Bloggy rambling about Steven Universe with a token sketch picture coming uuup! Spoilers for Ep25 I suppose, tho it aired half a year ago.
At first the show didn't really hook me at all, to the point where I started only listening to episodes in the background while working in Photoshop. Put a lot of faith in Dodger’s Tweet that shit would eventually hit the fan and the show would pick up the pace, at least temporarily leaving the self-contained episodic model in which virtually nothing ever happens in the grand scheme of things.
But filler or not, I always really appreciated how the show managed to tell a complete narrative arc within ~10 minutes, for which other shows would need 20 or more. It never felt rushed either, just like designed by a someone that knows where to “cut out all the fat”.
And never did that stick out to me more than in Ep25. It’s amazing how much we learn about a brand-new character in about 5 minutes: We learn what makes them laugh, what they’re afraid of, what makes them furious, what hopes they gained and let go of, even that they’re a pretty creative type. There’s even a slightly personal angle on how they view their slavery, with a lot of emphasis on how happy they were to be treated like a person in the end, rather than a literal piece of trash like in the beginning of the episode. And on top of things, the character put the show’s main cast and world into a new context.
Totally worth sitting through “filler” for those occasional 5 minutes of compact brilliance. And hey, some of the filler’s pretty good at further fleshing out existing characters as well.