network. This show is for everyone and the older you are the more you'll enjoy it. There is action in the show but its not really bad, enemies will explode in a cloud of smoke and main characters get in peril.

This title contains:

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Positive role models

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