Thursday, July 12, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 1 Episode 23

The Cutie Mark Chronicles
The Cutie Mark Crusaders are back in this episode and once again are making little to no effort in earning their stripes.  Or in this case, their cutie marks.  See, now it's come down to just thinking they're all good at the same thing when clearly that's not the case with anyone in Ponyville, hell all of Equestria.  Now unless they smarten up and realize what their special talents are, as clearly seen five episodes ago in "The Show Stoppers", they're never gonna get their cutie marks and they should know it by now.
So they decide to ask a few denizens in Ponyville how they got theirs and Scootaloo initially wants to start with her idol, Rainbow Dash.  But instead, they cross paths with good ol' Applejack and Apple Bloom decides to ask her how she got her cutie mark.  And this gradually leads up to each of the six main characters explaining how they earned their cutie marks through flashbacks.  So we get to see them at younger ages, as fillies.  So let's start with Applejack.  Glad she's up first.
Applejack: I was just a little filly. Even littler than y'all.
Applejack: I didn't want to spend my life at a muddy old apple farm. I wanted to live the sophisticated life, like my Aunt n' Uncle Orange.

Okay, how is she carrying that sack and stick when she's walking on all fours?  Is it sticking to her backside somehow?
Oh, and now we hear of an Orange family with relations to the Apple family.  So the Apples run farms and the Oranges live city lives.  Next thing you know, we're gonna hear of a Pear family who are industrial workers or a Banana family who live tropical lifestyles like in Hawaii.

Young Applejack: Aunt Orange! Uncle Orange! Thank y'all so much for lettin' me stay!

It's strange that Applejack doesn't sound all that young.  So why couldn't she sound more like she did when she was shrunk in Episode 9 or even like her little sister Apple Bloom?

Gentlestallion: And how are you finding good old Manehattan?
Young Applejack: Oh, it's simply divine.
Aunt Orange: Very well said, my dear.
Young Applejack: Although, I must admit the city noise took some getting used to. Where I'm from, nights are so quiet you seldom hear a peep until the roosters wake you.
Gentlemare: The... what?
Gentlestallion: I say, my dear, what in the world is a "rooster"?

Good lord.  Are these sophisticated folks really that dumb?

Pony: Dinner is served.

Young Applejack: Thank goodness. Being a city pony's hard work. I'm so hungry I could eat a... 

And what in the world are they supposed to be eating?  Looks like bare bones to me.

Well, it looks like Applejack just isn't cut out for city life.
Young Applejack: Cock-a-doodle-doo... Oh, I wonder what Granny Smith and Big Macintosh are up to. I bet they're applebuckin' their way through the Red Delicious trees. Oh, what I wouldn't give for just one bite...
Applejack: I never felt so homesick in all my days as I did right then.
Applejack: It was amazin'! A rainbow pointin' right back to... home.
In that moment, it all became clear. I knew right then just who I was supposed to be.
That's when this here appeared.
Applejack: I've been happily workin' in the farm ever since.
What a beautiful story.  Now am I the only one willing to bet that Granny Smith and Big Mac were waiting for her the entire time?


Scootaloo: Sweet? Try sappy.

*sigh* Scootaloo ain't no creature of sentiment.

Well, that was Applejack's story.  Next up is Fluttershy, who says that Rainbow Dash somehow helped her gain her cutie mark.
Fluttershy: It all started at Summer Flight Camp.
Fluttershy: You'd never guess, but when I was little I was very shy. And a very weak flyer.
Young Dumb-bell: Nice going, "Klutzershy"!

Those two again?  They were being bullies even back then?
Now we learn that they picked on poor Fluttershy as well.  Good lord.

Fluttershy: And then, out of nowhere...
Young Rainbow Dash: Leave her alone!
Young Hoops: Ooh, what are you gonna do, "Rainbow Crash"?
Young Rainbow Dash: Keep making fun of her and find out!
Young Dumb-bell: You think you're such a big shot? Why don't you prove it?
Young Rainbow Dash: Whaddya have in mind?
So they decide to settle their differences with a race.
Young Hoops: You're going down!
Young Rainbow Dash: In history, maybe. See you boys at the finish line!

Fluttershy is accidentally knocked off the cloud and falls to earth, where she is caught by a swarming horde of butterflies.
Young Fluttershy: Huh?
Fluttershy: I had never seen such beautiful creatures. Butterflies don't fly as high as my cloud home. And I've never been near the ground before.

And she even starts to sing about it.
What is this place
filled with so many wonders?
Casting its spell
That I am now under
Squirrels in the trees
and the cute little bunnies
Birds flying free
and bees with their honey
Oooh, what a magical place
and I owe it all to the Pegasus race
If I knew the ground had so much up its sleeve
I'd have come here sooner, and never leave
Yes, I love everythiiiiiiiiiing!
And that's when the sky goes boom and all the little animals run for cover.
Now we've seen that rainbow-colored explosion before, so in case it's not obvious, it's Rainbow Dash performing her signature Sonic Rainboom for the first time in her life, just as she stated back in the episode "Sonic Rainboom".
Young Fluttershy: Shhh. It's okay.
Young Fluttershy: You can come out.

Young Fluttershy: Everything's okay. There's nothing to be afraid of.
Fluttershy: Somehow I had the ability to communicate with the animals on a different level.
Scootaloo: Wait, wait, wait. What happened to Rainbow Dash? What about the race?
Fluttershy: Oh. Well, I wasn't there, so I don't really know what happened.
Scootaloo: Come on, Crusaders. We've gotta find her. Besides, I can't take any more singing.
Hmph.  Spoilsport.

"I beg to differ.  That was way too girly."

Says you.  Okay, next up is Rarity.
Rarity: For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I didn't have mine.
Rarity's teacher: Well done, Rarity. Your costumes are very nice.
Young Rarity: Nice?! They need to be spectacular! And the performance is tomorrow!
Rarity: I tried every trick I could think of, but nothing seemed to work. The costumes just weren't right. And the play opened that night.
Young Rarity: Maybe I'm not meant to be a fashionista after all...
Young Rarity: What's going on?! 
Rarity: I had no idea where my horn was taking me.
Rarity: But unicorn magic doesn't happen without a reason.
Rarity: I knew this had to do with my love of fashion and maybe even my cutie mark!
Rarity: I knew that this was... MY DESTINY!
Young Rarity: A ROCK?! That's my destiny?! What is your problem, horn? I followed you all the way out here for a ROCK?! Dumb rock!

The same Sonic Rainboom from before then goes off and splits the gigantic rock and reveals hordes of jewels inside.
So we learn that Rarity got her cutie mark by discovering her magic ability to detect hidden jewels.
Scootaloo: Ugh! These namby-pamby stories aren't getting us any closer to our cutie marks! They're all about finding who you really are and boring stuff like that.
Rarity: Yes, Scootaloo, that's exactly...
Scootaloo: Come on, girls! We need action! We need Rainbow Dash!
Grrr...  Now Scootaloo says finding who they are is boring?!  Jesus, they're never gonna earn their cutie marks at this rate!  Well, at least Scootaloo won't.  The way she keeps going, she's practically not worthy of one.  Well, Twilight's up next, so hopefully it gets better.
Twilight Sparkle: As a young filly in Canterlot, I always wanted to go to the Summer Sun Celebration, where Princess Celestia raises the sun.
Twilight Sparkle: And I saw the most amazing, most wonderful thing I've ever seen.
I poured myself into learning everything I could about magic. My parents decided to enroll me in Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns.
It was a dream come true! Except for one thing... I had to pass an entrance exam!

Examiner 1: Well, Miss Sparkle?
Examiner 1: Well, Miss Sparkle? 

The pressure is on!

Examiner 1: We don't have all day.
Twilight Sparkle: I knew this was the most important day of my life, that my entire future would be affected by the outcome of this day and I was about to blow it!
Young Twilight Sparkle: I'm sorry I wasted your time.

But guess what?  The same rainbow-colored explosion goes off and somehow causes Twilight to enter the Avatar state and her magic spirals out of control!
Not only does she hatch the dragon egg (look, it's Spike!), she levitates the examiners, turns her parents into plants, and makes Spike grow to giant size.

Princess Celestia: Twilight Sparkle.
Young Twilight Sparkle: Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean...
Princess Celestia: You have a very special gift. I don't think I've ever come across a unicorn with your raw abilities.
Young Twilight Sparkle: Huh?
Princess Celestia: But you need to learn to tame these abilities through focused study.
Young Twilight Sparkle: Huh?!
Princess Celestia: Twilight Sparkle, I'd like to make you my own personal protege here at the school.
Young Twilight Sparkle: HUH?!
Princess Celestia: Well?
Young Twilight Sparkle: YES!!!
Princess Celestia: One other thing, Twilight.
Young Twilight Sparkle: More?
My cutie mark! Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes...
So like Rarity's story, we learn two things in one.  Twilight had not only earned her cutie mark, but we learned how Spike came to be.  Oh, and it seems the reason Twilight became a bookworm in the first place was to study magic for every contingency.  Of course, the egg wasn't exactly as colorful as Spike described it in the first episode.  It looks as though Rainbow Dash will be saved for last, but there's a good reason for that.  So that means Pinkie Pie is next to last.  Okay, what's her story?  Well, it certainly is unexpected, that's for sure.
Pinkie Pie: My sisters and I were raised on a rock farm outside of Ponyville. We spent our days working the fields. There was no talking. There was no smiling.  There were only rocks. We were in the south field, preparing to rotate the rocks to the east field when all of a sudden...
Not only is it the same explosion as before, which also explains how her mane became permanently curly, but it follows with a rainbow.
Pinkie Pie: I never felt joy like that before. It felt so good I just wanted to keep smiling forever. And I wanted everyone I knew to smile too, but rainbows don't come along that often.
I wondered, how else could I create some smiles?

We also learn that Pinkie has a full name.

Pinkie's dad: We better harvest the rocks from the south field.
Pinkie's mom: Pinkamina Diane Pie! Is that you?
Young Pinkie Pie: Mom! I need you and dad and the sisters to come in. Quick!
Young Pinkie Pie: Surprise! You like it? It's called... a party!

Now Pinkie can't quite see this at first, but smiles are beginning to come through on her family's faces.
Oh. You don't like it.

Young Pinkie Pie: You like it! I'm so happy!
And last, but certainly not least, comes the story of Rainbow Dash and how she obtained her cutie mark.
Rainbow Dash: It all happened during the race at Flight Camp, where I stood alone against all odds to defend Fluttershy's honor.
I've never flown like THAT before. That freedom was unlike anything I've ever felt. The speed, the adrenaline, the wind in my mane... I liked it a lot.
Young Rainbow Dash: Ow!
Young Hoops: Ha! Later, Rainbow Crash!
Young Rainbow Dash: Hey!
Rainbow Dash: Turns out the only thing I liked more than flying fast... was winning!
Most people thought that the Sonic Rainboom was just an old mare's tail. But that day... The day I discovered racing...
I proved that the legends were true. I made the impossible happen!
Rainbow Dash: And that, little ones, is how you earn a cutie mark.
Now this is the part where we learn that this same explosion and the rainbow had in fact been witnessed by the other main characters as well, which means that the six of them were destined to become best friends for life.  I tell ya...  Why do more episodes insist on threatening to tear apart this magic of friendship anyway?
Now despite all this, Scootaloo at least still doesn't get the meaning of earning cutie marks.  Just as I've been saying, if none of the three understand, they're not going to get their cutie marks ever.  And it is as simple... as... that.  You know, I have an inkling the Cutie Mark Crusaders just aren't gonna reach their goals.  Or at least Scootaloo won't.
What more can I say about this episode?  I liked Applejack's story most of all and Fluttershy's story was really cute, so I rate it second best.  But mostly everything in this episode is ruined because the Cutie Mark Crusaders, let alone Scootaloo, just can't grasp the deeper meaning behind it all.  Things were explained to these fillies quite clearly and yet the thing that they need to do just doesn't seem to sink in.
You know, I seriously think Spike and Scootaloo should get together and go bowling sometime.  Okay, I'm finally done with this episode and now it's on to the next.  Come on, the Chazz!  Let's do this!

"So it seems that these six heroes have been joined together by destiny.  And that rainbow is connected to them all.  Now they have become the best of friends, exactly as foretold.  Finally, everything is all going according to plan."

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the whole point of the Cutie Mark Crusaders is to constantly miss the point. By realizing and capitalizing on their own innate already-there talents, their story would come to a screeching halt. Or maybe in the grand finale, they will finally come to terms with that fact.