In the Hooves of an Apple: “Somepony to Watch Over Me” review

Allow me to tell you a tale. About several months ago, shortly before I moved for college, I was driving down the street in a 13-year-old automobile. A Pontiac Sunfire, if you’re interested. Then, suddenly, it broke down in the middle of an intersection. Now, you may be wondering why, and to put it simply: the engine melted. Apparently, there was no coolant in the damn thing, and I had no idea, because some jackass disconnected the temperature sensor.

Anyway, do you want to know what I did the moment this happened? I called my mother. What the hell was wrong with me!? Why was that my first instinct!? I recently turned 27 at that point, and my first instinct was to call my mommy!? That was pathetic, and I very quickly realized that. By the time you reach your late 20s, you should be able to handle things on your own. You should know exactly what to do in a crisis. And honestly, I did. I knew I had to call a tow truck and get the car to a mechanic, but for some reason was unsure enough that I had to check with mommy first. Well, that and I needed money. I was broke at the time. And technically, I still am.

And this is one of the many reasons I’m so glad to have moved all the way to Southern Ontario! I know what you’re gonna say: I didn’t even leave the province, or my time zone. But that’s only because Canada has some massively big provinces. If I was in Europe, such a move would involve crossing two other nations.

Nonetheless, I’m in a different city, in a different region, and I’m as far as I can reasonably get from her. Now, if I need help with something, calling my mother is not an option. I quite figuratively jumped into the deep end of independence, and it feels wonderful, and well overdue.

This is a feeling everyone wants: To feel like they can make it on their own. To feel like they don’t need someone else. And it makes sense, because being dependant on someone else means, if something horrible happens to that person, you’re screwed. Being independent means being in control of your own life, regardless of outside forces. It also fulfills the fourth level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Motivation.

I took psychology last fall.

And it doesn’t matter how old you are. Even children love the feeling of gaining just a touch of independence. But that might also be because they see it as a milestone of growing up, which they also love.

But unfortunately, some parents deny their children this feeling for as long as possible, out of some obligation they feel to protect them from things that don’t exist. Like the old ‘stranger danger’ myth. And this can cause frustration and even rebellion. As some children decide to prove that they can handle things on their own, by any means necessary.

Remind you of anypony?

Continue reading

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In the Grimdark Future, There Is Only Ponies: “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” review

Equestria might have the most unstable ecosystem in all of fiction.

I say this because of several reasons: Like how dependant the local weather is on Rainbow Dash and the Ponyville weather team, how dependant the local wildlife are on Fluttershy’s care and attention, and how dependant the entire solar system is on Princess Celestia (which is bizarre on so many levels).

It’s ponies that have to ensure the autumn leaves fall off before winter, and that the snow is cleared before summer. They also have to create clouds so rain happens, and you’ll notice that Fluttershy rarely seems to care for any domestic animals. No, she cares for wild animals, who should be able to take care of themselves!

I asked it before, and I’ll ask it again: “How the hell did life evolve on this rock!?”

I have a theory: Basically, it wasn’t always like this. But an indeterminate time ago, some great disaster happened that destabilized the ecosystem and tidally locked the planet. Clouds couldn’t form, rain didn’t come, plants died off, and half the planet cooked.

Then they started controlling the weather by manually creating clouds, and they used magic to manually turn the planet. It all makes sense when you think about it.

But that doesn’t explain a more recent oddity on this show. Which I’ll sum up by saying: What the fuck are Breezies, and what are they doing!? Continue reading

Separated from the Mob: “Twilight Time” review

It seems to me that there are only nine characters on My Little Pony that are fully fleshed-out, multidimensional and consistent characters: Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Sweetie Belle, Applejack, Scootaloo, Fluttershy, Rarity, Apple Bloom, and Pinkie Pie. I would include Spike, but sadly, Spike at Your Service really fucked-up his character arc.

Now, this should surprise no one, since they are the main characters. But we’ve had many side characters pop up over the years that could’ve gotten proper characterization, but ended up as one-dimensional and bland caricatures. Some may suggest that this is okay for one-shot characters, and that they just don’t get enough screen time to show any real depth, but I don’t buy that. Take Sombra for instance. What did he do, and why did he do it? Something about slaves and taking over the Crystal Empire. But we get no explanation of what he actually did. He’s not so much a character, but a formless evil; which is just lazy storytelling if you ask me. He had a 45-minute episode where they could’ve spent three minutes explaining what he did that was so evil, and maybe even what his ultimate goal was. But we get none of that, and instead just focus on Twilight climbing stairs, and Fluttershy being shit at jousting. And don’t forget the two, frankly time-wasting, musical numbers.

Then we have the extras. Background characters who act like a single mass of idiots on a nearly constant basis. None of them have any personality! Which is fair enough since they’re background characters. But as a collective, they don’t act in a way any normal group would act. They all act as vapid and shallow morons. Not one of them takes a step to the side and realize the rest of them are idiots.

I might be misremembering things, but the second episode, The Ticket Master, highlights this very well, as the entire town begins mobbing Twilight for the extra Gala ticket. And I mean the entire town! We don’t see any background characters observing these events from afar. Looking over their newspaper as a mass of ponies mob the newest member of their community. And that bugs me. You’re telling me no innocent bystander feels the need to not join in with the crowd? None of them are patient observers? No! They’re all part of the herd!

I bring this up because a more recent episode did the exact same thing, but in a much more obvious way. And it makes me think the writers don’t even try to give personalities to characters that aren’t available on toy shelves. Continue reading

A Little Fraud Never Hurt Anypony: “Filli Vanilli” review

Did you know that Barbra Streisand has stage freight? Yeah, Barbra Streisand! One of the (allegedly) greatest performers of our time has a condition that makes it difficult for her to perform without breaking down into a pile of tears.

So why does she even bother? Why does she ever go on stage if she’s afraid of it.

This isn’t like a kid who’s afraid of heights approaching a cliff edge to save a friend who’s about to fall off. No one will die if she doesn’t sing… I don’t know… Send in the Clowns or something. Apparently she sings that, I don’t know. I’m not really a fan.

So why do it? Perhaps she just loves singing that much, and the joy overshadows the fear. Perhaps she actually hates performing but loves having performed, and she loves bringing joy to millions. Or, perhaps she’s just a masochist.

And I understand. I get stage freight. I also get general-social-interaction fright. But if I ever get the chance to perform on stage, I do it! And I end up having so much fun that it doesn’t matter anymore. Of course when I start I’m very nervous and frightened, but I push past that, and after a minute or two, the fear fades into the background. This is why I love Karaoke. It also helps that I don’t ever remember anyone calling me a ponce for singing.

But you know, I’m pretty sure that stage freight sorta goes hand in hand with social anxiety. Which is why it should surprise no one that the most socially anxious pegasus in Ponyville, is scared of the stage.

Of course I’m talking about Fluttershy. You knew I was talking about Fluttershy. Continue reading

Love and Adaptation: “Simple Ways” review

Okay, I know we’ve been down this road before.

The thing about love is that it can make you do stupid things. I know, I was a teenager for about six years, what do you think happened?

And these stupid things can run the gamut, from simply not learning to let go, to getting overly-excited and scaring the other off, or not understanding that they’re just not into you until it’s way too late for your heart to get out unscathed.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. There are so many stupid things you can do because of love. And when it comes to love and stupidity, look no further than Ponyville’s resident romantic.

Rarity! A mare with fine tastes and a big heart… ostensibly. And on this episode, her big heart gets inadvertantly crushed, and she does not handle it well. Continue reading

Pinkie and the Usurper: “Pinkie Pride” review

Haven’t we been down this road before?

The most important thing to remember about celebrations, like birthdays and anniversaries, and weddings, and other things, is to remember who they’re for. It’s not about the host, it’s about the guest of honour. It’s important to remember that, otherwise you’re just jerking off.

And there’s no better jerker than Pinkie Pie, who plans celebrations based on what she loves, not necessarily what others love. Of course, with her friends, who share mostly similar interests, it has worked. But back during the old royal wedding, that wasn’t the case.

If you remember, Cadence expressed a certain amount of disdain at Pinkie’s design choices, and she didn’t really notice. Alright, it was actually Evil Cadance, but no one knew that.

My point is, either Pinkie didn’t notice that the bride didn’t like it, or she didn’t care. Neither one is good. And she’s supposed to be our expert party planner? I guess so.

I think the problem was, Pinkie’s never been taken out of her comfort zone. She was never challenged in any way. She always threw the same parties, over and over again, and no one questioned it. No one bothered to criticize her work. Oh, I’ve certainly been down this path before.

Party planning is an art, isn’t it? There’s certainly an artistry to it, I must say. And like any art, one must be challenged, and criticized on their work in order to get better. But that can only happen if you have colleagues that can do the job. And Pinkie doesn’t. This also means she has no competition. Which explains why, when competition actually enters the town of Ponyville. She doesn’t take it well.

What!? A free market!? That’s not on! Continue reading

Chaos, Resumed: “Three’s a Crowd” review

I’ve been watching a lot of Once Upon a Time these days. It’s a show about fairy tales, old novels, famous poems, and pretty much anything in classic literature that Disney owns the rights to. Which is why next season, I expect a story line taking place in the Star Wars Galaxy.

I’m planning on doing a full write-up on this show, so I’m not gonna go into too much detail here. But suffice to say, one of the show’s most interesting elements is how they took classic villains; like the Evil Queen from Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin from… Rumpelstiltskin, or Captain Hook from Peter Pan; out of the old black and white, binary morality model of story, and turned them into interesting, dynamic, and even sympathetic characters. They’re given tortured back stories, explaining why they act villainy. We see them motivated not by greed, selfishness or vanity, but by things which we, ourselves, might find ourselves motivated by. We even see them side with the heroes whenever they feel the need. Which is actually more often than not.

But as a consequence, when we meet a real villain, one that we really have to hate, they end up taking off the brakes and turning back to the old tropes. But even then, they still avoid the binary morality trap, by giving the villain a back story we can understand. I mean, he was still an unsympathetic prick, but you understood why he was an unsympathetic prick. Even a stupid, selfish, amoral reason, is a reason.

But the important thing to note is that the old villains sided with the heroes to fight the real villains. Regina Mills, for instance, has had a very clear arc over the series, and is now one of the show’s most heroic characters, willing to give of herself for the sake of others. Or at the very least, for the sake of her son.

And her story’s been clear, and consistent. She worked hard to be good, and we all know why. She’s a character we can fully understand.

In contrast, another show with a former-villain turned supposed-good-guy has not been so consistent. It’s been more confusing, and bizarre, instead. And I’m starting to think he never went through any type of character evolution at all. Instead, he’s still the same douchebag he’s always been.

Yes, I’m talking about Discord! The jackass that makes Loki look reasonable. Continue reading

Rainbow Wins!: “Rainbow Falls” review

I never understood the appeal of sporting events. Right now, the Olympics are happening in Russia somewhere, and I couldn’t care less. No, literally, I’ve tried, I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible for me to care less than I already do.

The only thing that’s attracted my attention was the fact that it’s apparently taking place in some third-world country, with their medieval attitudes regarding homosexuals, among other fuck-ups.

But the sporting events, I just don’t care for. I tried getting into sports, but I just couldn’t follow the plot. When I was studying Journalism, one of my many assignments was writing about a basketball game, and I had no idea what to write about. Turns out there was a harrowing scene when two numbers were really close together and another number was really low, and I completely missed it. Oh, how exciting.

However I do understand the appeal of sport for those who participate. Actually being in the middle of the game can be quite fun. You build up a bit of adrenaline, and find yourself in the middle of a competition with your ego on the line. It can be quite a ride. That is, unless, you’d rather be doing something else.

The thrill of victory can be quite exhilarating. I won’t deny that. But what exactly are you winning?

Well, if you’ve spent a good part of your life training to be an athlete, you won the satisfaction that it all paid off, and you win the respect of both your peers, and all those who came before you.

It’s like winning a contest for writing, or winning a quiz show. Of course generally, in those cases, you win something a bit more substantial that a piece of gold-plated silver.

Regardless, there is appeal there. The thrill of competition and the desire to win. But at what point does your desire to win overshadow certain other desires? At what point do you say, ‘to hell with self respect’? Continue reading