Text version and youtube description:
My OC is designed and drawn by MizuTakishima: http://mizutakishima.deviantart.com/
More stuff by me: http://modalhsoul.wordpress.com/
John Cleese on Creativity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9rtmxJrKwc
Stone Hands by Meletric Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9lrgVjBjHw
Bronycurious on this ep: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6cGhoBP8BY
Dr. Wolf on this ep: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4fQRhkvq9g
My Bronycon panel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naMcXCJrx1o
My new song with RainSnowHail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J70eQ5_6GLg
I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about this episode the whole time I’ve been making videos, and the trouble I’m having is general ambivalence towards it in terms of personal enjoyment.
On the one hand, this episode has a spectacular lesson, stars my two favorite ponies of the mane six, and is great in terms of character development. On the other hand, it has a number of cartoon tropes that I can’t stand. The dialog and conflict are extremely repetitive without a lot of really funny moments, plus I don’t enjoy stories about characters arguing with one-another. Every time I watch this episode, there’s a layer on which I enjoy and admire it, and another on which I find it boring and tired.
So, jumping right in, let’s talk about this moral and why it’s so important! This episode is all about embracing what makes us different, which happens to be my own moral crusade and a core tennant of the show, so I’m going to go on about it for a bit.
The opposite of this moral, which I absolutely hate, is the one where it’s asked that we “look past our differences,” and “focus on the ways in which we’re alike.” This is pretty wrongheaded even from a genetic and evolutionary standpoint, like the metaphorical equivalent of saying that we should inbreed. No offense to any incestuous listeners, I respect your diverse lifestyle!
We need our differences, and it’s very important that we not look PAST them, but look AT them, and embrace them. Now, I do think that there are irreconcilable differences, and I think that compromise is a big part of functioning as a society. Obviously, if someone is really really into murder, that’s not a difference we should be quick to embrace because it ultimately hurts our society more than it helps. But that doesn’t mean we need to abandon that person, it only means that we need to seek compromise and attempt to reconcile the differences as best we can. I’m getting off-topic though.
In this episode, we are shown how Rarity and Applejack have different modes of thinking. In a video which sadly won’t be out until November, Bronycurious astutely observes this difference as one between a creative individual, and a non-creative individual. Rarity is good at going into what John Cleese describes in this awesome video you should totally click on, as the “open mode” of creativity. She sees the world as something she can play with and express herself with.
Applejack is always focused on the task at hand, and thinks in terms of the big picture. However, she doesn’t know how to enter a creative mode and concentrate on the more detailed aspects of whatever she’s doing.
Rarity is creative, but she can’t control what things she becomes fascinated with. She becomes absorbed in the minor details of the first thing that catches her eye, without relating that thing to the greater whole of the situation.
These opposite modes of thinking lead the two ponies to have extremely different sets of values and very different tastes. However, the things which make them different are what make them functional. Applejack offers Rarity focus and drives her in the right direction, while Rarity compensates for Applejack’s lack of ideas.
While Applejack is the one who recognizes this dichotomy and communicates it to Rarity, it is not framed as if one of them has the correct mode of thinking, nor is either of them expected to take on the other’s mode of thinking in addition to their own. They remain individuals, but ones who’s collaboration makes them a greater whole. This is the essence of Harmony, and in many ways is the central lesson of the entire show.
At the end of the episode, both of the girls are still set in their ways. Neither of them has had to break their own values to comply with the other’s. They’ve simply managed to accept that even though another pony is different from themselves, it doesn’t mean that said pony is wrong, or that they can’t collaborate to the betterment of everyone.
The episode conveys the differences between the characters and how far-reaching those differences are very well. It’s just a shame that the dialog in each sequence puts the ponies at one-another’s throats constantly. The point that these two ponies don’t see eye to eye was made early on, and it wasn’t necessary for every difference between them to be argued about in the same way. It doesn’t hurt the message at all, and if you’re not bothered by this kind of repetitiveness, then it won’t even matter, but this is quite literally the cartoon episode structure that annoys me the most; which is why it’s ironic that it has my favorite lesson and some of the best character development in the entire show.
That said, there are still some memorable moments, like the pillow fight scene and the bed scene, and there are some excellent little bits of animation and voice acting throughout. And that lesson…
so good I could cry. Roll the promotions!