Being a parent is tough. Especially if your kid is half-gem, fights aliens and monsters, and trouble controlling their powers. That’s the situation for Greg Universe from Steven Universe. At first glance, he seems like a deadbeat dad, but over time, he shows that he’s just a chill dude that loves rock & roll and his son.
While it’s clear that he is a caring father, the most recent series Steven Universe Future has shed new light on him. There are worse parents out there, but there’s no denying that he isn’t the most responsible. The following five reasons elaborate on how Greg Universe is the worst dad in the show and five reasons that illustrate why he is the best dad.
10 Best: Gave Steven His Ukulele
Steven is a remarkably gifted musician who started out with a simple ukulele. In the short, “We Are the Crystal Gems“, it’s revealed that Greg not only gave Steven his first ukulele but taught him how to play.
It’s important for parents to encourage their child’s interests and creative pursuits in their formative years and Greg does so in spades. He supports Steven in his interests takes time to jam out with him on his own guitar. As a result, Steven has a healthy outlet to express himself and we got some of the best songs out of the show, like “Giant Woman” and “Peace and Love on the Planet Earth“.
9 Worst: Raised Him In A Van
Greg did his best to give Steven a good childhood but he couldn’t provide him a home. As quaint as Greg makes the inside of his van look, it is still a van. He hasn’t show any interest in saving up to buy or rent a house, or even find a decent apartment for him and Steven.
Due to his strained relationship with his family, it’s clear why he doesn’t try to move back in with his parents or cousins. While it is commendable that he never gives up on being a father to Steven, his son deserves better than this. Thank goodness the gems managed to give him a proper home.
8 Best: Makes Time For Steven
Greg may be poor, but that doesn’t stop him from spending quality time with his son. Before he received royalties from his music, Greg couldn’t afford fancy vacations or gifts for his son but he still showed that he cared.
Whether they’re just listening to some records, enjoying some watermelon, or going on a road trip, he finds ways to have fun with his son. Greg proves that he isn’t raising Steven out of obligation, but because he loves his son and the time they spend together.
7 Worst: Unprepared For Fatherhood
While Rose is partially responsible for this, Greg should have put more thought into having a child with her. As thrilled as they were that Rose was pregnant, there didn’t seem to be a plan for what happened after. Rose left it up to Greg, Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst to raise her child and deal with the consequences of the war.
Greg didn’t have a home, he wasn’t making a steady income, and in “Three Gems In A Baby” it’s abundantly clear that he had no idea how to raise one. It’s a miracle that no one in Beach City called Child Protective Services on him. At least he wasn’t alone in raising Steven.
6 Best: Let The Gems Raise Steven
Born half-gem, half-human, Steven is a one-of-a-kind person. One that Greg isn’t fit to raise all by himself. So he let Steven move in with the Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl so they could teach him about his gem heritage and powers.
What makes this sacrifice so meaningful is that the love of his life, Rose Quartz, is gone forever. All he has left of her are their memories together and their son. Letting Steven live with more stable, responsible guardians was a big decision, and even if he lives nearby, it still means placing his trust in others to watch over Steven. Yet he went along with this because he thought it would be best for Steven.
5 Worst: Let the Gems Take Steven On Missions
They try their best and are capable of protecting Steven, but the Crystal Gems aren’t exactly the best caretakers. Despite living on Earth for thousands of years, they know little about humans and how to take care of one. Early on in series, Pearl and Garnet try not to get Steven involved in their missions, but over time, Steven convinces them to let him join.
Since then, he’s been on countless adventures where he is repeatedly placed in peril. Greg eventually realizes how dangerous these missions are when they pursue Lapis Lazuli, but he doesn’t step up and stop Steven from going on dangerous missions. Even if Steven has powers, he’s still a kid and Greg should have stepped in.
4 Best: Helps Steven With Missions
Greg may not have much authority and certainly doesn’t have any powers like the gems, but he does what he can to help out. Even though the gems warned him not to get involved, he still offers his assistance for the sake of Steven.
He’s helped decrypt a wailing stone message, drove them out to find Lapis, and helped people evacuate the city from an injector releasing a deadly biological substance. Anyone else would have stayed behind and let the gems handle the situation, but Greg is willing to place his life on the line to help his son and others.
3 Worst: Never Took Steven To A Doctor
First, let’s get some context out of the way. It’s safe to assume that Greg couldn’t afford health insurance when Steven was born. Even if he could, Steven probably doesn’t have a birth certificate, let alone social security. Yet when he receives his millions in royalties, he still doesn’t take Steven to see a doctor.
While Steven should be physically fine, thanks to his gem powers healing him all the time, this isn’t revealed until Steven goes in for a check-up. At the very least, Greg should have taken him in for a check-up just so Steven can get a clean bill of health.
2 Best: Accepts Steven No Matter What
There are some bad parents in the world. Parents that force expectations on their children and disown them for ridiculous reasons. Greg is not one of those parents. Even after seeing Steven become a cat blob monster, fuse with his friend Connie, and turn into a kaiju, Greg’s love never falters.
He supports Steven in all of his endeavors and never criticizes him for acting strange. His wife gave up her physical form, essentially dying, just to bring Steven into the world and he has never once blamed Steven. Greg is a selfless, albeit naive father that will love his son unconditionally.
1 Worst: Projecting On Steven
In Steven Universe Future, it’s revealed in “Mr. Universe” that Rose and Greg had more in common then Steven realized. Greg was raised in a strict household that forced him to conform to his parents’ normal lifestyle and kept him from being himself.
Looking back on the series, a lot of Greg’s actions could be seen as him projecting his desires onto Steven giving him the carefree childhood Greg always wanted. In doing so, Greg has denied Steven a normal, stable life similar to what Connie had and growing up like a normal kid. In a skewed way, Greg is almost as bad as his parents.
In the Cartoon Network's Steven Universe, Greg is often a good dad, but he doesn't always make the best decisions. Keep reading to find out more.