Sepul-Coloratura

Common pitfalls writers fall into when writing about the Mane Six?

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What do you think the most common pitfalls that writers fall into when writing an episode about the characters (mostly the Mane Six)?

These are what I think.

Spoiler

 

Twilight Sparkle : She has to be flawed, thus she has to freak out about something, mostly about the princess duty.

  • Origin : Lesson Zero
  • Good Examples : Swarm of the Century, Lesson Zero, A Royal Problem
  • Bad Examples : The Crystal Empire, Princess Twilight Sparkle, School Daze, The Beginning of the End
  • Note : She's more interesting and 'relatable' when she is competent and when she is the last spokespony of common sense, not the other way around.

Applejack : She acts stubborn and sticks to a weird and ridiculous plan to the point of being stupid.

  • Origin : Applebuck Season
  • Good Examples : Applebuck Season
  • Bad Examples : Apple Family Reunion, Somepony to Watch Over Me, Applejack's Day Off (the lesson was good, but the process was too obnoxious), The Cart Before The Ponies, Grannies Gone Wild
  • Note : It's more of an interesting episode when she lies. Her element honesty didn't translated well in the story.

Rainbow Dash : She comes up with the worst plan. Her arrogance and inconsideration are dealt in a pathological way in the episode. Her loyalty was scarcely displayed.

  • Origin : The Mysterious Mare Do Well
  • Good Examples : May the Best Pet Win, Read It and Weep, 
  • Bad Examples : Rainbow Falls, Newbie Dash, 246 Greaaat
  • Note : She is the hardest character to write in MLP in my opinion. Her flaws are obvious and the writers can be sucked into the big hole and the story becomes far from being subtle. If she showed that she cared about her friends as much as about Tank, it would be much better. (I think Sunset Shimmer is the refined version of Rainbow Dash because she keeps all the charm while removing the flaws.) Rainbow Dash is more interesting when she is being genuinely awesome and doing what she likes and involved in action. And displaying only flaws without strengths of the character in the show can be damaging to all characters.

Pinkie Pie : A solution breaker. She prevents every possible easier solutions to a problem using her destructive nature. She becomes inconsiderate to the point of going too far.

  • Origin : Over a Barrel
  • Good Examples : A Bird in the Hoof, A Friend in Deed, Too Many Pinkie Pies
  • Bad Examples : Rock Solid Friendship, Horse Play, Yakity-Sax
  • Note : She is more interesting when she is solving problems rather than making problems, and when her character is displayed through relatable and common values. Her destructive nature to make problems to build a conflict inside an episode moved to Yona (She's All Yak, 246 Greaaat).

Fluttershy : She has to overcome her fears again (fixed). Now her lack of shyness has to be displayed. She becomes downright aggressive just to add some extra catharsis to her character's twist. It is displayed not in a good way. (My detailed thought about the issue : https://mlpforums.com/topic/184572-i-think-inherently-fluttershy-is-and-should-be-a-shy-character/?tab=comments#comment-5606764)

  • Origin : Fluttershy Leans In
  • Good Examples : (I don't think this change worked out quite well to be honest. She is a shy character, like Rarity likes to show off and Pinkie likes to party.)
  • Bad Examples : Fluttershy Leans In (because it was not much of an interesting story by itself, just as a fanservice for the people got sick of Fluttershy's shyness), Fake it Til You Make it, Sounds of Silence
  • Note : Her shyness in inherit in her character as her name shows. Her being brave despite being a shy pony was her greatest strength and motif. She was never a weak pony. And also, her kindness is her first and most important characteristic. Her with less kindness is just a worse Fluttershy.

Rarity : Sometimes her character becomes less about her inside, and more about her outside. Her hobbies, accessories, voice accents are treated only as a gimmick in the episode.

  • Origin : Look Before You Sleep
  • Good Examples : Look Before You Sleep, Simple Ways, Rarity Investigates, It Isn't the Mane Thing About You
  • Bad Examples : Fake It Til You Make It, Friendship University, The End in Friend, She's All Yak
  • Note : I think she is the most well designed character of the Mane Six. And her shortcomings in early seasons (she was my least favorite character) were fixed along the way. Her element generosity should be utilized in the episode's narrative. And actually, that also applies to all the characters above.

Princess Celestia : She has to show her down-to-earth side and a less princess stuff. She has to have a twist in her royal character and have some unexpected hobbies or something, to the point of being irresponsible.

  • Origin : A Bird in a Hoof, Fanfics
  • Good Examples : A Bird in a Hoof, The Best Night Ever, Slice of Life, A Royal Problem
  • Bad Examples : Horse Play, The Beginning of the End
  • Note : I feel like there is no need to state her being useless. And also, Celestia should have remained a central role as a ruler of Equestria and a divine being. Being a ruler isn't that fun for a protagonist.
 
The characters that the example has to be 'all the episodes he or she is in' are not included. so...
 
What do you think the most common pitfalls that writers fall into when writing an episode about the characters (mostly the Mane Six)?

 

 
  • Brohoof 1
  • Pondering 1

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(edited)

RD's not hard to write, nor should she be, a lot of her worst episodes of seasons 6-9 all suffer from the exact same problems, which is honestly the result of lazy writing and story editing. They just really just come off like the writers of those episodes are going "You guys like Rainbow Dash? Not on our watch!", and they all just feel like their sole purpose is to either ruin her or punish her or both, they just want to make her a bad guy and nothing more. Say what you will about the likes of Rainbow Falls, I still believe it nothing but the best of intentions, and underneath the mess there is potential for a good episode somewhere in there, which most of the worst post S6 episodes don't have.

And it's not like "oh my god you just don't like it when RD is in a bad light, lolol fukkin fanboi", Parental Glideance she did some pretty shitty things with her parents, between not telling them she's a Wonderbolt though after Newbie Dash I wouldn't tell them either to telling them off halfway in front of Scootaloo, yet lots of people, myself included, love that episode, and that's cause the episode doesn't go out of its way to be a giant douchebag about it. Her reasons are understandable, pent up frustration and embarrassment, and even though the episode paints her in the wrong, it doesn't vilify her for it. Hell I can say the same thing for Secrets and Pies, an episode that, had it been in any other season, probably would have been a dumpster fire, and ended up being better than it had any right to be. Both were written by the same guy, who obviously did his homework on the character and actually managed to break the "new writers suck at writing RD episodes" curse that's been plaguing the show since S6. Both episodes would have most likely turned out a lot worse had they been done by someone else or been in a different season

Edited by Kiryu-Chan

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Making them learn lessons they already learned yearts ago, or have a behavior totally contrary to how they were some another episode, are the two most classic pitfalls

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I think the biggest mistake the writers are doing currently, is writing about the Main 6 as main characters with flaws, instead of mentors with inspiration for the younger up comers of Equestria such as the Student 6.
Instead we get the "Student 6 taught Rainbow Dash and Applejack to work together", "Yona doing everything right, but Rarity & Co doesn't understand, and makes her cry in the end", and of course the latest "Smolder has a grown up talk with Rainbow Dash".

And Twilight? The soon new ruler of Equestria, who doesn't really seem to be the right choice. She's freaking out about anything, and she is being too competitive and ignoring friends until the last minute. Still, all her episodes with Spike lately have been pretty entertaining and not so bad, so maybe she is the easiest to write about?

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Sticking characters into a plot concept instead of developing an idea around where they want to take the character, or scenario they create around trying to see how a specific character would react. 

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Yeah you pretty much got it all down for me @Sepul-Coloratura. And worst..it's repeats. But.. I still watch it as if the last time they've done it never happen. 

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(edited)

OP and others already said all I was going to say. I'll just give a few brohooves and move on.

EDIT: In episodes where Twilight is the main focus and has some end-all plot the cartoon has a tendency of treating Twilight's friends as though they are a single unit.

Edited by Metemponychosis

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3 hours ago, Jeric said:

Sticking characters into a plot concept instead of developing an idea around where they want to take the character, or scenario they create around trying to see how a specific character would react. 

This is what I tend to blame for a lot of my frustrations in the show, yes. 

6 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Twilight Sparkle :

  • Note : She's more interesting and 'relatable' when she is competent and when she is the last spokespony of common sense, not the other way around.

Applejack :

  • Note : It's more of an interesting episode when she lies. Her element honesty didn't translated well in the story.

Rainbow Dash :

  • Note : She is the hardest character to write in MLP in my opinion. Her flaws are obvious and the writers can be sucked into the big hole and the story becomes far from being subtle. If she showed that she cared about her friends as much as about Tank, it would be much better. (I think Sunset Shimmer is the refined version of Rainbow Dash because she keeps all the charm while removing the flaws.) Rainbow Dash is more interesting when she is being genuinely awesome and doing what she likes and involved in action. And displaying only flaws without strengths of the character in the show can be damaging to all characters.

Pinkie Pie :

  • Note : She is more interesting when she is solving problems rather than making problems, and when her character is displayed through relatable and common values. Her destructive nature to make problems to build a conflict inside an episode moved to Yona (She's All Yak, 246 Greaaat).

Fluttershy :

  • Note : Her shyness in inherit in her character as her name shows. Her being brave despite being a shy pony was her greatest strength and motif. She was never a weak pony. And also, her kindness is her first and most important characteristic. Her with less kindness is just a worse Fluttershy.

Rarity

  •  Note : I think she is the most well designed character of the Mane Six. And her shortcomings in early seasons (she was my least favorite character) were fixed along the way. Her element generosity should be utilized in the episode's narrative. And actually, that also applies to all the characters above.

Do you prefer when the mane six make mostly good decisions? I personally find their flaws - and how they manage to be good people despite those flaws - to be the most relatable thing about each of them. 

In fact, my absolute least favourite Twilight Sparkle characterization is when she's blandly righteous, especially when she has to tell her friends the right way to act. The most common pitfalls for all of the characters is when they're understood shallowly - that is, when they're heroic without showing their unique traits, or when they're flawed without showing their insecurities. The latter extreme in particular is something that every character has suffered from at every point in the show, and I think it - alongside plot-first writing - is the reason for most of the show's lowest points. 

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(edited)
1 hour ago, AlexanderThrond said:

Do you prefer when the mane six make mostly good decisions?

Not always necessarily. But in the end of the day, they should eventually. I think it's more about how cleverly the writers tackle the issue about the character. Where the Apple Lies, Lesson Zero, Too Many Pinkie Pies, Inspiration Manifestation, Sonic Rainboom, A Friend in Deed, Hurricane Fluttershy are all great episodes. At least the flaws and bad decisions made sense compared to episodes like The Cart Before the Ponies, 246 Greaaat, She's All Yak, Uprooted, Non-Compete Clause, Rainbow Falls. The good episodes also has a redeeming factor despite the character's flaws. And the audience understands everything snd sympathizes with the character instead of assuming what the writers intended. Everything is self evident in good episodes. In bad episodes, the characters act the opposite of what they would just to make things work the way the writers think it should. The characters doesn't act in character and the audience is emotionally detached with the character for sometimes going as far as defying common sense.

The writers shouldn't know any less about the characters than the audience. The characters learning lessons and applying those lessons are essential and should have been prevalent in later seasons. Unfortunately, those are only displayed by some few mentions about past incidents and callbacks as fanservices. It never tied in with the plot. And the worse part is when the characters simply degrade.

Long story short, it's about generally a good story. And to be more specific, how the flaws and character traits are treated. "David was small, but he was brave and never gave up. He defeated Goliath. David is awesome." instead of "David was so small, he ruined everything and made bad decisions. Later on, he found out how stupid he was and fixed it, then he could defeat Goliath. David is an idiot not to see it."

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura

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(edited)
53 minutes ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Long story short, it's about generally a good story. And to be more specific, how the flaws and character traits are treated. "David was small, but he was brave and never gave up. He defeated Goliath. David is awesome." instead of "David was so small, he ruined everything and made bad decisions. Later on, he found out how stupid he was and fixed it, then he could defeat Goliath. David is an idiot not to see it."

I know what you're saying, but I don't agree with this part. "Person overcomes the odds to do great thing" is one kind of conflict, but there's other kinds as well, most of which can be more complex than that David and Goliath model. Not everyone has made mistakes as dramatic as the characters in My Little Pony do, but by the same token, not everyone has done anything as dramatic as saving a country. Everyone has made mistakes of some sort or another, and we all would like to think that we learn from our mistakes. I like watching the mane six make mistakes because they reflect my own mistakes, which can be as emotionally satisfying as watching them do good deeds.

You say you like "Lesson Zero," but do you like it because Twilight makes mistakes, or despite that? That's not a story about Twilight overcoming the odds, that's a story about her realizing "how stupid she was" and apologizing once someone else fixes her mistake. But it's great because we always know where she's coming from, which makes it meaningful when she learns from her mistake. That's what makes a great episode of My Little Pony to me.

Edited by AlexanderThrond

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(edited)

Pinkie Pie: overexcited child on sugar rush :okiedokieloki:. You know how you need to write a comic relief, but this comic relief ends up really annoying. Yeah, that's Pinkie Pie. The others though I don't really know.

Rainbow Dash had her days of shame. 

Rarity can't really say anything except she sometimes really bad at fashion.

Twilight, why can't we just return to the days of sociopathic Twilight? 

Edited by R.D.Dash

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2 hours ago, AlexanderThrond said:

I know what you're saying, but I don't agree with this part. "Person overcomes the odds to do great thing" is one kind of conflict, but there's other kinds as well, most of which can be more complex than that David and Goliath model. Not everyone has made mistakes as dramatic as the characters in My Little Pony do, but by the same token, not everyone has done anything as dramatic as saving a country. Everyone has made mistakes of some sort or another, and we all would like to think that we learn from our mistakes. I like watching the mane six make mistakes because they reflect my own mistakes, which can be as emotionally satisfying as watching them do good deeds.

You say you like "Lesson Zero," but do you like it because Twilight makes mistakes, or despite that? That's not a story about Twilight overcoming the odds, that's a story about her realizing "how stupid she was" and apologizing once someone else fixes her mistake. But it's great because we always know where she's coming from, which makes it meaningful when she learns from her mistake. That's what makes a great episode of My Little Pony to me.

Lesson Zero is one of very few examples that flaws were portrayed in a good story. My explanation ins't for all cases, and the David and Goliath comparison doesn't apply to Lesson Zero. I said that because that's usually how the show ends up when being stupid. The important part in Lesson Zero is that throughout the journey, we were with Twilight the whole time, even when we could see that she's all wrong. Also, it's hell of an entertainment as well.

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For Rainbow Dash, they seem to struggle with meaningful, long-term character development.

 

(Don’t get me wrong, I like her a lot. Just wish they could write her better.)

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15 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Lesson Zero is one of very few examples that flaws were portrayed in a good story. My explanation ins't for all cases, and the David and Goliath comparison doesn't apply to Lesson Zero. I said that because that's usually how the show ends up when being stupid. The important part in Lesson Zero is that throughout the journey, we were with Twilight the whole time, even when we could see that she's all wrong. Also, it's hell of an entertainment as well.

Alright, I guess we're on the same page here; I bring all of this up because in seasons 4-6, when Twilight almost always made the right decisions, I found her very boring, which I liked much less than what she's like now. 

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13 hours ago, AlexanderThrond said:

Alright, I guess we're on the same page here; I bring all of this up because in seasons 4-6, when Twilight almost always made the right decisions, I found her very boring, which I liked much less than what she's like now. 

Throughout Season 4-6, her presence was very weak imo.

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I always seen it as a flaw that Twilight makes friends with the Mane 5 too fast instead of pacing it on a slow steady build up. Also Twilight doesn't actually work on making new friends and sticks within her circle most of the time.

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(edited)

For some reason, they like treating Twilight's friends like they're a single character during the two-parters.

Edited by heavens-champion

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On 8/22/2019 at 10:15 AM, Singe said:

I always seen it as a flaw that Twilight makes friends with the Mane 5 too fast instead of pacing it on a slow steady build up. Also Twilight doesn't actually work on making new friends and sticks within her circle most of the time.

It felt more natural when Twilight was new to the herd and were getting to know the characters.

Now she is close friends with them, they have been friends for moons (because the time is not specific but I presume it's been a long time) and they know each other very well, at least that's the show's premise now. But somehow Twilight doesn't feel like that close to them, because all the details of the journey they took isn't with them. All the specific chemistry Twilight had with the Mane Six isn't quite present.

It would have been more interesting If the show focused more about Twilight making new friends and spreading friendship, which she does but not that much as a princess of friendship should.

6 hours ago, heavens-champion said:

For some reason, they like treating Twilight's friends like they're a single character during the two-parters.

I liked the two parters when they focused on the Mane Six as individuals. Each of them had their moments and also showed how different they were. But even the movie didn't do that anymore, and that's disappointing.

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