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Found 7 results

  1. I don't know who was nuts enough to think Discord, Spike, and Big Mac would make a great team back in Season 6, but whoever it is, thank you! Big Mac, Spike, and Discord all act like they knew each other for years, even though this trio only formed after Discord officially became a part of the Guys' Night team. They play off one another through their actions, responses, and emotions, creating great chemistry with one another. Speaking of chemistry, Spike and Discord are outstanding in their best outings of the season thus far (and maybe of the show, too, once it's all finished). Discord's cynicism towards H&HD, and love in particular, plays off spectacularly with Spike, who's very optimistic and refreshingly snarky. To think that only a few seasons ago, Discord was one of his enemies, but from the way they talked to each other and knew each other so well, you'd think he was closer to Discord than Twilight. How they interacted with one another was among the multi-dozens highlights here, such as Spike criticizing Discord's pessimism to Spike intentionally teasing Discord for possibly having a crush on Fluttershy to Discord ignoring Spike's sappy romantic poem about Rarity. They know how to get under each other's skin without crossing the line, making their teasing all in good fun rather than mean-spirited. One of the season's biggest improvements — the dialogue — really shines. Every line's so organic, even when it's somewhat expository, gelling together. Every line oozed with personality and passion, whether it's from the O&O squad or the CMCs. Confalone knows how when to have them talk or act and keep them all in character. Even Big Mac isn't confined to that "Eeyup!" gag, varying his emotions or telling Discord to "EeWAIT!" The dialogue allows for not just some amazing comedy, but also some heart. More 'bout the latter later. The comedy here is golden! Every joke landed perfectly, from the dialogue responses to the satirically cheesy love music playing in the background as Big Mac rushes to Sugar Belle to Big Mac's drinking a barrel-load of cider to Sweetie's "Please say no." Spike's deadpan to Discord as an anti-romance cynic is one hell of a comeback, and that jab towards the greeting card industry by Discord is too funny. Oh, yeah… >Lyra and Bob Bon sharing H&HD bond & gifts >best friends Riiiiiiiight. XP The CMCs were also fantastic here. All season so far, they've been at their A-game. The episode recognizes them as kids, but doesn't make them so obnoxious. They were right to wonder where that mysterious pie came from and search high and low to find him. But the and does a nice swerve: They may not have found that actual special somepony for SB, but had a magnificent time together, anyway. Sweetie's small speech at the end had quite a lot of heart in it. Speaking of heart, as hilarious as TBUBD is, Confalone balances it perfectly. Big Mac's sadness was somewhat over the top, but treated with the respect it deserves. His romantic feelings with Sugar Belle feel genuine, and you can tell by how he talked about the small stuff to Skelenor, like how Sugar snorts and wiggles her nose when she giggles (something that @Nyactis Mewcis Catlum pointed out a while ago in a status). Big Mac doesn't talk much, so when he does, you listen. After they cleared up everything, it was all okay again, and they had a great end to Hearts & Hooves Day. Discord's revelation of finally believing in romance works perfectly and marks my moment of the season so far: revealing to damage her wagon wheel. Why? 'Cause he confirms to us he believes in love and figured out how to get them back together while remaining in character. He's still a jerk, and his advice to BM (long with Spike's) really stinks. But at the end, he retains a heart of gold and does the right thing, even when he's spoiled for Ogres & Oubliettes. Somehow, he predicted what Big Mac was going to do next, but given he's the Lord of Chaos, it makes sense. Really shows he cares for him as a friend. Derpy was great in her role as mailmare. As Discord counted the types of tea he loved, Top Draw lowered the audio quality of de Lancie's mic to match the sound one would hear from the old-school TV. Really masterful editing that helps enhance the joke. (The same scene from the leaked version, BTW, has the same audio quality as the rest of the ep.) Oh, and it has two morals, each executed masterfully: "Don't assume. Communicate with your friends, and everything will work itself out." "Don't be afraid to openly admit your feelings. Those who care for you will listen and understand." This one is my favorite of the season so far, because it's so relatable to everyone. When I first watched it in December, I watched a treat. Seeing it completed gives it such a fresh look, and it still holds up excellent. The Break Up Break Down isn't just the best episode of Season 8 so far, but one of the ten best of the show altogether, as well.
  2. This very special edition of "Batbrony Reviews" is dedicated to Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco (episode writers), Kaylea Chard and Jae Harm (episode storyboard artists), "Big" Jim Miller (episode director), Daniel Ingram (episode music), Felicia Day (Pear Butter), William Shatner (Grand Pear), Bill Newton (Bright McIntosh), Ashleigh Ball (Applejack), Michelle Creber (Apple Bloom), Peter New (Big McIntosh and Goldie Delicious), Tabitha St. Germain (Granny Smith and Mrs. Cake/Chiffon Swirl), Bill Mondy (Burnt Oak), Cathy Weseluck (Mayor Mare), anyone else who worked on the episode, and of course Lauren Faust for giving us this show and making this episode possible to begin with. Thank you all for all you contributed to making the perfect episode of a truly remarkable show. Those who regularly read my episode reviews have probably noticed by now that I have chosen to forego my usual introduction. No it didn't slip my mind, rather, it was very much an intentional decision. There is nothing "usual" about this episode, and hence a usual introduction would not have sufficed. The first time I watched this episode, I was too blown away by it, even after already anticipating it for over a month when word started getting out about how amazing it was, to really feel anything but pure joy. The second time I watched it, I spent the last five minutes of the episode crying; I have a feeling now that this may happen every time I watch it. I say this as someone who does not cry easily; the last time any movie made me cry, I believe it was Toy Story 3 back in 2010 (granted I don't go out of my way to watch sad movies, but still, even if I did I wouldn't be someone who cries just for anything). That movie made me shed some tears out of nostalgia, most likely because I was also fresh off of my freshman year of college and was watching it with my mom; this 22 minute episode of a show with a budget the fraction of what a Pixar movie costs, in contrast, made me weep like a newborn. What could have possibly elicited such a reaction? Nothing short of perfection, really. I've seen the best episode that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will ever have to offer to me, and I'm perfectly OK knowing it can't get any better than this. Some things just don't need to be touched or surpassed, kind of like how The Empire Strikes Back will probably always be the greatest Star Wars film of all time. That's enough set up for this, however, it's about time we got this show on the road. Without further ado, this is Batbrony Reviews "The Perfect Pear." While I obviously do not have a set format for my reviews, this review will have a very unusual format. It will break down elements of the episode in all areas (be it story, characters, writing, voice acting, animation, music, etc.) as I go through what was recounted in this episode in chronological order as it happened, not as the episode itself was organized. Seeds of a Tragedy The family feud is an old story trope in much of literature (it's also something we even observe in history quite a bit). The most famous example in Western literature (at least the one most people probably think of first) would be "Romeo and Juliet," but I would argue it is not among the finest examples of a family feud in literature (and I would hardly be the only one to make such an assertion). While the lesson is powerful and the tragic elements inherent to a family feud are there, there's not quite enough for us, the audience, to latch onto emotionally in regards to caring about the Capulets and Montagues. Romeo and Juliet are teenagers who fall in love incredibly quickly and get married before they even really know what being in love for a lifetime truly is (and subsequently die before they know as well), and the only other supporting characters who we really are emotionally invested in in regards to the feud are Tybalt (Juliet's cousin) and Mercutio (who's not even a Montague, but just a close friend of Romeo) and they die before Romeo and Juliet even do. By the end of the play, any characters we were sort of emotionally invested in are dead, the only truly likable one left is Friar Laurence, and there are no Capulets and Montagues left who we know enough about to really care about them, other than the fact that they just lost two young members of their families because of their bitter feud (whose roots we also don't know much of anything about). The writing is certainly as poetic as anything Shakespeare wrote, and as I said before, the tragedy and powerful lesson are both there, but anyone who truly knows Shakespeare would never claim that "Romeo and Juliet" is his finest or most enduring work (even if it was their personal favorite). So what makes for a truly powerful way to tackle the tragedy of a family feud? Believe it or not, I believe that "The Perfect Pear" has done just that. Yes, at the risk of sounding blasphemous, a 22 minute episode of animated television has made me feel more emotional about the tragedy of its family feud than Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" ever has. How? I mean, really, how? Well, to get to the bottom of that, we need to start at the beginning. No, not of the episode, but of the feud itself between the Apples and the Pears. The feud starts fairly innocently. In fact, you could even be forgiven for at first thinking it's about to fall into an old cliche one encounters in many children's animated programs where a family feud or rivalry between two people (that is largely played for laughs in the given show or episode) stems from something really petty or silly even. That's usually a big root of the "humor" in the entire feud. However, this episode quickly makes it clear that it is not playing up any of the feud for laughs, but is rather treating it with the utmost seriousness. Although it initially begins with Granny Smith and Grand Pear, two fierce competitors in Ponyville simply trying to outdo the other at selling their agricultural wares, merely smack talking each other in the course of business, it rapidly escalates into something far uglier than a friendly rivalry. This is nicely highlighted with immediacy and subtle urgency by the episode in a smart visual cue at the end of their first true feud with one another in the Ponyville market. At the end of that scene, the ponies they've been trying to sell apples or pears too, ponies who are their friends and neighbors, go from being excited with their products to being completely put-off by the scene before them. They don't think there's anything funny about the feud, rather, if you look at their faces, they're clearly at least annoyed and think they're both acting obnoxious, if not downright dismayed and saddened by it all. What already makes this a sad state of affairs is that we both (1) already know from over six seasons of seeing her what a lovable character Granny Smith is (which both makes the ugliness when she's in feud mode all the more jarring, as well as early on suggests that Grand Pear too was largely amicable when he wasn't feuding with the Apples), and (2) the episode itself makes a point of showing us how much the both of them love doing what they do (in Granny Smith reading stories to her apple trees at night and Grand Pear in turn making blankets for his pear trees), growing and selling apples, pears, or apple or pear products. There shouldn't be anything wrong with loving your work, but because they take their competition with each other too far in a hurry, an inherent ugliness, at least when it comes to the Apple Family vs. the Pear Family, is added to their work itself, which we know is so important to both families, central to their very identities. And so, already tragedy emerges in the Apple and Pear Family Feud, with such a bitter, ugly element added to the thing which both families love so much: their work. They build a fence between both properties that does more than simply mark the boundaries of their properties, they're constantly trying to one-up one another, and it gets to a point where eventually, none of the Apples or the Pears, especially Granny Smith and Grand Pear, can even stand the fact that they share the same community or even think of an Apple or a Pear as their neighbor. Yet amidst this growing rift between the two families, a single, small hope emerges, which eventually becomes the best hope that both families have got. Love Blossoms This hope starts off small, as so many forms of hope often do. A tiny kindness, one foal giving another a cute nickname and sharing in a sweet moment with her, that's all there is to it really. Enter Bright McIntosh and Pear Butter, who almost immediately latch onto something as foals which, by this point in time, virtually every other Apple and Pear has forgotten in regards to one another: possibility. The possibility of being friends with one another, the possibility of being even more than that, and the possibility of the beautiful things that can come out of all of that, so much more precious than anything "gained" by feuding with each other. For them, the feud is virtually meaningless right from the start. Oh sure, one's an Apple, the other's a Pear, and they both are well aware of what their families think of each other. But at no point do they let that keep them from being decent to each other and their families for that matter. Decency in turn evolves into kindness; kindness into friendship; and friendship eventually into full blown love. From the start it seems as though these two were always destined for one another at some point in time, but that doesn't make the path they take to get there any less delightful to follow. Why? Well again, we return to that word, 'possibility.' In their growing love for one another, Bright Mac and Buttercup discover that it is possible to be even better ponies for overcoming the feud. Just as tragedy is inherent to the Apple and Pear feud by this point, so too is unconditional love inherent in how these two grow up around each other. They don't go about their business holding a grudge in their hearts that could consume them any minute or lead them to do bad things in turn. No, instead they go about each day letting their love for one another channel into everything they do. So what kinda lives do they lead? Does their love save Equestria from some centuries old tyrant or ward off some monstrous creature? Do they grow to become leaders in all of pony society who everypony else looks up to? Not in the least, in fact, not even close. Now, make no mistake, what I'm about to say is no knock on the show's main characters. If anything it's rather amazing that the show continually sells the Mane 6 as such complex characters when they've done so many remarkable things by this point in the show that they could easily, in a far lesser property, morph into Mary Sues. But what this episode does is something very hard and very rare in great love stories, or many stories in general of all kinds. It highlights what remarkable, beautiful things can come out of 'normal.' Because that's exactly what Bright Mac and Buttercup are, at least on the surface. They're farmers, they like life in their quiet little town with their friends and family, and friends, family, their work and each other is pretty much all they need. Describing it like that, this all sounds very pedestrian, and I can understand why. The only thing is, well... it's not, not in execution at least. Every step of Bright Mac and Buttercup's courtship is made up of very simple acts of love: the nickname of 'Buttercup' that Bright gives to Pear Butter; Bright's confessing he accidentally destroyed the Pear's water silo when he could have let her take the blame; the two of them sharing a picnic together, complete with him giving her flowers (even if he goes a little outside the box on that one, not by choice of course ); Buttercup writing and singing a song for Bright, confessing her love for him, and he in turn confessing his love for her with a carving of their cutie marks; their sharing milkshakes, dancing far across from one another in the town square, taking walks with each other through the seasons, or even Bright just doing a chore for Pear. These are simple, normal acts of love, and yet they tug on the viewer's heartstrings very much. Let's take a look at Buttercup's song to get a sense of why, because the song is the perfect encapsulation of what makes Bright Mac and Buttercup's love story so heartwarming. "You're In My Head Like a Catchy Song" is hardly the flashiest, longest, or most complex song that Daniel Ingram has ever written for this show. It may not even be the most technically impressive number we've heard on the show. And yet, somehow I now find a song that's really only two verses long and lasts just over a minute and a half is my favorite of the entire show. Why? Because it channels beauty through normalcy in the same way that Bright Mac and Pear Butter do. It's simple, one might even say bare bones, but therein lies its charm. If it were simple out of laziness, this wouldn't work at all, but it is very deliberately simple. The simplicity is sincere, intimate, the song not sounding like some grand, staged affair which we're not sure did or didn't just happen in the story itself, but rather sounding like something Pear Butter herself could have written. Horse feathers, it sounds like something any of us could have written! Writing music is hard, especially for people who don't do it on a normal basis, so as short as that song was, when you listen to it, when you hear the careful care and attention in Buttercup's voice that she gives to every note and word, you can just picture how long this must have taken her, how much time she spent making sure it was perfect for the stallion she loves. She could have written it in an afternoon, or days, or weeks even, whatever the case, we know she put time into making it just through the performance alone. That story, the story of what she put into it, how she poured her heart into it because she loves Bright Mac that much, that's where the beauty in the song stems from. It is a pure, sincere, intimate expression of her love, their love, and for those of us who have been in love before, it grabs us by reminding us of the things, big and small, we'd do for those we love. All of this, the sincerity, the intimacy, the pureness, pervades every single act of their love. Nothing seems staged, nothing seems forced, nothing seems like it's there because it's a cliche of love stories. Sure they may all be old standbys, but things like picnics with your true love, walking with one another, giving your sweetheart flowers, or singing your true love a song, these are old standbys because couples have loved them for generations. It's not about what they're doing, though, it's ultimately about how they're doing it. These two, from start to finish, simply work. There's not a moment they share onscreen where they don't seem like they don't belong together, and that's how you know you've got a great love story on your hands. It's one thing for a story to tell us that two people are "star-crossed lovers destined to be together," but it is another thing entirely for us, the audience, to universally believe it. That takes hard work and skill in both writing and execution. Overall, this beauty of normalcy that we see in both the song and these two as a couple, the simple acts of love, their honesty and intimacy, this is what grabs us and won't let us go. This is the true heart and soul of this episode, the idea that so many wonderful, beautiful, extraordinary things that you never even imagined or thought possible can stem from even the simplest love if its strength and pureness are immeasurable. We may not be capable of saving a magical land of talking horses with ancient, magical artifacts, but what we are all capable of is plain old love, whether it be for friends, family, or yes, even the love of your life. And just like Bright Mac and Buttercup, we too are capable of producing wondrous, beautiful things the likes of which we may have not once thought possible if we hold in our hearts a true, pure love for those dear to us as they did for one another. Tragedy's Greatest Blow And yet, just when things seem to be heading to an inevitably happy conclusion, that old Apple Family and Pear Family feud rears its ugly head again in the worst way yet. Very suddenly, Grand Pear announces that the Pears are moving away from Ponyville, much to Pear Butter's dismay. There is certainly a logic to his making the move; there is more business opportunity for them in Vanhoover and less competition from an equally ardent farming family, so there is plenty that makes sense about it. Yet the sad part is that one can't help but get the sense that these are not Grand Pear's overriding reasons for moving. He just has too much hate in his heart for the Apples by this point, and it blinds him to so much. Not simply what his daughter is going through with Bright Mac, but also the fact that this is his family's home by this point. That they have a loving community of friends and neighbors around them who love what they do, that they're a cornerstone of this community, that they'd be throwing all of that away in the name of profit and getting away from a family which he insists they can't stand. With all this in front of us, I can't help but conclude this move is more about getting away from the Apples, ignoring everything wonderful about living in Ponyville, all in the name of a stupid, needless feud. Most tragically of all, it threatens to snuff out the possibility of the beautiful things that may come of Pear Butter and Bright Mac's love for one another, the possibility that they have always believed in. In fact, it comes very close to doing just that; understandably, Pear Butter can't imagine leaving her family. We don't exactly know if her mother is still in the picture or around at this point as we never see her, and it doesn't seem she has any siblings either, so for all we know her father may be the closest family she has left, not counting her more distant relatives. So it makes sense, very sadly, when she sadly announces to Bright Mac that she has to stick with her family in spite of her undeniable love for him. Neither of them want it, clearly, but Pear is just too scared and dismayed at this point to imagine an alternative; in this moment, it must seem as though her whole world is falling apart right from under her very hooves. And it certainly seems that way to us as well. Love Always Finds a Way And so it's left up to Bright Mac to open another door for her, to keep the possibility of them and the beautiful things their being together might lead to alive. It's ultimately up to her to say yes, but he has to take a huge leap of faith, the biggest leap of faith he's ever taken or possibly will ever take in his life, to give her the opportunity to say yes. It can't be easy. He has to secretly arrange with his best friend, his love's best friend, and Ponyville's mayor itself everything needed. They have to somehow get just enough onto the border between the Apple and Pear's properties for a proper ceremony, and even a small celebration afterward. All this without their families or the love of his life even knowing. And yet he somehow does it, and then his carefulness is rewarded in getting to show it to her. Everything he's done, all of it for her, for them, for what they could have, believing in his heart and soul that it's worth fighting for and taking the biggest chances in their lives for. Confronted with all of that, reminded how much he loves her and she loves him, her belief is rekindled again almost immediately and right then and there, Buttercup and Bright Mac choose to get married. They don't need it to be a town event or an affair planned months in advance; in this moment it is perfect, as perfect as any love story could be, especially for them. We already can see, the second she says yes, how much safer and reassured she already feels; in her heart too, you simply know that she knows this is right, that this is what they're supposed to both have. Exchanging and burying an apple tree and pear tree seed with each other, they prepare to say their vows... But tragedy won't leave well enough alone. Their parents find them and for the first time, even though there's been plenty of evidence in front of them through the years, are confronted with the notion that their two children love each other. Even after their children tell them exactly how it is, finish saying their vows, and take their first true kiss as husband and wife, they're still too blinded by their mutual hatred to care. They assume that their kids are being stupid and foolish or simply trying to hurt them. They can't even consider the possibility that their children are acting more of the adult than they are. That all changes, however, when Buttercup says one single sentence. "But... the Apples are my family now too." That's when something clicks for one and snaps for the other. You look at Granny Smith's face, and she's shocked. A Pear has just said that the Apples are her family. Her. Family. Something happens in the older mare at that moment. A revelation, and suddenly you just know that their love, the beauty of it, its sincerity and the possibility it promises sweeps over her like a flood. For a moment she's genuinely too shocked to do anything. But on the other side something far worse happens in her father. He feels betrayal, from his only daughter (probably his only child) no less. Still blinded by his hatred of the Apples, he thinks his own daughter is disowning her family; in reality, she's asking him to be a part of another now as she is. He just can't see that, though, he simply cannot. So instead he lays down an ultimatum, a terrible one. Be an Apple or be a Pear: you can't be both, not in my eyes, and if you're not a Pear you're not my daughter anymore. It's the worst choice a father could present to his daughter in this moment, one Pear Butter should never have had to make. But she knows what's right, even if he can't, and even though she'd rather not have to make the choice at all, she knows she must remain true to the love that has guided her all of her life. There's so much at risk, but she believes in too much in the good and beauty that could come out of her and Bright Mac's love to say no. So she makes the choice. Grand Pear leaves in a rage. And as the disowned daughter weeps into her husband's shoulder, the first fruit of their love is born: Granny Smith comes over and extends a hoof and a smile to her. She accepts a new daughter into her life and family, and Buttercup in turn gains a mother and a new family. Although there is sadness this night, love is already overcoming it, overcoming the ugliness of years of Apples and Pears feuding with one another. Love continues its work through the years. Bright Mac and Buttercup settle down, Granny embraces her new daughter-in-law, and together they build a beautiful life and family together. Through the years Buttercup embraces being an Apple, leaving behind her old life as a Pear; we don't know much about this part, but I can't imagine it's out of hatred. Most likely it's just too sad for her thinking of her old life, of the family that left her behind. But as long as she has Bright and her new family, she is content, part of something intrinsically beautiful and special as could be. They go from being husband and wife to, eventually, father and mother as well, bearing three beautiful children together. They raise their children as best as they know how, with the entire Apple Family's love supporting them along the way as well. Life is as it should be: with their love, their family, their work, their friends and home and community, Bright Mac and Buttercup are set, having everything they could possibly ever want. The beauty and goodness stemming from their love continues to unfold more and more each and every day, until it's as normal to them and their family as the apples they grow. Then... then one day, they're gone. We don't know how. We don't know when. Based on our best guesses from what we've seen in the show, it was some time ago; Big Mac was probably somewhere around 12 or 13, Applejack anywhere from 8 to 10, and Apple Bloom may have been at most a toddler, but possibly still a young foal with barely any memories even of her parents. We'll probably never learn how it happened, and that's OK, I don't think we need to. It doesn't matter how, it doesn't even matter that it happened, really. Because as sad as it is, as terrible as their absence is in this show, as horrible as the loss must have been for their families and for their children especially, the most important thing is the beauty and good they brought into the world by taking their leap of love together. By believing in it and each other so strongly that it could not be denied. They may be gone, we may never even see more of them in the show again (though I certainly wouldn't complain if we did in more flashbacks or flashback episodes even), but they're not really gone. Everything that the Apples are in this show, especially their children, is a testament to who they were and how they lived their lives. We've seen this throughout the show, the wonderful thing that the Apple Family is for both Ponyville and across all of Equestria, and we now know what an important part in that family that Bright McIntosh and Pear Butter played. All because they believed in their love and the possibilities of it. That legacy has been there from the start of the show, even if the writers themselves didn't envision this story arc at the time, and in this episode we see it at work once more in a truly beautiful way, healing something that Buttercup and Bright Mac probably hoped ever since they got married would heal some day. It's the arc that ties this entire episode together, that gets the Apple siblings learning all of this about their parents and the beautiful love that they had together in the first place. And it's the final triumph of Bright Mac and Buttercup's love over the tragedy of the Apple Family and Pear Family feud. The Legacy of Love: Old Wounds Mended, Scars Left Behind, But Love Emerges From Tragedy An old stallion shows up in the Ponyville market one day, unannounced, just there to seemingly sell his wares. We're not even sure what his plans are, how long he really plans on staying. How long it took him to come here, to come back home. We're told he has a famous shop in Vanhoover, but this does not appear to be a businessman in his prime. He doesn't seem to care much about money anymore, or competition, or being the best; he just seems to enjoy selling his pear jam to others who seem to enjoy it. Maybe he's remembered that over the years, why he enjoyed growing and selling pears in the first place: because it made his friends and neighbors happy, and made him happy in turn. He seems gentler for it now, wiser and quieter. Then he spies a young filly. And he must know who she is. Perhaps he's seen a picture before, perhaps simply read about her. Or maybe... just maybe it's the fact that this filly is the spitting image of the stallion he hated for so many years for marrying his daughter, "stealing" her away from him. Whatever the case, he knows... it's his youngest granddaughter, asking him about his pear jam. He can't say anything, not yet. It's taken him long enough to muster up the courage to come here after all these years. So he starts by extending a small kindness to his youngest granddaughter with a gift of his pear jam; it's the first gift he's ever given to any of his grandchildren, the first endorsement he's ever given to his daughter's marriage and the life she built, the first time he's ever involved himself in the family they built. And it's with something he's loved making all of his life, but finally remembered why he loved doing it; because he loves sharing the thing he loves with others, especially his family. For now, that's enough for him. It quickly becomes not enough for the Apple siblings, though. Taken aback by the kindness of somepony they've always been told is in a feud with their family for unknown reasons, they do what their parents would have taught them to do, what they've grown up for as they've gotten older: they seek to find answers, initially because they hope they might end the feud. As they speak to first family, and later friends of their parents they never even knew about, they learn a story about their parents they weren't even seeking at first. They learn about their love, how strong it was, ways they take after their parents they didn't know about that played a part in their own story, how their parents love and devotion to one another left such a positive impact on their family and the friends their parents had in life. In the process, they gain new stories and memories of their parents to take to heart, pieces of them they never had and never got the chance to learn about, treasures they'll hold onto forever; you can see it in their eyes as they learn more and more, how special this all is to them, ponies who don't ask for much out of life to begin with and yet at this point cannot get enough of all of this. What's more, they grow closer to friends of their parents in Burnt Oak and Mrs. Cake, ponies they now know who have wonderful stories to tell them about the way they lived their lives. I hope going forward that the Apple siblings keep getting closer to these two; it'd be a wonderful character development to see unfold, a way for them to get closer indirectly to their own parents, and a way for Bright Mac and Buttercup's love and its legacy to live on in both their friends and children. And of course, they learn about the hurt that was never fully healed. About their grandfather, and what he did, the terrible, terrible mistake he made. After all these years, they'd be well in their right never to talk to him again. Nopony would really blame them if they chose not to. But that's not what they do, because they're their parents' children. Because they are the most precious, important legacy of Bright Mac and Buttercup's left behind by them, and they've been raised their whole lives to embody that love. They hold in their hearts a love that believes in possibility as much as their parents did with each other so long ago, and as long as they can believe in the possibilities of unconditional love, then they can find it in themselves to not shun their grandfather or hate him... but rather, to do what his daughter and her husband always wanted to do. Forgive him and welcome him back into their lives, now that he's ready to be a part of it. So they go off to find him, which doesn't take long at all in their small little town. When they find him, he looks tired. Maybe even a bit lost, like he's not sure now why he's here, if he can do what he came here to do in the first place. He couldn't have known he'd never see her again. He couldn't have known that the last words he'd said to his daughter would be words said in anger. He couldn't have known that he'd never get to share in the life she led with her husband, that he'd never get to see her as a wife and a mother. He has to have hated himself for a very long time for this. Then a tiny voice calls out as he's closing up his shop, and then there they are... his three grandchildren. Even his old eyes can see that. The big one that looks just like the boy he hated for so long if he were red as an apple, but with his mother's shade of mane and her freckles too; the middle one, probably close to if not around the age that Pear Butter was the last time he saw her, grown into a fine young filly herself with the best of her mother and father in her, a true leader; and the littlest one, a spitting image of her father but as sweet and gentle as her mother was, who probably never got to know either of them that well and has needed her siblings and her grandmother most of her life to be her parents. He's probably thought for years about what he'd say to them in this moment, but he couldn't have fathomed how hard it really would be. Words he's probably practiced in front of the mirror time and again all fall by the wayside, and in the moment all he can muster is a tearful "I'm... so sorry. I-I-I was just so angry, but I never..." It's the hardest thing he's ever had to do, but to his disbelief, not a second later his grandchildren are already embracing him. And just like that, he's home. The love of his grandchildren, the love that Bright Mac and Buttercup always had and believed in, it's all suddenly washing over him as it did Granny Smith on that fateful night so long ago, and it feels so good. Better than he could ever have imagined. He has another family now, as his daughter always wanted him too, and even though the sadness of the mistakes he made will never really be gone, will always leave scars, that's all they are now, scars. They're no longer the festering wounds that they were, and Bright Mac and Buttercup's love has finally healed the greatest, most terrible wound left behind by the Apple Family and Pear Family feud. As the Apple siblings bring their grandfather home to make amends with their grandmother, the two old farm ponies finally bury the hatchet and accept what their children always wanted them to: the possibility of loving each other and having one another as family. Reunited at long last, the family of Pears and Apples congregate in a tearful reunion years in the making beneath the branches of the physical embodiment and legacy of Bright Mac and Pear Butter's true love for one another: the intertwined apple and pear trees, sprouted from their apple tree and pear tree seeds planted so many years ago as their vows to one another, a perfect tribute to the beauty and goodness their love left in the world. These are the miracles of love. These are the wondrous things it can work. In an imperfect world, love is never easy, even at its strongest. But it is always worth it, because the good it can bring into the world and work into others' lives, whether it be with friends, family, or the love of your life, is always precious and priceless in comparison to any other alternative. One does not even need particularly remarkable circumstances to bring remarkable love into the world; one simply has to believe in that love strong enough, and the possibilities of it, to work something miraculous through it that only they can. This episode perfectly understands and conveys this as many, many, many other fictional properties, many with bigger budgets or resources throw at them, have failed to do, even if that was their intent. It's a remarkable piece of television, and it will probably always remain my favorite episode of My Little Pony. I am blessed enough, in this moment, to be courting a young woman myself, a friend from my own childhood; so much of what I saw in Bright Mac and Buttercup's courtship reminded me of the love and wonderful moments we have gotten to share with one another, and this episode left me hoping so hard that we are able to bring beauty and good into the world through our love as Bright Mac and Buttercup did. I know many other friends who, under different circumstances, have been touched by this episode as well; some who have gotten even further along in love with others, some who very much hope to be blessed with a true love like Bright Mac and Pear Butter had in each other, and some who even have not just taken part in such a beautiful, wonderful love like those two had, but have also known the hurt of losing the one they loved, a hurt all too similar to what the Apples and Pears experienced in losing Pear Butter and Bright Mac. Yet, just as Bright Mac and Buttercup would never trade any bit of their love for one more minute of life, just as they had no regrets for their love and all the good it did despite all the hurt they went through, just as all who loved them and cared about them, despite their sadness at their loss, feel overwhelming joy, happiness, and love recalling how wonderful they were, those friends of mine too don't regret one minute of the love they shared with their own true loves. They too in loving one another brought immeasurable good, love, and beauty into the world, and the fact that this episode can capture the truth and beauty of these acts that so many have shared in in real life, that is what makes it, for me, stand head and shoulders above so many works of fiction in general, and every episode of MLP. To those responsible for making it, thank you again. I can't wait to show it to my beloved Julianna next week, and maybe, just maybe someday I'll get to show it to children of my own as I teach them about what beauty and good true love can bring into the world. Miscellaneous Notes -Despite this episode being a little light on the laughs (not in a bad way, mind you, the episode was very intent in its approaching its subject matter with seriousness, care, respect, and gentleness even, with only some lighthearted laughs here and there), I got a huge laugh at the beginning from Granny Smith's line about praline obviously being a better topping on apple-fritter-flapjacks than caramel syrup. Also, as a quick aside, this show always manages to get me in the mood for pancakes whenever they show up; I don't know why, but among any of the food they show, the pancakes always look especially delicious! -This episode made me really want to see the Apple siblings doing more together. I mean, I know they've always been staples of the show, but here we got to see a side of all three of them we rarely have, and it was a delight. They all had great reactions throughout the episode as they learned more and more about their parents, and I would love to see long term impacts on all three of them as a result of this episode, like Big Mac spending more time with Burnt Oak, or Applejack or Apple Bloom getting closer to Mrs. Cake since she was such a good friend of their mom. And of course, obviously it would be wonderful to see more of Grand Pear, but I don't know how much we can expect since he was voice by William Shatner; either they'd have to get him for more jobs (which isn't impossible considering John de Lancie still regularly does work as Discord), or they'd have to find a voice actor who can do a good impression of his Grand Pear voice (certainly not impossible either, though hardly ideal). -Another notable laugh, possibly the best in the whole episode, came when we were first introduced to Burnt Oak. He was obviously designed to bear a striking resemblance to Sam Elliott, and clearly somebody took notice of this and just had to take advantage of it considering we already have a pony based on the Dude. So what did they do? They introduced Burnt Oak waving goodbye to The Dude pony as he walks away with a cart full of rugs!!! THAT. IS. SO. PERFECT. You could even say it ties the whole episode together. While I know it's possible that this was written into the episode, considering no dialogue was devoted to it, I would venture a guess that the storyboard artists were responsible for this purely visual gag, so props to Kaylee Chard, Jae Harm, and any other storyboard artists who worked with them on it (unless of course I'm completely wrong and it was written into the script by the writers themselves). -Our special guest stars Felicia Day and William Shatner both deserve praise for their roles as Pear Butter and Grand Pear. Felicia gave us a very well-developed personality in Pear Butter with not too many lines to work with, and little things like Pear Butter's occasional voice cracks or her very grounded personality made her an instantly lovable character. And of course I cannot praise her vocals in "You're In My Head Like a Catchy Song" enough, simply sublime. William Shatner did an equally impressive job with Grand Pear, and I was especially blown away by the fact that he was able to create distinct voices for Grand Pear at three different periods in his life (young adult Grand Pear, middle-aged Grand Pear, and elderly Grand Pear) as well as by the emotion he injected into the role, especially in Grand Pear's finally reuniting with his grandchildren and begging their forgiveness. Bill Newton did a great job as Bright McIntosh as well, and I would certainly love to see him reprise the role at some point. Top notch job from all three of you, and I for one certainly will not complain if they return to these roles in the show at any point. -Speaking of impressive voice acting jobs, let's give a hand to Tabitha St. Germain and Peter New. Tabitha of course killed it as Granny Smith and Mrs. Cake in the present day (also, I did not know until after watching this episode that Tabitha has always voiced Mrs. Cake, so let's just chalk that up to the seemingly never ending list of characters she seems to voice in this show), but like William Shatner, she had to voice characters at different periods in their lives, only she had to do so for two different characters. Her young adult Granny Smith voice was adorable, and I could even hear a tad bit of Applejack in there, and there were even subtle differences between her middle-aged Granny Smith and elderly Granny Smith. Same goes for Mrs. Cake, her younger and older selves somehow sounded a tad different, but not too much. Peter New, of course, did great as Big Mac (I very much appreciated that Big Mac was talking more here, it helped hit home how much this all meant to the Apple siblings), but I also forgot he voices Goldie Delicious, and that voice of his is hilarious! Goldie was a delight to see again, but he even managed to add some fairly heavy emotional moments to a character who has largely been used for laughs the couple of times she's appeared. A hand goes out to Cathy Weseluck too as young adult Mayor Mare and older Mayor Mare, though she had considerably less to do since her character was only in one scene. -Excellent callbacks to Season 1's "Over a Barrel" when Applejack both read a bedtime story to her tree Bloomberg and tucked him into bed. She clearly picked up reading bedtime stories to apple trees from Granny Smith, but apparently she somehow picked up covering them in blankets as well from Grand Pear somehow. While it's most likely that either Granny Smith or, even more likely, her mother Buttercup taught her that trick, I like to think it was genetic and just passed down to her from her grandpa. There were a couple of other excellent continuities in canon in repeatedly seeing the moon with Nightmare Moon still in it in the flashback's to Bright Mac and Buttercup's courtship, or Mayor Mare still sporting her pink mane when she was younger (callback's dating all the way back to the very first episode of the show and Season 2's "Ponyville Confidential, respectively). -Learning things the Apple siblings got from their parents was a real treat, even stuff that went unsaid. Things like where some of their physical features come from (Big Mac's mane and tail are colored just like his mom's, Applejack and Big Mac both have freckles just like she did, Apple Bloom has the exact mane/tail and coat colors as her father did, Applejack getting her hat from her father, etc.); learning that Bright Mac was honest just like Applejack; the fact that Buttercup had a talent for helping friends like Mrs. Cake figure out what they were good at just like Apple Bloom does with the Cutie Mark Crusaders; or the fact that Buttercup didn't like drawing attention to herself and keeping things low key just like Big McIntosh, were all wonderful things to learn. I guess we don't know if Bright Mac could or couldn't sing (he definitely couldn't play the guitar though), but it seems as though all three Apple siblings got their great singing voices from their mother, and Applejack most definitely learned how to play the guitar from her. But thankfully as well, the episode did not fall into the trap of doing nothing but showing how their parents were just like the Apple siblings; that's a bit of a cliche and it wouldn't have made for nearly as interesting an episode as one where we got to see their parents as interesting, unique, wonderful characters in and of themselves, not just carbon copies of their children. -Daniel Ingram deserves extra praise for the music as a whole in this episode, not just "You're In My Head Like a Catchy Song." All of the music did a great job of helping tell the story, and the manner in which it was utilized in scenes such as when the Apple siblings reunite with their grandfather helped make those scenes all the more emotional and powerful. Wonderful job, sir, truly wonderful. -Young Goldie Delicious briefly appears in one of the early flashbacks at one point, which is a super cool detail to fit in there. Also, is it just me, or does Burnt Oak bear more than a passing resemblance to Thunderlane? His young self really looked a lot like Thunderlane, and we do know Thunderlane is pretty bulky for a pegasus stallion, so it wouldn't surprise me if he had some earth pony blood. I'm very curious now as to whether or not they're related, possibly even father and son. -Cloud Kicker and Alula can be seen together in the background very briefly in an early shot in the Ponyville market, which was a little detail I very much appreciated myself. There's a lot of fan canon out there in both art and fanfiction, drawn from what we've seen in the show itself, that speculates they're sisters, so seeing continuity like that was really cool. -Another detail I thought was super cool was that it seemed like, especially in the earlier flashbacks, most of the ponies in Ponyville were earth ponies. It could just be a coincidence, but I get the feeling it was a subtle detail. After all, Ponyville was founded by earth pony families like the Apples, so it wouldn't surprise me if early on in its history most of the first residents who came during its initial expansions were earth ponies in turn, and it diversified among the pony races more and more as it grew. One of the few non-earth ponies in the earliest flashback was, of all things, Dinky, which implies one of two things: (1) either it was a silly oversight, or (2) they're implying that she is both Derpy and Time Turner's daughter, and that on top of that she may be doing some time travelling with Time Turner. Suffice to say, I like scenario #2 better. -I would love to hear how everyone else felt about or was impacted by this episode. Obviously plenty of you have already shared your thoughts in the episode's thread or your own blogs, but feel free to share any others here. It's an episode I'll certainly never get tired talking about. That's all I've got for ya'll this time, everypony, and thank you all for taking the time to read my most special edition ever of "Batbrony Reviews." Until next time, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  3. Ginger Ale

    Who is Big Mac with?

    Well according to me, Big Macintosh is one big susceptible lover. He is interested in more than one mares. I mean, Cheerilee (although they had love potion, they still blush to each other when they come across), Marble Pie and now Sugar Belle? What is going on? XD. Can someone officially tell me what is going on? I mean they explained Cheerilee but what about Marble Pie? They were not even looking at each other friendly. How fast Big Mac forgot Marble Pie to have a crush on Sugar Belle?
  4. Awwwwww yeah, this older brother LOVES him some good ol' fashioned sibling rivalry! Good morning everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews." I'm very happy to say that this morning's episode was surprisingly delightful! Not that I thought, going into "Where the Apple Lies," that it would be bad or anything, just that I didn't really have any expectations for this episode and so wasn't sure what to expect. What we got was something very new, which is quite surprising for a Mane 6 character at this point in the show, ESPECIALLY one as consistent in her characterization as Applejack usually is. Going forward, I would love to see more episodes like this one (more on that later), but for now let's delve into today's episode: this is "Where the Apple Lies." So as I said before, this was an episode unlike most we've ever gotten for the Mane 6, with only a few parallels to it: a backstory episode. I can easily count on one hand the number of similar episodes we've had to this one, episodes like "The Cutie Mark Chronicles," but that episode was an ensemble episode that only gave us short flashbacks for each of the Mane 6. Likewise, we've had flashbacks in other episodes before back to when certain Mane 6 characters were younger, but again, they've never consisted of virtually the entire episode. So really, this was a first for the show: an episode largely devoted to a chapter from a single Mane 6 character's past. In that respect, it was very experimental for the show, and again, for a Mane 6 character that is very surprising at this point. After almost six full seasons of the show, it's obviously getting increasingly hard to find new things or stories to tell with the main characters just because they've learned so many lessons at this point. Frankly Granny Smith's lucky she didn't end up in the hospital for other reasons this ep One obvious solution then to this dilemma? Make more episodes like this one, episodes which delve into the pasts and history of the Mane 6 and also give the writers and animators a chance to show us Ponyville and Equestria in a very different light. In today's episode alone, we got to see a preteen/early teenager Applejack, a teenage and VERY talkative Big Mac (which was both hilarious and bizarre to watch), Granny Smith when she was pretty much raising those two at a much younger age (I assume that either Apple Bloom was an infant OR their parents were out of town at the time and she hadn't been born yet, though the episode did not address that question), a much younger Filthy Rich WITH his fiance of the time, Spoiled Milk (BTW that name is too perfect for her), and many more fun little bits of Ponyville at a different time. A personal favorite cameo of mine was when we caught a glimpse of a presumably teenage Derpy (she had a similar body build it seemed to AJ's) at the hospital speaking with a doctor or nurse with bandages covering her eyes, implying that some type of corrective eye surgery had recently occurred at the time of this incident (a very interesting implication for backstory for a character who obviously hasn't gotten much, being a background pony and all). So obviously, with the rich abundance of new things this episode offered to viewers (and the makers of this episode in getting to put it together), it's clear that we should want (and possibly expect) more episodes like this in the future. They will give us a chance to see old characters who we've become so familiar with at this point in a new light, as well as characters around them, including family members we maybe haven't gotten to see as much from before. Who wouldn't love to see a young Twilight with her parents, Shining Armor, or Princess Celestia in her youth? How about more of a young Pinkie Pie on the rock farm OR better yet, when she first met the Cakes (we saw a young Mrs. Cake (though it was unknown if she was married yet at the time) in this episode after all)? A young Rarity and young Applejack in their youth, Fluttershy when she first moved to Ponyville, young Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash growing up in Cloudsdale, there are simply a TON of opportunities presented by this format, so the fact that this episode was made should be very encouraging to all of us as viewers and imply that more episodes like this one may be coming in Season 7 (which we now know as of this week will for sure be made). I don't know about the rest of you, but after how delightful this episode turned out, I for one cannot wait to see more episodes like it next season and hope that the creators seriously consider making more like it! Huh, that... could actually explain how Spoiled Rich, dare I say it, actually looked *gulp* better in her youth I didn't even catch this one, but 80s Cheerilee? That's an AWESOME callback to Season 1!!! Awwwwwwwww, Derpy looks so cute and upbeat despite probably having just gone through a very scary procedure! That's my girl, that's how best background pony (and best pony in general) rolls! So how exactly did this episode unfold? Well, besides some of the delightful bits I mentioned already, we got to see both a hilarious and very entertaining episode which also managed to feel rather important since it highlighted a very important and formative part of Applejack's youth. Since the show has started, we've all known Applejack to be the most honest pony around; I mean, it is her Element of Harmony after all. Only on rare occasions have we seen her lie, and usually when she's been induced to in a magical sense by someone like Discord. This time, however, we got to see not only Applejack lying of her own volition, but also how said lying led her to value honesty so importantly. This episode-type is not new; cartoons which highlight the importance of honesty by showing white lies and fibs getting out of control have been done a whole lot before. It's not always easy to execute them well since they can get redundant, but it worked very well here for a couple of reasons; (1) it was Applejack doing the lying, so it felt very out of character for her, but since it was in her youth it made sense since, at the time, she didn't value honesty in the same way as she does now, and (2) it did the escalation aspect of this episode VERY well indeed. She found new ways to lie and fib, the lies and fibs got increasingly far-fetched and resulted in more and more extreme outcomes, which in turn meant that the episode only got more and more entertaining as it went on. This in turn also meant that, besides seeing Applejack lie, we also got to see a side of her we rarely do: panic-mode Applejack, and as a filly no less. With Big Mac and her constantly bickering as things got more and more out of control as well, as well as poor Granny Smith having no idea what was going on but remaining her usual ornery, cantankerous but also lovable self, as well as Filthy Rich and Spoiled Milk only causing more grief for Applejack as they kept forcing her into going to greater extremes to maintain her lies, this all made for a very fun, entertaining, and consequential episode. It really felt by the end like, yeah, this is something that would lead Applejack to truly value honesty as a core of who she is and what she does, after everything that happened here. I mean, her brother almost got amputated for crying out loud because of her lies! And what's more, it made sense in a way that she let it get out of hoof; for one, she was a teenager at the time, and they tend to buck up at life choices in certain respects, and she also thought that telling the truth would jeopardize her family's business and future well-being because she wasn't confident she could tell Filthy Rich the hard truth in the first place in a way that would maintain their business relations. For all we know, she and Big Mac were bickering so much about who was going to eventually run the Apple family business because their parents may have recently, at that time, passed away and now it was up to one of the Apple siblings to get ready to run Sweet Apple Acres. Behold, Applejack's "cat-coughing-up-a-hairball" impression! It's... well, it's accurate, I'll give it that So all in all, like I said, the mere fact that this episode was largely set in the past is what allowed it to be so balanced in terms of both having a valuable and consequential lesson taught as well as being so highly entertaining. Apple Bloom got to learn both the value of honesty as well as why it means so much to her older sister from AJ herself, we got to see a side of many characters we hadn't before and a conflict in a uniquely presented fashion, and most excitingly of all we now have a new type of episode for the show which I hope we will see more of in the coming season for other members of the Mane 6. Overall, "Where the Apple Lies" was a delightfully enjoyable surprise, one of the best of Season 6 in terms of how it so exceeded the few expectations I had for it in the first place, and I cannot wait to hopefully see more like it in the coming season (or seasons) of this show. That's all I have for you today everypony, until next time this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  5. We seriously need a sequel to this episode in which Celestia and Luna join the fun, that's the only way they could possibly top this one! Alrighty, alrighty, alrighty, good afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Sorry about being late to getting to this review, just been busy with some things since the episode. Thankfully, this morning's episode is not one which requires a massive review, namely because (1) it was so good, and (2) one need not thoroughly detail every which way in which it was good. Without further ado, let's begin, this is "Dungeons and Discord." Me after this episode: "Was it good for you too?" So before this episode debuted, if you had asked me what I thought was the funniest episode of the season so far, I would have said without a doubt "Saddle Row Review." That has since changed. Oh my goodness, has it ever. "Dungeons and Discord" is easily not just the funniest episode of Season 6 so far, but also one of the funniest episodes of the show ever, made all the more impressive by the fact that it was carried entirely by secondary characters, the closest to a main character being Spike. Honestly, I can't possibly cover every which way in which it was funny, simply because that would be an impossible task. It's a fantastic example of what can be done when (1) the writers are on their A-game, (2) you have a great combination of characters for an episode's purposes, and (3) you have some phenomenal voice actors who simply OWN their roles at this point. The writing, oh goodness, from a comedic stand point it was top notch in every single way. "Saddle Row Review" might be more impressive in its structure, but "Dungeons and Discord" is more impressive in the stunning variety of ways in which it was funny. You had Discord bits, you had Spike bits, you had D&D bits (or should I say, O&O bits), you had Big Mac bits, you had Mane 6 bits, and best of all, tons and tons and TONS of humor referring to the wider world of Equestria, something we're seeing more and more in Discord episodes. From the opening scene, I could tell this was going to be a treat for a couple of reasons. First, John de Lancie was clearly on his A-game here, even in the opener. It's easy to forget that this guy is a world class actor in general, not just a great voice actor, but performances like this remind you of just that. He was given some great material to work with and he owned it every single step of the way. On top of that, the fact that they were willing to go with a joke as crazy as the Opposite Equestria one told me that this was going to be a visually stunning episode, and it most certainly was, there were a RIDICULOUS number of different settings for a 22 minute episode which only helped to enhance the insanity of everything going on. Between this and Celestia-mane cat, I'm not sure which is more terrifying, though I have no doubt they'll both be showing up in my nightmares soon enough... I must say, however, that I simply cannot get enough of sassy Fluttershy and her no-nonsense attitude with Discord I have a theory that AJ is intentionally going out of her way to look as basic as possible because if she didn't, she knows she'd actually be the most attractive pony of the Mane 6! I mean, look at what happened to Trender Hooves, and she wasn't even trying to look good then! Besides that, it was just fun. The lesson was nice enough, and it was nice to see that Discord still has plenty of problems (namely his ego and unwillingness to reach out to others besides Fluttershy and some of her friends), but really, this episode just wanted to cut loose and have a TON of fun. When it comes to Discord, you have to strike a fine balance between his penchant for doing whatever he wants and whatever lesson he's supposed to learn. This episode struck the balance perfectly. It was amusing seeing a game of all things confounding the Lord of Chaos, both its rules and the nature of using one's imagination to bring it to life, not to mention the fact that we learned that Discord has a very limited idea of what it means to spend a night on the town or having fun with the guys (which made for some excellent adult humor as well, such as his list of the rowdiest establishments in Ponyville). It's easy to forget that not only is friendship new for Discord, but his very perspective of the world is different from any other character's considering he can do things that no one else can. Living your whole life like that, it's not surprising he's developed such an ego about himself. Two things I need more of right away: (1) Zoot suit Discord, and (2) 1920s swinger ponies!!! Come on, ya'll know you want to see this quest as much as I do But like I said, overall, this episode was a love letter to two things, (1) D&D, and (2) the idea that the show can sometimes just sit back, relax, and have a downright fun episode without a very serious lesson. In fact, I have literally only one complaint, and it is a super, super tiny one. RD and Pinkie's joining the fun at the end, while harmless enough (and their costumes were pretty awesome) seemed a bit forced, just a tad. I hate to say this, but it almost felt like the writers were VERY quickly trying to hammer in the idea that just because it was a "guy's night" doesn't mean the girls couldn't participate. Look, I know the nature of the show (or at least a big part of it) is to show that there is no single way to define what girls do, but when the show is at its best at doing that, it's when it's not being clumsy about it. Rarity is just great at fashion because that's what she loves, just like RD is great at sports because that's what she loves. This though, it actually felt in a very minor way like the writers were afraid that if they didn't let the girls (or at least some of them) participate in the O&O fun, then they'd be telling people that D&D is just for guys. Again, it's a super minor complaint because it happened for about 2 seconds, but all the same, I just have to say that they never should have worried about that in the first place. Firstly, it was nice actually seeing a guy-centric episode, especially centered around secondary characters, for a change, and definitely helped the episode stand out. Secondly, it just felt unnecessary. Guys have guy nights sometimes no different than girls have girl nights sometimes; you're not sexist if you enjoy doing something like that, that's just the nature of some get-togethers. So like I said, minor complaint, but most of all I just don't think the writers should have worried about it at all; they saw a problem where none existed and through in something really quick to fix a non-existent problem. It would have been neat to see Pinkie and RD in the whole episode, sure, but when they showed up at the last second like that just for what essentially was a promo-shot, it came off as forced. Like I said, THIS EPISODE NEEDS A SEQUEL WITH CELESTIA AND LUNA PRONTO!!! All in all, however, as a comedic episode, this episode was perfection. Great writing, great voice acting, and stunning animation all came together for one of the greatest comedic episodes the show has ever had. I for one can't wait to rewatch it and laugh twice as hard the second time. That's all I've got for you, everypony, this week, until next time this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit* Can we seriously get more of this trio? Please? Also, that's THREE great episodes for Spike this season, HOLY CHEESE!!!
  6. Good afternoon, everypony, sorry I'm late! I'll try to keep this review short seeing as I have some errands and work I have to take care of, but boy oh boy do we have a lot to cover! Let's not waste anymore time and dive right in, this is "Hearthbreakers"! So what can't I say about this episode? Because seriously, there's a lot to say. We had a successor episode to both "Hearth's Warming Eve" and "Pinkie Apple Pie," we had the Apples spending the holidays with the Pies, we got to see the Pie family in the present for the very first time (not including Maud), and we got to see where they live and how they spend the holidays, as in, the very environment that Pinkie herself came from. On top of all of that, we had a very lovely message, if I do say so myself, one that really works fantastically for this show especially. So where to begin? Well I suppose we ought to start with Pinkie and Applejack first, seeing as they are the stars of this episode. They were great, both of them, really, they were. I really actually love seeing these two get to interact one-on-one with each other, at least since "Pinkie Apple Pie." Maybe it's cause they're earth ponies, maybe it's cause they both have far more simple, homey tastes and a deep love for things like family gatherings and such, there's just something very warm about Applejack and Pinkie Pie when they're around each other compared to some of the other characters. Applejack's the only character of the show who we've ever seen extensively with her entire family (Twilight and hers don't count seeing as her parents have yet to even speak in the show), and Pinkie Pie's referenced hers multiple times before this episode. So they definitely are far more similar than one might think. But it was really interesting seeing how the both of them were trying to make their holiday celebration with each other's families work. Applejack was thrown for a loop by how the Pie's traditions didn't meet her expectations (no surprise there, that's definitely a very AJ-reaction to have), but Pinkie Pie also made a mistake in assuming that AJ and her family would be completely comfortable with her family's traditions. It's an understandable error, really, and one that I'm guessing most of us can relate to. Different families have different traditions and different ways of celebrating holidays, that's almost as old as time itself. And it speaks to a bigger issue for people in general, that being that we're uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. It's a huge reason, when one thinks about it, that people have a hard time getting along with new people or different cultures, and some people are too critical of that reaction because I think all of us have a hard time dealing with the unfamiliar when we first encounter it. This episode shines because it both highlights that people, or rather, ponies have a hard time dealing with a different lifestyle, especially when it comes to something as precious as a holiday, but also doesn't judge either party for it. AJ was wrong for assuming they'd have the same traditions and then trying to have them celebrate entirely how she was used to, and Pinkie was wrong for assuming AJ and her family wouldn't be uncomfortable with this. They didn't just run from the problem (even though they almost did), but they reached a healthy compromise; in the end, neither set of traditions overruled the other, but both were shared with each other, and that is truly when traditions are most precious. Not just when they bring you and your loved ones joy, but when you're willing to share them with others and likewise let them share theirs with you. Heck, that's what a lot of new families have to deal with when a husband and wife share their traditions with each other! So yeah, great lesson here, great execution, and great rapport between Applejack and Pinkie Pie as the leads of the episode, I loved it very much. Next, let's talk about the Apples and the Pies. I don't have a whole lot to say about the Apples seeing as they're hardly new, but they were all totally fine. It was really fun getting to see them interact with the Pies, that's for sure. Granny Smith was a hoot with Igneous and Cloudy Quartz, Apple Bloom and Maud were surprisingly adorable together, and Big Mac got the BUCK shipped out of him with Marble Pie! I mean, holy cheese, they weren't even trying to hide it, someone at that studio wants to make this ship happen (much to the chagrin of CheeriMac shippers). I like CheeriMac myself, but I won't lie, these two were pretty cute together! Shipping: this is how it works See? Ya know, I wonder how that happened? We should totally ship mah brother with your sister!!! Huh, seems legit As for the Pies, I couldn't have hoped for anything better. I mean, holy cow, THAT FAMILY! Oh my goodness, that is totally the family that only a pony like Pinkie Pie could come from. You got Igneous Pie and Cloudy Quartz who are TOTALLY how they should be; the Amish dialect was predictable, but it killed me all the same. And ya know, they're super cool, I liked that. They're A-OK with who they are, but they clearly have no problem with their daughters being their own ponies either considering how different they all are from each other. It seems that Maud is the oldest of all of them (at least I think so), and ya know, she's really grown on me since her first appearance. In her first appearance, I thought her personality was obnoxious and blandness taken too far, but now, I really, really like her. Maybe part of it is that DHX seems to get that much of her personality that works is making a joke out of it, but IDK, I really, really like her at this point just as she is, can't really explain it. Anyway, she was great here, whether she was with Pinkie, Apple Bloom, Boulder, or "singing" more songs about rocks. Be you, Maud, be you. Limestone Pie (previously referred to by fans as Blinky Pie up to this point) was... scary. She seems to have a severe case of middle-child syndrome and is obsessed with her job as manager of the Pie's Rock Farm. It was a bit over-the-top at times, admittedly (though part of that might've been the voice, really), but for the most part she worked just fine and was entertaining to watch. I would've liked to see a bit more of her softer side, but who knows, maybe she'll feature in a Season 6 episode somewhere down the line. Seriously girl, you gotta calm down. It's like Maud stole all your chill and left none for you. Finally, we learned that apparently Pinkie Pie is a TWIN (at least, for all we know she could be a triplet or even quadruplet, but IDK, until that's confirmed she's at least a twin). Yup, apparently she's a fraternal twin with Marble Pie (previously referred to by fans as Inky Pie up to this point). And oh my, Marble Pie. This filly... is adorable. The Fluttershy is strong with this one She's basically the Pie Family version of Fluttershy, not even joking, but I couldn't help but want to see more of her! I don't know why, maybe it's because it's so bizarre a pony like this being in the Pie family, maybe it's just cause she's so cute, maybe it's because DHX kept blatantly trying to ship her with Big Mac (seriously, still not kidding about that, DO NOT be surprised to see that crop up in the future!). Whatever the reason, I need more of her (and her ship with Big Macintosh). Just kidding, just kidding. Though to address that, as multiple people have pointed out, if they are indeed related, they are pretty much as distant as cousins can possibly be, so it really wouldn't be awkward at all to ship them. Overall, the Pies were great as were the Apples, and I really hope we get to see more of Pinkie's family in the future. I need more MarbleMac, perpetually-angry Limestone, adventures of Apple Bloom and Maud, and Granny Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Pie have silly old-pony conversations. They share the same bed when they're all home, THAT IS SO CUTE!!! Besides all that, not much else to cover with this one. The timing was a bit wonky on this episode seeing as we're getting a Nightmare Night one NEXT BUCKING WEEK, but it was most definitely a worthy successor to "Hearth's Warming Eve" and lovely to see them return to that holiday. Twilight and Spike had a cute bit at the beginning, the animation was lovely as always, the humor was spot on, and I loved the Pie's Rock Farm and just how big the show's writers made it, it was very cool getting to see both how colorful it was (especially at the holidays) and how many diverse locations there were on it. I still have no bucking idea what you do at a rock farm, but eh, details. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not point out that DHX made a "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" reference, as well as a "Home Alone" reference in the same scene, in the SAME... BUCKING... SHOT!!! That... is bucking amazing, and this episode is full of win for that alone! :comeatus: That's all I got for this week, everypony, see you all next Saturday when it'll be time for things to get SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKYYYYYYY!!!!!! This is Batbrony, signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit*
  7. Gypmina

    Baby Big Mac Plushie

    I just finished another baby pony. This is a Big McIntosh. He was a commission on deviantart. I am happy how he turned out! What does everypony think?