• Member Since 20th Apr, 2012
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Loganberry


Hold your ground but do not be unkind. (Ponyphonic, "Shy Heart")

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Source

Fancy Pants' place in Canterlot's social hierarchy gives him certain obligations. One of these is the hosting of a number of balls, dinner parties and so on. Tonight he will be putting on a small, intimate "At Home" affair for just a few guests. Sadly, Jet Set and Upper Crust will be among their number. Before all that, though, Fancy Pants and his faithful butler, Silver Cloud, need to make the final preparations.

The winning entry for the Making the Most of the Mundane contest in the Characters That Need More Stories group!

Review: PresentPerfect

Cover art: cropped, flipped and edited version of Fancy Pants, created by The-Smiling-Pony and made available under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 16 )

If you did not care about Fancy Pants, why write him?

Cliches. The characters speak in cliches. Cliches, I claim, that were made popular first to ridicule the perceived upper-class. Why invest the time to try to present an object of ridicule? Fancy Pant's internal monologue is riddled with cliches. No character has a meaningful voice. If the characters cannot interact in a meaningful way, why should one expect any meaning in the narrative? All I see is a pastiche of weak "British" stereotypes. It drools out of the writing like cottage cheese.

I don't care about Fancy Pant's get-together preparations. Neither, I claim, do you. No one. What insight do we gain, what struggles do we fight? The point of literary realism was never to depict a monotonous "real life." The mental and emotional struggles of relatively bland characters like the Underground Man or Karenin were the point. I'm not sure if Fancy Pants is given a mind at all.

So I accuse this of voiceless characters and meaningless narrative.

5647548
Thanks for reading, and especially for taking the time to leave a review. Much appreciated. :twilightsmile:

If you did not care about Fancy Pants, why write him?

Actually, I rather like Fancy Pants, both in the show and in this story. I think he is something of a stereotype, but there again, there really are (or at least were) people in our world like that. He's certainly nicer than the likes of Jet Set, but he does have his faults: a paternalistic mindset towards the staff, a pride in not being prejudiced yet casually using a word like "Prenchies", and so on. He's like a certain type of British colonial administrator, I suppose. Thinks of himself as "a good chap", and certainly better than many, but then few are willing to criticise him to his face. (Silver Cloud gets closer than most!)

I don't care about Fancy Pant's get-together preparations. Neither, I claim, do you.

The first part of that is fair enough: you found it uninvolving. On the second part, you're mistaken. I've always liked this sort of very "slicey" slice-of-life, straightforwardly a window into someone else's ordinary routine. I would happily read a one-shot about Twilight reshelving her library or Fluttershy feeding her chickens, even if nothing went wrong and there were no unexpected happenings at all. I may very well be in a minority there, but it's true for all that.

"British"

This is one place where I will push back a little: Fancy Pants' "Britishness" is played up a bit, certainly, but the way he talks and behaves... there are people in my own family who say things like "Oh, do shut up, there's a good fellow" unironically. I say things like that occasionally, and my background is middle-class English, not really posh at all. (I also play backgammon, come to that. A good game it is, too.)

None of this is to complain about your review, which was all fair comment. You think I failed to provide you with an interesting story, and (because you explained why) that's valuable feedback, which I'll bear in mind for the future. I see that someone upvoted your comment, so you're presumably not alone. As I said, I don't agree with everything you said -- I've just re-read the story for myself, and I still enjoy reading it -- but perhaps I'm in the minority there. At any rate, thank you again for your comments and I hope the next fic you read on this site will give you more enjoyment.

I'm a bit conflicted by this. I love the voices for Fancy and Cloud. They feel very rich and full. I can imagine them speaking back and forth quite vividly in my mind which is always wonderful.

But I found them a bit perplexing in spots. Fancy at times is almost louche in his attitudes with Cloud and once or twice is quite strict. It felt like there wasn't really any rhyme or reason for it. He complains Cloud is to cringing and subservient, yet when Cloud tries to show more spirit he's criticized quite roundly.

I love the descriptions of Fancy's house, it felt perfect for him and really filled out the world beautifully.

The ending confused me slightly since I wasn't entirely sure if it was Fleur, or if Fancy was mistaking another pony for her. :twilightsheepish:

Still very cute and fun. Bravo:twilightsmile:

5648680 Thank you very much for taking the time to give me your thoughts. I'm very grateful for that. :twilightsmile:

I can imagine [Fancy and Cloud] speaking back and forth quite vividly in my mind which is always wonderful.

Thank you! Cloud was a character who wasn't even in my original notes for what became this fic, but once he was there, he refused to go away. I'm no PG Wodehouse (life can be so unfair sometimes), but I'm half-tempted to write more Fancy & Cloud stuff in the future. And I'm happy you thought the worldbuilding (housebuilding?) stuff worked, too; it's something I've been trying to improve in my writing.

He complains Cloud is to cringing and subservient, yet when Cloud tries to show more spirit he's criticized quite roundly.

The "Pin the Tailcoat on the Pony" line, which is the only time Cloud is sharply rebuked, is a special case: it can be seen as making fun of Fancy's own circle. Even for a relatively decent chap like Fancy, that's a little beyond the pale coming from a servant. When Cloud attempts to correct his master on matters of etiquette, where there's no perceived dig at posh ponies in general, Fancy's responses are considerably milder.

The ending confused me slightly

It's not the best-written part of the story, I willingly concede, but it's Belle Epoque, who has a very similar mane to Fleur's when seen through a crack in a door from a distance. Fancy Pants didn't realise his mistake until too late because his monocle had come off as he ran through the hall, so he couldn't see properly! (As an aside, note that it's Belle who is introducing her husband; that way round felt right for Equestria's matriarchal society.)

One day, I may learn to write a concise response to a review. This is not that day! Anyway, thanks again for reading, and even more so for your comments, and I'm pleased you (mostly) enjoyed the story. :twilightsmile:

5648808 Not a problem, I'm glad you appreciated them.

I think my problem with Fancy and Cloud, was Fancy seemed to be wanting Cloud to relax, yet when he tried to do so he was rebuked. so to me it felt like an odd dichotomy.

Ahh, the ending makes sense now.:rainbowlaugh:

5649114

Fancy seemed to be wanting Cloud to relax, yet when he tried to do so he was rebuked.

He wanted Cloud to relax a bit, but with the "Tailcoat" remark he crossed a line. For all that Fancy gets irritated with his butler's obsession with what he (Fancy) sees as the minutiae of protocol, Cloud is still a servant. Fancy isn't quite going to accept being spoken to as a personal friend might. I perhaps didn't quite make this clear enough in the story, which is another useful thing to know. :pinkiesmile:

5649175 Also, I suspect Fancy wouldn't like being entirely without protocol and suchlike. He still wants things done on his terms.

5657479 Thanks very much! I'm very happy you enjoyed reading. :twilightsmile:

Okay...! *Cracks knuckles* Let's see then. Now, as I did mention over on Louder Yay earlier, Fancy Pants isn't a character that I'd normally be all that interested in reading about. It isn't that I dislike him - he just isn't a character that interests me on the same level as Luna or Pinkie, for instance. However, I thought there was no harm in giving the story a chance, especially as so many of your stories have been well worth taking the time to read. And above all else, a story about a character that you're not necessarily all that interested in can, just sometimes, give that character a new lease of life.

And I can honestly say that I found it to be a perfectly entertaining story. Before I read it, I watched a few of the bits from "Sweet & Elite" so I could get the image of Fancy Pants locked into my empty head, and I think he's definitely kept in character just right here. Which I imagine isn't actually all that easy, because he's far from a straightforward character. (At least, it seems that way to me.) I couldn't help but think of the S1 finale, where Celestia mentions at the end that she has to hold the gala each year because it's expected and it's her responsibility, but that she finds them extremely dreary at times. Although I doubt Fancy Pants is quite that bored of high society, I get the feeling - particularly after reading this story - that there are times he feels a little trapped by the protocol and expectations. That, just now and again, he wishes things were just a little less set in stone. After all, it sounds a bit silly to say it, but it must be a strange life when you're not even meant to answer your own front door or make a snack for yourself, even though you want to do so and are more than capable. :raritydespair:

But, and this is what I think makes his character more complex, it still shows through that Fancy Pants does still rather enjoy the perks of the high society life. He'd certainly never want to be without it, I think, and he also has a certain line that he clearly doesn't want crossed, as seen when Silver Cloud went too far with his comment about the "Pin The Tail" game. :pinkiegasp: Again, that fitted how I'd imagine Fancy Pants - he's a little "rebellious" regarding the rules and protocols, but not that much. Not to the extent where he'd allow his staff to make fun of him or his friends - he isn't that relaxed about it all. So yes, I think you got that just right. I also liked the way that when Silver Cloud was being particularly toadying, if that's the right word, while talking about getting the backgammon game and Fancy Pants' magic, even Mr Pants decided "good grief, that will do!" :twilightoops:

Is Backgammon considered a bit of a posh game? I've never had chance to play it, and know almost nothing about it, but seeing as Fancy Pants had settled on that as the game of choice, I'm guessing it's considered the sort of thing played (not exclusively mind!) by the posh ponies. I also wonder if he ever did win croquet against Luna.

Another moment I liked is when Silver Cloud was about to answer the door, Fancy Pants said that he would do it instead, and - seeing the obvious discomfort from Silver Cloud - he sighed and backed down. He obviously realised that to Silver Cloud, it was important to him, and I imagine Fancy Pants really didn't want to make his butler fell actually uncomfortable like that.

As someone else mentioned, I did have to read the ending a few times, as I wasn't quite sure what had happened. I did then notice what you said in the comments, so I now know what happened, but if there was one criticism, it would be that the ending is a little unclear. Not that I'm sure how I'd write it differently, mind. Also, the other commenter further down said that Fancy Pants seemed to be very cliched and "British." Well... that's because he kind of is. You could hardly have given him or his butler cheeky chirpy chappy Cockney geezer accents, otherwise it would have been woefully out of character! That's how he was meant to speak, and did speak, in the cartoon.

So yes, all in all I thought it was a perfectly good read, and in fact (though the odds of me ever writing it are slim at best) this actually gave me an idea for a short story based around Mr Pants. I just wish I had the skills and the time to actually write it! Still, I shall say no more, on here at least.

And now I shall shut up. :derpytongue2:

5665359 Thank you very much for the detailed comment! For that, you get a beaming Pinkie: :pinkiehappy: I don't think a lot of what you said needs me to do more than just nod sagely (so imagine that, if you would) but there are a couple of things. Backgammon did have a phase of being fashionable in the 1970s, but it does have a rather old-fashioned, slightly stuffy image (at least in the UK) which was ideal for this. As it happens, I do play backgammon a little bit, and like it, but I ignore one of the game's newer developments (the "doubling cube", which has no point if you're not playing for money) and frankly I prefer it that way.

As for the ending, it's not my best piece of writing, and it's probably fairly clear that I didn't really know how to end it but didn't want the two main ponies' conversation to just stop abruptly or fade away, so I had to do something. I don't think it's poor enough that I want to change it now. After all, the mare who speaks at the end can't be Fleur, since she's introducing her husband, and Fleur's husband is most definitely not Beau Monde! :rainbowwild:

That was a nice, relaxing read. I liked how you showed the relationship between Fancy Pants and Silver Cloud. It was a like a nice window into their typical interactions in a way. Anyway, great work on the story. :twilightsmile:

5721036 Thank you! That "window on the world" feel is exactly what I was going for, so I'm glad you felt it came across that way. :twilightsmile:

5721276 You're welcome. :twilightsmile:

lol silly Fancy.
is there hope for countuation? i'd love to see how this goes down

8664011
I'm not actively planning a sequel, but never say never. I did enjoy writing the dialogue in this fic, so it's not impossible. It won't happen in the near future, though, given that I'm in the middle of another Fancy Pants story.

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