Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 1 Episode 5

Griffon the Brush Off

While the series seemed to start out on a somewhat mediocre level, it now seems to be dropping to a below average level.  Why is that?  Well for starters, this episode starts off slower than the last four.  Each episode is an average 22 minutes long, and for at least seven whole minutes of this one, we don't get anywhere towards the main plot, despite the buildup.

Pinkie Pie: I mean, duh, bo-ring!

Yeah, and we also got roughly fifty seconds of this lengthy beginning with no plot whatsoever of Pinkie chasing Rainbow Dash, and by chasing I mean hopping around like Peppy LePew, never mind how she always manages to catch up to him... I mean her.  Guess she's a little too oblivious to take a hint that Rainbow wants her to piss off.

Speaking of, it seems that despite the six main characters being good friends with one another, Pinkie Pie seems to be acting annoying towards Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, as both of them can't seem to stand her during the beginning of the episode.  But you know what Pinkie's charm is?  She's basically happy-go-lucky, positive, and full of energy.  Now I know a friend who is somewhat of a chatterbox, but is usually happy much more often than not and that's what to like about these characters.  Sure, they may be as annoying as sin to put up with and listen to, but if you look deep down inside, you'll find that they mean well and have a positive spin on a lot of things.

Take this scene for instance.  When Rainbow Dash takes Pinkie Pie under her wing and they pull pranks on the other main characters, Pinkie draws the line when Fluttershy is one of the intended victims.  Knowing how sensitive Fluttershy is, she instantly calls it off and pulls a fast one on Rainbow Dash instead.  This, if anything, is more proof (and we'll see much more in the series) that Pinkie Pie is definitely not stupid.

When we finally do get somewhere in the episode, we're introduced to this griffon gal named Gilda, and although it's not known to the viewers yet, she's the second antagonist in the series after Night Mare Moon from the pilot episodes.  Evidently, she and Rainbow Dash are old friends from this Junior Speedster flight camp or something.  Okay, so what's the deal with Gilda anyway?

Rainbow Dash: Hey, remember the chant?
Gilda: Sha, they made us recite it every morning, I'll never get that lame thing out of my head.
"That lame thing".  Okay, now it's obvious that this Gilda is not gonna be one of the most likeable characters in this episode.  So what is this chant that Gilda calls lame anyway?

[Rainbow Dash/Gilda]
Junior Speedsters are our lives,
Sky-bound soars and daring dives
Junior Speedsters, it's our quest,
To some day be the very best!
Notice that Gilda completely lacks enthusiasm while doing it.  Heaven forbid, it's not like Pinkie Pie's gonna make a fool out of you or anything.  Does anyone else have a bad feeling about Gilda now?  I mean, I like tough girls and all that, but there's really a fine line between tough-as-nails and being a downright bully.  You'll see what I mean.

So while Pinkie Pie still tries to hang out with Rainbow Dash, who's all for it despite hanging with her old friend, Gilda just doesn't like it.  Eventually, she gets all strikingly tough with her, saying:

Gilda: Don't you know how to take "get lost" for an answer? Dash doesn't need to hang with a dweeb like you now that I'm around. You're dorkin' up the skies, Stinkie Pie, so make like a bee and BUZZ OFF.

So we get the impression that Gilda isn't just a toughie and all that.  She also seems to be mean.  Well, she decides to get advice from Twilight, who just dismisses Pinkie's misfortune as her holding a hint of jealousy towards Gilda.  Way to go, Twilight.  Don't you know that Pinkie Pie is not stupid?  Even she knows when someone's being a bully.  So Pinkie leaves in a huff, not that I blame her because Twilight was practically a jerk that time.  If I were Twilight, I would tell Pinkie exactly what the friendship lesson learned at the end of the episode says, which we'll get to later.  But noooo, we have to leave this conflict hanging a little longer, don't we?

Twilight Sparkle: Listen Pinkie, I don't want to upset you...

You just did, idiot.


See?  Even Big Mac agrees.

Now this next part is kind of like the Monster Buster Club episode "Outcracker's Badland Galaxy Tour", in which Cathy invites this intergalactic TV star named Outcracker to Earth and film some stunts a la Crocodile Hunter.  It turns out that Outcracker is dangerous and ends up having to be stopped.  Well in this case, the equivalent is Rainbow Dash and Gilda, and Pinkie Pie confirms that Gilda is not fit to hang around Ponyville.

She scares the living hell out of Granny Smith taking full advantage of her senior age, she steals an apple without paying for it and doesn't get caught, and she gets all Thug Zook with Fluttershy and sends her off running in tears!  It should be noted that Rainbow Dash is not present whenever she's being mean to anyone, so she can't necessarily vouch for her bad side.

But like hell Pinkie Pie is gonna take all this lying down, especially making Fluttershy cry.  So she comes up with a plan, which is actually to wipe that bad attitude clean away with a party.

This seems to work, as Gilda manages to keep her cool, possibly because Rainbow Dash is now present, but after taking the full brunt of several pranks, she snaps and accuses Pinkie Pie of reeling her into humiliation.  Rainbow Dash then reveals that he... I mean, she... set up the pranks, none of them directed at Gilda, and she just happened to set them all off.  Yeah, like Gilda's gonna believe that.  Rainbow then tells off her once friend for being mean to everyone in Ponyville and Gilda takes off in a huff.  Good riddance.  Who needs her anyway?


Rainbow Dash apologizes to everyone for Gilda's behavior, not thinking that these were her true colors, and Twilight apologizes to Pinkie for misjudging her (that's better) and once again narrates her letter to Princess Celestia, summing up that the lesson learned is that if someone is really a friend, that realization will come to be in time.  See, I told you.

Oh, and the episode ends with one final prank, seeing as they seemed to be the highlight of the episode, which is in fact the same disappearing ink used on Twilight, which she sent to Celestia as a joke.  Couldn't resist, could you, Twilight?  Tsk, tsk.

Now you can already guess what I see is wrong with this episode.  The buildup to the eventual plot takes way too long, as in "one third of the entire episode" long.  But apart from that, the rest of the episode seems to go along pretty smoothly, aside from Gilda being a jerk, but that was just to be expected.  We knew this right from when she first appeared.  But Night Mare Moon obviously made a far better antagonist because... well, let's just say you don't have to be a bully to be a bad guy.  So while the last episode was completely bearable, maybe even good, this episode doesn't it make it to mediocre as far as I'm concerned.  As for the next episode...  Ugh, I really wish I didn't have to go over it, but... it can't be avoided, so I'll just go and get it over with.

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