Them's Seeing Ponies

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  1. 1. A Friend in Deed (Pinkie does push the limits of patience at times (most notably her emphasis of Cranky's... middle-age hair loss and her relentless stalking of Cranky in the third act, which comes off as slightly too exaggerated even by Pinkie's standards at this time) but this is arguably one of her most quintessential episodes, and I love the fact that it portrays Pinkie as flawed but well-intentioned whilst remaining relatively well-balanced and infectiously entertaining. I should also reference the excellence of the Smile Song here, but I would simply be mirroring the words of a considerable majority) 2. Maud Pie (an imperfect but admirable attempt on the show's part to delve into a style of comedy it typically shied away from utilizing to such an extent during its formative years. Resultantly, while Maud is relatively one-note, the episode's mechanics somehow support this as justifiable, considering that the comedy is well-time enough for the episode to merely focus on a sequence of joke-based scenes with the show's typical moralistic themes played down to a level where they accentuate the tension of the situation and propel the narrative forward without intercepting the gags. Barely short of being great) 3. Crusaders of the Lost Mark (overrated and structurally sloppy, but an admirable effort. The crew were clearly striving to tell a far larger story than feasible for the runtime, leading to an arguable overdose of cheesy melodrama and Diamond Tiara/the CMC arguably earning their marks in an overly easy way, but the underlying sentiment is surprisingly open-hearted in a way which renders these issues more acceptable than the standard) 4. She Talks to Angel (generally structurally solid, but suffers from predictability) 5. Daring Done? (a frustratingly tedious episode which executes its potentially interesting plot in such a bareboned manner that virtually every aspect of interest (save for the Somnambula backstory, which is relatively brief) is subsequently ironed out of its framework) 6. Yakity-Sax (a failed attempt at a more dour episode, largely due to its awkward moralizing) 7. The Show Stoppers (a glimpse into the type of show apprehensive critics initially expected FiM to mirror, with the CMC effectively acting as bland child characters blindly executing a dull and predictable plot (as if the crew felt obligated to include at least one 'pure CMC' focus episode in the season). The song sequence is hilarious, however) 8. Buckball Season (one of the emptiest and least organic episodes of the series)
  2. 1. A Dog and Pony Show ("NOOOOOO!!!!!") 2. For Whom the Sweetie Belle Tolls (a somewhat overly dour yet touching and unique introspection into Sweetie Belle's relationship with Rarity, and I appreciate the episode's willingness to delve into a brand of psychedelic imagery this show typically refrains from) 3. Road to Friendship (arguably the most effective utilization of Starlight and Trixie in the series) 4. The Fault in Our Cutie Marks (simple but affecting, and manages to salvage a conceptually grating character into something surprisingly tolerable and sympathetic) 5. The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows (thematically shallow but a fun watch) 6. It Isn't the Mane Thing About You (includes several decent moments and I appreciate the more down-to-earth tone, but simultaneously burdened by Josh Haber's typical flaws (clunky overexpository dialogue and repetitive comedy)) 7. Putting Your Hoof Down (the interplay between Pinkie and Iron Will is amazing, yet the episode itself is soured by uneven pacing and an uncharasterically uncomfortable atmosphere by FiM standards) 8. Dragon Dropped (as one user on here accurately summarized, it's like the conclusion to an arc that doesn't exist)
  3. I can only assume they won't be, although Twilight's immortality is now almost a given considering her full-time ascension (albeit the show never did explain the exact connection between the magic and immortality of alicorns - considering that Zecora specified 'alicorn magic' as a unique form of magical force in the S4 opener, it's entirely possible that the 'magic' preserves the body of the wielder from ageing, although this is evidently a far-flung theory).
  4. Definitive bottom 10: 10. 2, 4, 6, Greaaat (an insipid and uninspired sendoff for one of the FiM canon's most unique and inconsistently utilized mane players) 9. A Trivial Pursuit (an entire episode of uncanny meme faces is hilarious!... because face, I guess?) 8. The Cart Before the Ponies (a living example of the type of show that detractors accuse FiM of being - an irritating and crushingly cliched/oversimplified heap of nothingness) 7. Buckball Season (one of the emptiest episodes of the series, which utilizes Snails' 'inner depths' and zany expressions as crutches as opposed to actually building chemistry between Pinkie and Fluttershy, which barely occurs and, in turn, gives the episode's grounded plot virtually no real credence and renders the entire experience seemingly meaningless) 6. Rainbow Falls (the most nonsensical episode of the series, with no genuine justifications given for Dash's awkward position nor why she shouldn't join the Wonderbolts. The convoluted, wooden dialogue is also a major issue here) 5. 28 Pranks Later (absurdly broken moral and a flimsy excuse to cash in on the zombie fad) 4. Non-Compete Clause (virtually nothing of value to see here. Next!) 3. Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? (an exemplification of everything wrong with the show post-S3 - shoehorned meme fodder/references out of desperation to gain fandom approval (to the extent of incoherency), awkward plot structure and an attempt at a 'deep' and emotional thematic exploration which fails due to lack of buildup/creative commitment and renders the episode more insulting than its alternative tackling of a simpler theme hypothetically could have been. 2. What About Discord? (the only episode on this list which could not have been salvaged through any measure of retooling. The entire conceit and plot structure is basically broken from its outset and the entire second act is merely frustrating filler) 1. Hard to Say Anything (obnoxious, lazy, unfunny, oversimplified, cheesy, dull - exemplifying every trap FiM could have fallen into but did in this circumstance)
  5. The road to this point has been a long and winding one for me. I first discovered FiM through G1 many moons (and no, I still have absolutely no idea what length of time a 'moon' technically quantifies in Equestria) ago and gradually slipped into bronydom over the course of several months - as one would expect, by the second half of season 2, I was firmly along for the ride (although the infamous Twilicorn and EQG debates admittedly led me to question this at times) and, while I wouldn't claim the show has remained at the consistently amazing level of quality it upheld when I began watching, it's been a great ride, and I will always have fond memories of my tenure in this unique, diverse, creative and culturally affecting fandom (and the many people I've met willing to tolerate some guy constantly nitpicking facial expressions and plot structures between episodes). Now we're at the end, I have one final yet-unanswered question, the likes of which could shake the universe from its foundations - chimicherry or cherrychanga? Could it be chimicherry or *propels railroad cart into the sunset*
  6. Why do you essentially keep asking the same hyperbolic question in almost every thread you create? The ending wasn't unanimously well-received, but I doubt it somehow caused many reasonable people to dismiss their entire experience within bronydom as a 'waste of their life'. With sporadic exceptions, the human mind just doesn't typically work like that - one episode with mixed reviews somehow doesn't soil every positive of the decade of series (and 220+ episodes) preceding it.
  7. This was decent, but not particularly great or amazing. By the standards of S9's latter half (of which I've enjoyed only a few episodes), this is actually a pretty strong outing, it's simply that its general flaws arise from its tendency to repeat the typical faults of most Haber-edited episodes (save for the meme faces, which the episode displayed surprising restraint with) - the humor mostly being lightly sarcastic quips, characters behaving in generically awkward ways and pop-culture references (none of which I find that effective unless there are 'bigger'/more varied gags to balance them out, which I guess explains why I find so much of Haber's work so oddly lightweight) and the somewhat overexpository dialogue (I'm unsure as to whether Haber and Vogel were utilizing this to depict the awkwardness of the characters or are simply overcompensating to ensure coherency and maximum space for sarcasm, but it kind of felt more akin to the latter) as opposed to utilizing 'show don't tell' to create a more impactful episode (although the ending was cute, if somewhat obvious) being the most major examples. Whilst the crew could've harnessed more of their episode slots over the past five seasons to develop Sugar Belle further beyond the three episodes preceding this one to increase its impact, it's ultimately a nice, if kind of overly light, outing (I understand they were shooting for a low-key character comedy, but there simply wasn't enough effective comedy to carry this, nor enough space left by the dialogue for quieter moments (Big Mac sitting on the hill in anticipation was a step in the right direction here) to develop and build up to the climax).
  8. Having recently committed to rewatching the entirety of the series as a build-up to the inevitable conclusion on the 12th, I was able to return to numerous older episodes (and entire previous seasons), some of which I had barely watched since their original airdates years ago, with a fresh perspective, and came to a surprising conclusion regarding the oft-acclaimed season 5. Admittedly, I don't exactly consider it the best season, or my favorite, but I happen to find season 5 kind of fascinating on a number of levels, largely in its uniquely recurrent notes of finality - the CMC finally acquiring their marks, Twilight gaining an apprentice in Starlight Glimmer, the M6 (on a theoretical level) confronting the emerging unfortunate realities of their previously revered ambitions, use of frequent references to previous seasons as major (if not consistently logical or effective) plot points (think Moondancer, Gilda's flashback, Luna lapsing into guilt from her tenure as NMM, 'sequel' episodes presenting different takes on Nightmare Night, HWE and the Sisterhooves Social). This does have a contextual basis in that S5 represents the departure of the remaining key members of the show's crew from the Faust seasons en masse (Jayson Thiessen, Meghan McCarthy (to an extent, her input on S8-9 is minimal, if Nicole Dubuc's word is anything to go by), AKR, Larson, Cindy Morrow, Dave Polsky (kind of) and the like) with members of the show's current creative team emerging onto the scene or rising through the ranks (Haber, Confalone and the Lady Writers), which in turn allows S5 to adopt the air of a transitional season marking the conclusion of the 'old' Faust-run FiM's remnants (most notably through AKR and Larson's episodes, which, while more dour and dramatic and (on average) less charmingly meta than S1 and S2, both contained elements of the sensibilities and vestigial charm which defined the earlier seasons of the show - for example, Pinkie's quirky wordplay quotient has plummeted dramatically since AKR's departure) and the 'new' FiM dominated by the likes of Haber, the Lady Writers and Big Jim (with a more extroverted style of comedy, more snark-heavy dialogue and a greater tendency towards conceptual intricacy). Resultantly, to me at least, S5 has a specific air of a 'beginning of an end' or an 'end of a beginning' in the sense of its amalgamation of episodes concluding specific aspects of its preceding seasons (most notably through Larson and AKR's episodes) whilst offering suggestions of the direction the show would soon veer into (Party Pooped offers the earliest glimpse of the style of comedy that the later seasons would draw from continuously). Add this to Thiessen passing the torch to Big Jim as 'supervising director' halfway through the season (which becomes apparent through a subtle-but-noticeable shift in visuals - Thiessen's style seems to tend towards more far shots and 'flat' perspectives (as if he's more self-aware of the show's stylized appearance) whereas Big Jim favors parking the camera in a closer and broader style akin to Ed, Edd N' Eddy in a sense - a comparison I can actually buy given Jim's work on the latter for virtually its entire run) and S5 in general has the bizarre air of a 'final season' to it at times, to the extent of arguably competing with S9 (regardless of comparisons between the overall quality of the two's episodes) in that regard. It leads me to wonder if anyone else had noticed this sense of 'finality' and could offer any further thoughts and observations in the weird mixture of old and new that is S5.
  9. Now having viewed every episode in its English-language version, my definitive top 10 (no S9 finale spoilers) includes: 1. Lesson Zero 2. Hurricane Fluttershy 3. The Best Night Ever 4. It's About Time 5. The Return of Harmony 6. Sleepless in Ponyville 7. Party of One 8. Pinkie Pride 9. Read It and Weep 10. The Last Roundup Were it not for its botched moral, I would genuinely consider including Feeling Pinkie Keen (the anvil sequence and the 'explosion' exchange between Pinkie and Spike are golden).
  10. Season 1: The Best Night Ever (honorable mentions: Sonic Rainboom and Party of One) Season 2: Lesson Zero (honorable mentions: Read It and Weep and Hurricane Fluttershy - It's About Time was extremely enjoyable as well) Season 3: Sleepless in Ponyville (honorable mentions: Wonderbolts Academy and... uh...) Season 4: Pinkie Pride (honorable mentions: For Whom the Sweetie Belle Tolls and Testing, Testing, 123 - Twilight's Kingdom also deserves a reference) Season 5: Slice of Life (honorable mentions: The Cutie Map and Amending Fences) Season 6: The Fault in Our Cutie Marks (honorable mentions: A Hearth's Warming Tail and Stranger Than Fan Fiction) Season 7: The Perfect Pear (surprising, ain't it?) (honorable mentions: Discordant Harmony and A Health of Information) Season 8: Horse Play (honorable mentions: The Hearth's Warming Club and On the Road to Friendship)
  11. Japanese Kit Kats are a fascinating treasure trove of idiosyncrasy for me (and clearly for others as well, judging by your review here). Thanks for posting your thoughts here - reviews of this weird breed of candy bar are always entertaining reads. On a related note, I concur about the flavor of the Shinshu apple - the initial taste was decent before spiraling into a more sickly, artificial sensation - in a way, it reminded me of that cheap apple-scented hairspray you occasionally find backstage in local theaters or in cosmetics stores. The green tea (traditional) I recall being relatively decent, but the stronger green tea flavor was pretty overbearing (think swallowing a powerfully bitter bundle of herbs) and the pure matcha bar was more than a little reminiscent of grass (despite allegedly being accurate to its basis). Of the flavors that I personally tasted, the Japanese orange (this consisting of genuinely orange-coloured chocolate, a pleasant surprise following the drabness of its Western equivalent) was probably the best, with a well-balanced citrus twang and a suitably complementary white chocolate base (the wasabi flavor, whilst luridly green and conceptually weird, was also surprisingly palatable), whilst the worst was either the apple or the Azuki red bean cookie flavor (bitter, smoky bean essence and mass-produced white chocolate mostly don't mix - this was no exception).
  12. While not perfect, "DC Superhero Boys" was definitely a step in the right direction for DCSHG.

  13. I'm enjoying the DC Superhero Girls reboot, but it does have a lot of issues that keep me from loving it. 

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    2. Them's Seeing Ponies

      Them's Seeing Ponies

      I agree with you on the portrayal of men in the show. I admire much of Faust's work for its ability to successfully synthesize seemingly tired animation tropes into a sharper and more satisfying package, but her depictions of male characters tend to lean into obvious feminism-mongering on a recurring basis (despite the presence of exceptions). It's generally less conspicuous within the confines of FiM, where male characters were initially relatively sparse and/or non-prominent (a vision I assume Hasbro was content to encourage during her tenure), with the obvious exception of Snips and Snails (in one of S1's worst outings), but the general structure and focus of the DC universe (which, by nature of containing a number of extremely iconic and prominent male characters, is far more gender-balanced) forced her to confront arguably her greatest weakness, and the above issue is basically the end result. 

    3. TheAnimationFanatic


      Keep in mind, I'm someone who generally agrees with her views, but I think it would strengthen the show's message to have both sexes working together on equal footing.

    4. TheAnimationFanatic


      I think the show needs to have at least one male hero who's competent and capable and supportive of the girls.

  14. I kind of find your assertion that FiM is confused to be somewhat condescending. 

  15. Pokemon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strokes Back: Mewtwo enters an intense local swimming competition. A Herd Day's Night: Four mop-topped Liverpudlian cows struggle to form an identity amidst a soulless herd of bovines in rural early-'60s England. To Fill a Mockingbird: Atticus Finch buys a mockingbird-shaped stationary holder. Schindler's Lost: Oskar Schindler accidentally becomes lost in his factory complex. The Sampsons Movie: The mundane life of a man named Sampson for 90 minutes until, in a shocking twist, he discovers his lost identical twin (also coincidentally named Sampson) at the end of the film. The Greatest Chowman: A hopeful entrepreneur ascends to millionaire status after accidentally founding the most successful dog food corporation in history. The Borax: A rural community use branded laundry detergent to rid the local environment of pollution. Forrest Gulp: A dimwitted Alabaman man opts to become overweight as a means of avoiding army conscription.