Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 2 Episode 6

It should be noted by now that Season 2 is notorious for not always featuring all six of the main characters in an episode, or notably Twilight Sparkle.  In the previous episode, she was neither seen nor mentioned.  Mind you, some Season 1 episodes have done this too, but Twilight was always showing up because she would be sending letters to Princess Celestia.  Now that this has changed since the episode "Lesson Zero", the episodes are more open to possibilities of revolving around a single main character for real.  As for this episode, I'm sure that the episode's title has many of you all thinking of that well-known contagious disease that we remember from childhood - chicken pox.  Now Cutie Pox works the same way, but it involves endlessly performing talents and cutie marks appearing all over the body instead of rashes.  Let's find out how things play with this equivalent fever.

The Cutie Pox
Once again, the Cutie Mark Crusaders prove that they're not gonna get their cutie marks anytime soon by trying to be good at the same thing, especially since said thing isn't even remotely close to their actual talents.  We've seen their special talents in "The Show Stoppers"!  Why do we keep getting scenarios where these three dummies just go around and try a bunch of random stuff?  When in the hell are they ever gonna wise up and take their quest seriously?  If Hasbro meant for this to be a running gag, it's really not all that funny and the reason is that since we've seen what these fillies are capable of, there's really no joy in seeing them not even trying time and time again.  This is overkill.

So the Cutie Mark Screw-ups decide to try their hooves at bowling, but none of them are able to even knock down one pin, though I seriously think the animation made Sweetie Belle screw up on purpose just to make her look terrible.  Seriously, why?  Why does Hasbro keep doing this to them?

After the bowling game, Apple Bloom is in a rotten mood because she thought she earned her cutie mark but didn't and try as her friends might, nothing seems to cheer her up.  Now it's good that they stopped at three attempts while they were ahead, because if this were to keep going, the whole audience would have given up on her.  The reason is because if one tries everything to pull someone else out of a slump and nothing works, the one who keeps trying is eventually gonna give up on said someone else because there's no point.  And believe me, I know that feeling quite well.
Speaking of giving up, that's practically what happens.  When Apple Bloom heads into the Everfree Forest, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo simply turn around and leave.  But where does Apple Bloom think she can go?

Oh, Zecora's place.  So Apple Bloom meets up with her old friend Zecora, whom she befriended back in Season 1, and after getting a broken tooth fixed, she stresses that she just can't seem to earn her cutie mark.  Zecora tells her to have patience, but Apple Bloom isn't about to wait.  Gee, if she's so impatient, why can't she just use her potential construction abilities to fix something that needs a makeover?  If she would just discover that fixing things is her special talents, she'd have a simple solution to her problem!  It's that easy!  Is there any reason why she doesn't even think of this?  Blame it on Hasbro, they obviously wanna keep her a blank flank for the whole series.

When Zecora prepares to brew a mixture for a rooster unable to crow, she mentions this plant known as the Heart's Desire, in which a small amount will give the rooster the jump start he needs.  Now here's what she says that tips Apple Bloom off.

Zecora: It is one we call 'Heart's Desire'. A dash will ignite the rooster's fire. With Heart's Desire, his talent comes into view, and he'll give a mighty cock-a-doodle-doo!

Now if I knew Apple Bloom and the subject of cutie marks, I'd say it's obvious that she's going to steal it and of course something bad is gonna happen, which it does.
It starts off when Apple Bloom shows up with what appears to be a cutie mark in the form of a silver ring.  But I seriously hope any viewer can immediately tell that it isn't a cutie mark at all.
Obviously, Diamond Tiara is not impressed and of course grouchy that Apple Bloom seemingly succeeded in gaining a cutie mark.  Now this is obviously some very ominous foreshadowing regarding Diamond Tiara's character.  See, she picks on the Cutie Mark Crusaders because they don't have their cutie marks, so if they were to somehow earn them, she'd be very grumpy.  So who's willing to bet this little bitch is gonna do everything in her power to stop them from earning their cutie marks just so she can continue to pick on them because she can?  It's bad enough that Diamond Tiara is a bully, but picking on the Cutie Mark Crusaders especially?  Doesn't that mean she's out to get them?

But enough on that. While Apple Bloom shows off her talent to her class, she gains a second cutie mark and an additional talent to match.  Diamond Tiara suspects that the cutie marks aren't real, which they aren't, but everyone else is pretty dumb to believe that Apple Bloom is a doubly special pony.  I sense double trouble.
Oh, and here's a bit of something I might not be able to comprehend.  One of her tricks causes Twilight's mane to be shaped exactly like Rarity's, so Spike falls for her instead.  Does that mean Spike fell in love with Rarity because of her mane?  *sigh*  Forget it.  I don't even know why I brought that up.

So it seems that no one in Ponyville finds two cutie marks on the same pony a suspicious matter, though the viewers damn well should.  It's obvious that Apple Bloom used the Heart's Desire somehow to gain these false cutie marks.  And of course, there's a side effect to it.
During the night, Apple Bloom gains a third cutie mark and the talent it symbolizes, and to make matters worse, she can't stop using any of these talents.
Twilight discovers that the cause is a plague named Cutie Pox, which has no known cure because no one ever discovered how it got started.  But we do.  That's when a fourth cutie mark appears and Apple Bloom starts speaking in French like this.

Apple Bloom: Oh no! Sacrebleu! Plus de marques de cutie! Qu'est-ce c'est?! Je parle fran├žais?!

And this subsequently leads to her gaining cutie marks all over her body and being unable to stop several things at once.  Wow, it's kind of like Dr. Seuss' story of Gertrude McFuzz who grew one too many tail feathers just to make herself better than... Lolla Lee Lou, was it?  But she learned her lesson in the end of course.

Zecora shows up and says that the cure with her remedy will only work if Apple Bloom comes clean and admits her sorry mistake.
And that's what happens, so Zecora's plant grows, Apple Bloom eats it in one bite, and is cured instantly.  What strikes me is how Apple Bloom herself knew that her cutie marks were fake, as she apologizes to her friends for lying and to Zecora for stealing.  But Zecora gives her a most warm smile and says to her...
Zecora: Now, Apple Bloom, do not be silly. You are always welcome, my little filly. With each mistake you learn something new, growing up into a better you.

Maybe that should have been the friendship lesson.  Mistakes do make us better, not admitting we're flawless.  Now I've made tons of mistakes in my life and I'm a good man because now I know better than from some 20 years ago.  But instead, the lesson is that trying to elude patience is not really the answer to getting what you want the most.  Twilight suggests that Apple Bloom should write the letter this time.  Now wait just a second.  When Princess Celestia wanted any of the six main characters to start writing letters, she meant just them, right?  Well, since Sweetie Belle did part of the letter last episode, I guess this one can slide.
But the dumbest part of this episode is that Apple Bloom didn't really learn anything because the Cutie Mark Crusaders go back to hunting for their cutie marks starting with Zecora's place in hopes that they'll be talented potion brewers.

*sigh*  Back to square one.

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if this event raised some audacity here and there.  For one, it seems to be obvious why Diamond Tiara was not present near the end because if she found out, poor Apple Bloom would never hear the end of it.  Oh, and there's a reason I'm not saying Silver Spoon as well, but I'll get to that in a future review.  And more antics from the Cutie Mark Crusaders?  Oh, please.  Hasbro needs to stop wasting their time with them lest the time finally comes for them to earn their stripes... or cutie marks.

"Now these three are what I would call 'slackers'!"

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