I was really impressed how far steven came as a character. I sat down and went through all 114? episodes prior to the steven bomb last month over the course of about 2 weeks. He actually becomes less annoying, alot more bearable, and actually kind of endearing from time to time as he tries to mend his relationships with the gems as well with the relationships with the other characters.
In just the first season this change was made so when I read about people bitching about steven I completely get it but you didn't watch far enough to actually see him develop into basically the second in command of the team as it were.