The S4 Diary: “Maude Pie”

Text version:

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My new OC is designed by Hanna:
The original design was by Mizuki Takashima:

Background music:
1. Get Up – Clipping
2. Spiral – Nujabes
3. Digital Relaxation – BADBADNOTGOOD

I’m up! I’m here! Okay, we’ve got uh… Maude… Pie. Maude Pie! You know what makes this show so great? Rarity’s head wobble. I’m actually serious, see the thing about animation is that what makes it special as a medium is how it can express things that real life has trouble with. And I don’t just mean, that it can give us a world full of talking horses because a comic book could do that too, but it can give us this kind of subtle characterization and humor.

We already understand through the script how Rarity is overly dedicated to communicating through fashion, and that her hat is causing problems, but we understand it on an even deeper level seeing how Rarity can’t even keep her head straight. That Rarity doesn’t even seem concious of how the hat is effecting her head tells you about her dedication because she probably is willing to suffer physical duress in the name of perfectly contrived fashion all the time. This is just one in a long list of examples of how MLP utilizes the medium of animation to the fullest, and that’s what makes it such a top-class cartoon.

But anyways, this episode isn’t about giant hats. It’s about a rock farmer. Fuck it’s hot in my room. Let’s move this discussion somewhere cooler, shall we?

—The S4 Diary—

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I used to be a total elitist prick. I held my own taste in higher regard than anyone elses, and I looked down on the lowly “newbs” who didn’t share my vastly superior knowledge. Especially when it came to anime.

It happened a lot in high school and college. People would tell me, “oh you’re into anime? I’m into anime too!” I’d say, “oh yeah? What shows?” “Naruto, Bleach, Elfen Lied…” …at this point I’d be calling them a poser in my head. “What shows do you watch?” they’d ask. “Mostly stuff you’ve probably never heard of.” And the conversation would peter out.

See, interests are all multifaceted. It’s easy for two people to say that they have the same favorite thing, but they often will like that thing for completely different reasons or in completely different ways. Take for instance, someone who’s favorite show is My Little Pony because of how much they love Applejack and her sexy boots (cue AJ’s sexy boots), versus someone who’s favorite show is My Little Pony because they love reading Luna headcanons. In spite of sharing a favorite show, it’s entirely possible that these two will have nothing to talk about with regards to the subject.

So you’ll see how Pinkie Pie’s assumptions that the mane six will get along with her sister out of shared interests are wrongheaded. Yes, Maude likes nature walks, but all she sees is rocks, whereas Fluttershy sees only animals. Maude likes fashion, but whereas Rarity is a hardcore fashion otaku sporting the Legend of the Galactic Heroes of the fashion world, Maude is attached to the Naruto of the fashion world and isn’t really interested in venturing far beyond that.

And this is fine! In fact, the real fallacy that comes from thinking of Maude as having a lesser fashion sense is that in reality, the senses aren’t comparable. “Fashion” is not one thing, it’s a word that describes several different realms of reality. There’s “fashion” which describes a certain highbrow culture, and then there’s “fashion” as we interact with it on the personal level. Just because I can’t walk onto a runway in my bathrobe and MLP pajamas doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the clothes that I’m wearing, so it’s not inaccurate to say that I might be “into fashion,” even if my idea of fashion isn’t the same as someone else’s.

What I’m getting at here is that we shouldn’t be too quick to claim that we share interests just because our interests share certain traits, but we also should respect that other people have different ways of engaging with things that we like, and that’s A-OK. But while that’s all well and good, the bottom line is that even if two people truly do share the same interests, that isn’t a very good grounds for sharing a friendship anyways.

I’ve met no shortage of people over the years who shared my interests and even engaged with them in a similar way to myself, but whom I couldn’t be friends with just because our personalities didn’t gel correctly. My lifestyle and manner of speaking are extremely laid-back and I never, ever stop talking. I can’t really talk to people who are uptight, or who guard their speech, or who get bored easily in long conversations. Far more important than sharing the exact same interests or tastes with me, I need to be able to have enjoyable talks with people about our tastes and how they compare and contrast.


I will now recite a poem that I wrote. It’s about rocks. It’s called “I like rocks.”

I like rocks
Pockets full of rocks
Keep me weighed down
Grounded to earth, my frown may undercut my mirth
but I don’t front, my first love remained true
igneous, I named you
hideous they framed you, but I see truth
in grey, black, and brown
through clay, dirt, and ground
I found a geodesic memory of mesozoic calamity
gravity shaping volcanic casing into a beautiful thing
A sedimental gift of history
an igneous in an enigma wrapped in mystery
A small piece of all that’s come before
A hardened little story of planetary lore
A deeper kinship than you can understand
is the bond that I share with all the rocks of the land


I’m a huge fan of both deadpan humor, and characters and people who are deeply passionate about something, which is why Adam Johnston is my current favorite youtuber. Go check that guy out. More importantly, Maude is built on exactly these two characteristics, which made her my favorite new character of season four so far. I’ve mentioned before how some of my favorite jokes in MLP are the ones where they cut the music and play a dull sound effect over a slow punchline. In this episode, tank’s helicopter sound makes for a fantastic dry noise to set the tone of Maude’s arrival.

As for Maude meeting the mane six, I’ve been on both sides of the issue. I’ve got a very tight-knit group of friends, and it can be really difficult for new people to become involved in our group because it essentially means being friends with and falling into the rhythm of the entire group at once. I’ve also had friends who tried to introduce me to their own friend circles, and I can’t remember a single time when I didn’t pull the same card as Maude and back away personally.

But you know, it doesn’t take being super best friends with someone to appreciate when they do awesome things. I’ve always found it strange actually how people will see someone do something cool and then say how they want to be that person’s friend. I, for instance, don’t really feel that Errant Signal and I would have the same sense of humor or make for good friends, but I admire his work to no end and have a lot of respect for him.

I think that’s the real lesson the mane six learn, which is surprisingly unclear. There’s such a huge difference between thinking, “I don’t get along with that person, ergo that person is strange,” versus, “I don’t get along with that person, but I respect and admire them for who they are.” It’s something we need more of. I know that a lot of people aren’t comfortable using the word “friend” to talk about someone they aren’t that close with, but I’m the type who likes to think of the word friend as meaning “friendly.” Someone you are friendly towards, or who is deserving of friendship, even if it’s not something you could give them personally. Friendship is a sort of comeraderie or kinship felt with other people whom I feel are a part of the world community that I imagine myself belonging to.

Another way of putting it is that any of the mane six might be able to be friends with Maude if they were just a bit more like her. If they were obsessed with rocks, or if their lives were paced a little bit slower, they would get along with her. It’s not a fundamental difference in character which makes keeps them from being friends, but a simple difference in lifestyle.┬áThe mane six become friends with Maude in the end, insofar as being able to imagine themselves in a circumstance in which they could be friends with her.

And that about wraps up my thoughts on Maude Pie! Favorite line in the episode: “They’re all about rocks.” Shouts out to Munchy for the background, Hanna for the OC, and Trevcon 2012 for editing the white space from the OC slides. Seeya next week!

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