Sepul-Coloratura

Why I think Twilight freaking out is not interesting anymore

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(edited)

When did Twilight freaking out (so called "Twilighting" by the show itself) became a thing? And why do we see her like it so often? Not in a context of her freaking out as a story, but her freaking out for the sake of freaking out.

Is it because Lesson Zero got so much praise? I don't get it. If it's so, Lesson Zero's Twilight freaking out actually drove the story forward and brought the character the place where she wouldn't ever go otherwise. The Twilight's freak out I'm pointing out, that doesn't affect the story. Other ponies just calm her down and she moves on. Is it because the writers want to give her characteristics and flaws? If so, it's not so subtle especially when the show has to push it and meme it in a contrived manner. Is it the new cornerstone to establish the character? I think there are many better ways to show Twilight's character. Is it because It's About Time? Even if we saw her freaking out many times before, most of it was to drive the story forward or accentuate the theme (The Ticket Master), or it was genuinely an incident that anyone could freak out (Swarm of the Century). The point is, I don't want characteristics thrown in without considerations of the context.

I used to think Twilight was more stable than most ponies and could function great under pressure and facing stressful situations. She often seemed more distant from the problem than most ponies would and could focus more on books and nerdy stuff she's interested (Look Before You Sleep). Twilighting might seem to make her "Relatable" by giving her obvious flaws, but it used to work for complimenting the story and the theme. I guess The Crystal Empire started this, but it's going on for too long.

I don't see the point of constantly making Twilight hyperventilate whenever some big responsibilities occurs. It doesn't get anywhere and makes her look incompetent. Most of all, I got bored by it. They should make new interesting ways to show it or slowly get rid of it as she grows as an authority and gains competence. She felt more like an authority when she was guiding ponies in Ponyville in season 1-3 than now. Because she handled thing like a boss. Old habits die hard, it's what real peoples are like. But more important than any of that, is that MLP is a show. Remember Fluttershy being shy? They showed it over and over but it didn't bother me because they showed various ways of showing it and they utilized it as for making stories. If Twilighting is all of what she's got, it's also a bad news. I think Twilight is much more than that and freaking out isn't her defining characteristics. A character should reveal themselves through the story, not as a duty protocol.

They should have seen Twilighting and the fact that it's being accumulated enough to become a meme as a problem and tried to fix it, by making variations of it or changing the context of how it's used, instead of self referencing it.

What do you think? Do you it fits the character of Twilight? Do you think it fits the story and the theme? Do you think it should stay the way it is or change?

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura

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I have to agree Twilight freaking out was much more entertaining and funny in lesson zero than in the Beginning of the end.

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(edited)

It's been overdone since S8. It was cute when it came to the Hearth's Warming decorations, but when you're dealing with dire situations, like King Sombra or something, the panic takes away all the believable drama that could be.

Edited by Mirage

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During Season 4 and much (but not all) of season 5 they played down Twilynanas a bit and during this time I way more than a handful of comments lamenting her more reserved composure. They seem to have course corrected and made Twilight somewhere in between Lesson Zero and the current depiction. What we see in Seasons 6 and on is nowhere near the meltdown she had in Lesson Zero. 

This is characterization variant of YMMV when it comes to enjoyment of these quirks. 

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(edited)

I hate how the show dubbed it "twilighting". I think that having twilight still freak out is important because it shows that anxiety isn't something one song can fix, but the way they handle it is making a joke out of it. Her worries in the Beginning of the End are 100% valid, she is being asked to run a Kingdom for Celestia's sake (lol get it?) , but her friends just brush her off. It would be way more interesting, and beneficial (this is still a kids show) to have her still freak out, but show her using more productive coping mechanisms. As anyone with anxiety can tell you, hyperventilating into a paper bag is not gonna help you.

Edited by TicTacKitKat

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40 minutes ago, TicTacKitKat said:

It would be way more interesting, and beneficial (this is still a kids show) to have her still freak out, but show her using more productive coping mechanisms.

They did this in Games Ponies Play with Cadence teaching Twilight a breathing technique to calm her down. Yet apparently the show didn't seem to remember that detail since Twilight continued to devolve to the point of the show making meta gags about her.

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That is like your opinion, man. I still find it cute because Twilight freaking out it just adorable to me.

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12 hours ago, TicTacKitKat said:

I hate how the show dubbed it "twilighting". I think that having twilight still freak out is important because it shows that anxiety isn't something one song can fix, but the way they handle it is making a joke out of it. Her worries in the Beginning of the End are 100% valid, she is being asked to run a Kingdom for Celestia's sake (lol get it?) , but her friends just brush her off. 

Are we forgetting that Starlight and Spike staged a somewhat elaborate act to try and snap her out of it?

12 hours ago, Mirage said:

It's been overdone since S8. It was cute when it came to the Hearth's Warming decorations, but when you're dealing with dire situations, like King Sombra or something, the panic takes away all the believable drama that could be.

I think that's exactly why they did it. Especially since its still a kids show. Some random humor to keep the grimdark from getting too heavy handed. You can even see this in works of Shakespeare. Strategically-placed comedy scenes in what is otherwise a tragic drama, to give the audience a break from the gloom. This is why it's referred to as comic "relief."

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Oh those writers and their hipster non-humor. And I ain't even mad. I just want Snarkle back in G5. So cast the rest of the horned rejects into oblivion and make it so.

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2 hours ago, BornAgainBrony said:

I think that's exactly why they did it. Especially since its still a kids show. Some random humor to keep the grimdark from getting too heavy handed. You can even see this in works of Shakespeare. Strategically-placed comedy scenes in what is otherwise a tragic drama, to give the audience a break from the gloom. This is why it's referred to as comic "relief."

If it's so, I think it wasn't a good way to tell the story. Either it would be a cute-crisis story with whimsical or properly dramatic cartoon villains that fits the tone of children's show, or they abandon the idea of making a children's show and put Punisher, Griffith, Micheal Myers in it. They can either go 60's Batman or The Dark Knight and if they aim for the middle ground for being concerned of the show being too heavy, they should make something new that fits somewhere in between, not mix them together. Kids show can be sometimes heavy, adult show can be lighthearted as well.

Comic reliefs as like in Shakespeare's work are like what Pinkie Pie does when confronting Discord or Nightmare Moon. Twilight or the main protagonist doesn't do it. The downside of the protagonist being a comic relief is that the drama doesn't seem to take itself seriously enough and it can contradict itself. The whole show can look like a joke in a bad way.

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Twilight herself in recent seasons (with a few exceptions in S7 and 8) seems to have evolved into a noticeably different character from her S1-3 persona. Although the earlier seasons' depictions of Twilight did lean towards more of a hammy nerd as they progressed (compare the more reserved and acerbic Twilight in Feeling Pinkie Keen to that in It's About Time, although one could reasonably attribute this to the fact that the latter episode was penned by everyone's favorite meta guy M.A Larson), they additionally structured this shift as more of a symbol of character development (Twilight becoming more emotionally open towards her friends and shirking her initial air of superiority) and maintained Twilight as essentially the same character resultantly. Regardless of the differences between the Twilight of S1 and S3, they still feel like the same character.

Unfortunately, Twilight ascending to alicorn status debatably far too rapidly (I've discussed this at length in other threads) led to the writers hitting a stone in the road regarding her role in the show. During S4, Twilight was portrayed as a collected mentor figure, which, whilst a logical progression from the Twilight of the previous three seasons, unfortunately simultaneously neutralized her into a blander character with few remaining compelling flaws displayed outside of a handful of episodes (the premiere and Testing  immediately come to mind here), an issue which the writers apparently recognized by the dawn of S5 (hence Starlight in the premiere silencing her in a semi-meta gag), thus birthing the current portrayal of Twilight. It wasn't exactly a rapid process either; early signs are visible in episodes penned by many of S5's incumbent writers (most of whom now form the show's creative A-team), such as Party Pooped and The Hooffields and McColts with What About Discord? being the first episode to fully exaggerate Twilight's more irrational facets and utilize them as the focal point of an episode's comedy, an issue which would become more prominent heading into the more comedy-focused S6, where Twilight resultantly began to become more exaggeratedly hammy and panicked (in addition to bizarrely (and naively) overconfident, as seen with No Second Prances), resultantly shedding much of her former logical collectedness and natural leadership skills (although both are still present, they seem to be downplayed severely, which is bizarre given that said traits should be accentuated given Twilight's increasing experience as the alicorn leader of a magical municipality) in favor of more dramatically/comedically huge emotional takes (often accompanied by over-the-top facial expressions) and gags highlighting her nerdish nature (her reactions to the library in Forgotten Friendship are a textbook example of the show's/franchise's approach towards this recently), which leads to Twilight feeling less akin to a real person (with less...humanity?) and more a comedic protagonist, which I actually felt cheapened some of the dramatic elements of The Beginning of the End (as flawed as Princess Twilight Sparkle was, it felt more impactful in that it at least knew to present Twilight's insecurities over her ascension seriously as opposed to sacrificing it in favor of more sitcom gags and meme faces, which led to a greater sense of investment on the part of the audience). It's as if her more exaggerated persona in Lesson Zero, which was funny not because of the pure concept of Twilight behaving insanely in a vacuum but due to both its unapologetically over-the-top execution (utilizing gags of a much less repetitive variety than 'Twilight pulls a cartoonish face and freaks out loudly', which has been utilized repeatedly over the past three or four seasons, for better or for worse) and its contrast with both the typically reserved and logical portrayal of Twilight in the preceding episodes and the comically mundane situation (tardiness) that catalyzed it (also in that the episode once again never portrayed the actual concept of Twilight freaking out as comedic, as opposed to the recent seasons' alleged philosophy that merely Twilight blowing up is comedy gold) has become the majority of her character. It's essentially a different characterization from S1-3, and, while not all facets of it are irredeemable, it is a disappointment watching the show's repetitive (and often bizarre) approach to handling Twilight, given that FiM is, at its core, Twilight's journey. 

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Mlp has a problem of falling into doing familiar things too often and therefore becoming predictable.

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I find it very adorkable but if the show were to continue past season 9, then “twilighting” would probably become her only personality trait.

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I don't mind it, I think it's adorkable.  

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sigh. Complaining about a natural quirk. Whoopie-effing-do.

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I still think that she should do it more often, it's kind of her thing.

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(edited)

I think it's cute, especially since now there's an official verb for it. ^_^ And I wouldn't want Twily to just stop her twilighting, it's her thing and is one of the many adorkable quirks that makes Twily, Twily. 

Edited by Lucky Bolt

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I love that see still does it because I've said that Twilight is the most like my personality, and those freakouts are one of the things I do and they don't go away with age, at least not yet.:laugh:

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On 4/20/2019 at 9:05 AM, Sepul-Coloratura said:

If it's so, I think it wasn't a good way to tell the story. Either it would be a cute-crisis story with whimsical or properly dramatic cartoon villains that fits the tone of children's show, or they abandon the idea of making a children's show and put Punisher, Griffith, Micheal Myers in it. They can either go 60's Batman or The Dark Knight and if they aim for the middle ground for being concerned of the show being too heavy, they should make something new that fits somewhere in between, not mix them together. Kids show can be sometimes heavy, adult show can be lighthearted as well.

Comic reliefs as like in Shakespeare's work are like what Pinkie Pie does when confronting Discord or Nightmare Moon. Twilight or the main protagonist doesn't do it. The downside of the protagonist being a comic relief is that the drama doesn't seem to take itself seriously enough and it can contradict itself. The whole show can look like a joke in a bad way.

Well it isn't like she's lost it when the implications were more dire. Sometimes when others are in trouble its enough to distract someone from their own panic. 

Really, its interesting to see how this has developed. This kind of pattern is known with kinds of anxiety and Twilight has always shown signs of it. Her OCD behaviors are a waybof keeping the anxiety in check. Resorting books, making lists for the lists. It helps her feel more in control. Unfortunately as her responsibilities have increased, it doesn't seem to be enough anymore. It would be an interesting story to tell but probably too intense and depressing. Stories abound about students as on top of their game as Twilight, and they graduate, start their career, and even though nothing is really wrong, suddenly a nervous breakdown hits after years of going 110% , and bam, new patient with chronic anxiety needing constant medication.

The introduction of "twilighting" though was a pretty uniquely funny moment. 

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Okay, look. I do agree that Twilight's role in the show has gotten very static, and that it hasn't quite gone far enough to re-establish the more balanced personality of the first two seasons - though I thought that season 7 got very close. In general I significantly prefer this version of Twilight to what we saw a few seasons earlier, where she lost almost all of her personality traits in favour of being a sort of bland mentor character. But I do forgive that repetition because:

  1. I find this trait very relatable,
  2. I think a lot of her focus episodes from season 7 forward are in fact quite good, and
  3. I think that, with her significant increases in responsibility, it makes sense that an already neurotic character would become even more so. 

She remains my favourite character for the above reasons, but in general, I don't expect new approaches from the mane six anymore. Season 8 had a few, but to me they felt off, as if the writers only cared about them as ciphers for a story. After season 7, none of the writers actually seem to have interesting new directions for Twilight, and the way her past has been written lately feels inconsistent with how she was introduced. But Twilight remains the most relatable character to me, and I think the writers find fun new contexts for all of those freak outs; in particular, her recent season 9 episode is maybe the best take on perfectionism that the show has ever had, and would absolutely be better than "Lesson Zero" had it come earlier in the show. 

I think it would help if her sarcasm from season 1 came back, but I don't think her arc of suddenly having political power thrown upon her is a sensible approach for that character, so I don't know what's left to do. That's part of why I don't care about her competence, because there is basically nothing she could do as a princess that I would be satisfied with. I wish the show would focus more on her position as principal. I think that has more potential than anything else. But if this is what we're getting now, I guess I'll take it, because that is what I consider one of her most important traits, and I do think the show takes her anxiety seriously when it needs to. I don't want Twilight to be a righteous moral figure, and I don't care whether she does the most sensible thing all the time. This has always been her most humanizing trait, and I can't deny that I'm still relishing that she isn't a bland mentor figure anymore. 

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(edited)

Upon reflection, Twilight has been all over the place. In season 1 she’s more reserved, which made her come off as more mature. Lesson Zero was the beginning of her spaz trait, for sure, but it wasn’t applied consistently until somewhat recently. I chuckle a bit when fans speak of “character arcs.” With most episodes being written by different writers independently, there has been little of that after season 1. It was easy in season 1; “make them less anti-social.” After they accomplished that, the show mostly ditched character development for the main cast. Some side characters, like Trixie, Flim and Flam, Big Mac, have had satisfying arcs. But the Mane 6 just get too much screen time for them to be developed the way a traditional story would. Instead, the characters have developed in unpredictable and probably unplanned ways.

Edited by Zestanor

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I agree somewhat. It's been overplayed at times of course, each character's character quirks are that way. Personally, I still enjoy a good Twilight flipout, because each episode of Twilighting is different from the last.

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On 6/3/2019 at 2:45 AM, AlexanderThrond said:

Okay, look. I do agree that Twilight's role in the show has gotten very static, and that it hasn't quite gone far enough to re-establish the more balanced personality of the first two seasons - though I thought that season 7 got very close. In general I significantly prefer this version of Twilight to what we saw a few seasons earlier, where she lost almost all of her personality traits in favour of being a sort of bland mentor character. But I do forgive that repetition because:

  1. I find this trait very relatable,
  2. I think a lot of her focus episodes from season 7 forward are in fact quite good, and
  3. I think that, with her significant increases in responsibility, it makes sense that an already neurotic character would become even more so. 

She remains my favourite character for the above reasons, but in general, I don't expect new approaches from the mane six anymore. Season 8 had a few, but to me they felt off, as if the writers only cared about them as ciphers for a story. After season 7, none of the writers actually seem to have interesting new directions for Twilight, and the way her past has been written lately feels inconsistent with how she was introduced. But Twilight remains the most relatable character to me, and I think the writers find fun new contexts for all of those freak outs; in particular, her recent season 9 episode is maybe the best take on perfectionism that the show has ever had, and would absolutely be better than "Lesson Zero" had it come earlier in the show. 

I think it would help if her sarcasm from season 1 came back, but I don't think her arc of suddenly having political power thrown upon her is a sensible approach for that character, so I don't know what's left to do. That's part of why I don't care about her competence, because there is basically nothing she could do as a princess that I would be satisfied with. I wish the show would focus more on her position as principal. I think that has more potential than anything else. But if this is what we're getting now, I guess I'll take it, because that is what I consider one of her most important traits, and I do think the show takes her anxiety seriously when it needs to. I don't want Twilight to be a righteous moral figure, and I don't care whether she does the most sensible thing all the time. This has always been her most humanizing trait, and I can't deny that I'm still relishing that she isn't a bland mentor figure anymore. 

I mostly liked her portrayal through season 1-4. Because we could see the most of her being between hungry to full, sleepy to vibrant, annoyed to calm, empathetic to indifferent. Twilight felt annoyed because she was hungry, she felt anxious because of her 'homework', she felt sad and worried because she cared of others, she felt annoyed because she got stung by bees. These aspects are very grounded, basic and physical, but they are key aspects of making us feel for the character, especially in a strong visual medium with target audiences as kids. (This doesn't mean the show has to dumb down.) The empathetic part of her shows what is good about her, so it is the essential part of her. And the more personal the issue gets, it also becomes more personal to the viewers.

More recent seasons are more devoid of these real aspects. Usually she switches between 3-4 modes and they are less nuanced. If the show is about her being a bigger figure and about being a princess etc, it's possible to cut those aspects down, at least at the surface level. But I also think she always is responsible of being the central character of the show and the viewer's point of view, being a moral figure even by showing her mistakes. And as she becomes more of an authority, she should be a better person. She was a moral figure before, and the circumstances of her becoming a princess and a teacher makes her even more of it. Making a mistake as a Ponyville resident was just cute, but making a mistake as a princess can't be just a mistake. The position demands her to be more responsible and to be a better moral figure, even if it means a righteous moral figure that seems bland for some ponies eyes.

But what the problem is, she can be a grounded character while being a better moral figure. I think lots of people think being a good moral figure means boring. People can be awesome and interesting while being a better moral figure. The show demanded her to walk the Celestia's path since season 3 (and potentially since the beginning), but she can be herself and express her character through the show. Imagine Pinkie becomes an alicorn princess. She would never be a lesser, blander, watered-down Pinkie. Same thing for Twilight. The growth can be displayed throughout her becoming a better princess. But it seems like she is slightly a lesser self in some aspects.

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(edited)
2 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

I mostly liked her portrayal through season 1-4. Because we could see the most of her being between hungry to full, sleepy to vibrant, annoyed to calm, empathetic to indifferent. Twilight felt annoyed because she was hungry, she felt anxious because of her 'homework', she felt sad and worried because she cared of others, she felt annoyed because she got stung by bees. These aspects are very grounded, basic and physical, but they are key aspects of making us feel for the character, especially in a strong visual medium with target audiences as kids. (This doesn't mean the show has to dumb down.) The empathetic part of her shows what is good about her, so it is the essential part of her. And the more personal the issue gets, it also becomes more personal to the viewers.

More recent seasons are more devoid of these real aspects. Usually she switches between 3-4 modes and they are less nuanced. If the show is about her being a bigger figure and about being a princess etc, it's possible to cut those aspects down, at least at the surface level. But I also think she always is responsible of being the central character of the show and the viewer's point of view, being a moral figure even by showing her mistakes. And as she becomes more of an authority, she should be a better person. She was a moral figure before, and the circumstances of her becoming a princess and a teacher makes her even more of it. Making a mistake as a Ponyville resident was just cute, but making a mistake as a princess can't be just a mistake. The position demands her to be more responsible and to be a better moral figure, even if it means a righteous moral figure that seems bland for some ponies eyes.

But what the problem is, she can be a grounded character while being a better moral figure. I think lots of people think being a good moral figure means boring. People can be awesome and interesting while being a better moral figure. The show demanded her to walk the Celestia's path since season 3 (and potentially since the beginning), but she can be herself and express her character through the show. Imagine Pinkie becomes an alicorn princess. She would never be a lesser, blander, watered-down Pinkie. Same thing for Twilight. The growth can be displayed throughout her becoming a better princess. But it seems like she is slightly a lesser self in some aspects.

I don’t think she’s become blander at this point in the show, and I find her much more dynamic now than she was in season 4, where she mostly just switched between nagging and self-pity. She wasn’t just bland around that time, she was barely recognizable. I honestly don’t think Twilight ever stopped showing the emotions you mention - they just shrunk in proportion to the show’s increasingly rigid narrative style. 

When I say I don’t want her to be a “moral figure,” it means I don’t want her to do the right thing all the time, and I don’t want her to always serve as a voice of reason. I think that if Pinkie had become a princess instead of Twilight, she probably would have become blander, in that her insecurities would be harder to relate to and she wouldn’t make mistakes as often. Though honestly Twilight was kind of a square to begin with.

I actually really like it when Celestia and Luna make mistakes, because I feel it humanizes them. People want them to be perfectly wise because they think that’s the only way their mythological stature makes sense, but I’m not convinced that’s true. It’s the same for Twilight: I want to see her struggle with being a princess, and her range of emotions in seasons 7-9 seem appropriate for the position she is in. I still think she’s a fun and relatable character.

Edited by AlexanderThrond

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I stopped finding Twilight Sparkle’s freak outs amusing during season seven or season eight. I get that it’s a part of her character but I’ve seen it so many times that it has sorta gotten annoying to see and listen to.

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