Friday, April 27, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 61: What Do You Do With a Drunken Unicorn?

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Just for reference, the Robert Shaw arrangement of Drunken Sailor is the only really good one I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot of arrangements of that song.  Below the break, my review of Tumbleweed's What Do You Do With a Drunken Unicorn?

Impressions before reading:  I read this (though not its sequels, which I'll include in this review) a while back, and thought it was ridiculous and funny.  So I'm calling shenanigans on the current 4.0 rating the story has on EqD; a lot of stories I re-read for review aren't as good as I remember, but Drunken Unicorn was better than that.  Oh well; no sense getting worked up over people on the internet doing such things.  And who knows?  Maybe the story really is a lot worse than I recall.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight learns an important lesson about friendship from Fluttershy, and an important lesson about mixed drinks from Pinkie.  Things only get crazier from there.

Thoughts after reading:  A work of shameless mockery like this obviously needs to be judged by slightly different standards than a less ridiculous fanfic.  After all, when the sequel starts with Princess Celestia receiving a letter from Twilight Sparkle beginning, "Dear Princess Celestia, I never thought it could happen to me..." it's obvious the author doesn't expect his work to be taken seriously.  Questions about faithfulness to the source material are relevant only insofar as the characters and setting are still recognizable, and the tightness and coherence of the plot are relatively unimportant to such a piece.

But while these issues may not matter greatly, there are other factors which become far more important in this field of writing than in other stories.  Foremost among these is pacing; while a story beingslow and ploddy is never a good thing, it's not by itself a defenestratable* sin in most cases.  But in a random-style comedy, any sort of dullness is anathema.  If there isn't something funny (or at least, something interesting) every few sentences, the comic mood on which such a piece relies is lost.

Drunken Unicorn and the first chapter of its sequel do a reasonably good job of keeping the tone ridiculous and breezy, and of peppering enough one-liners, jokes, and flat-out weirdness into story to keep it moving.  Considering the subject matter (drinking in the first story, sexuality in the second) I don't think I need to add that both are pretty tasteless, though nothing is ever explicitly described.  Indeed, the author draws a lot of his humor from artfully dancing around any salacious descriptions.  The final chapter, however, relies a bit too much on sexual discomfort rather than genuine comedy to keep it moving.

How much "sexual discomfort" is too much?  Well, that's a question different readers are going to have different answers to.  There's no actual sex here, of course, but many people don't have any interest in thinking about ponies as sexual beings, even in a blatantly absurdist context.  For them, this is obviously not a pair of stories worth reading.  But even for those willing to accept the premise for comic purposes, I think some will find that their personal line is crossed in the last chapter.  My advice?  If you aren't comfortable with Twilight discussing the modifications she made to her dildo (regardless of how funny it is), then this probably isn't the fanfic for you.

The writing style in the first and third chapter occasionally suffered from overuse of attribution tags on dialogue, but was otherwise minimalistic and functional--a good match to the story style, as the quick pace of the narration matched the need to keep the action moving.  Editing was fairly shoddy though, with a number of simple errors of every variety.  When I quoted the opening line of the sequel above, I actually cleaned it up so as not to distract from the point I was trying to make; "Dear Princess, Celesita," is not the way to start a fanfic.

This is a goofy, irreverent set of stories, designed solely to be funny.  I honestly think that how much a reader enjoys these is going to be based mostly on their attitude going in.  If you start reading expecting nothing more than cheap laughs and absurdity, you won't be disappointed.  But if you're looking for something deeper, sorry.  Really, it's a lot like the Three Stooges (the originals, that is; I can't comment on the new movie, having not seen it): it's really quite good, as long as you don't expect it to be anything more or less than what it is.

Star rating:  ☆ (what does this mean?)

These stories do exactly what they set out to do.  I admit the last chapter went a little outside my comfort zone, but I know I'm more prudish than many in this fandom.  Drunken Unicorn is a positively hilarious take on Twilight getting completely blasted, and the sequel is even more tasteless.  They certainly aren't for everyone, but that doesn't mean they aren't good for what they are.

Recommendation:  If a shameless mockery portraying ponies drinking and talking about sex isn't something you're interested in, this is a story to skip.  For those who are interested in random humor, your tolerance for crudeness will be the determining factor as to whether or not you enjoy these stories (though really, "crude" is too strong a word; to repeat, nothing is ever explicit).  But if this is the kind of thing you enjoy, I have no doubt that you'll enjoy it immensely.

Next time:  Number 12, by Squeak

*You thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you?  Well you're welcome, CV


  1. I recall enjoying the first chapter, and saying "check please" for the second. ... also, Dildo and Twilight don't belong in the same sentence, but that's just my humble opinion.

  2. The problem I have with the first isn't that there's alcohol (there's in cider in the show, after all), but it really doesn't build-up and then descended into madness. It just stays at same tone throughout and I actually disagree that it's ludicrous (I was tempted to put in lubricous instead to see if you would notice), it's just Twilight getting drunk and spouting stuff off. If anything I would say it was underplayed. It really only made me chuckle, expect for Celestia's scene, which could have been a gut buster if everything else was above par.

    I did enjoy the second chapter mind you much more, mainly because of the way Tumbleweed danced around the mentioning of sex (even though it was obvious what was he/she/it was writing about). But I didn't laugh out loud, probably because I'm an Avery fan and his wolf cartoons do the same (although in his cases, he's trying to dance around the censors of the day), and take it far more extreme, so this one felt lacking in comparison. The third chapter, it's okay. I'm not really that squeamish, but I didn't think it was funny.

    I guess when comes to random comedies, I expect a more silliness then what was offered here. It wasn't bad, but when I want to read a random fanfict, I'll pull out "The Crown Jewels" or "Elements of Awesomery" to read, both of which I include amongst my favorites.

    As for the current rating, I suspect the sequels are the reason this fict got it's rating bombed given their subject matter, kind of like how Cold in Gardez's Naked Singularity got star-bombed for what he put in it (I suspect the same could be said of other ficts as well when they include sex as well).

    *Number 12, by Squeak*

    Heads-up, after this one is "Midnight Crusade", which doesn't exist anymore and has been abandoned. Even if it did remain, you really had nothing to review, it was just setting-up, if I remember correctly from what I read when it was there.

    1. Was Midnight Crusade another one of those stories of Trixie/Luna/Twilight's daughter?

    2. No, the plotline was going to involve Luna acting as a babysitter for the CMC during the Gala, the last chapter just ended with Luna revealing to AJ and Rarity that she was the babysitter Celestia selected for them, after they asked Celestia for help in that matter.

    3. That sounds like it could have been interesting. Ah well.

  3. "iOLE1' sayd Celesita am at and Tacko ""YO QUERIO TAOC BLEL!!?

    Twilight talking about a dildo? That sounds hilarious. But then I'm sure it can be demonstrated that I am a horrible person. (see above)

  4. Huh. Just read the whole thing.

    Is there something bad about having a crush on someone if you don't know their name? or is Rarity just being Rarity?

    I've literally never heard anyone object to that before.

    1. I assumed it was supposed to be a young person's overreaction. It was odd, but not so much so as to step outside of a localised quirk. Real people have much weirder ideas than that anyway...