I like talking about episodes of My Little Pony. I like analyzing themes, messages, humor, art, creativeness, character interactions--all the things that make this show so wonderful...and pointing out all the things, big and small, that don't work (looking at you "Mysterious Mare Do Well"). I like thinking about these things, it's what draws me to people like the Nostalgia Critic, Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall, SF Debris and the Brony Analyst community (Silver Quill, Dr. Wolf, etc.). I even fantasize about doing my own reviews, but have a very grating, nasally voice and a lack of knowledge about animations and computer programs to do so. So I usually forgo blogging about each episode as others do, but at the recommendation of someone much wiser than myself, I'm choosing to share this with you.

Those familiar with my first story might guess where this is going, but for the rest of you, I'll explain. This episode, particularly its start and ending, hit very close to home for me. I was the middle of three brothers: one who was two years older, and the other, Tyler, who was eight years younger. That's quite a bit of an age gap, not all that dissimilar to the Apple family dynamic, actually.

When Tyler was younger, say elementary school age, my older brother was already busy with things in high school: college applications, studies, social life, etc. And me, not being sociable, ended up spending more time with Tyler. We were very close, even when I started high school that didn't change things: I still was pretty asocial and our older brother went to college out of state. So we would play video games together (Twisted Metal, Spyro the Dragon, etc.), watch shows (Kim Possible) and do other things. I remember helping him set up his pirates and knights in a nice neat order in preparations for battles where they would end up a mess. When we played computer games like Age of Empires or Total Annihilation: Kingdom, I would play the game but act as if he was in charge and I was just his helper. He wasn't just my little brother, but was my closest friend.

As he got older he began to assert his independence a bit. Unlike me, he had little trouble making friends. And he developed interests in hobbies that I didn't share (music, sports), but he did have in common with my father and older brother. So they grew closer together while Tyler and I grew farther apart. He would go to summer camp, create his own circle of friends and play tennis or listen to music with my older brother.  My older brother and I liked to trade barbs and insults, with him usually coming out ahead. He has a rare gift for wit, a veritable Groucho Marx. Tyler would often get into our verbal fencing, almost invariably on my older brother's side. If my older brother wielded his wit like a rapier, Tyler used it like a sledgehammer. His favorite insult for me was "hairy hippy" a reference to my ponytail and a caricature of my politics. We weren't distant, let alone on bad terms, but we had less and less points of contact.

The last time I recall him being happy, really happy, to see me was in 2005 when he, my parents, my older brother and our grandparents, came to visit me in Denmark, where I had been staying for six months. Then in late 2006 Tyler was diagnosed with a rare form of bone/spinal cancer. He was fourteen years old. He spent the next four years in and out of hospitals, undergoing surgeries, physical therapies, treatments and too many challenges to list. On October 29, 2010 he died, just two months after turning eighteen--and after being offered a full scholarships to several colleges. This month will mark the fifth anniversary.

He died at home, with my whole family there. One of the things that stands out in my memory was watching them carry my brother's body outside and driving away. As we watched them go, my older brother apologized to me. He said that with his making fun of me, we both knew that it was always meant to be in good fun. He admitted that he sometimes felt that Tyler didn't always get that, and sometimes took things too far--probably in an attempt to mimic what he was doing. While I did not and do not blame my older brother for that--or for having more things in common with Tyler than me--it still hurt to realize that the closeness Tyler and I once had was gone, even before he died.

That isn't to say that I don't have a lot of pleasant memories with my brother even after we drifted apart, or that we were on bad terms. I managed to tell him just how proud with him and impressed with him I was, especially for how he coped with his condition.

But just like Big Macintosh, it hurts a lot to realize that he and I just didn't have the same bond we did when he was younger. He had his own circle of friends, his own hobbies and likes--the last time I recall him really being excited and happy to see me was when my family visited me in Europe on 2005. But after that I have trouble remembering times when he was so excited or happy to see me. My parents say that he did, but nothing else stands out.

Like "Tanks for the Memories," this episode hit a chord with me because of what I went through with my little brother; hitting me almost as hard as that one did (for obvious reasons). My very first MLP story ("Brotherhood is Magic") was written as a way to try to cope with my little brother's death. I'm incredibly impressed with this show and the sophistication of its messages and lessons. When it gets it right, it really gets it right. It's probably no wonder that I got into this show in the summer of 2011, only a few months after Tyler died.

So while I'm not saying this episode is perfect or without flaw, it is a really excellent, emotional episode that speaks to what (I imagine) a lot of siblings go through when their little brothers or sisters start growing up and don't see their big siblings as the heroes they once did. Like real life, the episode's ending is both sad, heartwarming and sweet. I teared up both times I watched the ending. I was at first afraid this episode was just going to be cheap slapstick and cross-dressing humor, which is seldom funny on its own. But this episode hit above its weight class and touched on something so very true to life--which is one of the show's greatest strengths. That's about all I got, so thank you for reading.

For those interested, a foundation was set up in memory of my brother and inspired by his love of music. Please check out and the links below and feel free to donate or share.



Thank you again.

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#86 · 32w, 4d ago · · ·

Thanks for the fav on The Old Gray Mare! :twilightsmile:

#85 · 43w, 1d ago · · ·

Your Dashverse looks like a pretty amazing body of work! Well-written stories in the quintuple digits and upwards. Shame they would all be a waste of my time...well over 545,000 words that take place in a universe where Spike doesn't exist. Hard to imagine so much time, care, and effort being put into the only mlp-related thing that cuts down my optimism. Do you have any plans for non-Dashverse stories in which he's involved?

#84 · 46w, 6h ago · · ·

Thank you for adding Life is Precious to your favorites!  I'm glad that you enjoyed Rainbow's important life lesson.:yay:

#83 · 60w, 6d ago · · ·

Thank you very much for the Fave of my story Every Little Bit. I'm very glad that you could enjoy my little peek into the world of Dash and Spike.:moustache::rainbowkiss:

#82 · 66w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

more of  "a Camping We Will Go"  please.

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