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Ponies + Indian Food = This Now that that's out of the way, good morning everypony, and welcome to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews," our last for a while I'm afraid given that the Season 6 hiatus is upon us. Thankfully, I am glad to say that today's episode was most delightful indeed, even if it wasn't perfect. A nice return to the Friendship Map formula of last season with a fun pair of ponies we've already seen once this season, let's dive into "Spice Up Your Life." So, in this case I feel compelled to get what I thought didn't work in this episode out of the way first, because it bugged me as the episode unfolded. I was honestly having a hard time figuring out what the lesson was supposed to be. That is not to say that the episode didn't have a message, oh no, it did indeed. But I think it was the Friendship Map formula in general that threw me off; the presumption was that the quarrel Rarity and Pinkie had to solve was that between Coriander Cumin and Saffron Masala. Now there clearly was a quarrel, but I don't think that's actually what Rarity and Pinkie had to do (though the episode didn't do a very good job of explaining that). The nature of the quarrel wasn't very well explained; obviously both ponies were fighting a lot since their business was struggling, but I never really got a sense for what Coriander wanted to do differently from his daughter. Rarity pretty much handled everything in the music montage on his end, and Coriander was just kind of grumpy the whole time. In the end, the action did not center around those two at all, at least not salvaging their relationship. It also wasn't just about saving their business, because that's not really a friendship problem either. Yelp and RT reviewers manifested as a pony; as one can imagine, she sucked as much as you would think she would :crackle: No, in actuality, the message is actually quite nuanced, if not a little too subtle until the very end. I think the friendship lesson that they had to teach was to all of Restaurant Row in Canterlot, not just Coriander and Saffron. The crux of the conflict was that nopony in Canterlot would even try their food because they didn't have a hoof rating from Zesty Gourmand. Up till the very end, even after tons of other ponies in Canterlot were trying and clearly loving their food, Zesty still refused, contending that it was beneath her to do so and would ruin her reputation. What we have here, oddly enough, is a critique of critic culture, specifically critics who write for published and major media sources. Critics can sway public opinion quite a bit, and that can often be a good thing if the critic is good; but the problem with critic culture, sometimes, is that critics can sometimes become too full of their own opinions for their own good. They care more about the weight of their critique than remembering that they have their own personal tastes just like everyone else, and sometimes it can be so bad that it even prevents them from giving something new a chance, or judging something based on its own context/what it's trying to be instead of measuring it against things it simply shouldn't be. An Indian restaurant should be an Indian restaurant, not a place of high, cultured food. A blockbuster should try to be a great blockbuster, not an art house film, just as an art house film shouldn't try to be a blockbuster. Forming one's opinion, especially if voiced in public with the power to sway others, is a heady responsibility that should not be taken lightly, especially if you do have the social standing to sway others, and sometimes it's all too easy for people to forget that they could be wrong or just not like something that most others will if they actually can influence others' opinions. I very much liked this message, but again, I feel like it was not delivered, until the last few minutes of the episode, in a way that was readily understood, at least as the center of the episode's theme. Like I said, the friendship problem was not readily apparent at any point in the episode, but I think it came down to the episode title; people shouldn't be afraid of spicing up their lives, trying something new or giving something a chance, and shouldn't let the opinions of others prevent them from trying something if they think they'll like it or actually do like it. If you have a different opinion or tastes than someone else, that doesn't make you less of a person for it; all it means is that your ideas of what's enjoyable are different from what others find enjoyable. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that most of the time, and like I said, I really like this message; I just think it could have been delivered better. I love this guy! Coriander just does not have any time for any of your BS, Rarity; don't take it personally darling, he doesn't have any time for anyone's BS, and he thinks that everything is BS 99% of the time Now that that's out of the way, let's get to what I loved. Really, I loved everything about how this episode looked and felt. The style was great; getting to see Canterlot again, great; getting to see more Rarity and Pinkie Pie, great; getting a father/daughter conflict, great; father/daughter turn out to be Indian, very unique and awesome to see the writers branching out their character types in such a diverse way; the song, just as unique and awesome, combining familiar musical talents with a style of music we've never heard in the show. Basically, this FELT and LOOKED exactly as I hope new slice of life MLP episodes should; enough familiar elements combined with new ones to add some great flair and style, with just a dash of nice world building to boot. Admittedly, Rarity made a few more mistakes than Pinkie Pie, but really they both just weren't doing the right job from the get go; Pinkie Pie was just as bad at attracting customers to a restaurant in Canterlot as Rarity was at preparing the decor of the place, and in that regard the episode again felt a tad confused as to what it was trying to tell us about them. I think it came down to each of them working off of each other's strengths as the situation demanded; Rarity was still great at converting the restaurant, but that simply wasn't what needed to be done. Likewise, nobody questions that Pinkie Pie is as friendly as can be, but she wasn't about to attract new customers in Canterlot simply by being outgoing. This goes back to the episode's message; in Rarity, we see how the opinion of one with social standing can be turned to good in helping nudge others along to trying something new. In Pinkie Pie, we get obviously the tried and true message that, if you love what you do and know that others can and should love it too, then you shouldn't conform to the point that what makes your product unique and special in the first place is entirely absent from the finished product. Pinkie, that's not helping anyone Coriander and Saffron were a great addition to the show; again, the nature of their conflict with each other wasn't explained the greatest, but Saffron was perfectly friendly and Coriander was a hoot when he was grumpy, with his constant, deadpan expression and complete disinterest in everything (very nicely captured in his movements; I thought the animators did a wonderful job of making Coriander actually LOOK as heavy-set as he was drawn through his very slow, drawn-out movements). Zesty Gourmand was genuinely unlikable, and it was very nice how the episode showed she was so stubbornly set in her ways and had such a high opinion of her own opinion that she wouldn't even taste Coriander and Saffron's food. She missed out on a great chance for some great food all because she thought too highly of herself. As I said, I loved the Canterlot setting, and aesthetically the episode was extremely bright, colorful, and vibrant, very befitting an episode with this title. The music too, as I mentioned earlier, was a real treat and, although unique for the show, felt perfectly at home in it all the same. Overall, while this was hardly a perfect episode, it was a very delightful episode all the same, and if you can figure out the messages, they're actually very good ones. They're just a little hard to catch in the episode's actual execution. Until next time everypony, which may be a few months given the hiatus, this is Batbrony, as always, signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit* That's not helping anyone either, Pinkie P.S. Before I forget, it was great seeing Starlight at the start of the episode with the rest of the Mane 6, in an actual slice of life episode, and on top of that fixing the Friendship Map with Twilight. Very nice to see the writers working her in like that finally in a small, supporting role.