Monday, April 20, 2015

on "cutie marks"

Apparently the theme of this season is "cutie mark madness." (I kind of called it early on, when they started advertising the big Rarity figure/brushable/doll-that's-not-cuddly* where she was covered with light-up diamonds)

(*I don't know, but I think a doll, at least a doll of an animal, needs to be cuddly in order to BE a doll rather than a figurine. Yes, I know, for humanoid dolls a great many are not cuddly - Barbie and her ilk - but somehow that's different. Maybe we save "doll" for the cuddly ones and apply "action figure" to the non-cuddlies. Heh. The idea of a "baby action figure" instead of a "baby doll" is cracking me up now. Though really, aren't some of the more realistic baby dolls really kind of "action figures" in the sense that you DO things with them, like giving them bottles and changing their diapers?)

Anyway. The 2-parter season opener was all about cutie marks, and raised the spectre of "what if some ponies decided that the differentiation of cutie marks was a bad thing, and wanted to try to become as equal as possible?" (Hint: it's not good)

Last week's was more a slice-of-life episode, of sorts, but then again, each of the Five Friends of Twilight wanted to decorate her castle using something from her own special talent (rather than, for example, hauling lots of books to the castle, for BookPony).

This week's was a Cutie Mark Crusaders episode. Yeah, I was kind of meh about them at first. I like them better now but still prefer the episodes with the grown-up (or almost-grown-up, we don't know for sure how old the Mane Six are but I envision them as being equivalent to humans in their early 20s).

The precipitating factor of the whole episode (I'll try not to spoil it too much) was that Babs Seed got her cutie mark.......a pair of scissors. (Yeah. For an Apple family relative. Then again, she lives in the city).

No, she's not a bonsai expert, apparently. It seems she's good at mane-dressing.

So, immediately, this bit of silliness popped into my head:

"But Babs, it's MEANT TO BE! We have the same cutie mark and everything!"

"Aw, geez, Snips. I dunno. I'm sure you're a nice pony and all, but.....I'm not sure I want to go to the Ponyville Prom wit' youse."

(Babs is from Manehattan, but she talks more like she's from the Bronx. Or Brooklyn? I get my New York Tough accents mixed up....)

I also found myself wondering if this meant Babs was going to have to leave school and start an apprenticeship or something somewhere.....then again, in the Ponyville school, most of the ponies there seem to have their cutie marks and still go to school.

(Can you imagine? A pony wakes up with their cutie mark, and it's like, "Okay, your fillyhood is over....time to go work for a living. No, no, can't say goodbye to your schoolfriends." That would be kind of awful but then again, many years back, kids left school at 14 or so to do apprenticeships sometimes)

Then again: wasn't Babs originally unhappy in school? That she was bullied, and that's why she turned around and bullied the CMC? (Which again, strikes me as a very authentic thing - that the bullied kid, on finding kids weaker or lower on the ladder than she is, goes after them. It's not RIGHT, of course, and you would think of all kids, a bullied kid would realize the importance of compassion to the downtrodden)

It also raises the question: if your cutie mark denotes a special talent, and you are somehow magically able to do that talent because of the cutie mark, then WHAT is the special talent of Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara? Being annoying? Being one-percenters? Lording it over otherponies? Because those two strike me as fairly useless, then again, I had way too much experience with well-off girls who liked to talk about how their families went to the Bahamas over Christmas break and who had every new fancy new trendy thing from Bonne Bell Lip Smackers to Bermuda bags to Jordache jeans, and who were all too fond of pointing out that I happened to have none of those things....

Or maybe rich ponies don't NEED a talent? That seems pretty boring and I would think it would almost be a punishment, to see all these Useful Ponies around you growing apples and moving clouds around and baking cakes and stuff....and your talent is just to spend money on those things. Then again, I may have some odd and specific prejudices...

The only other youngpony we see the cutie mark very explicitly of is Twist, and hers is clearly candy making, and it's implied she was good at that even before the cutie mark. (The other young ponies are either blank-flanks or they have an ambiguous cutie mark, like Sunny Days and her sunshine.(And there's the chubby little male pony, I've seen some fans call him Russel after the chubby kid in "Up," who has a knife and fork - he could become a chef, or a restaurant critic, or a competitive eater, I suppose) (And has Twist left the show? We don't see her in school any more. Well, maybe that's one case of a pony leaving school to do an apprenticeship/start work)

Also, I wonder if Twilight comes from a wealthy family. Some of the things that have happened before seem to suggest it, and also, in last week's episode, the fact that she could take Spike to "Quills N Sofas" to buy him a bed (right after an extensive spa day) makes me think Twi might be a trust-fund filly. Or maybe being Princess brings a salary with it? (I also wonder if Fluttershy comes from money - I doubt her animal friends can pay for her care of them, and barter only works so far.) I'm probably overthinking this and it's typical kids-cartoon logic, where there's money available when that money is needed and ponies don't generally have to budget (despite Applejack's occasional fears about the Apple family losing the farm)

One other hopefully-not-too-spoilerish thing from this week's episode: We see Pinkie Pie in her chicken costume (from the Nightmare Night episode) playing the role of the morning rooster at one point. I didn't catch it on the first viewing, just that "something being carried by balloons went by the window" but on the second viewing I saw - yup, it was Pinkie. I love the little bits like that that the animators/writers put in. They don't draw attention to them, but they're there - and those kind of things suggest to me that the people coming up with the gags for the show really love the show and love doing it.

1 comment:

CGHill said...

Babs seems very Bronx to me.

There exists a panel in one issue of the comic in which she's babbling to Rarity about haircuts, of all things, so maybe this is an effort to reconcile canon between series and comic.

And I am on record as explaining Diamond Tiara in terms of middle management, obsessed with the trappings of her position and what little power she can wield.