Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spare Me All Your Bull About Friendship

For those who care, the highly-anticipated comic series of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has made its release date today.  But good luck getting any copies, I mean with over 100,000 copies pre-sold.  The first conflict features the return of the deadly Queen Chrysalis, vile leader of the Changelings, who kidnaps the Cutie Mark Crusaders and many other denizens of Ponyville, replacing them with imposters.  The story is currently spanning over the course of four issues.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey! Who Turned Out The Lights?
Behold, the true Season 3 finale of Phineas and Ferb!  In this, the episode "Blackout!", Phineas and Ferb devise a way for their usual summer antics while the city of Danville is experiencing a blackout... at night.  Good luck with that.  Then again, it'll be interesting to see what the stepbrothers can conjure up and how Candace will deal with things.  So, can anyone tell who's who in this image?

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 3 Episode 4

I for one am really, really angry with the staff of this series for their poor choices of episodes and I now especially hate Cindy Morrow for writing the script for this beast.  In fact, I'll never, ever forgive her for this torturous episode.  It's so bad, it's officially a close second to the "Canterlot Wedding" episodes.
What still keeps those episodes on top of the bad year blimp list is that betrayals of friendships are much worse than total strangers and bullies getting the drop on someone.  Come on, Fluttershy.  Even you should admit that was bad, as in beyond forgiving.

Oh, good.  I'm glad you agree.  So while Fluttershy cries her tears of guilt, it's time to get down and dirty with this episode that continues to prove once again that the Cutie Mark Crusaders were created purely to suffer in this series.  Wait till I get my hands on the staff one of these days.

Apparently, head writer Meghan McCarthy once stated this regarding the episode.  "[It] explores how you should handle a bully, and sometimes what the source of bullying is," and that "It's wrapped in a story that's really fun and funny, and has music, and doesn't feel heavy-handed."  Like... what the hell, Meghan?!  What the hell?!  This episode wasn't funny!

Also, Equestria Daily, the number one fan site of the series, said that when Babs teams up with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, "hilarity ensues".

Oh.  My.  Frigging.  God!  Equestria Daily is heartless and evil!  And I so hate the blogger Alexstrazsa for even saying that in said post.  That blogger's user name should have been Alexander the Heartless.  I don't believe this.  How many viewers and fans seriously thought this episode was funny?  Well damn these people to hell because they must love it when the Cutie Mark Crusaders get tortured time and time again.  This episode was NOT funny.  I couldn't even bring myself to watch the entirety of this monstrosity, just like "Ponyville Confidential" and the "Canterlot Wedding" episodes.  Okay, let's do this shit.

One Bad Apple
It all starts with Babs Seed, Apple Bloom's cousin from Manehattan.  Now we don't this yet, but she too is tormented for being a blank flank and had come for a visit in Ponyville for a temporary escape.  Except her fears become realized when Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon return and bring on the hate with their heinous teasing.  Babs then decides that the only way out of this is to become a bully herself.  And she starts by sending a pumpkin carriage that apparently belonged to the Cutie Mark Crusaders rolling out of the barn never to be seen again.  And that's just for starters.

Babs Seed: What're you, a snitch?

You know, considering the events and my personal gist of this episode, I think the last thing I have to worry about is that Brooklyn accent.  Really, it's not so bad, at least not in comparison to the rest of this hellhole.  But what Babs says is what ultimately leads Apple Bloom and Scootaloo to believe that they can't just rat her out to Applejack.  But throughout the episode, Sweetie Belle is constantly in the right by suggesting exactly that.  Now even though bullies may talk big, the best solution by far is in fact to tell an adult.  And here's why.

On January 14th, 2010, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince committed suicide by hanging herself as a result of being a constant victim of bullying.  Six teenagers were charged for crimes against civil rights and her death received international attention to the problem with bullying to schools across America.

On October 10th, 2012, much more recently I might add, another teenage girl named Amanda Todd committed suicide, also by hanging herself, over horrible cases of cyber-bullying and blackmail and had posted a video on YouTube with her using flash cards on September 7th, 2012, which gained over 1.6 million views after her death.

Point being?  I'm honestly gonna say that this episode might have been better off not even airing.  Okay, so the staff was probably working on the episode before Amanda Todd died, but not before Phoebe Prince died.  Look, I get that they wanted to do their own thing on teaching viewers the best possible way of dealing with a bully by simply chewing one out, but really?  Was this episode the answer?  I don't think so.  And because of this beast, I despise Cindy Morrow as scriptwriter and I'm never gonna forgive her for this.  I don't care how dark that makes me.  Bullying is much more serious than just something that should be featured in a kids' cartoon.  It's probably not gonna stop any more teens from plausibly committing suicide over very serious cases.  I'm gonna be brutally honest and say that I too was heading in the direction of suicide myself when I was in high school.  So this episode is not okay.  But let's find out what happens.

So the Cutie Mark Crusaders try to stay away from the fearsome threesome, all the while singing songs to try to futilely lift their spirits.

[Cutie Mark Crusaders]
Babs Seed, Babs Seed, what we gonna do?
And that's when the final straw is drawn when their clubhouse is overtaken and they make Sweetie Belle cry for the first time in the series.  Okay, so viewers hate it when these ponies start crying, but the episodes are apparently still liked on YouTube.  What's up with that?  Do these viewers have mixed feelings or something?  Or are they just heartless like I think they are?  This seriously bites.  I hate heartless bastards.

So the Cutie Mark Crusaders ultimately decide to pay Babs back in spades by building a new float for the Summer Harvest Parade and spring a trap by allowing Babs to commandeer it.  That's when Applejack shows up and says something she should have said right from the very beginning, which is exactly what I just told you in the beginning.  Okay, what's Applejack's excuse?  Why did she screw up this time?

Applejack: Well, I didn't say nothin' 'cause I didn't want her to feel singled out, but there's been some bullies back in Manehattan just teasin' her to pieces for her blank flank.

Applejack, you idiot!  If you had just told the Cutie Mark Crusaders right from the start, this whole mess could have been avoided!  That's it!  Applejack, you're not my favorite pony anymore for this!  Screw you!

Applejack: It's okay.

Yeah, you gonna cry?  Good, cause this series can just go to hell!  There's just no thrill in this.  Anyways, once the Cutie Mark Crusaders hear of Babs' back story, they realize that their stunt has just made them no different than her.  Although personally, I would find joy watching bad people suffer for what they do.  And I know a very close friend who would personally agree with me.  So, I can't be all that dark, can I?

Oh, and it looks like that mule from before came back with a pair of shades to boot.  Once again, I don't know why he's there, he just is.

So the Cutie Mark Crusaders catch up to the now out-of-control float, push Babs out just in the nick of time, only to take the full brunt of the intended prank themselves, which leaves Babs aghast.
The four of them then decide to make amends and Applejack points out that they should have come to her first.  But even though it is technically the first and foremost thing to do in the case of a bully, who's to say it will solve all the problems on the turn of a dime?  Phoebe Prince and Amanda Todd took their lives because of bullying and despite the awareness being raised, it still persists to this very day.  Besides, I seriously doubt Applejack of all ponies would solve the problems of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, especially when she and her friends often think that they behave like common criminals.  The episode "Ponyville Confidential" will tell you that.

Sweetie Belle: Oh, why does life have to be so ironic?!

And this is undeniable proof that the Cutie Mark Crusaders have been living torturous lives,  no thanks to the heartless staff of this series, which I now officially hate because of this episode.  It's going beyond ambivalent at this point, seriously.  Where's the love?

Now let's look at something much more lighthearted.  In the series Phineas and Ferb, the character Buford Van Stomm is technically a bully, but in a friendly way that keeps his friendship with his nerd partner Baljeet in tact.  There are points in the series where they are very much aware that they actually thrive on each other's antics to keep them together.  They even did a couple of songs on their relationship.  Buford originally became a bully to save his goldfish from being eaten raw by one and he's only really a bully if he ever gets bored, but he solves this problem by hanging out with stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb.  So what he does with Baljeet is more or less comedy relief as I personally believe Buford would never do anything completely irrational as far as real bullies go.

Okay, so this episode ends with Babs being inducted as the fourth member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders before returning to Manehattan where we learn that she has an older sister she can talk to about her problems.  But then Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon show up again, disappointed that she's now changed sides.
Babs then uses an empty threat on them using her bullying skills she pulled off and scares them into falling off the platform and into a mud puddle.

Ugh... thank God this beast is over.  By now you probably know that my critiques on the series more or less cover the gist of each episode.  In this case, Diamond Tiara still hasn't learned her lesson and to make things worse, Silver Spoon is back to being her cohort after her absence from the position in the episode "Ponyville Confidential".  Not to mention, there really isn't a friendship lesson to be learned or anything, apart from the proper way to handle a bully.
And the real gist that pisses me off?  It's the fact that in practically every single episode featuring the Cutie Mark Crusaders, they end up suffering and getting tortured or publicly humiliated one way or another.  That is the real reason why I despise this episode because the torture for these three fillies never ends for no apparent reason.  Get that memorized before you start hating on me for this hellish critique.

Come on, staff, what the hell is the frigging deal, you morons?!  What's your problem?!  What did these three fillies deserve to get all this?  Do you hate these characters or something?  Do they deserve it?  Hell, no!  Every single episode that's featured them has been a complete waste of time!  And in Season 3, we could have been seeing more of Twilight taking on her more advanced studies.  Instead, we get this shit-hole of an episode where once again, the staff derives great pleasure in making the Cutie Mark Crusaders suffer.  As far as I see things, the Cutie Mark Crusaders get the drop on because they're there.  So here's the part where I roll out my ugly side on these staff shitheads.

Meghan McCarthy, I hate you for writing "Call of the Cutie", "Hearts and Hooves Day", and of course the horrendous "Canterlot Wedding" episodes, and... actually, I'm gonna let the "Crystal Empire" episodes slide.  I really didn't hate them.  Cindy Morrow, I scorn you for "The Show Stoppers", "Family Appreciation Day", and of course this episode, "One Bad Apple".  And of course, I despise Mitch Larson for "Ponyville Confidential".  As for Amy Keating Rogers who wrote "Cutie Pox"...  Hmm...  Actually, Amy, you're off the hook.  I think you suffered enough for "The Last Roundup".  So you're good.  Besides, you wrote "Applebuck Season".  I should in fact love you for that.

Now look at this.  Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon continue to torment the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but they do realize they're pushing their luck doing it when Applejack is around, don't they?  See, even she's getting mad at them.  So apparently they don't give a rat's ass.  So why isn't something done about this?!  Diamond Tiara keeps pushing her luck and yet nothing happens!  Why doesn't she doesn't go to hell already?!  Okay, so the friendship lesson written on the wiki is as follows:

"When there's a bully that's threatening you, you should tell a grown-up that you really trust. It's not tattling when it's a situation that someone can get hurt in. Even if they threaten you if you tell, speaking up and out can turn the meanest bullies to BFFs."

Well, let me tell you something.  From personal experience, this tactic does not work for me.  And nothing was done to prevent the suicides of Phoebe Prince and Amanda Todd.  Telling an adult about a bully is indeed plausible, but there exists two problems with this.  One, the grown-up won't believe the victim at all, and this can happen.  And two, the grown-up will do nothing about it, even if the grown-up says that things will be taken care of.  The latter has been more legit for me based on all that I've been through.  It wasn't until I threatened to commit suicide back in high school that adults started to take me seriously.  I'm not saying to do that, mind you, but the one that makes this series suck is that Diamond Tiara pushes her luck, and nothing is done.  So ol' Babbles may no longer be a threat, but what about Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon?  They're not gonna stop tormenting the Cutie Mark Crusaders, are they?  Hell, no.  They're just gonna keep picking on them either till the cows come home or they commit suicide the same way Phoebe Prince and Amanda Todd did.  Put plainly and simply, telling a trusting adult is the most effective way to ward off a bully, but ensuring that things are taken care of is the real trick, now, is it?  Because if things were done and quite frankly differently, Phoebe Prince and Amanda Todd would have still been alive and here with us today.

Man, where did this series go wrong?  I really wanna know.  Well, I really shouldn't dwell on it much.  After all, I gotta keep going with these critiques.  The worst episode of Season 3 might have come and gone, but I seriously doubt that means things are gonna get better.  Right, Fluttershy?

Gotta admit it's true.  And now that I might as well be declaring that Applejack's head is full of mushy apples for not being decisive, I need to pick a new favorite to replace her... but who?  Should I just let Applejack off the hook again?  Or should I seriously pick a new number one?  Who could it be?

In Loving Memory of
Phoebe Prince and Amanda Todd

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 3 Episode 3

Happy Turkey Day, all you gobblers across America.  And for Canada, sorry I'm a month late, but I only just learned today, you know how it is.  So while you're all preparing to sit down and feast your hearts out, I'll be preparing a special of my own - another critique on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  Our family meal is coming a little late, so in the meantime, I'll be discussing the third episode of Season 3, "Too Many Pinkie Pies".

Too Many Pinkie Pies
We start with Twilight trying to turn an apple into an orange, which I do not think these fruits were picked coincidentally by the way.  That's when Pinkie tackles her as a way of greeting and says Isabella's well-known catchphrase from Phineas and Ferb again.

Pinkie Pie: Whatcha doin'?

That's when we're introduced to the problem of the episode, in which Pinkie is trying to be with all her friends at once, especially when they're doing their fun stuff is happening at the same time.  And just like with the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", Twilight just has to go and open her big mouth and suggest an idea we all know is going to be stupid.

Twilight Sparkle: I'm afraid no matter how hard you try, the only way to pull something like that off is if there's more of you to go around. 

And that's all it takes.  So Pinkie goes to the Everfree Forest in search of this legendary Mirror Pond, and by reciting this incantation...

Pinkie Pie: "And into her own reflection she stared, uh, yearning for one whose reflection she shared, and solemnly sweared not to be scared, at the prospect of being doubly mared!"

...she clones herself, just like that.  Gee, I wonder what would happen if a male came to the pool?  Well, we don't ever have to worry about that problem.  So now there are two Pinkies bouncing around Ponyville to help do twice the work and twice the fun.

Pinkie Pie: Coming in, Dashie?

Hey, Pinkie's now calling Rainbow Dash 'Dashie', just like fans make her do.  Maybe Hasbro does love their fans after all.

But apparently, the double decides that two isn't enough, so they both return to the Mirror Pond and duplicate themselves from two to four.
But even when the original Pinkie declares that this is enough, the three copies multiply themselves into six, and then into twelve, which then leads to the creation of a whole shitload of Pinkies.
And it isn't long before they cause chaos and mayhem all over Ponyville because they all decide to be in the same place at once instead of spreading out.  Yep, they're duplicates of Pinkie all right.  God help me.

So the denizens of Ponyville approach Twilight, either thinking she has the answers or somehow figuring out that it was her big mouth that got them into this mess, but even she can't tell who the real Pinkie is.  And that's when the stupid part comes.  The real Pinkie realizes the cloning chaos she's created and gets all downhearted about it while her copies are still running amok.  But Twilight thinks that she could still be a copy.
Spike: Maybe that one's the real Pinkie.
Twilight Sparkle: Please. The real Pinkie Pie never sat that long in one place her whole life!
Really, Twilight?  I mean, really?  You think any Pinkie could act so miserable and depressed over this matter?  Next thing you know, Twilight will be saying that the real Pinkie Pie never cries.  That's just sad.

Hey, wait!  What's Fancypants doing here?  Last I checked, he was supposed to be a denizen of Canterlot!  They'll pick anyone to be a background character now!

Anyways, Twilight learns a spell tied to the Mirror Pond which is capable of sending any intended target back to the location, but the trouble is she doesn't want to make a mistake.  Please, Twilight.  Just target the Pinkies who aren't sad and your problem is fixed.  Easy peasy.  Except Twilight has to get all dumb just assume that even the sad Pinkie could be a copy.

Hey, look!  There's Tank!  Welcome back, little feller.  Oh, and so is the bear that Fluttershy gave that massage to.  Typical.

So she sets up a test in which all of them are assigned to watch paint dry and anyone who loses focus for even a split-second is called off as not the real Pinkie.  At first, none of the Pinkies budge, but one by one they get distracted and two of the distractions point out some very interesting references.

First up, one of the clones is able to make fingers appear on her hoof.  Fans of the series have made this happen before, especially with Lyra Heartstrings, whom fans depict for some unknown reason as a human lover.  But since Season 3 had been in production since September 2011, we don't know if Dave Polsky wrote this to be a tribute to fans.

And here's the second reference.  Another copy makes a face that bears a striking resemblance to a pony face from a previous generation of the My Little Pony franchise.  How crazy is that?  Lauren Faust, eat your heart out.

Eventually it comes down to two Pinkies remaining, so Rainbow Dash intentionally distracts the last one and the problem is solved.  The real Pinkie then reveals that with such high stakes, she didn't want to get distracted.  So she then has Spike write her fourth letter in the series to Princess Celestia, but then takes the record of being the first other main character to officially sign off her letter.
Pinkie Pie: Respectfully yours, Pinkie Pie.
So now, Pinkie Pie holds the record of being in second place for the most number of letter written to Celestia, with Twilight in first place by a landslide.  Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Spike tie for third with three letters apiece.  And yes, for Rarity, reports delivered in person count, including the episodes "Sonic Rainboom" and "Sweet and Elite".  Applejack and Fluttershy tie for fourth with two letters each.  And finally, Apple Bloom is placed fifth for one letter.  And in addition to keeping score, it should be noted that Twilight's most current letter was written in the episode "Luna Eclipsed" and she hasn't done any since.  Her friends are officially taking over... unless she does one in the upcoming episode "Magic Duel".

Speaking of upcoming episodes, I'm really, really not looking forward to doing the next one.  Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are back to their old antics and this time, they've got a new recruit - Babs Seed, an Apple family member gone to the dark side.  Ho boy...  How am I ever gonna survive this one?  Wish me luck.

Well, that's three episodes down and ten to go.  And as I finish this critique, I'm about to sit down for my Thanksgiving family dinner.  So I'm gonna try not to think about this episode, as like any others, it was mediocre at most.  It does go to show once again that Pinkie's definitely not stupid despite her craziness.  But anyways, I'm gonna go eat.  See you all next time!