Friendship University  

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  1. 1. Like or Dislike?

    • Rarity: I don't like to judge solely on appearances, buuuuuut... *camera switches to show FU's gaudy façade* what kind of friendship school is this?! (I HATE IT! >__<)
    • Star Swirl: The only pony I see who is up to something is the pony in this picture, and it is not the princess I know. (I dislike it!)
    • Twilight *deadpan*: Sorry, "Plainity," but I'm pretty sure this…isn't enough of a disguise. *closes closet door* (…meh…)
    • Flam: Well, well, well, Miss Plainity, keep it up and you'll be ready for our next level in no time! *crowd gasps in awe as Plainity sits back casually with a big grin* (I like it!)
    • Twilight *reading postcard*: "Of course, if I ever go to a school again, I'll make sure it's yours. In friendship, Star Swirl." (I LOVE IT! <3)


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On technical level, I have nothing to complain about with this episode as far as I can tell. But if I'm being completely honest, it's very painful to be forced to see Twilight get raked over the coals not by one, not by two, but by 3 adversaries - two of which I am not a fan of. =P

Not sure where this episode will land on the scale yet. It will probably be better on a second viewing knowing how it turns out.

Rarity really was the best thing about this episode.

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This one worried me coming in, but now that I'm done, this was better than I expected. The jokes were simple, but effective. Flim & Flam are able to maintain a nice scam, but hide their fraud quite well, which is way better than their crappy placebo effect plan with the tonic in Leap of Faith. They're con artists and scammers looking for the best, quickest way to make a few more bits to expand their resort empire.

Twilight and Rarity return to form with their first leading episode together. Despite Twilight eventually starting to believe Flim and Flam changed, Rarity's there to reassure her that it's still very possible they defrauded and manipulated their students.

This show also went into some dark territory for this series. Scamming the students, Flim & Flam running FU as a secretive for-profit/"charter" college, Neighsay's xenophobia, Flim & Flam blackmailing Twilight, and plagiarism/copyright infringement.

Neighsay's appearance was short, but crucial. When Twilight accused Flim and Flam of running a sham school, he accused her of wanting to monopolize the Magic of Friendship and its teachings, intentionally casting doubt of credibility against her and her school. His shred of villainy catalyzed Twilight's episode-long dilemma of preserving her reputation versus doing the right thing.

@Truffles and another user at EQD make really good points about how FU feels a lot like an accurate satire of real-world events surrounding the American school system, especially the for-profit system in so many private colleges. Charter schools con kids' growth for a cheap buck, and charter colleges are no exception. Ones like Trump University were in the middle of a major fraud lawsuit that was settled earlier this year, and ITT Tech shut its doors in 2016 due to its unethical practices. Neighsay's blatant racism and manipulation of Twilight in order to support Friendship U over the School of Friendship accentuates this satire.

Star Swirl doesn't appear much here, but is very important. Obviously, he grew since they last met in Shadow Play and is working hard to prove he can be a good friend. He gave F&F the benefit of the doubt for obvious reasons: Rather than assume people who turn bad are irredeemable, he wants to give them a chance. Flim and Flam exploit Star Swirl's naivety, but when he realizes they're conning others, he does the right thing.

Probably the biggest flaws of the episode is Twilight not being able to recognize the pattern of her school plan mirroring theirs' sooner and vocabulary repetition, but that's virtually it. Burke and Wyatt return with a really solid outing that might age better over time. Great work! :D

 

Edited by Dark Qiviut
Episode aired in the U.S., removed spoiler. Added more content.
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Haven't finished seeing the episode yet, but can I just say I actually really like the idea of another friendship school? It actually enforces a good lesson in that knowledge of a good friendship doesn't belong to any one person. Of course, knowing the school's run by the Flim Flam brothers makes me think the ending's just going to be about how it's a scam and how Twilight's school is the only one worth learning from. :/

EDIT: Aaaand I was right. As enjoyable as it was, I was a little disappointed as I feel like this is kinda par for the course for the show in recent time..."Twilight and Co. have to be right unless the plot demands they're not (Non-Compete Clause), and everyone else who's against them has to be outright wrong/bad and needs to be called out by Twilight and Co.". That may be quite an oversimplification, but it's a vibe I've been kinda getting.

Edited by PacificGreen
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Rarity was great here from the little I saw. She almost fell into her Plainity persona (ala Fluttershy from earlier this season)..

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2 hours ago, PacificGreen said:

EDIT: Aaaand I was right. As enjoyable as it was, I was a little disappointed as I feel like this is kinda par for the course for the show in recent time..."Twilight and Co. have to be right unless the plot demands they're not (Non-Compete Clause), and everyone else who's against them has to be outright wrong/bad and needs to be called out by Twilight and Co.". That may be quite an oversimplification, but it's a vibe I've been kinda getting.

There's a really important line in the climax that dispels this implication.

Quote

Twilight Sparkle: [groans] Fine. If you really want to call it even, give back the bits and stop charging for my lessons. Then you can teach them as much as you like.

Twilight gave them the opportunity to keep the school open and use her curriculum with or without permission in exchange for returning the money to their students and discontinuing using Friendship University to defraud Las Pegasus residents. They immediately rejected the offer and paid the price.

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1 minute ago, Dark Qiviut said:

There's a really important line in the climax that dispels this implication.

Twilight gave them the opportunity to keep the school open and use her curriculum with or without permission in exchange for returning the money to their students and discontinuing using Friendship University to defraud Las Pegasus residents. They immediately rejected the offer and paid the price.

Fair enough. I guess I was a bit confused at that point. I'm actually surprised that Twilight wasn't as mad that they stole her friendship lessons. But then again, she's not the type to hoard those kinds of things for herself (what good is a friendship teacher if they're not letting their knowledge on friendship flourish among others, after all?) , so probably not so surprising after all.

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8 hours ago, R.D.Dash said:

 

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The lesson of the episode failed to reach my ears: Capitalism is wrong so universities shouldn't charge money for their services, ehh. Or

 

The real issue with what they did was that they pirated Twilight's materials. It's not ethical to sell something that isn't yours. Though the fact the material wasn't public in the first place makes me a bit suspect about Twilight's intentions. I thought she had her book published so that friendship schools could pop up across Equestria, but apparently she wants a monopoly on it. 

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This is definitely a must-see for Twilight/Rarity fans, and I'm also crossing my fingers in hopes that Flutters and Pinkie will get an episode that has anything to do with the School of Friendship for next season (since it's not gonna happen this season).

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24 minutes ago, Ganondox said:

The real issue with what they did was that they pirated Twilight's materials. It's not ethical to sell something that isn't yours. Though the fact the material wasn't public in the first place makes me a bit suspect about Twilight's intentions. I thought she had her book published so that friendship schools could pop up across Equestria, but apparently she wants a monopoly on it. 

Now it makes sense to me, but If it comes down to it Friendship University can't run entirely free of charge. Flim and Flam have to pay royalties to Twilight if they want to use her book, (half the money for half the effort.) plus some other expenses here and there, plus they were probably a private organization so they have no obligation to be a nonprofit school.

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I loved this episode it was genuinely hilarious.  I don't know why we don't get more of Twilight and Rarity episode sooner, they're a great double act.

Edited by RulesofRarity
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Another Flim&Flam scam episode. Not a fan of the idea, but at the end it delivered just fine.

Although I ended up liking the song, I'm tired of the F&F scam songs to make ponies fall for it, too overused in my opinion.

I felt like Neighsay wasn't there to evaluate the new school, but to give their school a quick approval so FU could take an edge over Twilight's school. In his brief appearance, there's no indication that he was as strict on the EEA methods as he was in the premiere with Twilight's school, I smell revenge and corruption in his ways.

Rarity was great supporting Twilight and going incognito to take some classes.

I'm still not too fond of Starswirl, he has clearly improved his attitude but there's something about his speech manner that gets on my nerves.

Twilight was great for what the episode is, her jealous and suspicious behaviour is well founded and just at the right level to keep by her side during the episode.

In my opinion, there is one major flaw in the plot that didn't let me enjoy the episode fully. Twilight is the princess of friendship and she acts just like the headmare of her school. The first thing I think Twilight should have addressed is 'how was friendship being teached in FU?', she is not the only expert in friendship on the realm, but she's responsible to spread friendship and she must have been sure that the classes in FU were actually about friendship. Since F&F were teaching friendship just fine, this wasn't as big a problem as I thought, but it still felt wrong that Twilight missed this potential issue.

Overall the episode was a good one, slightly above average for me, but nothing particularly great about it.

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A weird choice for a Star Swirl episode, but at least we got him and Neighsay back, and came one step closer to revealing the great cozy evil. Tabitha was brilliant as usual voicing Rarity, and she was the best part of the episode, even though the “disguise” thing was almost too absurd. Nothing new from Flim and Flam, just another decent song and another failed scam. And it was good to see Las Pegasus ponies and Pony Dali again.

Also, now I want an entire episode (or at least a fanfic) about Star Swirl and Tree Hugger’s adventures.

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It was a nice episode. I entirely forgot about the time when I was watching. I enjoyed the character interactions, the return of Neighsay and Flim and Flam, and I especially liked seeing Starswirl again. I didn't like him much in the season 7 finale, but during this episode I warmed up to his character. 

The ending was predictable (In that regard I liked Viva Las Pegasus more as it had more of an open "feel-good" ending for Flim and Flam) but I did like Twilight offering to let them continue with their university if they stopped charging for her lessons. 

 

Edited by JH24

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I was a bit worried when I saw the description, but I ended up really liking the way they handled Starswirl in this episode. Flim and Flam and Neighsay were both nice surprises. The character who puzzled me was Twilight, she really did come across as just being jealous, considering she went to investigate the school before she even knew it was Flim and Flam, and her behavior was morally questionable at parts. Sure, in addition to piracy Flim and Flam discriminated on pricing in order to buy Starswirl's endorsement, and they did lie about what they planned to do with the money, but Twilight snuck into their offices and read their private documents, that's not right even if she was vindicated in the end. For a moment I was honesty expecting the episode to end up with Flim and Flam being entirely innocent for once. It would make for a clearer moral than whatever we ended up with. 

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Much better episode than the previous one. I'm surprised Flim and Flam are still allowed to run any business at all at this point, but this time their scam was pretty elaborate.

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Wasn't too sure about the episode at first, but it turned out be a solid one! Flim & Flam are back at their greedy stuff again, Neighsay returns with his racist (umm, speciest?) worldview AND we got to see Starswirl again, all in the same episode! Rarity kinda grew on me in this episode, I'm not sure I'd realise it was her in that disguise if she was a bg horse in some episode to be honest shrug 

I really wouldn't worry about another friendship school if I were Twilight, she was right that time though. To be fair, the Young Six wouldn't move there anyway (as F&F's school was for ponies only) and I don't think anybody in the school would care that much. Friendship University or not, Flim and Flam sure will cope and find another way to get all the stuff they need anyway, they'll just close the FU and not give a damn after all, I guess.

I don't exactly get why Starswirl didn't trust Twilight at first. I guess it's kind of like scaming old people with "YOU WON AN IPHONE X" commercials and other stuff like that, he just didn't see any reason not to trust random horses about creating a better school than Twilight's one. Speaking of him, I hope to see more Pillars in season 8, I'd love to watch a Somnambula episode, I bet she's staying in her old town and won't have much of a chance to come to Ponyville though.

...

"I am Eyepatch. I have an eyepatch." :D

Edited by Buttaflight
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EDIT

Found and watched it.

I have to say I really feel Neighsay should face some consequences from this if not by Twilight's hooves then from the rest of the EEA. Basically he rubberstamped a university with minimal examination because of one student attending there only for said university to be using stolen materials (Twilight would have given permission freely but they didn't ask they just took), promoting students based on how much they paid not whether they actually learnt anything, violated EEA guidelines (if Twilight's school didn't meet it then Flim and Flam's using her book should also have failed to meet it). Really from a purely professional viewpoint he failed in his role to properly assess a new school and should be held accountable unless they also share his willingness to harm others and abuse their position/authority in pursuit of revenge...

Plainity was amusing especially given that she actually got so caught up in FU (and that's a bad acronym considering the insult its normally standing in for) that she was plaining to return gifts to earn bits so she could progress. Also liked Rarity's "These sewing machines will help me teach friendship . . . somehow."

Edited by Senko
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Just finished watching the episode and I really liked it a lot. It was great getting to see Starswirl again. I also liked how we got to see Starswirl in his travels, as well as learning of friendship. It was funny seeing the many postcards in Twilight's office, but it's cool seeing how they are pen pals. It was interesting to see how Flim and Flam were involved in the episode. It's also been a little while since we last saw them. I didn't expect to see a song in the episode, but the song was pretty catchy, in my opinion. It was also pretty surprising to see Neighsay reappearing in the episode. I liked how Twilight was giving a rundown of what Flim and Flam had done in the past. It gives a background of misdeeds the brothers had done in the past, so as to back up her claim of the brother's scams. I liked how Rarity and Twilight went undercover in disguises to see what the school was about. It was cool to see Rarity referencing Shadow Spade, since Rarity seems to be the detective type of pony. Planity was a cool disguise and Eyepatch was pretty funny. Even the sticky note for a cutie mark was pretty hilarious, in my opinion. It was a surprise to see Twilight getting caught by Flim and Flam for seeing if the brother's were scamming the students. I liked how Twilight and Rarity were able to foil the plans of Flim and Flam and got them to close down their Friendship University. There was one thing that made me wonder when Flim and Flam opened up their university. They said that they used Twilight's book to copy the lessons to teach other ponies. It makes me wonder if Flim and Flam would be accountable for plagiarism. All in all, I found this episode to be pretty enjoyable. I hope we get to see the other pillars of Old Equestria throughout the rest of this season. 

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I found this episode to be enjoyable, though i agree with @PacificGreen 's points, however i also think that the Flim Flam brothers using the school as a ploy was a blackhearted thing to do, the sad thing is that corrupt schools like the one shown in this episode actually exist, just not exactly for expanding a resort.

 

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Well this was an interesting episode. Personally I didn't really have any sympathy for Twilight's cause at all, lol. Whats so bad about expanding their resort? Chancellor Neighsay had a few scenes here and there, but I wanted to see more of him. I suppose Flim and Flam deserved their 'fate' though I doubt that's the last we will see of them... :yay:

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This episode was awesome! It was great to see Flim & Flam back to their usual scams, and this one has to be their most complex scam yet. I also liked the return of Starswirl, and hope to see more of him and the other pillars. Twilight and Rarity's disguises were hilarious, especially Twilight's "I'm Eyepatch, I have an eyepatch" line. All in all, it was really funny and a lot better and more interesting to watch than the last few episodes before this. I'd give it a 9/10.

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8 hours ago, Califorum said:

Well this was an interesting episode. Personally I didn't really have any sympathy for Twilight's cause at all, lol. Whats so bad about expanding their resort? Chancellor Neighsay had a few scenes here and there, but I wanted to see more of him. I suppose Flim and Flam deserved their 'fate' though I doubt that's the last we will see of them... :yay:

Not too much about expanding the resort, but about them scamming the student's money.

Though like, you'd expect a school to make money, just not in that way. 

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Just now, twichlove said:

Not too much about expanding the resort, but about them scamming the student's money.

Though like, you'd expect a school to make money, just not in that way. 

I suppose so, yeah. Flim and Flam are a scam, that rhymes. 

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I found the episode to be enjoyable.

The plot was pretty good, albeit a teeny bit predictable - I figured that Flim and Flam were behind the Friendship University, as it seemed like the type of scheme that they would create. While the appearance of Chancellor Neighsay came out of the left field, it has piqued my interest on his character and I'm curious on what roles he will play later on. My only issue, was that Flim and Flam made it painfully obvious that they were doing something suspicious. This is especially apparent, when they blackmailed Twilight to stop investigating them.

I'm glad that Starswirl made an appearance here, but that also makes me wonder; Will we see the other respective pilliars within the remainder of Season 8?

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Upon rewatches i felt the "Plainity" disguise was a bit cringey and repetitive for me, and made the episode hard to watch. Putting the Flim Flam brothers in automatically allows viewers to know that this is indeed a scam. 

10 hours ago, Cash In said:

I found the episode to be enjoyable.

The plot was pretty good, albeit a teeny bit predictable - I figured that Flim and Flam were behind the Friendship University, as it seemed like the type of scheme that they would create. While the appearance of Chancellor Neighsay came out of the left field, it has piqued my interest on his character and I'm curious on what roles he will play later on. My only issue, was that Flim and Flam made it painfully obvious that they were doing something suspicious. This is especially apparent, when they blackmailed Twilight to stop investigating them.

I'm glad that Starswirl made an appearance here, but that also makes me wonder; Will we see the other respective pilliars within the remainder of Season 8?

There's already an upcoming episode including them.

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