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S05:E17 - Brotherhooves Social


S05:E17 - Brotherhooves Social  

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Title: Brotherhooves Social Air Date: October 3, 2015 Written by: Dave Polsky Synopsis: When Applejack is called away and has to miss participating in the Sisterhooves Social with Apple Bloom, Big Mac

That ending... oh wow, that ending.   

What I feel about this episode that I will give a more in depth detail in my blog review, but I honestly liked the episode and especially loved the angle they took Big Mac's character in the episode a

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Poor Big Mac... He just wants to be more special. Anyway, what I liked the most about this episode was the sweet interaction between Mac and AB, as well as the lengths he's willing to go to show her he can be a hero on his own... Even if it means cross dressing in a truly hilarious manner, heh heh heh... Anyway, the episode had a heartwarming ending, and added more depth for Big Mac's character.

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So I finally got a chance to re-watch the episode uninterrupted, and it was very cute. Big Mac trying his hardest to make Apple Bloom happy and look up to him really spoke to me considering that I tried to do the same when my sister was younger. Overall, it was a great episode.

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I love how outspoken and completely opposite to his regular self Big Mac was when he was in disguise. This, coupled with his involvement in the Ponytones is giving me the head canon that Big Mac is one of those introvert performers. People who act, sing, do stand up, or whatever are generally thought of as outgoing or extroverted. Some believe that it is impossible to be a performer without having an outgoing personality. But there are also those performers who are pretty introverted off stage. They keep most of their feelings close to the vest and spend a lot of time alone, then use their time on stage to be a louder version of themselves or in the case of Big Mac, a louder version of someone else. I know some people like this and now I think Big Mac is one of them.

​I didn't find the portrayal of Big Mac's crossdressing transphobic, even though I hear that Tumblr (and other parts of the internet) has gone bananas over it.

I didn't find it transphobic either, mostly because Big Mac isn't trans. He doesn't identify as a mare, he was just trying to pass himself off as one. One of those tumbler posts said that "the guy in a dress speaking in a falsetto trope is transphobic in the same way that the gay guy speaking with a lisp trope is homophobic". I think that may be true within a certain context, but this episode did not have that context. Big Mac has a very deep voice so it would be difficult for him to speak at a high enough octive to sound less male without going into a falsetto. As for the dress, well, he had to cover his cutie mark. No other characters in the episode seemed to care that he was crossdressing, they were just a bit confused by it at first. Most of the jokes centred around the fact that everyone could tell it was him and he did a terrible job of fooling them. There were no jokes making fun of him specifically for going against gender norms.

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I personally liked the episode. The ending was adorable, and seeing some Scootalove was so worth it. <3

 

I knew this episode was going to spark some discussion about gender politics, though. If it wasn't Big Mac in drag, it was going to be Rainbow's comment about not going easy on him just because he's a stallion. From a writer's standpoint, I can understand why they inserted the latter comment - it was likely to parody the typical "I'm not going to go easy on you just because you're a girl", back handed sexism that younger girls are probably used to hearing, so it might actually feel a little liberating for them to hear it from a character in a pro-feminism show. Still, I can understand where some people might take issue with it. Passive aggressive sexism is still passive aggressive sexism, no matter which sex it's applied to. I doubt that it has remotely the same impact as sexism that's applied toward women, though, because the most you're going to hear it is from that one remark from Rainbow, whereas it's all the time out in the real world for women.

 

You might have noted I focused on that and not on the Big Mac in drag thing. That's because it's difficult for me to talk about it when there's not much to actually talk about with it. It was clear, realistically, that the others found it strange because they knew who Big Mac was, but they played along with it anyway because, hey, whatever he wanted to do, man. And that's all it boils down to. I doubt it was making a statement on transgenderism, or even on drag queens/cross-dressing in general. It was only to do with the fact it was a sisterhooves social and that Apple Bloom said that Applejack was her favorite sister. It perhaps never occurred to them that allowing anyone with a similar bond to compete applied not only to cousins/not-actually-relatives, but anyone of any gender as well. At this point I'm not really stating my opinion, I'm stating an actual fact and what's spelled out within the show. My opinion? Well, I don't really have one, as a result of the aforementioned fact that it's not making a statement. It's simply not relevant.

 

Context is very important when it comes to these things. It's why I dislike "Tanks for the Memories"; yeah, it has the five stages of grief, but the context makes it seem cheap and Rainbow's emotions come off as...shallow. Here, the context reduces what could potentially be some thing about gender equality into something that isn't really about it at all and just works off of the "sister" semantics.

There's a lot of unfortunate implications in this episode. The idea of the ponies having such gender/sex attitudes in a universe where I assumed would be seen as an alien concept is not a good thing. We've seen that mares and stallions are equal and can fulfill the same roles save for being a princess and nobody really seems to care. It's not a female dominated government or society in place with males taking up leadership roles. Perhaps the previous mayor of Ponyville was male too. Rainbow's comment was ridiculously out of place. And having it as a reference to the real world is a bad idea. It's why we have to think about how the ramifications of what we write. Sure, it makes writing harder than what most people think it is. The writers of this show need to take more time to think things out before they just do things like this on a whim.

 

As far as the Big Mac dressing thing goes, I think the ponies should have just told him that he can't enter. If the message for the competition was that he should be able to enter then why call it "Sisterhooves Social" at all? It just makes no sense.

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There's a lot of unfortunate implications in this episode. The idea of the ponies having such gender/sex attitudes in a universe where I assumed would be seen as an alien concept is not a good thing. We've seen that mares and stallions are equal and can fulfill the same roles save for being a princess and nobody really seems to care. It's not a female dominated government or society in place with males taking up leadership roles. Perhaps the previous mayor of Ponyville was male too. Rainbow's comment was ridiculously out of place. And having it as a reference to the real world is a bad idea. It's why we have to think about how the ramifications of what we write. Sure, it makes writing harder than what most people think it is. The writers of this show need to take more time to think things out before they just do things like this on a whim.

 

As far as the Big Mac dressing thing goes, I think the ponies should have just told him that he can't enter. If the message for the competition was that he should be able to enter then why call it "Sisterhooves Social" at all? It just makes no sense.

 

 All she said was that she isn't holding back regardless if Big Mac was a stallion or not. How is it demeaning when she's proclaiming she's going to treat him like any other competitor regardless of gender. She's being very much gender equal that she treats all her competitors with equal gusto. I thought it was a clever twist on the trope of guy not going easy on woman in reverse. Also, you think this episode is bad in terms of gender stuff, watch Dragon Quest that was genuinely an episode meant to stereotype genders for the sake of Faust critiquing the gender divide in toys.

 

Because they've said they had a loose definition for it and considering AJ is away on business and Big Mac is Applebloom's older brother thus there was leeway for him to do it. Why can't he enter because he's wearing a dress and a guy who wants to participate and have fun with his little sister? 

Edited by Nuke87654
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I got a kick out of it. I'm not really sure what I would do to change it to be better. Maybe if Big Mac as Apple Bloom's cousin had been LESS over the top. I think the episode would have been funny if Big Mac just pitched his voice up and stuck to short answers. I dunno.

 

Honestly my favorite part was the ending, because it was obviously boiling down to Big Mac's feelings. I loved that they gave Big Mac another element to his personality other than "Eeyup" - that being said, I don't know how I would feel if he started to get regular speaking lines in the show beyond his catch phrase.

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 All she said was that she isn't holding back regardless if Big Mac was a stallion or not. How is it demeaning when she's proclaiming she's going to treat him like any other competitor regardless of gender. She's being very much gender equal that she treats all her competitors with equal gusto. I thought it was a clever twist on the trope of guy not going easy on woman in reverse. Also, you think this episode is bad in terms of gender stuff, watch Dragon Quest that was genuinely an episode meant to stereotype genders for the sake of Faust critiquing the gender divide in toys.

 

Because they've said they had a loose definition for it and considering AJ is away on business and Big Mac is Applebloom's older brother thus there was leeway for him to do it. Why can't he enter because he's wearing a dress and a guy who wants to participate and have fun with his little sister? 

I am just surprised that the ponies would even mention something like that. Rainbow Dash shouldn't care if he was a stallion or not. Also, I brought it up because I didn't know if it was indicative of a larger culture of considering males to be weaker.

 

They should have just had two competitions for males and females to join.

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I am just surprised that the ponies would even mention something like that. Rainbow Dash shouldn't care if he was a stallion or not. Also, I brought it up because I didn't know if it was indicative of a larger culture of considering males to be weaker.

 

They should have just had two competitions for males and females to join.

 

It's nothing new to the series as AJ had referred Spike as 'just like a boy' for disliking the gala and let's not mention the entirety of Dragon Quest for gender issues arising from the series. I wouldn't worry too much about it as I'm sure it was Rainbow Dash showing she doesn't care whom she's competing against, and outside of Dragon Quest and an errant line from S1 from AJ, I haven't really noticed any gender issues and I'm glad they're not made such a deal in the series considering how sensitive folks are to political issues nowadays. 

 

Isn't that what events like Equestria Games have shown us that such events exist? Also, it would be neat to see an event solely for little brothers to have fun with their older brothers and such if necessary.

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There's a lot of unfortunate implications in this episode. The idea of the ponies having such gender/sex attitudes in a universe where I assumed would be seen as an alien concept is not a good thing. We've seen that mares and stallions are equal and can fulfill the same roles save for being a princess and nobody really seems to care. It's not a female dominated government or society in place with males taking up leadership roles. Perhaps the previous mayor of Ponyville was male too. Rainbow's comment was ridiculously out of place. And having it as a reference to the real world is a bad idea. It's why we have to think about how the ramifications of what we write. Sure, it makes writing harder than what most people think it is. The writers of this show need to take more time to think things out before they just do things like this on a whim.

 

As far as the Big Mac dressing thing goes, I think the ponies should have just told him that he can't enter. If the message for the competition was that he should be able to enter then why call it "Sisterhooves Social" at all? It just makes no sense.

 

What do you mean that mares aren't in power? The two princesses have been in rule of it for over 1000 years. It's a matriarchy (or a dictatorship, either one), not a democracy. Just because some stallions have some higher ranking positions, doesn't mean they're in control.

 

Also here's the thing-

 

> "where I assumed"

 

Yes, you assumed. Gender wasn't relevant in any of the previous episodes because all of those in important roles in the previous episodes were female, with the exception of Spike episodes, and that led to Dragon Quest being a thing. If anything, there's much more evidence to support there's a bias against males in Equestria than there is evidence against it. Sorry to say, Equestria isn't any more perfect than our world is, with the exception of the leader of it not being corrupt.

 

Having it reference the real world is what the entire show is about. This show is an aesop show - an aesop show can't exist without having real world issues referenced. If this had no piece of real world within it then the ponies would just be...well, ponies. Not attending magic kindergarten, not making their own businesses and owning their own homes, not learning friendship lessons after every outing or solving friendship problems in other countries. To say that it shouldn't reference the real world is pretty bogus.

 

I am strictly against making a cartoon like this politically correct all the time. If everyone is politically correct, always perfect, never doing something deplorable... Then what lesson is there to be learned? Rainbow Dash usually gets the brunt of that because of her brash nature, but the others of the Mane Six have engaged in problematic behavior to a tiny extent before this, too.

 

 

My matriarchy argument answers your question, by the way. It's called the Sisterhooves Social because the population is dominantly female. Should it be a more gender neutral term? Perhaps. Let's think about this; many female fans of this show go by the term "Bronies", but that's an inherently male term. Is this just an argument of semantics at this point? Maybe there's historical background behind the name, and changing the name would be too much of a transition. Regardless of the term, the point is what the event is supposed to bring to the ponies, and that is a relative bond of some sort. Heck, shouldn't it be called "Close Ponies Social", considering Rainbow and Scoots were allowed to join? But that seems like such a mouthful, and Sisterhooves Social rolls better off the tongue.

 

My point is, it's not important what the name of the event is, only what it represents. Not to mention if it weren't called that, then we probably wouldn't have had half the plot of the episode. It drives itself.

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What do you mean that mares aren't in power? The two princesses have been in rule of it for over 1000 years. It's a matriarchy (or a dictatorship, either one), not a democracy. Just because some stallions have some higher ranking positions, doesn't mean they're in control.

 

Also here's the thing-

 

> "where I assumed"

 

Yes, you assumed. Gender wasn't relevant in any of the previous episodes because all of those in important roles in the previous episodes were female, with the exception of Spike episodes, and that led to Dragon Quest being a thing. If anything, there's much more evidence to support there's a bias against males in Equestria than there is evidence against it. Sorry to say, Equestria isn't any more perfect than our world is, with the exception of the leader of it not being corrupt.

 

Having it reference the real world is what the entire show is about. This show is an aesop show - an aesop show can't exist without having real world issues referenced. If this had no piece of real world within it then the ponies would just be...well, ponies. Not attending magic kindergarten, not making their own businesses and owning their own homes, not learning friendship lessons after every outing or solving friendship problems in other countries. To say that it shouldn't reference the real world is pretty bogus.

 

I am strictly against making a cartoon like this politically correct all the time. If everyone is politically correct, always perfect, never doing something deplorable... Then what lesson is there to be learned? Rainbow Dash usually gets the brunt of that because of her brash nature, but the others of the Mane Six have engaged in problematic behavior to a tiny extent before this, too.

 

 

My matriarchy argument answers your question, by the way. It's called the Sisterhooves Social because the population is dominantly female. Should it be a more gender neutral term? Perhaps. Let's think about this; many female fans of this show go by the term "Bronies", but that's an inherently male term. Is this just an argument of semantics at this point? Maybe there's historical background behind the name, and changing the name would be too much of a transition. Regardless of the term, the point is what the event is supposed to bring to the ponies, and that is a relative bond of some sort. Heck, shouldn't it be called "Close Ponies Social", considering Rainbow and Scoots were allowed to join? But that seems like such a mouthful, and Sisterhooves Social rolls better off the tongue.

 

My point is, it's not important what the name of the event is, only what it represents. Not to mention if it weren't called that, then we probably wouldn't have had half the plot of the episode. It drives itself.

I thought my statement might be misunderstood. I meant that despite the princesses in place, males do take up leadership roles sometimes.

 

The show should reference things but sometimes, making a reference goes against what a show is about. Having the ponies be biased against males doesn't make sense to me.

 

There's no evidence that the world of Equestria is dominantly female. Aside from Alicorns and we know little to nothing about them, do we? In the show anyway. I don't know about that book about the two sisters and if it's even important. We don't know if males have less rights than females, if they are restricted from positions in government or in society. We don't know if they are looked down on in general. We see less males in the early seasons but that was because the animators couldn't be bothered to put more than a few male models in them and they were every single town and city. In season 4-5, things are getting better in that regard.

 

If the Sisterhooves social was just there for tradition then why was it so important for Sweetie Belle to join it in season 2?

 

I do agree that the message is good. Being together with Apple Bloom is about being a good sibling and such. I don't know if it's done perfectly well in "Brotherhooves Social" though.

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I've always kinda felt kinda bad for Big Mac since he hasn't played a super important part, even Apple Bloom has more role in the show than he does most of the time.

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A Big Mac episode? I love it, I love everything about it! I was skeptical when Big Mac seemed like he wasn't going to talk all episode, but after that this episode became my favorite really really fast.

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I swear, some of this show's fans have thinner skins than your average balloon / soap bubble. 

 

"Was your Zebra sense tingling..." = OMG APPLEJACK IS RACIST!

"I'm not going to go easy on you just because you're a stallion." = OMG RAINBOW DASH IS SEXIST!

 

Not every line by every character needs to be analyzed for possible offensive potential. Save the dramas for yo papas!

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I seriously couldn't decide whether or not I liked most of the episode. It was enjoyable and entertaining for sure though, so it's certainly not bad (a big improvement from Canterlot Boutique though... god that episode was a disgrace). That's how I felt for most of the episode, up until the ending. Oh my god it was the most touching thing ever. Unless I'm derping out and having a mind blank, I think this is the first time MLP has made me feel genuine feels for the characters. It was such a great scene.

 

I'd also just like to say that Big Mac's voice actor is awesome.

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I'm torn on this episode. The first 90% had me cringing so hard, but the ending was cute.

 

But I like Big Mac, and I'm glad he got an episode this season. Even if I was cringing the whole time.

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I thought my statement might be misunderstood. I meant that despite the princesses in place, males do take up leadership roles sometimes.

 

The show should reference things but sometimes, making a reference goes against what a show is about. Having the ponies be biased against males doesn't make sense to me.

 

There's no evidence that the world of Equestria is dominantly female. Aside from Alicorns and we know little to nothing about them, do we? In the show anyway. I don't know about that book about the two sisters and if it's even important. We don't know if males have less rights than females, if they are restricted from positions in government or in society. We don't know if they are looked down on in general. We see less males in the early seasons but that was because the animators couldn't be bothered to put more than a few male models in them and they were every single town and city. In season 4-5, things are getting better in that regard.

 

If the Sisterhooves social was just there for tradition then why was it so important for Sweetie Belle to join it in season 2?

 

I do agree that the message is good. Being together with Apple Bloom is about being a good sibling and such. I don't know if it's done perfectly well in "Brotherhooves Social" though.

 

Are you sure about that? We've seen way more mares than stallions. You can go through the background pony list and see how many of them are mares.

 

Them having equal rights doesn't necessarily mean they aren't looked down upon. There are groups even in real life who have privileges above other groups, and yet are seen negatively by society anyway.

 

But they would inherently have less power no matter what position they take up because of the sisters. The sisters are the absolute rulers - which means, by default, they have the most power, and both of them are female. Not to mention every alicorn we have seen so far has been female. Twilight Sparkle? Cadance? That's quite a bit of evidence right there to suggest that females hold the seat of power within Equestria.

 

It makes quite a bit of sense, then, that they would revere one gender over another.

 

 

Also, I was talking about the name of the tradition. It was obviously an annual event considering everyone talks about it, and it's likely when it was first established it had that name, and there's no reason to shake it at this point.

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Are you sure about that? We've seen way more mares than stallions. You can go through the background pony list and see how many of them are mares.

 

Them having equal rights doesn't necessarily mean they aren't looked down upon. There are groups even in real life who have privileges above other groups, and yet are seen negatively by society anyway.

 

But they would inherently have less power no matter what position they take up because of the sisters. The sisters are the absolute rulers - which means, by default, they have the most power, and both of them are female. Not to mention every alicorn we have seen so far has been female. Twilight Sparkle? Cadance? That's quite a bit of evidence right there to suggest that females hold the seat of power within Equestria.

 

It makes quite a bit of sense, then, that they would revere one gender over another.

 

 

Also, I was talking about the name of the tradition. It was obviously an annual event considering everyone talks about it, and it's likely when it was first established it had that name, and there's no reason to shake it at this point.

As I said, the animators were lazy back then. Even with females, they would use the same pony model again and again which is why there was a shot with 5 Trixie models together and another with two Diamond Tiara models in the same scene. There were more males when the plot demanded it like "Hearts and Hooves day" then they would magically appear out of nowhere. But it implies that there are more than we see in the show.

 

I just don't believe that Equestria would allow such attitudes to flourish. It's against the principles of Princess Celestia and twilight Sparkle. Alicorns are somewhat higher beings, aren't they? I think only females can hold that power which makes it a certainty that they would control power on such a broad scale. To have cultural antagonistic beliefs makes sense only if Equestria wasn't the superior society that it is.

 

If it was inclusive then why did Big Mac have to wear a dress? Why aren't there other colts competing?

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