Let’s be honest. This episode is fucking terrible. It is one of the worst episodes of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. It was written by Chris Savino, who’s only other episode was Stare Master (decent), and I think it’s pretty clear why. But this is still the Trixie episode, so I cracked open a bottle of hard cider, watched the piece of crap, and here’s some words about it.
I. LOVE. TRIXIE. Don’t get me wrong. Trixie is a horrible one-off character whose sole memorable traits are her amazing facial expressions and her obnoxious voice and dialog. Of the characters with speaking roles in this show that the fandom has taken off and run with, Trixie is the one who most bafflingly was transformed from this ridiculous character in this terrible episode into one of the most hilarious and lovable portraits of failure that I’ve ever seen.
Even though I watched this episode twice very early into my fandom and found it horrible both times, Trixie is as fresh in my mind as ever. I’ve seen all of her facial expressions in countless videos and images, and heard all of her dialog sampled in countless songs and quoted in a hundred memes.
Trixie was the first character from this show to make me appreciate the character sub-fandoms perpetuated by fanmade content (as detailed here), and she’s still my favorite pony outside of the mane six.
Here are some observations about Trixie by the fandom that I consider canon. Trixie’s cutie mark talent is that she’s a stage magician. In a sense, both she and Twilight are unicorns whose power “is magic,” but in Trixie’s case it’s magic in the realistic sense (operated using magic of the fantasy sense), whereas Twilight’s magic is more like I Am God And Can Do Everything magic.
Trixie probably travels from town to town drawing the crowds. The fandom has made a million variants on her backstory (many of which are grimdark, naturally), and most versions of her story in the wake of this episode involve her name having been completely tarnished by the event in Ponyville. Personally I doubt that Trixie is important enough to have news travel about her in a meaningful way, and as long as she stops using that lie to brag about, her talent is still interesting, and should still draw crowds.
(By the way, my favorite version of the events following this episode is the fanfic, The Great and Powerful Trixie Falls in Love With A Pine Cone.)
When you put any thought into the episode, some of this stuff is obvious—but it’s so fucking horribly written that it gives no real sense of what Trixie’s magic is or what she really does. The only decent things to come out of this episode’s dialog are the revelation that unicorns have a limited amount of magic pertaining to their talents (which blew my god damn mind on this rewatching because I didn’t remember that at all), and the French and Powerful Trixie.
Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie were lucky not to be in this episode (man does that feel weird. I can only guess that Andrea Libman was out sick when they recorded the episode or something), because Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash get to suck ass in this episode. They’re all quick to anger over Trixie’s showboating (dude, it’s a show, just fucking watch it or go home), and of course they all give in to Trixie’s calls for a challenge.
God, distract me from how bad this is…
No no—keep on that train of thought, but make her French again…
Anyways, AJ, Rarity, and RD deserved to get shown up like that. They’re the ones who saw Trixie bragging and said, “you ain’t hot shit, I’M hot shit!” and then were proven wrong. Way to go. Only Twilight shows maturity by not taking the bait.
EVEN STILL, THE DIALOG FUCKS THIS UP, because they try to make it seem like Twilight’s reason for not fighting back was that she thought her friends would hate her if she did, because they hate Trixie the same way. It would’ve been better if Twilight just was the bigger mare the whole time (which she is, but they don’t sell it). For what it’s worth, I think this is an in-character fear for Twilight, both because she’s got a history of paranoia, and because she’s new to this whole friendship thing, but it just leaves the whole episode so thematically weak that the whole fucking thing is hopeless.
Studio B just barely salvaged the episode by taking the atrocious script and buttering it up with some good moments of animation. Mind you, there’s nowhere near the level of personality in animation which was displayed in Applebuck Season, but the effort put just into animating Trixie almost makes up for it, especially at this early stage in the show. Her expressions have so much energy and life, and it just sells her as this obnoxious but still kind of awesome pony who just might actually be as cool as she thinks she is (despite having a couple of dumbass toadies).
There’s also the Ursa Minor and Ursa Major, which are pretty fun. I remember finding the Ursa Minor to be a real spectacle the first time I watched the show, and was so impressed with Twilight conquering it that I’d felt it salvaged the episode. Of course, looking back, it’s an all but humble monster and scene. You can’t come back to this after A Canterlot Wedding and expect to still be intrigued. It’s only enough to save the entire series from crashing and burning very early in.
Seriously, when my brother and I first watched this show, we were close to dropping it after this episode. After not having enjoyed The Ticket Master, but having loved Applebuck Season, the one-two punch of the just-okay Griffon the Brush-Off and the abysmal Boast Busters was almost enough to take me out of the entire show that I now love so much. Had it not been for that Ursa Minor, followed by the excellent Dragonshy which came next, I might not have made it this far.
OKAY NOW RAP.