I adore Steven Universe now; I think it’s one of the best TV shows of the 2010s. However, I only got into it in the Summer of 2018, when I was a NEET with far too much free time on my hands and lacking a TV show to eat breakfast to. The show started way back in 2013, so what the crap was the issue?
My roommates were the issue. In 2015, I very nearly got into Steven Universe thanks to them. And then I put it off for three more years, also thanks to them. Here’s the tale:
In 2015, I was in a prime position to probably end up watching Steven Universe. And at that point, there was also a near-100% chance I would have ended up loving the thing, too. Tumblr was raging about it like it hadn’t about any piece of pop culture since, like, that one gay Sherlock Holmes show, and its open LGBT elements were incredibly enticing to me in a time when that was extremely uncommon (and still is, but with actual non-terrible options at least).
But I didn’t do it because my roommates bugged me about it too much. By that I mean, yes, a large part of it was spite because I didn’t like being annoyed constantly to watch a show when I was currently going through anime “classics” like Gakkou Gurashi and Hibike! Euphonium in my free time (more on the latter show some other time). But also because the way they did it was really transnational in just the way that helps people procrastinate indefinitely.
You see, I had already asked them to watch Madoka Magica, as used to be my ultimate life goal. By 2015, I had successfully convinced over 20 different people to watch and complete that series, and I was well on my way to reaching the three dozen mark by the end of the year. So my evangelist work was paramount here–until the roommates came with the counteroffer that they would only watch it if I watched Steven Universe too!
Considering that one of these was 12 episodes and the other was 70 (albeit only 35 half-hours long), I was a bit put off by this, but I decided to go with it anyway, since the show HAD already been appealing to me anyway…
We entered the realm of Deal Stalemate.
When two people make a deal to consume two pieces of media that the other recommends, there is a fundamental law of the universe that states that those two pieces of media will be the absolute last thing you get around to watching, with the caveat that if the other party fulfills their end, it’ll shoot up to the top of your list. And then the inertia of the Deal Stalemate invariably ends with neither party consuming either piece of media.
I had a trump card, though! It was that, back then, I used to rewatch Madoka Magica all the time, since I actually owned and still own blu-ray copies of the series and sequel movie. And I just so happened to watch through the series again one weekend… and successfully got one of the two to join me!
But then that roommate basically texted through the whole thing and seemed thoroughly disinterested in the whole affair. Then the other roommate came into the room during the second half of the series, and wouldn’t stop making fun of everything happening… Then by the time I got to the sequel movie, they were both gone….
And so with that, I knew that my chances of converting them to the Church of Kaname had been lost. A tragic loss, especially because it meant that there was extremely little chance I’d get around to watching Steven Universe anytime soon.
And then the whole fan artist suicide attempt thing happened and I began to hate the entire Tumblr-sphere of fandomry. Honestly, that was 75% of why I never watched the show until long after its peak of popularity, but that isn’t as good of a story.