Although "Steven Universe" is marketed for kids, adults can also enjoy it because of the show's abundance of subtle humour. Many popular children's programmes have components that appeal to adults because, it could be argued, parents are more likely to put the show on for their kids to watch if they like (or at least tolerate) it. The animated series on Cartoon Network does a remarkable job of appealing to both a core audience of kids and a secondary audience of adults and parents. Because of this, "Steven Universe" contains a lot of things that adults only notice.
Instead of sprinkling euphemism one-liners about sex or other adult issues, "Steven Universe" truly engages with serious, philosophical topics to create humour that appeals to adults. Despite all of this, some jokes might still have missed the mark because of how subtly — or even meta — they are.
Steven (Zach Callison) has a sequence of nightmares in which he searches for his mother Rose Quartz's (Susan Egan) palanquin, which he has learnt about in reality, in Season 4, Episode 10 of "Steven Universe" (named "Steven's Dream"). Both in these nightmares and in the real world, his father Greg Universe (Tom Scharpling) is by his side, attempting to assist Steven in finding the palanquin. Despite being on a critical mission, Steven and Greg in one of the dreams take a detour to Korea where they enjoy some local cuisine, tour Seoul, and go shopping in a cute montage.
Greg notices a Korean woman painting a picture of him wearing the attire he is currently sporting when Steven and Greg are visiting what appears to be an animation studio in Seoul (rather than his everyday clothes). "Steven Universe" was animated in Korea, claims ScreenRant. In particular, the programme uses Rough Draft Korea, a sister firm to Rough Draft Studios in California, according to Animation Fixation. Greg's realisation that he is being drawn is actually a sophisticated metajoke.
Steven just stands next to Greg, oblivious to the drawing and blissfully unaware of what is happening while Greg looks shocked to see his own creation. To prevent Steven from going through the same existential dilemma as he is, Greg drags him away from the animation studio.