On Steven Universe, and How Much I Love Steven Universe

Oh yes I love it, yes I do

Oh yes I love it, yes I do

I apologize for my tardiness. I had a broken computer, and some other stuff. I also apologize, in advance, for my inevitable incoherence. Over my extended hiatus, I watched a lot of Steven Universe, then I watched it again, and now I am going to attempt to write about it. It’s like an itch you try to scratch, but once you get your finger close enough it latches on and gives you a big hug and you forget exactly what you were doing in the first place.

Here’s the skinny on the show before I dive into my stream of adulation. The brainchild of ex-Adventure Time storyboarder, musician, and Forbes-certified Powerful Woman Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe is about the Crystal Gems, female-presenting aliens who protect Earth, warp around on scenic adventures, and generally chill with each other. They are Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Steven, the titular half-Gem half-Human kiddo whose mother Rose Quartz gave up her physical form to bring him into this world. She got knocked up by Greg, Steven’s van-dwelling father and all-around honeybear. Rose was the de facto leader of the Crystal Gems before her essence became a fixture on Steven’s belly, and if anyone mentions her in an episode, y’alls are due for a trip to the cryerworks factory. With a tangible sense of history and unflagging focus on interpersonal relationships, Steven Universe is the gut-bustingly funniest, eyelid-wringingly saddest show about ass-kicking grrliens to ever air.

And after three attempts to write a re-inaugural post about it, after two full binges and endless breaks between work shifts browsing fan art on Tumblr (MLG-Peridot forever!), I realized it was nigh-impossible to keep an objectivish, critical tone about this goddamn show.

I just need a moment to rave. And there will be free glowsticks.

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The Warm Lovelies of Portside Stories

Courtesy of Val Halla (pun apparently intended)

Courtesy of Val Halla (pun apparently intended)

You wake up at five in the morning, even though you set your alarm for six, feeling fully refreshed. Your body has decided to gift you an extra hour in your day, and the universe wrapped that gift with a big ol’ bow in the shape of a sunrise. You look out your window, holding a stiff cup o’ joe and think, damn, this is as good as mornings get. Sometimes the universe bequeaths you a hug, and there’s little you can do but hug back.

Valerie Halla’s Portside Stories is a lot like that cosmic hug. Everything about it breathes warmth. The plot, centering around best friends Alex and Nat and their adventures in gender fluidity, takes place on the intimate scale. Transitioning between genders is as much of an internal conflict—and initially, a literal dissonance—as an external one, and Portside Stories’s inaugural chapter concerns itself with the former, a struggle with the ambivalence lurking within. There are secrets revealed, hearts broken, and bras panickedly removed during Nat and Alex’s respective, four-years-separated comings out (coming outs?).

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