A Small Fish in a Big Pond: “Castle Sweet Castle” review

For some reason, these days I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Let’s Plays.’

You know what a ‘Let’s Play’ is, right? They’re those videos people post of gameplay footage, accompanied by their own boring commentary.

Generally, I watch them for the talk, because the right commentator can make even the most boring game in the world, a fascinating piece of work. Case in point: Gabe and Yahtzee, who do the ‘Let’s Drown Out’ series on YouTube. They’re entertaining, insightful, and hilarious as they talk about gaming news, answer viewer questions, and comment on random shit while one of them plays a game.

It may not sound that great, but for some reason, the formula works. And half the time I just pick a random episode and use it as background noise while I’m doing some menial stuff around the house.

One of their most recent videos featured them playing ‘Papers, Please,’ (which is a really good game, by the way) and their discussion naturally drifted toward communism. Or should I say: COMMUNISM!!! [shake fist dramatically]

That doesn’t work as well in text.

Anyway, it got me thinking about why communism has never worked in the past. And really, it all comes down to the fact that no country has ever had enough money to pull it off.

Alright, part of it is human nature. If you’re not getting rewarded for doing a good job over a bad job, why would you bother doing a good job? And if everyone gets paid the same regardless of skill set, why wouldn’t you just pick the easiest job you can find?

But let’s be honest, how many jobs out there can be described as, ‘shit’? How many jobs are lamented with the phrase, ‘it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it’? How many jobs does no one want to fucking do!?

So imagine a world where that’s no longer an issue. Imagine a world where toilets were self-cleaning, robots handled shipping and loading at factories and warehouses, where machines handled our customer service… Actually, we already got that last one, which proves my point. Eventually, that’ll become a reality, and there’ll be no demand for shit work. So what does one do? How does one earn an honest living? Well, in that world, we’ll be so bogged down with resources, we won’t care! We’ll just give you food, fuck it!

This was what was envisioned by Gene Roddenberry: the Star Trek economy. They have no money in Star Trek, so they do what they want to, not what they need to.

But why would they even bother working at all in that world? Well, for recognition, responsibilities, power, fun, or simply maintaining their own sanity! It’s not for personal gain, but personal growth.

But even with plentiful resources, there is only so much land mass on this planet. How do we control that? If we can get anything we want without working for it, how do we stop people just taking five-story mansions and claiming that as their own?

Which finally leads me to a very important point: I don’t think that’s an issue, because not only does no one person need a five-story mansion all to themselves, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even want it if they had it!

Now, to be honest, I’m not someone you’d call ‘cheap’. I do have expensive tastes. I like fine wines, and imported Scotch Whisky. I like a good meal in a fancy restaurant, Earl Grey tea, and a well-made cup of coffee (which I still haven’t found in this town). I like a custom-tailored suit and tie, with nice shoes and a sweet hat. I like nice things. What I don’t like is a giant house with 27 rooms unless it’s a goddamn orphanage! Do you know what my dream home has? A bedroom, an office, a kitchen, a bathroom, and if I’m feeling cheeky: an entertainment room for all the entertaining I never do. And if I’m living with other people, like a wife and family for instance, we’re sharing most of that.

So why would anyone in their right mind want a house ten times bigger than they need!? Where half the time you’d enter a room and go: ‘Oh, this is new, never been in here before’? Where you can get lost on your way to the loo? Where every room just reminds you of how alone you are?

No one would want that!

And that brings us, in a roundabout way, to another episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Establishing, once again, that Twilight isn’t princess material, and for once, I mean that in a good way.

I mean, not to diss the girl any more than I already have, but one would expect a ‘princess’ to relish the opportunity to live in an oversized and gaudy castle. But that’s not Twilight. Twilight’s much more practical than that. Gaudy, oversized castles are more Rarity’s thing.

So it should come as no shock, as the episode opens, to see Twilight avoiding this building like Syria, but all her friends confused as to ‘why,’ since all they see is her spending an irritating amount of time with them, while avoiding sleep.

Reminds me of me.

So, they ask her, ‘what the fuck!?’ She tells them she hates the castle, and Rarity’s shocked. But as I said, Twilight’s reasoning makes sense. It’s a new place and doesn’t feel like a home. She’s used to living in a warm and cosy tree, not a cavernous stone monolith. It’s a shocking transition, and she’s just not used to it.

But Rarity, having the overly simplistic mind that she does (hell, she finds it shocking that Twilight doesn’t like a cold and empty castle, merely because it’s just so pretty) suggests a solution: decorate the damn place. Unfortunately, Twilight doesn’t know where to begin, and finds it instantly overwhelming.

Again, reminds me of me.

So, Rarity suggests an alternative. The plan is simple: Get Twilight’s friends to do the work, while she goes to the spa. After all, she’s a fucking wreck.

Then Spike arrives, having just woke up, and suddenly drafted into being Twilight’s spa date.

I have a similar doll.

Anyway, with Spike and Twilight off at the spa, the girls get to work, performing a legitimately shit musical number, whose shitness can’t be excused by tone. But let’s put that aside. The real point I’d like to make is that these are Twilight’s friends. And one would expect their friends to know exactly where one’s interests lie, and what appeals to their sensibilities. So what do these girls do to appeal to Twilight’s sensibilities?

Well, they appeal to their own sensibilities instead. Because that’s what friends do!

Applejack brings in soil and bales of hay; Fluttershy brings in a menagerie of animals; and the less said about Rainbow and Pinkie, the better.

The only one who seems to have any clue is Rarity, which is a first. Since her additions actually complement the castle’s architecture. However, it doesn’t matter, since everyone else’s work overshadows it, creating… well… this:

That’s right, they turn the castle into a complete mess, apparently they’re attempting to give Discord a run for his money. And it’s not until after they finish singing that they realize it. Which should tell them they should stop singing… forever… but I doubt that’ll happen.

Anyway, the castle is a mess, so they need to clean it up, and they start by removing each other’s items, in a very passive-aggressive way.

I love Fluttershy when she’s snarky.

So anyway, they remove things, one by one, until the clutter is successfully cleared.

I think you girls overdid it a bit.

So now, back at square one, the girls are screwed. With no solutions, and no plans, Twilight’s going to think of them as lazy sods who can’t do shit. So they are in desperate need of a proper plan, which they should’ve had from the beginning, instead of the clusterfuck they had originally. And once they realize the main reason they failed, by focusing on themselves instead of Twilight, they start to make a bit of progress.

Eventually, they come up with a plan, and manage to execute it just as Twilight returns from Spike stalling her all day.

Oh yeah, half the episode was devoted to that plot-thread. Spike returning early from the spa, seeing the disaster from earlier, and being told to stall Twilight until sundown. And he starts this by suggesting massages, which is a scene I found slightly disturbing by the return of Anabolic Steroid there. After that, Spike suggests they buy him a proper bed, which I genuinely think is a long time coming! He’s spent the past four seasons sleeping in a basket! What does Twilight think he is? A cat!?

But anyway, the sun sets, and they manage to make it back to the castle, where they finally witness the result of the gang’s decorating skills.

It’s a chandelier, hanging at the top of the throne room, made from the ruins of the old library. Bit dark. And the gems hanging from it contains images of all the fond memories they’ve shared.

Okay, A: How the fuck did they do that? And B: Why do I get the feeling this is going to have plot significance in a future amnesia-based episode?

Anyway, the chandelier, designed to inspire her to make new memories, moves her to tears. She loves it, and now finally feels at home in the castle.

Awwwwwww-That is so cheesy…

So they decide to celebrate the chandelier with cake, and head straight for the dining hall, which Rarity redesigned behind the others’ backs, because she’s a dick.

But, it turns out they all did that to one room or another, so they’re all dicks. But really, that’s probably what they should’ve all done from the outset, rather than try to stuff it all into the throne room, so it becomes an unorganized mess of random shit.

And that’s the episode. And what did I think?

There wasn’t much to this episode, if I’m honest. In fact, I’m finding it really hard to write about it. Though that could just be my current mood.

This was one of those episodes that operate as nothing more than filler. It just flops along, wasting a bit of time, and moving on without leaving much of an impression. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean it’s not an episode that’s going to make any top-ten lists, that’s for sure. But I do get the feeling that this wasn’t the writer’s intention, because much like last season’s première, it seems like the episode’s main purpose was to validate the new status quo. Only instead of Twilight’s new position being evaluated in a trial of fire, we have the new castle being decorated in a trial of moderate sadness. I mean, I guess it did its job, but it doesn’t share the same feel or scale as last season’s première, to allow it to measure up. Not only that, I don’t really think it was necessary. I don’t see how we needed to be convinced that the new castle is functionally identical to the old library. Was there some fan backlash that I missed? Did people complain how the library’s destruction will ruin My Little Pony FOREVAAAAAAAAAR!? I mean, I’ll admit, I haven’t been paying close attention to the fan community lately, mostly for the sake of my own sanity, but if that has been going on, those people are idiots, you should’ve realized that from the last time. And yes, I’m including myself in that.

But anyway, this episode was bland. And the biggest problem I found was the fact that they tried to fix Twilight’s depression by decorating. Bit of a superficial fix when the problem was likely much deeper. I mean, let’s face it, this castle was large, and empty. It’s pretty easy to feel lonely in those cavernous hallways. So, I’m pretty sure a I have a better solution to this issue: Instead of decorating, move in.

I know, it would’ve been a big commitment, and not really feasible for some, if not most, of them. But given that they each have their own throne, why couldn’t they each have their own bedroom as well? Then they could each move in on a semi-permanent basis. A second home for the gang of six! In fact, after they got the castle last season, I genuinely thought that was exactly what was going to happen! That eventually, most of them would move in. Particularly, Pinkie, Rainbow, and Rarity. None of them live with their family, or menagerie, so why not? They got all this extra space, might as well put it to some good use.

Anyway, I don’t think there’s much left to say after all that, so I leave you with Twilight’s new and terrible hairdo.

Remind me never to go to that spa. Good night!


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