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Ahhhhhhhh, good evening everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Well, this week's episode review should be shorter and considerably less angry than last week's for a few reasons: (1) this episode was far less infuriating, (2) I'm in a splendid mood after seeing "Wonder Woman" this weekend, and (3) I need to write a shorter episode review in general. So without further ado, let's begin and dive into "Honest Apple." Now, while this episode is far superior to the dreck that we got last week, it was not without its problems. My friend Jeric boiled it down nicely yesterday when he said to me that the main problem is that we had "Season 1 Applejack interacting with Season 7 Rarity," and I have to agree. Applejack was behaving uncharacteristically OOC, and immature even; I'd even say that I'd have a hard time believing Season 1 Applejack would act this way, even with Rarity when they weren't quite as close. It's not simply an issue of not taking her friend or her feelings and concerns into consideration, Applejack just displayed zero tact or discretion whatsoever, and that's just not like her. I could buy Rainbow Dash in earlier seasons behaving like this, but never AJ; her element may be the Element of Honesty, but that doesn't mean she's blunt to the point of not considering the feeling of others. She understands holding one's tongue, in fact, she's always been the small town ideal of just that; if she's uncomfortable with something, she'll usually have a subtle, wry, blunt comment to make about it, or just hold her tongue if the situation calls for it. Whoever wrote this wrote her like a country bumpkin with no appreciation for higher culture (heck, at one point she's flat out insulting the work of Coco Pommel, a genuinely good friend of hers!), and in our current political climate I don't exactly appreciate those stereotypes being displayed when many of those stereotypes are how we got to such a polarized state in our country in the first place, especially when it's a betrayal of who this character is. On top of that, she's uncharacteristically stupid as well; we know that AJ understands the idea of wearing clothes in different contexts and settings, not just for work or practical business (and sometimes fancier dress is required FOR business), because AJ herself has worn such outfits for such special occasions many times, much of it made by Rarity! She may not get the art side of fashion, but she understands its appeal, that it has appeal, and that it's a whole other industry of its very own. She doesn't walk around with this "If I don't get it it must be stupid and irrelevant" attitude that so many people seem to revel in these days. It's a disappointing missed opportunity, because there was a great episode to be had here, it just needed some tweaking is all, especially considering RariJack is my favorite pair of friends in the Mane 6 and can be such a joy to watch when they are done right. So yeah, not happy at all with AJ, and even less so when I consider that it was done in the name of making the lesson the writers had in mind work. Sad AJ is sad, that's what happens when you write her badly, writers! So what is the lesson you might ask? Well, it's basically an indictment of Internet s*** talking. No really, I'm serious, the whole lesson is about watching what you say or how you say something to others, especially when critiquing something they've done or made. You can't just consider your own thoughts or feelings when doing so, you need to take into account how your words are going to affect the person you're talking to as well. Now, normally I'd have no problem with this lesson. I mean, people not knowing how to be civil with each other or even display the most basic decency to each other on the Internet is a big reason people tend to get so heated with each other these days. So on its face, the lesson is a good one. However, here's why it doesn't work in this particular context. The lesson was forced, at the expense of making any sense whatsoever. We already went into how it forced AJ to be incredibly OOC, but it also doesn't make sense in the setting either. The thing about this lesson is that it applies most to Internet communication because it's incredibly easy to dehumanize or become desensitized to the feelings of someone you're talking with online when all you see is a screen in front of you. This episode, however, is all about face-to-face interactions, and the thing about face-to-face interactions is that people, especially genuinely decent people like AJ, tend to be far more sensitive to the feelings of others when talking in person to someone. Only people who genuinely have no lid on what they say, either because they're that insensitive or have some kind of personality disorder, have no filter when talking directly to others. So really, while the lesson was good, it just made no sense that it had to be taught to AJ of all people under these circumstances. This troll, however, was HILARIOUS! So now that the biggest issues are out of the way, what worked in this episode? Well Rarity is the most obvious choice. Her choice of AJ as a judge was creative but also showed her trust of her arguably closest friend (as well as understanding of her strengths), it was incredibly generous of her to organize an event like this to help others break into the fashion industry she loves so much, and her level of maturity displayed the whole episode was great. She reprimanded AJ when she deserved it, but wasn't unduly harsh, plus her way of teaching AJ how she bucked up was hilarious and witty (also, Strawberry Sunrise is a hilarious s*** talker when it comes to apples). Her biggest issue is that this conflict should not have been one sided; the ideal situation would have been both AJ and Rarity made mistakes to a certain extent. AJ should have been uncomfortable with the judging and not sure what to say since she didn't know how to fit in, and Rarity should have not been aware of AJ's concerns for most of the episode. That way they would have had something to teach each other. She wasn't quite Mary Sue levels here, I can buy Rarity being this mature, it's just the conflict felt forced since one character suffered so much in order to make it happen, and it didn't do Rarity any favors either in doing so. But oh well, the episode more than made up for it by giving Rarity the most amazing 10 seconds of the episode! I have no idea where the buck that came from, but I want more of it!!! All I know is that Rarity apparently has FANTASTIC methods of stress relief and venting! SHRED GIRL, SHRED!!! As for the rest of the episode, it was pleasant enough. I enjoyed that it was largely set in Ponyville, specifically the Canterlot Boutique and the Ponyville business district. The return of Photo Finish and Hoity Toity (in speaking roles, no less) was positively delightful, and I very much liked all three of the up and coming fashion designer ponies as well (especially, for some odd reason, the valley girl one; very strange for me since I usually hate that character type in cartoon shows, but here for some reason I thought it was adorable and hilarious. Possibly because the writers seemed aware of the stereotypes of the valley girl trope and seemed to playfully be poking fun at them while still making the character endearing by, you know, actually being good at stuff). 'Lit'rally' intensifies!!! The set up and conclusion for the episode were both lovely, and the fashion show (along with the instrumentals that sounded very reminiscent of the fashion show in Season 1's "Suited for Success") made this episode feel like a spiritual successor to some extent to "Suited for Success" even. But because of the problems that I cited earlier with both AJ and the forced nature of the lesson, what should have been a good to even great episode ended up just OK. That's a damn shame, but it's nowhere near as infuriating as last week's wretchedness. That's all I've got for ya tonight, everypony! Until next week, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* To end things off, let's just have a bunch of pics from the better moments of the episode... And finally, the 10 seconds we will always remember from this episode Beautiful
Batbrony posted a blog entry in Straight From The Batcave!!!Shoosh Rarity, your episode already debuted Good evening, everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! My apologies for being so late in getting my review out, but I have a good excuse; I spent about 4 hours total driving yesterday so I could spend time with my family celebrating my mom's, grandpa's, and grandma's birthdays in Frankenmuth, MI, otherwise known as Little Bavaria, seeing as all of their birthdays are in May. I had some great food and a great time with my fam, but the driving took quite some time, admittedly. Anyways, I have now seen this episode twice and I must say it is absolutely delightful in every which way. Nick Confalone is proving to be a fabulous addition to the writing staff, and this was certainly the funniest episode in quite some time, possibly the funniest one since "Slice of Life" last season. Without further ado, let's begin. So thankfully, I don't have a whole lot to say about this one because there's not much point in going into specific events or characters. It was an ensemble episode, but not like earlier seasons where you'd expect really momentous stuff to happen when the entire gang was involved, or even a significant slice of life lesson. The fact of the matter is that the show is old enough at this point, the story and characters developed enough that they can have an episode like this, one where there's just a lot of silly stuff happening and not much in the way of a lesson or plot. And it was executed wonderfully in this instance, I am happy to say. The most impressive aspect of it all was the execution. Recap episodes like this do not always work, and they were very creative with the timeline here. I've seen TV episodes like this before where you get events that have already happened recapped by different characters, but the manner in which they did it here, with an ongoing newspaper interview where different characters were getting interviewed (at different times, as SUPER CLEVERLY indicated by the different background characters at booths in the diner, especially with RD and AJ where it was clear they were getting interviewed at almost the same time because they not only appeared together but also had the same background character at the booth behind them in their scenes) was incredibly clever and inventive. It also helped establish and maintain the pacing of the episode; the episode was essentially just a string of gags that different characters were going through, and we've seen that before, but the interview allowed us to get insight into character's thoughts and reactions to what they did which we normally wouldn't be able to get. It was like watching a DVD commentary of a show or movie, except instead of the creators, the characters themselves were commenting on themselves. The cherry on top, of course, was that their interview was being conducted by J. Jonah Jameson pony, which, being the superhero lover I am, absolutely killed me in all the right ways (not to mention they also squeezed a fantastic Pulp Fiction reference in that diner as well). Even her schneezes are graceful! D'awwwww, I just wanna give her a hug, SHE'S TOO CUTE!!! LAMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! See? These girls know what I'm talking about As for the gags themselves, again, I see no point in going into the specific ones because there were just so many of them, and most of them worked. What I think was most notable about these gags, compared to others we've seen in past episodes (because this is certainly not the first time we've seen situations get out of control) is that they not only fit the Mane 6 to a T, but they brought Manehattan to life as a setting. Every time the show has been in Manehattan we've gotten to learn more and more about it. BUT I would argue we've never really seen the city in such a normal context. The girls are almost always either sightseeing or busy with something of their own that just happens to be in the city, but doesn't involve it too much. Here, Manehattan, as Ponyville has been so many times in the past, was an actual character because everything they were dealing with was just big city, Manehattan problems. Rarity's in a pretty rundown place where her pushy landlord could easily jack up the prices because real estate is at a premium in the city, there are raccoons, a big city diner, a dance club above Rarity's shop with ponies who apparently spend all day just jamming, the list goes on. Everything here affected the characters, it wasn't just something to point to for the audience and go "hey look, we got this big city reference in!" That's not to say I haven't liked Manehattan in the past, but this felt like a great development for it, because everything going on felt normal, not like the girls were just visiting (even though that's exactly what they were doing). City's being their own characters is important in order for a setting to take on new meaning, that's why getting a place like Gotham City right for Batman is so critical when writing that character. So yeah, overall, I was really, really happy with Manehattan's depiction here; it didn't feel like a tourist destination for the girls, but really lived and breathed here. Organization's my fetish! Got a sock drawer that needs rearranging? This is not to say that I think the episode was flawless, I do not. My biggest complaint is Plaid Stripes, the weirdo daughter of Rarity's pushy landlord. I have nothing wrong with a character, especially in an episode like this, being weird, but almost all of her humor felt really, really forced. Like, I know she was young and "eccentric" but I just couldn't buy that even someone like her would propose some of these ideas, and that made the humor from her less funny. Thankfully, the episode is so quick-paced and funny already that, upon a second viewing, I realized it's really easy to ignore how unfunny her stuff is because so much other funny stuff is going on around her. Highlights for me in particular would be Twilight's organization fetish (what else do you call it at this point?), Rarity demanding no spoilers, the raccoons freak out when Fluttershy told them they had to leave, the dance club ponies (especially the one with the giant pigtails), Pinkie's Rarity-devil and Rarity-angle, and RD and AJ's brohoof, and that's just to name a few, so with all that, yeah, it's easy to ignore the forced jokes from Plaid Stripes. What I can't ignore is that for some bizarre reason some bucker decided the last shot of the episode, after a perfectly nice moment with the Mane 6, had to be this 5 second bit with Plaid Stripes in which she did nothing but suck from a spoon and put on this stupid smile. I don't get it, it wasn't funny, and just felt really awkward. But again, it's a very minor complaint. Overall, this was just the show having fun with its main cast, taking advantage of how phenomenal they know all their VAs are (seriously, every single one of them had some amazing deliveries on these lines here, especially Tabitha, she deserves special recognition), and just giving them a fun episode without much of a plot or a lesson. It was really just about how much the girls know that, despite how different they are, they can all rely on each other through pretty much anything at this point, even if it's as goofy as some of the stuff they were dealing with here. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a show this seasoned just taking a break and having fun, and I'm glad they did it here. It was a blast and a reminder of why we love this show and its characters so much; not just because they're well written and developed and because the show is seriously one of the smartest children's shows on television today, but also because sometimes the show knows when to just kick back, relax, and have unadulterated, pure, unfiltered fun. That's all I got everypony, until next week (in an episode I have been VERY much anticipating), this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit* Ow... they usually go much better than this
Batbrony posted a blog entry in Straight From The Batcave!!!*takes a deep breath* Well now... that was certainly an experience, wasn't it? :comeatus: This... all of this... where do I even begin? Welcome back, everypony, to the 100th episode edition of "Batbrony Reviews." If we're going to start somewhere, I suppose it's best to start by saying just what this was, at least in my own opinion. This was everything I expected, everything I did not expect, and so very much more. It was basically a fanfiction made into an episode, if you want to be blunt, but it was more than that even. It was a love letter in every sense of the word: to the fans, to the show, to the background characters, supporting characters, main characters, and everything we love about the world of Equestria and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. 100 episodes, and we've finally reached that point, the point that few shows ever do, even long-lasting, successful ones; we have reached the point where the creators and the fandom have acknowledged in both canon and fanon love and mutual respect for one another and their creations. It's a beautiful thing, really, and it made for a wonderfully chaotic and somehow beautifully balanced time this episode. Let's dive right in and fully take in every bit of wonderful, shall we? This review won't be in any particular order, because it really doesn't matter for an episode that had so very much. It's going to be more of a... well-thought out fangasm, if you will. What did I love, here? I... LOVED... EVERYTHING! I know that that's not the case with everyone, and that's perfectly fine if people had complaints or different levels of appreciation of this episode, but for me, it was perfect. I loved every single bit of this gift, and that's what it is, a gift from DHX that they gave to us and put together with tender, loving care. M.A. Larson, perhaps both the most beloved and at the same time infamous writer of the show, was the perfect choice for putting this episode together, especially in the post-Faust MLP. Only Faust herself could've possibly outdone him if she were still attached to the show, but I don't think even whatever she could've put together would've been quite as delightfully insane in that Larson-y fashion that only he himself, the master of trolly writers in MLP, can manage. Larson has now officially become my favorite writer of the show for this episode alone, and for that, he has my everlasting gratitude. No, wait, I actually mean it this time! Every savory bite of this delectable masterpiece was delicious in its own unique way. Lyra (Ashleigh Ball) and Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops (Andrea Libman) were hardly surprising in their appearance, but they were surprising in just what exactly DHX did with them. First, I was completely surprised by the fact that Bon Bon not only received such a bizarre background that had no grounding in the fandom whatsoever, but also by the fact that she was the focus of the subplot and not Lyra. Upon thinking about this further, I realized it was quite brilliant, actually, in its own insane way. Not only did they not meet expectations by simply taking the easy route with those two, but they also came up with an amazingly zany explanation of Bon Bon's alternate name, Sweetie Drops, that somehow managed to make both canon. But perhaps even more brilliant than that, they found a way to please both those who ship Lyra and Bon Bon in the fandom, and those who do not. Technically, in canon they are nothing more than best friends; they hammered it on the head quite a bit in fact to the point of ludicrousness. But there was also so much shipping fuel in their interactions together, that Lyra and Bon Bon shippers can't possibly even be mad. DHX went as far as they could to embrace both interpretations in canon, and I still can't believe they managed to pull it off. I've seen some Lyra and Bon Bon fans in this thread arguing since the episode aired about what is and isn't canon, but I implore you, no matter what you believe, please don't! You're both right, and there's no need to! It's rather remarkable, that way, isn't it? Friend or ship, either way, we all win! Continuing with the Big 6 of background ponies, Vinyl Scratch and Octavia Melody's (Kazumi Evans) bits were just as amazing. I know dubstep's not everyone's cup of tea, but I for one adored the classical music/dubstep cross they put together, and their ride through town on Vinyl's bass cannon was nothing short of spectacular, glorious insanity, topped off by them literally jumping the shark. I really like that Vinyl has no voice, as well; it would've been really easy for Nowacking to agree to do her voice, but then she wouldn't be able to do fan projects anymore, so I really appreciate that, if DHX did approach, she held out, but DHX found a rather clever alternative. Instead of trying to find an alternative to Nowacking, they seem to be content keeping her as a silent character, and it oddly seems to work for her. Octavia's voice, provided by Rarity's singing VA, is very close to EileMonty's and suits her nicely as well. Their house is too awesome for words to describe (and I'm sure Two Face wouldn't mind living there either), and it was so much fun seeing them throw their musical noggins together. There wasn't really anything in the way of shipping fuel with those two like there was with other characters, but that worked just fine for them; I've always preferred thinking of them as best friends and housemates rather than an actual couple compared to other pairs in fanon. Twilicane: "You thought I was dead, did you?! HAH! Foolish mortals, I can never die! I simply return time and again to amplify the awesome and simply confuse you even more!!!!!!!" Moving on to some of the lesser bits of the episode, we had the surprise return of Steven Magnet (and his canon naming as well) as, of all things, Cranky Doodle's very own "Best Beast" for his wedding, and boy oh boy was he fun to watch. Steven's always been a favorite Season 1 character of mine, even if he'd only ever been in the first episode before today, and Lee Tockar's exuberance in the role is simply infectious. He's one of those characters who, no matter how over-the-top he gets, manages to not get at any point obnoxious, but instead is just a delight to watch the entire time. And to top it all off, despite freaking out Matilda about halfway through the episode (because of course he'd freak out a bride on her wedding day ), he had a very affectionate moment with his apparently best friend, Cranky, at the end of the episode, as well as a sweet nod to Rarity's own generosity that she'd extended his way in Season 1. Gummy's existential inner monologue was simply too epic for words to describe, and for me, he is from now on best pet, no doubt, sorry Tank, you're awesome, he's just awesomer. That was probably the most surprising moment of the episode for me, though it oddly makes sense for Pinkie's beloved alligator that he would be the only pet in all of Ponyville to ponder the meaning of life (on a regular basis, I'm guessing). Amethyst Star had her own small bit taking over the organization for Matilda's wedding (both voiced by Brenda Crichlow, that's certainly confusing), but it was very cool learning more about her, she's one of my favorite unicorns in all of Ponyville for sure. The Flower Trio of Lily Valley, Roseluck, and Daisy (Cathy Weseluck, Kazumi Evans, and Ashleigh Ball) of course had their own little moment of over-the-top dramatics (or rather, several), and even the royals made a surprise appearance in ways we're not accustomed to. Shining Armor apparently gets super emotional at weddings along with Cadance, and Celestia and Luna's little sibling-spat was too adorable and hilarious. Speaking as a sibling myself, I loved that, every bit of it, because it felt so real, and yet it was also a side to those two that we'd never gotten to see before. But in the end, listening to Mayor Mare's heartwarming words, they reconciled as all siblings always should over little stuff like that (especially if you're both over 1,000 years old :comeatus:). Besides all that, basically every single other background pony in existence popped up in some regard. The CMC had a quick bit, Bulk Biceps was there, Filthy Rich, Button Mash, Truffles, Berry Punch hugging a barrel of cider, Thunderlane, Colgate, Carrot Top, Cloud Kicker, Mr. and Mrs. Cake along with Pound and Pumpkin Cake, Raindrops, that pony with the jelly-fetish, the sofa-and-quills salesman, the tennis-player with the world's greatest mutton chops, Lotus and Aloe, Hayseed Turniptruck, Pipsqueak, Cloud Chaser, Flitter, Featherweight, a completely random Changeling, and oh so many more, pretty much the entire town, in fact. Matilda and Cranky themselves were quite delightful to see again as well, especially getting to learn more about both of them. I love that Cranky is this cheap bastard and, despite even finding the love of his life, still a curmudgeon (just seems to fit him well, I guess, but a lovable curmudgeon, mind you), and Matilda was too funny in the beleaguered-bride-on-her-wedding day role. But in the end, their wedding was a smashing success, and I'm sure no matter how much we see of them in the future, in the show's universe, they shall have a long and happy life together! Main characters? GET THE BUCK OUTTA HERE! Now of course, those of you who know me will know that I've been building up to what, for me, stole the show here. What really made this oh so special for this particular brony. I am talking, of course, about the incredible, amazing, awesomeness that was Derpy Hooves (Tabitha St. Germain... again) and Doctor Whooves (Peter New). Oh my, where to start with these two. There's just so much to say. If I didn't love Derpy so much, I'd say that Peter with his performance alone stole the whole show altogether. His accent was amazing, the mannerisms were spot on (and this coming from a non-Whovian), the references were not too hard for non-Whovians like myself to understand, but still abounding throughout, I could just go on and on. I loved how he got so easily absentminded throughout the whole episode, always going from one random activity to another, and I loved that Derpy seemed to be the only one who really got him, too. His bowling with the Big Lebowski-ponies (with the Dude actually getting a voice, of all things) was too epic for words to describe, but it was somehow surpassed by his bits at the end, if you can believe that. Derpy herself, well... she was everything I could've hoped for. She is and always will be my best pony, and I can't thank DHX enough for what they did for her. Bringing Tabitha St. Germain back in the role even though she changed the voice (in fact, I actually liked this voice more than her original, and MUCH MORE than that dreadful replacement they came up with after "The Last Roundup" controversy, it sounded like Derpy but also more feminine than her original, which makes sense when you consider that Tabitha originally thought that Derpy was supposed to be a boy), putting her in the spotlight, making her both derpy in her behavior as she's always been but also completely lovable, exuberant, and in the end helpful, oh, and muffin refunds, it all worked so perfectly. There were, however, two things I loved the most about her. The first was that, interestingly enough, despite starring in this episode, Derpy (and the same can be said for many background ponies here) was still a background pony. Her activities, like all background ponies, were just one small-drop in the bigger picture of what the story of Ponyville and the lives of all its citizens are, and it was actually quite apparent. All of these subplots happened alongside each other without really running into each other or colliding, and it was quite frankly amazing. The other thing I loved, with all my heart, was Derpy and the Doctor. At first, it seemed like they were just extremely close friends. But at the end of the day, DHX did something I never in my wildest dreams thought they would do. They gave just enough for fans to reasonably claim that Derpy and the Doctor is a canon ship. If you don't interpret it that way, that's perfectly fine, but for me, their affectionate hug/snuggle at the end, her telling the Doctor he looked like a million bits in his amazing scarf, even booping their noses earlier in the episode in his lab/home, that's enough for me to say that they are, in my book, a canon couple. No one can take that away from me, and it warms my heart that DHX would be willing to do something like that for those of us who love shipping those two in this fandom. They were adorable together, they were perfect in their performances, and I loved every single minute of them. They were by far the highlight of this episode, for me. What else can ya say but ALONSY!!! Ships... who ever said they couldn't be canon? But wait, there's more! The Mane 6 were here, yeah, shocker right? They were fighting this crazy awesome looking monster called a Bug Bear (which apparently Bon Bon has a history with and also looked very much like a literal panda getting thrown at us... oh Larson, you!). But what I loved more than anything was that they were very much in the background the whole time, until the last scene, of course. And boy oh boy what a last scene, that was. Mayor Mare herself almost stole the show when she delivered the moral of the episode, and this, this was the genius of the episode summed up. Her speech was DHX's way of saying, "this has been great fun, but this has been more than simple fan service or pandering." This, for them, was genuine love and affection. Love for us, love for each and every one of their characters, love for the world they've created. Every story in Equestria is special in its own way, everyone in this show, at DHX, in the fandom, in the world, has a special story of their own to tell, and that should be celebrated as much as possible. That speech took the episode from silly, zany, off-the-walls amazing to sincere, genuine, respectable writing and fan-love, not just fan service. They wanted to make sure this 100th episode would be a thing to remember, and boy, did they ever succeed. Ending the episode back with the Mane 6, Twilight declaring her love for her friends and the town of Ponyville and all its inhabitants we've come to know and love. What better way to end such an episode could you have asked for? That's all I have to say about this one, guys. What else is there to say? Everyone will have a different opinion about this one, but for this brony at least, this episode is perfection. It is the greatest slice of life (fitting enough considering that was its very name ) episode of MLP I have ever seen, probably ever will see, and I will always love this with all of my heart and treasure the fact that I have gotten to share in the love of this show, these characters, and the folks who have created them, with all of you guys. This is Batbrony, resident Bat-lover of Derpy and all things background ponies, signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic and joyously exuberant exit* Thank you for being such a special little town, Ponyville, for all of us, in oh so many ways.