Thanks a lot for yesterday's episode, Nick. Can't wait to see how you'll chimp out when you start getting criticized on Twitter over it.
Once again, we take something that contains a great concept, but wonky execution. The last episode I can remember Nick Confalone writing was "What About DIscord?", which was shit in a bean can. This episode is beans. Not even the Bush's Baked kind, either: the store-brand variety where it tastes more like salt than beans.
Anyway, the idea of Starlight being forced by Twilight to go make new friends is an interesting one. On the one hoof, it highlights Twilight's shortcomings on being a teacher: I mean, really, Twi, why are you forcing someone to go make a friend THIS early in her studies on friendship, and in such a way that would make ANYone feel forced, uncomfortable, and stressed?
But on the other hand, Starlight was charismatic enough to convince an entire township's worth of ponies to follow her dastardly philosophy on cutie marks. How could she have trouble in convincing somepony to just join her for dinner? Unlike Trixie, whose exploits are all talked about, it doesn't look like anypony in Ponyville really knows about Starlight's past. Being friends with a Princess has its perks, I guess.
Let's see, go find friends, yadda yadda, make Big Macintosh talk for an unfunny joke, blah blah, have Mrs. Cake act like a jerk for no reason, yackity-smackity, Rainbow Dash makes terrifying facial expressions.
So Starlight meets Trixie, they fall in love, fight "bigot" caricatures in a black-and-white morality tale clearly written by a fifth grader who was probably upset when he learned he was adopted, and....
...oh wait, right. Trixie and Starlight become friends.
Their friendship actually works, I'll admit. Both being previously bad, they can comfortably joke about their misdeeds together, and that they end up having a lot to talk about makes me think maybe Starlight really could start up a "new Mane Six" in a later season. Handing the reigns over to another set of ponies would certainly help the show's lifespan by repeating the same superficial friendship lessons the previous Mane Six already learned, and thereby grant the show the fake longevity it needs to survive in the plastic world of modern children's cartoons.
So they reveal their secret love to Twilight. Twilight gets upset because character development doesn't exist in this show, no way, no how. Nope nope nope.
Trixie talks about her new show, mentions Hoofdini. Yeah, a parody of Houdini. All these more obscure references to famous people in previous episodes, but they go for the laziest reference possible when it comes to magic. I guess Clopperfield or Prance and Trotter would fly over the kids' heads, wouldn't it?
So after Twilight starts doing stupid shit, Trixie does some stupid shit, followed by Starlight doing stupid shit. [<= actual notes in the script]
And, I'll be honest, I didn't finish this episode. Partially because Nick took a great concept and somehow made it boring, partially because the scene where Trixie comes on-stage and starts throwing a pity party was easily the worst thing I've seen in the show so far. No professional magician or performer does this.
I know I'm reading too much into it, and maybe I should let it go because it's just a cartoon. But MLP was a cartoon that had high standards, with characters who felt more real.
...Or was it?
Maybe we're all looking too deeply into this show. Maybe the cartoon characters we love are just as flat as any caricature. Maybe underneath all the pretty colors, we have something meant for kids to watch instead of adults to analyze.
...Maybe it really is a shallow waste of our time.