Sunday, July 15, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 1 Episode 26

The Best Night Ever
This is it.  The Season 1 finale of the series features the main characters finally attending the Grand Galloping Gala!  Back in Episode 3, five of the main characters fantasize about their possibilities and now to them, they feel that their dreams will come true.  So, are we expecting things to go swimmingly for them?  Well, probably, maybe, I suppose.  And do things go well for them?  No, they actually don't.  And there's one real reason why this is.  Let me sum it up in one word.  Aristocracy.  Now how does aristocracy ruin everything?  Let's go over the cold, hard facts.

In the British comedy television series, Keeping Up Appearances, the main character is Hyacinth Bucket, pronounced "Bouquet" according to her, and to summarize, she basically strives for the social life of aristocracy in every episode, one way or another.  From her point of view, she ends up disapproving of either not much or a lot of pretty much anything that isn't quite to perfection.  Aristocracy pretty much defines the lifestyles of what we call high class and as such, they don't take a liking to those they consider less fortunate or below them.  It's kind of like how some politicians view anyone who isn't rich as ground beneath their heels so that when they take over, they want to create worlds in which only the rich people live happily and make the middle and lower class people suck dirt.  In Keeping Up Appearances, it's fair to say a lot of other characters know this and they can't stand Hyacinth's would-be aristocratic ways.  Of course, for the comedy effect, things generally don't go her way.

So you can imagine how aristocracy plays its hand in this episode.  Those who attend the gala are only those who can afford tickets, which presumably cost a fortune, that and it's this big annual event.  But it turns out, all that really happens at this gala is that the rich citizens basically get together and boast about living the high life.  And you know they're gonna be stingy about their money, especially when they make more than a lifetime's worth, which means that these rich folks would rather keep their money to themselves instead of spending it.  Not to mention, anything they consider lower class is unruly in their eyes.  Yep, that just about sums up aristocracy for ya.  And it is because of aristocracy that things go downhill in this episode.  Let's find out how.

First up, the six main characters sing about attending the gala and again fantasize about their plans.  This would be considered the second real musical number in the series.
All the birdies, and the critters
They will love me big and small!
We'll become good friends forever
Right here at the Gala!
All our dreams will come true right here at the Gala, at the Gala!
Yeah, that's what they think.  Now like the Winter Wrap Up song, this one's also one of the longest in the series, that is to say, it's exactly the same length.  Turns out this song is also a favorite of Daniel Ingram, the composer of the music and songs in this series.  But who can blame him?  The choir in this song consists of 20 people.  Wow, how did they pull that off?  The song is also another sound-alike of Stephen Sondheim's music, this one being like the song "Ever After" from the musical Into the Woods.

Now before I get started, there are a number of fairy tale references in this episode alone.  First of all, Twilight gets to be the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella using her magic to do you-know-what, some things being changed around so it doesn't look entirely unoriginal.  I'll get to another one later, but for now, let's find out how this gala just doesn't work out when ordinary civilians try to hang out with rich snobs.

It just doesn't add up as is.  You see, Spike insists that they all hang out together and tour the inside of Canterlot.  But they all decide they want to live their dreams, so they all separate, leaving Spike to go all by himself to his favorite donut shop run by a unicorn named Joe.  Okay, enough stalling, let's get to this.

Twilight's plan is hang out with Princess Celestia all evening to discuss everything learned so far in person, which she seems to be able to at first.  Score one for Twilight.
Rarity wants to meet this prince named Blueblood and according to her, he is in fact Celestia's nephew.  Now this means one of two things.  Either Blueblood is somehow Luna's son, or Celestia and Luna have a secret sister or relative somehow.  Rarity's dream is have a royal wedding with this guy.  Okay, how long has Rarity been in love with this scoundrel?
Fluttershy's plan is to frolic in the garden and befriend the animals that live there.
Applejack's plan is to sell all of her apples and pastries that she could get her hands on and sell them for money to support her family.  Now we don't know this yet, but Applejack only makes one sale, and the buyer happens to be a Wonderbolt named Soarin', whom we first saw in the episode "Sonic Rainboom".
Rainbow Dash plans to show off her mad skills to the Wonderbolts as her trump card to eventually joining them.  After she saves Soarin's pie, Spitfire recognizes her and offers her the chance to hang out with them.

Rainbow Dash: I'm... hanging... with the... Wonderbolts!

Gotta love that fan girl squeal, but the only thing questionable about this is that it sounds like Rainbow hasn't done this already, but this would be her second time by technicality, assuming the continuity would stay on track more often than not.

As for Pinkie Pie, she's all for having a grand ol' party in the ballroom and attempts to liven things up... with a song.

[Pinkie Pie]
I'm at the Grand Galloping Gala,
I'm at the Grand Galloping Gala,
I'm at the Grand Galloping Gala,
It's all I ever dreamed.
Hey, wait a minute, why this is song sung to the tune of a pre-existing song?  Was this really necessary?  Well apparently, it seems that the rich and snobby aristocrats don't care for Pinkie's partying behavior.  Oh yes, we can already see that these aristocrats are no fun to hang out with.  They just don't give a damn about the lower and middle class nor their behaviors.  Bastards.

Now this is where things start to take a tumble.  Prince Blueblood is revealed to be vain, Fluttershy meets up with the gardener, Mr. Greenhooves, and none of the animals come to Fluttershy's calling, Rainbow Dash can't get a word in with the Wonderbolts, Celestia is too busy greeting guests, and Applejack just can't make any sales.

And as expected, things get progressively worse.  If you look at the faces of these aristocrats you can clearly tell that somehow they know that the six main characters are not up there with them and as such, they find them extremely boring and get themselves practically all but ignored completely.

Now Pinkie tries one last time to get these louts to bust a move... with another song and dance.  Too bad it's sung to the tune of that song we all know, which I... I can't remember what it's called.

You reach your right hoof in
You reach your right hoof out
You reach your right hoof in
And you shake it all about
You do the Pony Pokey meeting lots of folks with clout
That's what I'm talking about
So is Pinkie actually acknowledging that these denizens are upper class twits?  I say they're far too clean for their own good.  And this is why aristocracy ruins everything.  The only good thing is that even Celestia knows this, as we'll find out later.

Eventually, the whole ballroom turns into chaos and spirals nearly out of control when the garden animals burst in followed by a now insane Fluttershy.
Fluttershy: You're... going to LOVE ME!
While the stupid aristocrats run for cover, Twilight signals for her friends to leave and we get another Cinderella moment when Rarity loses her glass slipper and promptly destroys it not wanting any more of the awful Blueblood.  Who can blame her?  You know, I really despise the higher class in general.

Meanwhile, back at Joe's donut shop, Spike, who had been hanging out there the whole time, is in a very pissy mood owing to that his friends didn't come to hang out with him even once.  And that's when they burst in, looking like they've had better nights.  For the record, I'll bet Gummy and Pinkie's birthday parties were better.

Celestia later joins Twilight and her friends explaining what we had already gathered at this point, that because every guest is completely stuck-up, the gala events are always bad.  And this is the very reason why Celestia invited them in the first place, to liven things up.  Of course, no crappy aristocrat is ever gonna take too kindly to a lower class, not even in the real world.  *sigh* It really bites sometimes and if fiction has to make a direct reference to things like this, I sincerely hope it spreads a message that the world still has a chance to get better.  But no, the simple minds refuse to listen.  That's the way it is, isn't it?  Now Twilight and company believe that getting together, which I think they should have done as well because I sure as hell would, now makes their worst night ever, their best night ever.

Now fans also try to liven things up as well, as in they certainly don't sit back and take this lying down.  They make stuff up in order to give bronies and such the idea that things work out in the end.  By that, I mean fan fiction, fan art, and such.  But really, who are they kidding?  The episode ends when the episode ends, and that's pretty much that.  Speaking of endings, this was the last episode of Season 1, which closes with the final get-together of Twilight and friends, Celestia included.  So all we can really do at this point is wonder how things would have been, if they had actually listened to Spike and taken a tour of Canterlot instead of hanging with terrible aristocrats all night.  Personally, I don't even wanna go near one.  They're far too snobby for my tastes.  Well, bon voyage, Season 1!  Season 2 is next!

"Oh, no!  No way!  You're not dragging me into this!  I heard it's worse than Season 1!  You can't make me!"

No one's making you do this, the Chazz.  You're the one who insisted on finding out for yourself why I think the animation in this series is the only thing top notch.  If you've really had enough, you're free to leave.

"Fine!  I will!  You can suffer at the hands of Season 2 for all I care!"


Pfft.  He'll be back.

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