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What we learned from Love Letters

Ah, character episodes. You’d think they would be our bane, since we’re definitely in love with the lore of the show. The characters give meaning to the lore though, so we’re quite happy to see Jamie return (especially if we have an episode like Reformed coming up with a premise that implies some good chances for lore).

Just a place called Kansas

Steven Universe takes place in an alternate history of Earth—we don’t necessarily need Ms. Sugar to tell us that (though we’re glad she did!). There had been a few subtle signs in the show: Arcade Mania had the Department of Justice seal and the face on the quarters be very different from our world; Watermelon Steven includes a three-dollar bill; sharp eyes in Jailbreak and Say Uncle will note that Florida doesn’t seem to physically exist.

Online, the worst-kept “secret” of the show was widely known: Beach City is in the state of Delmarva, which in our world is a region that is part of the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

All of these were background elements though. You could easily miss them because the show called no attention to them. In Love Letters, though, we got something actually mentioned in dialogue: Kansas is America’s film making hub in Steven Universe.

There’s a small chance that Hollywood is still the real place to go to be an actor, but it’s very unlikely: he was able to get numerous auditions, and Connie immediately recognized Kansas as a place for “thespians” to be.

California does still seem to exist physically (there’s no incursion of the sea into America’s west coast, and Baja California serves as a good marker), so for whatever reason Kansas developed as a film hub rather than California without becoming the new west coast. Or perhaps the state lines are drawn differently; the same differences that cause Delmarva to exist as its own state could feasibly allow Kansas to somehow encompass the west coast as well.

The water bear

waterbear

Garnet and the Water Bear

It was really brief and not commented on by the episode, but we did get to see Garnet fighting what appeared to be another Gem monster in this episode (the gem being on its face). It very clearly resembles a tardigrade (commonly known as a water bear), and while Garnet carried it out of the ocean to pummel she didn’t seem to think it enough of a threat to defeat and bubble.

It’s always possible that it’s not a proper “monster” (i.e. the thing on its face is not actually a corrupted Gem’s gem), but either way it’s a very interesting thing to note. The Crystal Gems have fought water-based enemies before, but this one seems to have taken its inspiration from a very, very small creature indeed.

5 comments

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  1. rafraf

    I was wondering why you guys never addressed how in uncle grandpa, Africa and South America’s continents are completely messed up when observing SU’s universe’s earth, but they’re normal when observing UG’s universe’s earth. I know it was a non canon episode, but I thought the very detail but I thought it’s something that couldn’t ignored.

    1. gc13

      Africa and South America just look warped in shape, so could be normal but perceived oddly in the shot. Florida is very conspicuously absent, though. No amount of perspective shift can explain that.

      1. rafraf

        Ronaldo’s drawing says otherwise. Normally I would just dismiss this as a drawing mistake or perspective shift, but this is the second time a picture of earth has been shown and South America and Africa look exactly as they did in Say Uncle. South America might just be warped but the bulk of northwest Africa is still absent.

  2. Mea

    Actually, I read the whole “Kansas” thing as he didn’t even make it to a real film hub, just part way across country. For someone young who didn’t know better, it might sound impressive.

    1. gc13

      Yeah, but nowadays you’d have a tough time getting out of middle school without knowing that Hollywood is the place to be for movies. Anyway, I asked Mr. Abrams and he said that Kansas was in fact the place to go to be in movies.

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