Thrond

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About Thrond

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    Royal Pony
  • Birthday December 1

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    Canada
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    throndponycorner.blogspot.com
  • Interests
    Film, history, television, video games
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  1. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 9: Non-Compete Clause

    I think the new characters are neat and it kinda bugs me that they're basically indistinguishable from each other here, but I'll at least admit that it makes the students I didn't like a bit less annoying. I was excited for the school because it seemed like it would be a breath of fresh air, but so far it kinda seems like same old, same old.
  2. Thrond

    Thrond's Review Thread

    Gave this a second shot on a full night's sleep and had a much better time with it. The "love is real" stuff is still way too saccharine for my tastes, but I was able to better appreciate the clever dialogue and get past the still kinda rote and tiresome plot structure. I even picked up on a lot of small jokes I missed when I was tired. Point by point: No, Discord, I think you're a first-rate clown magician for hire. Since the main appeal of this one for me is the jokes, I can't go into too much detail without just listing gags I liked, but what this episode really has going for it is timing. I think my favourite is still Big Mac's letter, which is so vague that it sounds like a sexual innuendo, but the jokes just keep coming and almost all of them land. I totally missed how weirdly specific Spike's lucky guess was, for instance, and that reminds me of one of my favourite gags from the first Equestria Girls movie. Surprisingly, this time I got a kick out of all the misunderstandings. Part of it is because the episode doesn't dwell too much on any of them, but the extreme emotions everyone demonstrates helps. The CMC are so excited that Sweetie Belle might have a secret admirer, and Big Mac is just so distraught over what he thinks is going on. More importantly, this episode's snappy pace keeps the plot moving quickly, and the contrivances themselves are mined for maximum humour. I especially like that we eventually get to see this from Sugar Belle's point of view. Mrs. Cake addressing her weirdly ominous language is one of my favourite jokes in the whole episode, for instance, and possibly added some value to this second viewing. This is basically our first time seeing her in a casual context, and I find her quite charming. Can't believe I didn't think this episode deviated from the misunderstandings, either. Spike and Discord are constantly riffing, and the episode is far more interested in pursuing gags than continuing plot, just as I like it. Besides, not that many of the jokes are about the fact that the CMC and Big Mac have misunderstood things, and instead about how they react to those misunderstandings. Discord is a jerk again here, but seeing him support Big Mac does help answer my long-held question of why anyone hangs out with him. It's still a bit distressing to see him try to ruin his good friend's relationship out of seeming impatience and boredom, but he's also super funny in this, and while the return of the Ogres & Oubliettes stuff is somewhat less creative than his usual shtick, I enjoyed seeing his friendship with Spike and Big Mac expanded upon, and that shtick allows for some funny gags, especially the appearance of Skelanor. "Love is about spying in the bushes." - Spike And while the "love is real" stuff still does nothing for me, I do still like the moral about being honest with your significant other, and being able to hold mature conversations about your feelings. I wish this further explored Big Mac's feelings about talking, but even what we got deepens him significantly, and it's a good moral all the same. Big Mac and Sugar Belle are adorable together as well. This show is often criticized for its approach to romances, but it's always shown the ability to make couples charming, and I think it's putting that to much better use this season. So Discord probably has a crush on Fluttershy? I sure hope that ship doesn't become reciprocated... LyraBon: canon! Score: Entertainment: 9/10 Characters: 8/10 Themes: 8/10 Story: 6/10 Overall: 78/100 Also, if Spike wants to get with the skeleton enemy from their LARP, maybe he needs to get a real girlfriend.
  3. I was pretty sleep deprived when I first saw this so I decided to give it another chance. Turns out jokes work much better when you're more awake.
  4. There's nothing especially wrong with this but it's really cliched and predictable, even down to the jokes, which are nicely timed but not very creative. I often enjoy romance stories, but I can't really relate to them unless they stumble across some kind of universal theme, and because so much of the banter is either sappy stuff about the value of love or predictable reactions to the misunderstanding plot, I didn't have too much fun with this. It's alright I guess.
  5. Most of these make perfect sense to me. Pinkie Pie not liking Mud Briar? Sure, that's realistic. CMCs not being able to help Terramar? Well, his issue is kinda abstract, and you can see how the Crusaders got caught up in it as well. Starlight and Sunburst? Family issues can be hard to work out, especially if they've been left to fester for a long time. Twilight? She just wanted to make Celestia happy, and even with all she knew, she still didn't want to hurt Celestia's feelings. Just because you know the right thing doesn't make it any easier, and that's why Twilight was avoiding it. These are all things I think are perfectly understandable and therefore relatable. If the mane six did the right thing all the time, I think the show would get boring. Fluttershy is different because I still don't really understand her thought process. I don't understand how she got so caught up in the personas that she almost immediately forgot her original goal. It doesn't seem reasonable to me. Similarly, the relationship between Applejack and Rainbow Dash in the latest episode didn't seem to line up with how they interacted previously, and their intentions were too petty and immature to really appreciate. In both of these cases, we're not really led to empathize with the characters. Those episodes are about how others react to their nonsense, and that's actually been the exception this season. I certainly don't think it's an intentional effort to make the students look better, as they don't even appear in that many episodes. Instead, I just think these two episodes got too caught up in their morals and forgot to write a sensible story to lead up to that point. This is something the show has done for basically its entire run.
  6. I mean, sure, but that's already happened three times.
  7. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 9: Non-Compete Clause

    A lot of other people are gonna take up all the behaviour and consistency issues, and I talk a little about those in my own thread, so I'm just gonna reiterate here that this episode is boring. This is more or less exactly how Applejack/Rarity episodes come across to me, though this is a fair bit more sloppy and simplistic. I don't like this kind of thing, and I have precious little patience for the show continuing to portray the characters I actually care about so obnoxiously. Like last season, this one has the feel that the writers just don't get the old characters or what made them so popular, and it's deeply alienating to me.
  8. Thrond

    Thrond's Review Thread

    Season 8 episode 9, "Non-Compete Clause" This almost exclusively consists of stuff which I haven't liked in the show before. I can take the lack of consistent characterization - I like season 6, for crying out loud - but the jokes here are fairly stale and the moral is strained to the point of insult. I don't see what's entertaining about Rainbow Dash and Applejack just bickering constantly, as that's what I hate about most of the Rarity+Applejack episodes, and the student six's reactions are so rote as to barely even register. I don't think the snarky dialogue is all that creative, and when the main thing the students are doing is offering snarky reactions to Applejack and Rainbow, I can barely tell their personalities apart aside from vocal delivery. And sure, I'm angry about how Applejack and Rainbow Dash are written here - this is far worse than season 1, where at least this kind of thing would start calm and escalate - but I'm much more angry that this is just such a simplistic moral. You wrote both of these characters as selfish and immature to what end? Was it really worth it? Please treat the characters I actually care about with respect. You don't need to take the old characters down a peg to sell us on the new ones. Also, please don't do that "actually, they showed us what not to do" thing. It's asinine and nobody buys it. And please - PLEASE - don't have Twilight talk down to her friends as the voice of reason. That's just the worst. Don't do that. Mostly, though, I just didn't find this very funny. There were one or two moments I laughed at, and the students were somewhat appealing, but it wasn't nearly enough for me. I can take a lot of issues from this show if I'm not bored, but I was definitely bored here. I just got very little out of this one. Score: Entertainment: 3/10 Characters: 2/10 Themes: 4/10 Story: 1/10 Overall: 25/100
  9. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 8: The Parent Map

    The map was in the show for two years before it started calling people other than the mane six, and I don't buy that all of these missions occurred over a relatively small period of time. Yeah, while I liked that the main story kept getting interrupted by weird stuff, it could have been something better than the map.
  10. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 8: The Parent Map

    @WaterPulse "Triple Threat" was absurd. Spike doesn't even have a cutie mark. "Surf and/or Turf" and "A Royal Problem" are also offenders in this regard; I feel like every time it appears, the map finds some new way to annoy me.
  11. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 8: The Parent Map

    If nothing else, though, seeing it grow increasingly arbitrary makes me feel vindicated in having criticized it as forced and clunky for years now.
  12. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 8: The Parent Map

    I can see how the red herring map mission worked to introduce the (admittedly pretty lame) central metaphor, but the last two seasons I basically only found the map tolerable because it allowed stories to start faster, and now that it's starting to bog down the pacing instead, I just want it gone.
  13. Thrond

    Season 8, Episode 8: The Parent Map

    That episode is fantastic, in large part because Quibble isn't just two-dimensional, and in part because it's genuinely funny and exciting, which I didn't feel was true of today's episode. I could probably deal with this plot formula if there was more to it, but the episode just kept banging on the same points ad nauseam to the point that I was having to force myself to continue. I don't find the idea that the parents approach the town the same way they approach their children funny or interesting enough to endure it being repeated over and over and over again.
  14. Thrond

    Thrond's Review Thread

    To clarify: Even Firelight's coddling felt to me like it should have assisted with Starlight being able to move on from Sunburst, and the episode never implies that he was anything worse than that, whereas Starlight's previously warped sense of right and wrong, and severe inability to consider the consequences of her actions, struck me as something which would only really be reinforced by continued isolation for a significant period of time. I'm not sure I find it plausible that she could turn out the way she did if she grew up in an ostensibly loving and supportive environment, even with as clearly out-of-touch as Firelight became. I preferred when I could fill in the blanks myself.
  15. Thrond

    Thrond's Review Thread

    Season 8 episode 8 - "The Parent Map I did not like this at all. The parent characters felt very irritating and one-note to me, and I found the majority of jokes here unfunny. The moral is okay, but this is yet another episode which can't shut up about the broad strokes of the moral but leaves all the interesting nuance to a few lines of dialogue at the very end. Point by point: Why bother with the red herring of the parents' conflict over the town if you're just gonna rush through it? It's obvious from the start that the main problem here is Starlight and Sunburst's relationship with their parents, so if you're not gonna do anything interesting with the conflict between the parents, why bother? Is it just for the obvious metaphor? This episode just can't stop pointing out that, yes, these parent characters' approaches to the town directly reflect how they approach their children. I understood that very early, but it never built anywhere. It just kept being reiterated through unfunny diversions, and I found that incredibly irritating. It's not even a good metaphor, because tying everything these two characters do to these specific character traits makes them overly simplistic, and it's unsubtle to the point of feeling forced. I get it, show. Give me something else. There are a couple good jokes here. The gate is funny, Sunburst being oblivious to the mailman is funny, Starlight's old room is funny. Everything else is either incredibly repetitive or obnoxiously exaggerated. Really? Hard ancient bread? That's so forced. Compounding that problem is that Firelight and Stellar Flare are pretty unfunny themselves, and are depicted here as very one-note. Way too many of the jokes come back to these parents being overbearing in very specific, repetitive ways, and I think the show would have to work way harder than it does here to make that endless, simplistic repetition funny. Clearly there's more depth to their concerns, but we don't get any of that until the very end. "Show, don't tell" applies to this as well, and I'm out of patience for the show pulling this trick. It just feels lazy now. And I don't care if we're seeing this from Starlight and Sunburst's perspective. If you want me to laugh at this, and some of the goofy setups here are obviously jokes, then you're creating distance from the characters, in which case I expect you to show me more of the picture than the main characters. You can only improve your story by adding nuance. And as I said, the main conflict here is painfully obvious, so watching Starlight and Sunburst take forever to realize it seriously tested my patience. Having other characters already know the problem before those two just adds insult to injury; does the crew think it's inherently funny to be two steps ahead of characters? It's not! It's really annoying, especially when I believe the main characters should have realized this ages ago. Get to the point, show! Starlight and Sunburst are perfectly fine characters in this, but this kind of story, where they're constantly annoyed and grumpy, is a really bad vehicle for showing off their most entertaining qualities. They just sort of complain and mope the whole time, and their dialogue isn't nearly as witty as it would need to be to overcome that. Even in episodes I like, I find this structure deeply limiting, and there's only so much fun you can put in when your characters are limited to one or two emotions. Given what this episode implies about Staright's past, I'm not sure I understand how she became so messed up anymore. That elephant in the room is not even briefly addressed, and Josh Haber's "latchkey kid" theory doesn't seem to fit Firelight's personality, or the implication that she left him and not the other way around. Right now this seems to me like the most significant retcon the series has yet offered. Finally, I'm sorry, I do need to complain about the Cutie Map again, because they keep bringing up all the stuff which frustrates me about it. So Sunburst is the first person outside of Ponyville to be summoned? Why is this? How does the map decide which problems to solve, and who should solve them? It doesn't feel mysterious to me, it feels artificial and arbitrary. It just happens to tell the stories that the writers want at this time, and absolutely no others ever. I'm begging for even the slightest bit of actual explanation. Score: Entertainment: 2/10 Characters: 3/10 Themes: 6/10 Story: 2/10 Overall: 35/100