Monday, May 2, 2016

Episode Talk: S6E6, No Second Prances

Trixie's back!  And you know what that means: time to talk about Carrot Top!

...What?  Oh, you think there's a better story to be had out of this episode?  Well, you don't even know!  Carrot Top's a huge Trixie fan, but she's never truly gotten to enjoy a Trixie show.  The first time Trixie came to town, well...

...Let's just say, it turns out that the girls shouldn't have tried those funny-looking mushrooms Sparkler found growing in the Everfree.   Several hours after the show, Derpy would find Carrot still standing there, staring with that same unblinking intensity at the long-empty stage.  Carrot Top would eventually return home without the vaguest recollection of the content of the show she'd just seen, accompanied by a churning sense of disappointment.

Also, Rarity being a rhymes-with-witch to Carrot Top's visiting cousin, the inexplicably-named Carrot Bottom, really put a damper on the day.  

And of course, the second time, it wasn't so much a "show" as a "hostile takeover."

But now!  Now it's time for a new Trixie episode!  Was it any good?  Does Carrot finally get to see the ultimate act in stage magic, preferably while not in the grip of a powerful hallucinogen?  A few thoughts of mine, below.

-Let's start off with the overall: I didn't really enjoy this episode.  Mostly, I think, because it was a 22-minute reminder of what I didn't like about how S5 ended.  "Hey, you know how everyone just abruptly forgave the pony who tried to enslave ponykind and destroy the world on two separate occasions?" the episode says.  "Well, here's a pony who never did anything worse than be a little stuck-up and have unfortunate taste in jewelry.  Oh, and she apologized to Twilight two years earlier.  Guess which one's more trustworthy in Twilight's eyes?"

I mean, I didn't feel like Trixie needed to be best buddies with the main six at any point, but... well, I didn't feel like Glimmer needed to, either.  This episode just kept needling that, "if this is how they treat Trixie--fair enough, by itself--then why's Glimmer getting a free pass?  Not just from Twilight, but from everypony?"

"Where in this town can I find a friend?" murmurs Glimmer, trotting right past Carrot Top.  To be fair, though, Carrot Top was distracted by the producer credit, so maybe that wasn't the exact moment to go up and say hello.

-I also wasn't a fan of a lot of the facial expressions.  Too much off-model "wackiness" for my tastes, and too many times when a "funny" expression was held just a little too long, as if the animators (or producer, or whoever's in charge of that) were afraid we wouldn't see it.  Frankly, the expressions reminded me of some of the timing/visual gag issues with the fan-made Double Rainboom.

 I listened to the audio here half a dozen times, and it turns out there's no dialogue whatsoever that matches whatever Rose and Carrot are saying to each other.  Given the expressions and excitement level, my best guess is that Celestia just got into town, and they're discussing which of her charioteers is cuter.

-That said, there was plenty I did like in this episode.  The Derpy level was about where I want it: a little more in-front than I'd like as a general thing, but fine for one episode, and with nothing distracting from the main plot.  And even though I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it, I like the now-explict idea that the economy of Equestria only works as long as the more powerful wizards are careful not to do any of the mudponies' jobs with a stray thought.  Earth ponies: canonically useless!

-What was up with Celestia, though?  She's got the put-upon glare of someone who just spent the last three weeks negotiating a new trade agreement with the yaks.  Actually, maybe that's exactly what she was doing... still, this was a level of hostility toward her former student that I found awfully jarring.

This time, Carrot Top made sure to get there early.  She got a seat front and center for the show, which ended up being a bad idea--turns out that manticores spray worse than Gallagher, and Trixie's performance doesn't come with plastic sheeting for the front rows.  Still, it was a night to remember.

-I have to correct all the "Trixie lost her only friend, so she decided to commit suicide" talk, however--especially since I've seen that a lot, not all of it joking.  Look, she was planning to try the Moonshot Manticore Mouthdive (which sounds like it would be a killer shot for some MLP-themed bar to come up with) before Glimmer even showed up, so obviously she had a plan to survive.  My best guess is that maybe the bullet-shaped helmet wasn't to make her more aerodynamic coming out of the canon, but to help her slide straight down the manticore's gullet before it could start chewing.  And from there?  Well, plan A would be to teleport into the box, but if she'd never managed that before, I'm guessing plan B involved her coat being liberally soaked in ipecac before the show.  Look, it's not pretty, but it's better than being eaten, right?


  1. Oh good, it's not about suicide after all. :B

    So every time I notice Carrot Top on screen, my immediate thought is "Chris will be happy". Every. Single. Time.

    1. I've developed the same Chris-based reflex. I'm happy to announce that my favorite background pony got a few appearances too, however! In the park, Lucky was playing a rousing game of "toss the ball back and forth" with a bespectacled Apple Cobbler. He was also... around... a few other times, but the ball thing was where his backgroundness really shined.

    2. Forget my fanfics, forget my reviews. This will be my lasting influence on the pony fandom: that when people notice a particular background pony, they will think of me.

    3. It's gotten Pavlovian. I am no longer in control of my mind. :C Help.

  2. Whenever I read these, I like to imagine what the alternate dimension Chris is saying about Sea Swirl or Candymane.

    As for this episode, it certainly wasn't the best, but I did enjoy it over all. I'm just a sucker for no one being completely right or wrong. Lots of blame to go around, and with it, a bit of growth for everyone. Plus, Twilight is just way more interesting when she's being a bad friend. Stately Princess Twilight is bland. Freaking Out and Obsessive Twilight is dynamic. Sometimes dynamic in the wrong directions, but at least she's not boring.

  3. I agree with xjuggernaughtx, I really find it more interesting when there's no absolute wrong or right answer to the character's actions and decisions. It gives the viewers some agency to figure out their own opinions.

    My only worry is that if Trixie comes back again, she'll be pigeonholed into only being relevant as Starlight's friend. I think it would be a waste of her character to do that.

  4. I'm basically okay with Starlight Glimmer getting more of a free pass with "everybody"; at most, almost everyone in Ponyville only knew about her actions in Season Five second hand, whereas they experienced Trixie's takeover personally. However, that should definitely not apply to Twilight and Spike, and probably not the rest of the Mane Six either.

  5. I seriously still find it additional exciting while there is not any overall drastically wrong as well as appropriate respond to your character's steps along with judgement. The idea increases the readers a number of firm determine their unique ideas.

  6. ^ I see Google Translate has struck again.

    To OP:

    "Well, here's a pony who never did anything worse than be a little stuck-up and have unfortunate taste in jewelry."

    Trixie's actions pale in comparison to Starlight's actions regardless, but that's really underselling the former. It was more like "here's a pony who was a bullying fraud and who then used magic to get revenge, unintentionally unleashing Hell on the populace".

    Well... OK, they sound exactly the same, but the difference is one of degree rather than kind.