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Flash Sentry: A Critique of His Character


Dark Qiviut

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Author's Note: Credit goes to critiques from Tommy_Oliver, Silver-Quill, and VoiceOfReason for this critique of Flash Sentry.


One of the biggest elephants in not only Equestria Girls, but FIM altogether. Both movies have a host of problems, and one of them is Flash Sentry. If there's one point where you can narrow down the laziness of the entire alternate world, it's him. Poor writing, lazy direction, character derailment, playing clichés to the letter. Flash Sentry is a lot like the characters of G3: flat, stereotypical, boring, pointless, and receives undeserved praise. On top of that, he's also a Gary Stu.

But that's just slicing through the surface of Flash Sentry's issues as a character. To really get to the roots of the problems, we need to be really analytical with his character. What are the problems? What causes these problems? Any implications his overall concept represents?

Crush on Twilight.

Pedestria's* overarching plot is the ongoing crush Flash and Princess Twilight have on each other. Twilight and Flash Sentry keep bumping into each other, setting off the crush. Each time they do, Twilight's crush "deepens," so to speak.

One very huge issue about the romance angle is how there's no chemistry between them. Twilight Sparkle is a very established character with several strengths and flaws that make her so endearing. During the middle of the first movie, her adorkable side came into play when she got so fascinated over the school library and later read the history book of Canterlot High that night. She may not freak out anymore, but that doesn't mean she doesn't become any less antsy, like her loss of patience over Rainbow Dash's inability to learn through the traditional methods and subsequent insults until Fluttershy called both her and Dash out. She has a passion to learn and is very logical in her approach.

In Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks, Twilight only grows a crush on him because of his looks. Nothing about his personality. Nothing to create common ground. They establish nothing between them. Flash's lack of dimension doesn't mesh with Twilight's studiousness.

Whenever the characters meet, they almost always bump into each other. It didn't just happen once nor was it organically varied. They bump into each other again and again and again. DHX, you're not creating anything unique or original when you have two prominent characters in EQG/RR meet up so predictably. The first time — in The Crystal Empire — was okay because they never met. The second time was pushing it to the point of predictable. But when she bumps him the third time, it was no longer interesting. It was predictable. There's a reason why Twilight spilling her drink on him isn't funny. By Rainbow Rocks, this cliché was beyond tiring. It was obnoxious. Any hopes for a developed relationship died before he bumped into the wall in the Rainbooms' studio because DHX doesn't know how to create FlashLight conversation without making the audience cringe.

Twilight's reasons for her crush is out of character. Think of the implications surrounding teenaged hormones: the idea that teens attach to other people simply for how hot they look. She only likes him because he's hot, nothing else. This is a stereotype of how teenaged girls view their teenaged boy crushes. Even worse is how this universe never subverts this stereotype. Instead, they play it straight. With Twilight as the main character in both films (and an established, three-dimensional being to boot), she becomes very shallow. The crush angle is insulting to her character.

But that's not completely correct; the crush angle is even more insulting to Flash. His a crush on an interdimensional being, one whose true form isn't even human, is his lone source of conflict. But this conflict is bypassed in the first film and only referenced in passing in the beginning of Rainbow Rocks, basically nullifying the plot point. Unlike Twilight, Flash Sentry made his debut much sooner, in EQG1. You could've had the whole movie play off subversions of the hot hunk cliché by giving Flash more originality in his character and time for Twilight to have a very tiny crush on him that could eventually build over time. But both movies hammer in their relationship when they offer nothing to make the audience legitimately believe they like each other.

The biggest irony about this angle is how Flash's crush on Twilight actually feels more genuine than Twilight's crush on Flash.

Think of the romance between Princess Cadance and Shining Armor. A Canterlot Wedding hammers in how much both loved each other, wanted to get married, and were basically made for each other. One major problem: The source of chemistry is exposition only. They have very little in common to create any organic perspective of both characters actually loving each other beyond that one asspull in the climax. When Chrysalis's brain was replaced with the Idiot Box in order for them to perform their counterspell, their credibility is more damaged. Show, don't tell.

Past relationship with Sunset.

One element from Equestria Girls that had literally no impact was the dumbest dialogue exchange in the first film:

Quote

Rarity: Don't even think about it! You're already trying to get her crown. Who knows what Sunset Shimmer would do if you ended up getting her ex-boyfriend too?

Twilight Sparkle: I'm not trying to. I don't even know... We just accidentally... Ex-boyfriend?

Fluttershy: Flash Sentry broke up with her a few weeks ago. I can't believe she hasn't done something awful to him yet.

What made this scene so stupid was twofold:

  1. It was totally pointless. It had ZERO impact in the context of both this scene and whole film. It wasn't referenced again until Rainbow Rocks when Sunset admitted to using him for fame. Cut out this little piece of information, and nothing changes. Hell, it would've been a lot better if Flash and Twilight introduced each other after he helped her up.
  2. Instead of subverting the vile high-school-drama clichés, Flash Sentry fulfills one of the most obnoxious simply for that explanation. How? Because the evil alpha bitch (Sunset) has an ex-boyfriend (Flash) interested in the protagonist (Twilight).

Sunset's character had no impact with her relationship with Flash. Because it was dropped as soon as it started, him being her ex-boyfriend never affected his friendship with Twilight, either. Instead of dropping it out of nowhere in the middle of the film and later pretend it never happened, why not do something to make their triangle feel interesting? Why not have Flash express his friendship with Twilight and Sunset, but not romance? Make him more focused on his studies and ability to excel in one of his fields (music) before he decides to get involved in romance again.

Quote

But what about the fact that he broke up with her?

That doesn't change anything. Again, the SunLight background romance had no impact in either film. It was there simply to fill in the formula mentioned above. The fact that he broke up with her is very similar to his car: It's not a personality nor is it a hint of his personality. You could've had her break up with him; it wouldn't impact either characterizations whatsoever.

You see, when you play such a cliché down Broadway, even in passing, then you're weakening the characters even more. Having both movies mention SunLight in passing weakened Sunset's credibility as a villain and Flash's as a secondary protagonist (this I'll get back to later).

But it's here where Flash Sentry's credibility gets permanently damaged. Even before the cafeteria scene, Flash was already a one-note character. Rarity's line to Twilight reduced him beyond that.

He became a stereotype.

Before anyone comes here to lie about stereotypes aren't inherently a bad thing, take a look at its most important definition:

Quote

1. a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

"the stereotype of the woman as the carer"
synonyms: standard/conventional image, received idea, cliché, hackneyed idea, formula
"the stereotype of the rancher"
 
2. a person or thing that conforms to a stereotypical image.
"don't treat anyone as a stereotype"

Stereotypes aren't three-dimensional characters. A stereotype is a very clichéd formula of a character. Instead of being genuine, the character becomes flatter than cardboard. They're predictable in the way they react, say, and do. Stereotypes aren't just typical formulas. They're insulting because they create a representation of certain characters as a whole. Stereotypes are caricatures of certain archetypes.

The fact that Flash Sentry was Sunset's ex-boyfriend relegated him to less of a character. His potential as a character jumped the shark.

There's no such thing as a good stereotype, period. For a generation that all but brags about how it can avoid stereotypes, having him play so straight to it is beyond shameful.

No conflict.

Outside of his interdimensional crush on Twilight, human!Flash has absolutely no conflicts. Let's break it down.

  1. Flash Sentry is really good at playing the guitar and is passionate about it. We saw this during the cafeteria song when he worked on it with the rest of his band with plenty of fervor.
  2. Financially, he's stable. Take a look at his car model:
    800px-Flash_pulls_up_in_his_car_EG.png
     
    That car looks eerily similar to this 2010 Chevy Camaro:
     
    2010ChevroletCamaro-05.jpg
     
    (Image credit.)
     
    Since Chevrolet revived the Camaro in the late 2000s, they aren't cheap. They can range from $25,000 for the coupe to over $40,000 for the convertible. Plus, Flash's fancy coupe has some intricate decals, which can cost plenty of money. So it's not like Flash makes end's meet.
  3. He's got a very stereotypical "bad boy" look. Think about it: jeans that reach the ankles, a shirt that's partially worn out, a black jacket, spiky hair, and plays the guitar. His attire fits the "rebel."
  4. How generically nice he is to Twilight. When he talks to or about Twilight post-interrogation scene, he stutters, becomes clumsy, and is just a plain goof.
     
    In case you're wondering, him being clumsy is not an organic flaw, because it doesn't affect his character nor any "conflicts" he comes across. Currently, his clumsiness is pure humor.
Quote

But why do people not like him when there are several background ponies with huge fanbases?

The answer is very simple.

Take a look at not just what the background ponies are doing, but also how their popularity started.

For a few examples, Derpy, Lyra, and Colgate.

 

 

800px-Pinkie_Pie_excited_S01E01.png

 

800px-Lyra_Heartstrings_sitting_on_a_bench_like_a_human_S01E07.png

 

640px-Crowd_watching_S2E04.png

 

You notice any similarities of the popular background ponies?

Each of them stood out and did something.

Derpy's eyes were wall-eyed.

Colgate was dressed as a dentist (yes, dentists do use stethoscopes if their patients are older and/or have a medical history).

Lyra sat on a park bench like a human.

Vinyl Scratch had wild hair, wore big glasses, and bobbed to the tune as the record played.

Dr. Whooves looked like The Doctor from Dr. Who and later contained many Dr. Who references like the tie, hourglass in SSCS6K, and 3D glasses as he jogged with Rose Luck.

Octavia played a classical instrument.

The list goes on and on. When characters in the background do something, it catches the attention of the fanbase. The community in Equestria feels very alive when background characters are active. They offer insight to their character; sometimes they're a part of the conflict, even for a split second. Headcanon is developed to flesh them out. For example, it's no surprise that many bronies love OctaVinyl; the tropes are there. Vinyl scratch's style of music playing is more modern. Visually, she's boisterous, loves to have fun, and just doesn't give a crap what you think. On the other hand, Octavia is very classical and formal due to her hair style and the playing of an instrument that dates back several centuries. They're perfect visual foils.

Remember, they're called background ponies for a reason. They're there to fill the background.

Conversely, Flash Sentry is a secondary character. Both movies billed him to be just as important as the ReMane Five. In other words, his character and actions become influential to the entire plot.

Instead, what do we have? A one-dimensional piece of cardboard. For bronies who like and dislike him, they have no choice but to flesh out his character in fanart, fancomics, and fanfiction.

Quote

What about pony!Flash?

The very same thing. Princess Cadance revealed Flash Sentry to be a new hire for the Royal Guard, but he was the one to announce Princess Twilight Sparkle's arrival. Later, he becomes a royal escort for Cadance (and presumably other ambassadors, if going by T'sK1).

Rather than being shown hard work to join the rankings, Flash Sentry becomes one of the top guards simply because whoever's working behind the scenes wants Flash shoved in the spotlight. Consequently, Flash's character progression dissipates: Why confine all of his progression in the background when he was a secondary character and stated to be a recent hire? Don't leave it up for the fans to decide. Place in some effort to reward him for his efforts.

Because his source of conflict is naught, bronies had to create some for him. One was through a look-alike featured in both Pinkie Pride and Twilight Time, unofficially named First Base.

 

flash_sentry_and_first_base_by_dm29-d78r75r.png

 

(Link to fanart.)

In fanon circles, many bronies saw this as an opportunity to take a "character" into someone you can relate to. A big brother having a great relationship with a little brother. This isn't the first time, as these fanon relationships have been around for some time, most notably Dinky being Derpy's daughter (my favorite brony fanon), Snowflake being Featherweight's big bro, and Screwball (a.k.a., Topsy-Turvy) being Discord's adopted daughter. Despite being somewhat repetitive, this fanon doesn't get old because it's something each of us can relate to; many of us have very close relatives. The sibling bond is one great way for the characters to connect. For Flash and First Base, immediately it generates some form of conflict, and you can expand Flash Sentry in many ways:

  1. Does he miss his family? What does he feel about family in general?
  2. Where did he live? Where did he come from?
  3. How long did it take for him to climb up the ranks?
  4. If you mold the FB/FS fanon, what was their relationship? Do they write any letters to each other?

Can you see the ample opportunities to evolve Flash into a living and breathing character? It's there, and Flash definitely has the background. Unfortunately, DHX evolved him to a point where they basically couldn't care less about him. With no visible goals in sight, Flash becomes a blank prophecy.

Quote

Are both Flash Sentries different characters?

Yes and no. I've made this point quite often in other blogs and posts, so for those who haven't read them, it's like this. Even though the characters have perpendicular counterparts, they each still represent that character. What do I mean? Even though the HuMane Five are different from the ReMane in Equestria, the HuMane Five should have some common sense, dignity, intelligence, ability to talk organically, and maturity. The HuMane Five's characterizations should match the ReMane Five — if any differences, keeping them subtle. Instead, the HuMane Five (Pinkie Pie exempt in EQG1) are flanderized versions of the ReMane Five. They're a lot shallower with a primary focus on one trait, and the vocabulary is simplified to the point where characters like Dash utter "awesome" several times.

Flash Sentry, too. Albeit seeing little of him as a pony, the first movie suggests that their personalities are one of the same, too. If you saw Flash Sentry as a human personality-wise, you know his personality as a pony and vice-versa. If pony!Flash is completely different from human!Flash, then pony!Flash is out of character.

Filler.

I bet you've heard one criticism of some of FIM's episodes: "*character* is pointless. He or she can be cut out entirely, and nothing would've been lost." This was used a lot during several season four episodes like Rainbow Falls, Filli Vanilli, Equestria Games (although the criticism is for the deceptive setting instead); and several main IDW comics.

Neither movie is exempt, especially Flash Sentry. Once more, his whole identity is Twilight's love interest. There's literally nothing about him that directly affects the conflict in any way aside from being a distraction. If you take away that drawn-out subplot, what differences would you get with either movie? Nothing. You can cut him entirely and not alter the story one bit. It could've been someone else who helps her get up. Twilight would buy the drink and sit by the lounge without the HuMane Six gossiping bull rubbish about Flash's past relationship with Sunset. Someone other than Flash would've retrieved the cutouts so Luna can end the interrogation. You could've erased him from Rainbow Rocks.

Flash Sentry is the character version of Spongebob, You're Fired! There's a gigantic lack of quality simply by how pointless he is.

Quote

What about the scene where he rescued Twilight?

"Someone other than Flash would've retrieved the cutouts so Luna can end the interrogation." (Then again, the whole scene was so stupid, it wouldn't alter the quality.) He's there for one reason only: to attempt to make the romance subplot convincing. As if there are other ways for Twilight and Flash to hook up. But when the results are the two babbling and blushing, the "chemistry" turns into a virtual checklist.

Filler tests your audience's patience. Flash is filler.

Gender politics.

Silver-Quill made that point really clear in After the Fact: Flash Sentry (a great analysis and a basis in this critique; go watch it if you haven't). Other people were very critical of this, too.

One gigantic issue with Friendship Is Magic is how it enforces a very sexist implication of how any form of entertainment with a specific gender or attitude brand in mind either can't have the opposite sex in a dominant yet positive role or can't have the opposite sex involved at all. We see this all the time in entertainment. Anime and manga have whole genres dedicated to presenting their products with a cast with one prominent gender, usually with the idea of pandering to one gender. MLP Tales, G3, and G3 also shove this sexist mindset in the audience's face.

If you review this series yourselves, observe the roles of the male sex. For instance:

  1. Snips and Snails are stereotypical idiots in a character design. They're annoying, unlikeable, and one-dimensional. Boast Busters would've sucked much less if they didn't exist.
  2. The Diamond Dogs are the cliché villain of having plenty of brawn yet little brains. By writing them as stupid, it gives Rarity the edge to outwit them. This type of writing is very contrived because you're giving the protagonist the easy way out of the conflict. The moral itself is fantastic, but it's hurt by the lazy writing.
  3. Discord is extremely likeable even as a villain. Yes, he's evil, but a clever brand of evil. A villain with morals, he doesn't pull back punches while simultaneously not attempting to land them. His lone goal was to conquer Equestria while having fun. (I'm seriously thinking of a Return of Harmony analysis of his morals. Knowing how long I write them, it might be really long. :lol:) When he became more chaotic neutral instead of evil, the writers had him play several hilarious mind games with the Mane Six.
  4. Spike is the longest running male character in the series. Unfortunately, FIM often puts him as the punching bag for humor, and most of it for no good reason. When he's written really well, he's normally the supportive character. But when he stars the episode, it's often terrible, like Dragon Quest, Equestria Games, and Just for Sidekicks.
  5. The dragon clan in Dragon Quest suffers from being so sexist, it's not funny. They're stereotypical bully characters, all of whom male. They do stupid things, steal, mock Spike for his size and femininity, and disregard life. DQ is one unfortunate implication of how it implies every single dragon other than Spike behaves like the stereotypes.
  6. Trenderhoof… *sighs crossly* Everything about him is so unlikeable. His personality is obnoxious. He's incredibly rude. He relies on trends just to fit in. How the bloody hell did Rarity ever get the crush on him?
     
    So what about her fantasy with Blueblood? Is that okay, as well? No. But there's a big difference between Twilight's on Flash and Rarity's on Blueblood.
     
    In The Ticket Master, Rarity presented a very stupid fantasy of wanting to be married to her prince charming. Here, her reasoning was blatantly recognized as being stupid. Why? Because every reason from the ReMane Five made just as little sense as hers. There was irony to her logic, and TTM played it as a joke tut-tutting the characters (who didn't know it) and the audience. Even though what Rarity did was in character at the time, it was stupid.
     
    In Equestria Girls, Twilight's shallow crush was considered pivotal to the story even though it was filler. Simultaneously, her lack of logic wasn't critique. It was praised.

There are very few likeable males in this show. Discord is one, and so is Spike regardless of his characterization consistency. Cheese Sandwich is possibly the most likeable male character in the show for some fantastic reasons, one of them being how thorough and convincing his dedication to others' happiness is. He wants to deliver not just a great party, but an epic party. Big Mac is the most consistent stallion and is full of dimension despite his "eeyups" and "eenopes." (The two-part comic starring him is one hilarious way of delivering his character without having him say much.) However, his trademark remark is also a common punchline. More of him saying more words without confining him to singing, please!

Flash Sentry has a strong sense of integrity. When there's something he believes is wrong, he's not afraid to get involved. Unfortunately, this positive trait is shared among the rest of the protagonists, so he needs another unique attribute to differentiate him from the rest of the cast. Otherwise, he remains relegated to being Walking Cardboard instead.

What's really unfortunate for this show is how whenever a three-dimensional male is shown to be a positive role model, he's typically a one-shot. Cheese Sandwich, Fancy Pants, and Cranky Doodle Donkey are such examples.

The gender politics are prevalent in EQG, Flash Sentry in particular. To quote from earlier:

Quote

You see, when you play such a cliché down Broadway, even in passing, then you're weakening the characters even more. Having both movies mention SunLight in passing weakened Sunset's credibility as a villain and Flash's as a secondary protagonist (this I'll get back to later).

But it's here where Flash Sentry's credibility gets permanently damaged. Even before the cafeteria scene, Flash was already a one-note character. Rarity's line to Twilight reduced him beyond that.

He became a stereotype.

As mentioned previously, stereotypes are bad enough for they create one-dimensional caricatures. But that's not all. Presenting stereotypes and treating them as a good thing are damaging to society, especially kids. How? By delivering false perceptions of archetypes at best and lies at worst. It gets especially bad when stereotypes are used to spread morals; you risk creating a straw man, exemplified by Praiser Pan being a stereotype of critics in the Fluttershy Micro.

Do you think that Flash Sentry, as he currently is, benefits kids by being a sexist stereotype and having Equestria Girls embrace it?

I don't think so.

Character design.

(Credit goes to Silver-Quill for this segment.)

If there's one final nail to confirm Walking Cardboard's status as forced love interest, it's the use of the color wheel.

Here's what I mean:

art-factory-color-wheel.jpeg

(Image credit.)

When you see one color on the color wheel, its complementary is located on its opposite curve. There are three most-known complementary pairs: red & green, orange & blue, yellow & purple/violet. When these complements are near each other, the eyes play games. In design, a complementary color located in the background can make the foreground jump out, like a very subtle sky blue background behind a firm orange foreground. On the other hand, if the complements touch each other and are equal saturation, then they battle for visual attention, which can hurt your eyes. There's a reason why you often won't see red and green side by side in one design.

Twilight Sparkle is a lavender alicorn — her natural complementary is yellow. Flash Sentry's fur or skin is predominantly yellow. Visually and psychologically, Flash is connected to Twilight. In essence, Flash's whole character is tied down to their crush.

Now, I'm going to lay off the critiquing for a minute and analyze some color choices. The ponies in Equestria are visually versatile. Each of them has specific fur and mane/tail colors to give each of them an identity. When they're an animal, the color choices make connotative sense. As such, they don't stand out or create implications. Conversely, when translated to human form, they look uncanny at best. As a pegasus, Fluttershy's yellow fur feels normal, but when translated to human skin, it makes her look rather unhealthy.

At worst, the colors are offensive. Big Mac's red fur feels very natural. But if Big Mac has red skin, then the public is reminded of something like these:

 

 

791px-Cleveland_Indians_logo.svg.png

 

Washington-Redskins-Logo.jpg

 

 

Natives/Indians are some of the most oppressed people worldwide, and making Big Mac's skin red would perpetuate stereotypes so racist, FIM would've been canceled.

Why is Cheerilee's skin a lighter purple instead of the deep purple? Very same reason. Cheerilee's fur color would trigger stereotypes of Natives on one end and — because she's voiced by a white woman — blacks on the other through subtle blackface.

What does this have to do with Flash Sentry?

Plenty.

Pony!Flash's fur color has the hexidecimal value of FCC862 and CMYK value of 0/21/61/1. In other words, his fur color is a very bright yellow, almost a gold.

Human!Flash's (Brad's) skin color has the hexidecimal value of F9E64A and CMYK value of 0/8/34/2. In contrast to his fur color, his skin tones are a very pale, dull tan. When comparing it to natural skin, it's near-accurate.

Why is this so significant?

Look at human!Flash's face, specifically his eyes:

800px-Flash_Sentry_smiling_at_Twilight_EG.png

It has a very Asian appeal.

Based on his looks, if you change his skin to that gold saturation from his fur, you'll trigger yellowface/yellow peril, an extremely racist Asian stereotype. If Friendship Is Magic had a character with yellowface, chances are you'll get a reaction worse than this from How I Met Your Mother.


Flash Sentry has been a very problematic character from the start. Even if you ignore his characterization, his concept is based off being Twilight's love interest. Him being Twilight's visual complement, the clichés spewed in both films, and their poorly executed romance trigger the elongated subplot even when they're not conversing with one another. The crush damages Twilight's character because her reasons devolve to his looks. But it damages Flash's character moreso by having the narrative cling so hopelessly onto it with no end in sight. With his lone goal being her shortchanged love interest, Flash is beyond simply a Gary Stu. He's a one-dimensional plot device and stereotype. The stereotype label is what makes him offensive to the show. His character jumped the shark once Rarity revealed he was Sunset's former boyfriend, if not the minute he debuted.

But to make it worse (from Part 2 of my RR review):

Quote

Flash was blander and flatter in Rainbow Rocks. It was bad enough last time because he was a sexist stereotype. Now not only does he retain that sexism. DHX didn't even try to redeem his character! It's as if DHX knows Flash's character jumped the shark, so they made him more useless as a protagonist and let the egg-eating snake swallow him whole. The only time he had any personality whatsoever was when he was under the Sirens' trance, but when they were defeated, he was back to his old self.

And I didn't even mention nailing in the most obnoxious, clichéd piece of slapstick in MLP history. Other than after the climax, each time Twilight and Flash meet, they bump into each other. The only reason Twilight has the hots for him is because she likes his looks. She cares so little about his personality, and no chemistry between them exists. Twilight is a fully-fledged character whose personality is warped to make both films pace itself. The first movie forced in a romance so pointless, it'd change zippo.

"A better love story than Twilight"? Until the snake throws up Flash Sentry, FlashLight is a serious competitor.

By how little DHX cares for him, Flash's character has become almost irredeemable, and that's a damn shame.

But it's not too late. There's still a little hope left to make him a three-dimensional character, but it'll require a lot of work. Sure, retconning's the easy solution, but both pony and human Flash have established characterizations. If you retcon them, then you're creating a completely different character, not Flash Sentry. Consequentially, a retconned Flash Sentry will be just as bad as the current Flash Sentry. The best solution is to revise his current character. Loosen him up so you retain his character foundation, yet don't lose who he is.

What suggestions?

  1. Ditch the crush subplot. It offered nothing to the show and only holds Flash's potential back. Remember, it's Friendship Is Magic, not Clichéd Romance Is Magic. Obviously, DHX won't try to develop their relationship romantically. In conclusion, having Flash Sentry no longer crush on Twilight would give him a fresh start.
     
    Seriously, if a quick concept of Flash being a fanonical brother to First Base gives him much more dimension to his character than Flash in two 70-minute movies, then you're doing something really wrong.
  2. If Princess Twilight Sparkle returns for the Friendship Games, then the movie should give both of them some common ground. Rather than hammer in the obnoxious bumping, why not have Twilight and Flash meet in some other way, like a classroom, school cafe, or even Pedestria's version of Sugarcube Corner. Twilight's a geek. Flash Sentry is a mild geek himself. What interests do they have in common? Do they like some science? Complex theories, for example? Perhaps Flash Sentry needs to buy a better guitar because his old one is damaged beyond recovery, and his friends — both Twilights, the HuMane Five, or even Sunset Shimmer — help him locate an affordable guitar that can play just as well as the old one.
  3. What about his ethnic background? Don't throw it in there for keeps. Expand his background. Have him explore the rest of Pedestria. Maybe his family, other friends. For fanon-loving bronies, this is where you can use First Base and expand their fanonical relationship.
     
    What about his relationship with the rest of the characters? Flash Sentry and Sunset Shimmer haven't talked to each other much on screen since her character reset and redemption. Have them make permanent amends by having them talk amicably as friends. Have them get to know each other more and establish common ground.
  4. As for pony Flash, what is his relationship with the rest of the Royal Guard? How does he feel about them? How does he view the world in peace, peril, or in between? What has he done to gain in the royal ranks? For Celestia's sake, how did he get hired?
     
    How is he like when he's not so busy? Apparently, the guards protect Canterlot and all of royalty 24/7, but they're bound to take a day off or two to recuperate or merely enjoy life. Like what Jeric once suggested by letting Twilight "run her hair down" and have a great time being the the adorkable, friend-seeking geek that many of us got so invested in. As an equal, make him enjoy life. Maybe Flash is very innocent and childlike when he isn't so focused on being a royal guard.
     
    You can take these immature tendencies for human Flash, too. Think about it; he's a teenager, so he's going to be somewhat immature. Both versions can have their immaturity be a strength in their character for having the gift to defend and take things seriously in his schoolwork or job, but have it become a very distinct flaw. For human!Flash, his immaturity could affect his status in school and back home: rushing in his instrument work, homework, grades; being a little impatient with life back home; and wanting to feel a little freer.
     
    Pony!Flash could have this immaturity bite him on the plot, too. Perhaps he suspects a call of distress, and he rushes in to help before Shining Armor or Celestia create a plan and give him permission. It could turn out that the call for distress is either something so trivial, it'd make him feel or silly or something so serious, he's the one who must cry for help.

Over a year ago, I conceptualized a fanfic adaptation of FIM by merging events from both Thomas & Friends and its adaptation basis, The Railway Series. Entitled The Equestrian Series, you can read the latest blog submission (Book 1 from over a year ago) here, which contains links to Book 0 and the overarching concept.

My recent idea of adding Flash Sentry would be something similar to one of the later Railway Series books, Mountain Engines. Its leading character, Lord Harry, doesn't get introduced until the third chapter, Danger Points. Lord Harry was very arrogant — in Thomas fandom terms, too puffed up in the smokebox :P — and takes risks unnecessarily. One time, he decides to pay Culdee back for teasing him. Unfortunately, while pulling a passenger train, he derails at the summit, and this part of the Island of Sodor is very dangerous. When he was rescued, he was sent to the shed in disgrace and stripped of his name as punishment. In Devil's Back, he was released, but only allowed to shunt workmen up and down the summit at Devil's Back, a very difficult part of the Culdee Fell Railway. One day, there was an emergency, and #6 was sent up to rescue the workmen. Battling treacherous weather, he rescued the people. He was eventually named Patrick in honor of an injured workman who risked his life to save everyone else. Afterwards, he only took risks if necessary.

In my idea, Flash Sentry would be a newbie training for the royal guard. He was modest, yet sensitive and immature. He'd let other pony's teasing get to him, resulting in him working too hard and being too reckless in his duties. As a consequence, he was scolded by his peers and sent to his quarters as punishment. Next day, he is allowed to return to train, but ignore their teasing and work with a mentor. That evening, it was windy, and other training pegasi teased him for his punishment, resulting in him saying he's brave. One of them dared him to take a load of cargo down the Canterlot mountains into the quayside about 500 feet below and about a dozen miles away.

He would go, but forgot to light the headlamp and taillamp, so he couldn't see. He would stop at a siding and find some way to light up the lamps, but the wind kept blowing out the fire, and the wind was only getting worse. But he would stay until he could light up the lamps and keep them lit. Unfortunately, he couldn't, so he locked up the trolleys and flew around to find any shelter. He locates a signalbox, knocks inside, and asks the signalpony to help him light up the lamps. He gives him some oil to light them up and contains them so the wind didn't blow on them. Even with the nasty wind, Flash keeps on trucking and later arrives at the quay without any further trouble.

Next morning, he returned to Canterlot to receive a warm welcoming for being able to find his way to unload the cargo without being so reckless and minding his safety. His fellow cadets apologize for daring Flash into getting involved, and each of them are demoted and forced to undergo more intensive training as punishment. Flash is invited to have a formal dinner with Shining Armor and Princess Cadance, but Flash declines, saying he must earn his way through the ranks first.


If you other criticisms of his character and suggestions for improving his character, please feel free to comment below.

*One brony on Equestria Daily coined the human world "Pedestria," and I'm going to use it quite a bit now. :P

 

  • Brohoof 12

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First of, when have Flash Sentry ever gotten any form of praise? Everyone hates him for no real reason. Second, don't bring up fanon/headcanon, it have absolutely no effect on his character at all. And lastly what's wrong the crush subplot?

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First of, when have Flash Sentry ever gotten any form of praise? Everyone hates him for no real reason.

Flash Sentry has quite a bit of support. Look at the fanclubs online as well as one key reason for his character: him being a blank slate gives them ample opportunity to build his character through fanon and headcanon.

 

There are many great reasons why Flash Sentry is so despised. One is how flat he is: There's no personality beyond just being the perfect, stereotypical rebel. He's also a Gary Stu, specifically a Romantic Stu: a male character written to be the perfect image of any boy a girl would like. His whole personality is tied to the love interest angle. Fourth, he's pointless; cut the filler out, and neither movie would change.

 

Second, don't bring up fanon/headcanon, it have absolutely no effect on his character at all.

Normally, I wouldn't bring up headcanon or fanon. But in this case, it's a really big deal. In the canon, he's as flat as cardboard. The fanon and headcanon actually mold him into a character with dimension beyond being Walking Cardboard. If fanon can evolve him into a more likeable and three-dimensional character while not altering his background better than the actual canon, then something is wrong with the canon.

 

And lastly what's wrong the crush subplot?

There are two-and-a-half sections of this blog dedicated to the fatal flaws of this angle. I recommend re-reading them.

  • Brohoof 3
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This is a very difficult thing, and I have retyped this comment numerous times, but I strongly believe that the only way to make him likable, is to revamp him. The character, at least to me, will never be interesting, because he's already too perfect, and any flaws they added onto him now would feel superficial.

 

If they were to revamp him, give him a nice new voice actor, and make him have a personality which really stands out like Discord, Spike, and Cheese Sandwhich. Make him actually fun to watch, and not just a love interest. 

  • Brohoof 1
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*claps*

 

This is a very detailed critique. :)

 

As for improving Flash's character, I honestly wouldn't care to. After two movies, I really don't think he'll ever aspire to be anything more than walking cardboard. Besides, he was never really my biggest problem with the Equestria Girls films. 

  • Brohoof 4
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Ok then, for the most half your entry was pretty good and was pretty much the equivalent to that of critically murdering the character (in other words good job). But I have an issue with two points you made.

 

You claim that this show has elements of sexism, whilst I see where you're coming from I'd have to disagree, for one thing you can't entirely blame this on the writers, they are still subject to what Hasbro as a toy company want from them and seeing as to how most (if not all) the dolls are female they can't do much about that. Not to mention the way this show tackles sexism is by instead of encouraging the stereotype but making it "cool" in the process or discouraging the stereotype this show instead teaches that a female can be anyone, this includes the stereotype (Rarity) the opposite of the stereotype (Rainbow Dash) and then the characters who are just themselves (the rest of the mane six). The reason why it's required to have all the mane six be female is that they need to show how many ways a female can be, and seeing as to how going beyond six in terms of how many main characters there are would be too difficult and confusing they have to have them all be female. 

 

And then you claim racism on Flash, well consider this, the whole world of pedestria is filled multicoloured human...things so I think (compared to everyone else) Flash being coloured yellow really isn't a big deal, and regarding the eye thing well in all honesty I'm not quite seeing it but here's my question to you, so what if an Asian character is shown, he didn't embrace any stereotypes so what's the issue?

 

Again for the most half great it's but I just think you should reconsider those two points (taking those factors into account).

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@@theonenamedDJ, I'll be very blunt. There are some really big problems with his video.

  • If Flash Sentry was a "parody," then it would've been executed far better. In both movies, Flash Sentry is treated seriously. The audience doesn't see any joke in FS's character status because neither movie plays it out to be one. They both write Flash to be very important to the story, and unlike his clumsiness, his attitude isn't played for laughs, and several scenes featuring him are dire.
  • None of the writers are allowed to read fanfiction or witness anything fan-created at all. MA Larson revealed in a panel that every single writer must sign a contract saying they won't use third-party inspiration for any of their episodes. Fanfiction of any kind is third-party inspiration.
  • Jerry Peet excuses Twilight's attraction for his looks because "it happens all the time." In other words, it's okay for Twilight to be out of character because this kind of stuff exists.

    It's not okay!

    Twilight Sparkle is much deeper than that, and it's extremely shallow of her to be so susceptible to only his looks. Having Twilight like him because he looks hot cheapens her character and makes him a prize instead of a character. More importantly, this show is supposed to tell people it's very shallow for someone to like someone for being them, not for contrived reasons.

    There's a reason why the Mane Six are so varied; depending on the circumstances, they can be complements, foils, or both. Twilight's lack of logic here goes against this ingrained root of FIM.
  • Brohoof 4
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Well done.  I can't argue with any of your points.  Your point about the colors was interesting.  He was literally created just to be Twilight's crush, right down to his fur/skin color.  They could revamp him, but they won't.  I can only hope that he gets increasingly smaller and smaller parts in the future.

  • Brohoof 1
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If Flash Sentry was a "parody," then it would've been executed far better. The audience doesn't see any joke in FS's character status because neither movie plays it out to be one. They both write Flash to be very important to the story, and unlike his clumsiness, his attitude isn't played for laughs, and several scenes featuring him are dire.

Just because it's a parody doesn't mean it's going to be executed well, DQ :P Some parodies can fall flat and fail to serve the purpose they were intended to serve, and, after watching the video posted up above, I can believe this to be the case - especially when the parody of the Gary Stu high school romance would be a tough one to execute in a setting that isn't solely comedy. Not that I am saying this is the case, but I can believe it to be after listening to the points made in the video above and comparing Flash Sentry's portrayal/screen time (or lack thereof)/development to other characters who were intended to serve a big purpose in the series, and as Twilight's implied crush, that's a big purpose in of itself, movie or not :P Those were extremely amatuerish writing mistakes made with his character and, considering that we're discussing people who don't come home from school or work and type this up, but instead were deemed talented enough to build careers off of it, I can't roll with it as being by accident. Either they were totally trying to destroy the quality of the movie (which is a bad idea, as that'd more than likely get them fired) or they weren't taking his character seriously and were more than likely forced to add him in there by Hasbro, a la Twilicorn.

 

 

 

  • None of the writers are allowed to read fanfiction or witness anything fan-created at all. MA Larson revealed in a panel that every single writer must sign a contract saying they won't use third-party inspiration for any of their episodes. Fanfiction of any kind is third-party inspiration.

Furthermore, dunno if this is really the case either. While being unable 3rd party inspiration is definitely a thing, I can't say that bars them from using 3rd party inspiration for their stories entirely and being unable to use 3rd party inspiration.

 

Keep in mind that there's been several allusions and references to other television series, movies, and real life events in FiM. Those could be considered 3rd party inspiration just as much as fanfiction. Drawing inspiration can be one thing and blatantly ripping it off can be something entirely different, but in general "don't use 3rd party inspiration" =/= "you can't look at 3rd party inspiration." Unless it is explicitly stated that they are not allowed to look at fanworks and whatnot, then I don't think the 3rd party inspiration rule is intertwined with such. Especially since the 100th episode is going to be centered around background ponies, and they'd have no way of knowing that is an appeal to use to the audience if they didn't look at fanworks. I can't say that's necessarily the case either.

 

 

 

Jerry Peet excuses Twilight's attraction for his looks because "it happens all the time." In other words, it's okay for Twilight to be out of character because this kind of stuff exists.

Keep in mind that the this is a high school setting with the timeline making them high schoolers in age as well. High School romances aren't generally deep and meaningful and are generally based on a physical attraction, and I can attest for this as a high schooler myself. Furthermore, with age comes experience, as the old saying goes, and while in the FiM universe they are young adults who are no longer in school, in the EQG universe they are teenage girls. There is a big amount of growth to virtually every single person on the planet during that age gap between teenager and adult and EQG Twilight isn't old enough to have experienced it quite yet.

 

Lastly, crushing on a character based solely on a physical attraction doesn't automatically make the character shallow. You said it yourself right here -

 

 

  • Trenderhoof… *sighs crossly* Everything about him is so unlikeable. His personality is obnoxious. He's incredibly rude. He relies on trends just to fit in. How the bloody hell did Rarity ever get the crush on him? (Her crush on Blueblood gets a pass because she didn't know his personality at all, while Simple Ways indicates she knew his personality.)

First off, Trenderhoof sucks and I'd love to take a Louisville Slugger straight upside his cranium. That's not what we're paying attention to about this point that you made, however:

 

 

 

(Her crush on Blueblood gets a pass because she didn't know his personality at all, while Simple Ways indicates she knew his personality.)

Rarity has proven herself to be an extremely deep and complex character, if not moreso than Twilight. She is far from being a shallow character and, even before the ample amounts of development she received, she still was far from being a shallow character, yet she gets a pass and then you immediately say this isn't the case with Twilight. I can't understand why this is the case, as Rarity has always been one to judge by inner beauty before outer beauty when it comes to the people she has in her life, and that was evident when she went off on Blueblood in that very episode that they met, because once she saw how awful he was, she wanted nothing to do with him. So this just leaves me asking "Why differentiate between the two characters so much?"

 

To put it bluntly, I can understand why one could assume him being a parody character after comparing and contrasting his shallow and flat character with the products the exact same writers had put out beforehand and I can't see why any of the points you just brought up rules out this potential possibility :huh: I can actually see where they'd make a parody of the trope that Flash fills, as he not only fills every negative stereotype involved with his archetype, but he turns it up to 11 :P

 

Just my two cents on that matter, at least :) He strikes me as a poorly executed character whether he is a parody or not, but I can't see where something like that could slip quality control so badly without it being at least a little intentional :please:

  • Brohoof 1
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Lastly, crushing on a character based solely on a physical attraction doesn't automatically make the character shallow. You said it yourself right here -

 

That's not what we're paying attention to about this point that you made, however:

Yeah, that was a mistake on my end, and I apologize for that. Rarity's crush on Blueblood was definitely shallow, but unlike Twilight's crush on FS, Rarity's opinion of Blueblood was played exclusively for laughs and written as a critique of her logic. That clue is a dead giveaway when her fellow friends' reasons were shown to be BS, too. I went ahead and fixed it.

 

(You get no argument over Rarity being so complex. As you've seen my points, I definitely agree with the hypothesis that she's the most complex character in the show.)

  • Brohoof 3
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I don't have much of an opinion on Flash Sentry, since i don't think about him that much, but if he indeed is a parody or a joke character... well he's not a well done joke character. It still feels like he fulfills the role of a high school romance interest and the plot kind of stops when he's around.

 

I just don't care and have no strong opinion about him, one way or another.

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I'm not entirely convinced that Twi's crush on FS is purely based on his physical looks. Their first meeting is when Twilight escapes from the crowd of students, and rolls into his feet. He quickly offers her a hand up and an "are you okay?", before walking off to class. To my mind, it's his kindness that she notices, so when they meet again, her attraction to him is based less on the purely physical and more on a kindness he once did to her.

 

As for him being on hand to defend Twilight, he's shown to be very suspicious of Sunset, shadowing her as she shows her "proof" to VP Luna. Knowing their former relationship (even if the reason for him ending the relationship is left unexplained) makes this moment (potentially) justified: if anything, he's uniquely enabled to know just how devious SS can be.

 

I won't pretend he's not a flat character, but to say that you could leave him entirely out of the movies and have no change isn't true, as far as I can see.

 

And you're claiming he is asian and therefore may invoke "yellow menace"? That just seems below the belt, man. When have colours (or eyes, for that matter) ever denoted race in MLP?

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And you're claiming he is asian and therefore may invoke "yellow menace"? That just seems below the belt, man. When have colours (or eyes, for that matter) ever denoted race in MLP?

 

It ain't below the belt one bit. The fur and skin colors of Flash Sentry are incredibly different for this reason. Pony!Flash's fur color is a bright, golden yellow; human!Flash's skin color is very dull to not invoke yellowface. Based off Flash's ethnicity, replacing his dull tan with the gold yellow will definitely create the racist connotations. Considering the immense controversy with other shows, cartoons, or movies with yellowface like Breakfast at Tiffany's, I doubt Hasbro will risk it.

 

Portraying skin color with stereotypes can trigger racism. Cheerilee's skin color is lighter (from dark purple to lighter pink) to not invoke the stereotypical Native look nor blackface. Big Mac's skin is pale to not trigger the racist Native stereotype.

 

 

 

As for him being on hand to defend Twilight, he's shown to be very suspicious of Sunset, shadowing her as she shows her "proof" to VP Luna. Knowing their former relationship (even if the reason for him ending the relationship is left unexplained) makes this moment (potentially) justified: if anything, he's uniquely enabled to know just how devious SS can be.

The fact that he noticed Sunset lying to VP Luna still doesn't change the fact how pointless he is as both a character and a point in that role. It could've been anyone else, and the outcome would still be identical.

 

 

 

I'm not entirely convinced that Twi's crush on FS is purely based on his physical looks.

It's quite obvious that it is. When she bumped into pony!Flash and later human!Flash the first time, it triggered no romantic response. Only when Twilight crashed into human!Flash the second time did she start to invoke the crush. When she sat on the couch rest, her cheeks turned red, and she twirled a lock of her hair. When she did that, she told the audience, "He looks dreamy."

 

It becomes much more obvious when she bumps into pony!Flash near the end. Flash's sheepish grin, twinkling highlights on his eyes, and inner glow around the edges of the screen invoke those implications.

  • Brohoof 1
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It ain't below the belt one bit. The fur and skin colors of Flash Sentry are incredibly different for this reason. Pony!Flash's fur color is a bright, golden yellow; human!Flash's skin color is very dull to not invoke yellowface. Based off Flash's ethnicity, replacing his dull tan with the gold yellow will definitely create the racist connotations. Considering the immense controversy with other shows, cartoons, or movies with yellowface like Breakfast at Tiffany's, I doubt Hasbro will risk it.

 

Portraying skin color with stereotypes can trigger racism. Cheerilee's skin color is lighter (from dark purple to lighter pink) to not invoke the stereotypical Native look nor blackface. Big Mac's skin is pale to not trigger the racist Native stereotype.

Is this speculation, or do you have some kind of comment from the creators to support it? Although, I'll withdraw the "below the belt" comment.

 

 

The fact that he noticed Sunset lying to VP Luna still doesn't change the fact how pointless he is as both a character and a point in that role. It could've been anyone else, and the outcome would still be identical.

"Anyone else"? Certainly not Spike (incognito as a dog) and probably not any of the either students either (too scared of Sunset Shimmer to interfere). Probably only one of the HuMane Five would have fit that role in Flash's place. Not even that, since he did more than just "notice", he apparently followed SS and VP Luna to the Gym. Another student even walked past the door, oblivious, while Flash lingered in the doorway, eavedropping on the conversation. The implication is that Flash followed her because he is in a better position than anyone else to know how she thinks and what she would probably do, while HuMane Five didn't seem to have a clue. That prior relationship between FS and SS IS important, and can't just be brushed aside.

 

It's quite obvious that it is. When she bumped into pony!Flash and later human!Flash the first time, it triggered no romantic response. Only when Twilight crashed into human!Flash the second time did she start to invoke the crush. When she sat on the couch rest, her cheeks turned red, and she twirled a lock of her hair. When she did that, she told the audience, "He looks dreamy."

 

It becomes much more obvious when she bumps into pony!Flash near the end. Flash's sheepish grin, twinkling highlights on his eyes, and inner glow around the edges of the screen invoke those implications.

The fact that there is a level of physical attraction between them is not a point of contention. It's the idea that there is literally nothing else to the relationship that I have a problem with. Obviously, they haven't had time to get to know each other and find common interests, but they had a prior meeting before the mutual realization of "hey, that person is pretty hot and seems interested in me".  Contrast Spike and Rarity. That is an example of infatuation purely for physical looks, because he was smitten the moment he saw her, with zero interaction before it.

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Is this speculation, or do you have some kind of comment from the creators to support it?

Human!Flash's skin color and why it's not the same as his pony counterpart can easily be deduced.

 

flash_sentry_and_flash_sentry_by_hampshi

 

(Image credit.)

 

Tan skin for h!F. Golden yellow fur for p!F. Asian-looking face for h!F. Yellowface's vile history dates back well before any of us here were born, and Hasbro doesn't want to take such a risk of creating even the inclination.

 

 

 

"Anyone else"? Certainly not Spike (incognito as a dog) and probably not any of the either students either (too scared of Sunset Shimmer to interfere). Probably only one of the HuMane Five would have fit that role in Flash's place. Not even that, since he did more than just "notice", he apparently followed SS and VP Luna to the Gym. Another student even walked past the door, oblivious, while Flash lingered in the doorway, eavedropping on the conversation. The implication is that Flash followed her because he is in a better position than anyone else to know how she thinks and what she would probably do, while HuMane Five didn't seem to have a clue. That prior relationship between FS and SS IS important, and can't just be brushed aside.

 

Yes, anyone else. Flash Sentry could've been replaced with any one of the HuMane Five (or even Spike). Nothing would change. Someone like Spike, Dash, or even Twilight herself could've been the one to spy on SS and VP Luna. The big problem with Flash's role here is its interchangeability. An unknown background "pony" could've eavesdropped, and the impact (and outcome) would've been identical. Yes, even with Flash being her ex, the other characters would've been more appropriate.

 

If there was clearer subtext, then this "implication" could be easily deduced. Sunset being Flash's boyfriend makes literally no impact, and the interrogation scene actually demonstrates why. The fact isn't referenced, shown, or told again until Rainbow Rocks, and this "hint" just prior to the interrogation doesn't help. Even with him eavesdropping, Rarity's dumb statement is so disjointed from the rest of the movie, it could've been cut off entirely. You could even argue that because Flash likes Twilight, he was suspicious with Sunset's tactics right then and there. The "ex-boyfriend" stereotype this sterile world attaches him is worthless.

 

There's a very big difference between what they're trying to say and what they're actually saying. If this subtext actually exists, it's buried under thousands of feet in thick ice. It's overlapped by their constant bumping, Twilight's out-of-character simple-mindedness, the Cafeteria Song, and tons of really lazy writing.

 

If anything, the interrogation scene (even him spying) enforces his weakness as a character and how dumber the interrogation scene actually is. Instead of Flash spying, then have the Mane Six follow her to the gym. They hear her and then confront. They're presented the photos, and one of the M6 (or even Spike) could comment about them being cut and paste.

 

It's the idea that there is literally nothing else to the relationship that I have a problem with. Obviously, they haven't had time to get to know each other and find common interests, but they had a prior meeting before the mutual realization of "hey, that person is pretty hot and seems interested in me".

That's the big problem with this romance. It's only based on how hot he looks in Twilight's perspective. She bumped into h!F once, which didn't trigger a crush. But the next time over, she had the hots for him. There's literally no chemistry between them. Flash isn't a character. He's a Gary Stu plot device.

 

They had plenty of time to develop some common ground. Thirty minutes is more than enough. One hour is more than enough. Heck, five minutes is more than enough. A single line of dialogue dating back to the very beginning of the film could've established something between them. Instead, we have two movies of this contrived "romance" going nowhere.

 

Contrast Spike and Rarity. That is an example of infatuation purely for physical looks, because he was smitten the moment he saw her, with zero interaction before it.

You make a good point here, but there are some differences:

  • The crush is unrequited. There's subtext of Rarity knowing his crush, but the feeling isn't mutual. In addition, it's seen more as cute "puppy love" because Spike's a child age-wise, while Rarity's considered an adult.
  • Spike and Rarity showed very established characterizations during the pilot. Rarity had that keen eye for quality, but she also spent plenty of time helping Twilight and later sacrificed her tail to help Steven Magnet. *twirls imaginary mustache* Spike had the mind of a child, proud to be TS's assistant, and concentration on TS's checklist.

     

    This leads me to the next point.

  • Both characters have grown exponentially since then, and there's solid chemistry between them. Most importantly, Spike isn't so focused on the crush angle anymore; it's still there, but it's more subtle now.
  • Brohoof 2
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Human!Flash's skin color and why it's not the same as his pony counterpart can easily be deduced.flash_sentry_and_flash_sentry_by_hampshi(Image credit.)Tan skin for h!F. Golden yellow fur for p!F. Asian-looking face for h!F. Yellowface's vile history dates back well before any of us here were born, and Hasbro doesn't want to take such a risk of creating even the inclination.

So it is speculation. That's fine, nothing wrong with speculation. But your conclusion via deduction becomes less convincing when you look at any of the other ponies who have been given human counterparts: the Mane Six, Trixie, Luna, Derpy, even Lyra. They virtually all have noticeably lighter tones in their human forms than in their pony forms. (Princess Celestia is the exception, being pinker than her pony form.)Oh, and that's a fan created vector you've got there, so the colours might not be show accurate. The picture below is one I created using screenshots from the show and the movies, making every effort to ensure the corresponding colours were taken from pictures with the same relative levels of lighting (no dress meme here, please! :)) Human colours on the left, Pony colours on the right.

 

colour_changes.png

 

If you're only looking at Flash, Cheerilee and Big MacIntosh as examples to support your hypothesis, that's cherry picking. If making them lighter is a solution to a problem, why is the solution being applied to characters where the problem doesn't even arise?It seems much more reasonable to assume that the creators chose to make the humans, as a rule, lighter than their pony counterparts, perhaps because humans don't have fur, and the lighter colours is a reflection of this, or perhaps because a pony like Big MacIntosh would look sunburnt rather than invoke redface or whatever. We've seen that ponies have pink skin under the fur ("Ponyville Confidential") but making the humans all pink would make the designs less distinct and thus even worse than you say they already are.If Flash had been designed with darker skin, that wouldn't make him an example of yellow face, because that's more than just the look. Your "How I Met Your Mother" example is also a bad one, since it's clear that the issue is more than just "looking yellow", but how the characters are portraying the stereotype with their actions as well. AND only one of the actresses was in yellow, the other was in white, and the guy just had a fu manchu moustache, so only in 1 case out of 3 is the colour of the face an issue. (Which is only apparent if you look for videos of the scene, rather than a single still image, so your link is somewhat misleading). Flash would simply seem to be an american asian high school student, which would to unlikely to even cause a murmur of offense.

Yes, anyone else. Flash Sentry could've been replaced with any one of the HuMane Five (or even Spike). Nothing would change. Someone like Spike, Dash, or even Twilight herself could've been the one to spy on SS and VP Luna. The big problem with Flash's role here is its interchangeability. An unknown background "pony" could've eavesdropped, and the impact (and outcome) would've been identical. Yes, even with Flash being her ex, the other characters would've been more appropriate.If there was clearer subtext, then this "implication" could be easily deduced. Sunset being Flash's boyfriend makes literally no impact, and the interrogation scene actually demonstrates why. The fact isn't referenced, shown, or told again until Rainbow Rocks, and this "hint" just prior to the interrogation doesn't help. Even with him eavesdropping, Rarity's dumb statement is so disjointed from the rest of the movie, it could've been cut off entirely. You could even argue that because Flash likes Twilight, he was suspicious with Sunset's tactics right then and there. The "ex-boyfriend" stereotype this sterile world attaches him is worthless.There's a very big difference between what they're trying to say and what they're actually saying. If this subtext actually exists, it's buried under thousands of feet in thick ice. It's overlapped by their constant bumping, Twilight's out-of-character simple-mindedness, the Cafeteria Song, and tons of really lazy writing.If anything, the interrogation scene (even him spying) enforces his weakness as a character and how dumber the interrogation scene actually is. Instead of Flash spying, then have the Mane Six follow her to the gym. They hear her and then confront. They're presented the photos, and one of the M6 (or even Spike) could comment about them being cut and paste.

An unknown background character was walking past, oblivious, and even if he had paid attention, most of the school is still terrified of Sunset Shimmer, so he likely would not have acted on it. How is that more appropriate than a character with personal past history? One of the HuMane Five could fill the role, too, but don't they already do enough in the movie? Spike is taking pains to avoid appearing as anything but an ordinary dog, so while he could do the eavesdropping, he certainly couldn't do more than just tell another character, who would actually have to go find the evidence of the cut and pasted photos. I'll concede you that point, although subtext by its nature is generally YMMV.Your rewrite resolves the "framing" plot point in seconds, thus removing any emotional impact the interrogation scene provided. I prefer the version we got, thanks.

<p>That's the big problem with this romance. It's only based on how hot he looks in Twilight's perspective. She bumped into h!F once, which didn't trigger a crush. But the next time over, she had the hots for him. There's literally no chemistry between them. Flash isn't a character. He's a Gary Stu plot device.They had plenty of time to develop some common ground. Thirty minutes is more than enough. One hour is more than enough. Heck, five minutes is more than enough. A single line of dialogue dating back to the very beginning of the film could've established something between them. Instead, we have two movies of this contrived "romance" going nowhere.You make a good point here, but there are some differences:

  • The crush is unrequited. There's subtext of Rarity knowing his crush, but the feeling isn't mutual. In addition, it's seen more as cute "puppy love" because Spike's a child age-wise, while Rarity's considered an adult.
  • Spike and Rarity showed very established characterizations during the pilot. Rarity had that keen eye for quality, but she also spent plenty of time helping Twilight and later sacrificed her tail to help Steven Magnet. *twirls imaginary mustache* Spike had the mind of a child, proud to be TS's assistant, and concentration on TS's checklist.This leads me to the next point.
  • Both characters have grown exponentially since then, and there's solid chemistry between them. Most importantly, Spike isn't so focused on the crush angle anymore; it's still there, but it's more subtle now.
Last point first, Rarity and Spike's relationship has developed, but it's had 90 episodes to do so. Hard to match that with just 2 movies. Next point up, none of that was apparent at the time the crush started, being early in the pilot, and Spike wasn't witness to half of those events. Flash has characterizations, they're just all good ones and no negative ones, which makes him flat. "The crush is unrequited" point: what change does that make? Spike still fell in love on purely physical attributes. Being one-sided doesn't change that.Next one up: a single line of dialogue DID establish something. "Are you okay?" and a hand up. He shows her kindness, is the first human she ever talks to, and her eyes follow him as he walks off. And none of this triggers the crush yet, so the "love at first sight" cliché was avoided.Next, the scene in the milkshake shop, there's a lot that happens before the "hair swirl" bit. Have you heard of misattribution of arousal? She's already embarrassed from asking for more oats on her milkshake, then bumps into Flash again, spilling her drink on him, creating yet more embarrassment. Easy enough for her to misattribute her feelings of embarrassment to attraction to Flash, thus changing her thoughts on him from "nice guy" to "hot nice guy".As for the relationship going nowhere, that's true. In both movies there's been more on Twilight's mind that the guy she's crushing on, and for most of Rainbow Rocks, he was antagonistic towards her. I don't think I would entirely agree they even have a relationship. They're friends with mutual attraction, but they've never kissed and are still in that awkward pre-boyfriend/girlfriend phase. Love interest? Yes. Romantic partner? Not yet. Maybe the third movie will expand on their relationship, but then you can count on some fans complaining that the romance is taking over the plot. For some people, EQG just can't win, and I think that's a little bit unfair.
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Instead of Flash spying, then have the Mane Six follow her to the gym. They hear her and then confront. They're presented the photos, and one of the M6 (or even Spike) could comment about them being cut and paste.

Your rewrite resolves the "framing" plot point in seconds, thus removing any emotional impact the interrogation scene provided. I prefer the version we got, thanks.

 

Actually, this would make it so that it's longer. All 6 of them would have to go on an adventure to find out whats happening, making it have more tension. It would also be good if it was Spike who actually put the pieces together, helping the humane 5 and Twilight out, because it would show intelligence about a character we already like, and this version would have lasted at least 5 minutes.

 

All your points are completely invalid. Dark Qiviut's post about the difference between Flash and Twilight and Spike and Rarity are all true, but there is also one other point I would like to make out.

 

Spike x Rarity was suppose to be A JOKE, clearly was A JOKE without question, and saying that it was A JOKE isn't just a clear attempt to try and excuse his character.

 

The major difference between Spike and Rarity in the fact that they've developed is that Spike's crush wasn't mentioned in every episode, nor were they together every episode. However, Brad is in both movies, and he mentions it at least once, and as their both movies, they should have had some development for him.

  • Brohoof 1
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If making them lighter is a solution to a problem, why is the solution being applied to characters where the problem doesn't even arise?

There's a very big difference between the rest of the characters and the Big Three I keep mentioning. Although those characters became lighter, they're extremely subtle. When you see the human characters alone, it's all but impossible to tell the difference. Many of them were tinted just a touch. What makes Cheerilee, BM, and Flash stand out is how drastic their skin colors are. The huge change in color isn't done by accident. Design is a response to culture. Color connotations are no exception, especially if it's supposed to be skin.

 

or perhaps because a pony like Big MacIntosh would look sunburnt rather than invoke redface or whatever.

Big Mac's drastic color change of his skin has everything to do with the redface connotations. Over the past decade-plus, there have been complaints over how racist the redface is. To explain the three examples from my analysis.

  • The first one is the Chief Wahoo logo of MLB's Clevelend Indians. Dating back to the 1940s, the Indians have used Chief Wahoo as their main trademark. Recently, there have been plenty of public complaints over it for being a racist caricature of American Indians. So far, CLE responded by keeping the name, yet dwindling the logo to secondary. The push to eliminate Chief Wahoo and the name entirely is still ongoing, even in its own passionate fanbase.
  • The Washington Redskins have been a source of controversy since it first started in the mid-1930s. Dating back to their days in Boston, the former owner changed the name from "Braves" to "Redskins" "in honor" of a Native who died. However, the owner was an out racist. The Redskins were the last team to incorporate a black player because Robert F. Kennedy threatened to evict the team from then-newly built RFK Stadium if they didn't.

     

    For the past decade-plus, Native Americans and societies have been pushing to remove the logo and team name because they're marketing a racist slur both pictorially and verbally. Recently, WSH lost their trademark status of the name. The case is still ongoing.

  • Why Are the Red Men Red? from Peter Pan is one of the most divisive songs in Disney history, and for good reason. It's racist. The Indians are red-faced caricatures and/or talk in very broken English. The song is about why their skin is in that color, which carries serious ramifications.

The controversy with the Indians, Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, and usage of redface/Native names altogether (in sports names particularly) is a very hot topic in America. Hasbro is an American-based company, so it's their job to watch those controversies. Cleveland and Washington are spending plenty of money in various ways: the Indians for dwindling Wahoo and reviving the block C (there's a pursuit to change their name to "Spiders," the name of a club that folded around the turn of the 20th C.), the Redskins for their lawyers and lost trademark status.

 

If Big Mac's EQG skin was red, Hasbro would have a gigantic PR nightmare. They don't want this, hence the light pink, human-like skin.

 


 

Flash's drastic color change does come from trying to avoid racial stereotypes. If it was a small change like the ones you showed (keeping the tans, but make the human version a little lighter), then it wouldn't have been called out. But Flash's skin color isn't just a shift in chroma. The tone and overall color are very different.

 

To demonstrate, here's a rough photoshop of h!F in p!F's colors.

 

Flash_Sentry_smiling_at_Twilight_EG-1a1.

 

This is what I'm talking about. You have Flash's Asian ethnicity as well as the yellow skin that I photoshopped in. Even if he never spoke, seeing him like this would've invoked the racist yellowface connotations that I kept harping about. This is one reason why I linked the reception and picture from HIMYM. The racially charged personalities make them inherently offensive, but there's more than that. Even if they never spoke, the mere sight of their faces would trigger racial stereotypes.

 

What would make this damning is one of FIM's goals to break away from stereotypes. It's especially problematic because EQG has older kids as a base demographic. As Flash is the only character with Asian ethnicity in Pedestria, Sentry's look would trigger a blanket statement of how every Asian would look. Parents would hound on Hasbro for this.

 

If the color change was a coincidence? Still no excuse. Twenty years ago, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers received criticism for their choice of actors for specific ranger colors. Walter Jones (a black actor) became the black Ranger, the late Thuy Trang (a Vietnamese actress) became the yellow Ranger. That's why since they left, no black or Asian actor/actress starred as a black and yellow Ranger, respectively.

 


 

An unknown background character was walking past, oblivious, and even if he had paid attention, most of the school is still terrified of Sunset Shimmer, so he likely would not have acted on it.

Even with the person walking by obliviously, it still doesn't change one iota how it could've been anyone else responsible for de-framing Twilight. Spike, Twilight herself, one of the background characters who dares defy Sunset, or the rest of her friends. In its current execution, the role of Flash Sentry is completely interchangeable since it's so blank, bland, and pointless.

 

How is that more appropriate than a character with personal past history? One of the HuMane Five could fill the role, too, but don't they already do enough in the movie?

Way more important for two key reasons.

  • Several years back, Sunset Shimmer framed the HuMane Five. She was solely responsible for breaking up their friendship on one of the dumbest ways a friendship can be broken up: a simple misunderstanding. It's unknown how long it's been since they stopped being friends, but from the clues, it dates back a few years.
  • It would solidify their friendship together, akin to paying Twilight back. Twilight helped heal contrived wounds. Having the HuM5 rescue Twilight would help their friendship come full circle. Additionally, it would also psychologically connect the HuMane Five in Pedestria with the ReMane Five in Equestria: two sets of her friends, yet just as tight a bond.

Flash Sentry had no such history with Twilight beyond their forced conversations up to that point. He's written in that role specifically to inform the viewer "he's more than a half-dimensional love interest." Unfortunately, the "tell" part hurts his credibility. DHX tries too hard to make him important. How? By telling us he's important. It's the only time he had any direct involvement in either movie. But his dialogue and actions are so generic and his by-the-book "personality" is so stereotypical, anyone else would've objectively fulfilled the role better.

 

Spike is taking pains to avoid appearing as anything but an ordinary dog, so while he could do the eavesdropping, he certainly couldn't do more than just tell another character, who would actually have to go find the evidence of the cut and pasted photos.

Actually, Spike doesn't have to go around to find the cut-and-pasted evidence. In the interrogation room, Luna would hand Twilight the photos. Spike would be able to peak out because the bag's open and beside the princess. Being the big mouth he can be, Spike would make a comment about Sunset's evidence being so stupid, he's shocked she fell for it, and he flicks the cutouts. This leads me to my next point.

 

Your rewrite resolves the "framing" plot point in seconds, thus removing any emotional impact the interrogation scene provided.

On the contrary. The Humane Six would follow Sunset/VP Luna to the gym, and she presents the evidence. The HuMane Six interrupts them, and Sunset presents the photos. One of them (maybe Applejack or Dash, or [out of comedy convenience] Spike from eavesdropping from inside an open backpack) comments about it being one of the stupidest schemes (s)he's ever seen. They comment about it being a literal cut-and-paste, demonstrating it by feeling the paper, flicking it with a nail, glancing it over lights, etc.

 

Then they call her out for framing Twilight, call her out for terrorizing the school, call her out for ruining their own friendship, call her out for slandering Twilight online, and call out Luna for doing little to protect her students in CHS. On top of them, Spike calls Sunset out for trying to steal a magical crown from Equestria and starting the wild goose chase. This sets off a chain of events, including where Twilight came from, why Spike can talk, and present the differences between CHS's crown and Twilight's.

 

Here, the tension becomes released because Sunset has terrorized CHS for so long. Calling her out for her constant evil and VP Luna for being incompetent would send a message to the audience about how they have enough. Sunset is a longtime bully in CHS, and they stand up to her and reveal her for who she is: a runaway archmage. (Then again, neither scenario would fully matter in the long run when the rest of the film is a train wreck.)

 

In the original, there's literally no emotional impact whatsoever. The entire scene barely lasts a minute and relies on Gary Stu interrupting and Luna nonchalantly discharging Twilight. Scene over. Sunset gets away with it. Luna and Celestia do nothing to fix it. The movie all but acts like it never happened. Any possible tension gets zapped when he shows up. Even worse, the "tension" is so contrived because everyone's so fucking stupid. McCarthy tries to tell the viewer it's serious, but the viewer can't take it seriously because it's like every other subplot in this sorry excuse of a film: in one second, gone the next.

 


 

Last point first, Rarity and Spike's relationship has developed, but it's had 90 episodes to do so. Hard to match that with just 2 movies.

Even though the Sparity subplot has lasted more than ninety episodes, it's definitely much more natural. How?

  • Once more, the unrequited love was committed by a natural child character, a common trait for kids that supposedly young. He saw her, grew a crush on her, and that was that. His character was that of a child from the very beginning, but it was never dominant, and he never had to have his character bastardized for it to work. The pilot made it clear that the unrequited crush is secondary. The rest of their characterizations are the primary focus. Several times, Spike and Rarity communicated without even the hint of Spike's crush.
  • Twilight's crush on Flash Sentry is out of character because of how it had to be done. One other way to know Twilight's crush comes from being visually flustered with him is the genre of Gary Stu. Specifically, he's a Romantic Stu: a perfect portrayal of someone she wants to be with. For EQG and its gallery of stereotypes, "the hunky bad boy caricature that girls are supposed to be flustered over." Twilight Sparkle is written as an adult mare who supposedly mastered the magic of friendship and was rewarded as an alicorn for her efforts. In EQG, Twilight is degraded to that of a teen each time they crash into each other. If you have to mangle established characterizations for it to work, then the love interest angle sucks.
  • Flash has characterizations, they're just all good ones and no negative ones, which makes him flat.

    Just because Flash Sentry's characterization traits can be listed doesn't make him a character. Personalities are much more than virtual checklists you see on screen or adjectives you can list. Personality is also how to take these traits and adjectives and weave them in without making the character forced, stereotypical, or flat.

     

    Flash Sentry is a plot device because he has less "personality" than mass-produced tofu. Anytime the romance angle happens, it's only because the plot says so. The Sparity subplot makes more sense because the contrivances are hidden underneath other thorough layers of characterization and better woven in. In both EQG and RR, no one even bothers to hide the forced love interest subplot. To make it worse, his whole identity is to be her love interest. He's nothing beyond it.

     

    Next one up: a single line of dialogue DID establish something. "Are you okay?" and a hand up. He shows her kindness, is the first human she ever talks to, and her eyes follow him as he walks off.

    Exchanging help doesn't establish anything for either side. Like what I wrote with the interrogation scene, his actions could be replaced by anyone else due to how generic he was. "Common ground" is more to do with what traits, challenges, goals, strengths, and conflicts they share. All of that comes after they meet. Something that the viewer can relate to without losing their intelligence. I already gave some examples in my analysis above, so I won't repeat it.

  • Arctofire also mentioned this. The Sparity romance is also written to be a joke. It's comedy, and the writers don't hammer it in every episode. Both movies remind the viewer of their love interest subplot repeatedly. Even worse, DHX wants the viewer to treat it as a serious angle. How can I treat it seriously when they don't treat Twilight or Flash with any level of respect?

Flash and Twilight have no chemistry. The romance only occurs to fulfill the high-school-drama-stereotype requirements. Sure, it doesn't happen at first sight, but it nevertheless follows the stereotypes, including the "evil-bitch-has-a-man-attracted-to-the-protagonist" cliché. He can't escape the identity because without Twilight's out-of-character crush, he's nothing.

 

Flash isn't a character. He's a caricature. Unless there's some genuine chemistry or Hasbro drops the angle entirely, he jumps the shark and risks being devoured.

  • Brohoof 2
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There's a very big difference between the rest of the characters and the Big Three I keep mentioning. Although those characters became lighter, they're extremely subtle. When you see the human characters alone, it's all but impossible to tell the difference. Many of them were tinted just a touch. What makes Cheerilee, BM, and Flash stand out is how drastic their skin colors are. The huge change in color isn't done by accident. Design is a response to culture. Color connotations are no exception, especially if it's supposed to be skin.

 

Big Mac's drastic color change of his skin has everything to do with the redface connotations. Over the past decade-plus, there have been complaints over how racist the redface is. To explain the three examples from my analysis.

  • The first one is the Chief Wahoo logo of MLB's Clevelend Indians. Dating back to the 1940s, the Indians have used Chief Wahoo as their main trademark. Recently, there have been plenty of public complaints over it for being a racist caricature of American Indians. So far, CLE responded by keeping the name, yet dwindling the logo to secondary. The push to eliminate Chief Wahoo and the name entirely is still ongoing, even in its own passionate fanbase.
  • The Washington Redskins have been a source of controversy since it first started in the mid-1930s. Dating back to their days in Boston, the former owner changed the name from "Braves" to "Redskins" "in honor" of a Native who died. However, the owner was an out racist. The Redskins were the last team to incorporate a black player because Robert F. Kennedy threatened to evict the team from then-newly built RFK Stadium if they didn't.

     

    For the past decade-plus, Native Americans and societies have been pushing to remove the logo and team name because they're marketing a racist slur both pictorially and verbally. Recently, WSH lost their trademark status of the name. The case is still ongoing.

  • Why Are the Red Men Red? from Peter Pan is one of the most divisive songs in Disney history, and for good reason. It's racist. The Indians are red-faced caricatures and/or talk in very broken English. The song is about why their skin is in that color, which carries serious ramifications.

The controversy with the Indians, Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, and usage of redface/Native names altogether (in sports names particularly) is a very hot topic in America. Hasbro is an American-based company, so it's their job to watch those controversies. Cleveland and Washington are spending plenty of money in various ways: the Indians for dwindling Wahoo and reviving the block C (there's a pursuit to change their name to "Spiders," the name of a club that folded around the turn of the 20th C.), the Redskins for their lawyers and lost trademark status.

 

If Big Mac's EQG skin was red, Hasbro would have a gigantic PR nightmare. They don't want this, hence the light pink, human-like skin.

 


 

Flash's drastic color change does come from trying to avoid racial stereotypes. If it was a small change like the ones you showed (keeping the tans, but make the human version a little lighter), then it wouldn't have been called out. But Flash's skin color isn't just a shift in chroma. The tone and overall color are very different.

 

To demonstrate, here's a rough photoshop of h!F in p!F's colors.

 

Flash_Sentry_smiling_at_Twilight_EG-1a1.

 

This is what I'm talking about. You have Flash's Asian ethnicity as well as the yellow skin that I photoshopped in. Even if he never spoke, seeing him like this would've invoked the racist yellowface connotations that I kept harping about. This is one reason why I linked the reception and picture from HIMYM. The racially charged personalities make them inherently offensive, but there's more than that. Even if they never spoke, the mere sight of their faces would trigger racial stereotypes.

 

What would make this damning is one of FIM's goals to break away from stereotypes. It's especially problematic because EQG has older kids as a base demographic. As Flash is the only character with Asian ethnicity in Pedestria, Sentry's look would trigger a blanket statement of how every Asian would look. Parents would hound on Hasbro for this.

 

If the color change was a coincidence? Still no excuse. Twenty years ago, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers received criticism for their choice of actors for specific ranger colors. Walter Jones (a black actor) became the black Ranger, the late Thuy Trang (a Vietnamese actress) became the yellow Ranger. That's why since they left, no black or Asian actor/actress starred as a black and yellow Ranger, respectively.

First, this is all still speculation on the creators motives in changing the colours of characters, and without proof, no matter how plausible it is, it remains just your own speculation.

 

Second, I crunched the numbers, using Paint to see how the RGB values changed. Mac and Cheerilee were altered the most, then Trixie and (in RR) Lyra, and only then Flash Sentry. So to say those 3 you always mention were changed the most is not quite correct. (Maybe KCYM values would tell a different story.)

 

Third, the fact that there was a change at all in characters for whom "racial connotations" don't apply still requires explanation. Saying it wasn't immediately noticeable or "extremely subtle" (false in the case of Trixie, at least, it is immediately noticeable, as much as any of the Big Three, and Lyra is close behind) doesn't negate that need for your hypothesis to address the fact that was done at all. Otherwise, why were the rest changed? Why one set of rules for some characters, and another set of rules for other characters?

 

Fourth, if they were so worried about the mere colour of a face causing outrage, why is it that Sunset Shimmer becomes a giant red-faced Demon, and is the villain of the story to boot?

 

bscap0007.jpg

Are you telling me Hasbro was terrified of making a human character with dark red skin, but let this go through?

 

Even with the person walking by obliviously, it still doesn't change one iota how it could've been anyone else responsible for de-framing Twilight. Spike, Twilight herself, one of the background characters who dares defy Sunset, or the rest of her friends. In its current execution, the role of Flash Sentry is completely interchangeable since it's so blank, bland, and pointless.

 

Way more important for two key reasons.

  • Several years back, Sunset Shimmer framed the HuMane Five. She was solely responsible for breaking up their friendship on one of the dumbest ways a friendship can be broken up: a simple misunderstanding. It's unknown how long it's been since they stopped being friends, but from the clues, it dates back a few years.
  • It would solidify their friendship together, akin to paying Twilight back. Twilight helped heal contrived wounds. Having the HuM5 rescue Twilight would help their friendship come full circle. Additionally, it would also psychologically connect the HuMane Five in Pedestria with the ReMane Five in Equestria: two sets of her friends, yet just as tight a bond.

Flash Sentry had no such history with Twilight beyond their forced conversations up to that point. He's written in that role specifically to inform the viewer "he's more than a half-dimensional love interest." Unfortunately, the "tell" part hurts his credibility. DHX tries too hard to make him important. How? By telling us he's important. It's the only time he had any direct involvement in either movie. But his dialogue and actions are so generic and his by-the-book "personality" is so stereotypical, anyone else would've objectively fulfilled the role better.

 

Actually, Spike doesn't have to go around to find the cut-and-pasted evidence. In the interrogation room, Luna would hand Twilight the photos. Spike would be able to peak out because the bag's open and beside the princess. Being the big mouth he can be, Spike would make a comment about Sunset's evidence being so stupid, he's shocked she fell for it, and he flicks the cutouts. This leads me to my next point.

 

On the contrary. The Humane Six would follow Sunset/VP Luna to the gym, and she presents the evidence. The HuMane Six interrupts them, and Sunset presents the photos. One of them (maybe Applejack or Dash, or [out of comedy convenience] Spike from eavesdropping from inside an open backpack) comments about it being one of the stupidest schemes (s)he's ever seen. They comment about it being a literal cut-and-paste, demonstrating it by feeling the paper, flicking it with a nail, glancing it over lights, etc.

 

Then they call her out for framing Twilight, call her out for terrorizing the school, call her out for ruining their own friendship, call her out for slandering Twilight online, and call out Luna for doing little to protect her students in CHS. On top of them, Spike calls Sunset out for trying to steal a magical crown from Equestria and starting the wild goose chase. This sets off a chain of events, including where Twilight came from, why Spike can talk, and present the differences between CHS's crown and Twilight's.

 

Here, the tension becomes released because Sunset has terrorized CHS for so long. Calling her out for her constant evil and VP Luna for being incompetent would send a message to the audience about how they have enough. Sunset is a longtime bully in CHS, and they stand up to her and reveal her for who she is: a runaway archmage. (Then again, neither scenario would fully matter in the long run when the rest of the film is a train wreck.)

 

In the original, there's literally no emotional impact whatsoever. The entire scene barely lasts a minute and relies on Gary Stu interrupting and Luna nonchalantly discharging Twilight. Scene over. Sunset gets away with it. Luna and Celestia do nothing to fix it. The movie all but acts like it never happened. Any possible tension gets zapped when he shows up. Even worse, the "tension" is so contrived because everyone's so fucking stupid. McCarthy tries to tell the viewer it's serious, but the viewer can't take it seriously because it's like every other subplot in this sorry excuse of a film: in one second, gone the next.

 

It seems to me you've not only drastically altered the film by this point, but that you've done so in a way primary palatable to you yourself. However, since you're an intelligent guy, and frequently write fanfiction, and since the movie was badly written, I'll even be willing to accept the idea that this would be an "objectively better" way for the movie to have gone.

 

 

Even though the Sparity subplot has lasted more than ninety episodes, it's definitely much more natural. How?

  • Once more, the unrequited love was committed by a natural child character, a common trait for kids that supposedly young. He saw her, grew a crush on her, and that was that. His character was that of a child from the very beginning, but it was never dominant, and he never had to have his character bastardized for it to work. The pilot made it clear that the unrequited crush is secondary. The rest of their characterizations are the primary focus. Several times, Spike and Rarity communicated without even the hint of Spike's crush.
  • Twilight's crush on Flash Sentry is out of character because of how it had to be done. One other way to know Twilight's crush comes from being visually flustered with him is the genre of Gary Stu. Specifically, he's a Romantic Stu: a perfect portrayal of someone she wants to be with. For EQG and its gallery of stereotypes, "the hunky bad boy caricature that girls are supposed to be flustered over." Twilight Sparkle is written as an adult mare who supposedly mastered the magic of friendship and was rewarded as an alicorn for her efforts. In EQG, Twilight is degraded to that of a teen each time they crash into each other. If you have to mangle established characterizations for it to work, then the love interest angle sucks.
  • Just because Flash Sentry's characterization traits can be listed doesn't make him a character. Personalities are much more than virtual checklists you see on screen or adjectives you can list. Personality is also how to take these traits and adjectives and weave them in without making the character forced, stereotypical, or flat.

     

    Flash Sentry is a plot device because he has less "personality" than mass-produced tofu. Anytime the romance angle happens, it's only because the plot says so. The Sparity subplot makes more sense because the contrivances are hidden underneath other thorough layers of characterization and better woven in. In both EQG and RR, no one even bothers to hide the forced love interest subplot. To make it worse, his whole identity is to be her love interest. He's nothing beyond it.

     

    Exchanging help doesn't establish anything for either side. Like what I wrote with the interrogation scene, his actions could be replaced by anyone else due to how generic he was. "Common ground" is more to do with what traits, challenges, goals, strengths, and conflicts they share. All of that comes after they meet. Something that the viewer can relate to without losing their intelligence. I already gave some examples in my analysis above, so I won't repeat it.

  • Arctofire also mentioned this. The Sparity romance is also written to be a joke. It's comedy, and the writers don't hammer it in every episode. Both movies remind the viewer of their love interest subplot repeatedly. Even worse, DHX wants the viewer to treat it as a serious angle. How can I treat it seriously when they don't treat Twilight or Flash with any level of respect?

Flash and Twilight have no chemistry. The romance only occurs to fulfill the high-school-drama-stereotype requirements. Sure, it doesn't happen at first sight, but it nevertheless follows the stereotypes, including the "evil-bitch-has-a-man-attracted-to-the-protagonist" cliché. He can't escape the identity because without Twilight's out-of-character crush, he's nothing.

 

Flash isn't a character. He's a caricature. Unless there's some genuine chemistry or Hasbro drops the angle entirely, he jumps the shark and risks being devoured.

 

Actually, this would make it so that it's longer. All 6 of them would have to go on an adventure to find out whats happening, making it have more tension. It also would be good if it was Spike, because it would show intelligence about a character we already like, and this version would have lasted at least 5 minutes.

 

All your points are completely invalid. Dark Qiviut's post about the difference between Flash and Twilight and Spike and Rarity are all true, but there is also one other point I would like to make out.

 

Spike x Rarity was suppose to be A JOKE, clearly was a joke without question, and saying that it's a joke isn't just a clear attempt to try and excuse his character.

 

The major difference between Spike and Rarity in the fact that they've developed is that Spike's crush wasn't mentioned in every episode, nor were they together every episode. However, Brad is in both movies, and he mentions it at least once, and as there both movies, they should have had some development.

You both make good points. A tip of the hat to you both.

 

Although, if I may clarify, my point in bringing up the Spike-Rarity relationship was not to compare it in its entirety to TxFS, but just to show that the first meeting of the pair in question was differently presented, and the SxR one is purely a love at first sight scenario (hence physical) whereas we at least had a prior non-romantic interaction between the two.

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First, this is all still speculation on the creators motives in changing the colours of characters, and without proof, no matter how plausible it is, it remains just your own speculation.

 

Second, I crunched the numbers, using Paint to see how the RGB values changed. Mac and Cheerilee were altered the most, then Trixie and (in RR) Lyra, and only then Flash Sentry. So to say those 3 you always mention were changed the most is not quite correct. (Maybe KCYM values would tell a different story.)

 

Third, the fact that there was a change at all in characters for whom "racial connotations" don't apply still requires explanation. Saying it wasn't immediately noticeable or "extremely subtle" (false in the case of Trixie, at least, it is immediately noticeable, as much as any of the Big Three, and Lyra is close behind) doesn't negate that need for your hypothesis to address the fact that was done at all. Otherwise, why were the rest changed? Why one set of rules for some characters, and another set of rules for other characters?

 

Fourth, if they were so worried about the mere colour of a face causing outrage, why is it that Sunset Shimmer becomes a giant red-faced Demon, and is the villain of the story to boot?

 

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Are you telling me Hasbro was terrified of making a human character with dark red skin, but let this go through?

 

 

Maybe they just did it with all characters so they could disguise it? I don't know, but I think this is kind of irrelevant to why Flash Sentry is bad character. For Sunset Shimmer, she's not a human being, so I think they had some leeway.

 

 

 

Although, if I may clarify, my point in bringing up the Spike-Rarity relationship was not to compare it in its entirety to TxFS, but just to show that the first meeting of the pair in question was differently presented, and the SxR one is purely a love at first sight scenario (hence physical) whereas we at least had a prior non-romantic interaction between the two.

 

You make a good point there too, but this "short character interaction not based on physical attraction" didn't go anywhere, was really short, and Twilight didn't react to it at all, meaning it didn't really have much weight to it. If she had reacted to this, saying "what a nice fellow," or something a long the lines of that, maybe I would have accepted it. But she didn't react AT ALL, and all it does is serve the constant movie ritual of them bumping into each other. I think they just did this first non blushing bump to make Twilight seem a little less flanderized, and a little less out of character, then she already was. If she had blushed the first time it would have been even dumber

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I don't know, but I think this is kind of irrelevant to why Flash Sentry is bad character. For Sunset Shimmer, she's not a human being, so I think they had some leeway.

You're right, this isn't going to make anyone like Flash any better.
 
I withdraw my objections, and concede. Thanks for the discussion.
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Okay. I'll admit that Flash Sentry wasn't handled as well as he could and should've been integrated into the film more seamlessly if he had to be there. He also could've been more memorable of a character even if he was a side character there and could've been an honorary member of the HuMane Six too.

 

But I'm sorry to say that you REALLY go overboard with this.

 

First. In regards to Twilight having a crush on him… so what? While I personally would've left them as just friends to quell shippers, crushing on a cute boy is hardly something Twilight is incapable of. I'm sure many have had those sorts of moments in real life (not referring to anyone specific).

 

Now for your claims about sexism. *sighes*

 

Look, when it comes to the media at large, there’s a large representation of males in fictional characters (of the straight and white variety). Almost every show out there is aimed at male audiences by default. By no means does this one show somehow "oppress" guys.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. We have a good number of well-done female characters. I love The Legend of Korra for this and I'll defend it until my last breath. Yet even those characters and their shows are often overlooked for the guys. Hell, the show wasn’t green lit until Nick was sure a female protagonist could work for male audiences.

In addition, many female characters in the general media are degraded for the sake of a male character far too much. Supernatural, superhero movies and comics, Shonen Anime, the list goes on. Compared to My Little Pony and its "misandry," that's a drop in the bucket. Honestly, girls are lucky to have something like Friendship is Magic to show a variety of female characters. Digibro goes into detail about this:
 

I guess what I have to say is that in terms of how male characters in My Little Pony are portrayed, it’s hard to call it “problematic” when many female characters in the media aren’t treated as well as they deserve to be. From having their agency removed for the sake of a male character’s narrative to killed off in a very cheap way (Women in Fridges, anyone?), we dudes have it good when it comes to being represented in the media. MLP:FiM reverses that and suddenly male fans aren’t pleased with how their gender is portrayed.

 

Also doesn't FiM have plenty of male writers and directors on staff?

 

Lastly, I don't think Flash needed to be anything more than a secondary character. My issue was that he wasn't memorable enough and didn't have much impact as a character overall. That's about it.

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It just bugs me how guys, obviously not the primary target demographic, complain about male characters being shown in a less that very positive light. What do you think girls have to struggle with when it comes to many other shows?

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