Spoilers ahead for the episode “Dewey Wins”.
Another Steven Bomb has exploded, giving Steven Universe fans a series of episodes dealing with the immediate aftermath of Steven’s surrender to and return from Homeworld. The first of these episodes, “Dewey Wins”, has Steven deal with his damaged relationship with Connie, who is mad at him for having surrendered to Homeworld instead of fighting. Steven is perplexed at why Connie was mad: after all, he did it to save her and everyone else, and it turned out alright in the end. No harm no foul, right?
What makes the episode odd in the eye of many viewers, however, is that Steven eventually comes to understand Connie’s feelings through his failed attempt to help Mayor Dewey win re-election. Specifically, after his attempt at trying to take the blame for everything fails, Steven tries to help Dewey in the election against Nanefua Pizza, but when the latter proves a much more inspiring politician, Dewey quits. Steven’s disappointment in Dewey quitting supposedly leads him to gain an understanding of Connie’s feelings, an outcome that had many viewers going “Huh?”
I’m glad to see that, for once, my political science background means I can finally offer some insight on a cartoon that doesn’t involve stuffing utilitarianism into as many things as I possibly can. Specifically, as a person who studies partisan identity, Steven’s behavior and feelings actually don’t surprise me all that much. So, by exploring the concept of partisanship, I argue that Steven learning to understand Connie’s feelings by working on a campaign isn’t as weird as it might seem.
After over 100 episodes, I finally found an excuse to combine two of my favorite things in the world into one: the cartoon series Steven Universe and John Stuart Mill’s utilitarian ethics. That it took so long to do so is more of a testament to the high quality of the show than anything else. The sheer expanse of the show and the topics it deals with – from basic lessons about friendship to in-depth explorations of grief, loss, and trauma in the aftermath of relationships and war – kind of makes it a bit intimidating to get a grasp on it. What finally inspired this long-awaited excuse to stuff utilitarianism into yet more cartoons (see my long, long list of utilitarian ethics inspired analysis of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) was the two-parter episodes of Beta and Earthlings, the 100 and 101the episodes according to the Steven Universe wiki.
As usual, I’m a little late to the punch in writing up a reaction to the 100th episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic entitled “Slice of Life”. The basis of the episode, a focus on the large cast of side and minor characters throughout the series getting ready for the wedding of Matilda and Cranky Doodle Dandy, seemed a rather fun idea. In practice, the episode was a big shout out to the fandom, being stuffed full of fanservice and shout outs to ideas spread throughout the fandom. For the most part, I did enjoy the episode and found it rather fun. There was something that bothered me, however, about the Lyra and Bon Bon scenes and what they mean in the context of Lyra/Bon Bon being one of the earliest and most prolific non-heteronormative ships within the fandom.
Before getting to that, however, let me start with some of the other things about the episode.
I really need to make the effort at reblogging other awesome articles I find elsewhere more often. This seems like a good one to start with, addressing how grief is explored in the show Steven Universe.
Lady Geek Girl and Friends
I’m not necessarily the best at taking my own advice. So when I said more than a year ago that everyone should be watching Steven Universe, I had intended to follow suit. With the exception of an episode here and there, I unfortunately didn’t get around to watching. In a way, I’m glad for it—I’d much rather marathon a show than wait for weekly updates. With the announcement of Cartoon Network renewing the show for another two seasons, though, dreams of watching it all at once (in the near future) were all but dashed, and I finally sat down to watch the entire series alongside my brother.
Me after catching up.
We’ve discussed a couple of Steven Universe‘s elements before, all in glowing terms. Today will be no different. As much as I want to gush over Pearl’s unmistakable queerness when it comes to her relationship with…
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Is it possible that the episode “Rose’s Room” of Steven Universe may be able to help us determine what it is that we find worth living for? In this article, I compare Steven’s experience in Rose’s Room with the famous ethical thought experiment of Robert Nozick’s “experience machine” to explore this question.