My Little Pony, huh? Great shared universe, that. There've been a lot of wonderful stories set in the milieu, and I've found a few nooks and crannies of the community that are worth frequenting. Very nice setting to work in, all told.
...Say, wasn't there a TV show or something, too?
Head on down to see my thoughts on the newest episode, presented a good day or two after everyone else's because "timeliness" is not my strong suit.
-I don't actually have a lot to say about this episode, but I thought I'd better make a post about it because dang, that was the best one I've seen in a long time. It might be up in my top-five episodes--definitely top-ten. Let me count the ways it worked:
1) We finally got away (except for a little bit with Dash) from the super-exaggerated faces that this season keeps foisting upon me! Okay, that's mostly a personal peeve, but I was still happy that the ponies' mostly exhibited recognizable expressions rather than comically(?) overdramatic theatre-club histrionics.
2) It didn't hurt on that front that Maud herself was defined by her lack of expression--and I have to say, that joke never got old for me. She made such a good contrast the the main six--to ponies, generally--that I was laughing all the way through the episode. Her poetry was the sort of thing which, if I encountered it in a fanfic, I'd probably upvote the story based on that scene alone. Like Discord tends to, she ended up taking over the episode... but I can't say I minded. She was more than funny enough to justify the focus.
3) I like how simple this episode was. Pinkie wants all of her friends to be friends with each other, but they're not. Clean, simple, relatable, and lends itself to the kind of uncloying sincerity which first attracted me to this show.
4) But my favorite part: at the end, we didn't get a questionable "everypony magically learns to be friends" moral like I thought we were going to. I mean, that would have been okay, but it doesn't jive well with real-life experience. Instead, we got something more realistic, more nuanced, and all-around stronger. Twilight and company realized that they didn't have to be best buddies with Maud; they and Maud both wanted Pinkie to be happy, and that was something they could bond over. There are steps in between "standoffish semi-tolerance" and "BFF," and the fact that the show recognized that--that the ponies could learn to get along for Pinkie's sake without being complete kindred spirits--really elevated it, in my opinion.
5) Plus, Maud holding on to all those necklaces over the years is exactly the right kind of sweet for me (nyuk nyuk nyuk).
-I could have done without Rarity suddenly being unable to design a hat which uses minerals (what, don't all those gemstones she loves count as rocks?), but that's a nitpick--it didn't stop me from enjoying the episode.
-Oh, and I'll give Rainbow back the points she lost for making stupid faces, on account of her "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an igneous" line. Big fan of that one. I wish they hadn't made her explain it, though--I guess the writers were afraid their target audience wouldn't get it, but I think the joy of getting the joke on one's own (for those that did) would've far outweighed the confusion of those who didn't (most or all of whom probably wouldn't have been familiar with the word "enigma" anyway, and so for whom the word change would have functionally made no difference to their enjoyment).
-Apparently, this is the scriptwriter's first MLP episode. I went and looked up the name afterwords, anyway, and didn't find anything else on the show by Noelle Benvenuti. If this episode is at all indicative of her ability, I hope we see a lot more out of her.
-In sum, this is by far my favorite episode of the season (assuming we don't count Three's a Crowd's "Reminded Chris of an awesome fanfic" bonus points--but even if we do, this one still tops it). Heck, it's my favorite of last season, too. This is the first new episode I've seen since sometime in season two which really nailed what first got me into ponies: small-scale drama portrayed with unaffected honesty, wrapped in a comically equine pastel palette. I really hope we get a few more episodes like this one.