• Member Since 2nd Jan, 2013
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wayward_pony


More Blog Posts521

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  • 86 weeks
    Life Update

    Hey everybody!

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Apr
14th
2020

A Trivial Pursuit Reaction and Description · 8:23pm Apr 14th, 2020

A Trivial Pursuit, episode 16 of Season 9, written by Brittany Jo Flores. If I were to summarize this episode in just a couple words I think I would say... meme faces. This one is chocked full of 'em, as well as not so subtle references to shipping. I'd also say the writer (who also wrote Once Upon a Zeppelin), as well as the storyboard artists probably had a lot of fun with this one :)

Below the break!

* * *

Episode opens with Spike pacing in the castle dressed for bed... Twilight's been up studying for Trivia Trot, which is an apparently weekly Ponyville game show she competes in. The drake's preparing to stand up to her, to tell her to get to bed. He's shown trying his words out in the mirror... a very common way of psyching one's self up to do something tough. When he finally goes into the castle library he discovers... no pony's there. Oh, Spaik... don't turn around, because Twilight's right behind you, wearing a stepford mom smile XD

Surprisingly, though framing her words in the form of game show answers when asked... she's going to bed soon. 8 hours for best brain function. Yet, her smile still gives me the creeps... with Spike adding he's surprised he doesn't have to tell her to sleep because she's only trying to win the darn game show 3 times in a row. Seriously, dude... are you trying to help her or trolling her a bit? Despite looking and responding in only a slightly-deranged way, Twilight is a bit cute in her "Twilighting" and gray Vinyl Scratch shirt. She prances off after Spike makes sure she's okay... which he isn't exactly sure of anything, and... cue opening credits.

After the opening credits, Twilight looks much calmer as the pair walk through Ponyville on their way to the game show. This is apparently the first Trot Spike is going to watch. She's come prepared with a saddlebag, assuring Spike the rules are much more complicated than he thinks. Oh, Twilight... please don't condescend. The thing that keeps her from coming off fully condescending is her excitement in sharing with Spike... though he immediately looks bored, then sometime later desperate for some silence. Poor Spike... you put up with a lot from Twilight. If I could I'd lend you my water pipe in a hoofbeat. Thank goodness they get there before he gets too distraught, though only after listening to more than 41 rules ^^

Twilight jumps for joy, expounding yet another basic rule Spike was certainly too bored to hear -- the player does not get to pick his or her own team. It's entirely random.... Of course ^^

I love the way Spike (and their relationship) is shown in this episode... he exudes just the right level of sarcasm that Twilight is just too focused on the game to pick up on. Even holding up a chart of data she's made on all the possible permutations of team mates, all she can think and talk about is the work she's put into looking at the highest probability of her winning. Once all is said, Spike reveals he's supportive despite the maddening amount of intense focus on the game. He's happy to be only watching... because the idea of letting Twilight down is something he doesn't like, but she assures him she's happy with him just watching, supporting her. Into the building they go..

The place is fairly packed, but first they talk to is Applejack, and that goes just as one might expect... some fun heckling. They are competitors in this game. Twilight writes her Cutie Mark symbol down on a small piece of paper and puts it in a bowl by Granny Smith. Interestingly enough I see some of the MLP font on the other pieces, so that's maybe a tiny oversight or just how she prefers to sign things. Twilight's optimism about the odds, talking about how any one team could win because of different areas of expertise... is, for lack of a better word, cool, and a good example of sportsmanship to the kiddies :)

All the characters are introduced at this point -- Applejack has fun trying to psych her out, Rainbow Dash flies up saying it's her game, then Sunburst (I really want to call him Starburst) comes through the door with his own little form of cockiness. He's a bit slovenly in the mane, but did make the trip from the Crystal Empire just for this. Then Fluttershy comes in, brushing poor Angel, making a pun about "brushing up" ... Angel looking like a resentful cat who's had enough of the pampering, with large black eyes. Then Maud and Mudbriar approach from the stage, awkwardly holding hooves... I'll be honest, I don't really care for those two as a couple, but they share their optimism that they are gunna win.

Then the wild card comes in through the door, which makes perfect sense given the last group we see... Pinkie. She's going to compete as well, signing with her cutie mark on the card. My guess is the whole cutie mark signature is probably for visual effect.

Twilight runs off, with spike trailing after her... the one thing she had not accounted for was Pinkie Pie:. It's interesting she should fill this role, because in the series that's basically what she is -- a Wild Card... unpredictable and often hard to account for in some RL games. Given Pinkie's appearance, Twilight has lost her ability to strategize. We see some good meme faces as Twilght assures Spike the game is more than just a game to her, and ,surprisingly, no pony turns to her, even though she's basically screaming by the end of her Twilighting... it's cut short by Granny Smith's getting everypony's attention at the podium.

It's time to pick teams... and Twilight gives Spike the chart to go through, teleporting him outside. Poor lil dragon can't even watch the the pairings, though we don't miss much as he comes back in with the chart neatly rolled up. The pairings are:

1. Sunburst/doodle
2. Apple/hooves
3. Dash/Matilda
4. Flutter/bulk

Twilight shares she considers not every team a threat, which is too cute XD

Then Maud and Mud Briar are announced as a pair... Twilight's shown jotting down notes at blistering speed, becoming aware this just leaves her and Pinkie.

Interestingly enough, if Pinkie Pie did not show up could Twilight have been disqualified for not having a team mate? Either way the Alicorn's eye twitches as we take a commercial break.

When we come back Pinkie's excited... playing a game with one of her best friends, what could be better? Attaching some balloons to her friends hooves, shapes like themselves (which Twilight cuts with scissors in her bag before she floats away) Pinkie goes through all the different names their team could have... settling in on the best meme face ever, proclaiming team "TWIPIE!"

Twilight voices her concern -- that she feels a lot riding on this, a chance to be the first to win three games in a row. Pinkie assures her she'll do everything she can to make that happen, throwing a little sparkle in the air to remind Twilight that their team will be magical. Twilight then proceeds to psych herself up... afterall, if Pinkie misses a few she can just pick up the slack. Pinkie's response from the table is to blow a horn, gaining the confusion and/or ire of all the teams.

Spike volunteers to keep score, but everyone of the teams seems to think he's gunna get overwhelmed, saying the series other regular punching bag Starlight Glimmer used to do it... Granny Smith doubts hel'll have trouble and hands him several thick books to work with (what did you get yourself into, there, Spike?). Good thing they're just there to pass out to the teams. And then... LET THE GAMEZ BEGIN!

AJ and Dash attempts to psych each other out, and all that happens is they become frustrated. The first category is... literary figures. Twilight's happy because it's her strength. All teams listen in, Granny Smith reads the question which has to do with Hearth's Warming Even, Twilight's ready to buzz in when Pinkie Pie does and shouts an answer, under the audience's stunned gaze, that's very Pinkie Pie and technically not incorrect. Unfortunately it's not the answer they're looking for, so Spike starts team Twipie off with a negative score. He's just following orders... fudge.

Pinkie apologizes to Twilight, but Twilight has a few ideas to coach Pinkie in a better direction... that involve things like sitting still and not speaking. Not very Pinkie Pie. Soon their score climbs up to a positive three points, yet Pinkie Pie is... hardly having fun. In a brief moment Twilight tells Pinkie to pipedown, a question is answered by Maud and Mudbriar, and their score is revealed to be more than double the score of Twipie. Everyone else is high above them. Makes me wonder if the time spent speaking to Pinkie cost Twilight's team and points?

Matilda shows how, with just a subtle gesture she can help Dash focus when the category of apples comes up... something it seems like Dash was going to accuse Applejack and Granny of cheating over, since there was a wink following its introduction. It's likely just random good fortune this happened the way it did.

Twilight begins to tense up as she instructs Pinkie to "keep your mind on Apples" ... Pinkie gets it in there, but then quickly gets distracted, as is typical of Pinkie Pie.

The question is something a long the lines of "What apple only blooms for five days?" and bickering commences amongst the other contestants as Twilight assures Pinkie she's got this... it appears she's right, but then it occurs to Pinkie Pie, from the rumbling of her tummy, only that she is hungry. The answer is taken by Fluttershy, and AJ is shamed for getting too distracted to know. Bulk nearly knocks Fluttershy out giving her a hoof bump as Twilight headdesks under Pinkie's sympathetic hoof touch... poor Twilight. And there's a break for lunch!

During the break more meme faces out of Twilight looking extremely stressed... she's afraid, and with good cause, that she'll lose. She doesn't want to crush Pinkie by telling her she pretty much sucks at the game (afterall she is the Princess of Friendship) and comes to the conclusion the best course of action may be to answer questions herself. Pinkie doesn't hear any of this, instead assuring Twilight her belly will no longer be a problem... downing an entire plate full of snacks in one gulp (plate included). It's a wonder pinkie hasn't died from bowel perforations years ago.

As an aside Lyra and Bonbon are shown briefly in the back here looking... relaxed over two cups of cocoa. Not at all dating, not at all high... just enjoying a little time together, just the two of them. Friendship is really magic, from the look in their eyes.

Spike comes up with the idea, instead of focusing on Pinkie Twilight maybe could just try to play in a way that'll make things better for her score... and she comes up with he idea of perhaps focusing on exploiting the other teams. Spike ain't happy, because that ain't sportsman-like.

Back to the quiz show (Lyra and Bonbon front and center again, possibly enforcing this episode's nod to shipping pairs). Granny Smith asks a question about old Ponish, Pinkie gets immediately blocked by Twilight, Sunburst gets the right answer... and Twilight notices Cranky Doodle Donkey is fast asleep. She knows the rules, and that will get the team disqualified if it's pointed out, which she does very loudly. Not very becoming there, Twilight... Sunburst is understandably resentful ^^

Next in Twilight's crosshair is Fluttershy.... getting outside help from her pet she only loses the point she could have gotten. Then next is Dash and AJ, taunting each other --- no sticking tongue out at opponents. Twilight's got the rule book to point at and Pinkie does not know what to make of this aggressive behavior. Twilight then tries to take down Maud and Mudbrier for their expressionless personalities... and motions to establish a new rule which just gets an eyeroll from Granny Smith. She is on the warpath.

The next category being cupcakes, Pinkie should know this one... but fearing loss of points Twilight distracts Pinkie Pie and encourages her to run off just long enough for Granny Smith to ask the question. Twilight gets the answer correct and Pinkie overhears... hurt that Twilight didn't give her the opportunity to answer, though she had run off and Twilight rationalizes that point. It's a bit contrived, and as the audience we're supposed to side with Pinkie because we know Twilight is being manipulative and taking the game too far.

There's a montage shown where Twilight keeps stealing the buzzer from Pinkie, who's often about to answer and Twilight takes over... causing Pinkie to look like she's feeling a bit, well, cheated. The techniques Twilight starts using to keep the buzzer away from Pinkie get a bit mean... there's a bit where she quickly swaps the buzzer on Pinkie's side with a green cupcake... that's not exactly nice, and at that point Pinkie starts to look annoyed. All in all Twilight got five points using these tactic, and she looks quite... let's just say "intense" through the whole thing.

The next category is something Twilight apparently knows nothing about -- sticks and stones. That could mean a lot of things, but Mudbrier's quick to make a quip while Twilight hyperventilates into a paper bag. Pinkie's attempt to let Twilight know there's chance she knows half the answer doesn't help with her hyperventilating... it only makes it worse.

I started out most on Twilight's side in this, and sharing her enthusiasm, but at this point I kinda wanted to see her get knocked down a peg or two by her own doing, and that may very well happen at this point.

Twilight concedes to let Pinkie answer a simple question -- “what type of stone can be used to start a fire?” Why Pinkie's response is "the black one!" of course, and they're looking for something a bit more specific... Maud takes the point, and Pinkie sits there surprised that she didn't get the point despite Sunburst's reasonable explanation.

Twilight suddenly asks Pinkiw to ask her sister a question having to do with the category they're on... she takes the bait and is disqualified. Rather than focusing on herself for very long, she turns her attention to Twilight... afterall if she's out, Twilight's out, but since there's another player who's also had a teammate disqualified, she's now team Twiburst. Pinkie is crushed, but still happy to cheer Twilight on, and... Twilight is manipulative as all get out.

Sunburst is quick to point out that Twilight seems off in the competition and is happy to pick up the slack. The following question Twilight gives an incomplete answer to and concedes the bell over to Sunburst. Sunburst quickly gives Twilight a taste of her own medicine – exactly what she was giving to Pinkie, but only unwittingly so. He's also the competitive type and wants to dominate, even if that means having his teammate get out of his way.

Yet another montage, this one of Sunburst blocking Twilight again and again. Their score goes all the way up to 46. Seriously, even at a brisk pace, with all teams present that would take a couple hours. Twilight tries to assure Sunburst she can give good answers, but he's too focused on the game. A question comes up that it seems he does not know the answer but Twilight and Dash do, and in the time it takes them to fight over to regain the bell Dash answers... pointing triumphantly at Applejack (the only pony it seems she's really in competition with). Turns out Sunburst knew the answer, too, and instead of arguing with Twilight asks her to do a quick fact check... she figures out what he's up to, blows up at him, but then sees Pinkie looking crushed in the background... because she's done it, too, seeing her own behavior in Sunburst.

They discuss some strange loophole where Cranky can come back into the game (provided he's well-rested), and Twilight gets out to talk to Pinkie... apologizing for losing sight of just having fun, and forgetting what "really mattered" ... her friends (and not manipulating them into sacrificing their spots to win a game). Pinkie's not surprised Twilght got overly focused. Pinkie's unsure of the idea of going back to the team with Twilight, which she understands... but it's only because Pinkie has a cake made and just about changed it to Twiburst (it looks just supermarket like a cake, they did a good job replicating things I've seen bakers do at my old work).

Twilight and Pinkie rejoin the game, as they're able only if they reset their score to zero. Pinkie comments that "these rules are really convoluted" ... which they are. There's little chance of them winning now, it's just for fun... but in the end Twilight and Pinkie are over the problem, they give a wrong answer together to the next question, and fade out as Derpy is shown trying to enter through the locked doors. Poor Derpy... she's too late, it seems.

… I just hope they can be opened easily from the inside, lest Ponyville have a bad firecode.

* * *

So that's A Trivial Problem. It's a thoughtful episode with a simple premise about teamwork and keeping desires enough check in as to not throw friends under the bus to accomplish one's goals. It's full of a lot of over the top, exaggerated facial expressions and gets more and more tense as the episode goes along. It's also a little convoluted in places, but self-aware enough to almost say to the audience “come on... this is all for fun!” It also shows the drawbacks of taking friendly competition too seriously.

We've all had times in life we could get what we want at the expense of someone else, be a friend or family member, and this episode shows the regret we can feel after making those decisions with someone we care about, as well as how things can backfire. Twilight hurts Pinkie, risks her ability to trust her again... and same thing with Sunburst coming in, taking control of the game. It's fortunate Pinkie just looks at this game opportunity to just have fun and help her friend, and is able to accept her Twilight's flaws so easily. It shows when someone comes up to you and admits they're wrong and how it might've hurt you, that means they've likely learned something from the experience and it's okay to forgive them.

All in all good episode.

Hope everyone's well!

Peace :eeyup:

-Wayward Pony.

Report wayward_pony · 110 views ·
Comments ( 3 )

I hated this episode twilight pissed me off. Pinkie should have just ended their friendship right there. But no she’s so forgiving. Do you even like pinkie? Sorry it’s kinda hard to tell.

5330910

Sure, it's easy to understand why someone would consider ending a friendship over that, and it would have been good story-wise to see Pinkie a bit more hurt specifically by Twilight's actions, but I think the reason they didn't take that route is because it followed a structure where Twilight saw the error of her ways through her actions repeated in others towards her, and realized she'd been a bad friend. Pinkie doesn't realize how bad Twilight's been entirely, and she immediately bounces back from bad experiences which is a good quality to have. I also feel MLP's not going to go the more negative route as it's trying to demonstrate conflict resolution and introspection rather than a complete meltdown. Twilight also dodged a bullet because it's Pinkie and I think they wanted to imply that.

Yeah, I like Pinkie. Quite a bit, actually, though RL I might want earplugs if I were sharing a traincar with her (not to make it so I can't hear her, but to dampen her voice which has the potential to be very loud). I can get a bit negative about how the characters are used sometimes for various reasons, more having to do with the structure of the plot and how their actions are incorporated. Pinkie's also hard to write for, but one of the things I remember when trying to write for her is like a happy, energetic 5-year old who doesn't see bad in others... and I think that quality was captured decently in this episode.

I kinda like this one, because the conflict is character-driven. It's just about not taking things too seriously, and the potential to catch others in your crosshair because of one's agenda. Good things to consider when approaching an activity.

Peace :eeyup:

5332502
Alright I see your point. Sorry for getting emotional if you like it that’s good I am happy you found some enjoyment from it. Oh believe me dude I hate it when pinkie acts like a clown it’s insufferable and embarrassing seeing a grown mare act like a clown on crack. I call her screeching pie when she gets like that.

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