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Marks for Effort Review: This Episode Doesn't Even Deserve That · 3:26am Jun 5th, 2018

So... what the hell did I just watch?

No really. What the hell did I just watch? What was the point of that? Who was it for? Why was it made? What kind of scattershot disjointed writing process created this episode? Did they fire the voice acting director for this episode, because I sure hope they did? How is this kind of episode even possible from a show like this? This was an episode where I can truly say nothing happened. Nothing occurred. Nobody did anything. We just watched moving images speak lines. Even earlier episodes that were bad at least attempted a story, events were set in motion, something kept you watching. Even Newbie Dash got me angry at how nonsensical at was, or sniggering at Rainbow's Rarity impression.

But this? This was a nothing episode that had absolutely zero effort put into it. I can't believe it. Horse Play was like this too.  I didn't even think the MLP team was capable of putting in effort equal to absolute zero. But they have. This is the depth to which the show has sunk.

This is it, guys. This is what you wanted. This is what My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic looks like when it's "just a little girl's show."

We start off with the CMC looking into the school and being enthralled by how fun everything looks.

Now, this is probably the first time we've actually seen classes in session without something crazy happening to disrupt them. This is a problem. The show can only benefit from never showing us the inner workings of this insidiously stupid school. I knew the idea was ludicrous from the start, and seeing only a glimpse of what goes on inside during School Daze was enough to make me shrivel up in a ball and die. But here, we see the so-called classes in all their glory:

1. Learn how to share cupcakes and say nice things to each other.
2. Stare at butterflies.
3. Kick a ball.

Oh, great. So all my worst fears are confirmed, for real. The show writers are putting absolutely no thought whatsoever into this school. This is stuff you learn in kindergarten. In pre-school. During recess and at the dinner table. This is stuff you learn in places that aren't actually school. So this entire building really is exactly what it appears: a big stupid toy set that nobody needed or asked for. And we haven't even reached the intro.

Speaking of which, did they change it up on us? When did Thorax and Ember appear in it? And... why? They haven't been relevant since their premiere episodes. Oh well.

Twilight is shown doing a presentation, and we are reminded Spike has wings. Yay. Does anyone actually care about that? I'll have to deal with that in my review of Molt Down. Then the CMC show up to ask if they can be allowed into the school, and Starlight gets a cameo about how absolutely useless she is because who the fuck needs a guidance counselor in a school full of people learning how to be friends, and the teachers and itinerary are all basically doing the job of a guidance counselor?

But oh! Hold the phone! Twilight says the CMC can't join her school! Because they already know "all about" friendship, and being there for each other... even though they're like, 12? And Twilight and her friends have still been learning friendship lessons for years now even though they're all teachers at the school? This is the first of many problems with a script that is entirely deficient in anything resembling uh... rudimentary storytelling ability. What exactly is Twilight suggesting the students currently attending are lacking? Knowing how to have fun? Knowing how to have friends? Twilight, the only students that matter are already friends, and literally showed up your own teachers like twice already. So that right there is proof that you already accepted students who know exactly what to do intuitively, yet the CMC, for some reason in spite of actually being younger than the people attending the school, are told that they "already know" all about helping ponies in need.

Ha ha. Ha.

No. No they don't. We already know they don't because they're part of this show, where everyone is learning friendship lessons all the time, no matter who they are or how many friends they already have. The mere fact that this episode exists is proof that the CMC haven't learned all there is to know about friendship because they're determined to use their friendship as leverage to get into a school where they don't belong.

Does this even make sense? That Twilight Sparkle herself tells prepubescent children "No, young ones, I, the Princess of Friendship, have decreed that you know LITERALLY EVERYTHING about friendship FOREVER and my school has naught to teach you! Now begone, thou paragons of virtue, you are too pure for these halls!"

But then, if the CMC don't need this school, what kind of school do they need? There are adult ponies attending the university alongside the student six. We already know they're learning absolutely useless things. Which makes one wonder what they're learning in regular school. Is Twilight saying her lessons are... too basic? Unnecessary? Is there a point where this school is totally useless to someone? How does she even determine that? Is her whole school unnecessary and Twilight doesn't want to trap young minds that genuinely need real subjects to study in a place that only teaches you how to eat junk food?

Because I'm going with that last one.

So then we're introduced to, uh... this filly. This thing. This awkwardly voiced, strangely designed, confusing creature.

No, not Sweetie Belle. The one next to her. Cozy Glow, aka Girly Little Girl.

She is introduced sobbing and crying and generally making a mess of herself, and says she just moved in from Farawayville. She needs help because Twilight's School of Friendship is, uh…


Her school is, um…

Really, really hard? Mm. Okay. Okay.

A school where the entire curriculum is learning how to take a cupcake off a tray and give it to someone else is difficult. She is failing a school about playing games and having fun. Let that sink in. That is the absolute state of finding what kind of conflict they can put into an episode these days.

Now, normally “I’m so stupid I can’t figure out how to share food” is a statement that would be so devoid of meaning or intelligence that it would make my brain force its way out of my skull and jump, weeping for the future of man, off the nearest cliff. But there is one saving grace:

Cozy Glow is a villain, and is faking it.

Now put down the pitchforks! It’s not a spoiler. Just listen to her voice acting. It’s not normal acting. This is the part of the script where the director told the VA: “Okay, be cloying, be saccharine, just be totally ridiculously over the top. We really need to sell how cute and vulnerable she is, in such a way that it becomes so hyperbolic it can’t possibly be real.” If she isn’t a villain in disguise (and she is), then frankly her voice actor needs to be fired, and then the person directing the VAs should also be fired because her voice is absolutely unnecessarily cutesy and annoying. She doesn’t come across as a real person at all. She is a villain. She has to be, otherwise her character is just that dumb, and I want to at least believe MLP still has some tiny shred of dignity left.

"Wait, why does it say ‘your character is subject to change on a per episode basis?’"

Except her character is still that dumb because she’s targeting the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who are possibly the least intelligent and most annoying characters on the show now.

I mean come on. It’s taken us nine minutes to get to this point. All the way up until now, all the CMC have done is be annoying little shits to adults who, while also very stupid, do bring up good points like “you should do real work instead of getting indoctrinated into Twilight’s creepy social experiment.”

Think about that. Nowadays almost half an episode is devoted to the CMC pointlessly running around being dumb.

So they decide to help Cozy Glow, erm, “study” her “friendship lessons” which…

Okay, quick segue, I need to lay out a fact: the simple fact that the School of Friendship exists is in and of itself a complete and total violation of the spirit and purpose of the entire show. Just needed to get that off my chest.

So now the Terrible Trio has become a Quadrilateral of Evil, and they go around doing inane, boring, lame shit for a bunch of background ponies. Bon Bon gets a helmet because she’s too stupid to put a cactus somewhere that isn’t RIGHT NEXT TO HER EYES, Mrs. Cake gets non-rainbow sprinkles because she never considered not using rainbow sprinkles, I guess? Maybe because she’s been overexposed to Rainbow Dash and can only see in rainbow vision now? And then they do Big Mac’s apple bucking… and he immediately uses the time to run off and be with that out of towner tart Sugar Belle. For shame, Big Mac. For shame. Letting foreign influences creep into your own family is the surest way to get a visit from the local commissar.

"Love is in bloo--" *BLAM*


So blah de blah, Cozy Glow goes and fails her test in spite of the CMC’s help. And what’s worse, Twilight is convinced that the CMC made her fail on purpose! GASP. Is she evil and trying to make them look bad? Is she trying to make Twilight’s school fail by messing up the bell curve? Is it part of some insidious plan to ruin the CMC’s reputation?

… No. No it’s not. She reveals to Starlight that she failed the test on purpose in an incredibly convoluted plot to get the CMC admitted into the school by convincing Twilight that they need to learn about friendship.

Also Starlight has another mental fart where she momentarily pretends to still be evil in order to appreciate Cozy Glow’s deception, and pulls a funny face because funny faces are all this show can rake out of the muck to be halfway entertaining anymore.


Can I just say, it’s incredibly trite and ultimately annoying now to keep calling back to that time Starlight was evil, mostly because she wasn’t actually evil? If she had a legitimate moment of malicious, selfish fury completely driven by her own selfish ambition, that would be one thing.

But it wasn't that. It was an emo shitfest temper tantrum she threw over some guy she hadn’t seen in like fifteen years. It was nowhere near as evil or compelling as people keep saying it was, and it absolutely does not deserve to be called a moment of pivotal character development that somehow still has a place of honor as one of those running jokes that the show absolutely refuses to drop.

So then, of course, the CMC are forgiven, and Cozy Glow becomes friends with them, and the CMC get diplomas wait what the heck?

Diplomas? Really?

Twilight… why didn’t you just give that to them at the beginning of the episode? Why now, here, at the end as though it’s a peace offering? There’s nothing to forgive here. You were right all along. The CMC don’t need your school. There is absolutely no reason to give the CMC diplomas except to just make them feel better.

So you were treating them like adults before, kicking them around and making them feel bad for asking to even attend your center of higher learning, but now you’re treating them like little bugaboos who deserve an ice cream after a bad day? Are you just…

No. I can’t even get mad anymore.

So yeah, Cozy Glow is a villain, except she’s… not? Because everything she did was apparently on the level? So what is the point of this episode? Why does it exist? What did we learn?

We learned the CMC’s voice actors don’t sound like kids anymore, so that’s another mark against them. They really do sound like grown women trying to imitate little girls now, and it’s grating.

We learned that you can get diplomas and even jobs at Twilight’s school just for getting framed for fraudulent teaching.

And we learned that Cozy Glow is going to be the biggest wet blanket of a finale villain we’ve ever seen. She’s either going to be some other villain like Tirek or Chrysalis in disguise (unlikely), or she’s going to be a terrible OC with muh tragic backstory like Stygian or Starlight.

Or, she’s going to be legitimately evil all by herself, which is also stupid because why would a child even do that? Why did she target the CMC? Clearly her end game is to ruin the school, but what kind of plot can she possibly pull that would even be halfway interesting or entertaining that involves the Completely Missing the Point Crusaders? All I know is I do not trust the writing team to pull a real zinger out of their asses, mostly because the season finale was likely finished sometime last year so we’re all just chugging along with the train of inevitability at this point.

1/10. It gets a single point because they had to put in the work to make the episode exist.

If this review was painful or disheartening to read, good. This episode was equally terrible to watch and rewatch to get a review done for it.

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Comments ( 4 )

It was weird that Cozy Glow was coming off as a villain but then wasn't. Well can't blame the episode for being predictable at least!

The school classes are stupid. I just treat the whole school concept like EQG, a fun alternate canon. No episode is going to redeem this concept so I can't hold it against the episode that much.

SG was amazing. Her memeface was only one of the 10 gags she had in this episode, and it was mostly her trying to find a purpose and fill a role, which is inherently funny for the 7th main cast member and appropo her being self conscious of no longer being twilight's student. Only one gag related to her villainous nature, and it was just her appreciating someone else's underhoovedness, which was funny and did not derail anything.

Wanderer D

Wow, I hadn't seen a tree-rodent get so hateful since Donald Duck refused to hand over those peanuts to Chip and Dale.


Is it? That's disappointing. That's definitely a face I've seen before before Jojo existed. But I guess if that's what it is... that's what it is.

I suspect that the School of Friendship is just something that the toy department commanded from on high, and now the writers are just skating around the fact that it's there.

Well, I certainly feel your pain, especially about this season. It just floors me to think that adults are actually devising these 'lessons' to present to kids. But then it is a toy marketing machine...

Cozy Glow is going to be the biggest wet blanket of a finale villain we’ve ever seen. She’s either going to be some other villain like Tirek or Chrysalis in disguise (unlikely), or she’s going to be a terrible OC with muh tragic backstory like Stygian or Starlight.

I'm going with 'tragic backstory' because it's already the established pattern and why bother being creative? That would only insure the possibility of making an episode that had an actual plot, possibly even somewhat meaningful.

Anyway, I like how at the end of the latest cringe-fest (S08E16, Friendship University) there's a nice little well-timed pointer to Curly Fluff Cozy Glow: Rarity states to Twilight that she still doesn't understand how Flim & Flam got a copy of the school's manual. Cue immediate entry of Cozy Glow—I'm sure she wasn't eavesdropping at the door. "I just finished straightening up the library." :facehoof:

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