This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Season 4 Episode 23
Does anyone like Lars? I know characters like Ronaldo have their share of detractors but I’ve only met about two Steven Universe fans that genuinely love Lars. If anything, he’s been labeled the worst character of the entire Steven Universe cast. To that I can only ask, why? Why do fans hate Lars? Is it just because he’s a jerk?
If it were as simple as that, I’d then ask if fans also hate conflict. Look, I get it. Steven Universe is a fun and happy show with characters that mostly get along. Why add a total jerk into that mix?
Because it’s realistic. Yes, I know. A show with alien Crystal Gems being realistic, that’s crazy talk! As I’ve discussed in past reviews, as much as Steven Universe is a fantastical world it needs realistic elements to keep it grounded. The Beach City residents are a big part of that and Lars especially might be the most grounded character of all. He’s an asshole! He’s messy. He treats Sadie and his own parents like dirt. He’s not a great person. I’m not excusing some of the bad things he’s done.
All of that makes this episode even more compelling. We get to really dig beneath the surface of Lars. He’s insecure. He’s afraid of showing off the “real” Lars because if that Lars is rejected? He won’t have anything else. He keeps up this fake front because if people don’t like it? Whatever, it’s not him. Lars is afraid of showing any real emotion and that’s heart breaking.
In a sense he’s the exact opposite of Steven. Steven wears his heart on his sleeve. Steven would only hide his emotions if he had a serious reason to. Most of the time he can cry, sing, and be a joyful kid. Lars can’t, for whatever reason. He can barely even put it into words, like most teenagers.
Like Steven does, I think a lot of Steven Universe fans could do with trying to accept Lars. Not totally give him a pass, but try and see things from his perspective. Lars isn’t a bad guy. It’s easy to put people (real and fictional) in good or bad categories when for the most part people actually fall somewhere in the middle.
It’s okay to not like Lars’ episodes but as this outing proved the Steven Universe writers always know what they’re doing even if it doesn’t seem that way on the surface. Lars may not have made it to the party this time (whether that was his fault or not we’ll see) but he was almost there! Getting over that social anxiety is tough.
I also enjoyed the little touch of Sadie realizing she was acting like her mom. It was a quick but a nice call back to one of my favorite episodes, “Sadie’s Song.” Sadie remembered you couldn’t change someone just because you want them to be a certain way. You know, as I type that? That’s also something the audience could learn about Lars. You can’t force a character to be a certain way, sometimes you’ve just got to accept them and see where they go.
We got another ominous ending this time, with Sadie apparently kidnapped by these creatures. Why are they targeting Steven’s friends? Is it just because he was in their vicinity? Are they capturing other people on Earth?
– “Potatoes can be SWEET?!” Steven is 100000% too precious for this worlds.
-“ It’s not gonna be an ironic potluck.” Put that on a shirt, Cartoon Network.
-SADIE’S FACE WHEN SHE COMES INTO THE PARTY IS PERFECTION!
Shamus Kelley will forever defend Lars. Follow him on Twitter!