Monday, November 7, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 186: Couchtavia

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

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!  Unless you're not a US citizen, in which case you're excused.  Or if you're under 18.  Or if you've already cast an early/absentee ballot, in which case, don't vote a second time; that's pretty illegal, and it'll be hard to keep up with OMPR when you're in prison.  But everyone else, definitely get out there!  And as a preemptive reward for doing your civic duty, head down below the break to check out my review of shortskirtsandexplosions' Couchtavia.

Impressions before reading:  With a title and description like this, I can see two ways for this story to go.  First, it could be a banal trudge through a bunch of Ponyvillian cameos which functions more as a time-filler than a piece of literature.  Or second, it could use a silly premise as a vehicle to explore its central character from a variety of angles, while fleshing out the town we all know from the show along the way.  I'm hoping for the latter, obviously.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A new-to-town Octavia pushes a ridiculously ugly, distressingly heavy couch which she just bought from one side of Ponyville to the other.  All the while, various locals pop up to help her, with varying degrees of efficacy.

Thoughts after reading:  Unfortunately, this story is, in fact, of the first variety.

That's not to say it's awful by any stretch; just as I predicted, it falls squrely in the "time-filler" category of fanfiction.  This is the kind of story you read because you want to read about ponies being moderately silly and/or cute, and it delivers that without managing (or rather, without aspiring) to anything more.  With that said... well, there's not a lot else to say.

The prose is pretty typically skirtsian, by which I mean largely overwrought with an occasional break into low phrasing (the phrases "a simple compass rose would help her ascertain," and "trying her darndest not to sweat" appear in back-to-back sentences at the start of the fic).  Likewise, it's heavy on purple-tinged descriptions, though I personally found that a good choice for this particuluar story, as it emphasizes the ridiculousness of pushing a couch down the street all day by contrasting it with faux-highbrow prose.  Just be ready for a lot of color name synonyms.

The story itself is, as I said before I read it, mostly a vehicle to get a bunch of scenelets with the main six and popular background ponies into a single fic, and as a vehicle, it's perfectly servicable.  There are two major contrivances which I disliked, however.  First, Octavia's muteness (she doesn't speak at any point in the story).  Although this is played for humor, I still found that everypony's (lack of) reaction to her total failure to speak at any point strained my credulity more than a light SoL fic really should.  This is definitely a "your mileage may vary" thing, as I can easily see some readers finding that to be part of the humor... and others finding it completely story-ruining.  In any case, I personally found the treatment of her silence a net detriment.  Second, the story does end on an exceedingly total "everything is fixed" note, which--while tonally entirely appropriate--was put together so completely, and with so little foreshadowing, that it ended up being too abrupt.

Star rating:

This is the kind of story I can see lots of people reading and having very little reaction to, positive or negative, beyond those which they inherently bring to the concept of "pony fanfiction."  As such, I feel that it's perfectly fine for what it is--but it's hard for me to specifically suggest to any particular reader, at least, with any particular enthusiasm.

Recommendation:  If you're just looking for more ponywords to read, then these are perfectly acceptable ones.  But beyond "isn't bad," there's not much here to recommend.

Next time:  The Parliament of Dreams, by Wheller


  1. Hey Chris, I'm in prison -- could you please mail your reviews to me for the next 6 months or so? ;)


  2. I noted you didn't excuse friends like dear Bulbasaur above, who may soon find himself ineligible to vote. Though perhaps that's your way of inflicting further judgment on whatever had gotten their voting rights revoked in the first place.

  3. " falls squarely in the "time-filler" category of fanfiction."

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. "a good choice for this particuluar story"

    Damn html tags.

  5. What if you should be in prison?

    Is it okay to read you blog then?