I can’t call this episode the highlight of my week (which has consisted of nothing but work and ponies), but I think at this point a new episode is always going to make me happy on some level. It’s a good episode, but I think it places somewhere in my bottom fifteen or so in terms of personal enjoyment.
This has nothing to do with the quality of its content; there must be a reason that I’m seeing a hell of a lot of praise for it on Reddit. It’s just that the episodes of MLP that I really enjoy are the ones which are dense—or if they aren’t dense, then the ones that are paced well. This episode is neither, so I’m eh about it.
Why isn’t it paced well? Because its concept is simple, and had to be spread thin over a 22-minute episode. This always leads to repetition of the main ideas, which are usually established well-enough in the first place, meaning that there’s a lot of frivolous dialog.
Take, for example, the events near the end, in which the Cutie Mark Crusaders realize what they’ve done wrong and share it among themelves, and then later repeat the story to Babs. They could’ve easily cut the Babs conversation in the screen transition and had us joined, with her having caught up to what we already know. This is extraneous dialog and it hurts the pacing because it leaves me waiting for something new to happen.
This is also true of the Babs Seed song, which is superfluous in narrative terms, and exists as nothing more than an entertaining extended montage. If you cut the song from the episode entirely, it would have all the same narrative strength and better pacing, but you’d be out two minutes.
Hey, but superfluous songs aren’t a bad thing. Winter Wrap Up and The Failure Song were both pretty superfluous, and those are great songs that I really enjoyed. And if I’ve gleaned one thing from Reddit reactions to this episode, it’s that the Babs Seed song was the highlight of the episode for most viewers. I, however, didn’t care for it.
I liked seeing the experimental style of slapping a music video into the episode (it reminded me of similar scenes in Dexter’s Lab or the Power Puff Girls), but I didn’t care for the video itself, and disliked the repetition of visuals used in the chorus. It’s possible I’ll warm up to this song when I’ve heard it more and it’s been remixed seven million times, but right now it is least favorite musical number in the entire series.
I seem to be stacking the odds against this episode, so here’s some stuff that I liked. Obviously I appreciate the animation, which seems to be a given this season. The voice performances of the Cutie Mark Crusaders were all really nice in this episode, although I don’t know what to think about Babs Seed’s voice. Applejack only got a handful of lines, but I loved them all because I’m an Applejack fanboy. Some of the jokes were nice (I lost my shit at the start of the CMC indoctrination ceremony).
As for Babs Seed herself and the story surrounding her, I have nothing to say. It was clean. No complaints, but nothing interesting. It certainly accomplished an actual lesson, unlike Griffon the Brush Off. It’s also a far more kid-relatable episode, being as it’s… about kids and all. I mean whatever, I’m not gonna sit here and complain about a well-done anti-bullying lesson, because I think it’s a fine thing. I would’ve preferred that Babs’ last line was “I’ll beat your sadity asses, bitch,” but you know. Kids’ show. Responsibility.
Can I be blamed for liking MLP better when the meanings have to be worked for and the characters fail in big, adult ways instead of childish, misunderstanding-driven ways? There IS a reason that MLP is my FAVORITE show, and cute ponies aren’t the whole of it.
By the way, Pinkie was totes stoned in this ep. TRIXIE NEXT WEEK, MY BODY, ETC.