Spanning seven years, the wonderful, highly-acclaimed world of Steven Universe introduced fans to the titular character and his friends the Crystal Gems back in 2013. The Cartoon Network show has, during that time, accumulated a cast of memorable characters, several iconic locations, and its fair share of running jokes for fans to enjoy.
From the shores of Beach City to the distant alien land of Homeworld, Steven and friends have covered a lot of ground over their adventures, but the show’s humorous approach even amidst action and drama always remained constant. These running gags will fill fans with nostalgia and make them laugh, too.
10 Fusions Are Exciting
Fusions between Gems have elicited many reactions from characters on the show and fans alike, but for the most part, fusions are a very exciting event. This can be seen in the reactions of the Gems whenever they get to meet a new and exciting fusion, especially Steven himself, who is always ecstatic to see his friends bond.
Steven’s excitement over the likes of Sugilite and Sardonyx, not to mention his discovery that Garnet herself is a fusion, have provided plenty of heartwarming and humorous delight. His fanboy-like reactions are almost matched, though, by the excitement of the other Gems when they get to meet his fusions, like Stevonnie and Smoky Quartz.
9 Teleportation Is Disorienting
At the beginning of Steven Universe, the titular character is still very inexperienced in being a Crystal Gem and going on epic adventures with his friends. As such, he is shown to be very disoriented when he and the Gems use a warp pad to travel to distant places, falling over on arrival.
This moment of slapstick fades away as Steven becomes more experienced as a Crystal Gem, although the joke does briefly return when Connie is shown to lose her balance upon warping for the first time. Other humans have been shown to warp without losing their balance, but the gag is still a playful detail that lightens the mood every time.
8 Amethyst’s Shapeshifting
Many of the Gems’ abilities are primarily highlighted for their usefulness in combat or otherwise as a part of the Gems’ missions. Amethyst, however, has been known to use her powerful shapeshifting ability for all sorts of purposes, including the occasional bit of comic relief.
Whether its for an episode-long story, like her wrestling alter ego the Purple Puma, or for a one-off gag, like her goofy impressions of her friends and random animals, Amethyst’s shapeshifting proves that she’s one of the funniest characters. Often, these jokes are one of the many ways that the show blends the ordinary with the magical.
7 Ronaldo’s Theories
The older son of the Fryman family, Ronaldo is probably most known as an affable nuisance for Steven, as his constant conspiracy theorizing makes it difficult for Steven to hide the Gems’ alien nature from him. Ronaldo even runs a blog called Keep Beach City Weird, highlighting his love for local lore and over-the-top theories.
While his appearances on the show are not limited to comic relief, Ronaldo’s theorizing about “snake people” and the like is always good for a laugh. Later in the series, when the Gems are able to integrate into Beach City more fully, Ronaldo’s character shifts more into traditional nerdiness, but fans will always remember his lovable conspiracy theories.
6 “Bingo Bongo!”
Fan-favorite Beach City denizen Lars has had quite the emotional journey over the course of the series. Beginning as the grumpy companion of Sadie who desperately wants to be accepted by the cool kids, he eventually becomes the bright-pink space pirate leader of the Gems known as the Off Colors.
With this shedding of his anxieties and transformation into his more fully realized self, Lars adopted his cool kid faux pas of “bingo bongo” in “Good Lars” as a regular catchphrase. Not only is “bingo bongo” a goofy and catchy saying that sticks in fans’ minds, it also doubles as a genuine character development marker for Lars.
5 Food-Related Names
The residents of Beach City are a diverse bunch, with plenty of jobs and hobbies to keep their time occupied. Steven and the Gems go on plenty of adventures with them in between (and sometimes as part of) their alien exploits. Many of them, humorously, are also named after food.
Some, like the Fryman and Pizza families, own and operate restaurants related to their tasty-sounding last names, but others simply have food-related names unrelated to their livelihoods. Specifically, Vidalia, Yellowtail, Sour Cream, and Onion make up a family unit of food, and Greg’s old last name (as well as the last name of his cousin Andy) is the condiment-inspired DeMayo.
4 TV Destruction
Steven’s TV at the Gems’ beach house is a boxy, old model with a storied history on the show, with it being repeatedly broken during the Gems’ exploits and antics. Luckily, though, they always seem to repair it or, perhaps, replace it with a new, identical TV set.
While this may not be the series’ most prominent inside joke, compared to the repeated catchphrases and zanier phenomena throughout the show, it still has staying power for fans. Its appeal may lie in the fact that it grounds the series by presenting an ordinary problem amidst the show’s more extraordinary conflicts.
3 “Not The Van!”
Greg Universe is fairly easygoing, considering that his role model of a son is constantly thrust into the conflicts of an alien race, although he is still fiercely protective of Steven. While he is able to help keep Steven out of harm’s way on more than one occasion, the same cannot be said for his beloved van.
The cry of “Not the van!” can be heard throughout the series as the Gems’ action-packed lives constantly put Greg’s vehicle (and home, for much of the series) in peril. It can be easy to feel bad for Greg in these moments, but knowing what an easygoing person he is highlights the comedy of the situation.
Lots of Steven Universe characters have their signature catchphrases, but the most indelible is probably Peridot’s amusing insult to her enemies, “Clod!” Peridot was already a very funny character, especially when she made her face turn and joined the Crystal Gems, as she became comfortable enough to joke with Steven and friends.
This catchphrase is indicative of Peridot’s anger and, as the series goes on, is often used to defend herself and her friends. However she uses the insult, though, the moment is almost always funny, as a curiously specific word is combined with Peridot’s always-intense demeanor for a beautiful running joke.
1 The Gems Don’t Get Earthlings
One of the most pervasive elements of the Gems is the fact that, being aliens from another species, none of them really understand Earth or humanity. Sometimes, this can manifest as terrifying disdain for human life, as is the case with many of the show’s villains before their reformation, especially the Diamonds.
Often, though, the misunderstandings are quite comical, as when Lapis Lazuli and Peridot discover artistic expression, only to think that their creations are unique to them and calling them “meep morps.” The Gems also don’t have the same needs as humans, which can make for some comical situations involving such seemingly mundane activities as eating.
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