There's currently something going on in the Star Citizen community that fits so very well into that episode's theme (S7E14 - Fame and Misfortune), namely overly critical attitude bordering on the absurd and detached from reality, an explosion of confirmation bias.
There was a demo event at Gamescom and game testers were playing the demo, which followed a certain script. And they were roleplaying their characters with some relaxed banter. I found it pretty OK, almost background filler like, and most of it conveying practical information based on the situation at hand. They had to redo the first part of it due to a crash, hurried through that and just did their usual thing.
And so many people went nuts with RP hate. They were complaining about the quality of RP, about the very presence of RP, about the woman's voice, about the woman playing a male avatar (there are no female ones in the game yet), about them not just talking out of character instead, about their RP being done bad, wrong, cringeworthy, unrealistic, too scripted, bad timing, repeating lines etc. Anything you can think of.
I was just like: What the hell? Did I watch a different demo? How detached from reality do people have to be to be this super-nitpicky, intolerant and grumpy about game devs going out of their way working overtime at a convention event to deliver a demo (after having already done it a couple times to the press earlier and the whole event having had a delayed start at late evening) while they're in a crunch phase to get the next version out, as passionate as the fans, giving their best. So cold. And at that point it reminded me so much of Fame and Misfortune.
For reference, here the demo in question, with jump mark to where the main RP part begins. The context I mentioned might be missing to a degree, but again, this was a tech demo for a game and not an entertainment show event, nor a movie.
P.S.: Obligatory recruit referral page. ^^ http://starcitizen.dowlphin.de/
OK, let's see. A secretly-entertaining-two-guests story. Not sure whether we had that before. Watching it didn't leave me with enough energy to investigate.
The problem became visible quite soon, too.
In such episodes that can be difficult to watch because so formulaic, especially for a season 7 ep, the little things provide the contrast. Spike exclaiming: "Fighting! Yes!" was very funny, and also Twilight's extreme portrayal towards Ember, or the reaction to the claim she is so much like Starlight.
I just personally don't enjoy this story archetype easily.
It did advance the character stories though, so that became the main driving purpose.
I found it personally disappointing that Ponyville folk is scared of pink fire breath. I mean, seriously, how much nicer can you make a searing wave of air? Sneezing cotton candy? ... OH HEYYYY! IDEA!
What I found really good stuff was how Muffin Murderer - I mean Ember - had difficulty telling Twilight and Starlight apart. Might seem absurd to us, but it happens in interspecies relations or even interracial. One is being used to facial features and general appearance of one's own kind and less used to distinguishing detail of others. That might have been hinted at here. Ember has a different perception, calibrated to dragons. Although execution in detail would then leave some questions, since Ember remarks how colorful everything is in Ponyville, indicating that she does have good color perception. Hm, maybe she just has trouble distinguishing different hues of purple. Hmmmm, but Twilight has wings and Starlight hasn't. OK, forget all that, I think she just has an attention deficit.
The coffee cup scene and possibly others before in the show indicate that the sun is traveling across the sky, really making me wonder why Celestia has to raise it in the morning if it's moving on its own anyway. I think this is just inconsistency and I find it a bit sad when Equestria is assimilated too much to our world's ways instead of celebrating the differences. (Twilight or Pinkie eating flowers seemed a rare case from long time ago underlining their... ponyness? Equinity? )
The charge scene between Ember and Thorax was so ridiculously time-warped that it has to be called a parody, but it didn't quite click with me. Probably reminded me too much of Naruto, LOL.
In essence, the topic of this episode was, again, severe neurosis. Don't we love our neurotic Equestrians? (Must be something in the water, considering Ember and Thorax acted refreshingly natural.) But it also showed how focus on positive outcomes can help with that.
The whole complex of lessons that emerged is beautiful though because in order to solve the friendship problem, Spike was prompted to change himself. He experienced the cause first-hand, him being the problem. So the message is that we create a better world by bettering ourselves and that being a teacher also means being a student.
And then Ember and Thorax help each other solve their problems, so this episode towards the end severely gained 'meaty bits'. Spike then learned, which should relate him to Discord, that sometimes you can be a more passive influence, less controlling, just a catalyst for bringing about the solution through crisis. Problems are teachers and people can assume that role. That's OK, too. ... As long as you don't make it your purpose in life, right?
First, the theme of the episode seemed excessive in the execution. But it's not exactly rare that the writers do that and go all the way, like here with what amounts to mass insanity, making one wonder why the mane 6's popularity never seemed to have been received like this before the book publishing.
Second, the episode obviously conveys the point that if you adress the masses, better not let them know you too well and let you not know them too well. It's not desirable and not good, but sometimes the world can be tough as nails. But these situations are exactly where one has to decide to make an effort, to not just swim with the current, because the water stinks. Identify what is your sphere of responsibility and what is others and then avoid overextending. Going out of your way is commendable, but responses to that should be taken as indicators of whether it is appreciated.
Which leads me to the third point: This episode could almost be seen as a critique of the MLP fandom (but also of society and fandoms in general). And it is also how I feel about it sometimes. People have all kinds of reasons for liking the show, but the probably most valuable and most-needed part is often not really taken to heart. Or mind, if you will. Actually making an effort to make the spirit of Equestria come to life not just in easy but especially also in testing times, through honing character, I often felt that missing, including after my observations and experiences at conventions. In spiritual lingo one would say "bliss junkies".
The eventual song number took me a minute to thaw to because it was so bluntly thrown against the problem, and I could predict the (non)reaction to it (At one point I cynically thought that after it the rabble would probably ask for free concert tickets.), but it was a really nice, uplifting piece whose lyrics at times also felt to me like adressing the fandom. Felt a bit like a celebratory review to a last season actually, like a looking back at a long journey. Which made it even more touching. They also contained some headscratchers though. Do they really like what's flawed about people or do they have an easy time overlooking it when willingness to work on oneself is there? And Dashie's cocky confidence gives her the courage to fail? I thought she always had that and it was to not-quite cover up her fear of failure. (Little gem from me here: Failure is that which is at war with failure.)
Very nice conclusion: Just accept that you cannot adress the masses with high virtue material and expect it to be integrated. Unsurprisingly then it was foals who were still open to it, and those who are are the ones deserving to receive your attention and energy.
The episode is also art in that it offers people an empathic experience regarding the type of fans aimed at. Watching that mass insanity is painful, and you might go: "What warranted this suddenly?". That's how it makes the writers feel. When the mane 6 sing their beautifully uplifting song and then right after it - BAM - NOTHING received, that moment really sucked, right? You go: "This is becoming horribly cynical if not even an episode's highlight can solve the problem anymore". That is how it makes the writers feel. Over 20 minutes you are having their experience, so that you hopefully understand them and recognize the value of what's important about the show.
And the end was conveying the lesson of how to avoid overextending. Did you notice Applejack was first in mentioning they need to deal with the problem at hand, and Twilight said she should stay in the friendship moment? Applejack sang in the song that she has a tendency of wanting to please everypony. The mane 6 there had to focus on their close friendship to recharge their spiritual batteries for a bit in the face of overwhelming hostility.
I myself certainly had and still have to learn in a painful way that it is alright to give up hope on some people or to lose respect. It is a bow of appreciation to the good things in you that said people do not appreciate. They can eventually pick up the bread crumbs if they're lucky. They would just choke on more than that. Going all missionary on them would only feed the insatiable and signal that they have power over you, which is what the whole madness is based on. Sometimes it is wiser to let people stew in their own juice.
P.S.: At this point I thought: Oh yeah, Dashie, REALLY skillful attempt at a disguise, especially for you.
P.P.S. (Pinkie Pie scriptum):
Did you ever notice?
I am also fond of the similarly shared color of Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. I guess you could continue the chain from AJ to Fluttershy to Pinkie Pie. And you could also mention Rarity and Twilight Sparkle. A common theme of having lots in common, heh.
At first this looked to me like just another "be yourself" episode, but I think it is more interesting to look at how it was the environment that determined whether Discord was present or fading. He tried to adapt and fit into something not him and started fading. Someone else, a friend, Fluttershy, brought the environment back to nourishing him where he couldn't do it by himself anymore.
I.e. sometimes we need others to lovingly do for us what we cannot do ourselves, to add a perception of us that we may have lost, and that might require tangible means, as shown in the episode when Fluttershy's words didn't make a difference. Words are about minds arguing, and in that game, if the problem is in the mind, the problem will always win. As was shown by Discord just countering any of her suggestions with words.
Generally, the episode couldn't possibly have been a downer for me because, as I like to say, "There is no such thing as a bad Fluttershy episode." <3 <3
P.S.: I was a bit disappointed to not see the words "Judgy Clerk Pony" in the credits.
Oh well, TO ACTION! ^^
There's another Star Citizen ship concept sale and it's a space bike. And it being called "Nox" spawned a flood of puns as never before.
I was tempted to get the 2Pac with the black (Nox) and the silver (Nox Kue) one, but I'm not that bikuerious. So I ponied up the money and seaddled up on this space needle. Got the silver one. Seems more classy to me.
It is made by Aopoa, which is a manufacturer of the Xi'an race. So I named it Lady Xiarity, which sounds like sharity -> charity ->generosity, Rarity's element of harmony. This is a racing bike, so it has a very generous power-to-weight ratio. With all this in mind, the name seemed very aopoapriate.
This bike being named after a pony, it thus became an equine Nox. And in summer that's a rarity!
Here's the official ship teaser video:
and here's my recruitment page in case this bike nox your sox off and you want to join in on the pun: http://starcitizen.dowlphin.de
PLEASE XIARE! ^^
P.S.: I got another space bike, more of a cruiser. It's the exclusive yellow version of the Dragonfly - "Dragonfly Yellowjacket". I named it "Dragonshy Yellowcoat" . Also got a stealth fighter named "Mare Selenitatis" and a big Constellation Phoenix class multicrew ship with a docked P-72 Archimedes snub fighter and a two-seated Lynx rover in the belly. I called them "Constellestia, Philomedes and Twily". (Also got a size-and-weight-optimized racing ship with huge engines called Pinkie and a Mustang Gamma racing ship called Dashie.)
... This is what it means when I'm calling myself a puntheist. Good puns are simply divine!
I thought the black spots weren't part of Luna's cutie mark. Last time, when it was taken away, only the moon vanished. I assumed it's just her natural coat (and that it's naturally symmetrical). Hm, maybe that was just draining the power from the cutie mark.
Interesting dreams ponies have. Pinkie surfing on the gummyboard, wearing shades, I like that a lot, heh. And Derpy as queen, on her side another ... background character. ;-)
Starlight's dragon toothbrush was funny.
Twilight her frequent freakout self, but totally understandable why she couldn't calm herself. Still so much admiration for the regal sisters and projection of crucial importance to Equestria. (She underestimates the importance of everypony else's contribution.)
The episode was full with playfulness, action and lovely little details and a new insight into ponies' daily life.
I will close with one of my favorite pictures from olden times that immediately came to mind when realizing the theme of this episode. I call it "Maneheart"...
I recently made a referral code bonus webpage
that gives a good introduction to the game. I played with the idea of entering the whole advertising game since my altruism focus doesn't seem to get me anywhere, but the more I read up on it, the more off-putting it became. So I'm always trying to get a little caress for my soul without playing in the hands of an ugly system, thus doing open, sincere, more personal advertising.
Star Citizen is gonna be an amazing game, unlike anything before, and I am very excited about being a part of the unfolding project. Now is a good time to join, because soon there will be a major update, and more generally early adopters are being rewarded.
Check it out and share it and you'd do me a tremendous heartwarming favor if you used my referral code as mentioned on that sweet little webpage I made. :-)
(Oh and in case it tells you somewhere on signup that you need a quadcore-CPU and don't have one (yet): People have confirmed it can run on dualcores if they're performing well (e.g. somewhat overclocked and/or of newer generation). And it generally only affects the performance I think, not the ability to run it at all.)
Remember Dashie's fear of failure and sometimes overbearing self-glorification? I think the real meat of this episode was written between the lines.
I'd say timing is important and that managing to get along better with her parents could only happen right now, in this episode, not sooner.
I think this only makes sense if we assume that indeed Dashie enjoyed her parents' praise, despite the embarassment. That would make her an odd personality though, because I haven't heard something like this happening. Could be almost schizophrenic. Again - Would explain some of the other troubles she had to deal with and her current personality.
I would say the overall lesson of the episode was that if your parents are like that... be cool.
(Dashie tends to pretend to be cool, but underneath it might look different, which underlines this.)
Remember that this is not primarily a show to teach parents (although it hopefully does teach anybody), but to teach kids, so it doesn't matter whether her parents were a bad example or not. This was about how to deal with it.
As for the details: The door was a hilarious idea. (Subverting viewer's expectations is always fun.) Scootaloo's reaction to Dashie's outburst seemed overly dramatically extreme. The nap joke was the lowest point of the episode; horribly forced.
It has been quite a while without pony output for me and then recently two humble pieces in a row. I just wanted to share them here. (There must be a trampoline at rockfarm bottom, hah.) I'm curious about what thoughts the video triggers in you.
Caption pic about anim error, found while browsing content for the videomaking below: http://dowlphin.tumblr.com/post/156365530982/i-have-no-nares-and-i-must-breathe-many-ponies
Three little things caught my attention in the beginning:
First I was surprised that pony hooves can sense the coolness of spit evaporating on a hoof.
Second I was wondering how AJ could kick an apple so hard that it smashes through a wooden target without smashing the apple with her hoof.
Third I grieved over the missed very first latin lesson for young watchers when AJ used "pegasus" as a plural instead of "pegasi".
The general message of the episode I can relate to a lot. Like Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, I don't thrive on pressure, but excellence comes out when enjoying something. In our world that needs a lot of cultivation, because so often results are believed to come from pressure, force. It's no surprise considering what kind of people have great influence over society and the means for success. It seems easier to be troubled than to be healthy.
Snails gave a good contrast metaphor for how not overthinking stuff can remove obstacles. This was even hinted at with his floating-buckets meditation-like pose in one scene.
This episode reminded me again of how much of a metaphor the Changelings are. They are weaking a mask in order to receive love that they don't carry inside. Everything is energy, so it was only a matter of time and interaction that among teh troubled Changeling culture there would be born one affected by the best of Equestrian magic that is flourishing. I can empathize with Thorax. Being born with that difference can make it difficult to sustain oneself in an environment of takers. It was a bold step by Thorax to leave that, but he had witnessed the better alternative, so that is a powerful driving force. He is very lucky.
Especailly the song lyrics raise awareness of the crucial difference between changing and adapting.
He shouldn't be too optimistic about winning over the rest of his race though. They have a queen who is pretty much supreme commander and in such a power structure the efforts of the queen to perpetuate her relevance would stand against such change. In that way the queen is leeching from her subjects as her subjects are leeching from other races. It would need careful baby steps to break that up.
It's weird how that Daring Do fan seems to have never heard of Rainbow Dash and her and her friends' deeds. The stuff they have done that should be common knowledge, and the guy still argues about details, like there aren't worldsaving heroes in Equestria and he's not talking to one of them.
And his name is Quibble Pants. Well, his parents surely recognized his tendencies early and didn't hold back, hah. ;-D
I don't mind at all that this episode doesn't match our season. Who said Equestria needs to match our timeline?
Kinda funny how things started out though:
Starlight Glimmer was like: "Bah, it's just about telling the same old story with the windigos again and silly singing and giving presents." And Twilight is like: "Let me tell you a different story. One you haven't heard yet." And then tells the Scrooge story.
It's a story where the main character, Snowfall Frost, hates that day of song-singing ... and sings a song about it.
Sad part for me was that what Snowfall Frost imagined a good Equestria to be is not bad, just not the whole picture. In our world, that part tends to be neglected in favor of lots of pretending/makebelief that everything is fine because it seems easier. So the reaction of the other ponies left a bitter aftertaste with me for a moment, since I tend to create connections between what is and what could be. Equestria has their effort part well-covered. So well that they laugh about it. Their effortlessness and celebratory mood is affordable, authentic. Would be nice if letting go of the past is all that's needed. But even if you think you're done with the past, the past might not be done with you. This was the popculture version of problem-solving, where the social environment is great and the only problem is within and everybody helps you solve it. Equestria isn't exactly hardcore. ... Well, except for the occasional explosive magic duel, heh. The point is that out goal should be to create a world in which the problems portrayed are actually that simple/easy to solve.
Well, Pinkie looked absolutely lovely again. So that was a sweet highlight and the most memorable part of the episode, in part because the pun was hers again.
One thing yet another episode shows is that the one thing Rainbow Dash is not is cool. Nobody is who is obsessing over it. It's a classical issue where one tries to compensate for an inner shortcoming with outside things that are not her. (Apparently I saw where this episode was heading.) When she manages to resolve that, she'll be cool. (I see this stuff all the time.) And hey, her fear of failure is well-known and again shown clearly in this very episode. That might go away if she focused less on apprearance and style. ... Maybe her admiration of the Wonderbolts, who are stunt flyers after all, contributes to that focus on style. When she does know what's important and acts on it, she's mature. But she's still not cool then, but actually more like Pinkie Pie. The two generally have a lot in common.
Like the last episode, this is yet another full reset of (at least assumed) character development.
Funny, when I see her so often associated in fan art with US patriotism and seen in collages with the US flag, I can't help but think of how the two have something in common, which is a lack of humility.
The enjoyable part was in episode performance, the hilarious absurdity of her imitating the other mane 6 ponies.
P.S.: Weird that they always have a filled trashcan ready at the runway, isn't it? And I'm also wondering why they started calling her "Rainbow Crash" and not "Rainbow Trash". She did specifically choose the trashcan for herself, so that's pretty fitting, haha.
P.P.S.: LOL, I wrote this minutes before Pinkie brought this one up. I guess that makes this a pinkie scriptum. ^^
P.P.P.S: I think Pinkie didn't actually want cotton candy. She just suddenly thought how funny it would be if the stand flowed over with it and then tried how far she can push the guy. xD
It's a bit annoying when they do a kind of character development reset to get a message across. Although sometimes I wonder whether Twilight has changed at all. She still seems like being all the student. It's like the Discord situation again where the lack of sincere acceptance and good will towards his reformation, the unwillingness to let the past be the past, drove him into Tirek's influence, and it required Fluttershy to be herself in practicing sincere kindness and forgiveness, which is her immense inner strength. It's a beautiful irony: As easily scared as Fluttershy seems, as much has she overcome some powerful deep fears. Because she carries her friendship in the heart and doesn't need to have it whacked over her head in a crisis.
Friendship is great, but it needs to come from within, and Twilight acted like someone who has no clue about friendship if it isn't sent to her from the outside. Awarding her the title "Princess of Friendship" might have been a bad idea; might get a bit to her head. (Then again, we know from all the ponies how their destination's fulfillment (the elements) often doesn't come easily.)
She should have learned from Pinkie by now that a desire to control can become unhealthy if not kept well in check. Learning that lesson is maybe one of the most valuable for cultivation of good character, of a healthy mind. The experience of "Woah, this is not what I intended!" is important to have and learn from.
Starlight Glimmer was the sane one in this episode. She was the teacher to Twilight and Trixie, who were two poles of the same mental issue.
Become aware of how the teacher in life is often not who you think it is.
I made this a couple of months ago, but I was today reminded of video-related synchronicities, and compared to some of the relatively well-known stuff on the net (like "The Dark Side of the Rainbow"), this one is quite an intense example. I'll copy&paste the video description below, since it explains everything. Feel free to comment on the video and give thumbs up - It would make me very happy. (I could really use a strong positive side to counter the negative influences in my life so that I can shift my focus.)
I was terribly bored, so I started working on a boring/bored/boredom compilation (seemed like the thing to do, LOL), and by accident, when I had opened one episode while still having another episode's audio track loaded and searched for the next piece, I noticed the uncanny degree of sync(hronicity) between the two in vocals, effects, emotions, scene transitions, behavior, so I let it play out for as long as it matched so well.
I love it when I receive help from the Realm of Random.
I consider this my typical life art. When I'm too bored for anything, the only thing left to do is creatively expressing it. Blabla. Some meaningful life lesson in it I'm sure. I'll just do stuff (or not) and see where it leads.
Man, it has been so long since my last pony upload. Just an hour before I started doing this, I browsed through my project files and unfinished compilations and felt even less motivated to work on any of them. Life really makes no sense. And I don't care. Meaning trumps sense.