S03E13: Magical Mystery Cure [SEASON FINALE]

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Re: S03E13: Magical Mystery Cure [SEASON FINALE]

Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:30 pm

Okay, one last shot for the road. A very quick stitch of this scene:

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Post by Ashenai (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:54 pm

itinerant nomad wrote:Can I find a way of avoiding the conclusion that the show has made its deities and those that are superior?
Can it really be that calling Twilight a princess, having a coronation, and making her physically distinct hasn't just said "she's better now than she used to be"?


I don't understand why this is such a sticking point for a lot of people. Twilight worked hard to better herself, and now she's better. When a friend of mine graduated from college, she was, in a sense, better than she used to be. I somehow managed to not whine about how she used to not have a degree, and now she does, oh god what is happening, why couldn't she just stay a coed like I was used to.

Your other point is that Twilight is no longer "equal" to the other five, and I feel like this is also a misunderstanding. She never was equal to the others in abilities (none of them were equal, they all have very different talents.) She's certainly above them in social status now, is that the problem? If so, why?

This false kind of egalitarianism always annoyed me. I think all people (and ponies) are equally precious, and everyone has something unique to offer. This doesn't mean everyone has to be the same height, or the same social status, or everyone has to have the same level of ability in everything. The world of Harrison Bergeron is supposed to be a dystopia.
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Post by Highbrow Dash (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:57 pm

Image


:-I: But you and Luna are already in charge of raising the sun and the moon! What am I supposed to raise?
:pcstare:: We'll think of something.
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Post by Shadeoses (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:59 pm

When Twilight went to Princess Heaven, I automatically thought of this scene: http://youtu.be/fpzvGxMzPQg?t=1m5s :v:
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Post by Raindrops (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:20 pm

Highbrow Dash wrote:
:-I: But you and Luna are already in charge of raising the sun and the moon! What am I supposed to raise?
:pcstare:: We'll think of something.


Obviously the hardest thing in Equestria to raise.

:smirk: :flail: :scootawoo:

At the same time. Along with :nooooo:
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Post by The Doctor (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:23 pm

Highbrow Dash wrote:
:-I: But you and Luna are already in charge of raising the sun and the moon! What am I supposed to raise?
:pcstare:: We'll think of something.

See my post on page 1
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Post by FightingDreamer (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:39 pm

More random thoughts and WORDS:

-Twilight tap-dancing and the waiter joining in made me giggle with glee.

-Hints of Rarity's true self: "Too last season?" Which also works as a silly pun.

-SERIOUSLY I CANNOT GET OVER "APPLE PIE'S" TWANG :awesomedash: . It's just utterly hilarious. As is the way her legs flop up against the tree when she tries to buck it.

-Really, despite the fact that it's about something fundamentally serious, "What My Cutie Mark Is Telling Me" is quite possibly Ingram's FUNNIEST song yet. Especially with lines like "Lookie here at what I made/I think that it's a dress!" Or something like Rarity giving the ponies "frostbite on top of their sunburns" is a gloriously silly sight gag.

-Yeah, the more I think about it despite the impressive animation and the good singing, "I've Got To Find A Way" is my least favorite song. It sounds too... I think someone called it "Lite FM" music earlier. Thankfully it's short.

-"Celestia's Ballad": HOW YOU DO A CLIP SHOW MOTHERHOOFERS.

-God, everything in that song and Twilight's transformation is just BEAUTIFUL.

-I was legitimately in TEARS by the last few minutes. Even with the most emotional stuff in Pony before this, that's *never* happened.
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Post by !saak (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:42 pm

I'm late to the party because of another awesome party.

I just watched the episode.

I cannot express what the episode evoked in words.

This feels like The Next Generation's finale. It's everything Pony was and everything Pony has become, and it's absolutely gorgeous.

Wow :allears:
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Post by Lorce (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:43 pm

Headless Horse wrote:I will admit that it was jarring to hear the word "alicorn" in actual dialogue (and clearly referring to what Twilight is, not just as what might have been simply a name for that amulet).

It's not that I don't think the word is appropriate. It's that I'm pretty sure if it weren't for the fandom popularizing it, they never would have used it in the actual show.

Which means we'll never find out what the original concept was for what Celestia and Luna are, or what they're called. Any details the show reveals about them will now come from a post-fan-contact reality. Their nature is now firmly intertwined with their fan interpretations.

It's not a bad thing, it's just a thing. :pinkieshrug:

I think the question here is to what extent they were defined originally. While i doubt they used anything more than princesses to refer to them there could still be plenty of concepts about their pasts we haven't seen yet. So i would disagree about them being intertwined with fan interpretations unless the creators start vetting original intentions against fandom ideas... :shocktavia:
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Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:45 pm

FightingDreamer wrote:As is the way her legs flop up against the tree when she tries to buck it.

Twitchy tail? :ohgawd:
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Post by FightingDreamer (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:51 pm

SlateSlabrock wrote:Twitchy tail? :ohgawd:


Hadn't thought of that way. :gotcha:
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Post by Perrydotto (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:01 pm

Perpetual Lurker wrote:The fast pacing is definitely it's biggest flaw, but the whole thing just emotionally clicks with me enough for it to be a non-issue to me. Definitely ranks up in my top 5 of episodes, but it doesn't beat Sleepless in Ponyville in my books.


This basically sums it up for me, though I'm not sure where to rank this episode just yet.


I also really need to paint some stuff from this episode because dang. I mean, I freaking love painting space, and that scene in the cosmos was absolutely beautiful.
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:55 pm

SlateSlabrock wrote:Image


Ok, there's no way they're not adding a new member to mane 6 now. Say hello to new friend Geromy in part 2/3 of this exciting tale.
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Post by Dal (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:14 pm

I thought it represents Twilight finding her true destiny, and now her star shines along side her friends'. Or it's a massive error.

Where is all this new character stuff coming from? I haven't seen a damn thing in the the show or meta sources that is pointing to that.
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Post by The Doctor (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:18 pm

Dal wrote:I thought it represents Twilight finding her true destiny, and now her star shines along side her friends'. Or it's a massive error.

Where is all this new character stuff coming from? I haven't seen a damn thing in the the show or meta sources that is pointing to that.


Tune into the new HUB reality show this summer, King of the Bronies. Who will rise above the other bronies to have their OC made a regular cast member!
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Post by Lorce (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:18 pm

Think it mostly just started from the fact that Twilight becoming an alicorn disrupts the 2xUnicorns, 2xPegasi and 2xEarth ponies symmetry...
I would also guess symmetry is to blame there if the animator/storyboarder did it subconsciously. :pinkieshrug:
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:23 pm

Here's a post I found on Ponychan (of all places), that I think makes some valid points (and some not as valid).

Back in October, 2010, at the very beginning of the G4 pony show, a writer named Amid Amidi posted an essay on Cartoon Brew attacking the new MLP franchise. "The Hub, a network owned partly by toy company Hasbro, launched a little over a week ago with new animated series including Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures, G.I. Joe: Renegades, and My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. The network’s debut closes the curtain on what has commonly been referred to as the creator-driven era of TV animation," Amidi wrote. "Watching names like Rob Renzetti and Lauren Faust pop up in the credits of a toy-based animated series like My Little Pony is an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry… At the end of the day, TV animation isn’t going anywhere, and future Margaret Loesches will still find plenty of willing peons to fulfill their orders for extended toy commercials."

To the surprise of many, the new MLP manifested an artistic integrity, sincerity, and visionary fantasy uncommon in commercial entertainment and unprecedented in a toy-based show. Amidi's dire predictions were universally ridiculed. The brilliance of the new show and the amazing explosion of its adult fanbase were generally credited to its creator Lauren Faust, who directed the show during its first season and oversaw the story planning for much or all of the second.

But during the second season, the commands of the toy company started to take their toll on the show. With the third season, new characters, settings, and situations started to be shoehorned in to the plot lines and continuity with no dramatic or artistic rationale, evidently to meet Hasbro's inexorable demand for new product lines. From the sidelines, Lauren Faust repeatedly signaled her veiled dismay at seeing the integrity and tone of her creation dismantled and cast aside. The process reached its destructive climax at the end of the season when the central character, nerdy bookworm Twilight Sparkle, was abruptly given wings and a crown for no convincing reason and elevated to the same lofty status as the immortal Princess Celestia -- apparently because some idiot Hasbro executive thought they could sell a shitload of new toys if they pasted some wings on one of the old characters.

This sorry decision has destroyed Lauren Faust's delicately brilliant creation, for reasons that many contributors to this chan have detailed -- the foremost being that a show and a world that revolved around the shifting balance and imbalances of friendship among six interestingly flawed characters has now become a show that revolves around the relationship between a semi-divine ruler and her kowtowing subjects.

A lot of fans continue to hope that the beginning of Season 4 will somehow heal the rupture and bring everything back to where it ought to be. But it won't. The Season 3 finale took the show too far down the drain for it to come back. The episode evinced pervasive surrender and loss of interest by its writers and artists in just about every facet of the presentation. The characters' dialogue and emotions and reactions were uniformly pedestrian, predictable, graceless, limping, and maudlin. (Shining Armor was particularly painful and annoying.) In an attempt to goose this disguised toy commercial into some semblance of artistic life, the half hour was saturated with flat, unmemorable songs (I'd trade the whole lot for one verse of "Winter Wrapup") and an almost continuous cascade of explosive radiant effects -- the Elements responding to the spell, Twilight looking at the picture of her friends, each of the five friends getting restored, the group halo at the end of the "True, True Friend" song, Twilight's radiation after she revises the spell, the colossal explosion of lights when the five lesser Elements zap Twi off into the Twilight Zone (for no discernible reason), Celestia's radiant spreadeagle in the Zone, Twilight's explosive transformation, the subsequent burst of light when she spreads her wings -- blooie, zap, zam, kapow. But in the end, all the explosions and megawattage were in vain. Mush that coruscates is still mush.

There were some nice little details in this final episode that reminded FIM fans of the joy that used to emanate from this program: Rarity's sotto voce "Too last season?", Applejack's old cutie mark appearing as the three red buttons, Pinkie's spit take, RD waving incessantly from the coronation balcony. But they were few and far apart. The fine details of the episode were as halting, defective, and dispiriting as its overall premise and conception. A partial catalog of the flaws:

1. Spike's take when the blanket is jerked away is lame.
2. Twilight's flamenco dance (castanet sounds) on the table is tepid, perfunctory, and understated -- but not enough so to be a statement about her nerdy personality, like her dance in "Sweet and Elite."
3. Rarity's voice sounds affected and forced most of the time (but not consistently), as it has increasingly throughout this season. As a result, her speaking and singing voices now sound like two different people (which they are).
4. Why have the transformed Mane Five's memories of their old cutie marks and their pasts been perverted and abolished? Twilight says that it's not their memories that have been altered -- but they have been, and it's not explained.
5. As usual, the song lyrics are seriously defective -- e.g., Pinkamena's rhyming "me" with "me" in the "Cutie Mark Song." The revised spell, which neither scans nor quite rhymes, is really pathetic. So is the "Behold, behold" lyric.
6. Defective lipsyching in places -- for example, Twilight's "Oooo" following "unfinished masterpiece."
7. What's with the disembodied voice following the "True, True Friend" song?
8. Where did Celestia get that stupid chess-king crown from -- and can she please return it to the store now, along with Twilight's coronation dress?
9. There seems to be no connection between the "princess" status of Twilight, which was earned, and the apparently similar but unearned status of Cadence. What is this -- life Peerages vs. hereditary ones?

And at the end: "We're all your students now… You are an inspiration to us all" (kowtow). Oh sweet Jeezus. Kill me now.

So Amid Amidi was right in the end, after all. He was just a bit premature. You can't serve two masters. A TV show can be driven by the vision and integrity of its writers and artists, or it can be driven by the need to continually premiere new toy lines. But you can't meet both sets of demands indefinitely. Judging from the evidence at hand, three years is about as long as you can juggle these conflicting aims before all the balls and spinning plates come crashing down.
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Post by Headless Horse (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:32 pm

That's a jokepost, right?

One point:

Why have the transformed Mane Five's memories of their old cutie marks and their pasts been perverted and abolished? Twilight says that it's not their memories that have been altered -- but they have been, and it's not explained.


This reeks of deliberately misinterpreting the story. She's saying that it's not that the ponies used to have "correct" memories and now have had them "altered" so all they have to do is have their "true" memories zapped back into them. She's saying that her spell altered the timeline so that her friends have always had these lives. There's no "real" memory to restore.



Anyway, feh if some people feel like they can't enjoy the show anymore for whatever reason, real or manufactured. I still love it and they can't stop me
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Post by Ashenai (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:38 pm

Ahahahaha look at that post. Look at it.
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:39 pm

Ashenai wrote:Ahahahaha look at that post. Look at it.


I know, how dare anyone write :words: about ponies. We, Ponygoons, are clearly above this shit.
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Post by On Ice (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:42 pm

Grue wrote:
I know, how dare anyone write :words: about ponies. We, Ponygoons, are clearly above this shit.

Or maybe people just want to point out that the post is flawed but don't want to go into heavy detail picking apart everything under close examination and dissection every time you bring up some wordy post about somebody didn't like an episode.

Which is all the time now.

Seriously, what do you even want from this thread? There are some people that already agreed with you. Are you just going to keep dumping posts about how the episode was the worst thing ever until everybody in the thread agrees with you?
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Post by Ashenai (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:47 pm

Grue wrote:I know, how dare anyone write :words: about ponies. We, Ponygoons, are clearly above this shit.


The post is hilarious, not because of the number of words, but because of how pitifully maudlin they are. Look at that list of flaws, it's the saddest thing ever, like the writer was desperately casting about for things to dislike. Scathing indictments of Twilight's two-second-long flamenco dance itt.

I can buy people not liking the episode for various reasons, but this is silly. It's quite obviously the result of someone deciding in advance that they'd hate the episode, and then furiously taking notes during the episode, looking for anything, even the tiniest thing, to bolster their point. Disembodied voices? During a SONG? WHERE IS FAUST'S ORIGINAL VISION :twonk:


edit: Holy shit I'm literally in tears laughing at that thing
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Post by Mir (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:50 pm

I just want to say again how much I enjoyed this episode. There's just so many little details and it really felt like the team was pushing themselves to fit in as many little things as possible.

I liked how Spike looks like he wakes up, only to immediately get that grumpy face and go back to sleep. Life with a morning person, huh Spike?
There's the call out to the mayor and the quil and sofa store in the first few seconds. I loved how the couple at the cafe not only don't mind when Twilight comes out of nowhere, leaps onto their table and starts dancing, and their waiter responds by hoping up onto another table and joins her. It's just the perfect self-aware nod to how ridiculous the whole thing is.
I loved how Twilight immediately accuses Rainbow Dash when she gets water dumped on her head. While it's been established that RD loves a good prank, that's not something that's been shown, so it makes you wonder just how often she does that sort of thing off screen to get such a preconditioned reaction.

The cutiemark song is hilarious. It's already been said, but AJ's "I think that it's a dress" line (I caught that little chime from "art of the dress" too), and all of Pinkie's misadventures on the farm just have the saddest funny moments. It really makes you feel for the characters, while being lighthearted about it. I think Rarity was actually the one I felt the most for though, just because she's trying so hard, and yet everyone is yelling at her.

I actually liked Twilight's sad song too. And the visuals that go with it are just increadibly atmospheric.
As a side note, they've done the whole "trees and plants all wither and die when one of the ponies is unhappy" thing so often... The first few times, I thought it was just a sight gag, but after this episode I'm convinced there's actually some magical connection to the land that makes it respond to and reflect the ponies that live there. The way the whole town just falls apart without the mane 6 after just one day is striking. I'm also having fun imagining just what happened when the swap first took place off screen. Like, did they all just akwardly wake up in what they thought was the wrong house? Were they talking to somebody when they suddenly just sorta blanked out mid sentence, had their cutie marks magically change, and then wandered off to do their new jobs, leaving whoever they were talking to wondering what the heck just happened? Bonus points for references to the discord memory spell, the cutie pox, and Spike taking ridiculously long bubble baths.

The whole "True, True Friend" song was heart warming. I've already listened to it way to many times. I kinda wish Pinkie got a verse, but the crowd cheering for her almost makes up for it. Actually, did Pinkie even get a song in season three? I think there are two episodes I haven't caught yet, but I'm thinking and I don't remember any of those little moments where she usually bursts into song randomly... I liked those, but maybe they felt like they were played out?

The whole walk through the stars with Celestia honestly choked me up just a little.

The reaction from the other mane 5 to Twilight's transformation, along with Celestia actually got me to feel happy for her. Like I was witnessing a huge accomplishment that she'd not only earned, but had every right to be proud of.

Nice costumes for everypony at the ceremony. Wasn't a fan of "behold princess sparkle" but what can you say, there has to be a dud in there somewhere. Shining Armor's moment was sweet, "liquid pride" and all.
And hey, not only is Derpy back, but she winked at us! What the heck does that mean?!

And I can't help but laugh that the last line of the episode is "Every thing is going to be fine!" Just because it really felt like a transparent message directly from the writers to the viewers.

The first time I watched it, I think I set for about 10 seconds digesting what I'd just seen, with just a little bit of mixed feelings, before deciding to say "screw cynicisim." I love the sappy, cheesy stuff, I love the positive message, and if there are a few flaws, I'm absolutely NOT going to let them spoil something I want to like anyway. And you know what? I couldn't be happier that I did. This must be what optimisim feels like.
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:01 pm

On Ice wrote:Seriously, what do you even want from this thread? There are some people that already agreed with you. Are you just going to keep dumping posts about how the episode was the worst thing ever until everybody in the thread agrees with you?


So, you want me to not discuss the episode in a thread about this episode, just because I didn't like this episode? This is not an echo chamber. Also I never "dumped posts about how the episode was the worst thing ever" as you imply. I don't even think this episode is the worst of season 3.
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Post by Luneshot (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:02 pm

Random thoughts:

"Come on, everypony! I wanna see you smile!" PINKIE! :party:
That's my favorite part of that song, but I think that song is my favorite since Best Pet.

One of the things that annoyed me is the 'memories in eyes' effect. It's cool the first time, but after that it just felt like it was wasting precious seconds. It's not even that well done.

The "Twilight gets vaporized" scene was the best place to put a commercial break ever.
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Post by Wylie (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:03 pm

Man, there's a lot of assumption-making going on in that post. Like, a -lot.- Let's go through his list of flaws towards the end, because it was probably the most coherent part of the article.


1. Spike's take when the blanket is jerked away is lame.
Agreed. Spike looked really off-model in that little take.

2. Twilight's flamenco dance (castanet sounds) on the table is tepid, perfunctory, and understated -- but not enough so to be a statement about her nerdy personality, like her dance in "Sweet and Elite."
I can use big words like "perfunctory!" They make me sound smart! Except, they don't. Twilight has displayed physical grace during songs before- the Failure song in 301, most memorably. Her little dance here didn't have to make any statement other than "I am so happy I will do a little dance on this table and then get lifted off of it," which is exactly what it did.

3. Rarity's voice sounds affected and forced most of the time (but not consistently), as it has increasingly throughout this season. As a result, her speaking and singing voices now sound like two different people (which they are).
Obvious statement is obvious. Rarity sounds affected and forced because -she- is affected and forced pretty much of the time. If you're just now noticing, well, welcome to the show.

4. Why have the transformed Mane Five's memories of their old cutie marks and their pasts been perverted and abolished? Twilight says that it's not their memories that have been altered -- but they have been, and it's not explained.
Narrative expediency, mostly. And because the answer can't be as simple as "well just make them remember," because that's a terrible, selfish way to solve the problem. The way it was handled, by actually asking each pony to "sub in" for their friends, is much more satisfying.

5. As usual, the song lyrics are seriously defective -- e.g., Pinkamena's rhyming "me" with "me" in the "Cutie Mark Song." The revised spell, which neither scans nor quite rhymes, is really pathetic. So is the "Behold, behold" lyric.
It's magic, ya know? It doesn't have to be perfectly logical all the time. We might get an explanation of what the spell Twilight wrote means, or it might just be some important-sounding word salad- like pretty much all magic spells. I will agree that the "Behold, behold" music made me generally uncomfortable with how worshipful it was.

6. Defective lipsyching in places -- for example, Twilight's "Oooo" following "unfinished masterpiece."
I dunno what he's talking about. Watch a better livestream, maybe?

7. What's with the disembodied voice following the "True, True Friend" song?
It's Twilight's internal monologue. Nothing strange there at all.

8. Where did Celestia get that stupid chess-king crown from -- and can she please return it to the store now, along with Twilight's coronation dress?
That's actually a chess Queen's crown, , not a king's crown, - which makes much more sense, even if Celestia isn't a queen by name.

9. There seems to be no connection between the "princess" status of Twilight, which was earned, and the apparently similar but unearned status of Cadence. What is this -- life Peerages vs. hereditary ones?
Maybe. Sounds good enough for me, for now. Maybe Cadance wrote her love spell herself as a child, and got wings like that? At any rate, even in the flashback in ACW, Cadance was dismissive about being a princess, just as we can expect Twilight to be.

All the rest of that post amounts to the worst sort of "RUINED FOREVAR" badposting, which kind of comes all the way around to being hilarious from the back end.
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:08 pm

Wylie wrote:Man, there's a lot of assumption-making going on in that post. Like, a -lot.- Let's go through his list of flaws towards the end, because it was probably the most coherent part of the article.


Actually, I thought that was the least interesting part. It's just nitpickings. What I thought was really a stroke of genius of OP was bringing back the article that started it all: the infamous "The end of the creator-driven era in TV animation" by Amid Amidi, and how he was right after all. But of course people here will focus on other parts of the post, and ignore the main argument.
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Post by Dragon Princess (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:09 pm

So I'm two days late to this, but I'd really like to talk about the finale and my opinion. Sorry in advance if literally everything I'm saying is a rehash of something previously said.

First, my opinion of this episode on its own is about a 7-8 out of 10. It lays down some really interesting material that pushes the setting and story further than we've seen before, and the quality of the animation, music, voice acting, etc. is, as always, top notch, perhaps even better than usual given that this is a finale and they've gone for a higher standard. However, the plot moves very quickly and the conflict just sort of disappears at the end, at which point everyone just starts celebrating Twilight for ten minutes.

But there's one key point that makes me really really love this episode. That paragraph up there? That's this episode as a standalone episode, which it's clearly not. Looking at this episode in the context of the whole show makes this episode - and the entire series - sparkle. The more and more I think about it, this wasn't just a way to tie off all the show's loose ends; it was one big celebration of the show, of the world it takes place in, of the people who made it. It's one giant love letter to Lauren Faust, her vision of the show, and the people who made it come true.

First, the episode completes the development that Twilight has been going through over the whole show. In this episode alone, her character might seem boring - she accidentally starts a problem, she fixes it, and then ten minutes of hailing her as the bestest pony in Equestria. But compared with the Twilight we've seen in other episodes, she's got a whole lot more development. Look back at the first two episodes, Friendship is Magic - back then, Twilight was a solo hero who had no idea how strong friendship was; she was always clever and brave, but it took five friends and the end of the world to help her see how important friendship was. Fast forward to season 2, and she's still trying to play the hero as she leads the fight against Discord, but fails to notice how her friends have turned against her. Go even further to A Canterlot Wedding and The Crystal Empire, where Twilight's character has a subtle change - in both cases, she ends up fighting her battles more or less alone, but in both cases she takes a back seat to other characters.

Through each two parter, Twilight realizes more and more that she's not dependent on her friends, and neither are they on her, but they're all amazing, brilliant ponies, and they're all strong enough to help. Which leads us to this episode, Magical Mystery Cure - Twilight's method for solving the problem isn't to hit it with magic, but to inspire her friends back to normal, proving just how much she's learned. Unlike in The Crystal Empire, Twilight brings her friends - including Spike - with her; unlike in A Canterlot Wedding, Twilight realizes that she can't brute-force her problems away and she needs her friends; unlike in Return of Harmony, Twilight puts her friends first and the conflict second, realizing that keeping her friends is her first priority. But the most important two-parter reference is to Friendship is Magic - back then, it was about Twilight Sparkle being inspired by her friends' virtues that saved the day. In this episode, Twilight Sparkle shows her friends their own virtues to save the day. All those months ago, they showed her how strong she was through the power of friendship - and in Magical Mystery Cure, Twilight finally returns the favor.

Of course, the rest of the cast aren't left out. The conflict - the swapped cutie marks - provides an interesting way of looking at the cast we've come to know and love. All of the Element bearers are faced with their weaknesses - Rarity, a lady of elegance, has to handle rough and wild weather; Rainbow Dash, a hotheaded fighter, has to be gentle and sensitive; Fluttershy, the most introverted of ponies, has to be outgoing and entertaining; Pinkie Pie, the crazy party animal, has to be strong, dependable, and tough; Applejack, the country girl, has to sew frilly dresses; and Twilight, though she bears her own mark, has to deal with the fact that she, the great leader and problem-solver, started it all.

But more important than that is how they solve their problems. All of the ponies, despite their swapped cutie marks, still have the same talents they've always had. They don't solve the problem because their cutie marks say so, nor do they do it because the plot says so - they simply see a problem that they want to fix, and they do it because that's simply who they are. It's an affirmation, a reconstruction of who these ponies are; as a finale, it shows us that they're still just as flawed as they've been from the start, they're still not perfect - but they are good at what they do and they're very close friends. They may have changed, grown closer to each other and developed their talents, but they're ultimately the same six ponies that we love watching. It's a nice way to tell the viewers that, even if no more episodes air, the show will go on.

And, most vitally of all, is the message this story sends. I think it's something that Lauren Faust would like if she saw it. It's six ponies, all doing what they're told, what their cutie marks tell them to do; and they hate it, spending every moment wondering why they're even doing it. As it turns out, they're all doing the wrong thing, but it's not that what they're doing is wrong - it's that they are doing it. Every pony has different talents, ambitions, quirks, and flaws, and they're not suited to every job, but there are still jobs that they can do. It's very much in line with Lauren Fausts' original message - there are many ways to be a girl, and none of them are wrong, so just pick the one that fits you. It's what the show is, has, and always will be about.

As a finale, this episode is stellar. It's a way of showing us how far we've come. A long time ago, we had just a pony and a dragon in a tower full of books; now, we have a princess, her wonderful friends, and a massive country full of love and hope. But all the same, we've still got the same ponies that we've adored, and even if we never see them again, they'll continue to live their lives, practicing their virtues of harmony, knowing every day that life is good and they can make it even better. They'll do what they've done every day, and we don't need more episodes to know how it'll all play out; we can say goodbye without regret, knowing that, while we may never see these girls again, we've all learned so much that we can only be thankful for it. Maybe it'd be the end of My Little Pony - but it's not the end of Friendship is Magic.

This episode wasn't meant to move the plot, but just to take a step back and look at the brilliance of it all, and I have to say... For these few years, from start to finish, yes - it has all been just brilliant. From Lauren Faust's doodles to the credits song of Magical Mystery Cure, this show has never stopped being brilliant. It always pushed us further and further - it showed us what creative, passionate people could do, if given the freedom to do it; it showed us things that we never cared for, like dresses and slumber parties and pretty pony princess weddings, and showed us how amazing they could be; it told us of a world where everything was simply better, and challenged us to make our world the same. For all this story's ups and downs, it has never been anything short of brilliant.

I don't think this episode was ever meant to be a 'goodbye'. I think it was a 'thank you'.

(And naturally, I post this immediately after a controversial, discussion-starting post has been made, so now I feel like everyone is ignoring me and my :words: :fluttersmith: )
Last edited by Dragon Princess on Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Bakertoons (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:11 pm

I always find it amusing that people are going on about how the artistic vision was ruined or whatever. The fact is, the show was always toy-driven, like literally since day one. Any artistic vision visible was backseat. This is nothing new, people. You're just noticing this now.

Really, is it possible for a show based on a toy to be artistically driven?

So why are people complaining NOW and not back in season 1?
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Post by Discord (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm

I guess I have time to rip into this some more. My opinion, of course.


But during the second season, the commands of the toy company started to take their toll on the show. With the third season, new characters, settings, and situations started to be shoehorned in to the plot lines and continuity with no dramatic or artistic rationale, evidently to meet Hasbro's inexorable demand for new product lines.


The only clear instance of Hasbro demand impacting the second season would be in The Canterlot Wedding, which has been praised across the fandom. This person tries to put a wet blanket over the entirety of Season 3, but is really vague about what he/she is referring to. Certainly with the creation of the Crystal Empire and the Alicorn aspect, but what else have they got that's obtrusive Hasbro demand outside of that? Even with the Games Ponies Play, it felt like a pretty free expression of wanting to explore a new area and mythos to me.

From the sidelines, Lauren Faust repeatedly signaled her veiled dismay at seeing the integrity and tone of her creation dismantled and cast aside. The process reached its destructive climax at the end of the season when the central character, nerdy bookworm Twilight Sparkle, was abruptly given wings and a crown for no convincing reason and elevated to the same lofty status as the immortal Princess Celestia -- apparently because some idiot Hasbro executive thought they could sell a shitload of new toys if they pasted some wings on one of the old characters.


Playing the Lauren Faust card is always kind of a dangerous thing to me, because we really have no surety or completeness of her thoughts, and thus I kind of hate seeing it put into arguments. We know she has some dismay, but she has admitted that she has not even watched the later episode since she left. We can not ascertain whether or not she would universally hate these episodes because of it.

Yes, no denying why this event happened. But the show has been a compromising process since season 1.


This sorry decision has destroyed Lauren Faust's delicately brilliant creation, for reasons that many contributors to this chan have detailed -- the foremost being that a show and a world that revolved around the shifting balance and imbalances of friendship among six interestingly flawed characters has now become a show that revolves around the relationship between a semi-divine ruler and her kowtowing subjects.


I'm going to give the show runners the benefit of the doubt that this will not happen, and such a relationship change would not make any sense. Twilight being an alicorn does not make her any better than the rest of the friends, and she will not lord it over them, despite what fans seems to think it implies. See: Princess Cadence, the babysitter.

A lot of fans continue to hope that the beginning of Season 4 will somehow heal the rupture and bring everything back to where it ought to be. But it won't. The Season 3 finale took the show too far down the drain for it to come back. The episode evinced pervasive surrender and loss of interest by its writers and artists in just about every facet of the presentation. The characters' dialogue and emotions and reactions were uniformly pedestrian, predictable, graceless, limping, and maudlin. (Shining Armor was particularly painful and annoying.)


Gone far down the drain? The finale was intentionally vague on what being an alicorn would entail so they wouldn't be limiting themselves and could take it in whatever direction they liked. I'm not sure where they are taking it- I could see them moving away or toward princess aspects, or even have the wings not be kept on a permanent basis- but no matter what you think will actually happen, it is currently open to a number of possibilities.

So now we proclaim that the the entire staff has lost interest because this person did not like this episode. Even after we've had accounts from Sibsy and Ingram about how hard they worked on putting this episode together, and how engaged folks McArthy and Larson have been with the dialogue leading into this episode. Seems legit.

I like how this person specifically takes the time to point out Shining Armor when he had 2 lines of dialogue that were somewhat played for laughs, and effectively in that sense.

In an attempt to goose this disguised toy commercial into some semblance of artistic life, the half hour was saturated with flat, unmemorable songs (I'd trade the whole lot for one verse of "Winter Wrapup") and an almost continuous cascade of explosive radiant effects -- the Elements responding to the spell, Twilight looking at the picture of her friends, each of the five friends getting restored, the group halo at the end of the "True, True Friend" song, Twilight's radiation after she revises the spell, the colossal explosion of lights when the five lesser Elements zap Twi off into the Twilight Zone (for no discernible reason), Celestia's radiant spreadeagle in the Zone, Twilight's explosive transformation, the subsequent burst of light when she spreads her wings -- blooie, zap, zam, kapow. But in the end, all the explosions and megawattage were in vain. Mush that coruscates is still mush.


So, didn't like the songs- naturally. Says they're all below even one verse of Winter Wrap Up- which is a bowl of hyperbole in an objective sense. But a lot of people DID like them, though there were plenty that didn't. Whatever floats your boat, but this person chooses not to acknowledge the subjective tastes that come into play and just puts a "flat, unmemorable" stamp on ALL of them. Which in itself is kind of hyperbole.

Yes, there were plenty of really cool, visual, effects, but if you tried to stack up their running time I doubt it would be large. The show has always used its big visual effects for the elements and its powerful magic parts.


There were some nice little details in this final episode that reminded FIM fans of the joy that used to emanate from this program: Rarity's sotto voce "Too last season?", Applejack's old cutie mark appearing as the three red buttons, Pinkie's spit take, RD waving incessantly from the coronation balcony. But they were few and far apart. The fine details of the episode were as halting, defective, and dispiriting as its overall premise and conception. A partial catalog of the flaws:


An attempt to make the review sound balanced, but it really isn't when all this person can find praise in is a couple of small details and lines.

1. Spike's take when the blanket is jerked away is lame.
2. Twilight's flamenco dance (castanet sounds) on the table is tepid, perfunctory, and understated -- but not enough so to be a statement about her nerdy personality, like her dance in "Sweet and Elite."


Nitpicks. And though the dance wasn't what it was in Sweet and Elite, I don't see why the comparison is not being made when they're not really trying to channel that dance from Sweet and Elite.

3. Rarity's voice sounds affected and forced most of the time (but not consistently), as it has increasingly throughout this season. As a result, her speaking and singing voices now sound like two different people (which they are).


The shift between Rarity speaking and singing, and Twilight too for that matter, has always been pretty clear to me, even in Season 1.

Headless has already addressed point 4.


5. As usual, the song lyrics are seriously defective -- e.g., Pinkamena's rhyming "me" with "me" in the "Cutie Mark Song." The revised spell, which neither scans nor quite rhymes, is really pathetic. So is the "Behold, behold" lyric.


Kind of nitpicky too, but yes, the rhyming and lyrics are somewhat simple- but even this person notes that it can be a usual in the show. Throughout all seasons, the specific lyrics can be lacking even if the whole product is good.


6. Defective lipsyching in places -- for example, Twilight's "Oooo" following "unfinished masterpiece."


Didn't notice this at all.

7. What's with the disembodied voice following the "True, True Friend" song?


The same place it came from in "Art of the Dress", and other songs. The show often uses echo effects like this, and it's never really been a distraction or hinderance from me, personally.

8. Where did Celestia get that stupid chess-king crown from -- and can she please return it to the store now, along with Twilight's coronation dress?


Opinion, I guess, but it's minor.

9. There seems to be no connection between the "princess" status of Twilight, which was earned, and the apparently similar but unearned status of Cadence. What is this -- life Peerages vs. hereditary ones?


There is indeed a pretty murky water with Twilight vs Cadence, one thing they have plenty of time to expand upon and go into in Season 4.

And at the end: "We're all your students now… You are an inspiration to us all" (kowtow). Oh sweet Jeezus. Kill me now.

So Amid Amidi was right in the end, after all. He was just a bit premature. You can't serve two masters. A TV show can be driven by the vision and integrity of its writers and artists, or it can be driven by the need to continually premiere new toy lines. But you can't meet both sets of demands indefinitely. Judging from the evidence at hand, three years is about as long as you can juggle these conflicting aims before all the balls and spinning plates come crashing down.


But Twilight HAS been a teacher since this very show began. She's used her intellect, and the traits that Celestia mentioned, to help her friends when they needed it. The viewer too has been learning from her and her experiences since the show began. And Twilight's efforts to grow and better herself are indeed an inspiration- just as with the rest of the mane 6, even if they don't get the spotlight in this episode.

As for the last paragraph- well, that's this person's opinion, as someone who really hated this episode. But as someone who loved it, I think the staff is still juggling both sets of demand just fine, and artistic drive is still shining through.
Last edited by Discord on Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm

Grue wrote:I know, how dare anyone write :words: about ponies. We, Ponygoons, are clearly above this shit.

The whole article reminds me of reading John K apologists furiously sobbing into their pillows because TRUE animation can NEVER be produced with any sort of limits or guidelines! If it's not all hairy butts and farts all the time, then those corporate fat cats have KILLED the true spirit of cartoons!

It has always been a toy show, from the moment they had a pair of "princesses" ruling over the kingdom. I'm tired of people who've burned out on the show working themselves up into a frothing fury over some magical, impossible vision Lauren Faust might have had.

It's fine to dislike the episode. It's fine to dislike this whole season. But if you think the show was RUINED FOREVER from the moment Faust left, like the author does, then you should probably just quit while you're ahead and stop watching TV entirely. Nothing is going to live up to that standard of an intangible, undefinable vision of perfection.
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Post by Connoisseur (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm

I just watched the episode a second time, and boy, without the general apprehensiveness and doubts I had with the first viewiing this episode hit me hard. Like, I'm genuinely tearing up over it, which is rare for me. Guess that means that I'm a total sap for sentimental songs. Speaking of which, I loved all the songs. All of them.

I think this was the best they could've done with what they had been given to work with. The episode went at a break-neck pace, given how they only had only 20 minutes to work with, so that's understandable. A musical format was a really good way to go about it and I liked that approach a lot. Someone said it before but 'compressed' describes this episode better than rushed; the pacing was consistent despite its speed. Twilight's princesshood raises a lot of questions, but again, addressing them is expecting too much from 20 minutes. I went in with tempered expectations and that's probably why I liked the episode so much.

All in all, this episode ranks up as second best for me behind Sleepless. I value episodes that have an engaging emotional component the most, it seems.
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Post by Ashenai (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:15 pm

Grue wrote:Actually, I thought that was the least interesting part. It's just nitpickings. What I thought was really a stroke of genius of OP was bringing back the article that started it all: the infamous "The end of the creator-driven era in TV animation" by Amid Amidi, and how he was right after all. But of course people here will focus on other parts of the post, and ignore the main argument.


We didn't talk about that part because it is completely devoid of actual content. It's just whining, rehashing obvious points that have always been true (the show is made to sell toys, Lauren Faust is no longer working on the show,) and giving pure subjective opinion bits about how everything sucks now, and craaaawling in my skiiiin.
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:15 pm

Mr. Big wrote:I always find it amusing that people are going on about how the artistic vision was ruined or whatever. The fact is, the show was always toy-driven, like literally since day one. Any artistic vision visible was backseat. This is nothing new, people. You're just noticing this now.

Really, is it possible for a show based on a toy to be artistically driven?

So why are people complaining NOW and not back in season 1?


Ok, tell Lauren Faust how season 1 was not artistically driven. Was it not her who designed all the main characters? Was it not her who came up with a story? She told herself that Hasbro had very little influence, and only had minor impact on her vision. Or are you saying that Twilight's Sparkling Balloon is such a big deal that it ruins any artistic integrity the show might have had?
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Post by Perpetual Lurker (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:22 pm

Grue wrote:
Ok, tell Lauren Faust how season 1 was not artistically driven. Was it not her who designed all the main characters? Was it not her who came up with a story? She told herself that Hasbro had very little influence, and only had minor impact on her vision. Or are you saying that Twilight's Sparkling Balloon is such a big deal that it ruins any artistic integrity the show might have had?


Lets take this, then, and swap out Twilight's Sparkling Balloon for Cadance and Princess Twilight. The writers still write, and they wrote those stories. The raw character concepts may have come from the toy business, but how does that ruin the artistic integrity of what McCarthy, Larson, et al have done?
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Post by Wylie (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:23 pm

Grue wrote:
Actually, I thought that was the least interesting part. It's just nitpickings. What I thought was really a stroke of genius of OP was bringing back the article that started it all: the infamous "The end of the creator-driven era in TV animation" by Amid Amidi, and how he was right after all. But of course people here will focus on other parts of the post, and ignore the main argument.


But his conclusion only makes sense if you agree with him that the show -can't- be headed up by people who love the show and care about the world that they're creating stories in, as well as be a toy commercial. It's only a "stroke of genius" if you think that the juggling act is over, and the plates have crashed to the ground, and there's balls awkwardly bouncing around the stage, while Meghan and Jayson and Wootie and Daniel Ingram and the rest of the people who make the show are staring at us shame-faced at what the show has become. And that just ain't so.

Is it what Lauren wanted? Nope. And it never has been. What Lauren really wanted (and what she still wants, apparently, and what I hope she gets someday) is to make Galaxy Girls. That's what she pitched to Hasbro back before the beginning. They didn't want to invest in a new toy line, but they thought she could do something with MLP, so they gave her a shot at it, and she took it as far as she cared to.

That's something to remember: For all the veneration we give to Lauren Faust, what brought her to Hasbro was her idea for a cartoon series that would be tied in with a toy line. Hasbro just didn't want to do -her- toy line, is all.
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Post by Discord (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:24 pm

And Kitty Kate, your words are very well said and written. Looking at Twilight through season openers/finales is an engaging and insightful way to chart her progress.
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Post by Bakertoons (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:27 pm

Even season 1 was restrictive: Princess Celestia was originally Queen, but Hasbro nixed it; Rainbow's "egghead" comment almost didn't make it because of the standards & practices; Rainbow's pranking nature was downplayed; etc.

In fact, I'd argue that the writers have more freedom in later episodes when the e/i mandate was dropped. For example, I doubt Spike and Rarity's near-death fall in "Secret of My Excess" would have been possible in season 1, as well as the wall of eyeballs staring at Fluttershy in "Hurricane Fluttershy".

They're doing the best they can, and are putting their visions whenever possible, but that was never the "real" reason for the show's existence, and never will be. The show is, no matter how you slice it, a toy commercial with (usually) good writing and animation.
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Post by Grue (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:27 pm

Perpetual Lurker wrote:
Lets take this, then, and swap out Twilight's Sparkling Balloon for Cadance and Princess Twilight. The writers still write, and they wrote those stories. The raw character concepts may have come from the toy business, but how does that ruin the artistic integrity of what McCarthy, Larson, et al have done?


Are you seriously comparing that stupid balloon to Cadance and Princess Twilight? The difference that these are major characters that the writers were asked to add into the story, to the detriment of everything else. The balloon is just a prop. The train is just a prop. They don't affect the story much, if at all.
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Post by On Ice (?) » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:30 pm

Grue wrote:So, you want me to not discuss the episode in a thread about this episode, just because I didn't like this episode? This is not an echo chamber. Also I never "dumped posts about how the episode was the worst thing ever" as you imply. I don't even think this episode is the worst of season 3.

I never implied it was an echo chamber. As for dumping, uh, the only way for me to describe your ponychan dump from above is... it's a ponychan dump. That's what it is.

I'm not telling you to quit posting, I'm just asking why you are literally taking posts from other sites just because they happen to agree with your opinion.
I'd also ask why you dodged my question, but that's so commonplace for me you don't have to answer. :pinkieshrug:
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