Here at Unicorn Booty, we’re big fans of Steven Universe. Not only did it appear on our Best Of 2015 TV list, we called it TV’s Most Progressive Cartoon Ever, and that was written before it was revealed that one of the characters was literally the embodiment of a lesbian relationship. So, yeah, Steven Universe is pretty queer….
…unless, apparently, you’re watching it on Cartoon Network UK. The episode “We Need To Talk” recently aired over there, and there were quite a few differences between the episode that ran in the good ol’ United States of America.
In the US version of the episode, there are a few looks between the characters Rose Quartz and Pearl that make Pearl’s (canon!) romantic feelings for Rose pretty clear. In the UK version, though, those shots are replaced with shots of another character, Greg Universe, watching what’s going on. (It should be noted: The slight speeding-up that the original Tumblr post mentions is most likely due to to the PAL TV format UK televisions use; the United States uses NTSC, which has a slightly lower frame rate, meaning American shows and movies are usually about four percent faster for PAL audiences. Nothing sinister there.)
This isn’t the first time there’s been uproar over censoring Steven Universe; in France, the song “Stronger Than You” from the episode “Jail Break” was originally dubbed to be about friendship rather than romantic love. Fans complained en masse, and the song was redubbed with a correct translation of the lyrics.
Unfortunately, Cartoon Network UK isn’t making like its French counterpart — their official statement is “In the U.K., we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time. We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.” Nor is the UK the only European country where the episode is cut — according to the Steven Universe Wikia site, Denmark, Spain and Portugal have censored the episode in the same way.
Of course, if Cartoon Network UK want to completely de-queer Steven Universe, they’d better make sure their scissors are well oiled. It only gets queerer from here on out, folks.