Quickie Reviews: Season 2

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Episode 1-2: The Return of Harmony

Synopsis: Twilight and her friends are confused by the bizarre events happening all over Ponyville, such as cotton candy clouds and the rabbits growing long, giraffe-like legs. Princess Celestia traces these events back to Discord, an old foe who has returned to wreak havoc on Equestria after escaping his stone imprisonment.

Pros:

-Introduction of an excellent returning villain

-Superb voice acting by John De Lancie

-Interesting storyline

-Excellent animation

-Well-paced

-Comedic interactions between the Mane Six

-Creative visuals

Cons:

-Spike abuse

-Resolution too fast

-Predictable parts

-Over-confident Discord

Trivia: Discord’s personality was modeled after Agent Q from “Star Trek”, the character played by John De Lancie. As a result, the staff convinced John De Lancie himself to do the voice of Discord for the show.

Episode 3: Lesson Zero

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle’s paranoia gets the best of her when she realizes that she has not yet sent a friendship letter to Princess Celestia for this week. Horrified, she is determined to solve a friend’s problem by the end of the day. But with the lack of problems in Ponyville, she slowly descends into insanity over the thought of being tardy.

Pros:

-Excellent voice acting by Tara Strong

-Relatable dilemma

-Several surprises

-Superb comedy

-Character development

-Plot development

-Great Spike and Twilight interaction

Cons:

-Twilight’s friends out of character during one scene

-Lesson somewhat forced

-Unfortunate implications of spell used

Trivia: Originally, this episode was going to be the season premiere. But due to “The Return of Harmony” being pushed back to the season two opener when it was meant to be the season one finale, “Lesson Zero” ended up being the third episode of the second season.

Episode 4: Luna Eclipsed

Synopsis: Nightmare Night, a Halloween-esque holiday dedicated to Nightmare Moon, is greeted enthusiastically by the citizens of Ponyville. When Princess Luna herself shows up, she has trouble fitting in with the ponies that are convinced she is still Nightmare Moon.

Pros:

-Halloween episode

-Character expansion

-Continuity

-Beautiful character design for Princess Luna

-Return of Zecora

-Spooky, but not too spooky, atmosphere

-Season 1 callbacks

Cons:

-Questionable morality of celebration

-Stupidity of Twilight Sparkle’s friends

-Bits of the story disregarded for lesson to work

-No explanation for Luna’s new design given

-Frustrating Pinkie Pie antics

Trivia: Princess Luna is voiced by the same person who voices Rarity.

Episode 5: Sisterhooves Social

Synopsis: Rarity’s younger sister Sweetie Belle is forced upon her while their parents take a vacation. Sweetie Belle proves to be enthusiastic, but disastrous in her methods of helping her busy older sibling. Furious, they denounce each other as sisters after a disagreement over the Sisterhooves Social. It is only after Sweetie Belle “adopts” Applejack as her older sister that Rarity realizes her mistake.

Pros:

Character expansion

-Great lesson

-Heartwarming ending

-Character development

-Sweetie Belle episode without the CMC

-Unexpected conclusion

-Realistic behavior

-Relatable conflict

Cons:

-Rarity’s behavior in the beginning

-Obviously random “sister pairs” at the social

-Missed chance for a song

Trivia: During the race, “Applejack’s” eye color is clearly different from her usual one, hinting that it is actually Rarity.

Episode 6: The Cutie Pox

Synopsis: Apple Bloom is yet again depressed over her lack of a cutie mark. She descends into the forest and runs into Zecora after an accident. Realizing that Zecora has potions for anything, Apple Bloom brews up a concoction to give her a cutie mark. Instead, it gives her a rare disease called “cutie pox” that causes several cutie marks to appear all over her body and forces her to perform every talent that comes with the cutie marks.

Pros:

-Apple Bloom episode

-Zecora

-Interesting plot

-Movie reference

-Character expansion

-Consequences deserved

Cons:

-Idiocy of Ponyville citizens

-Cutie Pox never fully explained

-Full consequences not received

-Spike’s behavior

Trivia: The cutie mark that appears on Apple Bloom when she starts speaking French is a “fleur-de-lis”. The fleur-de-lis is a common French symbol.

Episode 7: May The Best Pet Win!

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash realizes that she is the only pony in her circle of friends without a pet. She holds a competition to choose one, but her friends worry that she doesn’t truly understand what a pet needs and what she should look for in an animal companion.

Pros:

-Character development

-Good episode for Rainbow Dash fans

-Comedic antics from the turtle

-”Ride of the Valkyries” used as background music

-Mane Six perfectly in-character

-Excellent song

-Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash interaction

Cons:

-Predictable outcome

-Animal abuse

-Random unneeded dream sequence

-Rainbow Dash’s behavior during the competition

Trivia: Tank’s flying contraption is powered by the same magical aura seen around the tickets in the season one episode “The Ticketmaster”.

Episode 8: The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash’s ego inflates dangerously as the town begins to praise her as a hero after several valiant rescues. Her superiority complex is challenged by the appearance of a new hero called “The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well”. She struggles to remain on top, but this masked hero seems to have powers that she herself does not.

Pros:

-Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo interaction

-Plethora of superhero references

-A few good jokes involving Rainbow Dash

-Good design for the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well

Cons:

-Character development ignored

-The Mane Six out-of-character

-Lesson falls flat due to events surrounding it

-The questionable behavior of the Mane Six

Trivia: Rainbow Dash’s catchphrase (“Never fear! Your friendly neighborhood Rainbow Dash is here!”) is a reference to “Spiderman”.

Episode 9: Sweet and Elite

Synopsis: While staying in Canterlot, Rarity has to choose between impressing the rich, influential elite or completing a favor she promised to a friend. She chooses the former, leading her into a tangled web of lies.

Pros:

-Good Rarity episode

-Well-performed and well-written song

-Interesting visuals

-Improved clothing designs

-Great voice-acting

Cons:

-Rarity’s behavior in the beginning and middle

-Missed opportunity for interaction between Rarity and Prince Blueblood

-Animal abuse

-Few consequences

Trivia: Counting the “Becoming Popular” montage, this episode features the most outfit changes in a single episode.

Episode 10: Secret of my Excess

Synopsis: Spike’s birthday rolls around, prompting all of his friends and other acquaintances to give him presents. The excessive amount of presents causes his greedy dragon nature to kick in. He begins hoarding everything he can get his claws on, growing rapidly all the while. Zecora explains that Spike is maturing at a faster rate than he should due to his hoarding. If he does not curb his instincts, he will become a huge ferocious monster.

Pros:

-Spike episode

-Very sweet Spike and Rarity interaction

-Information about dragons

-Good designs for each stage of Spike’s maturity

-Wonderbolts cameo

-Continuity

Cons:

-Manipulative Rarity

-Spike abuse

-Birthday episode, but date or age never mentioned

Trivia: Surprise is among the Wonderbolts who show up to fight a rampaging full-grown Spike.

Episode 11: Hearth’s Warming Eve

Synopsis: To celebrate Hearth’s Warming Eve, a Christmas-like holiday, the Mane Six participate in a play about the founding of Equestria.

Pros:

-Mythology

-History of their world expanded

-Christmas episode

-Fantastic animation

-Mane Six in-character during the play

Cons:

-Incorrect definition of “wendigos”

-Random resolution

Trivia: Private Pansy refers to Commander Hurricane as “sir”, leading many to believe that Commander Hurricane is a male. However, “sir” is often used to refer to a high-ranking officer regardless of gender. Private Pansy confirms by her use of the word “her” in reference to Commander Hurricane that she is indeed a female.

Episode 12: Family Appreciation Day

Synopsis: The Zap apples, a special magical type of apple, appear on the farm. Due to the harvest, Applejack and Big Macintosh can not attend Applebloom’s school for Family Appreciation Day. Applebloom is forced to bring in Granny Smith, but worries that her eccentric grandmother might embarrass her.

Pros:

-Good moral

-Granny Smith episode

-Unique visuals

-Origin of Ponyville revealed

-Very good “method to their madness” resolution

-Diamond Tiara punished for her actions

-Excellent designs for the Timberwolves

Cons:

-Cheerilee’s stupidity

-Diamond Tiara’s cruelty

Trivia: The coloring and the effects used in the flashback are made to resemble an old-fashioned movie.

Episode 13: Baby Cakes

Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Cake welcome a pair of twins into their family. Pinkie Pie is excited at having two new foals to play with. But when she volunteers to babysit the newborns, she is oblivious to how different responsibility is from playtime.

Pros:

-Decent moral

-Pinkie Pie antics

-Realistic lesson and storyline

-New characters

-Possible foreshadowing

Cons:

-Cliche ending

-Cliche storyline

-Unfortunate implications of Mr. Cake’s explanation

Trivia: Rarity does not give an excuse for why she cannot babysit the twins. In “Stare Masters” and “Sisterhooves Social”, it is implied that Rarity dislikes caring for young children.

Episode 14: The Last Roundup

Synopsis: Applejack departs Ponyville to compete in a rodeo in order to earn money to fix up town hall. Her friends and family are startled to receive a message telling them that she will not be returning to Ponyville. Worried and confused, her friends go looking for Applejack. Their search leads them to a town called Dodge Junction where Applejack has been employed on a cherry farm.

Pros:

-Hilarious Pinkie Pie antics

-Good Applejack episode

-Decent moral

-Rarity and Pinkie Pie interaction

-Wild West references

-”I Love Lucy” reference

-Funny chase scene

Cons:

-A little predictable

-A bit dull

-The determination of the Mane Six to meddle

-Fluttershy slightly out-of-character

Trivia: To date, this episode spawned the most controversy of any episode of the series. The trouble began when the writers became aware of one of the fan-named background characters. Due to her crossed eyes and “wonky” expression, a blonde-maned mare normally seen in the background was given the name “Derpy Hooves” by fans. The writers decided to include the name and give Derpy a speaking role in this episode. Unfortunately, soon after the episode’s initial airing, iTunes demanded that the episode be censored by changing Derpy’s name and correcting her eyes for fear of offending anyone. The episode was edited and a “censored” version, in which Derpy’s eyes are fixed, her voice is less deep, and her name is not used was aired. But these changes sparked an even bigger controversy from the fandom itself. Hasbro was flooded with complaints from fans who thought Derpy’s censorship was unfair and was sending a bad message to the little children that watched the show. Many fans saw the censorship as Hasbro trying to appease a few concerned mothers who didn’t want their children exposed to something as harmless as a possibly disabled pony who, in reality, was never even confirmed to be disabled in the first place. Hasbro made amends by releasing a limited edition Derpy Hooves figurine, complete with her crossed eyes. However, Derpy was once again confined to the background and it was not until Season 4 that she received a significant role in an episode.

Episode 15: The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000

Synopsis: Apple cider season rolls around, but the Apple family cannot keep up with the huge demand. Two businessponies known as “Flim” and “Flam” arrive in Ponyville with a contraption that can make enough cider for all the citizens. They end up challenging the Apple family to a competition to see which of them can make the most cider in an hour.

Pros:

-Hilarious Rainbow Dash antics

-Catchy song

-Decent lesson

-Apple family interaction

-Good minor villains

-References

Cons:

-Applejack’s bad business sense

-Character stupidity

-No actual letter to Celestia

Trivia: The Flim Flam Brothers’ Song parodies “The Music Man”.

Episode 16: Read it and Weep

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash ends up in the hospital after a failed trick. Twilight Sparkle gives her a book to read, but she shuns the idea. Struck by boredom, she finally decides to give reading a try. To her amazement, Rainbow Dash discovers that she actually likes reading. Unfortunately, wary of being mocked due to her own former mockery of reading, she cannot tell her friends.

Pros:

-Good moral

-Relatable dilemma

-Character development

-Realistic hospital scenario

-Indiana Jones references

-Interesting story-within-a-story

Cons:

-Slow first act

-Predictable ending

-Cliche lesson

-A few cliché scenes

Trivia: Daring Do, the title character in the book Rainbow Dash enjoys, is a recolored version of Rainbow Dash herself.

Episode 17: Hearts and Hooves Day

Synopsis: The Cutie Mark Crusaders are saddened when they discover that Cheerilee does not have a “special somepony” for Hearts and Hooves Day. They take it upon themselves to find her a coltfriend and eventually settle on Big Macintosh. But when simply putting them in romantic situations doesn’t spark a relationship, the CMC resort to using a love potion.

Pros:

-Valentine’s Day episode

-CMC episode

-More sceentime/lines for Big Macintosh and Cheerilee

-Character development

-Extremely good lesson

-Funny interactions between Big Macintosh and Cheerilee

Cons:

-Some annoying interactions

-Twilight Sparkle out-of-character

-Convenient plot device employed

-Rather forced-sounding lines from Twilight

Trivia: Applebloom distracts Big Macintosh by helping him pick out a wedding ring for Cheerilee, even though ponies do not normally wear wedding rings. Mr. and Mrs. Cake, the only married couple in the show, have never been seen with rings.

Episode 18: A Friend in Deed

Synopsis: Pinkie Pie desires to become friends with a cranky donkey, but he resists all of her attempts.

Pros:

-Pinkie Pie in-character

-Hilarious interactions between two contrasting character types

-Extremely good song

-New character introduced

Cons:

-Missed opportunity for a better lesson

-Moral could easily be taken the wrong way in context

Trivia: A version of the song “Yankee Doodle Dandee”, which is referenced many times in the episode, is played over the ending credits.

Episode 19: Putting Your Hoof Down

Synopsis: Tired of being a doormat, Fluttershy takes assertiveness lessons from a minotaur named Iron Will. The training backfires and turns her into an insufferable bully.

Pros:

-Fluttershy episode

-Character development

-Great Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy interaction

-Hilarious one-shot character

-Mythology

-Good lesson

Cons:

-Cruel Fluttershy

-Angel Bunny’s behavior

-Manipulative Rarity

-Out-of-character townsponies

-Somewhat forced happy ending

-Misfired blame

Trivia: Iron Will’s general attitude and many of his poses parody Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

Episode 20: It’s About Time

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle is visited by herself from the future. Future!Twilight informs Twilight that a disaster is coming on Tuesday, but is unable to give anything specific. Twilight’s desperation to prevent the disaster escalates to the point of near-madness.

Pros:

-Greek mythology

-Time travel episode

-Great Pinkie Pie humor

-Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle interaction

-Minimal Spike abuse

-Character development

Cons:

-Rather predictable

-Unexplained Princess Celestia cameo

-Naive Twilight Sparkle

-Completely pointless “disaster-proofing”

Trivia: The title of this episode has two meanings. “It’s About Time” refers to the fact that this episode is mainly about time travel. It also refers to the fact that there was such a long gap between this episode and the previous one, so it was “about time” it was aired.

Episode 21: Dragon Quest

Synopsis: To find out who he is, Spike tries to connect with other dragons.

Pros:

-World expansion

-Information about dragons

-Continuity

-New dragon designs

-Good lesson

-More phoenixes

Cons:

-Annoying teenage dragons

-Spike abuse

-Overprotective Mane Six

-Missed opportunity for a fight

-Stereotypes

-Rainbow Dash out-of-character

Trivia: The phoenixes in this episode have slightly different designs compared to Philomena from “A Bird in the Hoof”.

Episode 22: Hurricane Fluttershy

Synopsis: Past instances of bullying leave Fluttershy unable to help the pegasi create a tornado to lift water up to Cloudsdale.

Pros:

-Good Fluttershy episode

-Excellent moral

-Realistic portrayal of bullying

-Character development

-Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy interaction

-More pegasi

-Excellent animation

Cons:

-Unhelpful Spitfire

-Bon-Bon (and others) temporarily pegasi

-Unrealistically weak Fluttershy

Trivia: One of the animals helping Fluttershy overcome her fear of performing wears a Derpy Hooves mask.

Episode 23: Ponyville Confidential

Synopsis: The CMC try to join the school newspaper, but Diamond Tiara rejects their first attempts at compelling articles. It is only when the three ponies turn to exposing ponies and their secrets that they receive spots on the paper. Unfortunately, their stories about the private lives of ponies soon escalate to hurtful rumors and fabricated “scoops”.

Pros:

-Good lesson

-The Cutie Mark Crusaders in-character

-Mane Six not shoe-horned in

-Comedic Mane Six interaction

-Rarity and Sweetie Belle interaction

-Big Macintosh speaks

Cons:

-Overreaction of townsponies

-Few consequences for Diamond Tiara

-Irresponsible Cheerilee

-Hypocritical Rarity

-Cliche plot

-Cliche moral

Trivia: Gabby Gums writes an article claiming that the mayor dyes her mane. Later in the episode, Mayor Mare is glimpsed clearly in the middle of doing just that.

Episode 24: MMMystery on the Friendship Express

Synopsis: Pinkie Pie and her friends are tasked with transporting a cake to a baking contest. In the middle of the night, a mysterious pony ruins the cake by taking several bites out of it. Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle investigate to uncover the culprit.

Pros:

-Numerous references

-Hilarious Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie interaction

-Engaging mystery

-Somewhat surprising conclusion

-Return of Donut/Pony Joe

-New characters

Cons:

-Fluttershy out-of-character

-Predictable in many parts

-Brief Pinkie Pie cruelty

Trivia: The episode title and the solution to the mystery is a parody of “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie. The episode also contains references to Sherlock Holmes, “Kill Bill”, and the James Bond movies.

Episode 25-26: A Canterlot Wedding

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle’s older brother Shining Armor is getting married, but Twilight does not trust his bride-to-be. When she attempts to prove that this mare is not as innocent as she seems, she ends up earning the scorn of everypony.

Pros:

-An actual battle

-Breathtaking and well-performed song

-Old Disney vibes

-Good villain design

-Princess Celestia being useful

-Mythology

-Beautiful animation

-Great lesson

-Excellent changeling designs

Cons:

-Two new characters abruptly introduced

-The stupidity of the villain

-Obvious plot holes

-Arguably non-evil villain

-Villain and minions not really defeated

-Spike’s stupidity

Trivia: During “This Day Aria”, a note known as a “deceptive cadence” is used when the fake Cadence is singing. Daniel Ingram, the series composer, has confirmed that this was deliberate and it has been pointed out by many fans who are knowledgeable about music.

Spotlight on Fan Art #4 (Double Feature!) “I’m so pathetic…” and “Don’t use your fancy mathematics…”

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These beautiful pieces of art are by QuizzicalKisses, a very talented artist.  http://quizzicalkisses.deviantart.com/

This is far from his best work, but these are the two pieces I’ve chosen to put in the spotlight today.

I'm so pathetic... by QuizzicalKisses

http://quizzicalkisses.deviantart.com/art/I-m-so-pathetic-263846378

There is much to be said about the flawless shading, the gorgeous lighting, and the general beauty of this piece.  However, I will steer away from well-ventured territory and talk about the vibe of this piece.  In this piece of artwork, Rarity gives off a powerful 1940s’ movie vibe.  She looks the part of the typical damsel in an old detective film, right down to the outfit and the carefully drawn beauty of the face.  Maintaining the same ladylike grace and attractiveness of Rarity in her pony form when transitioning her into a human is of the utmost importance.  The artist has done this perfectly.  Not to mention this piece has a realism to it, as if one could reach through their screen and feel the soft material of Rarity’s robe.  The most impressive detail is the hair.  It’s unkempt, yet dignified and echoing the hairstyle of Rarity’s pony self.  Rarity’s gently seductive pose only makes this piece all the more enjoyable.  Overall, this is a great example of a talented artist and his skill for creating the best to reflect our beloved pony characters.

Don't you use your fancy mathematics... by QuizzicalKisses

http://quizzicalkisses.deviantart.com/art/Don-t-you-use-your-fancy-mathematics-331973639

This image is bursting with all the vibrant personality of the country.  At the center is a girl named Applejack with hair like straw and plain, yet beautiful, features.  She looks as if she should be the cover of a magazine about farming.  The artist has done a surprisingly good job with Applejack’s freckles, making them subtle yet most certainly there.  The lustrous emerald of her eyes is made twice as lovely by the amount of detail in the pupils themselves.  One could almost believe this is a photograph, rather than the work of mere artistic tools and experienced hands.  The illusion is only spoiled by the expected strokes and blurs here and there that indicate the work of a paintbrush.  However obvious it is that this is not a photograph, it is the most gorgeous Human!Applejack I have ever seen.

Spotlight on Fan Art #3: “Princess Twilight Sparkle” by KittenSeitz

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                             Princess Twilight Sparkle by KittenSeitz

Original: http://kittenseitz.deviantart.com/art/Princess-Twilight-Sparkle-355173114    

If there’s a common flaw with humanized versions of pegasi characters that include the wings, it’s the tendency to make the wings themselves look terribly out of place, especially when they’re outstretched.  In this magnificently detailed work, this problem has been avoided.  The wings are not so overwhelming large as to overshadow the actual person, nor are they small.  They are just the right size and, although they do still look a little strange on Princess Twilight Sparkle’s human body, they are well-drawn and lovely.  The nice amount of detail in the face, the perfect adaption of Princess Twilight Sparkle’s coronation dress for her human counterpart, and the perfect shades of her hair make this piece nearly flawless.  The one thing in the picture my eyes keep coming back to is the throne.  It has a unique design that is both beautiful and intimidating, much like Princess Twilight Sparkle herself in this picture.  She has the appearance of a calm, cool, and collected ruler with all the harshness of an evil queen, but the motherly instinct of a softhearted princess.  Of all the Human!Princess Twilight Sparkle fan art out there, this is one of the best.

Spotlight on Fan Art #2: Ghosties That Giggle (Pie) by Dhui

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Ghosties That Giggle (Pie) by Dhui

Original Image:  http://dhui.deviantart.com/art/Ghosties-That-Giggle-Pie-370547407

The title is rather silly, considering how haunting the actual picture is.  The hauntingly blank eyes seem to stare into the soul of the viewer.  The water itself has an eerily liquid quality to it that makes the fusion of it and the subject all the more creepy. The smiling faces in the background, although abstract, manage to capture the mood perfectly.  The entire thing looks like a poster for a horror movie or the cover of a horror anthology.  It is haunting, yet beautiful.  

 

 

Spotlight on Fan Art #1: “Flutterbat YouTube Speedpaint” by MarinaKirby

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Full credit goes to the artist.  Original work:  http://aquagalaxy.deviantart.com/art/Flutterbat-YOUTUBE-SPEEDPAINT-450233854

 

The detail in and shading of Flutterbat’s eyes is both adorable and haunting.  The soft colors used for the background make it easier to focus on the subject of the picture.  Flutterbat’s hair looks pleasantly beautiful and supple.  The apple, while somewhat intruding on the picture’s subject with its presence, is a nice touch and so delicious-looking that it almost makes my stomach growl with longing.  The entire work has a beautiful, dream-like quality to it.  

Quickie Reviews: MLP:FIM Season 1

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How this works: First comes the episode number, followed by the actual title. Underneath that is the “synopsis” or “plot” of the episode. Then come the “Pros” (the good stuff) about the episode. Next are the “Cons” (the bad stuff). Sometimes there will be “Neutrals” (things that can be either good or bad, depending on how you look at it). Finally there will be “Trivia”. A small fact about the episode that might not be known.

Note:  These are only QUICKIE reviews.  They are not in-depth.  

Episode 1-2: “Friendship is Magic”

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle is sent to Ponyville by her mentor Princess Celestia to supervise planning for the upcoming Summer Sun Celebration and, on the princess’s orders, “make some friends”. But Twilight is more concerned with the imminent attack of a mare known as “Nightmare Moon” than gaining friends.

Pros:
-Main characters introduced
-Decent story
-A great villain design
-Malevolent evil plan
-Plot of entire show established
-Rarity defies expectations
-Greek mythology

Cons:
-Kind of slow
-Predictable
-Friendships formed too fast to be completely believable
-Spike abuse right from the start

Neutral:
-Felt like a Disney movie
-First song of the series

Trivia: Originally, Nightmare Moon was going to seize control of the kingdom and remain in power for half of the season. But since the episodes were meant to be viewed in any order, the idea was scrapped.

 

 

Episode 3: The Ticketmaster

Synopsis: Princess Celestia sends Twilight two tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala. Unluckily, Twilight must choose between her friends to decide which one deserves the ticket.

Pros:
-A good look at the characters’ flaws after the last episode showed us their strengths
-A Scooby-Doo style chase scene with Benny Hill-style music in the background
-Good humor
-Grand Galloping Gala “arc” established
-Little filler, despite the common storyline.

Cons:
-Cliche plot
-Celestia is either inattentive or a jerk
-Fluttershy out-of-character

Trivia: This episode helped create one of Princess Celesta’s two “alternate personas” in the fandom: Trollestia. The fact that she sent two tickets, knowing full well Twilight had made five friends, is considered her first instance of willingly hoodwinking Twilight and her friends for her own amusement.

Episode 4: Applebuck Season

Synopsis: When Big Macintosh is injured, Applejack is automatically in charge of harvesting all the apples in the orchard. She stubbornly refuses help from her friends, but the heavy workload quickly begins to take its toll on her sanity.

Pros:
-Big Macintosh speaks
-One of few Applejack episodes
-Interesting plot
-Relatable lesson
-Interactions between Pinkie and Applejack
-Good physical humor
-Plot hole filled instantly

Cons:
-Overuse of magic from Twilight
-Big Macintosh’s injury never explained
-Bunny stampede

Trivia: This is the first episode of the series not written or co-written by Lauren Faust. She later left the show in the hands of the staff to pursue other projects.

Episode 5: Griffon the Brush Off

Synopsis: Pinke Pie’s newly formed bond with Rainbow Dash suffers at the talons of Gilda the Griffon, an old friend of the latter.

Pros:
-Another good and relatable lesson
-Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash interaction
-Childish pranks, but the jokes hit their mark
-Celestia cameo
-More great physical humor
-Pinkie Pie’s crazy antics
-Griffons are canon
-Well-written minor antagonist

Cons:
-Gilda’s seventies way of speaking
-Arguably Pinkie is in the wrong
-Somewhat slow start

Trivia: Fluttershy claims that she’s a year older than Pinkie Pie. This is ironic, as they are both voiced by the same voice actress (Andrea Libman).

Episode 6: Boast Busters

Synopsis: The Mane Six are annoyed by the appearance of a boastful showpony named Trixie.

Pros:
-Twilight’s magical skills expanded on
-Spike’s mustache
-Minor continuity
-The Ursa Minor’s design
-Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash show off their skills

Cons:
-Snips and Snails aren’t punished for their actions
-The stupidity of Snips and Snails
-Twilight’s motive for holding back is ridiculous
-Lack of Fluttershy or Pinkie Pie

Trivia: The “Ursa Minor” is named after a real constellation, hence its odd design that resembles the night sky.

Episode 7: Dragonshy

Synopsis: Twilight and her friends are sent to deal with a sleeping dragon who is blowing smoke into Ponyville, but Fluttershy’s cowardice threatens to ruin the entire mission.

Pros:
-Assertive Fluttershy
-First full-grown dragon in the series
-Great comedy for each of the attempts to get the dragon to leave
-Character development
-A good lesson
-Mane Six in-character

Cons:
-Two instances of characters going against their element
-Fluttershy’s fear played up a bit too much
-A few gags that fell flat due to the above
-Angel Bunny’s bratty attitude

Trivia: The dragon resembles Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.

Episode 8: Look Before You Sleep

Synopsis: Rarity and Applejack take up refuge in Twilight’s house during a storm. The two contrasting personalities clash in such close quarters.

Pros:
-Rarity and Applejack interaction
-Character development
-Character analysis
-Passable humor
-Good lesson

Cons:
-Rather boring
-Predictable
-Cliche plot all around (for the most part)

Trivia: The story of the “Headless Horse” parodies the popular horror story about the Headless Horseman.

Episode 9: Bridle Gossip

Synopsis: The citizens of Ponyville are alarmed by a zebra named Zecora, whom they are convinced is an evil enchantress. Twilight attempts to talk some sense into them, but her own beliefs are shattered when it appears that Zecora has put a curse on her and her friends.

Pros:
-Zecora
-Flutterguy
-World expanded
-Amazing new voices
-Hilarious gags involving the poison joke
-Inclusion of Apple Bloom
-Mature undertones

Cons:
-Very predictable and cliché lesson
-Bad characterization of Rainbow Dash

Trivia: Spike refers to Applejack as “Appleteeny” after she is shrunk by the poison joke. In real life, an “appletini” is a popular alcoholic beverage.

Episode 10: Swarm of the Century

Synopsis: A plague of rapidly multiplying creatures descends on Ponyville.

Pros:
-Well-paced
-Character expansion
-Very good lesson
-Well-written Pinkie Pie comedy
-Everyone perfectly in character
-Zecora cameo

Cons:
-Pinkie Pie’s knowledge of the Parasprites never explained
-Noticeably short term solution not realized
-Lesson somewhat falls flat due to Pinkie’s lack of explanation for her actions

Neutral:
-Twilight Sparkle’s first “freak out”.

Trivia: Pinkie Pie’s method for stopping the parasprites mirrors a classic story entitled “The Pied Piper” in which a man utilizes music to free a town from a plague of rats.

Episode 11: Winter Wrap-Up

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle wants to help wrap up winter, but she cannot find a task that suits her. She wanders around town in search of the perfect job, but her efforts cause more harm than good.

Pros:
-Funny Spike and Twilight interaction
-Interesting and unique storyline
-Catchy song
-Good lesson
-Running gag that remains funny
-Good pacing

Cons:
-Spike’s antagonism
-Forced definition of the word “hibernation”
-Stupidity of the Ponyville citizens
-Uselessness of Mayor Mare

Trivia: This episode features the first song in the series to be performed by the entire main cast. In addition, it is widely considered one of the best songs in the entire show.

Episode 12: Call of the Cutie

Synopsis: Applebloom sulks about being the only pony in her class without a cutie mark. She tries to obtain one by trying out several new activities, but all in vain.

Pros:
-Two well-written bullies
-Several new characters introduced
-First episode with little focus on the Mane Six
-Cutie marks finally explained
-Funny humor surrounding Applebloom’s quest for her cutie mark
-Character expansion

Cons:
-A little too much filler
-Quick resolution
-Continuity error

Trivia: Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle act as if they’ve never met Apple Bloom before, despite the three of them having been huddled together in fear when Nightmare Moon appeared in the first episode. The error was discovered early on and the animators were going to replace them with three other fillies, but it was too late in the production for any changes.

Episode 13: Fall Weather Friends

Synopsis: Applejack and Rainbow Dash compete to find out which one of them is the better athlete. But as the competition wages on, desperation leads the ponies into the territory of cheating. When Rainbow Dash repeatedly and unfairly uses her wings to win, Applejack challenges her to a race during the annual Running of the Leaves. Rainbow Dash agrees, even when she is told that, to preserve fair play, she will not be allowed to use her wings.

Pros:
-Conflict established with characters in-character
-Character development
-Pinkie Pie’s comedic commentary
-Spike and Pinkie Pie interaction
-Fantastic animation in some parts
-Unanswered question from earlier episode addressed
-Ending not entirely predictable

Cons:
-A little boring in the middle
-Aired too late in the season
-Applejack a bit out-of-character

Neutral:
-Cartoon physics used to their full extent

Trivia: “Winter Wrap-Up”, a previous episode, took place during winter. However, “Fall Weather Friends” takes place during autumn. Due to this, “Fall Weather Friends” should have been aired before “Winter Wrap-Up”.

 

Episode 14: Suited for Success

Synopsis: Rarity proposes making her friends dresses for the Grand Galloping Gala. She is quickly buried underneath an avalanche of demands from her friends. Her desire to make the dresses perfect drives her to comply to her friends’ every order, regardless of how ridiculous they are.

Pros:
-Excellent Rarity episode
-Great song
-Cleverly metaphorical song lyrics and storyline
-Superb lesson
-Relatable scenario
-Continuity
-Interesting transitions
-Creative visuals

Cons:
-Fluttershy out of character
-Demanding Mane Six
-Over-dramatic Rarity somewhat annoying

Trivia: Rainbow Dash’s line in the episode (“Needs to be about twenty-percent cooler”) has become an Internet meme.

Episode 15: Feeling Pinkie Keen

Synopsis: Twilight notices Pinkie Pie acting crazier than usual and discovers it has to do with her “Pinkie Sense”. She is skeptic of the idea that Pinkie Pie can predict future events based on body spasms, but all of her friends seem to believe in the phenomena despite not being able to explain it. Not convinced, Twilight tries use science to unravel the secrets of the “Pinkie Sense” and its questionable existence.

Pros:
-Excellent physical comedy
-Twilight and Pinkie Pie interaction
-Greek mythology
-Character development

Cons:
-Lesson can be taken the wrong way
-Twilight Sparkle viewed as the antagonist
-Unexplained absence of Rainbow Dash

Trivia: There was a small controversy surrounding this particular episode. Several fans misinterpreted it as being a “science vs. religion” type of storyline, with Twilight Sparkle playing the role of the unbelieving scientist and the “Pinkie Sense” representing religion itself. The lesson, many fans wrongly assumed, was that one should be more inclined towards blind faith than facts. The writers never dreamed that the episode’s message would be taken this way and have claimed that they never meant the episode to imply anything about religion.

Episode 16: Sonic Rainboom

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash struggles with the elusive “sonic rainboom”, a fantastic trick that has only ever been performed once in history, for the Best Young Flyers Competition. Her confidence wavers as the competition looms closer. Meanwhile, Rarity basks in the attention she earns after one of Twilight’s spells gives her a pair of beautiful wings.

Pros:
-Excellent episode for Rainbow Dash fans
-Character expansion
-Character development
-Breathtaking animation
-Roman architecture
-A look at Cloudsdale
-Great Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash interaction

Cons:
-Cringe-worthy for some Rarity fans
-The bullies

Episode 17: Stare Master

Synopsis: Rarity, who is in the middle of an important order, allows Fluttershy to take over the responsibility of taking care of the CMC. Fluttershy, unaware that taking care of children and taking care of animals are completely different, is overwhelmed by the hyperactive antics of the children.

Pros:
-The return of the Cutie Mark Crusaders
-Character expansion
-Mythology
-Fluttershy’s singing voice

Cons:
-A rather dull episode
-CMC somewhat annoying
-Mostly cliché babysitting plot

Trivia: “Hush Now, Quiet Now” is Fluttershy’s first solo performance in the show.

Episode 18: The Show Stoppers

Synopsis: The Cutie Mark Crusaders enter a talent show to get their cutie marks. Unfortunately, they misinterpret Twilight Sparkle’s words and do not play to their strengths as she suggested.

Pros:
-Enjoyable background music
-Excellent comedic montage
-Great comedy from the CMC and their antics
-Slight foreshadowing
-Possible glimpse at CMC’s special talents
-Good song, despite the bad singing

Cons:
-A lot of filler before the main plot
-Very forced title drop
-Bad performance
-Stubbornness and ignorance of the CMC

Neutral:
-Two CMC episodes in a row

Trivia: Michelle Creber and Madeline Peters, who voice the Cutie Mark Crusaders in their singing roles, kept getting called back into the recording studio for the terrible performance the CMC give near the end of the episode. Apparently they couldn’t sing badly enough for the performance to be as terrible as it was intended to. In the end, it had to be auto-tuned to make it sound even worse.

Episode 19: A Dog and Pony Show

Synopsis: Rarity is kidnapped by “Diamond Dogs” who wish to use her gem-finding ability to their advantage. Spike and her other friends, under the impression that she is a completely helpless damsel in distress, are desperate to rescue her. Unbeknownest to them, Rarity is steadily manipulating the Diamond Dogs in order to escape.

Pros:
-A perfect episode for Rarity fans
-Extremely good lesson
-Character expansion
-An episode that defies expectations and stereotypes
-Clever mockery of a classic plot device
-Truly amazing voice acting from Tabitha St. Germain

Cons:
-Lesson could be taken the wrong way
-Arguable Spike abuse

Trivia: The Diamond Dogs are not officially named in the episode, but in merchandise and on the script they are referred to as “Spot”, “Rover”, and “Fido”.

Episode 20: Green Isn’t Your Color

Synopsis: Rarity hopes that Photo Finish, a renowned fashion photographer, will help her achieve her dreams. Unfortunately, Photo Finish takes an interest in Fluttershy and hires her as a model. Fluttershy, being timid, hates all the unwanted attention she receives as a famous model, but keeps the profession to make Rarity happy. Rarity herself does not express the fact that she is secretly jealous because she in turn believes that Fluttershy wants to be a model when in reality the shy mare is doing it for Rarity’s sake.

Pros:
-Rarity and Fluttershy interaction
-Photo Finish
-Character development
-Funny Pinkie Pie antics
-Good lesson
-The Mane Six are perfectly in character

Cons:
-Somewhat rushed resolution
-Spike abuse
-Bad Spike and Rarity interaction (on Rarity’s part)

Trivia: Photo Finish’s design might be based off of Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.

Episode 21: Over a Barrel

Synopsis: Applejack and her friends try to transport an apple tree to a distant town called Appleloosa, but it is stolen by a tribe of buffalo. It is revealed that the Appleloosans are part of an ongoing feud with the buffalo over the land where the apple trees are planted.

Pros:
-New sentient species introduced
-References to the Wild West
-Great humor
-Realistic conflict
-New location
-New Apple family member

Cons:
-Silly battle scene
-Lesson ruined by knowledge of American history
-Obvious solution overlooked until the end
-Potentially disastrous meddling

Trivia: This entire episode is based on the conflict between Native Americans and cowboys, except the ending in which everything is resolved by a compromise.

Episode 22: A Bird in the Hoof

Synopsis: Fluttershy is deeply astonished when she meets the princess’s pet bird Philomena, who appears to have fallen gravely ill right under the princess’s nose. Sorry for the sickly creature, Fluttershy kidnaps the bird and tries to nurse him back to health.

Pros:
-Mythological creature
-Mane Six and Princess Celestia interaction
-Character expansion
-Angel Bunny being kindhearted
-Most of the Mane Six are in character
-Surprising ending for some people
-Beautiful phoenix design

Cons:
-Logic of the lesson not sound in the circumstances
-Unrealistic paranoia from Twilight Sparkle

Trivia: Philomena is voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, who does the voice of Rarity along with many other characters.

Episode 23: The Cutie Mark Chronicles

Synopsis: The Mane Six relate the events that led to them getting their cutie marks and discover a connection.

Pros:
-Mane Six history revealed
-Excellent animation for the Sonic Rainboom again
-Good filly and colt designs
-Sudden, but well-performed, song
-Continuity
-Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash interaction
-Spike’s origins explained
-Complex plot
-World-building

Cons:
-Cheesy and unrealistic lesson
-Rather forced moral

Trivia: The two bullies from “Sonic Rainboom” return. Although they claim that the sonic rainboom is a myth, they were competing in a race with Rainbow Dash at the time that she successfully performed it. This is because neither of them actually witnessed the feat. Both of them were knocked off course at some point and were not able to see the extraordinary feat.

Episode 24: Owl’s Well That Ends Well

Synopsis: Spike has always considered himself Twilight’s “Number One Assistant”. This title is challenged when she adopts an owl to be her second assistant. A paranoid Spike believes that the owl is after his top spot.

Pros:
-Spike episode
-Spike and Twilight interaction
-Heartwarming ending

Cons:
-Not a very strong episode
-Missed chance for character development
-Spike’s ego

Trivia: The dragon whose cave Spike stumbles upon is a recolored version of the dragon from “Dragonshy”.

Episode 25: Party of One

Synopsis: Pinkie Pie comes to believe that her friends are hiding something from her.

Pros:
-Strong Pinke Pie episode
-Character expansion
-Exceptionally good humor
-Both heartbreaking and heartwarming
-Good animation, especially near the end
-Unique Pinkie Pie episode
-Pinkie Pie’s antics

Cons:
-Predictable ending
-Unrealistic revelation
-Conflict resolved too quickly
-Overused joke

Trivia: This episode is believed to have inspired the infamous “Cupcakes” fanfiction. In reality, the fanfiction was written several months before the episode premiered. The episode itself was written before the fanfiction and no one in the fandom had any knowledge of it before its premiere. Therefore, the similarities between the episode and the fanfiction are completely coincidental.

Episode 26: The Best Night Ever

Synopsis: The Mane Six finally attend the Grand Galloping Gala, but their “best night ever” quickly goes bad. Twilight Sparkle’s hopes of speaking with Princess Celestia are dashed due to the princess’s duty of greeting all the guests. Rarity is forced to endure the rudeness and egotistical behavior of Prince Blueblood. Applejack struggles to sell her products to the “hoity-toity” crowd. Pinkie Pie’s childish party antics are not welcome at the sophisticated event. Rainbow Dash fails to attract the attention of the Wonderbolts. Fluttershy finds that the woodland creatures are scared of her for some reason.

Pros:
-Good lesson
-Continuity
-Expectations defied
-Realistic conflicts
-Realistic minor antagonist
-Fantastic song
-Allusions to classic fairy tales

How this works: First comes the episode number, followed by the actual title. Underneath that is the “synopsis” or “plot” of the episode. Then come the “Pros” (the good stuff) about the episode. Next are the “Cons” (the bad stuff). Sometimes there will be “Neutrals” (things that can be either good or bad, depending on how you look at it). Finally there will be “Trivia”. A small fact about the episode that might not be known.

Episode 1-2: “Friendship is Magic”

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle is sent to Ponyville by her mentor Princess Celestia to supervise planning for the upcoming Summer Sun Celebration and, on the princess’s orders, “make some friends”. But Twilight is more concerned with the imminent attack of a mare known as “Nightmare Moon” than gaining friends.

Pros:
-Main characters introduced
-Decent story
-A great villain design
-Malevolent evil plan
-Plot of entire show established
-Rarity defies expectations
-Greek mythology

Cons:
-Kind of slow
-Predictable
-Friendships formed too fast to be completely believable
-Spike abuse right from the start

Neutral:
-Felt like a Disney movie
-First song of the series

Trivia: Originally, Nightmare Moon was going to seize control of the kingdom and remain in power for half of the season. But since the episodes were meant to be viewed in any order, the idea was scrapped.

Episode 3: The Ticketmaster

Synopsis: Princess Celestia sends Twilight two tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala. Unluckily, Twilight must choose between her friends to decide which one deserves the ticket.

Pros:
-A good look at the characters’ flaws after the last episode showed us their strengths
-A Scooby-Doo style chase scene with Benny Hill-style music in the background
-Good humor
-Grand Galloping Gala “arc” established
-Little filler, despite the common storyline.

Cons:
-Cliche plot
-Celestia is either inattentive or a jerk

Trivia: This episode helped create one of Princess Celesta’s two “alternate personas” in the fandom: Trollestia. The fact that she sent two tickets, knowing full well Twilight had made five friends, is considered her first instance of willingly hoodwinking Twilight and her friends for her own amusement.

Episode 4: Applebuck Season

Synopsis: When Big Macintosh is injured, Applejack is automatically in charge of harvesting all the apples in the orchard. She stubbornly refuses help from her friends, but the heavy workload quickly begins to take its toll on her sanity.

Pros:
-Big Macintosh speaks
-One of few Applejack episodes
-Interesting plot
-Relatable lesson
-Interactions between Pinkie and Applejack
-Good physical humor
-Plot hole filled instantly

Cons:
-Overuse of magic from Twilight
-Big Macintosh’s injury never explained
-Bunny stampede

Trivia: This is the first episode of the series not written or co-written by Lauren Faust. She later left the show in the hands of the staff to pursue other projects.

Episode 5: Griffon the Brush Off

Synopsis: Pinke Pie’s newly formed bond with Rainbow Dash suffers at the talons of Gilda the Griffon, an old friend of the latter.

Pros:
-Another good and relatable lesson
-Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash interaction
-Childish pranks, but the jokes hit their mark
-Celestia cameo
-More great physical humor
-Pinkie Pie’s crazy antics
-Griffons are canon
-Well-written minor antagonist

Cons:
-Gilda’s seventies way of speaking
-Arguably Pinkie is in the wrong
-Somewhat slow start

Trivia: Fluttershy claims that she’s a year older than Pinkie Pie. This is ironic, as they are both voiced by the same voice actress (Andrea Libman).

Episode 6: Boast Busters

Synopsis: The Mane Six are annoyed by the appearance of a boastful showpony named Trixie.

Pros:
-Twilight’s magical skills expanded on
-Spike’s mustache
-Minor continuity
-The Ursa Minor’s design
-Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash show off their skills

Cons:
-Snips and Snails aren’t punished for their actions
-The stupidity of Snips and Snails
-Twilight’s motive for holding back is ridiculous
-Lack of Fluttershy or Pinkie Pie

Trivia: The “Ursa Minor” is named after a real constellation, hence its odd design that resembles the night sky.

Episode 7: Dragonshy

Synopsis: Twilight and her friends are sent to deal with a sleeping dragon who is blowing smoke into Ponyville, but Fluttershy’s cowardice threatens to ruin the entire mission.

Pros:
-Assertive Fluttershy
-First full-grown dragon in the series
-Great comedy for each of the attempts to get the dragon to leave
-Character development
-A good lesson
-Mane Six in-character

Cons:
-Two instances of characters going against their element
-Fluttershy’s fear played up a bit too much
-A few gags that fell flat due to the above
-Angel Bunny’s bratty attitude

Trivia: The dragon resembles Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”, both in looks and personality.

Episode 8: Look Before You Sleep

Synopsis: Rarity and Applejack take up refuge in Twilight’s house during a storm. The two contrasting personalities clash in such close quarters.

Pros:
-Rarity and Applejack interaction
-Character development
-Character analysis
-Passable humor
-Good lesson

Cons:
-Rather boring
-Predictable
-Cliche plot all around (for the most part)

Trivia: The story of the “Headless Horse” parodies the popular horror story about the Headless Horseman.

Episode 9: Bridle Gossip

Synopsis: The citizens of Ponyville are alarmed by a zebra named Zecora, whom they are convinced is an evil enchantress. Twilight attempts to talk some sense into them, but her own beliefs are shattered when it appears that Zecora has put a curse on her and her friends.

Pros:
-Zecora
-Flutterguy
-World expanded
-Amazing new voices
-Hilarious gags involving the poison joke
-Inclusion of Apple Bloom
-Mature undertones

Cons:
-Very predictable and cliché lesson
-Bad characterization of Rainbow Dash

Trivia: Spike refers to Applejack as “Appleteeny” after she is shrunk by the poison joke. In real life, an “appletini” is a popular alcoholic beverage.

Episode 10: Swarm of the Century

Synopsis: A plague of rapidly multiplying creatures descends on Ponyville.

Pros:
-Well-paced
-Character expansion
-Very good lesson
-Well-written Pinkie Pie comedy
-Everyone perfectly in character
-Zecora cameo

Cons:
-Pinkie Pie’s knowledge of the Parasprites never explained
-Noticeably short term solution not realized
-Lesson somewhat falls flat due to Pinkie’s lack of explanation for her actions

Neutral:
-Twilight Sparkle’s first “freak out”.

Trivia: Pinkie Pie’s method for stopping the parasprites mirrors a classic story entitled “The Pied Piper” in which a man utilizes music to free a town from a plague of rats.

Episode 11: Winter Wrap-Up

Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle wants to help wrap up winter, but she cannot find a task that suits her. She wanders around town in search of the perfect job, but her efforts cause more harm than good.

Pros:
-Funny Spike and Twilight interaction
-Interesting and unique storyline
-Catchy song
-Good lesson
-Running gag that remains funny
-Good pacing

Cons:
-Spike’s antagonism
-Forced definition of the word “hibernation”
-Stupidity of the Ponyville citizens
-Uselessness of Mayor Mare

Trivia: This episode features the first song in the series to be performed by the entire main cast. In addition, it is widely considered one of the best songs in the entire show.

Episode 12: Call of the Cutie

Synopsis: Applebloom sulks about being the only pony in her class without a cutie mark. She tries to obtain one by trying out several new activities, but all in vain.

Pros:
-Two well-written bullies
-Several new characters introduced
-First episode with little focus on the Mane Six
-Cutie marks finally explained
-Funny humor surrounding Applebloom’s quest for her cutie mark
-Character expansion

Cons:
-A little too much filler

Trivia: Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle act as if they’ve never met Apple Bloom before, despite the three of them having been huddled together in fear when Nightmare Moon appeared in the first episode. The error was discovered early on and the animators were going to replace them with three other fillies, but it was too late in the production for any changes.

Episode 13: Fall Weather Friends

Synopsis: Applejack and Rainbow Dash compete to find out which one of them is the better athlete. But as the competition wages on, desperation leads the ponies into the territory of cheating. When Rainbow Dash repeatedly and unfairly uses her wings to win, Applejack challenges her to a race during the annual Running of the Leaves. Rainbow Dash agrees, even when she is told that, to preserve fair play, she will not be allowed to use her wings.

Pros:
-Conflict established with characters in-character
-Character development
-Pinkie Pie’s comedic commentary
-Spike and Pinkie Pie interaction
-Fantastic animation in some parts
-Unanswered question from earlier episode addressed
-Ending not entirely predictable

Cons:
-A little boring in the middle
-Aired too late in the season
-Applejack a bit out-of-character

Neutral:
-Cartoon physics used to their full extent

Trivia: “Winter Wrap-Up”, a previous episode, took place during winter. However, “Fall Weather Friends” takes place during autumn. Due to this, “Fall Weather Friends” should have been aired before “Winter Wrap-Up”.

Episode 14: Suited for Success

Synopsis: Rarity proposes making her friends dresses for the Grand Galloping Gala. She is quickly buried underneath an avalanche of demands from her friends. Her desire to make the dresses perfect drives her to comply to her friends’ every order, regardless of how ridiculous they are.

Pros:
-Excellent Rarity episode
-Great song
-Cleverly metaphorical song lyrics and storyline
-Superb lesson
-Relatable scenario
-Continuity
-Interesting transitions
-Creative visuals

Cons:
-Fluttershy out of character

Trivia: Rainbow Dash’s line in the episode (“Needs to be about twenty-percent cooler”) has become an Internet meme.

Episode 15: Feeling Pinkie Keen

Synopsis: Twilight notices Pinkie Pie acting crazier than usual and discovers it has to do with her “Pinkie Sense”. She is skeptic of the idea that Pinkie Pie can predict future events based on body spasms, but all of her friends seem to believe in the phenomena despite not being able to explain it. Not convinced, Twilight tries use science to unravel the secrets of the “Pinkie Sense” and its questionable existence.

Pros:
-Excellent physical comedy
-Twilight and Pinkie Pie interaction
-Greek mythology
-Character development

Cons:
-Lesson can be taken the wrong way
-Twilight Sparkle viewed as the antagonist
-Unexplained absence of Rainbow Dash

Trivia: There was a small controversy surrounding this particular episode. Several fans misinterpreted it as being a “science vs. religion” type of storyline, with Twilight Sparkle playing the role of the unbelieving scientist and the “Pinkie Sense” representing religion itself. The lesson, many fans wrongly assumed, was that one should be more inclined towards blind faith than facts. The writers never dreamed that the episode’s message would be taken this way and have claimed that they never meant the episode to imply anything about religion.

Episode 16: Sonic Rainboom

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash struggles with the elusive “sonic rainboom”, a fantastic trick that has only ever been performed once in history, for the Best Young Flyers Competition. Her confidence wavers as the competition looms closer. Meanwhile, Rarity basks in the attention she earns after one of Twilight’s spells gives her a pair of beautiful wings.

Pros:
-Excellent episode for Rainbow Dash fans
-Character expansion
-Character development
-Breathtaking animation
-Roman architecture
-A look at Cloudsdale
-Great Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash interaction

Cons:
-Cringe-worthy for some Rarity fans
-The bullies

Episode 17: Stare Master

Synopsis: Rarity, who is in the middle of an important order, allows Fluttershy to take over the responsibility of taking care of the CMC. Fluttershy, unaware that taking care of children and taking care of animals are completely different, is overwhelmed by the hyperactive antics of the children.

Pros:
-The return of the Cutie Mark Crusaders
-Character expansion
-Mythology
-Fluttershy’s singing voice

Cons:
-A rather dull episode
-CMC somewhat annoying
-Mostly cliché babysitting plot

Trivia: “Hush Now, Quiet Now” is Fluttershy’s first solo performance in the show.

Episode 18: The Show Stoppers

Synopsis: The Cutie Mark Crusaders enter a talent show to get their cutie marks. Unfortunately, they misinterpret Twilight Sparkle’s words and do not play to their strengths as she suggested.

Pros:
-Enjoyable background music
-Excellent comedic montage
-Great comedy from the CMC and their antics
-Slight foreshadowing
-Possible glimpse at CMC’s special talents
-Good song, despite the bad singing

Cons:
-A lot of filler before the main plot
-Very forced title drop
-Bad performance
-Stubbornness and ignorance of the CMC

Neutral:
-Two CMC episodes in a row

Trivia: Michelle Creber and Madeline Peters, who voice the Cutie Mark Crusaders in their singing roles, kept getting called back into the recording studio for the terrible performance the CMC give near the end of the episode. Apparently they couldn’t sing badly enough for the performance to be as terrible as it was intended to. In the end, it had to be auto-tuned to make it sound even worse.

Episode 19: A Dog and Pony Show

Synopsis: Rarity is kidnapped by “Diamond Dogs” who wish to use her gem-finding ability to their advantage. Spike and her other friends, under the impression that she is a completely helpless damsel in distress, are desperate to rescue her. Unbeknownest to them, Rarity is steadily manipulating the Diamond Dogs in order to escape.

Pros:
-A perfect episode for Rarity fans
-Extremely good lesson
-Character expansion
-An episode that defies expectations and stereotypes
-Clever mockery of a classic plot device
-Truly amazing voice acting from Tabitha St. Germain

Cons:
-Lesson could be taken the wrong way
-Arguable Spike abuse

Trivia: The Diamond Dogs are not officially named in the episode, but in merchandise and on the script they are referred to as “Spot”, “Rover”, and “Fido”.

Episode 20: Green Isn’t Your Color

Synopsis: Rarity hopes that Photo Finish, a renowned fashion photographer, will help her achieve her dreams. Unfortunately, Photo Finish takes an interest in Fluttershy and hires her as a model. Fluttershy, being timid, hates all the unwanted attention she receives as a famous model, but keeps the profession to make Rarity happy. Rarity herself does not express the fact that she is secretly jealous because she in turn believes that Fluttershy wants to be a model when in reality the shy mare is doing it for Rarity’s sake.

Pros:
-Rarity and Fluttershy interaction
-Photo Finish
-Character development
-Funny Pinkie Pie antics
-Good lesson
-The Mane Six are perfectly in character

Cons:
-Somewhat rushed resolution
-Spike abuse
-Bad Spike and Rarity interaction (on Rarity’s part)

Trivia: Photo Finish’s design might be based off of Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.

Episode 21: Over a Barrel

Synopsis: Applejack and her friends try to transport an apple tree to a distant town called Appleloosa, but it is stolen by a tribe of buffalo. It is revealed that the Appleloosans are part of an ongoing feud with the buffalo over the land where the apple trees are planted.

Pros:
-New sentient species introduced
-References to the Wild West
-Great humor
-Realistic conflict
-New location
-New Apple family member

Cons:
-Silly battle scene
-Lesson ruined by knowledge of American history
-Obvious solution overlooked until the end
-Potentially disastrous meddling

Trivia: This entire episode is based on the conflict between Native Americans and cowboys, except the ending in which everything is resolved by a compromise.

Episode 22: A Bird in the Hoof

Synopsis: Fluttershy is deeply astonished when she meets the princess’s pet bird Philomena, who appears to have fallen gravely ill right under the princess’s nose. Sorry for the sickly creature, Fluttershy kidnaps the bird and tries to nurse him back to health.

Pros:
-Mythological creature
-Mane Six and Princess Celestia interaction
-Character expansion
-Angel Bunny being kindhearted
-Most of the Mane Six are in character
-Surprising ending for some people
-Beautiful phoenix design

Cons:
-Logic of the lesson not sound in the circumstances
-Unrealistic paranoia from Twilight Sparkle

Trivia: Philomena is voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, who does the voice of Rarity along with many other characters.

Episode 23: The Cutie Mark Chronicles

Synopsis: The Mane Six relate the events that led to them getting their cutie marks and discover a connection.

Pros:
-Mane Six history revealed
-Excellent animation for the Sonic Rainboom again
-Good filly and colt designs
-Sudden, but well-performed, song
-Continuity
-Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash interaction
-Spike’s origins explained
-Complex plot
-World-building

Cons:
-Cheesy and unrealistic lesson

Trivia: The two bullies from “Sonic Rainboom” return. Although they claim that the sonic rainboom is a myth, they were competing in a race with Rainbow Dash at the time that she successfully performed it. This is because neither of them actually witnessed the feat. Both of them were knocked off course at some point and were not able to see the extraordinary feat.

Episode 24: Owl’s Well That Ends Well

Synopsis: Spike has always considered himself Twilight’s “Number One Assistant”. This title is challenged when she adopts an owl to be her second assistant. A paranoid Spike believes that the owl is after his top spot.

Pros:
-Spike episode
-Spike and Twilight interaction
-Heartwarming ending

Cons:
-Not a very strong episode
-Missed chance for character development
-Spike’s ego

Trivia: The dragon whose cave Spike stumbles upon is a recolored version of the dragon from “Dragonshy”.

Episode 25: Party of One

Synopsis: Pinkie Pie comes to believe that her friends are hiding something from her.

Pros:
-Strong Pinke Pie episode
-Character expansion
-Exceptionally good humor
-Both heartbreaking and heartwarming
-Good animation, especially near the end
-Unique Pinkie Pie episode
-Pinkie Pie’s antics

Cons:
-Predictable ending
-Unrealistic revelation
-Conflict resolved too quickly
-Overused joke

Trivia: This episode is believed to have inspired the infamous “Cupcakes” fanfiction. In reality, the fanfiction was written several months before the episode premiered. The episode itself was written before the fanfiction and no one in the fandom had any knowledge of it before its premiere. Therefore, the similarities between the episode and the fanfiction are completely coincidental.

Episode 26: The Best Night Ever

Synopsis: The Mane Six finally attend the Grand Galloping Gala, but their “best night ever” quickly goes bad. Twilight Sparkle’s hopes of speaking with Princess Celestia are dashed due to the princess’s duty of greeting all the guests. Rarity is forced to endure the rudeness and egotistical behavior of Prince Blueblood. Applejack struggles to sell her products to the “hoity-toity” crowd. Pinkie Pie’s childish party antics are not welcome at the sophisticated event. Rainbow Dash fails to attract the attention of the Wonderbolts. Fluttershy finds that the woodland creatures are scared of her for some reason.

Pros:
-Good lesson
-Continuity
-Expectations defied
-Realistic conflicts
-Realistic minor antagonist
-Fantastic song
-Allusions to classic fairy tales

Cons:
-Some out-of-character moments
-Unrealistic (although hilarious) behavior by Fluttershy

Trivia: One of the Wonderbolts who appears in the VIP section is named “Surprise”. Originally, Pinkie Pie was going to be a pegasus named “Surprise” based on a G1 pegasus of the same name. When that idea was dropped and Pinkie Pie turned out to be an Earth pony, Surprise was made a member of the Wonderbolts. She is never referred to by name in any of the episodes she appears in and she is never seen without being almost completely covered by her uniform, but her body color and hair reveal that she is indeed Surprise.

Why A Rule 63 Version of MLP Wouldn’t Work

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“Colt dubs” are practically a trend in the fandom and Rule 63 material is usually highly regarded. Turning the Mane Six into stallions seems to be popular. The reason is obvious: In such a male-dominated fandom, there are bound to be many fans who enjoy seeing their favorite female characters as males either for relatability or because they feel the show wouldn’t be so frowned upon as an interest if the characters were male. Would the show really be better if the characters were stallions instead of mares? Perhaps not just for the more insecure fans but for the show itself? Bluntly, the answer is “no”. In fact, the show wouldn’t work at all if it was stallions instead of mares. The reasons I shall list below.

1. It would go against the show’s message

One of the show’s main goals it to teach girls that they can be/like whatever they want and still be girls. It would be difficult to teach such a message with all the characters as males. Although we need a cartoon that teaches boys that they can still be boys regardless of their interests, this show wasn’t meant for that purpose.

2. It would ignore one of the main goals of the show: Selling toys

Although this show has evolved past such a simple goal, one of the main reasons it exists is to sell toys to little girls. Defying gender roles or not, My Little Pony, as with Barbie and Bratz, has always been marketed specifically towards little girls. An all-mare cast is more likely to appeal to girls than an all-stallion cast.

3. It would be too much like everything else on television

A show with an all-male cast where the males are treated as being superior and always have to rescue the females, including the smart or capable ones? That would literally be nearly every other popular cartoon on television. “Regular Show” and “Adventure Time” spring to mind. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gives us the reverse in case we need a change of scenery. For that matter, even other shows with an all-female main cast are guilty of this well-used trope.

4. What would them being stallions add to the show? Nothing.

They’d still be the exact same characters with the exact same personalities, except stallions. This difference is so minor that it’s unlikely to impact how hateful outsiders view the show. There are still going to be ignorant people who mock those who enjoy it.

5. Homophobic parents would freak out over Elusive and/or Bubble Berry.

When it comes to stereotypes about homosexuals, gay men tend to get the worst of it. Rainbow Dash has already been accused of being a lesbian due to her tomboyish nature and being related to rainbows. Elusive, a stallion who works as a fashion designer, would be subject to the exact same treatment, even if the show made it clear that he’s only attracted to mares. Bubble Berry, being pink, would probably be accused of being homosexual as well, without the “he’s only attracted to mares” excuse. When it comes to television, the majority of parents will object to small things (such as Derpy Hooves) that may or may not be as they interpret them more willingly than things that are actually bad. While the Derpy Hooves controversy in itself wasn’t a fiasco and was resolved in the end, parents would be appalled at the very suggestion of a gay character in a TV show for children and demand the show’s cancellation.

6. It Just Wouldn’t Work

It’s alright to write Rule 63 fan fiction or make fanart based on the concept, but the actual show being about stallions instead of mares? It simply wouldn’t work, due to the reasons I listed above. The show doesn’t need to have an all-stallion cast for it to be good. It’s already good and changing the genders wouldn’t make it better.