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Laramie Barriga, better known simply as Lars, is the protagonist of the Cartoon Network television series Steven Universe. He is a resident of Beach City and an employee at the Big Donut with Sadie. He debuted in the Pilot. Lars currently resides on the Gem Homeworld, after his abduction and resurrection, acting as the link between Steven going to and from Homeworld to Earth through a pocket dimension in Lars' hair that connects to Lion's Dimension. He later became a space pirate and an official Off-Color as well as their captain upon escaping Homeworld and fighting against a high-level Homeworld agent known as Emerald.
He was voiced by Matthew Moy.
Lars is lanky and somewhat tall, he wears tunnels in his stretched ear-lobes. His curly, orange-brown hair is styled into a sort of mohawk. He usually wears a white-gray long sleeved shirt with a green shirt sporting a snake design over it, along with a pair of ripped, dark blue jeans. In regards to his shoes, Lars is often seen wearing mint and dark-green high top sneakers. At the Big Donut, his work uniform is a violet t-shirt with a half-eaten donut design on it, worn over a pale cream long-sleeved shirt.
In "Joking Victim", Lars is seen wearing a honey-brown t-shirt with a purple-red scorpion on it, which is reference to when Buck Dewey tells Lars that the snake on his shirt is "nasty" in "Lars and the Cool Kids". In "Horror Club", he wears skull plugs in his gauges and dons a long-sleeved black shirt with a red jacket that was also seen in "Lars and the Cool Kids". In the pilot episode, Lars wore a cyan shirt with a salmon collar, and black trousers.
Before getting abducted Lars wore a black shirt with a sea green skull, army blue pants, and black and white sneakers. Both his pants and shirt were ripped and tore after fighting off Shattering Robonoids. After being brought back to life by Steven in "Off Colors", his skin and hair are now pink (the same hues as Lion) with a scar on his right eye. When he becomes a space pirate, Lars starts wearing a burgundy uniform with white pants, black gloves and black boots with a black cape similar to the outfit worn by the anime and manga character Captain Harlock. In Steven Universe: The Movie, Lars switched back to causal clothes.
Lars has a bit of a mean personality which stems from his low self-esteem, which is shown to have been carried over from his childhood, as seen in "Horror Club". As a result, he routinely ridicules Steven, who is an easy target. He likes to aggravate him by discrediting the Crystal Gems, although he might just be jealous that Steven gets to hang out with "a bunch of hot girls" as mentioned in "Pilot". Like many Beach City citizens, Lars is aware of Steven's powers, but he doesn't think much of them. It's worth noting that this too could be a facade. Lars can be immature and thoughtless at times, such as when he disrespects Steven's mother (Rose Quartz) in "Lars and the Cool Kids". More often than not, Steven either misses or ignores Lars' taunts because he believes he's a good person deep down. Lars is also a slacker, a trait that was highlighted in "Joking Victim", in which he faked a back injury in order to get out of work. Sadie has mentioned that Lars has tendencies to occasionally turn up late to work and clock out early, as shown in "Lion 3: Straight to Video". Lars has a strong desire to fit in and cares deeply about how others view him, especially the coolkids. Despite his rude facade, he seems to have a bit of a soft side that has been brought out time and time again by Sadie and Steven. In "Stuck Together", Lars admits that he hates himself for being a coward and that he can't do anything right. He also shows in the same episode a snarky side in the face of danger when Topaz engulfs him.
Through the course of the Wanted event, Lars begins showing a more determined side to him, sick of constantly being helped by Steven. In "Off Colors" he fights off some Robonoids that were pursuing Steven, the Off Colors and himself, even at the cost of his own life. In "Lars' Head", Lars is shown to be willing to let Steven and the Off Colors go to Earth at the cost of being left behind. He convinced Steven to go back to Earth as a way to repay him for always trying to help him and to be someone who deserved Steven's help.
When Steven returned to Earth, Lars became very close with the Off Colors during their travels in an attempt to return to Earth. Over time, Lars grew into a leadership role and became captain of the Off Colors; this new position allowed Lars to have a major self-esteem boost, because when Steven reunited with Lars in "Lars of the Stars", Lars was much more brave, courageous, and cunning when leading his crew to battle against Emerald. Lars has also become a strategic leader. Even though Lars has experienced so much from his time in space, he continues to retain his feelings of jealousy when seeing Sadie hangout with the Cool Kids, who he believes should be him. Although a new side to Lars has opened up, this fact may still imply that Lars suffers from self-esteem issues and loneliness.
Powers and skillset
Lars shares the same abilities as Lion, though he is yet to demonstrate all of them.
- Dimensiokinesis: Lars can manipulate dimensions, though this ability is instinctive and not directly controllable.
- Pocket Dimension: Due to being resurrected by Steven, Lars displays the same pocket dimension ability as Lion, with access through his hair. This dimension is a vast pink Savannah that now includes two grassy hills, one with an acacia tree and another with a tree resembling an oak. As shown in "Lars' Head", Steven (and others, demonstrated by Connie in "Lars of the Stars") can travel through one entrance and exit through the other.
- Supernatural Stamina: After being revived by Steven, Lars stated that he was not hungry, even after not eating for a few days, after getting kidnapped by Topaz and Aquamarine and getting taken to Homeworld. Steven also noticed that Lars has a heart rate, but it was extremely slow.
Lars shares all abilities displayed by Lion, but as of "Lars' Head", only these two abilities mentioned above have been portrayed. Lars also shares Lion's longevity, as Lion is shown to be at least two hundred years old. According to Rebecca Sugar, Lars could have the same powers as Lion but he has his own limits. Rebecca Sugar also states that Lars and Lion age very slowly due to their slow heartbeats.
- Culinary expertise: Lars has been shown to be very skilled at baking and cooking. This is first revealed in "Island Adventure", when Sadie and Steven comment on how great the fish Lars cooked was. This ability is further explored in "The Good Lars". This ability is a source of some embarrassment to him, and he considers it "lame".
Lars works with Sadie at the Big Donut. They are often seen at Beach City events and gatherings together, as seen in "Tiger Millionaire" and at the end of "Steven and the Stevens". Sadie has a crush on Lars since long before the events of "Island Adventure", but he is never aware of it. In "Island Adventure", they grow closer and end up making out briefly until Steven, unaware of the inherent intimacy and privacy of the situation, awkwardly interrupts them and ruins the moment. In subsequent episodes, he seems to return Sadie's feelings as he is visibly uncomfortable and showed signs of jealousy when Ronaldo got along well with Sadie in "Horror Club". In "The New Lars", Lars rejects Sadie's offer to hang out with her after their job. When questioned why he does this by Steven, Lars says that he does not like Sadie romantically and if she thinks that, "that's her problem". Later on after Lars finds out that Steven (in Lars' body) confessed his love to Sadie, he immediately questions Sadie's response in an excited tone. Sadie comes into the Big Donut, and Lars asks if she wants to come by to his house, and she accepts, leaving Steven to know that the two are in love. In "The Good Lars" she tries to help Lars be more close to the Cool Kids only for being dissapointed that he doesn't come and admits that she can't change Lars, it culminates in "I Am My Mom" when Sadie, after being captured by a Topaz, she asks Lars for help only to look how hides in fear much to her disappointment. In "Stuck Together" he admits he regrets not helping her, believing she hates him now. Lars expresses regret for not helping Sadie at that moment, showing that his fears even affect his decisions regarding people he cares about, such as Sadie.
There are more insights and breakthroughs regarding Lars' feelings for Sadie especially in the episode, "Lars of the Stars". Lars gets visibly upset after hearing from Steven that Sadie has been doing perfectly fine since he last saw her (before getting trapped in space). His reactions of shock and disappointment are at first small as he begins looking through pictures of Sadie on Steven's phone, commenting, "She looks really happy," and, "I don't believe this." Yet his preoccupation with how she's doing even leaves him unresponsive when the entire Off Colors crew, Steven, Connie, and the Sun Incinerator ship all sound alarms, call for his help, and fill the screens with red and orange 'Warning' signs announcing Emerald's approach. Still, before responding to anyone or anything in this environment, Lars' face flushes as he shouts at Sadie's picture, "How's she having such a good time without me?," zooming in on her grinning face as he further exclaims, "Does she even know I died out here?" Lars' initial conclusions about Sadie are that (a) Steven doesn't understand Sadie's motives, and (b) Sadie is "getting back at [Lars] for everything [he's] done" in order to hurt him. Lars furthermore only answers Connie's reason-based question, "Do you really think Sadie is living her life just to get back at you?", with his own emotionally-based question, "Why else would [Sadie] be having so much fun [with the Cool Kids] without me?"
Despite these hurt feelings and misunderstanding, however, Lars willingly chooses to listen to Steven and Connie while they explain Sadie's worries, as well as how she chose to try and move forward instead of remaining sad and inactive. Connie and Steven's words especially connect with Lars when the two offer a comparison between Lars' choices after being stranded in space with Sadie's choices: "Are you doing any of this to hurt Sadie?" It is here that Lars begins to directly share his feelings about Sadie, saying, "No! I'm doing this because I have to. I'd never do this to hurt Sadie. Because..." (before Steven and Connie finish his sentence with their own words: "You're best friends!") Although Lars then turns his attention back to his crew and their needs, it's shown through his happier expression—as he glances one more time at Sadie's smiling picture before handing the phone back to Steven—that he's glad Sadie is doing well rather than worrying about him constantly. After he finally returns to Earth in "Change Your Mind", Lars sees Sadie again and the two reconcile their relationship.
In early episodes, Lars appears to be annoyed by Steven because he sees him as a little kid that cramps his "cool teenager style". Steven is oblivious to this fact and, as younger kids often do, looks up to the older and cooler Lars and wants desperately to be his friend. He even goes so far as to call him his "BFF" in "Bubble Buddies", despite Lars blatantly making fun of and teasing him. In "Future Vision" Steven does not mind risking getting third-degree burns all over his body for a slim chance of receiving a high-five from Lars. However, he once became angry with Lars and called him a jerk for insulting his mother. As of "Lars and the Cool Kids", Lars and Steven find a way to connect and Lars is seemingly on better terms with Steven, having not insulted him since. In "Stuck Together", Lars admits being always jealous how Steven is able to deal with everything with his life and how everyone loves him. After Steven admits being afraid of going to Homeworld, he tells him that he is glad he is with him despite the circumstances, much to Lars' delight. He is also shown to be unwilling to leave Steven behind when Topaz offered them a way back to Earth. This event started the improvement to their rocky relationship with each other.
This newfound closeness and bond develop more in "Off Colors", because of the unfamiliar environment of Homeworld to both of them, they stay together. While in the kindergarten, Lars acknowledges his actions for not helping Sadie and running away, which later transfers in the Robonoid attack. When Steven reassures him it was okay to be afraid, Lars realizes he was the only one holding himself back and saves everyone in the attack, costing him his life. In "Lars' Head", he shows a new devotion to helping Steven as a way to pay him back for always helping Lars including saving his life. When he convinces Steven to go back to Earth and Steven puts his hand on Lars' chest, he bats it away and hugs Steven, showing how close Steven has grown on him since the beginning.
In "Horror Club", Lars and Ronaldo are seen to be childhood friends, but their relationship becomes strained after Ronaldo takes a picture of Lars being hit in the face by a board in a Gem-possessed lighthouse which sends him flying. Ronaldo wants to release the photo to media as proof of the paranormal; however, Lars is embarrassed by the photo, worried about what others would think of him, and tears up the photo, much to the dismay of Ronaldo, which leads to their falling out. Lars seems still to be bothered by this event, as he is described by Ronaldo to be "emotionally disturbed", while Ronaldo on the other hand, was dumbfoundingly angry, not saying a word.
The Cool Kids
Lars desperately wants to be friends with the "cool kids" and finds anything that they do or say to be cool/hilarious. He will even change his opinion based solely on what they think, even though they do not seem to be bothered by differing opinions. When they first meet, the "cool kids" only tolerate Lars because he is friends with Steven in the episode "Lars and the Cool Kids"; however, they gradually came to accept Lars into their group of friends. They are later seen happily hanging out with him in "Joking Victim" and Jenny thanked him for inviting them over. They are also seen together during the Beach-a-Palooza in the episode "Sadie's Song".
Dante and Martha Barriga
Not much is shown of Lars' relationship with his parents, but they are shown to be generally supportive despite his poor attitude which they try to talk to him about. It is implied that whenever they talk to him about his grades, he would loudly yell at them, possibly swearing. While they love their son, when it appeared that he is robbing Steven's house they are shocked but ultimately not surprised. Lars' parents are devastated when they learn he is still stuck in space, and Martha throws a tomato at then-Mayor Bill Dewey in anger towards his insensitivity towards their loss. They later provide Steven with a care package to give him during Steven's next visit.
After saving them from a group of Shattering Robonoids, at the cost of his own life, the Off Colors accepted Lars as a member of their own. When he offers them a way to live on Earth, they reject it, as Fluorite states that they will stay with him to help him survive on Homeworld and get back home.
By the time of "Lars of the Stars", the other Off Colors view Lars as their leader and refer to him as Captain Lars.
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