» TRS Round Table 040: Twilight Time Review

Are you ready for some quality time? The latest episode of Friendship is Magic, “Twilight Time,” aired on the Hub on February 22nd, 2014, Welcome aboard to another edition of the TRS Round Table, where we have the best kind of chat: horse chat. Taking a seat at the Round Table are ComradeCosmobot, The Doctor, Wylie, Fizzbuzz, and KefkaFloyd! Read more to see how we spend our time with the princess.

KefkaFloyd: Twilight Time, written by Dave Polsky, is our first CMC focused ep since Flight to the Finish, and it’s decidedly more down to earth. The fate of the town in the Equestria Games isn’t at stake, it’s the eternal problem of trying to deal with the popular kids at school.

The Doctor: I am always up for the antics of the CMC, and am glad to see them get another episode to themselves. I enjoyed the subtlety of this episode. The CMC at first weren’t even trying to use Twilight to be more popular. They thought bringing Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon would force the two of them to learn something. It wasn’t until after that happened that they saw they were popular because of Twilight and tried to roll with it.

Fizzbuzz: This sort of relatability is a big reason why I enjoy episodes starring the CMC. Whereas the Mane Six often go on big, fantastic adventures, the CMC are still a little bit too young for that, so it seems like Meghan McCarthy saves a lot of the show’s more social episodes for them.

Wylie: The CMC seem to be where the show can tell stories about how groups of kids should behave towards one another. That’s something the main characters really can’t do well, because they’re such a well-knit team and there’s not a rival Mane Other 6 around to cause conflict with them. The CMC, as a group, can stand in for the show’s target audience’s group of friends, and how they react to and overcome Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in a schoolyard situation. It’s nice that the show can do stories like this.

Twilight Wiping with Burger Excuse me, where are my manners?

KefkaFloyd: Twilight might have a pair of wings, but she’s still a book-loving nerd who loves knowledge. People in the thread were saying “Twilight is now a canon slob!” but she’s always been messy. Her neatness only applies to specific things, she’s otherwise content to just leave giant messes for Spike to clean up.

Fizzbuzz: Honestly? To me, Twilight never seemed like an especially neat person. It’s just that, as an introvert, we don’t often see her going out and burgin’ out like she did in this episode. Most of the messes we’ve ever seen her generate are usually of the piles-of-books variety.

Wylie: She’s full of contrasts, isn’t she? Her desk is obsessively neat, yet in the heat of research, she can ruin a library in no time flat. If Spike weren’t around to clean up after her and tick off on her checklists, she’d be a mess for sure. I’m not really sure, to be honest, that “Twilight Sparkle is lacking in the social graces” is breaking news- she’s been awkward in public since Act I, Scene I, Episode I.

ComradeCosmobot: But we haven’t really seen her be that awkward since well before she became a princess (obsession over Daring Do aside). It’s a nice touch to actually see some character on Twilight again, but I still feel she’s missing the charm of awkward Twilight from Season 1. That said, a number of people have pointed out that this is really the only plausible outcome of Twilight’s growth (i.e. that she become less awkward), so I guess it’s realistic… It’s just not as entertaining.

The Doctor: It seems like such a little thing, slob Twilight worked wonder for me. This season she has seemed so boring. Without her freaking out and only showing up to dispense some wisdom now and again, there wasn’t much to her. It’s great to see her in a much more relaxed setting doing some normal things.

Twilight and the CMC Succeed Practice makes perfect!

KefkaFloyd: Of the three CMCs, Sweetie Belle definitely had more of the focus in this episode. We got to see her perform magic for the first time, and she was the de facto leader for the three.

Fizzbuzz: More of it, perhaps, but I don’t think she had enough attention on her (versus, for example, Scootaloo in Sleepless in Ponyville) to completely put her ahead of the other Crusaders. But still, it’s only natural that we’d notice her magic use the most, since compared to what the other two were doing it’s what we’ve seen the least of in the past.

The Doctor: I have to agree. While Sweetie Belle was kind of in the lead role, I don’t think this was anymore her episode than the others. They all had moments to shine this episode. Sweetie Belle using magic was also a lot of fun to see. I am interested to see how much more we’ll see in future episodes.

ComradeCosmobot: Even if this doesn’t count as a Sweetie Belle episode, we’ve got episode 20 on the way, not to mention an Apple Bloom episode next week (March 8). With a Scootaloo-centric episode already past (“Flight to the Finish”), this really is probably meant to be more the CMC episode this season than a Sweetie Belle one. And that’s fine!

KefkaFloyd: The moral of the episode is a pretty good one: be friends with people because you want to be their friend, not to get status out of them or use them. How well did you think the staff executed the moral?

Fizzbuzz: Was that entirely it? I got a big feeling of the episode teaching us to not take advantage of our friends and their generosity. I found myself sympathizing with Twilight Sparkle here, with her library suddenly full of kids who want the same amount of attention she’d so kindly been giving to the CMC all that time.

Twilight Time! There’s no such thing as zombie ponies.

The Doctor: I don’t know if that was quite it either. Twilight seemed genuinely interested in teaching the kids if they wanted to learn. Look how fast she organized the kids into learning groups. While not taking advantage of your friends might have been a part in the episode, I think the much more blatant message was to succeed on your own laurels and not the coattails of others. Scootaloo now being able to field strip machinery is cool! Not seeing the other little unicorns using magic, Sweetie Belle might be the only one in her class who can levitate things. On a side note to the levitation thing, I was shocked we didn’t get Twilight dropping a “Size matters not..” line.

KefkaFloyd: The CMCs are growing up a bit, but it’s a bit startling to see so many kids in their class having a tattoo on their butt. Can the show keep them blank flanks while still trying to grow their characters?

Fizzbuzz: No way. In fact, the activities of the CMC were a very major hint as to how their talents have evolved and what they’ll eventually end up doing (or at least that’s the case for Apple Bloom and Scootaloo; being a super wizard is already Twilight’s schtick, so I doubt we’ll see Sweetie Belle majorly hitting the spellbooks). The Crusaders getting their cutie marks is looking unlikely this season, but if their flanks are still blank past season five then I think things will really start to feel weird.

ComradeCosmobot: I dunno if what they were doing is really indicative of what they’ll end up doing, seeing as “The Show Stoppers” seemed to indicate what their callings were, point blank. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see some evolution and growth in their characters… Even without getting their cutie marks. But I also agree that the premise is starting to wear a little thin.

Twilight Signs Autographs You realize my autograph will only make those things be worth less, right?

Wylie: Applebloom having an interest in potions goes all the way back to Cutie Pox (by way of Hearts and Hooves Day’s love poison); and having Scootaloo learn to be a mechanic ties into her own interest in scooting and scooting-related products, while nicely avoiding the obvious “can she fly or not?” question that’s still hanging around out there. Sweetie Belle has shown a spark or two of magic before, so having her learn basic levitation from Twilight seems like a nice little culmination of background threads for all three of the girls, while still leaving them tattoo-free. (I don’t think they even checked on their way out the door this time.)

At this point, I think they’ll eventually earn their marks, but when it happens, I’ll probably be a bit sad, because I’m pretty sure it will mean the show is beginning to end.

The Doctor: Levitation seems a skill that just about all unicorns possess. I would imagine it’s one of the most basic things to learn. I would like to see them get their cutie marks, but I hope it’s not an “all in the same episode” thing. I would love to see Scootaloo and/or Sweetie Belle get their first and Apple Bloom deal with that. Her obsession with the cutie marks goes well beyond the other two, and I think and episode where she deals with that would be wonderful.

ComradeCosmobot: I absolutely think that any cutie mark episode is going to wrestle with “my friends are growing up faster than I am” to a greater degree than “Call of the Cutie” ever did. Where “Call of the Cutie” focuses on Apple Bloom struggling with her “lack of maturity” relative to her peers, it’s a whole other thing when your friends start doing things that you can’t because they’re “more mature.”

KefkaFloyd: Diamond Tiara was less overtly evil in this episode and more plainly manipulative. She can be civil when she wants to be, but clearly only when she stands to gain from it. Twilight had the perfect response to their gloating at the end.

Diamond Tiara is Smug Dance puppets, dance!

Fizzbuzz: At this point I actually don’t want to see Diamond Tiara ever stop being so nasty. She’s clearly destined to become a businessmare even more cutthroat than her father, so the show might as well let it happen!

The Doctor: Not as mean or evil as usual, but certainly still her same self-important, egotistical self. She really provides a fantastic foil to the CMC. I would like to see a bit more of SIlver Spoon though, show that she’s not just DT’s lackey. As for Twilight putting her in her place, I enjoyed just the look that Twilight gave her more than the verbal response.

Wylie: Silver Spoon seems to exist only as Diamond Tiara’s shadow and sycophant. I’d like to see a bit more of her as well, maybe have her as the actual antagonist for an episode or something. That’s hard to do, though, when you’ve got Diamond Tiara standing right there next to you chewing all the scenery before you even get a chance.

KefkaFloyd: The hayburger and horseshoe fries were very clever, props to the art team for adapting human stuff into the world once again without it feeling awkward.

Fizzbuzz: I had typed out a big diatribe about how we’ve never seen ponies eating pizza, but then I remembered we saw one very big pizza at the end of Pinkie Pride. Still, now I’d like to see a certain purple horse shoving a more mundane pizza into her mouth someday, since ponies doing human things like that is always hilarious.

The Doctor: I loved the burger scene wipe. I have to believe that was put in for the sole purpose of showing off that these burgers are in fact made of hay and no meat was used! The diner motif was wonderful and really fit the look of ponyville. I am glad they didn’t go with a steel 50’s dinner look that would have probably been easier than figuring out how to do a rustic fast food place.

Wylie: The animation team in general has been just phenomenal this season, and the fast-food joint here was no exception. It evoked the “old-style fast food emporium” feel while still being firmly rooted in Equestria.

KefkaFloyd: Thanks for joining us, everyone, and thanks to you too for reading our thoughts. Come back next time for even more horse! 

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