More Blog Posts576

  • Monday
    Something that may come down the pipeline

    Assuming I don't give up again, here's a preview of something new:

    By this time in the late afternoon, the front of Canterlot High would normally be overrun with hurrying students and teachers alike, rushing home after a long day of institutionalized learning. Instead, the place was abandoned, having been left to rot by faculty and student alike in the shadow of Spring Break. The city's teenage population had either left for various excursions far, far away from the confines of their daily prison (and in some cases, away from the watchful gaze of their parents), or had settled in for a long week of doing nothing productive.

    Nevertheless, there was one Canterlot High student who was eager – nay, overjoyed – to be standing in front of the school's famous statue. It was a girl with golden yellow skin, with a yellow-and-red mop of hair on top that made her look like the evening sky. Despite the oncoming holiday, her mind was still clearly locked onto her studies. Indeed, she had even brought her decently-sized backpack with her, and unlike her fellow teenagers, it wasn't currently stuffed with things that did not belong on school grounds. And to top off this bizarre scene, she was happily writing away in a massive, leather-bound book, quite unlike any journal you could buy at a stationary store or shopping center.

    I've got everything you asked for. Really, this is all so very exciting...and very you. The girl giggled to herself as she wrote that last bit. I have to admit, I'm a little scared, but it will be good to be ho-

    “SUNSET SHIMMER!”

    Sunset's thoughts and pen were sidelined as a mass of pink wrapped in pink and dipped in more pink slammed into her with the force of an F1 tornado. The poor victim had barely enough time to comprehend what was happening before she slammed into the concrete, although thankfully landing in such a way that avoided any lasting damage. Standing above her, however, was the most fearsome and terrifying thing ever conceived by man: a pink-skinned girl with poofy pink hair, pink clothes, and currently very red eyes. Sunset could feel the air tingle and burn with her rage as the pink one bent over, stopping only when their noses were but inches apart.

    This was one of her friends, Pinkie Pie...

    “YOU PINKIE PROMISED!”

    And in about five seconds, she was going to murder Sunset Shimmer.

    By the way, someone just basically did the same thing I was planning with this one, so it may be cancelled. Lousy laziness.

    8 comments · 140 views
  • 1w, 2d
    Today's comic in a nutshell


    Just replace "tomatoes" with "apples."

    Also, I freaking love it. Wonderful stupid b-grade cheesiness. Must buy. 10 out of 10. Needs to be made into an episode so I can watch it while wearing 3-D specs and munching on buckets of popcorn.

    4 comments · 102 views
  • 1w, 3d
    Comic Review Master List

    About time I got this up.

    Below, you will find a compilation of all the reviews I've done for IDW's FiM comics. While I used to review every issue when it came out, I'm now only going to review an issue if I feel like it. Nevertheless, I've gathered all of my incorrect opinions together. And if you want a quick reminder of what issues or arcs I recommend, I've even ripped off a much better Internet reviewer for your pleasure.

    Also note that many of these reviews are old, and do not reflect my current opinion of individual issues. (Especially the Rainbow Dash micro. I was in a very forgiving mood when I wrote that review.) Some have gone up in my estimation, and a couple have gone down. The recommendations below are a reflection of how I present feel.

    Friendship is Magic

    Return of Queen Chrysalis: Recommended

    Issue #1

    Issue #2 (Never Reviewed)

    Issue #3

    Issue #4

    Nightmare Rarity: Must Read

    Issue #5

    Issues #6-8

    Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair: Must Read

    Issue #9

    Issue #10

    Neigh Anything: Recommended

    Issue #11

    Issue #12

    The Salty Sea Mare: Okay

    Issue #13

    Issue #14

    The Bookworm Arc: Meh

    Issue #15

    Issue #16

    Reflections: Okay

    Issue #17

    Issues #18-20

    Manehatten Mystery: Recommended

    Issue #21

    Issue #22

    Issue #23: Pets to the Rescue: Okay

    Issue #24: Discord Who: Okay

    The Good, The Bad and the Pony: Pretty Terrible

    Issue #25

    Issues #26

    Root of the Problem: Avoid

    Issue #27

    Issue #28

    Issue #29: Ponymania (Didn't Review): Okay

    Ponyville Civil War: Avoid

    Issue #30 (Didn't Review)

    Issue #31 (Didn't Review)


    Micro Series

    Issue #1: Twilight Sparkle: Okay

    Issue #2: Rainbow Dash: Avoid

    Issue #3: Rarity: Must Read

    Issue #4: Fluttershy: Okay

    Issue #5: Pinkie Pie: Must Read

    Issue #6: Applejack: Okay

    Issue #7: Cutie Mark Crusaders: Recommended

    Issue #8: Princess Celestia: Recommended

    Issue #9: Spike: Okay

    Issue #10: Princess Luna: Must Read


    Friends Forever

    Issue #1: Applejack and Pinkie Pie: THE WORST

    Issue #2: Cutie Mark Crusaders and Discord: Okay

    Issue #3: Princess Celestia and Spike: Recommended

    Issue #4: Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor: Okay

    Issue #5: Fluttershy and Zecora: Avoid

    Issue #6: Rainbow Dash and Trixie: Recommended

    Issue #7: Pinkie Pie and Princess Luna: Must Read

    Issue #8: Applejack and Rarity: Recommended

    Issue #9: Granny Smith and the Flim-Flam Brothers (Can't find the review. I swear I did one. Anyway...): Meh

    Issue #10: Iron Will and Fluttershy: Okay

    Issue #11: Rainbow Dash and Spitfire: Recommended

    Issue #12: Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie: Recommended

    Issue #13: Rarity and Babs Seed: Recommended

    Issue #14: Spike and Princess Luna: Meh

    Issue #15: Applejack and Mayor Mare (Didn't review): Must Read

    Issue #16: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon (Didn't review): Recommended

    Issue #17: Twilight Sparkle and Big McIntosh (Didn't review): Recommended

    Issue #18: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy (Didn't review): Okay


    Fiendship is Magic

    Issue #1: Sombra: Must Read

    Issue #2: Tirek (Didn't fully review): Okay

    Issue #3: The Sirens: Pretty Terrible

    Issue #4: Nightmare Moon: Okay

    Issue #5: Queen Chrysalis (Did not review): Recommended


    Annuals and Specials

    Annual #1: Equestria Girls: Avoid

    Annual #2: Power Ponies: Recommended

    Equestria Girls Winter Special (Didn't Review): Pretty Terrible

    7 comments · 138 views
  • 2w, 4d
    Nothing remains

    I have nothing left. The spark that kept me fueled and writing is not even a wisp of smoke anymore. Every time I try to put words to paper, my brain screeches and twists around itself until I am forced to walk away. What kind of author is it that can't write without feeling agony for just doing so? I haven't had a good night's sleep in months, and I've passed out at work at least twice in the last two weeks - and that's when I'm not drifting in and out of consciousness or undergoing hallucinations.

    I wish I could bring myself to actually hate others, because then I could fit in with the other pony communities. Then I wouldn't have to bother anyone here with my idiocy.

    Sorry. Maybe I'll finish the review backlog soon. It's all I'm good for, anyway.

    25 comments · 288 views
  • 4w, 4h
    This episode...

    I went into this episode with trepidation. "Princess Spike" was a mess, and "Party Pooped" was only half of a good episode. I knew Larson was writing, but he's had his slip-ups before. I even joked to myself that it was "time to be disappointed."

    I'm sorry now, because this episode was perfect.

    The writing was excellent. The performances were spot-on. The pacing was strong. The moral was fabulous. Everything about it was on a level that, quite frankly, the show has never reached before. Any criticisms I have would just be nitpicks about the ending being a little rushed, or maybe Twilight being a little quick to jump on the apology wagon before she knew the full scope of things. Most of all, though, the episode hit me hard. I've felt emotional about moments in the show before, but this was the first one to grab me from the beginning, refuse to let go, and finally pound my face into the pavement with Moondancer's breakdown.

    I really don't know what else to say. This episode was simply wonderful. Thank you, M. A. Larson. Thank you, DHX. And thank all of you for reading this, despite me being a terrible friend.

    ...

    Also, the gift was FOR Moondancer. Our long national nightmare is over.

    15 comments · 314 views
  • 5w, 1h
    Twilight is totally right

    13 comments · 249 views
  • 5w, 5d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: Princess Spike

    This week, we had a Spike episode. It wasn't very good. Let's look at “Princess Spike.”


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 10

    Written By: Neil Dusedau

    First Aired: June 20, 2015


    SUMMARY:

    The Grand Equestria Pony Summit is going down in Canterlot, and this time all four princesses are in attendance...and Spike, but as the dragon quickly learns, nobody cares about him. Twilight has been so busy making sure everything is perfect that she's gone three days without sleep, and rather than let the slipping-into-dementia bookworm continue to make important decisions, Cadance sends her to bed and entrusts Spike with making sure she stays asleep. The dragon interprets this to mean that he needs to stop all noise sources, including some ponies playing polo, a landscaper cutting down some dangerously top-heavy trees (which dragons are apparently allergic to), and a construction worker fixing a cracked water main. None of them listen to him until he drops Twilight's name, of course.

    Then two ponies come to Twilight to complain about being double-booked. (Ba-Dum-Tish. Twilight's still out of it, so Spike gives an easy solution to combine the two events...and it fails. Still, even more ponies come up to Twilight's room with issues, and Spike quickly solves them all by saying that Princess Twilight is giving the answers. Once that's done, Spike becomes drunk with power and goes out to “help” all the other ponies Twilight was supposed to meet with, each time saying that he's an emissary of the princess. Cadance, however, sees exactly what he is doing and tells him to knock it off, but the dragon is just happy that everypony is listening to him.

    And thus the chickens come to roost. The polo players knock their ball into the trees, which fall over and break the water main, which shoots water into the ballroom and floods the whole place. Cadance fixes the main, and the water is drained when Fancy Pants (who ordered the repairs to begin with) opens the door, but some of the tree branches got blasted into the ballroom as well, and Spike's sneeze destroys the friendship statue the entire summit was based around. Enraged at Twilight's stupid decisions, everypony rushes up the tower to give her a piece of their mind. Spike barely beats them up there and locks himself inside...right as Twilight wakes up. Once she learns what's been happening, she's rightfully pissed, but a quick apology is enough to make everything better.

    And then someone gives Spike a bouquet made of the tree's flowers, he rears up to sneeze, and we cut away before he destroys the statue and triggers civil war.


    REVIEW:

    As I stated at the start of this review, I did not like this episode. That's not to say there aren't good parts. Pretty much everything with Twilight is hilarious, especially her book bed. Cadance is in good form here, Fancy Pants is actually used well, the extras are amusing (in particular the Fargo pony), and the concept of Spike becoming the voice of the crown was a good one.

    What kills the episode is that, like Spike's other great mark of shame, “Spike at Your Service,” this is an episode that conspires to undermine any sense of competence Spike has, and then blames him for it.

    The ultimate problem is that the episode tries to frame Spike as someone becoming mad with power, going for the same greed angle “Secret of My Excess” played for. And yes, he gets greedy and uses Twilight's authority to get what he wants. But outside of the double-booked panel, nothing he made a decision on during said time had a negative consequence. He did tell the polo team, landscaper, and construction worker to knock it off, but that was before the power trip started. About the only real fault he has is not having the water main fixed after a while, but how else could he stop the noise from traveling through that window and waking Twilight.

    That open window.

    That can be closed.

    ...Why didn't Spike just close the window, again? And why couldn't he just redirect the angry ponies to one of the other princesses on duty? Oh, right, because then we couldn't treat him like crap.

    There's really nothing else I can say here. This is the “Secret of My Excess” of Season Five. What few good points it has are drowned out by a generally spiteful narrative centered on making Spike look like a colossal jerk despite the narrative not backing that conclusion up in the slightest. Spike destroys the big statue. Why? Because for whatever reason, someone planted a tree with flowers that dragons are incredibly allergic to (just watch how quickly his eyes puff up). And then they hand him a bouquet of those flowers just so he can destroy the statue again.

    And all of this is because every character treats the ten-year-old dragon like dirt simply because he doesn't have wings and a horn. Now I'm getting “Putting Your Hoof Down” vibes.

    I've criticized the whiny part of Spike's fanbase before, and I still stand by many of my statements. Complaining that he was treated like crap in “Equestria Games” when his issue was genuinely believable and handled in a mature way (and he was treated like a god for most of the first half) is petty. Accusing the IDW writers of just hating Spike because they hate men is idiotic. Spike is a secondary character and plays best in a supporting role. But when he gets the spotlight, this needs to stop. We can't keep making episodes about how crap Spike is whenever the light shines on him. Yes, conflict and character flaws are important, but you also need to show strengths and positive attributes. You rarely see that with Spike's starring roles, going as far back as the Faust/Renzetti days. If you want to do a Spike episode, do something different.


    CONCLUSION:

    I wanted to love this episode. When I read the synopsis, I thought it would be great. In the end, it was just another bad Spike episode. No more, no less.

    As it stands, this is the worst episode of Season Five. Coming off of the previous episode, this is like crashing after downing a dozen Pixie Sticks. I've never been so disheartened towards the show, not even when Spike became Applejack's idiotic servant. And no, it's not as bad as “Spike at Your Service,” but it's real damn close.

    The only good thing to come of this is that next week will be better. It can't get worse than this.

    18 comments · 296 views
  • 6w, 6h
    That was an episode

    It was meh.

    Spike still sucks, has always sucked, will always suck, and that's because he was invented to suck.

    6 comments · 200 views
  • 6w, 2d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: Slice of Life

    I sense...a disturbance. It is as if a thousand headcanons cried out in pain, and then...silence. I fear something terrible has happened...

    That's what I would have said before actually watching the episode. Instead, let's look at the 100th EPISODE of Friendship is Magic, simply titled “Slice of Life,” and see what they do with this unworkable premise?


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 9

    Written By: M. A. Larson

    First Aired: 6/13/2015


    SUMMARY:

    After being reunited [strike]three seasons[/strike] less than a year ago, Cranky and Matilda are finally ready to get married. The day before the wedding, Cranky returns from Ponyville with saddlebags full of groceries and a chip on his shoulder about everypony asking him if he's nervous, as if the wedding was today or something. And then the donkeys find out the wedding's today, thanks to a mistake made by the pony Cranky had hired to create the invitations...Derpy. (I'll talk about her “name” later.)

    And then...a whole bunch of stuff happens, the donkeys are married, and the Mane 6 defeat a literal Bugbear.

    REVIEW:

    Well, here it is. The infamous 100th episode of Friendship is Magic. The show became the longest-running single series based on a Hasbro property a short while ago, and has now reached a milestone many other shows, especially animated ones, have not even come close to. So naturally, the best possible episode idea for celebrating one hundred episodes is...to do an episode based entirely around the background ponies the fandom loves, especially that gray pegasus they threatened to murder us over a couple years ago.

    It's obvious this is fan pandering right out of the gate. The buildup to the episode was mostly people panicking and screaming about how the show was jumping the shark and going to fall flat on its face. These were characters the fans had spent years communally creating through art, story and song, molding into some agreed-upon form so that they could easily lambast anyone that deviated from that idea. Plus, the last moment of extreme fan pandering was in “The Last Roundup,” and we all know how that turned out. An entire episode where Octavia, Lyra, Bon-Bon, Time Turner, and Derpy have the spotlight? This is going to be a monumental disaster, the kind that is spoken about in hushed whispers for generations to come.

    And then it aired. And it was...interesting.

    First, the concept of the episode. The idea of focusing on background characters is not a new one. Many books, movies, and television shows have had chapters or segments devoted to people that would normally be disposable fluff compared to the main characters. The example I know best of this is Star Trek: The Next Generation and one of its later episodes, “Lower Decks.” There's a typical Star Trek plot involving intrigue, danger, and possible interstellar war, but nearly all of that plays out in the background. Instead, the focus was on a group of low-ranking crew members who have absolutely no access to the secret meetings and Star Fleet communications the main characters deal with, and instead just try to handle things like getting promoted and earning the respect of their commanding officers. The same principle is largely at play here, with the Mane 6 dealing with the Bugbear while the rest of the town is more interested in getting the wedding settled.

    I want to go through each character's little mini-arc individually, but first, let's deal with Cranky and Matilda. It's been a while since we saw them, and the two getting married is wonderful and all...but it's mostly there to provide a plot reason for all the other appearances this episode. Cranky is especially in the background; the most we really get of him is that he's a cheapskate and had some adventures in his youth.

    So without further ado...


    DERPY – I mean, MUFFIN: First, the name. I'm referring to her as Derpy for the sake of simplicity, but the official name she's stuck with in the end credits is “Muffin.” I think the name's frankly dumb, but let's accept that Hasbro is not going to let one of the characters they are merchandising to death have a slur against the mentally handicapped as their name.

    As for the episode itself, Derpy is the instigator of the wedding disaster, thanks to her cutting corners in order to save on printing costs. In fact, most of the episode shows her as a well-meaning but rather light-headed pony who is easily distracted, likes to play around, and makes mistakes and bad calls. That said, she does go out of her way to try and make up for her error, and her decision to replace the flowers with fireworks actually pays off. Shame she locked the Mane 6 out of the Town Hall just before the culmination of her work, but they did have Twilight with her, and she won't tolerate another spotlight stealer to intrude on her territory.

    On the whole, this is very much in line with the fandom's portrayal. Derpy is a lot like Sweetie Belle; she's not the brightest bulb in the shed, but she's not malicious and really wants to be friendly and helpful to everypony. She also may have a relationship with our next pony...

    DOCTOR HOOVES: Doctor Hooves represents one of the two biggest deviations made for the background ponies this episode. In the early days of fandom, someone decided he looked like David Tennant of Doctor Who fame and decided that he was Doctor Whooves. This has already been something the DHX staff has off-and-on embraced, and there is quite a bit of official merchandise (for the older audience, anyway) that has him with a Sonic Screwdriver in his mouth or peeking out of the TARDIS.

    Obviously, him actually being a Time Lord wouldn't fly with the legal department, so instead, he's shown more along the lines of another time-traveling doctor, Doc Brown from Back to the Future. He's a bungling inventor who's come up with fascinating devices and things, and has devoted himself to the ways of science. Unfortunately, he lives in a world where magic is commonplace, so all of his work with time travel turned out to be pointless when there was already a spell that let you do it. Most of the Doctor Who references come from his speech (his accent and some of his lines) and appearance (including throwing on the Fourth Doctor's scarf near the end – they really should have gone with the Sixth Doctor's coat). There's also something about a foalhood trauma that led him to science, and it was supposed to connect with the bowling scene later, but it was cut for time.

    As for Doctor Hooves' involvement in the plot, there's not too much to say. He introduces Derpy to the fireworks, which she then uses when the flower ponies are unable to fill Matilda's order. After that, he tries to go bowling in order to get the Dude (more below) to fix his suit, but that's about it before the scarf scene. Still, he's a fun character that works fine, doesn't go overboard on the references (being an actual time traveler would have been going too far), and his role as the town's crazy inventor should be fun to explore. I've always liked characters that tried to apply scientific reasoning to a world of fairies and magic sparkles, and the Doctor seems right up that alley.

    THE DUDE: This one kind of hit me out of left field. The Dude and his entourage (we'll call them Walter and Donny for simplicity's sake) originally appeared in “The Cutie Pox” back in Season Two, and are literally nothing more than a shout-out to The Big Lebowski. Being a movie with more swearing per second than a one-eyed carpenter (not to mention everything else in it), it's definitely something the show's target audience will hopefully not be too familiar with, and worked fine as a background parental bonus. Giving the Dude a voice seems a bit forced. That said, he only serves a minor role, and thankfully we don't have to watch Walter's wrath when they lose the game.

    Also, look very closely at the last crowd shot. You'll see the Dude and Walter...but no Donny. Instead, Walter is holding some kind of can. If you haven't seen The Big Lebowski, I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say...the two are kind of connected.

    Yeah, they went there.

    Dark.

    AMETHYST STAR: Appearing for a sadly brief moment is Amethyst Star. She originally appeared back in “Winter Wrap-Up” as one of the organizers, and in this episode comments that nopony's asked her to help organize things since Twilight came to town. While this may seem obvious considering how they kept screwing up Winter Wrap-Up with their bad organization, poor planning, and casual racism, she is shown quickly coordinating the town's escape from the bugbear attack, so she apparently has some chops. Unfortunately, we don't see them past this point, because she's out of the story the minute Matilda recruits her to help organize.

    LYRA AND BON-BON: And here we have one of the oldest ships in the book. Lyra and Bon-Bon have been a couple in the fandom ever since we saw them sitting on a bench. Pairing them with anypony else was a brave act only attempted by those with the best protection against angry shippers. Rainbow Rocks teased us with the two getting very close while singing a duet, so this episode...says they're “just friends.” I repeat, “just friends.” Said in the most over-the-top, repetitive, and obviously fake way possible. Mind you, the actual point was to set-up Bon-Bon's dark secret, but the way it's done is definitely a tease at the fandom and everyone manning the ship.

    What is unusual is that they invert the way fans usually portray the two. In most stories about the pair, Lyra is the crazy mare obsessed with hands and humans, while Bon-Bon is her long suffering friend/marefriend that reins in her compulsive behavior. Here, Bon-Bon is actually a secret agent named Sweetie Drops, and Lyra is just a normal pony taken aback at everything she knew possibly being a lie. The craziness is ratcheted up so fast, and Bon-Bon's spy background has so little relation to the fandom portrayals, that it becomes one of the funniest moments of the episode. This dichotomy is further reinforced at the end, when Lyra's “dark secret” turns out to be something utterly banal. It's one of the cleverer moments of the episode, all things considered.

    OCTAVIA AND DJ PON-3/VINYL SCRATCH: In contrast to the previous pair, these two sit very close to the conventional portrayal. Octavia is snooty and British (with a truly terrible accent), while Vinyl...well, she doesn't talk, which seems to be something enforced by Hasbro now, but she's still cool and casual. Their house is like one of those “You stay on your side of the line” gags blown to full-scale, with each side painted and outfitted to match the tastes of the pony that resides within. The two have a musical duet that is generally cool, but drags a bit too long. And then there's the race through Ponyville, which again goes on far longer than it needs to and is mostly there to shove in as many non-speaking cameos as possible. We have Button Mash spinning on the turntable (and yes, he existed before the fan animations), Berry Punch drunk and holding onto a barrel, and even the jelly pony.

    Overall, their moments feel a bit too forced, and Octavia's accent is very grating.

    GUMMY: This gag has long been coming. Gummy is normally the detached-from-reality pet of Pinkie, so giving him a manic-depressive internal monologue about the meaning of life in Equestria was a natural fit. It still comes out of nowhere in this episode, though, and is all the funnier for it.

    THE PRINCESSES AND PRINCE: They technically aren't background ponies, but they have scenes near the end, so they count for this section. Celestia and Luna show up, but unlike every other appearance they've had in the show, they're bickering with each other over whose fault it was that they forgot their wedding gift. It's a small moment, but seeing the two behave more like actual sisters and not just perfect siblings is a welcome bit of character. It's made even better by the forced smile they put on when Spike draws too close, and how they make up near the end.

    Shining Armor...okay, this one was just dumb. Shining crying when Twilight became a princess is acceptable and fun; him crying a waterfall over two donkeys getting married (before the ceremony even started) is ridiculous. I did like Cadance's embarrassed reaction, but otherwise, too forced.


    So how does the episode work overall? Things are pretty rushed to start. The episode has a lot of pacing problems brought on by trying to cram so many things into one twenty-two minute space. That's not even getting into the background jokes, like the Changeling that appears near the end. There were apparently even more scenes that got cut, including a moment where Flash Sentry bemoans the fact that everyone hates him. This rushed pace does hurt the episode's story, but that's really not the focus here, either.

    What ultimately makes the episode work, outside of the generally good writing for the ascended background ponies, is the ending speech. The whole point of the episode, like any “Lower Decks”-styled episode, is that there is a world outside of the Mane 6. All of the ponies featured in the episode have ambitions, goals, social lives, and daily routines they go through, and they are all just as important to the town as, say, Pinkie Pie or Rarity. In many ways, it's a reflection of what fans do with these characters, using them to expand Equestria and make the world seem much larger than the confines of a glorified toy commercial.

    One other thing the episode did well was referencing memes without making the episode completely inaccessible for those outside of the larger fandom. For all of the comments on how kids aren't going to know who Doctor Hooves is or why Lyra and Bon-Bon are a pair, the fact is that they don't need to. The target audience and those with no fandom connection can enjoy the cute ponies, and those that know how the older demographic has portrayed these ponies can get a laugh out of seeing their silly actions.

    CONCLUSION:

    This episode is perfectly fine fun for a one-time thing. I'd be averse to wanting another, or for the characters to now have regular speaking appearances, but as a celebration of the larger fandom and just a plain fun episode, it was enjoyable.


    Next time, Spike becomes a princess. Not really.

    20 comments · 340 views
  • 7w, 19h
    Open Message

    To everyone who believes that having shit happen in their life makes them entitled to being a dick to someone that hasn't had the same shit happen...

    To everyone who treats people who like things they don't like as garbage or subhuman, and then try to avoid criticism by saying they were only joking...

    To everyone who pretends that their community is morally superior to another community while ignoring the failings and hypocrisy of their own...

    To everyone who believes that any member of said community that doesn't conform to their negative stereotypes is a marvelous exception, and refer to them as such...

    To everyone that bullies someone for identifying with a subculture, and then accuses them of playing the victim when they object to said treatment...

    To everyone that supports the harassment and abuse, physical or mental, online or offline, of anyone simply because of their skin color, gender, nationality, or favorite bits of pop culture...

    FUCK. YOU.

    100th episode is tomorrow. Enjoy it. I'm going to spend the rest of my night punching something.

    19 comments · 203 views
  • 7w, 6d
    On the Tommy Oliver video


    I'll give him one thing, his departure was not the trainwreck that was Digibrony's. That guy basically fell into the same trap ("People are yelling at me because I said I didn't like an episode, so the whole fandom is shit"), but Digibrony reacted by basically telling everyone to f*** off, creating a series of videos where he was basically a washed-up drunk monologueing about irrelevant crap, and finally severing ties with the show entirely after "Twilight's Kingdom." Tommy stuck it out a bit longer...but yeah, there is a very loud group of fans out there that will harass and target you for having a negative feeling on Friendship is Magic.

    Allow me to put this as bluntly as possible: Friendship is Magic is not perfect. It's a children's cartoon based around a toyline and created to promote said toyline. The fact that it gave us such a good cast of characters, well-done episodes and adventures, an imaginative setting, and genuine entertainment was just a bonus. There will always be good episodes and bad episodes, and sometimes you will disagree with someone on whether a particular installment was worth watching or not. The problem is that nobody on the Internet is an adult. When actual mature adults disagree on something, they respect the other person's opinion, perhaps state a quick rebuttal expressing their own opinion, and leave it at that. The Internet is populated by infants who cry and scream at the slightest provocation, and their loud shrieks drown out whatever attempts at honest discourse are trying to be made.

    As someone who went through the same thing from the other side (liking an episode most people hated), I went through the same shit. And for a while, it was dark. But I'm over that.

    As for the rest of the video? Just more of the reason I stopped watching Tommy Oliver after the "Equestria Games" video. Tommy can be a huge asshole, and he's in top form here. Not only does he pretty much piss on the fandom, but he takes time to shred the analysis community and other reviews (implied to be ILoveKimPossibleALot and Silver Quill) as hacks who get by on recycled assets and are popular because they preach to the choir about the wonders of the show. It doesn't seem to occur to him that they may genuinely like the fucking show still, and their reviews, which are their opinions, are apparently not worth anyone's time because they're different from his. You want to know the way to leave a fandom?

    YOU LEAVE.

    No grandstanding, no big speeches, and no final castigation. You simply walk away. People might still pester you, and you'll have to remind them that you're no longer a part of the community, but eventually they will stop. Creating a big song-and-dance video about how vile bronies are and how mean they are is not only a cry for attention, but invites further scorn and frustration from everyone. To bring up someone else who did the same thing, there was Chad Rocco a couple years ago. Yes, calling him out on my blog was in bad form, and I admit that. But he nevertheless accused anyone who liked Season Three of poisoning the show and dedicated his tumblr to mocking every single episode (of a show he was never watching anymore, mind) in some fashion. (To the point where he joked that Discord should blow his brains out...about two days before JewWario's suicide.)

    BTW, if CR somehow reads this, I loved your video on The Geek.

    My point is, a reviewer wants to leave because parts of the fandom can't help being assholes. Maybe we can learn to stop being such asses to people that dare to have opposing opinions. And that includes the reviewers.

    23 comments · 415 views
  • 8w, 3d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone

    Before Tirek, before Discord, and before...well, after Nightmare Moon, there was a different kind of villainy running around Equestria. There were not world-conquerors or destroyers, but their schemes could hurt the ponies just the same. They were...the jerks. And this week's episode marks the long, long, long-awaited return of one of them.

    It's time to look at “The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone.”


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 8

    Written By: Amy Keating Rogers

    First Aired: May 23, 2015


    SUMMARY:

    Pinkie Pie is busy baking one of Granny Pie's secret treats when her butt tattoo pager goes off, summoning her for map-related hijinks. After leaving Gummy in charge of the baking, she goes to the castle, where the map is hovering her and Rainbow Dash's cutie marks over the legendary griffon homeland of Griffonstone. Twilight excitedly reviews the history of the griffons, including how the great King Grover freed his people from their natural greed with a marvelous treasure, the Idol of Boreas, and united the griffons into a mighty and wonderful kingdom. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't get to go on the trip, so she's forced to actually do her job. Rainbow doesn't want to go either, having judged the entire species based on her former friend Gilda, but she's dragged along anyway.

    The two eventually reach the Griffonstone station, which is at the base of  a massive mountain. The two head up while mentally going over Twilight's passive-aggressive notes about where to go and what to do when they're in the coolest kingdom ever. Sadly, Twilight's sources end with the reign of King Guto, and in the time since, Griffonstone has slid into Detroit levels of ruin. The once-mighty kingdom has no ruler, most of its buildings are crumbling or destroyed, and the griffons have gone back to demanding bits to even explain why things are this bad. As it turns out, an Arimaspi, a one-eyed goat, stole the Idol of Boreas during Guto's reign, but a lightning strike during its escape caused both it and the idol to tumble into the bottomless Abysmal Abyss. The loss of their sacred treasure destroyed the confidence of all griffons, and they have basically lived apathetic, selfish lives ever since.

    That's not all the bad news, though; Gilda lives in Griffonstone, and she's not happy to see her former friend and the pink one that intruded on their friendship waltzing into town and trying to “fix” the griffons. Nevertheless, Rainbow Dash figures that if they can retrieve the idol, the griffons will be united and everything will be better...but Pinkie thinks they should follow Twilight's advice and check the library for clues. The two split up, with Dash enlisting a shopkeeper as a guide to the Abyss and Pinkie following Gilda to the library.

    Both paths end in disaster. Rainbow Dash's rope breaks, and she injures her hoof landing on an outcropping. The wind in the Abyss is too strong for her to safely fly out, and when she doesn't have any more bits to give, the shopkeeper abandons her. Meanwhile, the library is demolished and basically useless, so Pinkie takes a break for a griffon scone, a baked good Twilight raved about wanting to try and Gilda happens to make. Too bad Gilda went to the same baking school as Equalized!Sugar Belle, as the thing's inedible until Pinkie tells Gilda to add baking powder to the mix. The lovely smell of baking causes a tussle that ends with a griffon getting knocked down, and when Gilda tries to help, she's rebuked for her efforts. But that's okay, because as Gilda says, griffons don't have friends...and neither does she, anymore.

    That's when Pinkie realizes what Griffonstone really needs to survive. She runs to help Dashie, but goofs up the rescue attempt (possibly on purpose) and runs off to get Gilda. After being forced to remember the good times they had at Junior Flight Camp, Gilda goes to rescue Dash. Again, however, Pinkie makes a mess of things, and all three end up in the Abyss, with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie hanging from the rope while Gilda's on a ledge. That's when she sees the skull of the long-dead Arimaspi, and across on another ledge, the Idol of Boreas. She reaches to grab it, but Dash is losing her grip...

    Gilda makes her decision, and pulls Dash and Pinkie to safety. The idol, dislodged by Gilda's attempts to grab it, tumbles into the bottomless void, but she doesn't care – Rainbow Dash is worth more to her that a golden statue. After climbing out, the two encourage Gilda to spread the message about friendship, hopefully bringing about a cultural revolution that can revitalize the spirits of the griffons and make Griffonstone great once again. Rainbow Dash and Gilda finally make up, and the ponies return home.


    REVIEW:

    Bringing Gilda back has been something that's been desired by the fandom for a while, and yet there was never really a major push to get DHX to do a follow-up. As an antagonist, Gilda had two major strikes against her: her list of heinous acts included making Fluttershy cry, and she premiered exactly one episode before the much more popular Trixie. Much like that traveling showmare, one of the main reasons for wanting her back was to reconcile the fairly tragic ending to “Griffon the Brush-Off,” but there wasn't as much of a need to see that reconciliation because, unlike Trixie, the consequences (losing her friend) were proportionate to her actions in the episode itself. And so Gilda basically languished in obscurity, while Trixie was able to get a sequel episode and multiple appearances in the IDW comics.

    Something that fans have highly demanded, though, was more griffons. Ever since Gilda introduced them as another sapient species, there has been speculation and theories about what their society is like, what their relationship with Equestria is, and so forth. Scores of fanfics have been penned on the subject, ranging from the griffons having a fairly basic government to being the heads of a militaristic empire, and the rare appearances of other griffons only added to the speculation. And now we finally have a canon answer...

    The griffons are the Ferengi from Star Trek.

    Making the griffons naturally greedy is both good and bad. On the one hand, it's tied into the original mythology, where griffons horded gold and were at constant war with the Arimaspi (who were one-eyed men originally) over their treasure. We also haven't seen enough of the other griffons to really contradict this point, and one of the ones we did spend time with (Gustave Le Grand from “MMMMystery on the Friendship Express”) could be made to fit this mold. On the other hand, turning all of Griffonstone into a caricature like this feels very simplistic and off-putting, and is mostly there to force along the drama and get Rainbow Dash stuck for a while.

    Gilda herself is...okay. I was never a big fan of hers, but it was nice to see her back if only to bring a sense of closure. The tension between her and Rainbow Dash is well-done, and the two getting into vitrolic banter during the rescue was a cute and in-character way to show they were willing to become friends again. The big problem is that Gilda's reform is basically shoved through the door. She abandons the Idol of Boreas for her friend, says a corny line about how precious she is, and is instantly ready to begin changing the species entire culture. And all because Pinkie manipulated her into remembering when she wasn't a jerk.

    Speaking of which, the flashback was nice. Little Gilda is wretchedly adorable, and the way she enthusiastically recites the Junior Speedster chant, in comparison to how she only begrudgingly does so back in “Griffon the Brush-Off,” helps to reinforce how much of a jerk she eventually became. Also, ponies are racist. And water is wet, the sky is blue, Superman can beat Goku, and I will die alone and afraid.

    Besides Gilda, the episode's conflict mostly comes from the map once again not spelling out what the ponies need to do (proving that Celestia isn't the only mentor in Equestria that won't give clear instruction) and Rainbow Dash and Pinkie disagreeing about the best solution to Griffonstone's woes. Rainbow Dash figures on the direct approach: they get the statue back, and everyone is united once more. Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, figures they'd better follow Twilight's advice and check out the library...which she finds by forcing Gilda to show her where it is, which in turn leads to her teaching the griffon about friendship. And that's why, despite the treasure being in the title, it ultimately proves to be useless. While it did unite the Griffons way back, their culture stayed essentially the same, and the minute it was lost their civilization crumbled. All the Idol of Boreas did was slap a Band-Aid over the problem. In order to restore Griffonstone, the greed and pride that rules Griffon culture and society needs to change, and such a shift will take time.

    Leaving Gilda alone to handle it? ...Not quite a good idea, but still, she's making a tiny bit of progress in the end.

    The last thing I want to comment on is Twilight. A trip to an ancient city like Griffonstone is obviously perfect for a bookworm like herself, so she's bummed that the map said she couldn't come. The way she passive-aggressively whines about the situation (both verbally and in writing) after dumping massive amounts of exposition (again, both verbally and in writing) brings back memories of her sarcastic Season One persona that I love so much. Plus, it turns out the map was right not to send her – the minute she saw that library, the entire Griffon species would be annihilated with a thought.

    CONCLUSION:

    This episode had some decent worldbuilding and reintroduced Gilda in a mostly good way, with most of its faults coming from the greed aspect of Griffonstone society and the rushed ending. It's also nice that they're still using the map and not forgetting about it until the finale, as this show has quite often done. (I'm looking at you, Starswirl's journal.) Still, this isn't an episode I see myself coming back to all that often. It feels very average for the series overall.


    Next time is the 100th episode. And it's a good thing it's coming when it is, because with Summer just around the corner, we'll all need to make sure our fans are serviced and working properly.

    7 comments · 314 views
  • 10w, 5h
    Baking Powder

    10 comments · 288 views
  • 10w, 1d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: Make New Friends But Keep Discord

    Today, we look at a Discord episode. May God have mercy on us all.

    This is “Make New Friends But Keep Discord.”


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 7

    Written By: Natasha Levinger

    First Aired: May 16, 2015


    SUMMARY:

    Discord is enjoying some afternoon tea with Fluttershy when he learns that, during her trip to see the Breezies last season, she had made a new friend named Tree Hugger. Even worse, Fluttershy had already invited Tree Hugger to be her plus-one to this year's Grand Galloping Gala, assuming that Discord would have gotten his own ticket...which he hasn't. Nevertheless, Discord is so not angry that he storms out and begins hitting up each of the Mane 6, seeking to become their plus-ones. Unfortunately, Twilight is helping to oversee the event (meaning she has no ticket), the CMC are the plus-ones for their adult counterparts, and Pinkie is taking Maud. That's when Discord actually meets Tree Hugger, a hippie that seems to have sampled her brownies a little too much. But he's still not angry that senpai Fluttershy didn't invite him, and to prove this, he goes to his home in a dimension of limbo to dirty it up a little. That's when a hapless mailpony, having been stranded there for who-knows-how-long, finally delivers his ticket. And he knows just the plus-one for the occasion...

    At the Gala itself, Twilight is excited to have taken over some of the duties, as it gives Celestia more time to actually enjoy the event she's supposed to hold every year. (Luna, meanwhile, continues to do actual work and be unappreciated.) That's when Discord shows up with his “friend,” the Smooze – a green blob-creature that's attracted to shiny things and grows larger as it absorbs more. Twilight makes it perfectly clear she will not stand for his shenanigans, but Discord promises that they're just going to have a good time...and proceeds to try and intrude on Fluttershy's night to reassert himself as the dominant friend in the relationship. The Smooze, meanwhile, is still terrorizing the other guests because of its love of shiny, which is exacerbated by just about everypony wearing necklaces, bracelets, and other bits of jewelry.

    After one such scare, Twilight tells Discord to keep the Smooze under control. Instead, Discord locks him out in the garden so he can keep harassing Fluttershy, breaking the poor blob's...um...heart? Unfortunately, Rarity was also out in the garden, and is promptly slimed for her jewels. Discord then locks the much-larger Smooze in a closet while he tries to engage in a stand-up routine to prove he's the “funniest” friend Fluttershy has. Not only does his routine fail so much that Maud gets the only laughs by heckling him, but the closet was full of treasures and trophies, so the Smooze is now an all-consuming mass that bursts forth and covers the entire ballroom. The day is saved, however, because Tree Hugger is able to use her mastery of “calming vibes” to soothe the Smooze into reassembling itself into a single pile.

    That's when Discord decides enough is enough. He rips a tear in reality and hovers Tree Hugger over it, threatening to cast her into a dimension full of cheap sock puppets. Fluttershy, having been somehow oblivious to Discord's feelings the whole time, snaps at him for thinking that she would abandon him just because she had a new friend. Realizing he's been a bit of a dick, Discord closes up the portal, removes all the shiny bits from the Smooze (shrinking it back to its base size), and apologizes to Tree Hugger for attempting to banish her out of jealousy. He also apologizes for using the Smooze's heart just to make his friend jealous. A laugh is had by all...including Celestia, who masterminded the whole thing, thereby ruining all of Twilight's work.

    Happy endings for all!


    It's that time again. After being absent for most of the season so far, Discord, the one-great villain turned running joke because all of you couldn't stop talking about how wonderful he was and wanted a story-breaker bad guy back so badly, has returned. And as I've mentioned many times, I find reformed Discord largely annoying, agitating, insulting, and other negative adjectives that I don't care to list at the moment. The only times I've enjoyed him is when they drop the “I'm a friend now!” act and just let him be a villain again.

    Thankfully, that's what this episode (mostly) does.

    Pretty much the whole episode is Discord becoming increasingly obsessed over Fluttershy daring to have a friend besides him. He starts with passive-aggressive snark and dismissive comments about how he's not upset, followed by him trying to use the rest of the Mane 6 to infiltrate the Gala and intrude on Fluttershy's night. When that doesn't work, he's content to go back home (which is in an incredibly fitting place for something like Discord) and sulk until the mailpony gives him the ticket. And from there, he grows increasingly desperate to interrupt Fluttershy and Tree Hugger's evening, counter anything Fluttershy compliments her new friend on, and finally threaten to straight-up dispose of the interloper in his relationship.

    About the one part of this that doesn't work is that Discord gets off pretty much without any punishment. He's still able to enjoy the rest of the Gala, nopony locks him in a dungeon or banishes him, and he isn't even made to help clean the place up. Granted, it's kind of hard to punish a reality-warping chaos god without the Elements of Harmony, but he tried to banish a pony into another dimension. Just something would have sufficed.

    Tree Hugger is an okay addition. She's pretty much a new-age retro hippie in every way, and like with “Owl's Well that Ends Well,” the episode goes a bit overboard in making her the awesome solution to the problem. Still, she manages to get in some amusing moments, and her reaction to Senior Huevos (his name was confirmed on Twitter shortly after the episode aired) was appropriate considering how much of an abomination sock puppets are. (Something I did find cute is that Senior Huevos also appears to be able to see through the rip in reality, so when he sees a world populated by two-dimensional cartoon horses, he is also freaked and starts to run.)

    The Smooze, on the other hand, is just a lot of fun. It's basically a big pile of snot that oozes over everything, and naturally becomes a Gala-destroying disaster. They still take time to give it some bits of personality, however, as it just seems to want to have a good time at the Gala. Unfortunately, Discord is a cold creature and repeatedly shuns and degrades it, and each time, you can catch a glimpse of the blob's heart breaking through the translucent sludge. It's only its monstrous appearance, growth spurts when absorbing stuff, and inability to resist the pull of shiny things that make it a threat.

    The comedy, much like “Three's a Crowd,” is based heavily in blatant references and fourth wall breakage. There's an obvious Metal Gear reference (so obvious, in fact, that Hideo Kojima retweeted it), Discord and the Smooze wear outfits from Dumb and Dumber, the stand-up scene is basically referencing one comedian after another, and the Smooze breaking out of the closet is an incredibly forced homage to The Shining. This stuff is hit-or-miss for the most part, but it doesn't feel anywhere near as relentless or forced as “Three's a Crowd” was with its infernal song. Helping things is that there are actual funny gags not based on references peppered throughout, such as Discord popping up in Spike's bed, him sucking Rarity's dress off and leaving her to sneak away naked, and pretty much everything to do with Maud.

    Where the episode hits a major bump, though, is the ending. As mentioned, Discord gets off with causing massive destruction and referencing Gallagher (an offense worthy of the death penalty) without so much as a slap on the wrist. The most punishment he gets is a lecture from Fluttershy, and while that might hurt a bit (seeing as she's his only friend), it still does nothing for all the ponies whose night he's ruined. Sort of like when the Mane 6 got away with destroying the Gala and ruining everypony's night because their selfish desires were not met.

    ...And like in that instance, Celestia is behind everything. She invited Discord knowing full well that he'd probably do something crazy, although considering how she's incapacitated by the Smooze, she probably wasn't planning on any blob monsters showing up. It's the return of Trollestia, forever ruining things for her subjects so that she can have a laugh. She even mocks her faithful student's flying ability, which seems even worse once you factor in her undermining Twilight's attempts to make sure the Gala goes off without a hitch. Heck, I'd bet she made sure Fluttershy met Tree Hugger during the Breezy expedition just to provoke this kind of reaction.

    Then again, I'd take a thousand episodes of Trollestia over one more instance of Uselesstia.

    CONCLUSION:

    This episode is a lot of fun humor-wise, and actually used Discord fairly well, but it feels very middle-of-the-road as far as episodes go. Outside of the comedy, there isn't anything to really hold up as interesting or memorable, save perhaps for the Smooze. Discord doesn't change, his relationships don't change, and there isn't much of substance that isn't just there to provide set-up for another gag. It's better than “Three's a Crowd” and “Keep Calm and Flutter On,” but it's still not one I see myself going back to over and over.


    Next time, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie betray Shiva.

    14 comments · 242 views
  • 10w, 3d
    Diamond Tiara is not a good pony

    Diamond Tiara has never been a good pony.

    Diamond Tiara will probably never be a good pony.

    Presenting a pony whose sole purpose in life is to childishly mock three other fillies because they aren't as popular or "grown up" as her as a manipulative jerk is not breaking character. Likewise, presenting her father as someone manipulated into supporting her schemes by her lies does not make him evil, nor does it break the character of the pony that has proudly admitted to using the same business tactics as the lowest scum of the retail world, Wal-Mart.

    Not every character needs mountains of back story, tragic histories, or hidden agendas. Diamond Tiara is a little brat, and that's the extent of her character. Maybe Silver Spoon can get brief moments of less horribleness, but said moments wouldn't work unless Diamond Tiara was irredeemable at the same time. We need to stop treating flatness like it's an inherently bad thing in our characters; sometimes, people are just jerks, and that's all they will ever be.

    (Now,  the Mane 6 all becoming greedy, self-serving jerks...)

    20 comments · 306 views
  • 11w, 6h
    Tree Hugging

    8 comments · 248 views
  • 12w, 1h
    A little announcement

    I will very likely be no longer reviewing the MLP comics. I will discuss them if I find something interesting or complaint-worthy, but I will not be doing any more scheduled reviews.

    If you want a reason, ask the brain trust over at Derpibooru.

    Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

    25 comments · 370 views
  • 12w, 3d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: Appleoosa's Most Wanted

    Welcome to the second CMC episode of the season. This time, the fillies are going after one of the most dangerous outlaws in Equestria: Trouble Shoes! Can they get their cutie marks this time so that we don't have these episodes anymore? Will Applejack ever calm down? Will the fans ever stop gushing over Braeburn?

    The answer to all those questions is, “No.” This is “Appleoosa's Most Wanted.”


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 6

    Written By: Dave Polsky

    First Aired: May 2, 2015


    SUMMARY:

    It's rodeo season in Appleoosa (the second “l” was dropped around the same time [insert joke about America's brutality and racist policies towards the Native Americans here]), and Applejack is competing in Braeburn's stead due to the latter injuring his leg. The Cutie Mark Crusaders have also tagged along; Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are eager to compete and get cutie marks, but Sweetie Belle is more apprehensive about how dangerous things are. It gets worse when Sheriff Silverstar rounds up his deputies and tells them to be on high alert, as Trouble Shoes, an outlaw with a history of destroying rodeos, is on the loose.

    No sooner have the CMC (who were supposed to be under Braeburn's watch) approached Applejack about competing than the stack of hay bales AJ's team was using for practice collapses. The CMC escape, but Scootaloo's cool sombrero is now in a better place. A giant hoofprint confirms that this was indeed Trouble Shoes' doing, and Silverstar pledges to stop this varmint once and for all. Unfortunately, seeing her little sister nearly die has caused Applejack to backslide again, and she immediately orders the fillies be sent back to Ponyville on the next train...after being watched by Braeburn again. Sure enough, he falls asleep, allowing the three to escape and head into the forest (which a desert has now, apparently) to search for Trouble Shoes.

    The three, having no idea what they're doing, quickly get caught in a rainstorm, followed by a mud slide into the deepest parts of the forest. They spot a wagon in the distance and step inside to get dry, but are soon approached by said wagon's owner, who turns out to be none other than Jason Vorhees Shia LaBeouf Trouble Shoes. The fearsome outlaw...is actually a massive (and massively clumsy) stallion with a bad-luck sign (an upside-down horseshoe) for his cutie mark, as well as a depressed view of the world. As the stallion reluctantly guides the CMC back to Appleoosa, he tells them the truth about his anti-rodeo rampages.

    As a colt, he wanted to be in the rodeo, but he wasn't any good at anything no matter how hard he practiced. During a tryout for a rodeo school, he was pulling his routine off when his cutie mark appeared, distracting him and causing an accident that made the judges laugh. Humiliated, he quit halfway through and walked away from the tryouts, but still loved to watch the rodeos. Unfortunately, his cutie mark means that he's plagued with bad luck, and he keeps causing accidents that disrupt the rodeos. This causes the CMC to think that he's just looking at his mark the wrong way: he's just a klutz that could make a good rodeo clown. Unfortunately, they were so engrossed in the story that they forgot about Trouble Shoes being a wanted stallion. Even worse, Braeburn informed Applejack of the trio being gone, and she jumped to the conclusion that the vile monster had kidnapped the three. Seeing the three with him is all the proof Silverstar needs to arrest him for “sabotaging” the rodeos and kidnapping.

    The next day, the CMC try to get Applejack to help them break Trouble Shoes out of jail, but she wants no part of any felonies, especially when they involve kidnappers. So the CMC pull the job off themselves, disguising Trouble Shoes as a rodeo clown so that he can infiltrate the rodeo itself. Applejack wins her competition (but still has no blue ribbon, so it doesn't count), only to be outstaged when the CMC finally convince Trouble Shoes that he's ruined his life by looking at things the wrong way, and he finally crashes the clown routine with his klutziness. Despite his massive size and mishaps, everypony is laughing and having a good time...until a water barrel washes off his makeup and reveals his identity. Silverstar moves in to arrest him, but the CMC manage to convince him that the rodeo incidents were indeed just accidents, and Trouble Shoes agrees to both be a rodeo clown and accept his punishment for the damages he did cause. The fillies also finally admit the truth about their nighttime escapade, exonerating Trouble Shoes of the kidnapping charges...but leaving them cleaning up the rodeo grounds as a very peeved Applejack looks on.


    REVIEW:

    I have to be honest: when this episode was announced, I expected to really dislike it. The premise sounded like something out of the pages of the Cattle Rustler arc from the comics, and as I stated in those reviews, that arc was absolutely terrible. The CMC trying to bust an outlaw to get their cutie marks stank of a forced plotline, and it was made worse when it was revealed that Dave Polsky was the writer; as established previously, the guy has had some major lows and only mild highs. The episode also went back to Appleoosa, the same setting of one of my absolute least favorite episodes of all time (and another one of Polsky's), “Over a Barrel.” And it was not long after another standard CMC episode, “Bloom and Gloom.”

    So imagine my surprise when the episode turned out...okay. Not great, but certainly watchable and enjoyable for what it was.

    The episode opens with many of the standard clichés Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes are known to have. The trio want their marks really badly, so they plan to sign up for as many things as possible until they get them. Apple Bloom might say that they only want to sign up for one event, but the minute Applejack opens those flood gates...well, Appleoosa will be Buffalo territory again before nightfall. We have Apple Bloom as the leader, Scootaloo as the cool kid, and Sweetie Belle as the concerned one, with Applejack and Braeburn serving as the adults. And of course, the plot really kicks off with the fillies running off to get cutie marks for rounding up desperadoes.

    But then the plot, at the very least, starts shifting the pieces around. Apple Bloom realizes that they really should turn back, only it's now too late and she's gotten all three lost. Applejack actually acts sensible to the CMC's habit of causing mischief during dangerous times (such as when they inadvertently accelerated the release of an evil god) and sends them home, and while her overall fears edge into “Somepony to Watch Over Me” territory when she accuses Trouble Shoes of kidnapping immediately, they're far more justified here and she doesn't go completely insane. And the overall moral is not imparted to the Crusaders (even if they get a lesson at the end anyway), but is instead something they teach to Trouble Shoes, building on the lesson Luna had taught them two episodes prior. It's still a CMC episode, but it's one that's really trying, and I can respect it for that much.

    Trouble Shoes is one of the more entertaining characters to come out as of late. For one thing, the dude's the biggest pony in the show so far, to the point that he could probably be called a horse if it weren't for the cutie mark. He's also the most depressing character of all, both in terms of his backstory and his general characterization. It's kind of like if Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh had his brain implanted into a Clydesdale, hit the gym, and moved as far as he could from the Hundred-Acre Wood to get away from Tigger's constant harassment. And he has reason to be depressed, as he not only has terrible luck and is really clumsy, but he's gone through life thinking his cutie mark had destined him to fail.

    There have been a couple views expressed on how to frame Trouble Shoes' existential crisis, but in my opinion, it helps reinforce what Luna said back in “Bloom and Gloom:” a cutie mark is simply a representation of who a pony is. Trouble Shoes didn't suck at rodeos because of his mark; as shown by the training montage, he was bad before he started. When he's telling the story of when he got the mark at that tryout, he states that he realized he was doing what he had always been intended to do – namely, putting on a show. Throughout his whole story, he never seems interested in winning trophies or ribbons; he just loves the whole spectacle, and wants to be a part of it.

    So yes, I'm not upset about the cutie mark thing. I am, however, upset that there is a giant forest in what is supposed to be a wasteland desert! Anyone remember how the reason they couldn't move the trees in “Over a Barrel” was because all of the other ground was infertile? Remember how it's only been a year in-show? Are ponies just that freaking amazing at terraforming? Did the Buffalo have any say? Where the heck are they, and why are they in Trouble Shoes' flashback? AND WHY DID SWEETIE BELLE TAKE THE KEYS WHEN THEY JUST GET SILVERSTAR OUT OF THE JAIL WITHOUT ANY DIFFICULTY?!

    One other sore spot is Braeburn, who basically exists for the sake of explaining why Applejack's there, failing at everything, and getting clobbered during the clown act. I don't know why it bugs me, especially since his other appearance was mostly to deliver bad horse puns, but it still irks me somewhat. On the plus side, Silverstar is far more reasonable that he was in the first season. He doesn't have anything personal against Trouble Shoes, defends him when Applejack accuses him of kidnapping, and only goes along with her paranoia because Apple Bloom is either talked over or afraid to admit the truth. Then again, Trouble Shoes ultimately isn't a danger outside of his klutziness and size.

    And yes, I love the torch-and-pitchfork duo. Ponies are always so eager to form an angry mob. They're like Twitter, in a way.

    CONCLUSION:

    This episode was overall okay. It's a basic story told in an interesting way, and outside of some plot issues and reminding us that “Over a Barrel” is still canon, it's not a bad watch. With the season continuing to develop a theme around cutie marks, it will be interesting to see what else they have planned for the CMC.

    ...And maybe a Celestia episode? Hmm?


    Pony takes a break next week, but after that, it will be time to smooze with Discord's plus-one.

    ...Also, the Smooze is the worst villain in the entire MLP franchise.

    11 comments · 257 views
  • 13w, 6h
    Dear Discovery Family and/or Hasbro

    8 comments · 352 views
  • 13w, 3d
    Why is everyone so mean to Spike?

    Because the writers are awful people. Faust made Spike's first scene one where he's hit with a door, and Twilight cares nothing for his survival. McCarthy made him turn into a dog. Larson made him stay behind because they were already struggling with handling six characters and numerous new and background ones. All of them are nothing but a bunch of boy-haters that express their frustration by strangling, beating, and kicking Spike.

    And it's terrible how he still hasn't hooked up with Rarity. That lady has been leading him on for five seasons; it's time she made it official. It would be celebrated, like when Woody Allen married Soon-Yi Previn. And let's not forget that Spike's age and maturity are malleable by greed, just like how Billy Batson can turn from a ten-year-old boy into a twenty-something-year-old Captain Marvel. And in both cases, any relationship they have is perfectly acceptable because they're doing so while physically grown up, even if their minds haven't grown at the same time.

    And let's not forget those brave fans that talk to the staff on Twitter, accusing them of misandry and hating Spike because he was not included in an episode he didn't fit in, or was treated like comic relief, or has any flaws whatsoever. Spike is a perfect little dragon, and giving him problems like depression, greed, and jealousy only show the hatred everybody working on this franchise has for the little guy. They think he's so dumb that he super-evolved sea monkeys into a higher form of life than even ponies. They think he's so worthless that he has to play the role of the dopey sidekick while saving his friends. Every one of them is a monster, and Spike deserves to be treated like royalty.

    32 comments · 487 views
Feb
19th
2013

Today the Brony Documentary group released a trailer for the extended interviews bonus, with extra footage of Tara, De Lancie and Faust. Most of it's pretty much your basic stuff, but...watch what Faust says...

In case you're lazy, she says that she had planned out destinies for the different characters, and mentions Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Twilight specifically. The first two are self-explanatory: Rarity gets a dress shop in Canterlot and Rainbow Dash joins the Wonderbolts. Those are pretty blindingly obvious, and have been built up to over the course of the show. But then she gets to Twilight...who was going to be Celestia's successor. Yes, successor. As in, princess. She also tweeted after the hype machine kicked into gear that this wasn't in her plan, so that seems to imply that this would have happened at some point in time, but not in the middle of the series' run.

This actually adds credence to the idea that MMC was going to be the series finale. After all the staff turnover and with DHX picking up so many projects, Hasbro cuts their losses and orders thirteen episodes to fill out the sixty-five needed for syndication. That way, they can just sell the airing rights after the fact and make a fortune. But when the show remained popular (and possibly because shows like Care Bears didn't take off like they had wanted), they decided to renew it for another full season. The only problem is that this meant MMC was already in production, and it would most likely be too late and too expensive to pull the episode and totally redo the ending.

So what does this actually mean? Not much, really, but it does give some more insight into the show's conception. And perhaps it can show that Hasbro isn't wrecking Faust's vision like so many claim they are.

Report InsertAuthorHere · 4,232 views ·
#1 · 127w, 4d ago · · 2 ·

Uhm... okai... not sure what to say...

#2 · 127w, 4d ago · 2 · 15 ·

Twilight replace Celestia.....this just in: Twilight Sparkle new worst pony.

#3 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

:c

#4 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

This new info and the current state of affairs... it could still happen. o_o

#5 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

Now I think about it, it explains the wierd ending off Wonderbolts Academy. If season 3 would be the last season and everypony off the mane 6 would get their dreams, then Wonderbolts Academy could be one off the episodes about Dash getting her dream. At the end Dash would be accepted as Wonderbolt.

This maybe also explains the remors before season 3 about Flutters changing in a dragon and Rarity getting a duet with Octavia. Flutters changing in a dragon would help her overcome her fear of dragons and help her learn to stand for herself. Rarity meeting Octaia would almost certainly happen in Canterlot. It would help Rarity to get a shop opened in Canterlot.

#6 · 127w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

None of this really surprise me.  Twilight taking up a role as Celestia's successor has always to me seemed a very likely destination for her character arc -- either that or becoming the royal arch-mage/vizier, but now that she's an alicorn the former seems to be the only viable path, and it's not a bad path.

Now exactly how well this will play out over the course of next season (and however many more season might potentially come after that), well, only time will tell.

#7 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

So wait, this implies its our fault. We the fans got this so popular that it warranted MORE episodes and seasons! While Faust's original vision for the work was good, it wasn't multiseasonal enough for US.

This is very interesting. You know what? I would love to see her "fanfic" on the endings for our characters the way she had intended.

#8 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

It's been heavily speculated that the reason this season was thirteen episodes, or one half, was so the other half would go to funding Equestria Girls, and that it never had anything to do with the syndication limit at all. Hasbro knows that ponies is pretty much the life blood right now, so they are broadening their horizons and syndicating FIM for the future.

As for the video itself, a bit surprising given Lauren's reaction on Twitter. Sure, she was never expecting Twilight to actually become royalty herself, but replacing the ruler of the entire kingdom is pretty much becoming royalty, anyway.

So yeah, "ruining Faust's vision?" No, not really.

More like broadening it out while keeping both corporate parties (Toy branch vs Show branch) happy.

#9 · 127w, 4d ago · 1 · 1 ·

It means that we really are in a Babylon 5 - style scenario, looking forward to a season of fillers, hastily-conceived plots and episodes from the scrap pile.

FWIW, I'm hoping that Rainbow and Rarity both reject their automatically-assumed 'destinies'.  It would fit well into the message of the show if they decide that their relationships with their friends and their places in the community in Ponyville was more important to them than celebrity, recognition and even wealth.  "I'm happy here, with my friends.  Money and fame couldn't replace that!" would be a nice message with which to round out the show.

#10 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

Yeah, that is interesting.  Perhaps if we had known this two weeks ago, a lot less people would've freaked out..  (By the way, did you know that kludge is a word?  Because autocorrect seems to want to replace every other word I type with that today.)

#11 · 127w, 4d ago · 7 · ·

So everyone saying Lauren Faust didn't want Twilight to be a princess can shut it? (Sorry, I get more than a little tired of people using her to justify their own arguments.) Huzzah!

#12 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

As long as this burns hundreds of fanfics, then I'm okay with it. :twilightsheepish:

#13 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

What I want to know is how they're going to pull themselves out of this hole they accidentally dug. If they did, like you said, intend for the show to end there, but renewed the show for another season due to unexpected popularity, they've got to find some way to keep it going, right? If they're creative, I'm sure they can find a decent way to prevent hitting a dead end.

#14 · 127w, 4d ago · 4 · ·

...

...

...

...

HAH! Sorry, that was mean wasnt it to all of the people who say "messing with Lauren's vision" and "Hasbro is teh dvil," and "Princesses are just pwetty and historically dont do anything (princess Grace, Diania, and Catherine just got DISSED! Though I thank them for giving me the chance to research the real princesses in the real world and see what they did for real and their real lives)? So basically, what we have on our hands is another "DBZ, Kim Possible" scenario where something that was only meant for a particular length (Dragonball was only meant to go for the first arc, and KP was meant for only the 65) and then it got so popular that they decided to keep things going. I wonder if that is another reason for the 13, so Megan and the group could set up an arc  and plot things out slowly to get everything set up. Meanwhile Hasbro goes for the spin off that they want.

My question is this then...Die hard fans, where were you when Danny Phantom was canceled? Why was I stuck with only 3 seasons, 53 eps, and two awesome made for tv movies? Why didnt you save this show? Heck, Hey Armold fans...where were you guys when Nick decided to be the biggest A-holes on the planet and left us the world's second biggest cliffhanger (first place belongs to the always awesome and rewatchable...Berserk). Some of these shows need closure

#15 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

she wants the CMC to get their cutie marks, and they didnt, a thing that will happen in season 4? :trixieshiftright::trixieshiftleft::rainbowdetermined2::duck:

#16 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

On the subject of destinies, I've made a blog post of my own.

I notice someone down-thumbed my previous post.  I'd be grateful if whoever that was could tell me (by private message if you prefer) what you didn't like; I'm genuinely interested in your opinion, okay?

#17 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846166

I'd be okay with that, more Scootaloo is never a bad thing :twilightsmile:

#18 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846235

they just annoy me now because we have seen them do their talents in many episodes and sweetie belle straight out says that even if she is a good singer she refuses to think its her special talent and tries to be like her big sister, you wont get the same cutie mark as your sister, the show shows that nopony can have the same talent, and all of the older ponies know their talents as well, but they arent allowed to tell them because they have to find it on their own, but they wont ever find it on their own if they keep listening to scootaloo trying to get a cutie mark like rainbowdash. I like them, and find them funny, but i dont like how they refuse to acknolodge that their special talent is what they refused to do for the talent show.

#19 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

i will still regard this the s3 season finale as the actual finale when this show finally ends. the fact that twilight suddenly gets wings when i skip this episode before s4 we will solve when we get there.

#20 · 127w, 4d ago · · 8 ·

>>845936

Sorry, Luna's already taken that spot.

#21 · 127w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

>>846007

Possibly, or possibly not. The problem with Babylon 5 was that everything was resolved before the sudden renewal, while here, there's still a lot of ground to possibly cover. And in any case, it's kind of hard to have filler when your show is more of less slice of life, the very definition of filler.

Also, the idea you had for Rarity was kind of what happened in "Sweet and Elite." She goes to Canterlot, makes some huge waves thanks to a high-profile pony falling in love with her work, and feels she has to lie about her friends and origin to avoid being cast out. In the end, she learns that you should always be proud of where you're from. If the show had ended, that could have been a decent ending for her.

>>845988

More like broadening it out while keeping both corporate parties (Toy branch vs Show branch) happy.

It also ties into the claim made back in Season 2 that the show's creators had input on the toys. Although given how rushed the finale was, it's also possible that the change was still mandated, but since they still had Lauren's idea lying around, they decided to work that interpretation into the finale as best they could. It's honestly a shame they couldn't devote the entire episode to it, but at least they'll be addressing what happens now in the next opener.

#22 · 127w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

>>845955

> it could still happen.

"Only on the Hub"?

Sorry, I couldn't resist :facehoof:

#23 · 127w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

I never understood the argument that "this isnt what Faust wanted!". Honestly I dont really care what Faust wants since she isnt apart of production anymore and even if she was I would still judge each episode as I do now. Would be like saying Disney didnt follow George Lucas's vision in their new Star Wars movie. Regardless of if its a flop of success, I don't care what Lucas's vision was since he isnt a part of it.

This info does give us some insight into Hasbro's thinking and I guess that does make me a little less angry. Though I am still way more disappointed than angry. I've been back to watch the songs of that episode several times and the greatest crime is wasting such perfect material and plot with such a convoluted episode. I would have rather them shot for an average episode and just it ending up below average than to have all these amazing scenes and touching moments wasted because of time constraints. Now every time I watch Twilights "I've got to find a way", the groups "A true true friends" or "Celestias  ballad", I can't completely enjoy them because all I can think about is what might have been.

#24 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846543

That isn't an exact analogy as Mr Lucas is supposedly going to be a story consultant on Episode VII (hopefully he'll convince J J Abrams not to turn the entire cast into hormonal teens).

Still, I do get your point; Lauren hasn't really be involved with MLP: FiM since the end of Season 2 and has only ever been credited with writing episodes 1x01 and 1x02, the pilot two-parter.  Although it still owes a lot to her vision, it's a lot bigger show now with a lot more different creative visions involved.

#25 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

Hey look a Faust Tweet

#26 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846625 uh the heck is that a comment to?.....

#27 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846663 in reference to it 'Not being so far from Fausts vision'

#28 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846675 no i mean what is faust commenting about? all that link shows is a blank da page with her post on it.....

#29 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846692 ... What could the "Almighty Faust" be talking about when she says that? :facehoof: Especially so soon after we get a 4'th alicorn. Especially knowing she doesn't approve of Cadence being an Alicorn

#30 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

>>846725 but that post was dated a year ago , and i didn't know anything on what faust had to say about cadence.....

#31 · 127w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Personally i never was a fan of "Destiny". but i do believe that people can only go so far with their free will.

Meaning that because ones cutie mark is one thing, why does that mean they are tied to doing it?

It understandable if, per say a pony is a singer, or a baseball player, that they would be best doing what they do best, but what about if it isnt, like why can't ponies have free choice?

The thing im hitting at is mainly the royal guard. Does it mean that all of the royal guards are practically aryans, born and raised to guard the princess like roman storm troopers? or could they be stallions who had tallent, and careers, but they decided to join the military?

I remember one of my favorite stories of all time is a cup of joe by the Descendant, in it, Pony Joe was a soldier in the equestrian aremy and became a royal guard and then dcided to open his doughnut shop with the money he earned.

still though, cutiemarks related to fighting and killing by fanfiction writers are immediately poor characters in my opinnion. THink outside the box, there are ways to rationalize it.

#32 · 127w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>847030 I kind of view destiny in stories a lot like I do love; I don't believe in either of them, but in order for the story to make sense you have to pretend that they exist...well, most of the time, at least :pinkiesick:

#33 · 127w, 4d ago · · ·

You continue to post interesting things, I'm glad I follow you.  :twilightsmile:

#34 · 127w, 3d ago · · ·

You know I'm still confused at this prospect of hating on princesses and calling them weak, and yet the show has Luna and Celestia around! That makes little sense!

#35 · 127w, 3d ago · · ·

Well, I hope they realize how stupid it would be to cancel the show at this point. With the fans it has produced and the money they make off of it, why would they stop it and pray that care bears is going to somehow replace it?

#36 · 127w, 3d ago · · ·

Good to know, thanks!

#37 · 127w, 3d ago · · ·

>>845933

I'm not sure either really, I'm still absorbing this... wow...

#38 · 127w, 3d ago · · ·

>>846007

>>846536

interesting that 2 other people would bring up Babylon 5, but that's exactly what I'm reminded of too.

Babylon 5 was a sci-fi TV series about a space station called Babylon 5.

Near the end of the show, they blew up the space station.

So there was no more Babylon 5, and everybody's plots were pretty much resolved, it was supposed to be the end of the story.

......and then the show was picked up for another season - and it was terrible.

I'm not saying that's where MLP will go, Babylon 5 was a serial TV drama and MLP is a kids show about candy colored ponies.

MLP can be different, this doesn't have to be an "endgame" story for it.

This show isn't even the kind of thing that even has an "ending", it's more like any episodic cartoon show and it just runs until there is no longer any interest in it. Like Family Guy or The Simpsons, they just get into something new next week .

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