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Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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Sep
15th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x20 - A Horse Shoe-In · 1:38pm Sep 15th, 2019

People say this one’s actually good, so let’s see.

  • Chronology markers: School of Friendship starts off the episode. Pinkie’s windbag instrument from Yakity-Sax is used. Twilight is alleged to ascend to Equestria’s throne permanently soon, requiring The Beginning of the End.
  • “I think you really spruce up the office, Ms. Philodendron.”

    • For the record, philodendrons are originally New World plants, though by now they’re so widespread that the point is moot.
    • This is a fairly strange way to store scrolls, if only because when, historically, similar scroll shelves were used, they were typically subdivided into a regular 45° square grid, rather than whatever this is supposed to be. Was this scroll shelf here before?
  • “Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship, in light of her impending ascension to the throne of Equestria…” Once again, Twilight spoken of as if she will be ruling entirely solo. But notice also that Spike starts reading the scroll from the middle for some strange reason, and with the speed he’s scrolling it, each line can contain at most one word.
  • “I mean… Yes. Of course! Thank you!” Here we see yet another globe – we’ve seen it before, but this is a clearer shot than most. Notice the huge axial tilt, which doesn’t match other observed globes – for example, the one in the library in this same episode, which has a zero or near zero degree tilt.
  • “Are you supposed to be at a royal etiquette lesson with Celestia and Luna right now?” Royal etiquette is a thing. Napkin placement is involved.
  • “Getting royal place settings just right is a lot harder than it looks.” So is Twilight meant to do that herself? What are those maids we saw before for, then?
  • “I’m glad you all decided to be a part of the search for the School of Friendship’s vice headmare.”

    • Candidates include Spoiled Rich, Dr. Time Turner, Octavia, Big Mac and Trixie. Of these, Big Mac has no business being here, because his farm job should occupy all of his time, Spoiled Rich should have been excluded by reputation, and it’s very strange that Octavia would want to change careers in the first place. A pretty strange lineup!
    • Notice that the full-time position of school counselor is ignored until the end of the episode, even though we know how stressful it can be.
  • “Honestly, if you’re looking for somepony to fund-raise, I can bring in enough bits to have several buildings named after me.”

    • Fundraising practices described by Spoiled Rich are commonplace in Equestria and typically the responsibility of a vice-headmare.
    • School of Friendship needs fundraising.
  • “Since you all have to prove you have what it takes to be vice headmare, I’ve designed the interview in three stages.”

    • Starlight is using a pointer. This is strange, if only because it’s telescopic and she’s holding it telekinetically anyway.
    • For some strange reason, the first stage of the interview appears to be teaching a class, even though there’s no clear reason why this would be within a job description of a vice-headmare.
  • “Wow, that seam is so straight! You really learned how to sew from mending apple sacks on the farm?”

    • Big Mac can sew.
  • “Obviously, loyalty is the foundation of friendship and trust. But nothing gets more loyalty than a big stack of bits! This book on business will teach you all how to earn your own. Chapter one – Equity…”

    • Wait, so why is equity chapter one?
    • This is a first indication that Spoiled Rich is involved in business at all, isn’t it? Her previous behavior portrayed her as a stereotypical trophy wife.
  • Time Turner’s lesson involves a Rube Goldberg machine for an entirely unclear reason. The shot is notable in that it presents multiple tools we know ponies have in one place, and the most notable one is some manner of pliers – the kind that should be impossible to use without opposable thumbs. Same about the scissors, part of the same machine. See Sandwich Problem.
  • “In the Pre-Equestia Era, year thirteen twenty-two, Abraxius the Bold did…” This is a fragmentary long-reaching historical statement, which is very difficult to meaningfully interpret. Is the pre-Equestria era a chronological era like CE, or not, for example? We can’t say.
  • “The vice headmare will need to be a master communicator, and I can’t think of a better test of that than meeting with our students and their parents or guardians.” Pony students, however, apparently, don’t have parents at all. Foreign students have parents eager enough to visit just for this.
  • “Maybe we should find a different representative from Griffonstone to be Gallus’ guardian.” Notice that this does not meet with an objection from Gruff. This is an actual option, which suggests Gallus is a ward of the state, or whatever Griffonstone has that passes for one, and not in any way Gruff’s family.
  • “Good! Because you’re no longer welcome!” Gruff agrees with this, even though previously, a missing Gallus was enough for a diplomatic incident.
  • “I can think of no better trip than one through the quantum field! I am referring to time travel!”

    • This is a rare indication that ponies know quantum physics. Not the first one.
    • Which would normally have little to nothing to do with time travel, but maybe thaumophysics changes that.
    • What’s that bubbling in a tank on the background? An octopus clone of Big Mac?…
  • “And three… four… five… Congratulations!” We’ve never seen Time Turner wield anything even remotely similar to the Chameleon Arch. Until this shot.
  • “I could have easily taken you to Froggy Bottom Bogg. But we don’t need to leave the comfort of the classroom for our field trip. I can bring the field trip to us!” This is actually the first usage of a teleport spell in reverse, i.e. instead of teleporting something the caster can see somewhere else, the caster teleports something they can’t see to them. I wasn’t even sure this was possible. Just consider the military applications.
  • “I guess I just didn’t consider the possibility that a hive of flash bees might have nested there.” Flash bees can be encountered in Froggy Bottom Bog.
  • “That’s because Twilight’s friends are competent! They care about what they are doing! And they know how to do it!” Really now.
  • “I just thought I’d check in to see how the search for a vice headmare was going.” Remember the fail-safe spell from The Return of Harmony? This has to be what this was, Twilight finally got one right: The entire classroom and Starlight’s hair are returned to their pre-disaster state.
  • “Gallus even said nocreature’s ever stuck up for him the way you did with Grampa Gruff.” Now I’m really curious to see how did Twilight handle that the last time.
  • “Well, Dr. Hooves has decided to go back to his experiments…” I think this is the first time this name actually appears on screen.
  • “…and Octavia is worried the responsibilities of vice headmare will take too much time away from her music.” So why the hell did she apply in the first place.
  • “But what about being Flurry Heart’s Crystaller?” Sunburst’s response confirms that this is not an actual job.

It was an enjoyable episode – surprisingly – but the picture it paints of how the School of Friendship actually works is mighty strange. And I don’t think Trixie will be happy in that job…

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Comments ( 10 )

Time Turner’s lesson involves a Rube Goldberg machine for an entirely unclear reason.

The ones Goldberg designed were pretty superfluous themselves, which was the entire joke.

School of Friendship needs fundraising.

Do we know this for certain, or can it just be Miss Milk grasping at straws for some way her wealth can actually help her in this situation? (For those playing at home: her maiden name and an honorific for an unmarried woman, basically implying that her husband deserves better. Which he does.)

What’s that bubbling in a tank on the background? An octopus clone of Big Mac?…

A G1 villain named Squirk, apparently. Or possibly the Face of Boe from Doctor Who. If it got an actual role I'm guessing it would use the name of the former and as much of the latter as the BBC allowed.

Just consider the military applications.

Also consider that this is Trixie doing it. "It's true, I've deteriorated... I used to lie a lot more... NOW I CAN ACTUALLY DO THOSE THINGS!"

“That’s because Twilight’s friends are competent! They care about what they are doing! And they know how to do it!” Really now.

The middle one is mostly true about the teaching, and the others are mostly true about the things they're teaching. The latter failing to lead to the former is not unheard of, it's just that the writers haven't noticed that they're portraying that reality instead of the one where the Mane 6 are teachers. (Also, Starlight makes them look competent by comparison, and is therefore speaking from a point of ignorance)

In a bubble, I did enjoy the episode as an episode. Starlight and Trixie are always a fun duo and I increasingly like how much of a possessive girlfriend / wife Trixie is turning into around Starlight. Also giving voice lines to Octavia and Dr Hooves (Dr Turner?) is always a plus. I don’t think I’ve heard Tavia speak since Slice of Life. I wonder if she went for tea and crumpets with the doctor.

My issue comes more from the overall arching of how much moving Twilight to Rulerhood just tramples all over the idea of the school itself. Princess of Friendship school turned out to be a silly vanity project that Twilight entertained for ONE school year and gang-pressed all her friends for before she dumped it off on someone else.

All that enthusiasm, all that idealism at the start of Season 8. That powerful feeling of having grown up from learning to teaching and wanting to show all the friendship lessons she's accumulated over the years. That standup against Neighsayer and his rules for her ultra mega special school… now turns into “Yeah sure, Starlight. Do whatever. Enjoy the school! Gotta run the country. ”

Mind you, Celestia still runs her own school AND she follows EEA guidelines. Not that Celestia does anything else of note besides fold napkins, apparently. (Speaking of which why does Twilight need a personal on hoof lesson with BOTH Luna and Celestia on napkins? In No Second Prances she was practically excited for the table setting and worked out an entire lesson plan to teach Starlight about it.)

Also something to note. Even after they interview and put all the applicants through their paces. Starlight still ended up hiring one of her friends for the job anyway WITHOUT putting him through any of the tests she put the others through. I guess she’s just continuing the practice of neopotism / cronyism Twilight established before.

This is actually the first usage of a teleport spell in reverse

Twilight has often summoned objects from elsewhere... oh, wait...

Just consider the military applications.

:heart::rainbowlaugh::heart:

  • Fundraising practices described by Spoiled Rich are commonplace in Equestria and typically the responsibility of a vice-headmare.
  • School of Friendship needs fundraising.

Not really, it just means Spoiled is hung up on money above all else, so will assume everything is about money/needs more money.

Starlight is using a pointer. This is strange, if only because it’s telescopic and she’s holding it telekinetically anyway.

Well, gotta be able to be used well be EP's and pegasi.

This is a first indication that Spoiled Rich is involved in business at all, isn’t it? Her previous behavior portrayed her as a stereotypical trophy wife.

Who said it was her book? Also, there might be a huge chapter in there where the best way to get lots of money is marry some rich dude and enjoy.

Time Turner’s lesson involves a Rube Goldberg machine for an entirely unclear reason

:rainbowhuh: When has a Rube Goldberg device ever needed a reason beyond being one and being awesome?

Gruff agrees with this, even though previously, a missing Gallus was enough for a diplomatic incident.

Well, he's Gruff, and he'll never outright admit it, be we know he does rather care, in his own way. And that WAR thing was more about the principle most likely.

What’s that bubbling in a tank on the background? An octopus clone of Big Mac?

Looked like a reference to The Face of Boe.

This is a fairly strange way to store scrolls, if only because when, historically, similar scroll shelves were used, they were typically subdivided into a regular 45° square grid, rather than whatever this is supposed to be. Was this scroll shelf here before?

I was wondering about whether her bookshelf broke or scrolls were actually stored this way. Maybe it's just a weird modern style that's supposed to look artsy.

But notice also that Spike starts reading the scroll from the middle for some strange reason

This bugged me but I can't interpret it any other way than some sort of art error.
Maybe the top section is full of <MULTI-PART MESSAGE IN MIME FORMAT> headers.

“Getting royal place settings just right is a lot harder than it looks.” So is Twilight meant to do that herself? What are those maids we saw before for, then?

I can sort of believe she's expected to know how even if she doesn't normally do it. It seems like a weird thing to focus etiquette lessons on, though.

Candidates include Spoiled Rich, Dr. Time Turner, Octavia, Big Mac and Trixie. Of these, Big Mac has no business being here, because his farm job should occupy all of his time, Spoiled Rich should have been excluded by reputation, and it’s very strange that Octavia would want to change careers in the first place. A pretty strange lineup!

Agreed.

Fundraising practices described by Spoiled Rich are commonplace in Equestria and typically the responsibility of a vice-headmare.

I'm not so sure they're typically the responsibility of vice headmare, so much as Spoiled Rich assumes it'd be a plus.

School of Friendship needs fundraising.

Possibly just Spoiled Rich's assumption dealing with her own child being in Cheerilee's school.

For some strange reason, the first stage of the interview appears to be teaching a class, even though there’s no clear reason why this would be within a job description of a vice-headmare.

She explains that sometimes they need to substitute. Given The Mane Characters Do Everything it's important to check for a wide range of competency before adding someone! Apparently Equestria's education system doesn't have dedicated substitute teachers you can hire like in our world. I don't actually know how you hire subtitute teachers.

“Wow, that seam is so straight! You really learned how to sew from mending apple sacks on the farm?”

Yes. Definitely from apple sacks and not related to any other hobbies.

Wait, so why is equity chapter one?

Writers just put a random financial term for a throwaway gag rather than researching what would actually be chapter one in an intro to business textbook.

Time Turner’s lesson involves a Rube Goldberg machine for an entirely unclear reason.

He's clearly more about grand displays and whiz-bang machines that go ding when there's stuff than actually teaching anyone science.

What’s that bubbling in a tank on the background? An octopus clone of Big Mac?…

It's the Face of Boe.

This is actually the first usage of a teleport spell in reverse

No it's not, we saw summoning of parasprites during Magic Duel.

Remember the fail-safe spell from The Return of Harmony? This has to be what this was

Oh, that's a neat interpretation. I assumed she just remembered how powerful she was and solved it with raw magic on the fly.

Not a bad episode, though I generally find workplace comedy a little less escapist than I prefer.

Of these, Big Mac has no business being here, because his farm job should occupy all of his time

Very true. Just this season we established he does like 90% of the work on the farm. If he and Applejack are both working at the school, they might as well sell it.

So why would he want to apply? Maybe he thinks someone needs to keep an eye on Starlight so she doesn't use her magic recklessly again? Maybe Apple Bloom is a student councilor at the school and he thinks this will let him spend more time with her?

Spoiled Rich should have been excluded by reputation

Ehhhh. Depends on how gossip spreads. Twilight is obviously really busy, and no one else that Starlight hangs out with a lot was here when Spoiled Rich had her terrible incident at the school. I could see Spoiled showing up at an open offer and saying "I've been the head of the local school's PTA/School Board for years, I'm the only candidate with relevant experience."

But clearly from a Doylist perspective these were the voices the writers wanted to cram in again before the end of the show.

Notice that the full-time position of school counselor is ignored until the end of the episode, even though we know how stressful it can be.

Well the CMC are available. And sometimes the counselor has absolutely no work, depending on the whim of the writers.

School of Friendship needs fundraising.

Maybe? Spoiled assumes it, but no one else confirms it. Would explain a lot, this school is really fancy.

For some strange reason, the first stage of the interview appears to be teaching a class, even though there’s no clear reason why this would be within a job description of a vice-headmare.

They said the Vice Headmare job would be in part to be substitute teacher, I believe.

This is a first indication that Spoiled Rich is involved in business at all, isn’t it? Her previous behavior portrayed her as a stereotypical trophy wife.

Yup. She's a trophy wife now, but probably she used to run some kind of business before she married Filthy. And she writes business books in her spare time.

Is the pre-Equestria era a chronological era like CE, or not, for example? We can’t say.

Good question. I suspect so, because otherwise 1362 years before Abraxus the Bold, what happened? Nobody seems to have reliable records of history that long ago.

Pony students, however, apparently, don’t have parents at all. Foreign students have parents eager enough to visit just for this.

Foreign students are probably more of a test.

Notice that this does not meet with an objection from Gruff. This is an actual option, which suggests Gallus is a ward of the state, or whatever Griffonstone has that passes for one, and not in any way Gruff’s family

I would say the opposite. Gruff responds: Grampa Gruff: Oh, that'd be great. If you find one, [echoing] let me know! To me that sounds like he is basically running the sole orphanage in Griffonstone, and there is no alternative.

Gruff agrees with this, even though previously, a missing Gallus was enough for a diplomatic incident.

He's a cantankerous old coot. But if this episode was actually before last week's, this incident might explain why Gruff is sending daily letters to Gallus checking up on him, this incident has him worried about Gallus.

I wasn’t even sure this was possible. Just consider the military applications.

A very good point. It does sound like Trixie went out to that particular patch of Bog and "selected" it somehow, so she may have done something to it to make it summon-able. Still, strong evidence that Trixie is improving her magic skills.

“That’s because Twilight’s friends are competent! They care about what they are doing! And they know how to do it!” Really now.

This is quite cruelly accurate. It's really hard to go from comic relief to actual support cast.

So why the hell did she apply in the first place.

Trixie may have been kind of right, Starlight really did start this process at the beginning intending to put on a show before hiring Trixie.

“But what about being Flurry Heart’s Crystaller?” Sunburst’s response confirms that this is not an actual job.

Not a job anymore now that Flurry is a little older. I wager the Crystaller was the one changing all the diapers!

And I don’t think Trixie will be happy in that job…

Maybe, but then she'll quit and not blame Starlight for it. (And the CMC will probably do all the counseling work either way).

Fluttershy and Discord, Spike and Gabby, and now Starlight and either Trixie or Sunburst, feels like the writers are throwing shippers a bone on their way out the door.

Anyway, this episode is just a how-to guide on the dos and don'ts of nepotism, so the target audience is learning practical skills for the future.

5121430

Mind you, Celestia still runs her own school AND she follows EEA guidelines.

Does she? Or has Celestia appointed someone to do 99% of the running of the school while keeping her name on the building? I bet this school will always be known as Twilight Sparkle's School of Friendship.

And even after they interview and put all the applicants through their paces. Starlight still ended up hiring one of her friends for the job anyway WITHOUT putting him through any of the tests she put the others through.

Yup, which felt way too much like the way the real world works for me to enjoy that part.

5121631

Or has Celestia appointed someone to do 99% of the running of the school while keeping her name on the building?

According to one book, she really teaches there. When she flies to Monacolt she leaves Twilight as her substitute.

5121428

Do we know this for certain, or can it just be Miss Milk grasping at straws for some way her wealth can actually help her in this situation?

My argument is that Starlight does not refute that this is part of the job description of the vice-headmare. If the School of Friendship required no fundraising in principle, Starlight would have refuted this statement, wouldn’t she?

5121430

Princess of Friendship school turned out to be a silly vanity project that Twilight entertained for ONE school year and gang-pressed all her friends for before she dumped it off on someone else.

Actually, two school years: Two Hearth’s Warming episodes were involved. But I agree.

That standup against Neighsayer and his rules for her ultra mega special school… now turns into “Yeah sure, Starlight. Do whatever. Enjoy the school! Gotta run the country.”

Also consider the whole Friendship Castle which Twilight will be abandoning to move to Canterlot.

5121617

Apparently Equestria’s education system doesn’t have dedicated substitute teachers you can hire like in our world. I don’t actually know how you hire subtitute teachers.

In my experience, other teachers typically substitute, school’s administrative staff being involved in teaching is more of an exception, and only happens when teaching staff gets promoted, basically. However, it varies from place to place, in some places, the Department of Education might be handling those. In any case, there’s no way in hell anyone would be expected to substitute for every teacher, but rather, only for one or two subjects, tops, so I don’t really see the logic.

No it’s not, we saw summoning of parasprites during Magic Duel.

For that to be summoning, it requires a known active population of parasprites.

5121631

If he and Applejack are both working at the school, they might as well sell it.

That would be a lovely newspaper headline. “SCHOOL OF FRIENDSHIP SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER!” :twilightsmile:

But if this episode was actually before last week’s, this incident might explain why Gruff is sending daily letters to Gallus checking up on him, this incident has him worried about Gallus.

An option.

I wager the Crystaller was the one changing all the diapers!

I just hope they weren’t made from crystal like everything else…

5121818

“SCHOOL OF FRIENDSHIP SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER!”

So Flim and Flam, then?

5122898

I think they would try to get away with the lowest bid, actually.

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