Monday, January 23, 2012

Episode Talk: S2E14, The Last Roundup

So... Derpy.  

Now that the furor over the latest episode has died down somewhat, let's take a look at it, shall we?  Anyway, here are a few things that stuck out to me, all after the break.

-Yes, Derpy is the big news here.  The name is now canon, and she even got a few lines.  Honestly, did anyone see that coming?  If you asked me last week what I thought the odds of Derpy ever getting a line were, I'd have said 0%, and I'd have said it with absolute confidence.  I think everyone was caught completely off-guard.

-As you might expect, this all has gotten a very mixed reaction from the community.  A lot of the 4chan crowd seem to think that fully canonizing what was, in essence, a fan-made character is jumping the shark.  I have mixed feelings myself, for another oft-cited reason.  On one hand, I'm glad that she spoke normal English, putting to rest once and for all my least-favorite incarnation of Derpy, the "spouts random words" version.  On the other hand, I wish they hadn't given her such a stereotypically "retarded" voice.  When you combine that with the way she was used for physical comedy and idiot humor (which I have no problem with, in and of itself), it gets dangerously close to offensive for me.  I'm sure that was not in any way the intent, but I did feel a little uncomfortable by the end of the scene.

And on the subject of overturning everything we thought we knew about the pegasus with the bubble butt...

-While Applejack's giving her speech at the start of the episode, the camera pans through the audience, and we see Carrot Top and an unidentified unicorn stallion (purple mane, grey coat, scroll cutie mark) both turn to gaze lovingly at Dinky, who's standing between them.  Then at the train station, Carrot Top and the unicorn are seen saying goodbye, and as the train pulls away we see Carrot Top and Dinky riding together in the front car.

Guys, I think we've had it backwards all this time.  Dinky isn't Derpy's child; she's the foal of Carrot Top and this unicorn!

-Pinkie was a bit too much for me this episode.  I prefer her antics at a nice comfortable 7-8, not cranked straight to 11 and left there the entire 22 minutes.  She does get points, however, for being the only pony who wasn't a total dick to the guy who delivered AJ's telegram.

-Speaking of, I felt really bad for that guy.  He's stuck working on his birthday, he goes to deliver a telegram, and everyone's happy to see him!  Just as he's thinking maybe his day won't suck after all, everyone groans, Twi gives him her "piss off, nopony cares about you" look, and slams the door in his face.  If it weren't for Pinkie, he probably would have cried himself to sleep that night while eating a quart of Cherry Garcia straight from the tub.

Sometimes I worry that I have too much empathy for one-scene wonders like him.  But hey, someone's got to stand up for the little guy, right?

-What do you suppose rodeo clowns in Equestria do?  Do they have bullriding in Equestria?  Are the bulls really such jerks that they need to be distracted while the pony riders escape from the arena floor?  Or are they just regular clowns, who entertain the audience between competitions?

-Chimi-cherry-chongas sound delicious.  If I had a deep-frier, I'd be tempted to try and make one for myself.  I suppose it's not really that much different than a cherry sopapilla, only with a slightly different bread component and deep-fried instead of baked, but it'd still be fun to try.

-After she and Pinkie are knocked off the wagon during the chase scene, Rarity coughs up a bit of cactus--it looks like it's probably a cholla of some sort.  Having had a few bad experiences with teddy bear cholla in my time (if you don't know what those are, or what cholla are in general, here's the short version: cholla are a kind of shrubby cactus that grows in stumpy pickle-shaped sections which break off at the slightest touch, meaning that even lightly brushing up against one is a quick way to get a bunch of needles driven into your calf.  Teddy bear cholla are a kind of cholla that have loose paper sheathes around each needle, so that even if you pull the needles out, the sheath stays in.  They suck), I shudder to think what that would do to a pony's mouth and throat.  I mean, obviously Rarity is fine/gets better, since she's grumbling to herself by the end of the episode, but that clip sends shivers down my spine.

-"Applejack, we can always find a way to fix that hole in the roof... but if you don't come back, we'll never be able to fix the hole in our hearts!"  Really, Fluttershy?  Usually lines that corny go to Twilight.

-One last observation: Dodge Junction appears to be surrounded on all sides by mountains, has tumbleweeds, cholla, pallo verde, and saguaros (those are the plants I was able to identify, anyway), and has at least one major cherry orchard despite cherry trees being water hogs.  In conclusion, Dodge Junction is Tuscon, Arizona.


  1. You don't need a deep-fryer to make chimicherrychongas!
    Put 1/2-1" of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the item-to-be-fried in the oil and turn with a fork.

    1. Also if you do want to deep fry them (which you should just for the fun of it) you can buy a deep fryer for probably around $20 at places like Wal-Mart, which is totally worth it.

      One time I bought a pie crust, then poured a can of apple pie filling into it and folded it in half before deep frying the entire thing. It was a little messy, what with the flakes of the flaky crust flaking away in the oil, but it was hands down the best pie-thing I've ever eaten, which is saying a lot for me.

      Also deep fried corn dogs are my corn dog cannon after trying those, and cheese-filled balls of pizza dough, and little slices of sweet-battered snickers, and tempura. Pretty much everything I've ever deep fried was fantastic--even things that had no right to be, like deep fried gummy worms with barbecue sauce. Overall deep frying just makes everything better.

      Star Rating: ★★★★☆

    2. "Overall deep frying just makes everything better."

      Words to live by.

  2. You did an annoyingly good job of covering everything Chris, but I can add one thing that irked me just slightly. Okay, technically two things, but the other is more the fan reaction than the episode.

    - I get that they cranked the expectation on AJ up to the max to make her response look more reasonable, but I couldn't help but feel they had to 'dumb down' the other character's interactions to make it stick. Dash being aggressive and to some degree insulted, that fits fine, and Pinkie is...well, yeah. The rest just felt forced. In 'Apple Buck Season' it was easy to empathise with both Twi and AJ, but this episode I found it had to empathise with either side.

    - The fan related point was all of the post-episode commentary about how AJ was being portrayed in a bad light. Wait...what? My Little Ponies had character flaws that created conflict the episode revolved around? Such insanity! Seriously, the situation may have needed stretching to make it work, but it was totally in-character for her. Complaining because your preferred character(s) aren't perfect is just crazy talk.

    1. Yeah, oftentimes people seem to forget that these character's imperfections are exactly why we love them.

    2. I think the people who complain about characters having flaws need to stick to G3 ponies.

  3. I'm with you on being uncomfortable with Derpy's voice. Clumsy, clueless, easily distracted, spacy characters are fine. I think that's part of Derpy's appeal: we're all derpy sometimes. But the voice and the writing were too close to a stereotypical representation of someone with mental disabilities. I found the whole "Derpy destroys town hall" a bit mediocre as a source of humor in the first place, but when it starts feeling like we're supposed to laugh at someone with a mental disability, ugh.

    Otherwise, I really enjoyed the episode. It did require that the rest of the Mane Six be surprisingly dense about why Applejack left, but I'm willing to chalk that up to it being a kid's show. Oh, and the "I'll tell you at breakfast" dodge was really sketchy for the element of honesty.

  4. "Dinky isn't Derpy's child..."

    Thank you! I was beginning to think I was the only one who'd noticed that.