Okay. I have to do this. Sorry.
*squee!* Season Four of Friendship is Magic is sooooo close!
*ahem* Yes, just because my three-year-old niece likes MLP too just means we BOTH have good taste. As I told my husband when he teased me for pausing my pony-watching long enough for us to see ST: Into Darkness on blu-ray last night. (It was good. They got rid of shaky-cam, thank goodness. Still with the lens flares though.)
Anyway, I haven’t been re-watching the whole series in anticipation (yet) I did stumble across some great YouTube videos in which fans do their own (slightly?) animated reviews of various pony episodes. It’s been cool to see the analysis from various perspectives: animation quality, story pacing, why Applejack gets no love, etc.
Anyway, I was watching AnYPony’s review of “The Ticket Master” (Season 1, episode 3, and don’t watch it on Netflix streaming until they pull their heads out of their nether parts and allow the user to control video quality. YOU MUST WATCH PONY IN HD. NO EXCEPTIONS. Thank you, YouTube.)
One thing that really bothered me about this episode is that it starts out with the premise of resource scarcity – there are six ponies (and Spike the sidekick dragon) who all want to go to the Party of The Year. Princess
Trollestia Celestia only sends Twilight two tickets, though. Now, keep in mind that the end-state solution to this problem, in the episode, is basically to ask the princess for more tickets. (After all, these are ONLY the heroes who JUST SAVED ALL OF EQUESTRIA IN THE LAST EPISODE, as if they weren’t all going to be invited from the beginning?! Why didn’t they get their own tickets in their own invitations in their own mailboxes??)
So the conflict is “what should I do when my only choices are going to result in someone’s feelings getting hurt?” Twilight originally says that the pony with the best reason to go is the one she’s going to pick, which is basically an excuse to develop the characters a little more as they attempt to convince Twilight, first through reason, and then through outright bribery, that they’re the “deserving” pony.
The plot requires, at this point, that all five reasons be equally “deserving,” so that Twilight is rendered unable to choose between them. Her distress at the problem is really very touching – who hasn’t been trapped in a situation like that before, after all? (Her inability to get lunch due to her friends’ incessant manipulation attempts is HILARIOUS.)
There’s a problem, though.
Everyone’s reason is fundamentally self-centered and therefore equally weighted….
She sees the ticket as an opportunity, not to attend the palace soiree as an honored guest, but as a networking opportunity – as a vendor – to increase the Apple family income so that she can pay for her grandmother’s medical care.
Geeze, Twilight, talk about shoving Granny off a cliff! Don’t you care about old people who need hip replacements??
Honestly, I’m glad I’m not the only MLP fan who sees this, ’cause when I was spending a weekend with some friends at my college reunion and we started talking pony, one of them actually said that Applejack’s reason was just as “selfish” as everyone else’s reason. I was like WTF? o_O? But that’s what the message of that episode is – that wanting to work hard and earn money to pay your beloved grandparent’s medical bills is no “better” a reason for wanting to attend The Party of the Year than wanting a chance to have fun/meet your idols/visit the Royal Gardens/fall in love with a prince. Family-unfriendly moral, anyone?
And honestly – it would have been a much more powerful moral if they’d taken a more true-to-life approach and actually dealt with real resource scarcity – sometimes there isn’t any other choice but to disappoint someone you care about. However, the particulars of this episode – how it served to more thoroughly introduce the cast and hype the season finale – not to mention that the five Ponyville ponies have pretty much only just forged a new friendship with Twilight – meant that this episode was not really a good place to deal with that issue. Especially since there’s no way all six Elements of Harmony wouldn’t be invited to the party in the first place!
*Full disclosure: as a young girl I was typically horse-crazy and played with what I think(?) were 3rd gen pony toys. However, I never watched much kids’ TV and hadn’t seen more than maaaaybe an episode or two of the My Little Pony Tales (or whatever gen show it was) at friends’ houses. A situation I can now be deeply grateful to my parents for, since MLPT is reportedly an abomination. Also, the animation is terrible, so even if it were good I probably wouldn’t be able to watch it. I’m shallow like that. I like shiny things. Late eighties/early nineties children’s cartoons are almost universally not shiny. Exception: best cartoon from my childhood was definitely ReBoot. Yes, I was a nerd even back then!
Minor wish for season four: have excuse to animate Crystal Pony Alicorn Princess Twilight. C’moooooooooooon, it would be awesome! And shiny!