Monday, April 24, 2017

Episode Talk: S7E3, Flurry of Emotions

Well, did you all join me in watching that terribly disheartening mess they put on TV over the weekend?  Did you cringe, as I did, at all the missed opportunities, the flatly boneheaded decisions by those in charge, and the questionable calls?

I'm talking about the Wild losing to the Blues, of course.  Talk about a wasted year.

But from what I hear, there was another show in town on Saturday.  Head down below the break, and I'll tell you what I thought of that, too.

     -This is an episode I was frankly dreading, because my feelings about Flurry Heart are only marginally more positive than about Starlight.  On the one hand, Starlight's terrible redemption "arc" is inextricably tied to every episode she's in, while Flurry's nonsense (or rather, portentously built up, then totally ignored forever after) doesn't necessarily drag its baggage from episode to episode with her.  But on the other, I still think baby ponies look creepy; the fact that she doesn't have those soulless dot-eyes like the Cake twins helps, but the super-proportioned wings and horn cost her any points she might have earned from that.  Point is, I don't like Flurry, and I wasn't expecting to enjoy an episode about her too much.

     -To my surprise, this wasn't bad!  It wasn't terribly amazing--it felt like a pretty typical "fluff episode" to me, honestly.  But then, I like FiM, so a "typical 'fluff episode'" (he said, nesting his own quotation marked phrase) translates roughly to "something I don't expect to have a lot of fond memories of farther on, but which I was able to enjoy watching."  That's quite a bit more than I expected, going in.

     -A lot of that enjoyment comes down to Spike.  It seems to me that the showwriters use him best when he's the voice of reason, and he performed that duty admirably here, getting in plenty of sarcastic straight lines.  I also was pleased with Twi's general characterization; no crazy freak-outs or over-the-top meltdowns over something she knows is kinda trivial in the long run (like in Lesson Zero), just the regular kind of panic over letting ponies down and maybe somepony getting dropped on the floor by an enraged toddler.

     -I also liked the "art is incomprehensible" jobbing, though admittedly that's shooting fish in a barrel.  Gleaming Spear/Shimmering Lance/Badass Bardiche/whatever his name was (Spike's right, Shining's friends' names are totally interchangeable) was one-note, but his screen time was limited enough that it didn't overstay its welcome for me.

Carrot Top and Lilly came together, to see what the "modern art" stuff that's all the rage in Manehattan actually looks like and to maybe find something to put up in Carrot's house--her decor is depressingly spartan, ever since that incident with Derpy and her collection of painted plates.  Most of it seems kind of dumb to them, but here we can see them admiring one of the few pieces they can truly appreciate; a potted plant.  They spent several minutes speculating what kind of "message" might be behind it before the artist came up to them, and explained that it was actually his lunch ("Paleo diet! You only eat what our pony ancestors ate, and they only ate fresh grasses") and had been put on display by mistake.  

     -I was really glad that the shopping scene was as short and to-the-point as it was.  Based on the preview, I'd feared that there might be an extended "chase through the mall" scene or something, and I have no doubt it would've been interminable.  Thankfully, that didn't happen!

Since the trip to the art show was a bust, Carrot Top decided to swing by the local toy store and see if they had any decent posters she could put up.  Unfortunately, they were out of everything except birds, helmets, boats, and assorted stuffed animals.  She wistfully shakes her head.  "Back in my day," she says, "toys had character, and weren't mass-produced in a mere half-dozen forms."  But deep down, she knows she's romanticising the past; her old Bunny Bun-Bun may have been less generic than the stuff on these shelves, but it was, like, full of asbestos.

    -I feel bad for Cheerilee now :(  Seriously though, it makes me happy every time the modern writers remember, even if it's just for the space of a single gag, that "magic hooves" are dumb and take away from the character of the show.

     -This episode also proves that Shining and Cadence are the worst kind of parents.  You know, the ones who have to bring up their kids every time anyone says anything?  "Oh, you climbed Kilimanjaro?  Well, we took Sasha here with us on a nature hike last week, let me tell you all about it!"  No, be quiet, your kid isn't that interesting, it mostly just poops and burbles, Kilimanjaro is definitely the more interesting topic here people.

Her backup decor plan thwarted, Carrot Top returned to the art show to see if she'd missed anything interesting the first time around.  "Guess not," she thinks to herself, "what even is this, just hoofprints?  Why, a foal could do... that..."

Returning home after a brief stop at the stationery store for some butcher's paper and ink, Carrot Top turned her newly bought "masterpiece supplies" over to Noi and told her to "get to work."  Six minutes later, Carrot Top had her very own piece of modern art hanging in her living room.  It was a good day.

     -I wasn't a big fan of the Sugarcube corner scene, because if there's one thing worse than a visual pox on the show, it's three of 'em.  Bleh; the animators are so good at making ponies cute, how can they fail so hard when it comes to the infant ones?

     -On that note, how old is Flurry supposed to be at this point?  She seems to have a decent understanding of English (consistently, and not just for the sake of one or two jokes, as opposed to the Cake twins in their premiere episode), but then, the Cake twins are still babies, so there can't have been much passage of time...

     -Early generations be damned, I'm choosing to believe that the "Gusty" that was dealing with Grogar was, in fact, March Gustysnows, aka "the Fargo Pony."  Why does Twilight think a Cohen brothers/Lovecraft crossover is suitable reading material for kids?  That I cannot answer.

     -I really hate the moral on this episode, at least as Twilight expresses it.  Quantity is more important than quality when it comes to spending time with children, people!  You know what's better for your kid than you working overtime so they can go on a super awesome trip with you?  You being there to read to them every night!  I mean, there are lots of reasons why it's hard or even impossible for parents to spend enough time with their kids... but the number one best thing you can do for a child is to spend more time with them.  Not "better" time; more time.

     -But even that didn't totally sour me on the episode, if only because Twilight is Flurry's aunt and not her mom.  Presumably, Twi plans to be the "cool" relative from now on, and leave the actual parenting to the actual parents, which is probably for the best.  After all, it took her nearly two years to remember she had a big brother; who knows how long she'd forget her kid for at a stretch?  


  1. >tfw Chris writes an entire fanfic in his episode review :D

    1. Really, I should just collect all the CT lore I've scribbled beneath screencaps from the past few years and publish them. It's like an episode reaction fic crossed with Where's Waldo?

  2. whistfully
    Does this mean getting sadly nostalgic about a card game that not many people play anymore?

    stationary store
    Aren't they all stationary? Except for something like Bulk Biceps's cart, I guess. Or Sunset Shimmer's cuter-than-it-has-any-right-to-be sushi van.

    I also feel the moral got a bit muddled, but for a different reason. Twilight stressing quality over quantity seems odd, given that she was pretty much trying to do just that: jam Flurry Heart into what was already a packed schedule. She got a late start specifically because she was trying to spend some dedicated time with her niece, so she had it right in the first place, at least according to the conclusion she drew.

    Odd that Flurry Heart was the only child in a toy store.

    Yeah, showing up unannounced and dumping their child on Twilight after what would have been a not-insignificant journey... worst parents ever. I guess Cadence can't send scrolls to Spike? Or hire Pinkie, who's already demonstrated an affinity for Flurry Heart and an ability to babysit?

    I'm with you: I prefer the adaptations ponies have to use when they can't magically hold things with their hooves. Though I don't know why Cheerilee stresses she'll have to write it with her mouth. That's just the default for her, so it's not like it should be a big deal. Plus, knowing earth ponies and (probably) pegasi have to do that, I'd expect the chalk is made specifically to accommodate it, i.e., it's flavored or something.

    Spike is best straight guy. Though he's got good competition in Applejack.

    Carrot Top gets that huge front-and-center shot, and my first thought is: "Chris is probably foaming at the mouth right now." I never noticed she has the same hairstyle as Lily. We need a "Pinkie Apple Pie" episode where they explore whether they're related.

    1. Yeah, the scrolls (or just a letter if they didn't basically find out about the show and then immediately hop on the train) was something that stood out to me. Also, from an outside perspective I get why this is the case, but the babysitting thing goes beyond Pinkie: shouldn't they have people to help out with Flurry generally? As in, that's (at least part of) their job?

      I think she was stressing the mouth part because Twilight had just gone and erased the whole board, acting like that was a real help--in a couple seconds, because *she's* a former unicorn/current alicorn. I think it was stressing how the burden is greater for her than Twilight, who (if she knew what to write) could rewrite what was on the board comparatively effortlessly and in no time.

      Yeah, I've been thinking about where Spike does best quite a bit the last couple weeks.

    2. Lily may have the same triple-bob, but Carrot Top owns it better.

      And, er, I'll make some of those edits, though now all of a sudden I'm unaccountably fond of "whistfully."

  3. >I'm talking about the Wild losing to the Blues, of course.

    And here I was thinking you were talking about Doctor Who.

  4. "...Cohen brothers/Lovecraft crossover..."

    I would read/watch the heck out of that!

  5. " can they fail so hard when it comes to the infant ones[?]"

    Because they're meant to be evocative of human infants, which are inherently not cute

  6. That's "Daisy", not "Lily". Lily is a darker pink, and has a mane styled with flatter hair, like some of the background pegasi (e.g. Cloudkicker).

    As for the episode, I'll pass. Flurry Heart's mere existence bothers me too much for me to be interested in her episodes, and I'm saddened by how the show's been treating Cheerilee since Season Two.

  7. "But on the other, I still think baby ponies look creepy;"

    "No, be quiet, your kid isn't that interesting, it mostly just poops and burbles, Kilimanjaro is definitely the more interesting topic here people."

    "I wasn't a big fan of the Sugarcube corner scene, because if there's one thing worse than a visual pox on the show, it's three of 'em."

    Admit it Chris, you just hate babies.

  8. You know what irritated me more than anything? "Pony Latin". Seriously? "Pony Latin"? Whatever happened to "Old High Equestrian"? You couldn't even come up with a cringy horse pun? Shame on you, writers!