• Member Since 25th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago

The Hat Man

Specialties include comedy, robots, and precision strikes to your feelings. Hobbies include hat and watch collecting. May contain alcohol.


"The stars are GONE!" Twilight declares at an emergency faculty meeting at the School of Friendship. Is it an impending apocalyptic disaster... or is this a classic case of Twilighting? Starlight's got a guess...

WINNER of the 1st "Quills and Sofas" Group Speed-Writing Competition!

Also, may contain some real gripes from a real high-school teacher who knows some academic horse-hockey when he sees it...

Cover image used with permission from OinkTweetStudios! Check 'em out, they do awesome work!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 25 )

Congratulations on the win! :D

Alien is a good movie — bear with me here, or if you don’t want to the summation of this is basically “this is a fun story and I like it” — for a lot of different reasons related to pacing, design, acting, and so on. But one of the reasons why it’s a good movie is lost on modern audiences, because they lack a certain degree of context that audiences had when it first premiered, namely, that John Hurt was a major or at least very well-known actor in Hollywood at the time, and Sigourney Weaver was an unknown.

One of the reasons why I tend to dislike melancholic, existential, or horror stories, quite apart from not particularly liking feeling scared or depressed, is because they tend to be fairly predictable to someone who’s even slightly genre-savvy. You can generally tell about halfway through such movies or stories, even when well-written, where they’re going to go, sometimes able to predict entire plot “twists” just because the entire genre is fairly rote. This is particularly true of stories that lean on ennui, but it’s more commonly witnessed in horror simply because there’s more horror stories (consider the slew of horror movies we tend to get inundated with every January and February). Alien is a good movie, then, for pulling a successful twist on the audience — John Hurt, the ostensible star, is the first one to die, while Sigourney Weaver, an unknown and portraying a fairly-at-first unlikable character, lives through the whole thing.

(And yes, Hitchcock’s Psycho pulls a very similar twist more than a decade earlier, but I felt like referencing Alien)

Comedy, by contrast to ennui and horror and so on, is built on the unexpected, clever little twists and turns. Comedy is harder than existentialism because the audience expects more of it. The audience expects to be surprised — but how do you surprise someone who expects to be surprised? That’s the comedian’s conundrum. And there’s no real right answer to it. Comedy relies a lot on context, on the audience of the moment. Each comedy has to be its own innovation. It’s not predictable, at least not if it’s any good.

I could go on for a while as to why this works, but to draw to a close: it just does. Never dissect a joke or try and figure out why it’s funny. Just laugh.

oh for ponies sake twilight. this is the smarty pants incident all over again isn't it.

seriously though, this story deserved #1. fantastic job.


Oh, this is a funny one. Nice story! Congrats on winning that contest!

“Ooh, ooh!” Pinkie exclaimed, waving her hoof in the air. “I know! Maybe some evil force is slowly making its way inward from the outermost edges of the universe, eliminating star after star, galaxy after galaxy, but due to the speed of light and time dilation we’re just noticing it now, which means we only have a small amount of time before it comes for us and completely wipes out the sun and all life in Equestria!”

What, why wou—

Oh wait, it's Pinkie.

Nothing to see here, everybody, move along.

Fluttershy blushed. “Oh. Sorry, but when you take care of a lot of animals with relatively short lifespans, you become a little used to the idea of your own mortality.”

Oh, yeah.

That's... quite sad, actually.

“I like them as much as the next pony,” Twilight said. “But for true excellence, a gold star sticker is the only recourse! No smiley face stickers, no ‘Super Job!’ stickers, no ‘Well Done!’ stickers as backhoofed compliments, no ‘Teacher’s Hard Worker’ consolation prizes… why, if Celestia hadn’t put genuine, authentic gold stars on my work as her student, I’d never have become the pony I am today!”

Twilight, as much as I like you, you need therapy. :facehoof:

Or at least, recognize the fact that not every student's motivation and/or self-esteem is dependent upon what in other words is a mass-produced product. Didn't we cover this in 'Testing Testing 1,2,3'?

P.S. When you take comedy seriously.

Still fantastic!

Story directly above this one in "new stories": "The Stars Are Gone".

This would be a lot more fun if we turned it into a drinking game like Trixie suggested… “For every trust fall exercise, take a shot! For every reference to that starfish story that ends with ‘It means a lot to this one!’ take a shot!”

My wife who is a teacher laughed hard at this.


Why did Rarity gasp about the stars being gone and ask if Luna knew before Twilight announced the stars were gone?

I think the intent was that Rarity was already there in the room and Twilight told her before anypony else (because she arrived first), with Glimmer picking up Rarity’s response and then Twilight telling everypony.

Either that or it’s a minor authorial gaffe caused by the compressed writing time.

Or both.

Ah. No, it was a mistake. I moved a few things around and somehow Rarity's line got misplaced. :twilightblush: Totally my bad. Thanks for pointing it out; it's fixed now!


A lot of good stories came out of that contest. I think we'll see a few more in the feature box soon.

Damnit, Twilight... :facehoof:


Sorry, my smugness detector went off. You were saying? :pinkiehappy:

Was a hilarious story with great pacing. Well-deserved win.

She managed a smirk. Trixie was a dumpster fire of personality disorders, but at least she was fun and had no filter, which was more than most ponies could say.

I'm giving you a favorite and a thumbs up just for this line and I haven't finished the story yet. Fucking hilarious :rainbowlaugh:

Edit: Finished the story, still great!

Congratulations on winning the contest! Just reading this made me laugh so hard that I almost disturbed my co-workers. You deserve it.

Very nice little story :)

This is my life. I chose this.

Well, at first you chose this over being convicted for crimes against equinity, but after graduating... Yeah, you chose this.

Brilliant bit of Twilighting. I'm honestly amazed that those stickers aren't subsidized by the EEA. I feel like that's the kind of petty minutia that Neighsay would love to dictate. Thank you for a most entertaining read.

Glad you liked it! I've been thinking of turning this into an ongoing comedy about working in education, and you're absolutely right that Neighsay would obsess over this sort of thing.

Starfish story? Sorry, don't get the reference.

It's a story that almost every teacher has heard. It's an allegory for how you can't help every student and it may seem pointless to try, but it makes a big difference to help the individual students when you can. Here's a short version of it:

It's a poignant story the first time you hear it, but in my profession, I've heard it so many times it's become a bit of a cliche. :twilightblush:

We must find the centurion and the pandorica!!!

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