Monday, November 21, 2011

Episode Talk: S2E7, May the Best Pet Win

Hey, it's this thing again!  I didn't do an episode-based post the last few weeks because honestly, I didn't really have anything to say about them (at least, nothing worth taking the trouble to type out).  But this one, and the fan reaction to it, have given me plenty to kvetch about, and kvetching's what I do best.  So without further adieu, unless you count a page break as "adieu," my opinions and observations about May the Best Pet Win.

-Let me say right off the bat: this is my favorite episode yet, and it's not even close between it and second place.

Now, I'm not someone who goes spouting "OMG best episode evar!" every week.  As a matter of fact, I've been consistent in identifying Fall Weather Friends as my favorite episode since it premiered.  The similarities between these two episodes are significant: both are full of character-based humor, both have plenty of slapstick comedy, and both are Rainbow Dash episodes.  Hey, we're all entitled to our favorite ponies.

But what really set this episode on a level all by itself for me was the the song.  I love the music in this show, and have been impatiently waiting for a musical number all season.  And although it's close, I think this one may have supplanted Winter Wrap-Up as my favorite musical number.

-Reaction to Best Pet on the forums I visit has been decidedly mixed.  While I realize that not everyone likes the same things, I'm frankly very surprised that so many folks seem to consider this a sub-par episode.  There are a few reasons for this reaction which I've been able to glean, but none of them make much sense to me.

  1. Apparently, some people don't like the song.  I can't see why; it's got Dash and Fluttershy singing!  The two most talented musical VAs, together in one song!  And this time, Fluttershy doesn't get cut off after eight measures OR lose all her assigned vocal characteristics in favor of Broadway-style belting halfway through!  What's not to like?
  2. I've also seen people complaining that, because the characters just randomly burst into song, the music was "out of place."  I'm not sure what was more "in-place" about Winter Wrap-Up or At the Gala, but whatever.  Musical conventions in this show have very clearly established that ponies, even ponies other than Pinkie Pie, are aloud to switch from speaking to singing whenever they wish.  And more power to them, I say.
  3. Several people are complaining that the turtle tortoise is an example of fanservice, based on the fact that there's been some fanart of Dash with a pet turtle...which was based on HASBRO INC.'s Dash toys, which came with a turtle.  And all this is never minding the fact that the episode was probably written more than a year ago (Faust actually answered some idiot who complained about this on her DA, if you missed that).  Some people...
  4. Oh, and I guess Dash was "abusing" the animals by making them go through tryouts?  Honestly, that's good for a quick joke, but come on; all of Dash's friends, specifically Fluttershy, were right there during every stage of the testing.  Do you honestly think Fluttershy's going to let Dash get away with physically abusing the animals in her care?  Dash's attempts to ferret out the "best" pet were obviously misguided, as the episode itself points out, but they weren't abusive.
So, yeah.

-The one thing I am a little disappointed about with the episode is that Dash didn't get two pets.  I mean, I got the whole "Cross the finish line with me" thing, but I just feel bad for that poor falcon.  It gave its best, it won fair and square, and then at the end it lost due to a technicality.  The poor thing probably went home and cried itself to sleep that night.

-Did I mention how much I loved the song yet?  Because that was amazing.  I've listened to it about a dozen times this weekend.  It's funny, it gives the VAs a chance to show off diction and improvisational skills, it was a perfect semi-recit. duet.  God, every time I listen to it I get a big, goofy grin on my face.

-Speaking of music, the funniest single part of the entire episode may have been when Dash started whistling along to Ride of the Valkyries.  I thought that that scene, much like Fluttershy asking "Should we sing about it again?" did a great job of toeing the line between drawing comedy from the medium and outright breaking the fourth wall.

-The fact that the folks who drew up the episode did enough research to get the toucan tongue right, yet still used a hawk cry for the bald eagle, baffles me.  Oh well, the fact that a kid's show takes even a passing stab at biological accuracy is pretty neat.

-Damn, I love this show.


  1. All I have to say to all of this is:


    Favorite episode (though it may be tied with Sonic Rainboom) for me as well.

  2. One of the reasons that I didn't like this episode as much as some others it that it was so predictable. Honestly, anyone who has half a brain would be able to tell the moment they saw the tortoise that somehow, some way that the tortoise would end up as Rainbow Dash's pet. It was painfully obvious.

    Now, the episode wasn't bad. The song in particular and most of the points you made were indeed quite good, but the core element seemed cliched ('Turtle and the Hare', much?). That was what made the episode less than perfect, in my opinion.

  3. I'll admit, I went into this one really unhappy. The second I saw Tank, the episode lost me because I knew what was coming. Of course, I was on team falcon, but beyond my bias, it was a good episode.

  4. Oh goodness. Thank the LORD. I thought I was the only one who was bothered by the red-tailed hawk call with all the insane and surprising amounts of getting it right they did with all the other animal biology and behavior.