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S04E11 - A 'Must Read'

UPDATE 2014-01-29: Did some additions and restructuring.



I like season 4's episode 11 "Three's A Crowd" a lot because of the valuable lessons contained within that are touching on my own life experience ... especially one unlearned (!) lesson that might be too in-your-face (or inconvenient) for people to notice.



To begin with, this episode toys with a common tool in script writing, where subplots are wrapped up and vanish and we never hear of it again. I'm sure many people were wondering: "So now Discord is reformed? Where is he? Doesn't he still need the friendship that caused him to reform?"

And the episode treats this as if it happened exactly like that. The mane cast (excluding Fluttershy) really couldn't care less about what Discord is doing, as long as he leaves them alone.


This is a situation very close to reality and makes this like an episode inside of an episode. It is disappointing, because one would think that Fluttershy's amazing strength and skill in winning Discord as a friend would surely inspire her friends to try that approach, too, among other things to practice forgiveness. But instead, they don't care. Out of sight, out of mind. They still want to cling to the past, despite Discord's actions from back then having been relatively harmless.

Not only is this an unwise and somewhat shameful behavior towards Discord, but it is borderline disrespectful towards Fluttershy. Despite her amazing accomplishment that none of the other ponies would have deemed possible, they still don't give her credit for what she did. She basically singlehoofedly freed Equestria from a villain, and she didn't even get a lousy t-shirt.


And Discord (hopefully, finally) taught them a valuable lesson, making him a real - but sadly unappreciated - friend to the mane 6. The kind of friend that is not just pampering you with rainbows and unicorns, but the kind of friend who's got your back and calls you out on your bullshit and pokes you when you're losing 'the path'.

A while ago Fluttershy taught Discord a lesson about friendship, and he is a good student. He understood the lesson, while Fluttershy's close friends are still struggling. Such a good student in fact that he is now helping the other ponies learn lessons about friendship. This makes those ponies look quite bad, and it should. You gotta handle the cognitive dissonance and see in what way Discord is/was a better person than those ponies. Those who miss(ed) something the most will also have the greatest appreciation for it.


Life lessons can come from where you least expect them. But if your whole perception of reality is slanted towards your expectations, you might miss the most valuable ones.



Some moments in the episode that stood out for me:


1) When Discord showed Twiley the letter he got from Fluttershy and stated that he never hears from the other ponies, Twiley responds by saying that she doesn't even know where he lives. He abruptly silences her, and one can see various meaning/intentions in this, or no deep reason at all, but at that moment I was thinking: "Yes, Twiley, what does that tell us about you? Why DON'T you know where he lives? Of course he could have relayed the information to you directly, Princess :-P, but he did to Fluttershy! Did YOU ever bother to inquire about his whereabouts? Ask Fluttershy maybe? No."

Pinkie Pie spelled out what the others thought, too: They were truly surprised that Fluttershy and Discord are pen pals. They still cannot comprehend the level of sincerity in Fluttershy's friendship.


2) When Twiley eventually got angry that Discord was just faking, this is an interesting moment, because he didn't try to conceil it, and his ways are no secret. She really should have known that he is faking, but doing it for a good reason. Of course faking the need for help is not as motivating as a real need, but hey, from a certain standpoint there was a real need. He was merely playing the nemesis. He took a route of action that in a different light could be interpreted as a mildly desperate act.


Also, Discord was toying with her real motivations; those that made her ignore the obvious fact that Discord was faking: Apart from wanting to quickly get back to her relaxing time with Cadance, she wanted to preserve the image she has of herself. We all know how Discord is, so rejecting him shouldn't have been received badly by the other ponies... except Fluttershy! ... at least that's what Twilight thought, because she had a guilty conscience. It is like one of those situations where two people are lying to each other and both know it but don't say anything for mutual face-saving. (Discord's unspoken words here: "You know I'm just faking and I know you just want me gone. But I don't kid myself about my real motivations.") When in the end Discord made her compliments about how she indeed is the true friend he doubted she'd been, that compliment was as fake as Discord's illness. A true friend to him, like Fluttershy, would have had the confidence based on that authenticity to tell him he should stop faking ... but of course, Discord wouldn't have played that game with Fluttershy in the first place, since he knows she is a true friend to him. There is no lesson for reformed Discord to teach. And he also values their true friendship too much to risk ruining it by being dishonorable of what Fluttershy did for him. When Fluttershy caused Discord's reformation, she didn't do it for mere personal gain, but out of real compassion for the pain that made Discord become sorta nasty. He probably only was like that because personal experience made him believe that people like Fluttershy don't exist in the world, or at least that those acts of compassion are not available to him.


3) When Rarity and Applejack stated that Discord got what he deserved, I thought: Indeed, he got at least one true friend (the first he ever had), and while they were referring to his illness that apparently was real this time, he actually got another confirmation of Fluttershy's sincere caring for him. And he used the same wording towards her that he used earlier when he was faking it just to rub it in the other ponies' faces. Or did you really think when he asked for a glass of water again that he had any intention to toy with Fluttershy like he had done with Twilight and Cadance? If so, then think again!



In contrast, the official lesson learned at the end of this episode was pretty much a copy of what had already been conveyed in the season 1 finale "The Best Night Ever" and degraded Discord to a mere catalyst for it.



Now you see how much can be learned from the show if you look closely and accept inconvenient thoughts, too. And it should also make clear why the show means so much to me. Often it's like what I've been thinking/feeling/saying all along, and the show is like a rare incident of hearing a familiar voice - a likeminded entity - all the way to the core. And the contrast between this and what I mostly experience in the real world can be very painful and disheartening.



P.S.: I wanted to add that Pinkie Pie was the least disrespectful to Discord, so when I'm talking about the ponies, I'm not only fully excluding Fluttershy, but also to some degree Pinkie Pie. ... After all, she shares a certain passion with Discord, hehe. ... And she also left the stage quite early. But while she, too, didn't care what Discord was doing, when he was there, she was trying to make the best of the situation. And he rejected her hospitality because he knew that the other ponies had a much bigger need for working though their issue with him. And Pinkie Pie even objected to not being allowed to help him, haha. In a way, she turned it around and toyed with him in his own unique style. This deserves a "Well played, Pinkie Pie!". But here, too, it is not just a little fun, but a display of the wise approach of solving a problem by focusing on the solution instead of the problem, or to realize the core motivation behind behavior. It's really deep stuff.


Hay Bronies!

Here is something I wanted to share with you.


Pinkie Pie is very dear to me. In a way she is representing a part of me that needs more expression. I embrace her spirit and welcome her nature into my being.


Lately I have made many animated GIFs and some caption pictures from the show. Half of the time I didn't look for specific scenes, but did other stuff and noticed them in the process.


That one time the idea came to be to make an aniGIF out of Pinkie Pie's final twitchatwitch scene. In the process, I got the idea to make a caption pic out of it.


The animation consisted of merely two frames. Free picture space was scarce, so I arranged the caption text around Pinkie Pie. Eventually, the text was all one vector layer. Now all I did was to copy that whole vector layer into the other animation frame, which naturally has identical dimensions. I saved both and when I loaded them into the animation program and did a preview, I saw this:


Pinkie Pie twitchy

Now my initial reaction was:



And indeed how could this happen? Every one of the three text segments had been misaligned in a completely different direction, resulting in that slight text jitter.


A few moments later, a second thought occured:

"Oh hello Pinkie Pie! Sorry I didn't recognize you at first!"


Because I suddenly realized that this 'happy accident' had made the whole caption pic so much better! It now truly reflected Pinkie Pie's spirit and habit of fourth-wall-breaking: She is so on edge that she even makes the caption text jitter!

Pinkie Pie, you are so random!


Not only does the final result DEPICT her breaking the fourth wall in an unusual way (as usual, haha), but the very fact that this picture came to be like that constitutes her breaking of the fourth wall into this reality, too! By giving that caption text a little nudge, she made it perfect in a way my limited mind could not have conceived.

Well played, Pinkie!


Later some doubts crept in about whether I should have taken the idea further and made that text jitter a lot more, but I quickly realized that this would lessen the effect and reduce the 'depth' of the whole thing, the depiction of how the text is supposed to be still, since it's not in the same layer of reality, but how Pinkie Pie has that habit of having a more or less subtle effect on other layers.

She's jumping all over the place, not caring for that boooring! idea of "reality".


I think it's no coincidence either that this whole AniGIF thing was about Pinkie Pie's twitchatwitch sense and how Twilight Sparkle kept resisting the idea ohmy.png and eventually had to give up. laugh.png



Dear Princess Celestia,


today my good friend Pinkie Pie made me realize that friendship can not only transcend time and space, but whatever artificial barrier we make up in our minds, because true friendship comes from the heart.


Your faithful student







I was watching this tiny cut I made from the show:



and suddenly realized:


Giving Pinkie Pie the tickle treatment would render me unable to stop, even if I wanted to.

I thought: It would be a vicious cycle and the metaphor of turbocharging came to my mind.

Then I realized that the metaphor is more appropriate as I thought at first, because the thing that prevents a turbo engine from blowing up is the so-called "wastegate".

And what will ultimately happen if you keep tickling someone which will put an end to any kind of fun? ... A wastegate opening.

Not sure how effective that would be specifically in the case of Pinkie Pie though. Her element of harmony is among the most powerful forces in the universe.

(Maybe that's why the Nazis couldn't resist using tickle torture, haha. Perhaps they were performing experiments in order to create the deadliest joke ever which would make people die laughing.)

But I digress. :derp:


Might change later depending on how things go, but right now I'm quite content with it.

The glasses were not done with perfection in mind. I just went with the flow and wanted to get it done. I'm still learning this stuff and didn't have that much patience.

The base pony was made with the Pony Creator. The cutie mark was manually added by me. (The dolphin is a heavily modified clipart.) It represents the high frequency transmission of Dolphin characteristics like playfulness, sensitivity and zest for life. (I drew the sound waves freehand and they turned out so well!)




I was just clicking through someone's deviantART gallery. I came to this picture...




...and for some reason had a naughty thought about Pinkie Pie wanting Fluttershy to be a tree.












Then I clicked to the next picture...




Everypony becomes evil - that would be hilarious.


Look at this and imagine the hilarity ensuring:


They'd all scheme and fight against each other and eventually realize that it's pointless, in part because when everypony is evil, nopony is evil. They'd also realize the stupidity and unsustainability of a life like that.


- The remixed intro theme doesn't sound very elegant to me. The voice glitching a bit 'hacky'. Although it seemed to be heavily inspired by brony music. Same with the nice intro animations. A lot of abstract playing with shapes and colors.


- When Celestia mentioned that Sunset Shimmer might bring harm to the other world using the crown, one of the elements of harmony, I was amused by the pun... HARMony.


- Spike following Twilight was pretty reckless considering what Celestia expressed a moment before.


- Fluttershy's encounter with Twily and Spike is clearly a redo of the original one, but it seemed too mixed regarding Fluttershy's shyness level. First she's moderately shy, then totally, then back to moderate.


- Trixie could at least have tried to cover up the inserting of the coin into the vending machine. She's purely imagining, not even trying to put on a show. Extremely lame, haha.


- Getting the crown ... first extremely complex, then boiling down to ridicuously simple measures deciding the result. But that's not uncommon in the movie world, and I'm not saying it's diappointing, just that it's a bit old.


- At roughly 1h1m25s they decided to cram a Wilhelm scream into the movie that totally didn't fit the teenage crowd there. Hommages should be done with respect.


- Sunset shimmer called it a high school, although the school's name says it's a college (if I'm not mistaken. It might be that the college was actually a slipup.). I can only assume it was meant in a demeaning way, but that would be quie a lame way. Otherwise it was a slipup in the script. Is she really that pathetic that she tries to insult a college by calling it a high school?


Generally, only few details bugged me in the beginning and it got better and better over time, and if you've watched that one extract with the mensa musical on Youtube, you're missing all the context. It's much more powerful when part of the whole plot. I was almost moved to tears by it.


This movie is an invaluable influence for people of all type. It successfully conveys and lovingly celebrates the original message of MLPFIM.

This humanized version also helps to make it even clearer that you can find people like the mane 6 in this world, too. This seems to be kinda unrealized when I hear people equaling Equestria to a land of eternal bliss or something... because it's obviously not. They have many of the same mundane problems that we have.


The writing, especially the dialogue writing, is done very well. All characters act and react quite naturally and believable to events around them, and with that I mean based on the circumstances of the MLPFIM universe. After all, it's still supposed to be wacky, fun and magical. ... Well, OK, maybe with one exception where there was a somewhat forced misunderstanding, but it's nothing that couldn't happen in real life, too.

I'd almost say this is a quality of writing I'd love to see in the show, because it's at least a tiny bit above that.



P.S.: My impession becomes clearer and clearer that Pinkie Pie wields very powerful but subtle magic. Or is wielded by it, haha. Her character carries a profound message, almost an ambassador of what laughing and not taking life too serious can accomplish. In short: I just love her more and more!



P.P.S.: Here's my favorite screen from the whole movie. Not really a strong spoiler, but a moderate one, and maybe you want to see the beauty in context, too:






The bandwagon is irresistble. ^_^


Any mod desginer here who would like to do that? ... The model would make sense as a warhammer as well as a staff.


Although I guess some picture edits would be fun, too. I'm just not in the mood for stuff like that, otherwise I'd make something myself. But maybe this idea inspires you for all kinds of weapon-associated stuff involving that scepter.


But imagine how hiariously grotesque it would be to bash a dragon head in with that silly smily face. ... Or to roast some bandits with unicorn power. (Rainbow beam spell maybe.)


This idea just came to me while rewatching Bridle Gossip:


Maybe Zecora speaks exclusively in rhymes because her first encounter with poison joke caused her to be unable to talk in anything but rhymes, and then she decided:



Joke's on you, my little blue plant!

If you expect me to yearn for a cure, then I shan't.


A while ago I added a lot of favorites from the MLP Vector gallery at deviantART, one character at a time.

Just now I browsed through my favorites - endless Fluttershy pictures - when I saw this:





I just love it! laugh.png


For a total Pinkie Pie fan, having good color display is even more exciting. Of all the colors, I am most stunned by how awesome and vivid pink looks on my monitor. So I made a comparative photo. It's not perfect, since a photo camera has trouble with photos like this. The monitors should display a color gradient from pastel-like at the top to extremely vivid pink on the bottom.


The photo will look different on various displays, but the relation (hopefully) should become clear. There should be a distinct difference.

In natura the difference is even more extreme.


Fun fact: My 27" Eizo monitor (on the left) was cheaper than the 'budget' 21.5" Yiynova digitizer display on the right. (Both are IPS panels!)








Here is the color gradient I used for making the photo:














I've been very active on my brand new Cheezburger account ( lately and they have a feature to create a "site" in addition to the regular account profile. Based on recommendations in the help section, I sent a support ticket:


I (user name Dowlphin) registered today and at first didn’t know how to add favorites to my profile, so I unnecessarily created a site. I have copied all pictures from there to my favorites now, so it can be deleted:




The response:



Thanks for getting in touch. We have deleted your Cheezburger account and profile as requested. We are sorry to see you leave! We hope that you'll continue to visit Cheezburger for your daily dose of laughs and fun smile.png






daily dose of laughs and fun


daily dose of laughs and fun


daily dose of laughs and fun





This caused a little inner disharmony.


















When I told someone in the PM section of another forum, it made me break the fourth wall. ... If that gives you any indication.







I calmed down relatively quickly though. ... Because ponies. derpy_emoticon1.png


I hope they can restore it.

I think they can.

The alternative would be too mindboggling.


I might write a long account of my experience at the UK's convention "BUCK" later, but I wanted to tell you about a funny experience I had on a bus on the way from Manchester Airport to the city:


An senior lady entered the bus with her niece, who was like the perfect target audience for MLP in any way; must have been between 5 and 7. I talked to the lady and mentioned MLP and the convention and we chatted. She asked her niece whether she had heard of My Little Pony, and the little girl said, in a rejecting, kinda snobbish tone of voice, something like: Yeah, I know what it is. ... But it's for little girls!


I guess from a different perspective it's not just funny, but also a little sad that we live in a society where some young girls deny their age, their identity, and thus, in a way, their childhood. Has society become so unsupportive of childlike nature that the desire to be all 'grown-up' has permeated through teenager level into kids' age?


Of course it's just one case, but I still find it a bit sad. ... In retrospect, that is. At first it was really just ironically funny.


I'm so happy that MLP inspires so many people to nourish and maybe even rediscover their inner child.


Derpy: "I have good news and I have bad news..."

Twiley: "Tell me the bad news first."

Derpy: "Oh... well, OK.

I ate them."

Twiley: "Huh? Ate what?"

Derpy: "The muffins."

Twiley: "What muffins?"

Derpy: "The... the ones I made you."

Twiley: "Oh! ... Well, it's alright. The gesture is what counts. ... Of making them, not eating them of course.

So what's the good news?"

Derpy: "I made you some muffins!! :-D"



inspired by:


I just had an epiphany. Finally I am able to put this into words.


Things happen for a reason, people are influenced greatly by their surroundings. A chain of events caused Luna to become Nightmare Moon, and the forces of love and empathy weren't powerful enough back then to stop it from happening, and neither could it be defused.


During "Luna Eclipsed", you could notice from her manners that things were different back then.


A thousand years later she returned, and her return coincided with a most fortunate chain of events that put the Elements of Harmony to a very different use ... actual harmony. Oh my, Celestia might have put discrace on those magical sacraments in the past, by creating a great and painful division. This becomes clear when you consider that Luna didn't return as Luna, but as the same she was when she was banished.


So it was actually Equestria that had to change, that needed a thousand years to grow into a state of being able to mend that old wound. Luna had the role of the somewhat involuntary teacher (basically a nemesis), and Celestia seems at least to some degree unaware of how she should have shown more humility upon their re-uniting. That fateful act of banishing her beloved sister surely influenced her rule deeply in the following millennium, allowing her to turn Equestria into a place where love and compassion has grown strong enough to be able to right the shortcomings of the past.


Luna's strong yin energy facilitated this passive approach. We can fight certain difficulties, but at some point, everypony is at their limit, and when Luna reached that limit, she allowed herself to succumb to weakness, staying true to herself by making a great but necessary sacrifice in order to teach a world the hard way; a world where there was no feasible alternative for its betterment.


You know that wherever the sun shines, the night retreats effortlessly ... and it has to. This so easily invites exploitation.


You think Nightmare Moon was the aggressive, offensive pole in this conflict? Wasn't she to some degree a mere reflection of Celestia's approach of that nature? Her active, burning sun within - attacking problems upfront? Might she have neglected to offer Luna the space she needed for fulfillment? Did she become too full of herself without noticing and thus influenced pony society towards neglecting the night? ... Life tends to show you on the outside what is deep within yourself that you don't want to see.


Nightmare Moon was a corruption; the result of imposing the energy of the sun onto the silent beauty of the night.


This mistake shall never be repeated.
Thus, I am writing these words
as an homage to Luna's elusive greatness. Luna_not_impressed.png




UPDATE 2015-09-17: And this might be why there's that odd contradiction in the sisters' theme and personality: Celestia likes to rule by not ruling, to just support and nourish and instill confidence and let ponies figure things out within their own potential, while Luna is surprisingly forward and active. This might have been different long time ago, with Luna being very yin and Celestia being very yang and that having been the cause for the crisis, so the sisters have now moved closer to each other and that works.


Could be a minor/major school villain, teaching the lesson of how people dig their own grave, so to speak. ... Ah, there are so many other facets and potential subplots in this.


The thought was inspired by watching this little crossover again:



P.S.: Somewhat related crossover comic of mine:


I watched The Last Unicorn again. (First time was as a child.)


Here some comments:


1) The unicorn has a star on her head, around her horn, that looks quite a lot like the main star in Twilie's cutie mark.


2) In dubbing, they used the sound of a flying pigeon for a raven, a falcon ... and AN OWL!!! Owls are known for their silent flying, and there they apply the sound of probably the loudest flyer of all to it.


3) A Prince slays not just a dragon in a typical western style context, but an Asian style dragon! In Asia dragons are associated with wisdom and are very diferent from the dragons in Western tales.


4) The King Haggard part reminded me a bit of the Greyjoy family stuff in Game of Thrones.


5) I refuse to drink Red Bull!

(Better quench your thirst with water.)


I'm a little kooky. But at least I'm not Spock. That would be spooky.


Take a dolphin. Now add a "w" (U-U) and - naturally - you have an owl there, too.


If you like owling, don't be stingy with the bees, then you can do bowling. It's just like owling, but more fun.(If you try to throwl an owl, it will make you run!)


A message pops up on the deviantART page:


"It's important to have an up-to-date email address. Can we still reach you at the following address?"


This is one of those things that make me shake my head. One of the things that bother me about dA is the absence of the very basic and common feature of getting notification of new messages via e-mail. Few websites make an e-mail address as unnecessary as dA does. And now they want to ensure that they still can reach me under the address in my profile.


I'm actively using that account, but for some reason they still ask this. And hey, here's a very straightforward way to check whether the e-mail address is still valid AND actually signal at least a tiny amount of factual usefulness of that address: They could have sent me an e-mail! (But that wouldn't be as bothersome and coercive as that big space-waster on the website.)


It makes sense that they're getting unsure about whether e-mail addresses actually still exist since they're not using them for anything. It also explains why they're saying it's important. Because it's not at all apparent (and neither is it convincing).

This even makes me wonder why they're requiring an e-mail address for registration in the first place. ... Or what's the actual reason for asking this. But they'd be damned if they told me. After all, they are the ones asking the questions, right? It's not like the users deserve the respect of being informed about the why. Just answer it and don't ask questions. Don't think.


And yes, I have a very finely tuned bullshit sensor. That stuff starts small, but tends to grow on you. When information given is scarce, it's usually very deliberate.

The mindset that this is feeding also makes people click on ad banners that say "Click here to claim your prize!".

When cashiers at the supermarket ask for people's ZIP code, can you imagine how many give that information like a robot, without even forming one thought about why someone would want that information from them or should have it? And the cashiers are not saying what it's for. They merely form the demand of the information and expect the customer to comply. (They could even make a profit selling that information and you wouldn't know it.) Whenever I witness a scene like that, it feels a little creepy.

If you think the idea that a zombie army will eventually overrun society is absurd, how about the idea that that army is already marching everywhere?

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