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There are only three real monsters: Dracula, Blackula, and Son of Kong.

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MLP Marathon Bonanza S7 E13-15 · 2:14am Dec 10th, 2017

The googledocs file I use for writing these reviews is now 51 pages long… Ponies have consumed my life again.

The Perfect Pear

I have a feeling I’m not going to be alone in saying that this is one of the greatest episodes ever to come out of MLP. When it first started, I kinda thought it was going in one direction, and then it flipped it around in the sweetest possible way. Not since Crusaders of the Lost Mark have I got so emotional at an episode of this show, but the unbelievably adorable romance between Bright Mac and Pear Butter just melted my heart in the best way. I feel like I’m gonna need an extra paragraph to get my love for this episode out there, so let’s go ahead and do a break now.

I’m gonna post it at the end of this episode’s review, but “You’re in My Head Like a Catchy Song” gets to me in some pretty deep ways, man.

It might not be clear from the kinds of stories that I’ve written in the past, but in heart I really am a bit of a romantic sap. I generally can’t sit through a standard romance movie or read stories about romance, at least not when that’s the sole focus of the story. Some of my favorite romances of all time are born out of a larger story that surrounds them and feeds into the romance to make it better, and that’s basically what happens here. The episode, really, is about Applejack, Big Mac, and Apple Bloom learning about their parents and why there’s a feud with the Pears, but the sweet sugar-coated heart of the story that keeps you invested and gives you something to identify with is the blossoming love between Bright Mac and Pear Butter, or Buttercup as I’ll call her from now on. There’s a cynical part of me that says the romance only works so well because they make it easy to sympathize with by doing the classic Romeo and Juliet “we can’t be together” thing, but then my romantic side says that that doesn’t matter because their romance works in spite of the slightly cliche setting. Unlike the somewhat angst-filled love affair in R&J, Bright Mac and Buttercup just have families that kinda don’t get along, and they never really let that get in the way. It serves as a catalyst for some of the story, but they became friends early on and from their love was basically set. I don’t know if I necessarily believe in true love in real life (though I want to), but I can that at least this episode did a good job of making me believe in it for MLP.

I thought cute Granny Smith was going to be the best thing about this episode at first, but god how wrong I was.

So, by about the halfway point in this episode I was already pretty sold on the story. I really liked how AJ and the others have to go around and ask about their parents because it becomes clear that Granny Smith hasn’t told them all that much. It makes for some nice intrigue and we get to see Bright Mac and Buttercup’s love grow from a couple different perspectives. In particular, I really liked the story Bright Mac’s friend told and how sweet Big Mac was asking if they could come talk to him some more and hear more stories. The fact that the Apple parents aren’t around has never really come up in the show as much of an issue, but Big Mac here gives us just a little glimpse of the sadness they must feel whenever they think about their parents. It’s really subtle and I love the way it’s handled. This episode is actually pretty bittersweet when you stop to think about it, but it’s just so relentlessly cute that you manage to get to the end feeling happy about the whole thing, and if you’re like me you cried just a bit from happiness. Well, in any case, I don’t want to ramble on too long about this episode, but suffice it to say that it’s now in my top 5 favorite episodes of all time, possibly rivaling Crusaders of the Lost Mark. It’s an almost unbelievably excellent episode and handles the Apple parents better than I thought it could ever be handled. This is definitely one of those episodes I will go watch again soon.

I didn’t talk about it in the above review, but I do want to say that I really like the accents Bright Mac and Buttercup have. Something about southern accents always makes me feel warm and comfortable. This song as well works really well with the slight southern twang. It’s almost unbelievably sweet.

Fame and Misfortune

First there was the background pony episode, and then there was the convention episode, but now we have an episode basically about all episodes, and it’s actually really great. This is probably the most meta episode of MLP that has ever come out, and it feels like it was going to happen eventually, so I’m just glad that it turned out to be a really strong episode. I’m no stranger to writing meta commentary on a community, in fact I wrote an entire story that from the title down was meta so I appreciate the time and effort that goes into such a potentially inflammatory episode. I think this one really works because it’s not just pointing out that people are arguing about stupid things when it comes to MLP, but that by doing so they’re missing the point. This especially rings true for Rarity and Fluttershy, and I think that’s pretty clear in the episode since characters directly say they don’t believe either pony really learn anything. I will admit that I’ve complained about ponies learning the same lesson over and over again, I just did with AJ a few episodes ago, but I think this episode does a good job of showing why that’s not really important. The show is about friendship and love and respect, not perfect characters who learn lessons and then never forget them.

I don’t know if Rarity freaking out was supposed to be comedic, but it actually comes across kind of disturbing.

I said it in the previous paragraph, but I think the writers make a really good point through both Fluttershy and Rarity. When people complain that Fluttershy keeps learning to be assertive, what they’re really saying is that they don’t think she’s good the way she is, and that’s sort of ironic for a show about accepting others for who they are. In fact, if Fluttershy learned to be assertive once and then it never came up again there would be complaints that she learned the lesson too quickly or that it wasn’t realistic she could change so fast. I have to wonder how cathartic it was for the showrunners to make this episode and finally vent their frustrations with the community through the megaphone of an actual episode. In many ways, it’s kind of incredible this was actually made and released. That being said, I’m really glad they have the little B-plot in here about Toola Roola and the other one (who are clearly voiced by Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo’s VAs) because it makes it clear that despite all the annoyance and the hardship dealing with fans and stupid internet arguments, MLP has made an actual difference in people’s lives, and that’s something worth celebrating. If just one person learns to be a better friend because of this show, then all the internet arguments in the world can’t take that away, and I think that’s a positive note to end both this review and the episode on.

Two good songs in a row is never a bad thing.

Triple Threat

Wow, three really strong episodes in a row. This has been quite the successful viewing experience today. I’m really happy with all three episodes, though they do go in descending order of quality. In any case, I was worried that after the dragon episode we’d never actually get to see Ember again, so I was more than pleased to see her again in this episode. I think she’s a cute and fun character who plays well off Spike. Thorax is also pretty enjoyable as well. He’s another one of those characters that is growing on me over time. He has a long talk with Spike in this episode about leadership and how he doesn’t feel he’s up for it and it’s fairly amusing in how it’s handled. But aside from that, I really like that we’re getting to see Spike grow and change some as well. He’s never really had his own friends before, but between this episode and the D&D one where he hangs out with Big Mac and Discord it’s been really nice to see Spike coming into his own. The one issue I’d say I have with this episode is that it’s weird that Twilight wants to keep Spike’s friends separated. Why? Surely she’s reasonable enough to think they could talk and get along?

I think I said it in the Gauntlet of Fire episode, but I really like Ember’s design. It’s simple but cool.

I can imagine some people really not liking this episode because of how it seems like some of the ponies act out of character, see Twilight, but it’s not so egregious to me that it ruins this episode. I think there’s actually some really good stuff in here with the interactions between Thorax and Ember and their friendship seems to me to come organically. I genuinely didn’t even think about them both being leaders to a people and when it came up in the episode, I was like, “Oh yeah, that’s right. Huh, that’s kinda neat.” So, it worked for me that they learned from each other and then taught Spike a joint lesson. It’s kinda cool and an interesting way to handle the main conflict of the episode. Also, there’s just some generally fun stuff in here with Ember in particular. She’s pretty cool. Oh, and Twilight talking to Thorax about chairs to keep him distracted is straight out of a comedy fic that I would write, so I wholeheartedly approve. Pretty amusing episode all things considered. Very much enjoyed it.

You can’t really blame Ember for saying ponies do weird friendship things. I mean, they shoot friendship laser beams at monsters, so...

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Comments ( 16 )

I hate Fame and Misfortune as much as I love the Perfect Pear, and I think Perfect Pear was one of the best things in the MLP franchise.

The Perfect Pear is my favorite episode in the series, and it definitely wowed a lot of people back when it first aired. One of the most emotional episodes, and the romance between Bright Macintosh and Pear Butter felt genuine and sweet, which really helped the episode. There's just so much about the episode I adore, it's hard to list everything in a single comment.

Anyway, I certainly found it charming. Fame and Misfortune was hilariously meta in my opinion, and while some people aren't keen on meta commentary in the form of a story, I found myself enjoying it because of that. Your points in regards to that episode pretty much echo mine on why it was enjoyable for me. As for Triple Threat, while the episode does have some faults, it had more than a few interesting moments, and getting Ember and Thorax in the same place made for some neat scenarios.

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Ember was so perfect in that episode. :D I think it actually made me like her a lot more than any other episode she's been in.

I'm one of those aliens that is kinda "eh" on Perfect Pear. It's not bad, but I've seen people call it one of the best episodes of the series. Really? All the other amazing ideas out there, with high stakes villains, creative stories, great worldbuilding, memorable characters, one of the best episodes it's given us is a sachaarine Romeo and Juliet story. I've done an essay, but my problem with it boils down to it being a very tired and stock plot that cheaply relies on the emotions of the Apple parents being dead to sell itself. It isn't a bad episode, it really isn't, but it is not one of the best of the series, and I'm not even sure I'd say the season with all else that's here.

Triple Threat I love. I howled at Ember's casual racism, mixing up Twilight and Starlight and cracking "these pony names, lots of lights and shiny things." And then Thorax going all Freudian with Spike, "I think my leadership issues started when I was a kid." I did an essay on Spike and Starlight having different roles, as people were saying in the wake of Fame and Misfortune that Starlight basically took what should have been Spike's role in the episode. And as you say, Spike has indeed grown. The Crystal Empire hero stuff, Big Mac and Discord, and now his friendships with Ember and Thorax. Gone are the days when he was defined by being Twilight's assistant with a crush on Rarity. Remember when his greatest fear was being abandoned by Twilight? I'm not so sure that would hold true anymore, maybe. If he began the series as her little brother/adopted son, he's evolved into her roommate/friend.

A spoiler of a small but touching moment later in the season (it isn't centric to the episode, it comes before the opening even, so if you read this I don't ruin anything) - we get a Twi-parent episode, and in a casual throwaway line that you could miss if you blink, Twilight tells Spike she considers him a part of her family like the rest of them.

One of the quietly amazing things about "The Perfect Pear" is that they got William Shatner as a guest voice and never drew attention to that fact. They just let him act, and he demonstrated that when not expected to ham it up, he can really freaking act. Even when he's playing a cartoon horse whose name is a bilingual pun.

As for "Fame and Misfortune," to me, the funniest thing about the episode is that it aired the weekend of Bronycon. And yeah, that thing was so meta, I'm surprised that Equestria didn't collapse into a self-referential singularity.

As for "Triple Threat"... I'm split. On the one hand, dragon vs. bear, more data on the Map, further development for two very interesting characters, and some great comedy moments. On the other, the plot hinges on Spike juggling Idiot Balls. :applejackunsure:

It still amuses me how many people got their knickers in a bunch over "Fame and Misfortune". If you watch that episode and your first instinct is to get defensive or feel attacked, it may be time for some self-examination.

And yes, "Perfect Pear" was amazing.

Ah, I was fairly certain that was his voice while I was watching it, but I didn't bother to go check up on it. That's nice that they got him to come and voice a pretty unimportant character all things considered. I don't know what William Shatner costs these days, but I can't imagine he had to make room in his schedule for recording a couple lines. I do love that it aired during BronyCon. That's pretty fuckin' ballsy on their part, so kudos to them.

Ahh, I've been looking forward to seeing the review of Perfect Pear. Top five episode for me easily, and proof that the current show runners still have the magics.

There's a lot of interesting little details about it I've noticed on subsequent re-watches. For example, if I'm remembering correctly except for Twilight and a time traveling Dinky it's a completely earth pony episode. Given the usual mix that the show uses for background crowds, I thought it was an interesting choice for the Apple family history to be told with just earth ponies as the characters involved.

Oh yeah, Fame and Misfortune is indeed a most perfect episode. Only the most perfect episodes focus exclusively on the Mane Six and pretend Spike doesn't exist (in this case, they literally pretended he didn't exist). And I'm not missing the point by being bitter about it (which I'm totally not! Nope, not bitter at all...). If one wishes to convey that folks are taking things too seriously, they shouldn't do so while at the same time dishing out what we're already miffed about. You don't tell someone, "You shouldn't get so upset just because someone ate the last of the ice cream," while stuffing their face with the last of the ice cream.

A more widely agreed-upon issue with F&M is its suggestion the adult fanbase is nothing but problematic, a crowd of complainers in which there are zero good eggs. It really should have ended with 50% of the bibliophiles getting the message.

One of the reasons I love Perfect Pear so much is that it reminds us that even in a fantastical world of monsters and mayhem and potential adventure, most ponies just choose to live life and love each other. It humanizes things in ways all the high stakes drama never could.

You should separate those files!

4745542 Actually, at 100 pages, a Gdoc starts to get a little futzy. It really depends on how many notes and such have been tagged onto it, because a Gdoc contains not only what you see, but everything that has ever been tagged to it (multi-step undo to the max.).

Yes. That's my point. Separate them into different files.

I was considering separating the files, but at this point it's become a scientific experiment to see how long it gets by the end. Still a few more episodes to go and a movie, so I'm guessing around 75-80 pages.

Toola Roola and the other one (who are clearly voiced by Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo’s VAs)

I know I'm a few weeks later than I usually would be on this, but Coconut Cream was voiced by Aine Sunderland, and Toola Roola by Alyssya Swales, the latter of which I can only find one other voice credit for: Rainbow Ruby in the CGI TV series of the same name, which features a few familiar VAs like Shannon Chan-Kent, Brian Drummond, and Johnny Yong Bosch.

Huh, well fair enough then. I could've sworn they were the same as Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle because they sounded just like them doing slightly different voices.

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