Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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


  1. Applejack was the dumbest I've ever seen her in this episode, by not revealing the truth from the start. She's supposed to be the Element of Honesty!

    From the preview clips, I figured that this is what would happen with Babs. Turning to bullying to prevent being bullied yourself is all too common, and sadly I've done it myself more than once and I regret it. But what the show isn't saying is that the "bully who is lashing out" isn't everyone. From what I've seen, most bullies do it just to be jerks and to get an almost drug-like high out of it. They're evil and nothing will change them, even into their adult years. In-show, this is the kind of bully Diamond Tiara is and there's no sign she's ever going to change (in fact, she's gotten worse again with this episode). Designated villain, after all.

    I did like the song. It's very catchy.

    Yes, I don't like that every CMC episode basically exists to make them suffer. The Scootaloo episode is two weeks away and it turns out her nightmares are caused by Rainbow Dash's stories. Big surprise, jerkass Rainbow Dash strikes again!

    Next week's episode... ugh. The excuses are already coming in, but it looks clear to me that Trixie's cheating with that magic necklace and Twilight later gets her own to counter it from Zecora (and send Trixie packing again). She's not possessed (by Sombra or anyone else) but is just an asshole that's going to enslave all of Ponyville. That's just my guess anyway. One EqD comment said something to the effect that this episode is going to shatter the fandom worse than Derpy/Ditzy did, and he may be right.

    1. Well, Applejack technically didn't lie, but she wasn't decisive. But yeah.

      Dude, your comments make me feel so much better about lashing out on these MLP:FiM episodes. It's like I know I'm definitely not one out of seven billion who rants and raves.

      If Trixie fandom is ruined, it's because fans depicted her as having a change of heart with those fanfics. It'll be interesting to see if this does get worse than the infamous Derpy controversy, which was actually more or less a big misunderstanding to be honest. At least, that's what I interpreted it as. Well, I can assure you that I seriously doubt "Magic Duel" is going to enrage me, but I do see it as "Boast Busters" all over again, if you know what I mean.

      As for "Sleepless in Ponville", it's Scootaloo's choice to not tell anyone about her nightmare problems just because she wants to man up and be cool like her idol. Apparently, she didn't see that Rainbow Dash wasn't too cool for group hugs. I mean, she "gags" at the end of "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", the ONLY worthy CMC episode so far because all that really happens to the tykes is that they just get in an accident, which wasn't even publicly humiliating.

      I like that we're both thinking roughly in the same boat in this series. Well, four episodes down, nine to go. Yeah, can't wait.

  2. Babs's voice did irritate me to start with, but I got used to it. And I really don't like Derpy's original voice at all... the redub was an improvement. When it comes to her, I really don't care about what she's named. But I think the writers are scared about backlash from both sides because, so far this season, she's only appeared once at the jousting scene between Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy (and it's questionable... it's very hard to tell and might not even be her). She still gets merchandise (which cleverly doesn't say either of her names), but she's all but been dumped as a background character.

    I think that's supposed to be "Cloud Kicker" or one of Derpy's palette swap clones in the theater. I thought it was her at first glance too, but she's purple.

    Fanon!Trixie is another character entirely. There's a great many people whose headcanon and fanfic will most likely be ruined come this Saturday, because it won't adhere to their ideal version of Trixie. Until the episode airs, I can't say for sure that she won't be redeemed in some way but I seriously doubt it, after seeing how much of a jerkass she was in the preview clip (even to Snips and Snails). And if she was "possessed" she wouldn't make such a big deal over challenging Twilight or even be in Ponyville at all. No, she'd be off trying to destroy Canterlot or something like that. I'm calling that Twilight's going to destroy that necklace and Trixie will run off in shame again.

    What would be perfect is if at the end of the episode, not learning a single thing at all and still stewing in hatred at Twilight, she comes across Sombra's horn and tries to use its power for herself but ends up overtaken by it and driven insane. If she'd come back for the finale as a real, dangerous threat it'd actually be pretty awesome regardless if she's saved or not at the end. I'd prefer that than having essentially the same "Trixie vs. Twilight" episode every few seasons.

    And no, I also didn't find "One Bad Apple" to be very funny at all, especially after seeing Sweetie Belle crying and later whimpering in her room. The only funny parts I can think of was Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon falling backwards into the mud near the very end, and Scootaloo's drum solo.

    1. The last thing I worried about was Babs' Brooklyn accent. I couldn't even bring myself to watch the whole episode, just the ending. I derived info from the transcripts and gallery.

      We'll just have to wait and see regarding "Magic Duel". I just wonder if already fans are starting to denounce their own fan work with reformed Trixie in it. I honestly could care less about Snips and Snails being joined at the hip... or horns, really. The fact that they still idolized Trixie is detestable and questionable because last I checked, they were shocked to learn that she was a fraud.

      Not learning a single thing is indeed the plausible thing gained from all this, but the most likely character to bring is up is... Discord. He lives for what's been going on right now and I'm sure as hay he ain't rolling around in his stone statue. He's probably like "Oh, this glorious chaos and I'm missing it! *sob*" So when Discord returns, he may be our only hope to bringing all the disharmony seen and mentioned back in the faces of the mane six.

      Make no mistake, Twilight being a bad guy would make the series awesome, provided her reasons for doing so are plausible. Ever seen this image?


      Makes me wish it could be canon.

      You have to wonder about these fans. One minute they're like "Nuuuuu, don't cry, ponies" and then they're like "Who cares? The episodes are great anyway". Mixed feelings is all, my friend.

  3. Kids' cartoons are full of heartless DBs who are unredeemable. Montana Max comes to mind.

    I think much of the hate that MLP gets from its own fanbase is because they hold MLP to a higher standard than necessary. MLP is not going to prevent kids from committing suicide, and holding it to that absurd standard is ridiculous. The TV is not anyone's nanny, and it should not be expected to be.

    If AJ had told them Babs was being bullied, there would be no episode. This is entertainment, for Pete's sake. It doesn't operate like real life. If it did, it would be exceedingly dull.

    1. No episode, huh? Good, because this one just gave the staff a chance to tea-bag the CMC when they've already been down on their luck time and time again. Quite frankly, that seems to be the gist behind these characters.