Dark Qiviut

Buffalo Man's Review & Analysis Thread

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18 minutes ago, Dark Qiviut said:
  1. What I released in my status was a miniature review. I wanted to write a longer, more thorough review of the episode.
  2. I already have. ;) I'm relieved. :P

Still, dark. When you use words like ageism, sexism, and white supremacy and Donald Trump, I'm beginning to feel like your reviews are just facades, and what are you are really trying to promote a political agenda.

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5 hours ago, RK_Striker_JK_5 said:

Bless you for this one in particular. As someone who LOATHES the idea of fan rankings and the term 'true fan', the idea what there's only one and/or a limited number of ways to enjoy a product truly enrages me.

What does "fan rankings" mean exactly?

5 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

The point? "It's for kids" is a stupid excuse. Being for children shouldn't affect the quality of your product. To use it regardless of circumstance talks down to kids and treats them like idiots. Apply this to "it's for little girls," as well. Labeling FIM as for (little) girls shoves gender roles upon our children, segregates genders into categories, applies different standards of quality to girls when it should be universal, and treats girls as tokens to excuse misogyny and misandry. Being a "good girls' show" shouldn't matter. Be a good show, period.

I still find it amusing that there is still some "criticism" about adults enjoying a show made for little girls.

If nothing else, a "kid's show" should try to appeal to older viewers so the the business (like Hasbro in this case) can potentially make more money than from just the parents buying stuff for their kids.

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The point? "It's for kids" is a stupid excuse. Being for children shouldn't affect the quality of your product. To use it regardless of circumstance talks down to kids and treats them like idiots. Apply this to "it's for little girls," as well. Labeling FIM as for (little) girls shoves gender roles upon our children, segregates genders into categories, applies different standards of quality to girls when it should be universal, and treats girls as tokens to excuse misogyny and misandry. Being a "good girls' show" shouldn't matter. Be a good show, period.

And here's that political agenda I keep referring to. Maybe keep politics and ponies as far away from each other as possible?

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15 minutes ago, Sylveon said:

Still, dark. When you use words like ageism, sexism, and white supremacy and Donald Trump, I'm beginning to feel like your reviews are just facades, and what are you are really trying to promote a political agenda.

That's a mere coincidence, and so is the ordering of analyses and reviews posted in the thread. I post analysis and reviews, because they're big passions. If I wanna throw in a political agenda, I'd mention it in the title. I apologize if it came out that way.

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3 minutes ago, Dark Qiviut said:

That's a mere coincidence, and so is the ordering of analyses and reviews posted in the thread. I post analysis and reviews, because they're big passions. "Political agenda" has nothing to do with it, and I apologize if it came out that way.

If it happens once, its a coincidence. It it happened several times, then it isn't. Analytics and reviews are fine, but they seem deliberlity hostile and dipped with political buzzwords. I feel like these aren't reviews and more political agenda promotion.

 

my suggestion would be keep that kinda stuff on the down low. Keep politics and ponies as far away from each other as humanly possible.

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25 minutes ago, Number? said:

What does "fan rankings" mean exactly?

Basically, are you a 'true fan'? Are you a big, small, medium fan? Trying to quantify how much of a fan someone is for a franchise based on nebulous/arbitrary crap.

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Twilight Sparkle: Come on, Starlight, don't judge a book by its cover. This is the friendship journal my friends and I used to keep. It's filled with all the things we've learned, like: "Friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt, it's worth fighting for."

They learned that lesson from Return of Harmony. The season 2 premiere. The journal didn't debut until season four. Unless they stated to add them in later (which they didn't directly), it should be only S4 lessons, not a mesh of all four together.

 

Except the dialogue explicitly said that it was the lessons that they've all have learned. The fact Twilight has mentioned that point in the book indicates that it was put into the book. The series has never denied that the only lessons they've put into the book were from Season 4, so I do not see an issue with this.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

The fact that everyone suddenly wanted to know about what they learned. Once they published it, they became popular and unpopular. Why does this not make sense from a continuity perspective?

Ever since they defeated Nightmare Moon, Ponyville and Canterlot revered them as celebrities. Sure, other episodes within the earlier seasons had this type of occurrence before, ala 'Shy from Green Isn't Your Color. But Green is from season one, when the characters and world still grew. At the time, it was mostly Canterlot, Ponyville, and the Everfree Forest, So the writers could get away with that.

Nowadays, the Forest has no more plot utilization, and the world has expanded beyond not just Ponyville and Canterlot, but Equestria altogether. In RoH, Celestia rewarded their victory with a celebration and stained-glass window. They saved The Crystal Empire from Sombra. Twilight became a princess. After defeating Tirek and saving all of Equestria, they and Spike became responsible for spreading the Magic of Friendship across the world. You get the point.

If this was a early-season episode (seasons one through two), then their sudden popularity would be believable. This is season seven. They're international celebrities. If they were interested in the journal and lessons, they would've done so long ago. Particularly the ponies from Ponyville. More about this later.

 

This isn't an issue with the episode but of how despite how popular they should be by now being saviors of Equestria, it's infrequently brought up only when it's convenient for the plot in the series. Unless you're willing to criticize the whole series for this problem, I do not think it's fair you single this episode out when the series itself is guilty of this. Also, the reason why they hadn't shown the reverence for their lessons before is because they were never published till Fame and Misfortune from those famed celebrities. There's now a means for folks to be able to get to know these lessons on a public level and because they know whom they are and can speak with them, of course they're going to parade around them or hate them due to how there's now a means for them to praise or critique them on what lessons or adventures they had done as that's what fans and haters have done before. 

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

The CMCs' sudden popularity makes no sense, either. They dipped into popularity contests twice (Confidential, Twilight Time). In Flight to the Finish, they were awarded the spot representing Ponyville for the opening ceremony. After Lost Mark, they became permanent celebrities and are sought for advice whenever they wonder where to either find their Mark or reconnect with it. Hell, they remark about their history of success during Forever Filly:

Cutie_Mark_Crusaders_pleased_with_themse
 

Quote

Scootaloo: [sighs] Not a bad way to start a day.
Apple Bloom: Not a bad way at all! Helpin' ponies is just about my favorite thing to do.
Sweetie Belle: Another satisfied client!
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo: Mm-hmm!

So, why would they suddenly become really popular again now? And why would they conveniently skip over Twilight Time's lesson, which SB wrote in that same journal?

Or is it because they're associated by the popularity wave the mane 6 are having due to being heavily involved with them in their lessons (that's a thing too that likely got added into the books too) and how they're just taking advantage of it. Despite their prior popularity for their work, they're obviously going to receive a major boost to it just cause there's a huge popularity wave with the mane 6 and their journals and how involved the CMCs are in it.

 

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

In the Equestrian world, Daring Do is nothing but a figment of A.K. Yearling's and the Daring fandom's imagination. The RM6 know she's real, yet they respect Daring's/A.K.'s boundaries. She wants nothing but to be remembered as a quality children's storybook series. The entire Daring Do con is commemorated specifically for Daring the character, her world, and overall cast. The ending of both Don't and Stranger imply they (both the ReMane Six and Quibble) keep her identity and privacy a secret.

But the RM6 out her in their journal. Not one of the seven, especially Dash nor Twilight, pause for one second to reconsider the consequences of unsolicitedly revealing Daring's secret identity — how big it'll be in the Daring fandom after reading something that should never have been revealed. They just go, "Screw common sense!! We'll publish it, anyway!"

The continuity error's even worse when Dash directly references Don't after SG magically published several clean, refurbished copies.

Only one problem, despite the reveal, in Daring Done, it seems that Daring Do has not had any issues from the reveal so I wouldn't say that it became a problem for her.

 

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Rarity (the diner): Two background ponies talked shit behind her back. Neither of them clearly understand anything what the journals were supposed to say and went off on nothing except baseless assumptions. After she ran away, they feel oh so proud of themselves and pretend like it's no big deal. Not even Starlight's scolding through their thick heads worked.

It's really unclear what they're supposed to portray. Is it supposed to be a jab at people for criticizing the writing within the episodes, missing the point in an episode, or hating Rarity's character? Any of the above, all, or none? Whatever the case is, it fails for five reasons.

  • The lack of clarity already explained.
     
  • The "stuck-up rich bitch" stereotype is enforced.
     
  • Rarity underwent major trials that completely transformed her as a character. We as an audience saw that ride…but all they read is the result. To echo @Jeric in a chat with me, both RTM and Simple Ways showed her at really low lows. When all they read is how shitty you behaved, then they may have an awful impression of you regardless of outcome.
     
  • Daisy, a well-known background pony from season one with a sweet (yet overly-dramatic) personality, bashed Rarity. For her to act like a snob is very out of character of her!
     
  • The newspaper. Observe the 1.5/5 score in the shot linked above. The pony who read it really disliked it, and the couple's dissing only piled everything on. That one shot further muddles the point.
     

Oh come now, you really don't understand what the point of those two ponies were and their insults on Rarity? It's a meta joke at the fandom of how many hate Rarity and have wanted her removed from the mane 6 due to her being viewed as a stuck up bitch. It's a thing that had been more prevalent in the past but has died down due to how good Rarity has been and the Rarity fans defending her. I'm certain they put it there to poke at the fandom for how bad the hate for Rarity used to be. It's something I understand and see very much throughout many parts in the fandom.

 

Also, whose to say that Daisy wasn't a fan of what she saw in Rarity in the journals? She admitted that the journal gave her sides to their characters she never thought of before. She was only expressing of how her opinion for Rarity went down because of what the journals showed. Also, we don't know enough of her character for her to say this ooc other than you don't like how she acted.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Pinkie: It's one thing if they're tourists meeting Pinkie for the first time and wanting to get acquainted with her. All fiveCarrot Top, Cherry Berry, Sassaflash, Berry Punch, and Coco Crusoe — are long-established background ponies dating back to season one. We've seen them help each other out so everyone's lives improve. They were seen at one point or another during The Smile Song; all but Coco and Sassaflash not only have very dedicated fanbases, but also actively followed, smiled, sang, and danced with her. Pinkie's presence was more than enough to make them all happy.
 

Quote

"YOU'VE KNOWN ME FOR YEARS!"


Glad you said this, Pinkie, 'cause that doesn't make this scene okay! In fact, it makes it worse. Them knowing her for years and suddenly laugh AT her like complete jackasses does nothing but implicate that their happiness before and after Pinkie brightened their days is a façade.

In fact, hold that quote.

Again, this scene is meant to represent a meta joke at how the fandom views Pinkie Pie as purely a comedic character and that everything she does is to provoke a comedic response. Pinkie's response is the staff saying to those fans that there's more to Pinkie Pie than just being funny. 

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Dash: Bratty pegasi continue to pressure Dash and refuse to leave her alone. It's one thing if they truly were eager to hear more about her stories and adventures. It's another to rip out Twilight's lessons gleefully, pretend Twilight isn't even there, and act all smug about it. Dash wasn't happy with how poorly they treated her friend, but was forced to put up with it, since her "fanclub" is too stubborn to listen.

 

It's another meta joke of how rabid and rude many fans can get for their favorites and attack those they don't like. Due to Rainbow Dash's popularity and how she likes to bask in the limelight, this was done to show that even RD wouldn't like how far they taken to worshiping her and being rude to her friends.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Fluttershy: Several big problems:

  • Like every other pony before them, all four adults are assholes. Or to be accurate, worse than just assholes. They're abusive, gang up on Fluttershy, and then put up a shoddy, lazy excuse just to be awful people. "Entitled to know"? "Why can't I be in the book"?!

    ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!


    There's NO excuse to gang up on her, period!
  • One of the ponies here is Lemon Chiffon, who debuted in Mare Do Well. Previously, she had two hearts as her cutie mark. Here, a half-full glass of water mark along with a snooty, "masculine-sounding" voice. She resembles a lot like Lily Peet, a MTF brony "pundit" with a history of bashing bronies. I don't know or care if she laughed from that or not.

    If it's intentional, that's a line you never cross. Why? When you parody specific fans, it comes off as tacky at best and self-indulgent at worst. It tells the audience you have a very hostile opinion on not only specific members of your audience, but also the people you're trying to reach out to. Personally, if I'm parodied like this, I'd be really offended, because I'm treated like a caricature rather than a real person.

    If it's unintentional, then while the line ain't crossed, her attitude, voice, and mark are supposed to mock the "entitled fan" stereotype when FS stands up to them, three qualities Chiffon can't control. Sometimes intent doesn't equate result, yet the possible transphobic implications remain.
     
  • This "gang" resembles PYHD's market scene, one of the worst of the series. Unlike the former, all of them debuted previously. These four characters and their so-called "personalities" are designed for this episode only. Good chance some or all of them will either never make an important appearance again or (hopefully) change to a more likeable personality.
     
  • @Thrond brought up a great point in his review, and I'll expand on that. Fluttershy is used as a vessel to respond to the "criticism" (read: abuse in the episode's context) of their struggle to develop her, completely contradicting their intentions several seasons ago. From Luna Eclipsed until right around Rainbow Falls, her character stagnated, and her shyness was often reduced to comic relief. It looks even worse following an episode where she learns a very valuable lesson. When you flanderize a character like her after she underwent significant development in season one, you reduce her from three-dimensional to one-dimensional. Any long-time brony understands how this valid criticism of her didn't come out of thin air.

    During season four, DHX attempted to write better stories surrounding her, even when they aren't quite up to snuff: Bats!, Breezies, and Filli Vanilli. The following season, that criticism blossomed, and the flanderized Fluttershy has been absent ever since. The one episode showing Scaredyshy in S5 wasn't written as a daft joke: It expands a pointless scene from LE and explains why she hated Nightmare Night so much: She hates being pranked, and NMN without the pranks isn't fun. Without reading the valid criticisms, understanding them, and putting forth solid effort to fix this flaw, the Fluttershy we see today won't exist. Season five was great for her. Seasons six and seven are her best to date.
  • It conveniently ignores It Ain't Easy Being Breezies. She had to assert herself through a very difficult action that she hated to make: kick out the breezies so they can continue their journey home. In her journal entry, she marks down how she had to learn that tough message. It's her very last journal entry that we witnessed, and it'd make sense if it were her last one in the journal, too. Not one time is it referenced, and it's ignored in order to continue using that journal as a forced plot device to dissuade. To handwave one of the most important episodes and subsequent lessons in her entire saga just to drive a point home makes the meta reference and payoff very deceitful.
     

I'd say your points on Lemon Chiffon is really stretching it and it seems more you're just trying to find some means to hate more on the episode for something deeper that isn't there. Even if it were to mock a noted critic in the fandom, why can't they mock them? Parodies whole basis is to mock someone or something. It doesn't have to be nice, especially if said person has been nice to them in turn from what I've heard. Another thing, if I got parodied or mocked or so, that tells me that I'm obviously doing something that's making them not like me so I should inspect what I've done. Just because one is a critic does not make them immune to being attacked, especially from the group they're critiquing on and one you haven't been nice to. Do they not have the right to mock critics they consider to be unfair and rude while said critics can be? Also, I highly disagree with your assertion that there's any trans-phobic implications as there's nothing to indicate the pony is a transgender. Really, are you saying that females can't have a not so feminine voice and a more masculine voice now? This reminds me of how much I disagreed with your assertion that Big Mac's crossdressing in Brotherhooves Social was transphobic. 

 

And, do they not have the right to point out of how difficult it has been for her to overcome her anxiety? I may not like how they handled Fluttershy's character in S3 and S4, but if they want to defend themselves and remark of how it's part of the plan and is what they feel is prudent for her to overcome her anxiety, then it's their right too. I can attack and point out to them reasonably of how I disagree with it, but if they believe they're doing what is necessary for her, then fine. Also, I feel it was set up for another meta joke for how many Fluttershy fans dislike how assertive she has gotten. It's a thing I've read and seen in this fandom too.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Rarity (boutique): The context behind the jump scare pile onto the torture. But why would Lemon Hearts (one of Twilight's friends from Canterlot) even be a part of the anti-Rarity hate mob in the first place? She'd know how much Rarity (and the rest of her friends back in Ponyville) mean to her, and she'd respect that. If she got upset, chances are she'd write or talk to Twilight.
 

Just cause you like this person does not mean that you like or agree with one of their friends. It's a common thing that many folks have as not everyone is going to like the same person you like. Lemon Hearts is under no obligation to like the same folks that Twilight likes. Also again, her character is not set in stone as she never interacted with Twilight's other friends, whose to say she won't like them.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:
  • Applejack: No, they didn't bash her, pretend she didn't exist, laugh at her, or gang up on her. These are huge AJ fans.

    They're still assholes. Every single one of them show up at Sweet Apple Acres unannounced, immediately declare themselves to be part of her family without any consent, and force them to accommodate them, whether they like it or not. Big Mac, AJ, AB, and Granny not only moped as they slaved away for trespassers, but were actively distressed. Obviously, they want nothing to do with them, yet can't do anything about it since they're so outnumbered by this mob.

All of them are terrible, but since she's my favorite character, the FS scene is my least-favorite.

Oh, and Twilight? She's her own section.

 

It's a meta joke to poke fun at fans who say they admire and try to emulate the lessons they've learned from the show and character but don't do the work to do it and even to poke fun at the background Applejack joke by showing that she doesn't like the attention so she likes being the background pony.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Coconut Cream and Toola Roola are (apparently) a metaphor of the show's assumed primary demographic: young girls. Because of how self-referential Fame is, how those two fillies are the only ones not the ReMane Seven who are sympathetic, and how they're the only ones who actually the lessons to heart, it sends an unintended message that little girls who take the morals to heart are the only people who matter.

Or that they managed to get two fillies out of the huge group of them to like them and show off of how they managed to get at least a couple of folks to understand their lessons. Remember, there were tons more fillies who were being assholes to the mane 6 too. I viewed the point being that ultimately, the show's intended point is to pass their lessons for folks to learn and do as they see fit. I do not see it as them declaring of how only little girls matter to the show when ultimately, whose the one lining their pockets with money, their parents. They've found a show and formula that would get their parents to watch it and thus encourage them to continue watching it and of course but their toys. Ultimately, it's a toy commercial that so happens to have a large periphery demographic that enjoys it alongside their children. Regardless, I do not mind seeing that the little fillies enjoying the lessons from the gang as they were put into focus and it gave the mane 6 something to cheer about. 

 

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

If you have that thought, erase it. There's no excuse for anyone to abuse the showrunners, and I never condone it. I'm on record of being against it, sometimes replying to users angrily when they do. No matter how angry we get at episodes from time to time, these showrunners, animators, and editors are people. They earn as much respect as everyone else here. The criticism, even the harsh ones, are aimed at the product. If I criticize the company or showrunners, it's for their lack of effort if applicable because I know they do better, releasing something with stereotypes or harmful morals (since kids are impressionable), or their behavior if they cross a line (which I've done to no one but IDW's Ted Anderson for his sexism). But I don't get personal; that's a no-no under any circumstance.

At the end of the day, DHX is an entity full of people like you and I.

 

And, just cause you don't condone it doesn't mean that they as people haven't experienced the abuse they go through. I mean, say what you want, but the fandom and reactions have gotten bad. Like how 2013 was where it had gotten so bad that several people at DHX nearly wanted to quit for how bad the hate for Alicorn Twilight Sparkle and Equestria Girls was. Also, death threats have been thrown at them so regardless of whether you want to avoid or not, there are elements in the fandom that have treated the staff poorly to where it's reprehensible. This is not just the brony fandom, this is what we've seen with how rabid fandoms can get, notably how bad the Voltron fandom for the Netflix show has been such as threatening the staff to release early stuff about the next season before time and how they abused one of the vas on there. Whether you want to admit it or not, there are shitty elements in the brony fandom that has definitely rubbed the staff the wrong way. If they feel they need to lash out from such abuse, do I blame them for it?

 

As for how the episode in production turned out, I'll admit I have no idea and it's a shame that M.A larson by WG rule gets sole credit for it despite not finishing it as he said. Still I and many others have enjoyed it as I viewed it as a fun jab at the fandom for my tastes. Ultimately, the episode's point is that we're enjoying what the episode was trying to reach to us, which is ultimately what DHX wants with their episodes.

 

8 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Replace the gossiping theme and CMCs with fandom and the ReMane Six, respectively, and you get the same episode. Remove the fandom allegories; all you have left is a town deciding to suddenly declare the ReMane Six famous and treat them like dirt just because they can.

So, here's a question, and think about it long and hard. If Fame and Misfortune didn't include fandom allegories, would you grin viciously at this episode? Would you act like white supremacists following Trump's election victory and publish the vitriol in the first place?

For a good chunk of you, chances are it's gonna be "no."

That alone means Fame is a failure. This "bravery" is cowardice and a self-centered desire to air your dirty laundry as well as support the idea that kids should embrace lazy shortcuts of entertainment. Excusing this lowbrow shit is bad enough. To do so through this doesn't make this episode any better. In fact, you only make it worse.

Without the meta jokes, would this episode have been made at all?

 

Why did you link politics into your review, especially as it has nothing to do with the episode? Also, this relates as well to how you're looking at Lemon Chiffon as some transphobic joke or something that doesn't exist. This is a big problem I have with your reviews and Sylveon makes a good point, you link real world politics into your reviews and try to find ways to hate the episode through them. And no, this isn't coincidence as you claim, this is deliberate cause you have a long history of involving politics in whatever matters you like to discuss, even in matters that doesn't need it because you love talking about politics and expressing your views for the world to see as well as using it as a weapon to attack episodes whenever you don't like something in it. A few examples of this include of how you ranted and hated Brotherhooves Social for a crossdressing gag just cause you viewed it as transphobic, or in this episode with Lemon Chiffon. You state that the episode shouldn't have contained stuff that would make people uncomfortable, but yet here you're involving politics in an episode that has nothing to do with it and are even pulling out straws to justify your feeling that there's something transphobic in it that doesn't exist. Have you ever thought that folks would feel very uncomfortable about your reviews for how you bring something alot of folks would hate in politics as well? Especially worse is that Fame and Misfortune and the vast majority of MLP FIM episodes do not involve our real world politics in any form so what point do they serve here other than to serve as a vehicle you use to attack Fame and Misfortune with? I see no reason at all that you link politics into MLP. When I watch FIM, I do not watch the show to be immersed into whatever political spectrum you clearly want this show to social engineer folks to follow or any politics for that matter, I came to watch a fun show that offers a form of escapism from real life, that includes politics too. Many if not the majority of folks watch MLP as a fun escapism and DHX understands that. It's why I find your wanton need to link politics into your reviews on FIM to be foolish as there isn't a need for it and it only would scare off many folks from you because who wants to be reminded of real life crap in a show meant to be a complete fantasy escapism for folks to enjoy. 

 

Ultimately, I left many points out as I will need to do a review of my own someday, which won't happen soon because I have other things to do, and I have alot of things I disagree with here, but I can accept your viewpoints on the episode as it's your opinion and that I would respect. However, I ask you this that will help you improve your reviews, stop involving politics into a show that has little to no attachments to it and stop trying to look through those lenses to be offended by it so you can hate the episode like your need to attack something that doesn't exist. This is because unlike you apparently, I and many many others do not want to see politics and real life crap on a daily basis, especially in something meant to be a form of escapism. Continue talking about politics in your reviews even if there is nothing to warrant it, and you will turn me and many others off from your analysis. Not everything in life has to relate to politics or is it a desired trait to have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/4/2017 at 6:46 PM, RK_Striker_JK_5 said:

Basically, are you a 'true fan'? Are you a big, small, medium fan? Trying to quantify how much of a fan someone is for a franchise based on nebulous/arbitrary crap.

I don't think there's anything immediately wrong with being a "casual fan" or a "hardcore fan", but I do take issue with the notion of one kind of fan being better than another.

And I also don't like when someone says you're not a "true fan" because you can't quote the hell out of the show or whatever.

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Well, I got a mess to score.
  1. Once more, the journal was used for season-four lessons, not before. Twilight reiterating her lesson from Return of Harmony was one of only two not from S4 she (and this episode as a whole) referenced. No other pre-S4 lessons were used for the rest of the episode. Continuity error.
  2. It's very fair to criticize the sudden fame. In early episodes, you could get away with it, because the setting was almost always Ponyville and life within the town. That has changed. Four of them have major accomplishments.

    Dash: A Wonderbolt and is one of Equestria's most famous fliers, period.

    Rarity: A fashion icon with three successful boutiques, two of them in major Equestrian municipalities.

    Twilight: A princess. That alone makes her revered and famous.

    FS: A high-quality, well-facilitated animal sanctuary. And she has a high-profile brother.

    Mane Six: Repeated saviors of Equestria (and the world) and teachers of friendship within Equestria and abroad. Their achievements are permanently displayed on stained-glass windows. Other characters reminded them they saved Equestria on a couple of recent occasions.

    They're already famous. Yet, what "truly" gets their fame is a book?

    Same thing applies for the CMCs.
  3. Daring Done didn't air yet and, thus, has no merit in the episode's quality at all.
  4.  
    Thanks, Joker.

    A smart satire is like a smart joke: It doesn't need to be explained for it to be funny. TBNE's jokes and satires were smart. STFF's con jokes were smart. Saddle Row's jokes were smart.

    Fame's "satire" isn't. Even with the explanations, it's still muddled.

    Daisy denigrated Rarity behind her back and showed no remorse at any point.
    Quote

    Also, whose to say that Daisy wasn't a fan of what she saw in Rarity in the journals?

    Daisy said it herself:
    Quote

    Daisy: I agree. I'm seeing sides of these ponies I didn't know were there. I only wish they'd left Rarity out. She clearly doesn't belong in that book with the rest of them.

    And agreed with Diamond Cutter immediately afterwards. She outright declared Rarity to be less than human and participated in the "boycott" the following act.

    The fillies who stalked Dash and pretended Twi doesn't exist are still brats.

    The collectors objectified Twilight in front of her.

    Lemon Chiffon reminds people of Lily Peet. The fact that people out there (myself included) interpreted her as a Peet parody makes it a problem. There are possible transphobic implications, because the glass-of-water icon and low voice remind people of her, and how she's often misgendered.
    Quote

    Just because one is a critic does not make them immune to being attacked, especially from the group they're critiquing on and one you haven't been nice to. Do they not have the right to mock critics they consider to be unfair and rude while said critics can be?

    Just because they can doesn't mean they should. You're writing a serialized show for the masses, not one specific demographic. Mocking specific fandom critics — whether they're reprehensible people or not — is a shitty thing to do. To mock someone from the fandom in the product suggests a grudge and risks a negative impact on people they're not targeting. If it's intentional, then that's bullying.

    The FS scene in itself has two problems in a meta context:

    a. Attaches real, genuine criticism of her slow execution and misses the point. Yes, characters like her may be really slow in changing if she was real. In real life, some people have to learn similar lessons in order to get it. Fiction isn't real life. You're trying to write a 22-minute episode where character development is a primary theme in this show. When her character is flat and reduced to comic relief for her fright one episode after she learns a very valuable lesson, you're reducing her to one-dimensional or less.

    Although many of us praise the show for approaching a conflict realistically, sometimes "realism" isn't the end all, be all. To make the story and character entertaining, realism might have to take a back seat time to time. To borrow from Mr. Enter, it'll be a really annoying video game to play if the character you're controlling has to stop every few seconds to breathe. Same applies to TV shows and FS, especially after she developed significantly in S1. The FS from Green Isn't Your Color or a Bird in the Hoof is far more developed than the FS from the pilot.

    b. Mocks actual problems that the show not only created, but also fixed as a result of listening to the criticism. It died in Season 5. It makes no sense to even think of referring back to it, much less use it. F&M literally beat a dead horse for reviving it.

    Unlike past successful satires/parodies, the characters on both sides treat the problem as a really big deal. Neither the characters nor story are hyperbolic. This conflict distressed the ReMane Six to the point of exhaustion and depression. Like T3, It tries to be a parody, but fails to behave like one.
  5. I've said it many times, and I'll say it again. I've seen some of the comments they get, and they're nothing short of disgusting. No human being should ever be treated that way. I never defended it and never will. Anyone who knows me knows that.

    There are many mediums to voice your frustration: Facebook, Twitter, email, a blog, Instagram, etc. A story for FIM is not one of them. Unlike social websites, FIM is a mass-produced commercial product, and FIM is aired for adults and kids alike. Watching each episode makes Hasbro and Discovery Family money. The toys — the primary source of MLP's revenue — help keep the show alive. The showrunners' responsibility is to entertain the general audience and educate kids lessons of friendship. The general audience neither cares about your dirty laundry nor wants to see it.

    Look at the story without the blunt meta context; after Twilight published the journal, it's a bunch of haphazard scenes of ponies treating them like trash. All you have is a bunch of ponies living in Ponyville (or Canterlot), many of whom the audience has known for years and/or the characters know for years, becoming colossal assholes for the sake of the plot. Piling meta after meta does not a story make. This story is so reliant on using real fandom talking points to send a message to a specific group of fans that there's no care into writing a story, much less a good one. Lazy writing doesn't deserve a pass. If you wanna air the dirty laundry, hide it well enough so people don't see it or smell it.

    Unlike F&M, STFF and Slice of Life actually tell a story; they don't rely on meta, fanservice, or pandering to the lowest-common denominator to drive a point home. The story tells it instead.
  6. I already know that fillies are among the caricatures of fans. Mentioned that a few times.
  7. Re-read what I wrote:
    Quote

    it sends an unintended message that little girls who take the morals to heart are the only people who matter.

    What about little girls who are merely entertained and don't care about the lessons? Or the periphery demographics who follow through those lessons? (Wait, if they show either, then the straw men would begin to have a minute point, and you can't have that here.) And so forth? There's no one way to be a fan, yet the episode doubled down on the idea that the only way to truly appreciate the journal (and, thus, the show) is to follow through the lessons to become better people. It's not supposed to be the primary lesson, but the premise and sloppy execution of the dialogue at the end paint it as such.

And on the subject of politics, this will require something fuller in length and a reply in general.

Our lives are always surrounded by politics. We may neither talk about it directly nor get involved with it at all, yet no matter how hard we try, we never escape it. They affect our way of thinking, what clothes we wear, our food, jobs, culture, and social norms without realizing it. The cartoons we read and watch are inherently political, because they either stick to a standard or cross over.

It's a oxymoron to separate FIM from politics, because FIM is, in itself, political. G4's the first since G1's early years to have a cross-generational appeal. Faust, an unabashed feminist, knew that girls like conflict, great characters, and the ability to grow their imagination beyond the stereotypes that plagued entertainment aimed at their gender. Simultaneously, she and crew knew that great shows don't confine themselves to one demographic; the effort they put forth resulted in millions of people watching and following the show. There's a reason why she penned that famous sharp response to a troll several years ago.

A few episodes they inserted are political, too, for better or worse, depending on how loosely or strictly you define the term.

  1. Gauntlet of Fire (masculinity and femininity working in harmony)
  2. A Dog & Pony Show (critiques the damsel-in-distress cliché)
  3. Flight to the Finish (ableism triggered its theme)
  4. Brotherhooves Social (the "Man in a Dress" trope; the concept of whether both primary sexes can participate in a social event or not)
  5. The Times They Are A Changeling, Bridle Gossip, Hearth's Warming Eve (racism)
  6. The Cutie Map (free will vs. cultism; Starlight portrayed as a dictator, uses authentic brainwashing techniques to enforce her rule)
  7. Over a Barrel (ponified allegory of Natives and settlers)
  8. One Bad Apple (bullying)
  9. Testing Testing (criticizes standardized testing systems in Western schools)
  10. Canterlot Boutique (quality vs. quantity)
  11. Bats! (animal welfare)
  12. Tanks for the Memories (allegory of death)
  13. Newbie Dash (hazing in the military)
  14. Party Pooped, Not Asking for Trouble (diplomatic relations between countries)
  15. Winter Wrap Up, Hearthbreakers (sticking to cultural traditions or not)
  16. Magic Sheep? (allegory of both depression and cutting)

None of this puts into account unfortunate implications, a prevalent problem in this show that I covered for so many years. I won't repeat them all, and I already covered the ones in DQ and Fame here, so I'll address the big one from Hard to Say Anything instead. Big Mac sneaking to kiss Sugar Belle, who had no idea he was there and was horrified when he saw his lips pucker, is a problem, because sexual harassment isn't a joke. If I don't acknowledge that in a HTSA analysis or review by keeping my Pony reviews almost entirely apolitical, I'm lying to people and myself. If I don't point it out, someone else will. Pretending the flaw doesn't exist just to pander to people won't make it go away.

Just because there are politics mentioned or referenced doesn't mean I try to shove a political agenda to anyone's face, and it's ludicrous this assumption even exists. I write reviews/analyses because they're one of my biggest passions. If I want to actively turn my review thread into a political manifesto, I'd clearly say so. Reviewing the good, average, and bad is fun, and that's what I aim for. No more, no less.

Part of me feels this stems from the following:

  1. The fact that I have three reviews that referenced politics. That's nothing more than a coincidence. I uploaded my Cutie Map analysis, because it's my favorite true analysis I've done, and TCM in itself is 180 degrees of awesome. I grade firmly, so for me to give it an A+, it had better be amazing.

    My review for Spike's Search wasn't going to be the second. It was originally TCM and then Fame. When I first began writing my Fame review on August 20, Spike's Search wasn't on my mind. But as I wrote it, I watched SS and decided to write a proper review (and link where the defense of not applying the whole works hundredfold) rather than plug a line or two in.
  2. This line:
    Quote

    So, here's a question, and think about it long and hard. If Fame and Misfortune didn't include fandom allegories, would you grin viciously at this episode? Would you act like white supremacists following Trump's election victory and publish the vitriol in the first place?

    For a good chunk of you, chances are it's gonna be "no."

    If this is the trigger to the accusations, here's my response:
     
     


    yes-yes-your-anger-tickles-me.jpg

    Some people have used this episode as an excuse to gloat as a "wake-up call," bash the fandom as a whole, or treat people who hated/are hurt or offended from the episode like shit. I don't sweep bullying under the rug. If they don't want me to compare them to white supremacists who climbed out of the closet after the election, don't behave like them.

    My conscience was clear when I wrote it, and it remains clear now.

If I received the same criticisms for a different review I wrote, I'd still write my Fame review as is.

If an episode's that damn atrocious, it deserves a scathing review that rips it up to shreds. Fame has no redeeming value and earns my wrath. I stand by everything I wrote for it 1 million percent.

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@Dark Qiviut

 

Excellent review of "Fame & Misfortune"!

 

I particularly agree with this part:

 

1 hour ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Look at the story without the blunt meta context; after Twilight published the journal, it's a bunch of haphazard scenes of ponies treating them like trash. All you have is a bunch of ponies living in Ponyville (or Canterlot), many of whom the audience has known for years and/or the characters know for years, becoming colossal assholes for the sake of the plot. Piling meta after meta does not a story make. This story is so reliant on using real fandom talking points to send a message to a specific group of fans that there's no care into writing a story, much less a good one. Lazy writing doesn't deserve a pass. If you wanna air the dirty laundry, hide it well enough so people don't see it or smell it.

 

 Imagine for a moment that you are brand new to MLP:FiM after your friends told you how amazing it was  &

 

this is your first exposure to it.

 

Would you keep watching after seeing everypony in town treating the main characters like dirt? I know I wouldn't.

 

By creating an episode like this there is a possibility that Hasbro may have lost potential customers & more importantly money

 

by showing their characters being treated *so* negatively with no repercussions whatsoever.

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On 9/7/2017 at 0:19 AM, Number? said:

I don't think there's anything immediately wrong with being a "casual fan" or a "hardcore fan", but I do take issue with the notion of one kind of fan being better than another.

And I also don't like when someone says you're not a "true fan" because you can't quote the hell out of the show or whatever.

Agreed on all of this. Casual and hardcore fans as descriptions in and of themselves aren't bad. It's when they're used to lord imagined superiority over others is when it gets my proverbial goat.

 

I mean, I've been a fan of Transformers since the 1980's. Got a number of my toys from that era, still a fan of most incarnations of it to this day. And I don't consider myself to be 'superior' or any bullshit like that over someone who got in at Beast Wars, of the Unicron Trilogy or the live-action movies or what not. Happy to have you, the high-grade energon is at the long table. ;) But I've had people tell me, in all seriousness, that I'm not a 'true fan' of Transformers because I don't like the 1986 movie all that much.

 

...

 

Yes, this pisses me off.

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@Dark Qiviut is that what you view my post as and what you view me now as?

 

Either way, I concede the points to you as I don't want to bother arguing with something that I don't have the interest in viewing again when I'm in favor of something else altogether but thank you for typing all that up.

 

On politics however, the real reason why I came here as I read and saw how politically motivated you are in this review, I will critique and point out the reasons why I have such issues with your politicization with your reviews.

 

The fact you refuse to acknowledge of how problematic you are lacing your politics with your reviews is shows several things to me, most notably is that you do not see how problematic that is. You can claim of whatever points of how the episode is laced with politics however you wish, but tell me do the folks in the audience come to watch MLP FIM for politics and do the targeted audience come to watch a show for politics? No, the intention of the show is not to talk about poisonous politics because that doesn't correlate to what the true vision and message of the show is, to be a good girls cartoon show that girls and their parents can enjoy. The brony fandom was a major bonus for them. Just because a few episodes have these messages you see and exist doesn't mean that the show is like that as ultimately it is a slice of life cartoon. In fact, the fact out of a current total of a current of 161 episodes that you are only able to find 16 episodes in the show only indicates of how the show is not meant to be a show about irl politics. Just because the show is a good cartoon show for girls does not mean it is a show that is promoting irl politics. Btw, your insistence on viewing things through a political lens is what has and many others turned off from your reviews.

 

Examples of this starts with the episode Brotherhooves Social. You had spoken before of these apparent transphobic tones that exist simply because of a cross dressing gag that was center in the episode. Not only is that untrue because many transgenders like Purpletinker saw no issues or even called it an episode on trans, but you mistakenly believe a gag that is based on how silly a guy looks in a dress for something that is else entirely shows not only of ill-informed you are but how your political lens can harm your reviewing style to view things worse than it is. The next is your review for Hard to say Anything where you viewed a simple attempt at a kiss form Big Mac onto Sugar Belle in a scene meant to parody and poke fun the trope of kissing a sleeping beauty would mean something far more nefarious as sexual harassment when Sugar Belle clearly showed at the end that she has no issues with Big Mac and even ended up dating him, showing that said scene wasn't meant to convey sexual harassment or even rape as you suggested but for a more silly parody of kissing a sleeping beauty trope. Another is your views on Equestria Girls where because you didn't like how similar in design each of the girls are, an issue that FIM also has that you never bothered with, that was made so out of time and budget because trying to make everyone have their own unique shapes and designs is time consuming and costs a lot of money in flash animation and how a lot of them wear skirts for the sake of meeting their toy marketing quota, you called EQG sexist. I do not consider it as such because it's apparent why they would have such similar designs and no your other point explaining of them being in a high school setting and filling up those quotas like romance isn't sexist either as it's just filling up whatever points they needed to hit nothing more. In your Fame and Misfortune review, you believed that the pony with the glasses was not only meant to attack a brony reviewer who happens to be trans just cause her voice sounded masculine, but that you would believe that a woman cannot have a more masculine voice and that it must be an attack on a transgender person indicates issues with how you view things. Finally, the fact you're continuing to allude to irl politics in your response and of how you continued to claim that your talk of politics in your reviews is coincidental shows of how false your declaration is. This isn't the first or even the first dozen of times that you have talked about politics in your reviews. When a pattern exists, it is not done out of coincidence but it is intentional. Due to the small number of episodes that hold any allusions to irl politics that you yourself admit, such political motivations in your reviews indicates to me that your political lens in your reviewing style is done because you yourself are politically motivated and wish to insert as many of your beliefs into the show as you can. Thus, it is why folks are attacking you for it as it's clear that it is not coincidental as you claim but it is intentional. These are but the most notable examples of how I view your political lens has done more harm to your reviewing style than good. 

 

Here's another thing, all of this is merely to help improve what I believe to be issues with your reviewing style, which is how heavily politicized it is. Sure, there may be stuff that correlate to real life politics the show does such as bullying psa and Dragon Quests’ sexism, but typically such ventures are rare, terrible, and often should be avoided in the show as it doesn't hit it well. The audience itself does not like to be reminded of real world crap, especially ones that isn't done well. It is not an attack on you but merely me trying to help you out because I've noticed of how many folks are having issues with such motivations to add politics in your reviews. Instead of recognizing how that could be problematic and trying to tone it down, you don't view it as such. You view it as an attack on your character and instead try to stick firm to adding politics to your reviews while continuing to lie about how not politically laced your episode reviews are. This will only lead to folks to turning off from your views as folks are not going to bother with someone who is clearly politically motivated in his reviews and thus will poison a lot of folks’ moods towards your reviews.

 

That's another thing, the fact you're calling my critique on your viewing style to be an attack on you, that you are so willing to brush aside my complaints as a none issue when you've had multiple folks here pointing out of how problematic that is but instead treat me as if I'm attacking you, when you've known me as a person who wishes to help others and improve others only shows of how you view me now. As a result, I will not bother with you anymore as it's apparent that I mean little to nothing to you now so thus I will not bother with you in turn as I do not wish to consort with someone who clearly does not think of me as a friend if you're so willing to accuse me of attacking you when I've clearly shown I've wanted to help improve your reviewing style so you can be better cause I have seen many folks have issues with how politicized your reviews are. Thus, I will cease from this thread as I do not wish to bother you anymore.

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@Dark Qiviut Congratulations, you have just lost all credibility of whatever you had in my eyes.

I've been reading these reviews, and all I see in nonsensical political pandering to the "DONALD TRUMP IS NOT MY PRESIDENT" audience and mindless complaining.

Im sorry but your reviews contain more Bologna then the frozen food aisle at a god damn Walmart. "Muh racism, muh sexism" FOR CHRISTS SAKE ENOUGH OF THE BS POLITICS. Im not here to be reminded of what's currently happening.

i cant even stand politics. I held onto the reviews thinking they were good, but they're just political pandering to salty kids upset that orange Julius ceasar won the election.

 

to put it shortly, you're "reviews" are political agenda promotion and shouldn't even be called reviews. (If I gets warning for this, so be it.)

 

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As much as I wonder why would politics be involved in a kid show, it's in Qiviut's own right to believe so.

I'm not saying calling him out on this is bad either but since it's clearly getting out of hands, I'd like all parties involved to end the argument here.

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15 hours ago, Frécinette said:

As much as I wonder why would politics be involved in a kid show, it's in Qiviut's own right to believe so.

I'm not saying calling him out on this is bad either but since it's clearly getting out of hands, I'd like all parties involved to end the argument here.

I understand. I'm just saying enough is enough. I said my peace, and I will happily end it. I just needed to get that off my chest. I'm pretty sure Quiviot is a great person and a cool friend, but the political buzzwords in every 5 sentences is just starting to get downright aggrivating.

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15 hours ago, Frécinette said:

As much as I wonder why would politics be involved in a kid show, it's in Qiviut's own right to believe so.

I'm not saying calling him out on this is bad either but since it's clearly getting out of hands, I'd like all parties involved to end the argument here.

I don't get it, I didn't see anyone attacking him. I just think he can't take criticism. I'll drop it though.

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Some new updates:

In the OP, revised grades for the following episodes:

  1. Applebuck Season (C+ ---> B-)
  2. Rarity Investigates! (C ---> B)
  3. The Cart Before the Ponies (D+ ---> F)
  4. Every Little Thing She Does (C+ ---> D)
  5. All Bottled Up (B+ ---> A-)
  6. To Change a Changeling (B ---> B+)

Added grades for every new S7 episodes up to Zeppelin. The last three won't be included until they're officially released.

As for the movie, I got to see this afternoon, and on the way back, I typed notes. For those who don't know my plans for an eventual review for it, here's how it'll work (copied from my status):

Quote

Now, unlike past reviews for this series, if I write one, it's gonna be a little different in a few ways.

  1. The animation and music will be talked about and judged.

    Traditionally, I don't, because they're really well done, and my focus is primarily the story. The only times I talk about them are when they do something extraordinary or if they screw up in some way. Unlike the rest of the series, the FIM Movie is animated in Toon Boom Harmony, a completely different program. A different program and theatrical release mean new character models, revised set design, and different animation movement and style. The music is performed through an orchestra, so you're gonna get a different type of feel for it than the show.
  2. There won't be exact lines of dialogue quoted in the review. I'm able to do it in ones for the comics and episodes, because I can read or watch them online, where they're readily available. Every episode and EQG flick has a transcript in the FIM Wiki. That's not the case for the FIM Movie. I'm paying $15 to go to a theater, so the best I can do is paraphrase it. I'm gonna have to retain a general sense of what the plot will be and what the characters do and will read plot spoilers afterwards as a reminder. And, no, I won't read any transcript for the movie until it's released for home viewing.

    Once it gets released, and if I desire to rewatch it, I might edit it to include lines to indicate which are significant in a positive or negative sense.
  3. NO continuity references, comparisons, or contrasts. NO judgment of continuity being reinforced or contradicted.
  4. I won't judge existing characters as in character, out of character, flanderized, or a combination. Whether any of the Mane Six are given solid development, balanced, not shifted to the background, and don't act flat are what I'll generally look for.

    The villains and new heroes: the same thing. Since they're brand-new, I'll be judging their development (including whether the character is underdeveloped or not), believability of their motives, richness of personality (or lack thereof), stereotypical or not.
  5. The entire review will be hidden under the "spoiler" tag. Many still haven't seen it, and the movie is getting released internationally at later dates. So, out of respect, I'll keep it completely hidden. If I edit the review further in the future, perhaps I'll un-spoil it.

It's getting a little obvious what I plan to do, but for those who still wonder, if there's a review, I will judge the MLP Movie as a self-contained movie, NOT a continuation of the TV series! Why? If I treat it like it's part of the series, then I'm being unfair to not only the movie I'm watching, but also the rest of the series that came before it. Yes, Big Jim stated on Twitter it takes place between seasons 7 and 8, but this movie should hook people who'd never seen FIM before and wonder if it's worth watching. The FIM Movie is its own entity and ought to be judged on its own merits.

In the meantime, below is a brand-new review, this one for It Isn't the Mane Thing About You! ^^



Josh Haber extended his résumé quite a bit since joining FIM back in Season 4. During that time, he published and edited a combination of the good, the bad, and the average. He wrote really good episodes like Re-Mark and Bloom & Gloom, yet edited Season 6, the worst of the series, and helped write To Where and Back Again, FIM’s worst finale. For most of Season 7, he was absent while working on another show. One week ago, he made his return joining the Lady Writers as editor for Daring Done? In his first written episode since To Where, Haber showed his growth and wrote Season 7’s most surprising amethyst.


Strengths:

Colorful characters.

Ponyville’s charm comes from its cast. With the tertiary and background characters, Mane is no exception. Just about every character in this episode is very likeable. Filthy Rich in his desire to find the right flower bouquet for his Spoiled wife. Mr. Breezy and Davenport in trying to improve customer service and sales. The flower trio using Rarity’s advice to select and sell bouquets easier. Townsponies weren’t only interested in listening to Rarity’s advice, but also receptive to each other. It feels like the town actually likes each other and wants to help one another.

Pay attention very closely to two very clever continuity nods in the background.

  1. As the flower trio sold out, Granny and Grand Pear were next door in the booth the entire time, cluing those who watched The Perfect Pear they put the past and feud behind them permanently.
    Flower_trio_selling_flowers_to_ponies_S7
     
  2. In the beginning shot, look very closely:
    Ponies_in_line_to_buy_Mares_Day_flowers_

    Apple Bloom and Burnt Oak conversing.

Big_Mac_and_Sugar_Belle_walking_together

>BM and Sugar Belle…

Seriously, good to see the show continue building the relationship after a massive screwup.

One of the ponies to catch my eye most was Daisy and how receptive and kind she was to Rarity the entire time. Only a few episodes ago, she and Diamond Cutter denigrated her behind her back and was part of the anti-Rarity boycott. It was one of the most out-of-character moments of the entire show, ’cause this normally sweet pony bashed a supposed friend. Here, it’s like none of that happened, and everything returned to normal. Thank Mama Celestia!

However, the background characters share their role. Fluttershy, Dash, AJ, TS, SG, and Zecora do, too, in their own ways.

  1. Zecora: Over the years, she has appeared very sporadically, sometimes only making two appearances for an entire season. In her first speaking appearance since Re-Mark, she clearly points out which item is which. True, Zecora could’ve labeled them, but the conflict and accident aren’t her fault whatsoever and, thus, not a flaw in the episode at all. She pointed with her hoof which is the shampoo and which is the remover potion. Rarity’s accident caused the mix-up.

    Telling Rarity to conclude Act 2 she can’t brew a potion in time is a breath of fresh air, particularly in a show where magic’s sometimes considered the be-all end-all. To conclude Act 2 or the episode as a whole with Zecora saying she got one available right now would be as anticlimactic as Dragon Quest.
  2. Fluttershy, RD, and AJ: Like any good friend, they try fixing Rarity’s mane as a last resort. Each of their choice for wig works, because they’re familiar with the items they share with her: tree leaves, cloud moisture, and straw. Rarity desperately wants to be in the photo shoot, but can’t with her mane so messy, and with their last resort being a failure, it leads to Rarity having to cancel. Why does this work? Because they’re doing whatever they can to help her. Their wig creations are intended to help Rarity, and both she and the audience get it.

  3. Twilight & Starlight: They, too, tried their best to help. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

    Although there was a clever callback to Re-Mark:
    Quote

    Zecora: Oh, no. I'm afraid I can't fix it before the big shoot. But in time, the hair will grow back from the root. There's no magical cure to hasten us through it, unless you went backward in time to undo it.

    Starlight Glimmer: Uh-uh. I think we can both say that's not a good option.

    More about them a little later.

Of the RM7, the character that got my attention the most was Applejack. Over the past few seasons, when they communicate, it’s if they can’t stand each other rather than the opposite (Made in Manehattan exempt). Here, after Rarity sulked to the point of downing tubs of ice cream, AJ turned on the light and had enough. This is exactly who she should be: honest to the point of saying the uncomfortable truth, yet do so because she cares for her.

Now, a good episode doesn’t require background ponies to be involved in the episode. But when done right, it makes Ponyville feel more like a town and community. It does that here.

Rarity.

It ain’t a good episode if the star isn’t written well. She was written well here. Every line she spoke oozed with personality: confident, sassy, vain, unsure, hopeless, upset. She reacted to specific situations she was involved in, whether it’s having super-sticky string bound to her body, accidently applying remover potion on her mane, and so forth.

One criticism I noticed of this episode from an analyst is he called the salesponies in the town dumb for not recognizing Rarity under her black cloak. There’s a problem with the argument. Rarity completely covered her entire body aside from her hooves and face with a large cloak. When Rose tried to peak underneath, Rarity shyly refused from fear of ostracization and embarrassment. A few times, she pulled her hood down, once after opening Mr. Breezy’s door and as she headed to Davenport’s auction, possibly to keep her identity hidden.

By how the episode was structured, Rarity apparently looked forward into taking part of Vanity Mare and Photo Finish’s photoshoot. How long? Not stated. Although you can guess it was scheduled well in advance. Her self-assurance was obvious throughout the opener by how she used her mane proudly during the three scenes. Being no shortage of ego, it ain’t a surprising for her to flash or focus her proud locks. :P

The accident was so sudden and so close to the date of the shoot that she was desperate in trying anything to fix it. Borrow a Crystal Pony’s glass-like mane, mask it with a beautiful dress, use a cloud or straw, have Zecora quick-brew a potion to revert the mane to its original state. When her wig options dried out, she was forced to cancel her shoot, which she longed planned for and visibly upset her.

From all the buildup and the RM4 worrying about her wellbeing, her iconic meltdown isn’t treated as a joke. Her disappointment and sadness are real. Nothing is exaggerated. Consider this: If by chance you lose your hair through some kind of accident before some kind of important event, how would you feel? It makes sense in Rarity’s character to be so upset. Good for DHX and Haber to treat her situation seriously.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Getting back to Starlight and Twilight, some lines grabbed my attention:

Quote

Rarity: Yes, well, even if everypony isn't utterly indifferent to my presence, Zecora might not be able to fix this in time for the shoot. Can't you do a spell to restore some semblance of my mane?!

Starlight Glimmer: The thing is, it's pretty much like Zecora said. Fixing manes with magic is—

Rarity: Tricky! I know! I don't care! Make with the tricks!

Quote

Rarity: This won't do! I need an actual mane!

Starlight Glimmer: But it has to come from somewhere.

Twilight Sparkle: Oh, you can't just make a mane with magic. The results could be disastrous.

Rarity: More disastrous than this?!

How significant are these lines? Very.

A magical boundary within this world is established. It doesn’t matter how rich the world of ponies is. Without rules, you arbitrarily pull solutions out of your basket. Worldbuilding is fun, but it’s equally important to sit back and cut off possible shortcuts. Look no further than Twilight having only a few minutes to become one with a book and griffons never getting cutie marks.

Twilight, Starlight, and Zecora (from earlier) inform and remind her that magic doesn’t come out of thin air. You need something of substance to create the magic. Rarity’s mane is so shredded and damaged by Zecora’s remover potion that re-growing her mane with magic’s even riskier.

So, what about the mustache and poison joke?

  1. The mustache temporarily grows above the lip. At some point, it either disappears or falls off. Rarity pleaded to grow her mane back to what it used to be as a permanent solution.
  2. Rarity’s mane and tail were fully grown when the poison joke made dreadlocks out of her fur and hair. With most of her violet hair missing, there’s no guarantee if she’ll be poisoned the same way. Once more, the poison is temporary; a bath reverts the joke.

Mane sticks to their established guidelines of Equestrian magic. Like Zecora’s quick brew, finding a spell to revert the potion’s effects is anticlimactic and contrived, neither of which this episode needs.

More importantly, they set up the platitude expressed by AJ and FS:

Quote

Applejack: But it's Rarity. If anypony can turn lemons into lemonade, it's her.

Fluttershy: I guess it's harder for her when she feels like the lemon.

Older than time, but its truism helps circulate it and not expire. Rarity is one such pony capable of turning around a worst-case scenario. Just two questions: How can she overcome this horrific problem, and what can her friends do to help her?

Twilight answers the latter:

Quote

Twilight Sparkle: Well, she's not a lemon – she's our friend. And right now, she needs our support.

With Rarity at her lowest point in a few years, comforting her makes sense. This trek commences this conversation chain, including feeling guilty for canceling her photoshoot and believing to be a fad the entire time, her friends reminding her of the goals she accomplished, and Twilight nudging a lesson of self-confidence to get by her difficult situation.

Here, we’re reminded of one important detail: Throughout Act 2, she assumed that ponies looked at her differently because her mane is missing. Again, that’s not true. Everyone she came across knows her for her pizzazz, ability to help others, and inherent command for attention. How big of an ego does the Element of Generosity have? Really big. Yet, they never ostracized her for not being pretty. She isolated herself and desired to blend in, an act they see as out of character of her if they knew it was her. Rarity was so shy around the merchants that she refused attention. The townsponies weren’t acting like jerks at any point.

So, with the barriers of what ponies can’t do with magic, Rarity’s desperation and depression, and their words of encouragement, what do you get? Three things:

  1. Reinvigoration of Rarity’s self-worth.
  2. Kickass Rari-punk mane.
    Rarity_in_a_new_punk-style_outfit_S7E19.
  3. And one of the cleverest and smartest resolutions of the series.

Although she canceled the shoot, her decision worked out for everyone. Rarity’s lavender order was left over, so Filthy was able to give his spoiled wife bouquets of her flowers for Mare’s Day. Mr. Breezy relocated his large fan outside his shop, allowing traffic to interact with it firsthand. Davenport’s chaise is sold. Everyone picked up the best possible. (Good for the show to have Rarity’s mane grow naturally.)

Yet, if that wasn’t enough…

Warm cup of karma.

Although Rarity canceled the shoot, Photo Finish took pictures of her as she ventured through Ponyville, courtesy of her friends.

Sure, this ending is sorta Hollywood-ish, but Rarity underwent a literal bad hair day and then attached her newfound look to spread goodwill to everypony that having her front and center of Vanity Mare magazine makes sense. Negotiating with Photo reinforces how much they care for Rarity and will do anything to make her feel better. Mane comes full circle with the ending.

Good at what it doesn’t do!

Back when I first heard about Mane, I was concerned. Coming to the episode, my two biggest fears were:

  1. Rarity’s worst personality trait reemerges: her judgmentalism. Occasionally, sound bites of prejudice spew out of her mouth, most notably her racism towards Zecora in Bridle Gossip. Witnessing one of the most groundbreaking characters in the series showing a prejudice to bald ponies would seriously damage her rep.

  2. An unfortunate implication of the story belittling cancer patients. How would that be represented? Rarity or any pony treating somepony bald or becoming bald differently than folks with a full mane. Ponyville treating Rarity differently for losing her hair. Magically growing her mane back after melting down for losing it. The idea of baldness as the worst possible thing.

Neither happens.

  1. Her mane grows back naturally a few months later.

  2. Rather than vanity or prejudice, self-confidence during the heat of a sudden crisis is Mane’s overarching theme. Rarity assumes ponies will treat those without (good) manes differently. Instead, no one insults, shuns, or intentionally shames her. Self-embarrassment by her destroyed locks causes her to cloud her own judgment and believe her own livelihood is a lie.
  3. After Twilight reassures her that her lost mane shouldn’t destroy her self-worth, Rarity takes what should be the worst-case scenario into the best. Until here, Rarity’s confidence was never tested, and this plot rounds her character more.

Credit to @Jeric for helping me provide info for this section.


Weaknesses:

Clean Up on Aisle 19!

Every episode can use a cleanup, and Mane ain’t no exception.

The dialogue can use some better editing and more varied vocabulary. How many times does the episode use the word “mane”? Forty-one. That’s way too much! Dash herself said the word “awesome” thrice. Varying the word choice and cutting down the repetition will allow the dialogue flow a bit more. If you ask me which bothers me more, it’s Dash’s “awesome.” These days, that word has become a catchall identification for her, when she’s more than capable of using others. At least, multiple ponies rather than just one used “mane”.

The script’s repetitive vocabulary also made the moral of shining from the inside out really heavy. Saying it once as Rarity changed into Punk Rarity is fine. But to do it twice more pushes it.

Shake off the excess.

The opener takes too long to establish some level of conflict. Usually a minute long, the theme song doesn’t play until three minutes in. For a 22-minute episode, that’s excessive and slow. The message can begin more effectively by either rearranging the song’s placement — perhaps after ordering the lavender bouquets — or trimming some of the runtime in the market.

Mane-ly forgotten.

After Pinkie accidentally applied Zecora’s shampoo on Pound and Pumpkin Cake, the episode focused the entire time on Rarity. No mention of her at any point until a few minutes before the end. Considering she was the catalyst for the conflict, her absence left a gap in the story and felt like she was re-inserted to tie it all up.

Nevertheless…

Pinkie_and_Rarity_look_at_mess_in_Sugarc

Nice ‘do. :P


Conclusion:

Well, well, well, what a pleasant surprise. Out of every episode in the second half, this one worried me the most. Prior to Daring Done? (the episode preceding Mane), I was looking forward to DD more. Why? Blame the synopses. That said, the actual story is something very different. I’m really surprised by how I enjoy Mane more, Mane is (in over quality) better than DD?, and none of my fears came true.

In Haber’s first story since co-writing To Where and Back Again, he shows his FIM touch. Rarity has easily one of her best appearances in quite a while. The rest of the mane cast is also well done, especially Applejack. Zecora’s first speaking appearance since Re-Mark brings her to the familiar role, yet at the same time showed how she can’t solve all problems. No background or tertiary character is a jerk, reviving and sticking true to that refreshing (albeit familiar) welcoming atmosphere the show proudly presents itself in. A guideline of magic was both established and stuck to, providing Rarity (and the episode itself) the opportunity to twist the story’s formula. Mission accomplished!

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