Feeling Pinkie Keen is by far one of the most divisive episodes of My Little Pony. It’s an incredibly confusing episode for sure; Twilight’s indignation towards Pinkie’s abilities seems to come out of nowhere, and the episode’s moral lesson about having faith in things that don’t make sense seems to fly in the face of scientific reasoning, which isn’t a lesson kids need to be learning. Some people hate it just out of finding Pinkie annoying, or dislike the focus on slapstick comedy over telling a story. Others love the episode because of its funny bits, the plethora of unique Pinkie animations, and the return of Derpy Hooves as a mainstay background character.
As for me, I’m pretty divided about it myself. My first time through the show, it was one of the two episodes which I’d found bothersome and confusing, the other being Over A Barrel. I was intrigued to discover that both of these episodes were written by Dave Polsky, who didn’t get another episode until season three, wherein he wrote the phenomenal Too Many Pinkie Pies.
The second time I watched Feeling Pinkie Keen was in the Hearts and Hooves Day marathon, and I enjoyed it a lot more when I wasn’t focused on the questionable moral message, and was more noticing the classic cartoon moments and sometimes excellent dialog. Feeling Pinkie Keen and Over A Barrel have two of my favorite dialog exchanges in the entire show, which I’ve characterized as being borderline stoner-comedy. The exchange in this episode is as follows:
(insert “can you explode twice” scene)
But as I watched the episode for the sake of this video, I found myself divided again. This time I noticed that on a technical level, Feeling Pinkie Keen is pretty weak. Even though it has a lot of unique poses for both Pinkie Pie and Twilight, some of which are great, a lot of them look shoddy or awkward in a way that would never come out of this show in later seasons. Tara Strong also turns in a surprisingly uneven performance in this episode. I love certain lines, [probably because it smells good], but other parts sound like she didn’t know where the dialog was supposed to be going, which I can’t blame her for, because neither do I.
So let’s get down to it. Why in the world does this episode feel so awkward?
As I mentioned earlier, Twilight’s skepticism, which almost immediately manifests as rage, doesn’t make much sense. If she’s so in love with science and learning, why does facing something outside of her experience leave her so annoyed and infuriated, more so than curious? Twilight is so frustrated by this phenomenon that she gives up on studying it, basically without trying. Her aggravation overcomes her scientific curiosity to the point that she just accepts Pinkie’s ability as existent and stops questioning it.
This is what makes the episode’s lesson feel so wrong. In a moment, I’ll get into why I think it’s fine to accept that some things are unexplainable, but the idea that you should give up on explaining something if you can’t figure it out in an afternoon is ludicrous. Not just from a scientific perspective, but from the perspective of anything in life that needs to be learned. If you can’t figure out how to play guitar in a day, should you just give up? If you can’t figure out a mathematical principle in a day, should you just give up? No and no, and this is the opposite of what we ordinarily try to teach people.
That may or may not be what the episode is trying to say, but the bottom line is that that’s how it comes across. It would be one thing to have a lesson about pursuing something that you don’t ultimately care about or doesn’t bring you happiness. A lesson about not letting the things you don’t understand get to you would’ve been a fine way to go here. And really, we can read the message that way if we chose to, but that’s not what it sounds like. It sounds like it’s saying, “there are some things you’ll never understand, so you should just give up,” which is not a good message.
Now, for the sake of clarification, I’m going to get a little philosophical here and talk about unexplainable things.
There are always going to be things which cannot be understood, because there must be things which are beyond the human ability to comprehend. The existence of “something” proves the existence of “nothing,” and “nothing” is a concept that we cannot grasp, because it stands to reason that “nothing” must be “something.”
It doesn’t make any sense that there is a point at which we reach the smallest base building block of all matter, because every step of the way, it has to be made up of something. There is simply a limit to how much of this something we can perceive. It also doesn’t make sense for existence to be finite, because there must be then a space outside of existence, AKA non-existence, which again is a concept that is impossible to understand.
And as long as this is true, we may as well assume that there is even more out there than non-existence and inconceivability which we don’t know about and can’t comprehend. It can be far off or nearby, but there must be absolutely incomprehensible things.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t seek to understand all that we can, though. To me, it only means that we should never speak as though there is absolute truth to be discovered and decoded. Nothing can ultimately be discredited, because possibility is endless beyond our ability to say otherwise. And now I’m getting farther from the point.
Which is, that it’s not wrong to give up on explaining Pinkie Sense, and to simply trust in the evidence of its existence. Whether or not you want to study it and find its meaning depends on the depth of your will. If we read Twilight as giving up because she just doesn’t care that much, then it’s less terrible. But if we read it as a message that because there are things which can’t be understood, then we shouldn’t even try, then that would be horrible.
OKAY! With that long-winded thought out of the way, let’s talk about some smaller stuff.
Fluttershy is moving the frog population to Froggy Bottom Bog because she expects them to have more room to frolic. However, it turns out that the real reason the Bog is barren of Frogs is because the hydra has been eating all of them. Fluttershy seems to acknowledge this when she tells the frog how sorry she is. Brutal.
Fluttershy makes a nod to Dragonshy with her hop skip and jump line. The only reason I can think of for Twilight not using her teleport is that Polsky somehow hadn’t seen her use it before.
And, that’s about all I’ve got to say about Feeling Pinkie Keen for now. I’m not sure even what I’ve just said, but hopefully it was helpful to you. I’ll look forward to the better and slightly less confusing Over A Barrel, which I may as well cover in the time while we wait for Polsky’s next episode, which is coming out two weeks late for some reason.
Also, while you’re here, why not go check out my new channel where I do thorough analysis of video games? I’ve got a video about Muramasa: The Demon Blade which pretty much no one’s watching yet, so go show that some love if you don’t mind.