Monday, May 8, 2017

Odds and Ends

It's been a while since I've done a "bit of this, bit of that" post, but today I have several things that don't really tie together, but which I want to throw out to y'all.  Some reading stuff, some writing stuff, and some episode stuff!

-First, I got an entry into the most recent writeoff.  Go see if you can find it!  The usual reward of "I dunno, I guess I'll review a story you want or something?  Just tell me what you want, I'm a reasonable person, we'll work something out" goes to anyone who correctly figures out which of those 46 fanfics belongs to me.  And if that sounds like a lot, remember, this is minifics; every entry combined totals well under 35,000 words, so we're not exactly talking about a mountain of horsewords.  Also, I'm going to try to get at least a decent chunk of the stories reviewed, so pop into the comments if you want to see what I have to say about one story or another!

-Second, in no-longer-ponyfic news: The Steadfast Sky, which I reviewed back here, is being re-written and re-imagined as original fiction!  You can learn a bit more about it in the author's blog (and on the website it links to), but it sounds like the new version will have a lot of the elements I enjoyed about the original, while smoothing out the stuff I didn't care for as much.

-My thoughts on the last two (US) episodes: Rock Solid Friendship was a good episode that could've been great if it'd been set in an earlier season.  As-is, Pinkie felt too far regressed from all the lessons she's learned over the years for the sake of the plot, and Starlight Glimmer makes everything worse  it annoys me whenever they joke about how evil she is like it's no big deal  who thought "Maud helped enslave a village" was a good gag?  okay, point made.  But Maud is still an excellent foil for Pinkie, and there were a lot of little visual touches that I thought helped sell the episode.  Good humor in this one, all around!

-As for Fluttershy Leans In?  Forgettable episode, terrible thematic execution.  I get they were going for the kind of "stand by your vision" thing that they've previously done in episodes like Suited for Success, but here, it came off much more as (I would go so far as to say explicitly as) "disregard those who know what they're doing, hew to your vision no matter who tells you it's unrealistic or problematic."  That's... not a great lesson.  Fluttershy may know a lot about animals, but (I'm assuming) she doesn't know a lot about construction.  Can't wait for the first mudslide caused by shoddy workponyship to wipe out the Duck family.

-Also, no Carrot Top in either episode :(  Oh well, maybe next week.


  1. I feel pretty much the same about both of those eps, except that I still like Starlight Glimmer. "Fluttershy Leans In" just felt terribly incomplete. These experts wouldn't be successful if they never listened to what their customers wanted, so it was weird to have them stonewall her, and while I can see them differing from her plan in the ways they did, she was never clear about communicating what she wanted. And nothing came of that. The we get a McColt cameo for no reason, as he just shows up, and bam, the place is finished.

    I'd thought about entering the write-off after a long absence, but two things conspired against me:
    1) I forgot to look in on Saturday and see what the prompt was.
    2) I was expecting to have a couple minific ideas leftover from Loganberry's Flashfic 150 event last month, but I ended up using my first idea (you can only enter once) and didn't have any left over.

    1. Starlight's been growing on me lately. She's proving to be a very relatable character. Probably helps that DWK's so fond of her, too

  2. Yeah, the thing with Fluttershy Leans In, is that it's based off of a pop-psy fad that's very popular in SoCal right now. Ignoring experts is a key part of the philosophy, as is "leaning in" and things like the "dream board." (Scrapbooking elevated to life-plan status.) The episode is a mess because the fad is a mess.

    It was like watching an episode based off of the Paleo Diet, or something. Eugh.

    1. It's even worse than I feared. D: How did they let this shit get into a cartoon?

    2. Does the pop-psy fad also have you dream about accomplishing exactly what you already have? Because I can't tell how what Fluttershy did was supposed to have been different from the start in any meaningful way.

  3. [i]Fluttershy Leans In[/i] - Advocating a pop-psy fad that encourages disregarding professional opinions on subjects you know [i]nothing[/i] about.

    [i]Parental Glideance[/i] - Helicopter Parenting is cool now? As is fellating your child's ego and being a public nuisance, apparently.

    I'm a bit worried, to be honest. Two episodes in a season, rather close to each other, where the moral surprised me, and not in a good way. The minute Fluttershy brought out the "Dream Board" I figured the lesson would be similar to "Suited For Success" (i.e. sometimes you need to listen to people with more experience than you, regardless of how amazing you think your idea is) but instead, the lesson seemed to be the total opposite. It's nice to Fluttershy being assertive (and not psycho), but the resolution was unbelievable even for a world where "friendship is magic".

  4. Fluttershy Leans In would have been far better if it would have just used the experts in non-speaking contributing roles in the final construction, looking on wisely and nodding, with the occasional smile or high-hoof. Just that minor change would have taken it from "You know better than the experts. Ignore them." to "Sometimes even experts need to be shown what it is you want done when words don't seem to be getting through."

    You know, Show, don't Tell.