• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
  • offline last seen 14 hours ago

Sprocket Doggingsworth

I write horse words.

More Blog Posts274

  • Thursday
    New Chapters Coming

    It's been nearly 4 months since I've released a chapter of Hooves of Fate. I found this slow pace both frustrating and disheartening until I looked at the word count of my document, and found it to be well over 18,000.


    Chapters seldom end where I plan for them to end. That's nothing new. But it looks like this block is going to end up divided in two.

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    3 comments · 89 views
  • 2 weeks
    Quiet Couple of Months

    As some of you may have noticed, I've been relatively quiet of late, (and then, suddenly, out of nowhere, today, I sort of exploded with content).

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    2 comments · 110 views
  • 2 weeks
    Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - Defining Equestria

    In the show, "Friendship is Magic", and its tangential media, Equestria is referred to as a "kingdom," despite the plain and obvious fact that it is a princesspality.

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    0 comments · 32 views
  • 2 weeks
    Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - The Old Factory

    I'm rewatching Chapter 4 of Make Your Mark in anticipation of Chapter 5 coming out in only a week and a half.

    Did I just watch a My Little Pony episode about collectivizing a former defense contractor's factory?

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    3 comments · 44 views

Marks and Recreation · 3:28am April 27th

I recently rewatched "Marks and Recreation," and have gained a new perspective on it now that the series is over.

Many viewers have complained that, in the later seasons, the Mane Six's progress as characters and as people, often regressed for the sake of plot convenience. I think this is a valid criticism to an extent. Watching Rainbow Dash and Applejack fight for Teacher of the Month Award in Season 8, for example, was, frankly, a bit hard to swallow.

Watching the crusaders in the post-cutie-mark seasons, however, you can really trace a linear path of maturity. We really do get to watch them grow up in real time.

In "Marks and Recreation," the CMC's decide that the best way to help blank flanks find their cutie marks is to open up a day camp, and encourage them to try new activities together. The only problem is a kid named Rumble. He doesn't want a cutie mark. He believes that getting his cutie mark will box him in for life. He leads the campers in a "blank flank forever" revolt.

This challenges everything that the crusaders have ever stood for. They feel bewildered, threatened, infuriated. Sweetie Belle straight up rant/squeaks at him. And as comical as that may be, it's actually quite understandable. The philosophy that Rumble preaches poses a threat, not only to Sweetie Belle's ideology, but her very identity.

What we are seeing here is generational dissonance, only the difference of age between the CMC's and their campers is a year or two, tops (in human terms).

Ultimately, the crusaders come out on top, of course. They discover that Rumble is only acting out because he wants to get a cutie mark in flying, but is afraid that if he gets one in anything else, that it will keep him from his dream. They solve the problem by bringing his Wonderbolt brother in, and demonstrating that even his idol is continuing to discover passions outside of his cutie mark, and that there's nothing to be afraid of.

This episode doesn't have a climactic tear jerking ending the way many others do, but I find it inspirational nonetheless. It manages to refine and flesh out the CMC's, and other characters by presenting them with a kind of challenge they never dreamt they'd face. It poses philosophical questions about the nature of cutie marks that had been somewhat nebulous up until this point. It establishes that a cutie mark isn't necessarily the same thing as your "job," and takes the time to articulate precisely why. At the same time, it highlights the fact that, for some ponies, a cutie mark definitely does represent a career path.

It explores the dissonance that all of us feel when our careers and our hobbies clash. Take this scene below, for instance:

  • Apple Bloom: Our cutie marks are in helpin' other ponies with their cutie marks, but I still like makin' potions with Zecora.
  • Rumble: And when was the last time you did that?
  • Apple Bloom: Um... I-I-I think it was, uh... Well, we've been pretty busy helpin' other ponies lately.
  • Rumble: Oh. You mean doing the thing you got your cutie mark for? The thing you're stuck doing for the rest of your life?!

What makes this episode great is that Rumble is not without his points! His frustration is oddly relatable, especially to adult viewers like myself, who find our passions at odds with our responsibilities more often than not.

It highlights the fact that the CMC's really have become adults - at least in every way that matters. But it leaves us on a hopeful note - that this is a beginning, not an end.


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Comments ( 2 )

I hate those marks. Seriously, Im not given towards having so much as a nail scuff over matters of media, but that was a let down.

Thunderlane also offers a proper insight into matters. A wonder why they didn't talk to him in the first place.

"Watching the crusaders in the post-cutie-mark seasons, however, you can really trace a linear path of maturity. We really do get to watch them grow up in real time."
Well, except in the episode nearly at the end of the entire show's run where the same magic that advanced their physical age appeared to have an opposite effect on their character development... I'm still a bit annoyed about that.

"It establishes that a cutie mark isn't necessarily the same thing as your "job," and takes the time to articulate precisely why."
Well... didn't that start all the way back in S1 with Rarity, though?

Still, though, I don't recall if I'd thought to think of this episode in terms of its applicability to generational dissonance before, or in terms of that to a clash between careers and hobbies (though it's been a while since I saw the episode). Both are interesting, but the latter seems moreso and more complex to me. After all, cutie marks are supposed to be connected to what one's interested in, whereas IRL jobs are often only so in the sense of people being interested in being able to pay for food and shelter. But interests and passions are far from guaranteed to stay the same over the course of one's life, nor in fact are they guaranteed to keep the same relations with the environment. Those with cutie marks for athletics will still get older, slower, and weaker eventually, for instance, and many different sorts of cutie marks might find more ponies with related marks than there are career openings for the associated interests and talents. What then, if destiny itself seems to have reached down and said "This, this is The Big Thing for you", and then for various reasons you have to do something else instead? What if you can make a lifelong career out of The Big Thing, but then find yourself less interested in it as time goes one? Humans might not have magical marks appear to tell us what The Big Thing is -- but nonetheless, as you say, the other aspects are a not unfamiliar experience for many people.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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