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I had an idea for a silly premise/semi-serious execution oneshot I'd like to write a few days ago. Now I just need to find the time to write it.
I really need to find a way to make fanfiction my full-time job, because actually having one of those seriously cramps my free time. Oh well, until I figure that out, have a review of Carmine's Scootaloo's Parents.
Impressions before reading: I've read this story before, but although I remember that the identity of Scoots' parents is the joke, can't for the life of me remember what that joke is; I guess I've read too many stories where the joke is that her parents are them, that, or the other thing, and they're all starting to blur together. That probably doesn't bode well in terms of memorableness, but hey: I'll take a comic twist-ending story over a generic Scootorphan (Scootaorphan? Scooorphan?) sadfic any day of the week.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Scootaloo goes to visit her parents... which wouldn't be so unusual, if they weren't both chickens from Fluttershy's coop.
Thoughts after reading: Yup, that's the twist I couldn't remember. I thought about trying to dance around it without saying it, but 1) that would make this review a real pain to write, and 2) more importantly, the "reveal" comes in the fourth paragraph, so it's not much of a spoiler. This isn't a story that builds up to that revelation; rather, it's one that takes it as a starting point.
And, in and of itself, that joke is well played. There's plenty of humorous imagery here ("Of course, she had lived her life in the coop as the only chicken-pony unable to lay an egg, so none of the other chickens invited her to chicken-prom, the chicken-games, or the chicken-carnival (somechicken had gotten her an elephant plushie though, so it was alright.)"), and the author finds a nice balance between acknowledging the inherent ridiculousness of the premise, and needlessly reveling in it. I like it when a crackfic takes itself at least nominally seriously, and this story does just that, keeping the reaction sincere and the situation absurd.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't really do anything with that situation. A lot of this comes down to the ending, where the story introduces a new idea (/unused sequel hook?) before abruptly ending without resolution. But even beyond that, this is a story about Scoots chatting with her chicken parents. There's a revelation in there, but it's not one that shakes up the status quo, or has even a nominal impact on Scoots as a character (humorous or otherwise). It's not that that revelation couldn't, it simply doesn't; Scoots doesn't do much of anything with it, internally or externally (aborted pseudo-ending notwithstanding), and the story instead focuses on more chicken humor in place of, rather than in addition to, an actual arc.
The writing is also a perennial weak point. Repeated words and phrases are common, and there are an abundant of conjunction-less lists. The latter isn't something I mind in principal, at least when done with intent, but when formations like "She was a filly of action; daring, head-strong, brazen" (also note the misused semicolon) are too common, they begin to stick out in a bad way. That said, the spelling and other technical elements are quite strong, excepting a couple of misused semicolons (amid rather more correctly-used ones).
★★☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
Although I'd have a lot of trouble calling this great piece of literature, I'd say it's definitely an amusing, low-key take on a fandom trope taken to its logical conclusion (and, with an early 2012 publication date, it's fair to say it's one of the earlier takes, too). It's a pleasant enough read on its own merits, and that's not a bad thing to be.
Recommendation: If Scootaloo/chicken jokes aren't your thing, steer clear. Otherwise, this might be worth considering if you're looking for something absurd but not nonsensically random, and don't mind a weak story arc.
Next time: The Star in Yellow, by Blueshift