The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP:FiM

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Dr. Forums Worst Poster » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:17 am

Twilight wrote:It does have bearing though. It may not directly affect her personality, but by representing her talent of showmanship, she has a much higher chance of basically becoming that braggart compared to some pony that has a cutie mark of say, parties. Sure, a party pony could be a jerk, but he/she probably wouldn't be very good at parties since nobody would come.


I think the causal link goes the opposite direction.

I kind of wish Trixie and other one-episode characters recurred more often just as a thing the show did. Little things, like if the slew of new pegasi from Hurricane Fluttershy, or Junebug from Secret of My Excess had more speaking roles and actual personalities. The main 6 could consistently be shown to have friends outside their group, opening up more possibilities for character interaction and making the show more realistic as a side-effect.

Twilight and Cheerilee being shown talking in The Show Stoppers is the kind of thing I'm talking about, but if it were done for its own sake rather than getting Twilight involved in the story.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Aramek (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:04 pm

I love Trixie. True, she's a little abrasive, but, frankly, she's just plain old better than you, and some people dislike that because it causes them to dislike themselves. While certainly different, Dash would be her closest match, and, especially way earlier in the fandom, reading the thoughts of all the people that dislike Dash seem to be the same reasons that people dislike Trixie. Only, this is a show, and you're supposed to dislike Trixie. She's written into the story as the antagonist, so, you dislike her because you're supposed to.

Many of the people, again, reading from the very start of the fandom, that dislike Dash's character traits, seem to be just just intimidated by people who are confident and strong and good at everything.
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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Dr. Forums Worst Poster » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:41 pm

Aramek wrote:I love Trixie. True, she's a little abrasive, but, frankly, she's just plain old better than you, and some people dislike that because it causes them to dislike themselves.


But the abrasiveness and superiority complex are exactly why she's not actually better than others. People like that are disliked only because they get themselves into too-big-for-their-britches situations, not because nobody understands how good they really are.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by The Doctor (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:33 pm

Aramek wrote:I love Trixie. True, she's a little abrasive, but, frankly, she's just plain old better than you, and some people dislike that because it causes them to dislike themselves.


But she isn't better. It's all an act.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Frosthawk (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:58 pm

Yeah. The difference between Dash and Trixie is that Dash does legit awesome things and can (usually) back up her talk when she doesn't get too carried away with it, AND in the end she actually does care about others. Trixie just does a few semi-impressive tricks to humiliate people but fails to do anything useful when it matters (at least from what we've seen so far). She's 'better than you' in the same sense that Donald Trump is 'better than you'.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Lazy » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:01 pm

The Doctor wrote:

But she isn't better. It's all an act.
Uh, yeah, because... she's a stage magician. That's kind of the entire point.
She isn't actually supposed to be able to save towns, it's just part of a routine-a routine, I might add, that she alters constantly depending on her audience.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by The Doctor (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:02 pm

Frosthawk wrote:Yeah. The difference between Dash and Trixie is that Dash does legit awesome things and can (usually) back up her talk when she doesn't get too carried away with it, AND in the end she actually does care about others. Trixie just does a few semi-impressive tricks to humiliate people but fails to do anything useful when it matters (at least from what we've seen so far). She's 'better than you' in the same sense that Donald Trump is 'better than you'.

I'd say it's more like Trixie is better than you in the same way reality TV stars are better than you because they're on TV.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Highbrow Dash (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:25 pm

Lazy wrote:Uh, yeah, because... she's a stage magician. That's kind of the entire point.
She isn't actually supposed to be able to save towns, it's just part of a routine-a routine, I might add, that she alters constantly depending on her audience.


Yeah, she's just a performer, I don't see what the big deal is :pinkieshrug: She comes to town, she entertains people... Wait does she even get paid? :gotcha:

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by AlliterativeAxolotl » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:31 pm

Highbrow Dash wrote:Yeah, she's just a performer, I don't see what the big deal is :pinkieshrug: She comes to town, she entertains people... Wait does she even get paid? :gotcha:


But she never really did a stage show to entertain anyone; it was just a big event to show everyone how great and powerful she was. It felt more like a job interview for Town Hero than anything else.

And she never really confirmed that anything she claimed was an act. She acted like she had done it for real. It's sad that the episode didn't show her to be someone taking advantage of the villagers (like she did with Snips and Snails, just on a way bigger scale) by claiming to be a great hero and all that, trying to snatch as much goodies as possible and then running away once her cover blows or something. The way the story is told she's just there, is a big jerk, only the Mane 6 and the two village idiots care about it and then gets her comeuppance, with the rest of Ponyville not really caring about her - there are no cheers from the audience or something, they just stand around and are completely confused what the hell is going on.

Flim and Flam did it right, though :gotcha:

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:42 pm

AlliterativeAxolotl wrote:

But she never really did a stage show to entertain anyone; it was just a big event to show everyone how great and powerful she was. It felt more like a job interview for Town Hero than anything else.

And she never really confirmed that anything she claimed was an act. She acted like she had done it for real. It's sad that the episode didn't show her to be someone taking advantage of the villagers (like she did with Snips and Snails, just on a way bigger scale) by claiming to be a great hero and all that, trying to snatch as much goodies as possible and then running away once her cover blows or something. The way the story is told she's just there, is a big jerk, only the Mane 6 and the two village idiots care about it and then gets her comeuppance, with the rest of Ponyville not really caring about her - there are no cheers from the audience or something, they just stand around and are completely confused what the hell is going on.

Flim and Flam did it right, though :gotcha:


Aha! So Trixie's fatal flaw was that she didn't get the town involved in a musical number! :v:
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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by The Doctor (?) » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:47 pm

Flim and Flam also had a great product, that only failed because they got flustered when AJ cheated by using non-family members. They had a machine that would have helped the cider supply issue, without compromising quality (Granny Smith was impressed!)

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by AlliterativeAxolotl » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:52 pm

The Doctor wrote:Flim and Flam also had a great product, that only failed because they got flustered when AJ cheated by using non-family members. They had a machine that would have helped the cider supply issue, without compromising quality (Granny Smith was impressed!)


Don't want to derail the Trixie discussion, but on the other hand that's also an interesting topic...

The downfall for Flim and Flam was not, as I first thought when watching the episode, that they were using eeeeeevil technology. I was so surprised when I saw that Granny liked the cider!

No, what caused them to lose was that they cut corners and ruined their product which was perfectly fine before they became greedy :smirk: Which is, if you think about it, not just a great lesson for kids but also every single big corporate boss out there, no?


And regarding Trixie, I guess what would've worked well in that episode would've been to mix it with Mare Do Well - but instead of Rainbow Dash, it's Trixie who gets all the praise, with the Mane 6 trying to bring her down - and in this case it would've been morally right to do so, because she was making up all these great things she had done.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Ashenai » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:56 pm

Aramek wrote:I love Trixie. True, she's a little abrasive, but, frankly, she's just plain old better than you, and some people dislike that because it causes them to dislike themselves.


Well, she's better than me because I'm not a unicorn wizard. And she's certainly a more than competent mage by podunk one-trick-pony unicorn standards, but she's just nothing compared to the extravagant font of magical power that is Twilight. And every other member of the Main Six has talents she lacks as well.

There's a reason Trixie lives in a cart and performs in backwoods villages instead of in Canterlot. She's a big fish in a small pond, that's all.

Being a well-adjusted, confident person is about knowing when to take the initiative and lead (because you're the best person around for the job,) and this is the lesson Twilight learned in Boast Busters. But it is also about knowing when to sit down and shut up, (because there's another person who knows something you don't, and who you can learn from), and that's the lesson Trixie failed to learn.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Dr. Forums Worst Poster » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:06 am

If Trixie returns I don't want it to be some real sad and soft redemption episode, it'd be much better if the main ponies visited Canterlot or something and ran across Trixie performing in front of a crowd even bigger than the Ponyville one. Applejack and Twilight would have to shoo the other 4 away from trying to get revenge.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Ashenai » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:08 am

Yeah, an "oh woe is me" comeuppance episode for Trixie sounds lame. But I definitely wouldn't mind her getting some slightly more nuanced characterization.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by agradify » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:00 am

weedgoku wrote:If Trixie returns I don't want it to be some real sad and soft redemption episode, it'd be much better if the main ponies visited Canterlot or something and ran across Trixie performing in front of a crowd even bigger than the Ponyville one. Applejack and Twilight would have to shoo the other 4 away from trying to get revenge.


Eh, I dunno. It still seems like Boast Busters going down a different path. I also don't see Pinkie and Fluttershy trying to get revenge on someone else. If Trixie returns, then I'd prefer that they came across her in different circumstances than another performance.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Red Terra (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:24 am

My prediction (or the way I would do it) is have the girls in some city or town and they're about to leave. Just then, they notice a crowd gathering around a stage. And Trixie there trying to entertain the crowd. However, when she notices the mane six in the crowd, she starts fumbling and the crowd starts throwing tomatoes and booing her. After the crowd leaves, Twilight goes to see if Trixie is okay (despite AJ, Rarity, and RD's grudge) but Trixie's stubborn and blames her recent series of unfortunate events on Twilight and her friends. From there, you can go anywhere with an embittered Trixie.
-Twilight tries teaching Trixie some REAL magic
-Trixie and Twilight have a magic off
-Trixie escapes and joins the dark lor- oh wait, those are spoilers from my fanfic :modesty:

I'm sure there's going to be a redemption plot involved. Finale or the movie, whateva :pinkieshrug:

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by PhoolCat (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:46 am

From the Speculation Thread:

PhoolCat wrote:Everyone goes on about bringing back Trixie or Gilda, so why not both in one episode?

Have them both (together or separate) come back to Ponyville to seek forgiveness in their own ways, maybe because they've heard that these lame-o ponies actually saved the world a time or two (Gilda) and/or because they seem to be in with the ruling Royals (Trixie).

Make them maybe try too hard - Trixie all smarmy and obsequious, Gilda trying to be nice through gritted teeth (beak?) - and have some ponies be still suspicious but others taken in so it divides the mane 6. RD refuses to trust Trixie, although Twilight gives her the benefit of the doubt, Fluttershy is still afeared of Gilda, etc.

The moral is all about making amends, forgiveness and redemption.

The twist is they're both genuine, in their own ways.
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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Timber72 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:08 am

On Trixie:

Just what does Trixie do?
-Can gather a crowd with her knowledge of stage showmanship.
-Can use her unicorn magic to make superficial but spectacular events.
-Can brag like no other unicorn in Equestria. Even RBD knows when to call it quits (most of the time).

So, to start off, it's been said that she isn't better than you in raw talent. She is better than you at making pretty colors in the sky and wowing the denizens of a small nothingness town.

Here is something that has always bugged me about this episode. You know when Dash does her cool trick with the water rainbow splash? Even though Trixie 'foiled' her by spinning her around, I still thought Dashie's was more interesting and spectacular. I think the writers had a very hard time trying to make her powers superficial, but also more spectacular than the main cast proving themselves.

-----
On Flim and Flam:

There is no lie that Flim and Flam were indeed the real deal. They had a mecha cart that could make cider just as good, if not even better than the Apple's cider. In all regards, the Apple's should have lost everything they owned on stubbornness. Applejack's "I didn't learn anything", while funny, was a pretty awful lesson for this episode. I hope she did learn something. Don't be a stubborn jerk when you are clearly inferior. You almost lost everything you dumb mare! (I mean that in an endearing way)

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by BartonFink (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:03 pm

It's kind of funny, the only one who tries the "proper" Flim Flam cider in the episode is Granny Smith, who makes her opinion clear visually:
Image

Before realizing what's she's done:
Image

Changes the interpretation of the episode a bit than if they had left it ambiguous.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Red Terra (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:27 pm

BartonFink wrote::

She just wants to keep her monopoly on Apples unchallenged by possible businesses. Wouldn't they come under fire in the real world for having a monopoly? My econ teacher asked me that when I showed the episode to her.
:v:

I guess it's justified since they own the land and they don't seem to have mistreated their customers like raising the price unreasonably high.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Headless Horse (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:45 pm

Clearly what the show is telling us is that bucolic and backwards traditional ways of doing things have intrinsic value over technological progress that is superior in every measurable way.


note: not sure how facetious I'm being

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Timber72 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:35 pm

The thing about the Apple's, we don't have to worry about the monopoly fear. They are an honest group. They charge what's fair, and they make what they can. They aren't like what Flim and Flam could have turned it into.


Headless Horse wrote:Clearly what the show is telling us is that bucolic and backwards traditional ways of doing things have intrinsic value over technological progress that is superior in every measurable way.


note: not sure how facetious I'm being


You do realize that this is false right? It's clear that technology is important, but tradition does have value. It's important to keep up famil...... bawwhahaha. I can't do this. I'm sorry haha.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Artificer (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:05 pm

But.......tradition does have value? :rariwhat:

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Jupiter » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:08 pm

Technology is not inherently anything, but if technology is used to erich a small few owners (Flim & Flam) at the detriment and impoverishment of a working many (the Apple family and the ponies they should have hired to help them) then it is damaging to society and should be smashed. This is Luddism. The "tradition" argument is a canard.

Basically it all comes back to the "75/25" deal.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Aramek (?) » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:22 pm

Crush the Ponytariat 'neath the heels of progress! :jingo:
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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Plobo » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:31 pm

What bothered me is that they could make enough cider for a whole day in, what, 30 minutes? The amount of ponies was doubled, so let's say an hour.
But they always run out. Looks like someone really is asleep on the job... Image

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by CorvusCaw (?) » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:36 am

well, they do have other stuff to do on the farm. Also, at the end of the 30 minutes, Big Mac looked like he was about to die
Image


Granny Smith was sweating and a little out of it, too. Odds are they pace themselves when the farm isn't on the line.

Besides, limited supply drives up prices. That's be at the core of this.
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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Timber72 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:05 am

Artificer wrote:But.......tradition does have value? :rariwhat:


I was kind of running with the joke, but tradition certainly does have value. I could list off the reasons, but why bother. Most of us can figure out when it's appropriate and how it can culturally have a positive influence.

Apple's in this case don't quite have the valid reasons I would put into a viable defense. If the context of the episode was different, and they just inherited this magic guzzling machine, I could see them using it at the end of the episode and learning that new ways are sometimes better than the old. Personally, I think it's Flim and Flam that flounder the machine itself with their elite buzinezz skillz.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Pineapple » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:16 am

Applejack shoulda learned something about supply and demand, dammit. Hiring some temporary workers for peak cider season allows you to produce more. They also could have set up next to the river to take advantage of water power to drive the cider mill.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Aramek (?) » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:27 am

Pineapple wrote:Applejack shoulda learned something about supply and demand, dammit. Hiring some temporary workers for peak cider season allows you to produce more. They also could have set up next to the river to take advantage of water power to drive the cider mill.

Casual Viewing in the Episode Thread wrote:Dear Princess Celestia,

I learned that while we've always had more demand than supply for our cider, and we try our darnedest to keep up, that won't always be the case. Many of our friends and neigh-bors take hours out of their busy lives to support and appreciate our work and they deserve our respect. That's why we've decided to limit sales to one per customer per day, and to turn people away once we know the line has reached its limit. They won't be happy, but at least we won't have wasted their time. Granny Smith suggested setting up a lottery to see who gets to buy from us. Granny sure loves to gamble. We just want things to be fair and to keep as many ponies happy and for there to be no hard feelings.

Just recently we had a scare where new competition threatened to move it. Thankfully, I'm ashamed to say, they were less than honest and didn't stick around. But it made me realize I shouldn't get my back up over losing customers I wasn't going to serve anyways. Honest competition is an eventuality. It's got me thinking about what we'll do when that day comes.
Should quality, or prosperity, be our first priority? After all, we might be the ones making the cider, but we ain't the ones drinking it. I plan on asking our customers and testing to see if they can notice what we consider to be differences in quality. Because I'm starting to question whether the slight increase in enjoyment of some ponies is worth the total and utter disappointment of other ponies.
Or do we put our money where our mouth is and let our cider's quality speak for itself? If it's something really worth standing for, our customers will stick with us even if the competition's cheaper. They'll fit their niche and we'll fit ours. That's just how business works.

I really learned a lot about business, my friends, and myself from this experience.

Signed,
A Clever Pony


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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by PhoolCat (?) » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:23 am

Y'all going on like the Flim-Flam cider was better than the Apple Family's, but Granny's reaction could just as likely meant that their cider was comparable, or even just not utter pish like she was expecting.
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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Timber72 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:24 pm

PhoolCat wrote:Y'all going on like the Flim-Flam cider was better than the Apple Family's, but Granny's reaction could just as likely meant that their cider was comparable, or even just not utter pish like she was expecting.


Does it really matter though? Even if it was on a scale of slightly worse to slightly better, I doubt most of the ponies that don't have 'refined cider taste' of Ponyville would really care all that much (or notice).

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by BartonFink (?) » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:40 pm

You know who has strong, character-based episodes? Cindy Morrow! [/self-promotion]


Sincerely, I rewatched her episodes for an article on the front and I think she's the single best writer for getting into the 'mindset' of a single character. When she does a home run on this (Sisterhooves, Hurricane Fluttershy) she tends to be my favorite writer. :allears:

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Wayoshi (?) » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:48 pm

If I wasn't so busy ATM I'd read that right now. Hopefully I can read it by Friday.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by fenster » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:17 pm

While I disagree about the Season 2 material from Morrow, I do think she manages to hit great characters with pretty much all of her Season 1 material. Though I actually have to disagree with her being "the best", since I think other writers have done great jobs with other characters as well if not just as much as Morrow. MA Larson dug into Luna with Luna Eclipsed, Charlotte Fullerton pulled out Look Before You Sleep and Suited For Success, and pretty much almost every single one of Meghan McCarthy's episodes (aside from Hearts and Hooves and Canterlot Wedding) hit characters stronger than Morrow's in my opinion. A lot of Meghan's episodes involve getting into the characters heads, and making them go over the edge in one way or another, and building up to that while making things resolve at the end, which leads into a solid easy-to-follow plotlines.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by PictishBeast » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:42 pm

I wasn't sure where to put this, but here's an interesting article that makes an argument for viewing Equestria as a society of geeks, and that many characters react to plot situations under the assumptions of the Five Geek Social Fallacies.
:ponynet:

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by MetalSonic (?) » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:32 pm

The best thing about that article is the "unforgivable sin" - every villain, who is mean to Fluttershy, is doomed.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Timber72 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:34 pm

I'd say it's just mere coincidence that they happen to follow the archetypes of geeks. Also, there is a fallacy early in the argument. Plenty of ponies in Equestria in fact do identify by their social status. Nearly all the citizens of Canterlot, and Rarity too. Sure, she is a fashionista, but her goal of complete social saturation is what drives her hobby.

On the subject of writers, Cindy Marrow is a good writer. She doesn't have a single 'dud' episode under her belt in my opinion, and has two of my favorites, Winter Wrap Up and Sisterhooves Social.

Charlotte Fullerton did a good job in S1, but seriously just bombed in S2. I didn't like any of her episodes there.

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Re: The Importance and Perception of Characterization in MLP

Post by Ashenai » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:42 pm

I just wanna point out that the Five Geek Social Fallacies have become one of the most ridiculously overused canards. Yes, it's a fine essay and certainly has valid points, but because they're so non-specific and open-ended, I think they've become one of the main weapons of choice for socially inept people (the other being armchair psychoanalysis.)

You see, you can accuse anyone in just about any social situation of falling prey to one of the Geek Social Fallacies, just like you can make an unflattering armchair psychology diagnosis of anyone in any situation. It's just another way of avoiding the need to understand people, and squeezing them into comforting prefab boxes. Because dammit, people are complicated, but as long as I have some categories to put them in and numbered bullet points to apply, whoahey, it's just like my D&D character sheets!


As far as the blog post goes, it's kind of dishonest; for instance, when talking about the interaction between Pinkie Pie and RD, the reason RD can't straight-up tell Pinkie Pie to leave her alone isn't because of the Geek Social Fallacies, it's simply because they aren't very good friends yet. One of the important transitions between "buddies" and "friends" is when superficial politeness is replaced by mutual understanding and respect. In the episode in question, RD and PP were definitely still just buddies. And buddies will often avoid confrontation where friends would deal with it head-on, precisely because buddies don't care about each other enough to make it worth the effort and unpleasantness.

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