Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 167: A Perfectly Ordinary Day In Ponyville

To read the story, click the image or follow this link.
Don't forget about hockey!  Tomorrow might be your last chance to watch the NHL in action this season, with the Sharks facing elimination in game five against the Penguins.  At the very least, tune in near the end so that, if the Penguins do win, you can catch the customary "lusty booing of the commissioner as he tries to pretend he can't hear the undiluted hatred of the entire hockey world pouring down on him as he blathers through his pre-Cup-awarding speech."  A tradition unlike any other.

Speaking of the natural order of things... here's a story about the natural order of things!  My thoughts on The Equestrian Gentlecolt's A Perfectly Ordinary Day in Ponyville, below.

Impressions before reading:  With about 33k views but barely 1k likes, I suspect the viewcount on this story must be somehow inflated (did some bot keep pinging this page, or something?).  Even if it's (probably) not as widely-read as that viewcount would indicate, though, it's still a reasonably popular fic that's well-regarded by most of the people who've read it.  Anyway, I see the phrase "cliche storm" being tossed about describing it, which is usually a bad sign, but since it's being prefaced with phrases like "deliberate" or "tongue-in-cheek," I'm going to remain optimistic, and hope that this story uses those cliches to good effect.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight Sparkle wakes up one day to discover that she's ascended to alicornhood, there's a human who's appeared in the Everfree Forest, Rainbow Dash broke her wing, and... well, and all the other things that happen on a typical day in Ponyville.

Thoughts after reading:  Written in early 2012, this is kind of a fun look back at all the old fanfic plot impetuses (impeti?) being skewered here.  It's also kind of fun to see which ones--and not just "alicorn Twilight"--have made it into the show by now, in some way, shape, or form.

That's probably the most important thing you need to know about this story: that it's one in which overdone plot devices are regular occurrences in Ponyville.  There's no real expansion on that, and the story eventually peters out without establishing more than the flimsiest of arcs for itself.  The situations do have some intrinsic humor, but most of the comedy is on the meta level--this isn't a story that I imagine would translate terribly well to someone without at least a minimal grounding in ponyfic cliches.  Ultimately, there's one idea behind everything, and it's presented, but never really explored.

With that said, it's still presented quite well.  There are a lot of little skewerings beyond the plot devices--the LUS was a favorite of mine--and they never quite reach trollfic levels of over-exaggeration, but they're pushed just enough that the intent is clear.  And the writing is pleasantly clear and unobtrusive beyond those skewerings, which helps them to stand out clearly without having to be taken over-the-top.

Still, this is a story that basically only works on a meta level.  A lot of its non-cliche-based character humor is generic rather than character specific, and the cliche-based character humor is all of the "thing which should be a major event happens, as it apparently regularly does," which... well, it's not that it isn't funny, but it's one joke.

Star rating:

In a lot of ways, this is similar to Benman's Changelings, Changelings Everywhere, which I reviewed almost a year ago: it doesn't have much to offer beyond the meta joke, and that joke is one-note... but it's still amusing for all that, at least to people familiar with the cliches in question.  As I said then, so I say today: "It's a great fic for what it is... but what it is, ultimately, is pretty limited."

Recommendation:  This is a solid choice for those who consume a fair bit of ponyfic--and especially for those who've either been around since the S1/S2 days, or who've read a decent chunk of fiction from that time--and who are looking for a piece of trope parody.  To other readers, it probably has rather less to offer.

Next time:  The Party Hasn't Ended, by Butterscotchsundae


  1. Oh snap, heading back into BSS territory. Has Chris gone Classic? YOU DECIDE

  2. It's not that unusual for old stories to have far fewer votes than you'd expect from the view count. Iirc, in those days, you didn't have to have an account on FiMFic to vote, but at some point you did, and all those prior account-less votes got deleted. I know I've seen that happen before, where an older story lost a bunch of votes, though I don't know if it's the case for this story.

    1. Yeah, that happened to a few of my stories.

      Of course, I didn't lose any downvotes...grumble...grumble

    2. Happened to a couple of mine, too, but not ones I generally want to call attention to anymore, now that I know a lot more about writing. Is it telling that it was a story before I learned much that dwarfs all the others in views?

    3. Thanks for solving the mystery, guys! I'll remember that next time I see a suspicious vote-to-view ratio on an old story.