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  • 8 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Molt Down

    This week is a Spike episode? What a re-”molt”-ing development this is!

    Let's look at “Molt Down,” the episode that will surely be perfectly normal and have no long-lasting repercussions on a character's appearance.

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    2 comments · 289 views
  • 9 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Break Up Break Down

    I dread going into this week's episode. For today, we discuss matters of the heart. Romance, love, heartbreak, and all that rot. Which means we run right into the most loathsome of all fandom constructs, the kind of thing that destroys friendships and leaves the most brilliant of minds curled up helplessly in a corner, foaming from the mouth:

    SHIPPING.

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    6 comments · 201 views
  • 10 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Non-Compete Clause

    We've had a string of good episodes the last few weeks. Whether it be shapeshifting seaponies, an actual Celestia episode, or discovering Starlight's dark phase, we've had lots of fun and plenty of laughs.

    Today's episode is about Applejack and Rainbow Dash competing.

    The good times are over.

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    7 comments · 241 views
  • 11 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: The Parent Map

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone who cares about that! What better way to spend the day than watching a cartoon about horses dealing with their mommy/daddy issues? Well, tough, because that's what we're doing. This is “The Parent Map.”

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    4 comments · 181 views
  • 12 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Horse Play

    So hey, it's a new episode. Surely nothing to be excited about. Just another standard episode of a cartoon pony show.

    Only it's a CELESTIA EPISODE!

    Prepare for extra spicy biased scoring as we look at Best Princess' newest episode, “Horse Play!”

    Read More

    5 comments · 238 views
Mar
31st
2018

Season Eight Episode Reviews: The Maud Couple · 7:52pm March 31st

Another season, another Pinkie/Maud episode. This one should be no different...

Wait, why do I hear the whimpering of a thousand shippers?

Let's look at “The Maud Couple.”


TECHNICAL SPECS:

Season: 8

Episode: 3

Written By: Nick Confalone

First Aired: March 31, 2018


SYNOPSIS:

Pinkie Pie is alarmed when Maud stops hanging out with her every second of the day. The good news is: Maud has found a boyfriend. (I guess we can stop using “Very Special Somepony.”) The bad news: said boyfriend, Mud Briar, drives Pinkie insane with his exact words, bizarre habits, and love of sticks. Can Pinkie expose this monster for who he truly is, or will she have to give up her sister to save her sanity?

...Or will she, you know, grow up and learn to put up with people you don't like for the sake of your loved ones? That's always an option, as well.


REVIEW:

Our episode opens with us finally getting to see Maud's stand-up comedy routine. And...well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to rewrite reality and remove my kudos to Maud's takedown of Discord own stand-up, as her jokes here are awful for the sake of awful. And quite frankly, I don't have much respect for that brand of humor. Then again, Discord was channeling Gallagher back during that moment, and he's about as low on the comedy/human being chart as it comes, so...meh, it's a wash.

Much like last season's “Rock Solid Friendship,” this is an episode where Pinkie's general excitement and clinging affection to Maud causes the conflict. The difference is that in the last episode, Maud was in need of assistance to an extent. She seemed to have a generally low opinion of herself due to how different she was from most ponies, and would have likely died had Pinkie not intervened and gotten her to give Ponyville another chance. This time, Pinkie is the entire problem. For all of his “technical” speech and blunt mannerisms, Mud Briar does seem to want to get along with Pinkie. Maud never gets confrontational over Pinkie's behavior – rather, it's Pinkie who turns the relationship into an “us-versus-them” conflict.

This leads into the bigger question: just how much does Pinkie know about Maud? The two were apparently close growing up, but personality-wise they are lightyears away from each other. Maud putting up with surprise parties to make Pinkie happy ties back to the rock candy necklaces from Maud's first appearance – something Pinkie obviously values and places considerable importance on, but which Maud only likes because of the joy it brings her sister. The most telling thing is that Pinkie can't see any of Maud's social awkwardness and general weirdness, but can instantly pick out the same things in Mud Briar. Perhaps Pinkie knew Maud better when they were younger, but as time has gone on, the differences between each other just grew until, eventually, something had to bring things crashing down. And considering how much important Pinkie puts on knowing everything about everyone so she can plan the most perfect parties, that's a devastating blow to her ego.

Mud Briar seems to be channeling Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, albeit a bit nicer. On the one hand, the actor does a good job, and the pony does get a few laughs from his interactions with increasingly psychotic Pinkie. On the other hand, TBBT fills me with hate every time it's referenced – and since my parents are HUUUUUGE fans because it gives them a reason to laugh at their failed children, I was lucky to move out when I did, before I had to convert the backyard into a puppy-killing factory. In any case, he's a character that is meant to be annoying and inflict cringe, albeit with still just enough depth that you could see why Maud would be attracted to him. (Especially since the FCC won't let them show us his...“other stick.”)

We also have the return of Limestone and Marble Pie, who haven't had any dialogue since “Hearthbreakers.” I absolutely love Limestone's attempt to be the wise, mentoring big sister when it's clear she prefers to keep working and forget that one of her younger sisters got a boyfriend before she did. As much as I like Maud, I sometimes feel like she's getting rather dull from overuse. Bring on more Limestone and Marble, says I!

And Starlight was here, too...for some reason. Her only importance was keeping Maud distracted. She still likes kites, though.

That being said, for a Pinkie-focused episode, I really didn't laugh or smile at this one much. About the only big laugh I had was Pinkie's opposite versions of her friends. Now if only the real Twilight could address her illiteracy...


CONCLUSION:

This was an okay episode. It had some cute moments, albeit a bit lacking in comedy, and brought back two of my favorite supporting ponies from one of the my favorite episodes of the series. Mud Briar can easily break this episode if you can't stand his attitude, but at the very least he isn't a conscious and willing jerk, as I feared they would do when the episode's synopsis first leaked. On the whole, I wouldn't mind if we didn't get any more of these Pinkie/Maud episodes, but if they could find a way to keep them somewhat fresh, I'd be happy to see more adventures of these odd ponies.


Next time: It's Fluttershy's turn to go insane.

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Comments ( 5 )
PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

I wish they would stick to the more humanized Maud we saw in Rock Solid. She's a hard person to understand, so seeing anything that makes her relatable is a boon to her character. This was more like the original Maud Pie, for better or worse, only with two of them.

4829425
Kinda sorta. I must admit, the time she made Rarity cry during that episode taken together with the blatant insult to Discord's face did make me reconsider how friendly Maud is supposed to be at all. There's being blunt, but as her relationship with Pinkie Pie shows, Maud does have a sense when not to say something. She's not clueless.

This episode feels like a vastly inferior retread of Rock Solid Friendship, considering Pinkie's characterization is even more obnoxious here, along with the fact that she's literally gone through some of this before. Rock Solid was about how she didn't understand Maud as much as she thought she did, and how Maud has self-esteem issues because she knows she's so different from everyone else. And it seems like Pinkie is learning the exact same lesson... again. Except this time it's Mud Briar (whom I think they tried too hard to make unlikable) who opens Pinkie's eyes to this not-revelation.

I know she isn't your favorite, but I think you're selling Pinkie short. She hasn't actually been monopolizing Maud's time at all, despite the fact that they're living so close together now. Pinkie's still hanging out with the Mane 6 and planning parties. Actually, the last time Maud showed up for an episode, it was all about her hanging out with Starlight and Sunburst. This episode pointed out that Maud made a fopaux as well, since she stood up Pinkie Pie for hanging out in the morning.

4829425
4829632
This episode is going for a lesson in cognitive dissonance. Pinkie is being placed into the same situation as her friends were when Maud first showed up, so it's suppose to feel familiar. The idea is that Pinkie is able to read Maud's intentions so well thanks to spending years living together in their formulative years. The flipside is true for Briar; through his reactions we see that someone like Maud (on the spectrum) might not take so well to Pinkie, barring a longtime relationship. Pinky's loss of confidence, and the feeling like there's now a divide between her sister, is her coming to grips with her own double standard. It's not a retread about a lesson in monopolization.

(Although speaking of regressive takes on Pinkie Pie, did anyone sense the writers were poking fun at the whole 'psycho killer Pinkie' concept? They have her reference killing Mud Briar, then she immediately says "No, that wouldn't make any sense.")

Mud Briar also didn't just befriend Maud in the same way Starlight did (even though I'm totally down for GlimMaud!). Pinkie is staring down the prospect of this guy becoming family. The overprotective father or brother has been done to death, but it's true that family can take a really critical view of any prospective in-laws that show up for the Thanksgiving dinner. For a lot of us, it's hard to imagine people being intimate when we've known them as children. How do we know they won't be hurt? How do we know this stranger is good enough? How do we know we're enough? It's another double standard that we all participate in without realizing, and something else this episode points out.

Yeah, pretty on board with you on this. Individual bits were pretty funny, but it felt kind of drab overall.

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