I’m in my 20’s and this children’s cartoon was still able to reach me and teach me something about myself. This should come as no surprise when it comes to Steven Universe, since it is easily the smartest cartoon on TV right now, but I still find myself amazed at what it is able to teach all of us.
“The Big Show” was a documentary-styled episode depicting the rise of “Sadie Killer and the Suspects,” Sadie and the Cool Kids’ band, as they prepare for a big gig they scored after Greg becomes their manager. As the events of this episode unfold, we catch glimpses of how Sadie is treating her mother through all of this, and… it’s not pretty. Because of how overbearing her mom is, Sadie has set some “ground rules” about how intrusive she can be with the band, which is, as she puts it, “her thing,” not her mother’s.
It’s this conflict that creates the core of the episode, a powerful theme that resonates with anyone who fancy’s themselves as a creative person. Sadie rejects her mom taking an interest in her creative outlet, and Sadie’s frustration at that interest gives her the energy and motivation to put on one hell of a performance in Empire City. Perhaps this comes from the notion that our society has that some of the best creativity comes from adversary, that some of the greatest art was created to prove others wrong or to vent out frustration.
This is something we can all relate to, be it because we actually have people who tell us we cannot follow our dreams or do something creative and we fight against that, or because we want that. For Sadie it was the latter, and while there was value in antagonizing her mother’s interest in the band – she put her heart and soul into their big show because she thought her mom was in the audience – but, this antagonistic energy can only take Sadie so far, and it almost got the band in trouble with the owner of the venue they played.
Sadie takes these things into consideration, as well as some wisdom imparted upon her by Greg earlier in the episode, after the big show. Greg said that his family wasn’t supportive of his own music career, mentioning that his parents thought he was throwing his life away and that he would have liked to have a mother like Sadie’s supporting him the whole time. Sadie finally realizes the value of her mother’s support at the end of the episode, and while it can feel good to work against your haters, working with your supporters is even better, something I have dealt with before, and this show made me realize and appreciate the supportive people in my life.
Apologies for getting so mushy, but honestly, that just shows the power of Steven Universe, that there is something to relate to in every episode. The themes are deep and real, and they’re teaching both kids and adults lessons that they might have otherwise missed out on.
Check back next week for another Steven Universe analysis!