Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What Pinkie Knew....

So, this weekend's Pony.

New writer's first episode, and I see some people are ripping her slightly for a different style. I dunno. I felt like the episode maybe was written to appeal more to the INTENDED fanbase than to an adult fanbase, given the "lesson" it contained - and in some ways it felt a bit more like an early-season episode than it did the recent episodes.

The really funny thing is, for me (and I think for a lot of the fans), last week's Big Reveal was mostly a surprise (I was not expecting the CMC to acquire their cutie marks so soon, and I admit my Tweets during that portion of the episode were mostly "Whaaaaaaaaaaat?" and I actually expected it would turn out to be a dream - but then, I don't think the writers would pull a bait-and-switch like that on their young fans. The adults, maybe, could take it, because so much of adulthood is a bait-and-switch, but for innocent kids - no). But this week's Big Reveal - well, everyone knew and guessed and it would actually have been a surprise had it NOT been what it was.

Yeah, Cadence (sorry, I canNOT spell it "Cadance" like the Hasbro Marketing Department would prefer) and Shining Armor are having a foal. (They've been married, what, three years? What is that in Pony Time?). And they are apparently doing the Big Reveal in Ponyville, because that's where Shining Armor's little sister lives....and they are commissioning the Cakes to cater the 'do.

And of course, Pinkie finds out. And Pinkie, being in some ways the Pony that stands in for the excitable young fans, is DYING to tell somepony. Twilight, of course - TWILIGHT MUST KNOW ABOUT THIS!!!!

But Mrs. Cake gently reminds Pinkie that secrets are for the one who originated the secret to tell, and it's not fair to blab somepony else's good news and steal from them the joy of sharing it.

And yeah, as I said, the lesson here: "If someone asks you to keep a secret, especially if it's good news, keep it a secret" does seem aimed at the younger fans - since I was 12 or so, I had no trouble keeping secrets when asked. (Though these days, it's not as often I hear "good" secrets that would make me wish I could reveal them to others. Sadly, more often, the things I hear are:

a. bad medical stuff someone is going through, but that they'd rather keep mum, because they don't want the Pity Brigade descending upon them. And I understand that: were I diagnosed with certain things I wouldn't want a lot of people to know, because the visits and concerned phone calls would remind me too much that I was unwell.

b. Gossip stuff that may or may not be true but that negatively changes how I feel about the person it is about -- you know, the "I think X is having an affair" type of thing. I don't like gossip and I don't like hearing it because, as I said, I prefer the fiction that people are better than they actually are. And really, if it's not true, kind, or helpful (or all three), there's no point in sharing it.)

And actually, at one point, the Cutie Mark Guidance Counselors Crusaders stop Pinkie and ask her for some "gossip" - because they are "bored." Really, girls? You just got the thing you have been longing for for five years (of human time, at least) and you are now bored? Then again: teenagerhood in a nutshell, right there.

And the big joke of the episode is that Pinkie is trying really, really hard to avoid meeting up with anypony she might want to spill the secret to, but of course the Fates or the Universe (or whatever power is behind it in Equestria) conspires to bring her in contact with a BUNCH of ponies, all of whom make offhand comments about babies, or royalty, or secrets, or gossip.

(Heh. I just realized that, in a way, this is the "Monster at the End of This Book" plot, just slightly modified: main character does NOT want something to happen, but because s/he is the Universe's patsy for the day, that very thing seems like the most inevitable of inevitable things)

Anyway: then Shining Armor and Cadence are delayed. Oh noes! Pinkie has to hold it in for a few more hours!

Except they aren't, they arrive, and before Shining gets to geek out over how Twi has decorated the guest room in Shining's Childhood Favorites, he thanks Pinkie for keeping the secret.

(Shining Armor is totally like my brother in some ways: a grown married man, in my brother's case with a kid already, and yet he still loves the stuff he loved as a kid. Only with my brother it's not trains and comic books, it's LEGO.)

And then the big reveal. And this is Pinkie's reaction to no longer having to hold the secret in:

Heh. I remarked on Twitter that "Oh, Pinkie Pie finished her doctoral dissertation" because that pretty much sums up how I felt on the day when my advisor FINALLY said, "You're done revising, it's time to find a defense date."

(And yeah. Pinkie Pie in Graduate School could make a funny fanfic*. She has already proven herself able to deal with the sheer, soul-crushing boredom of waiting for analyses to run, when she proved herself able to watch paint dry. And her ability to acquire a one-pony-band's worth of instruments out of seemingly thin air fits the "tracking down that article you NEED to reference but which no library in this hemisphere seems to have)

(*Probably already been done)

Actually, it's a funny image and I think it fits so many things so well.

But yeah. Lots of changes this season, more than any other except for Twilight being alicornised back at the end of Season 3. Though then again: we don't see Shining Armor and Cadence all that often, so I'm not sure how huge a change this will be. (We also didn't see the creepy Cake Babies again much until this episode. And yeah, the baby pony design is kind of creepy to me - they have doll's eyes.)

I'm wondering if this is going to be the origin story of the mysterious "Princess Skyla" baby pony toy that's been advertised, or if they're going to go somewhere else with the foal? I admit, I'd like for it to be a colt, just in keeping with the whole "mimic of the Royal Family of Britain" bit - the wedding was essentially a response to the Wills-and-Kate mania. And for it to have a better name than "Skyla," which seems more like what Treehugger would name HER kid.

Also, I wonder how much the mechanics of reproduction are going to be ignored....are we going to see Cadence with a "baby bump"? Or is it all going to happen behind some magic curtain of obscurity, and one day they show up with a foal? (No hint was made at a Cake pregnancy, we just saw the foals in the nursery at the hospital).

(I will note, it's interesting how fast things changed: in the 1950s, famously, they weren't allowed to say "pregnant" on I Love Lucy, and in the 1960s, they couldn't show Barbara Eden's navel on I Dream of Jeannie, but now, it's kind of "anything goes" on a lot of the sitcoms. And even in cartoons: I remember when flatulence jokes were Not Done, and now they're even found in some shows aimed at fairly small children. Though I guess small children do find flatulence funny. (I was actually more "proper" as a small child than I am as an adult; I preferred the polite fiction that those things didn't happen. And I admit, to a certain extent, I do still prefer that polite fiction as an adult....)

I don't think it was a *terrible* episode (apparently, some of the fans do); I think maybe it leaned a little heavily on the frustrated/freaked out Pinkie trope, and, as I said, I think the lesson was more aimed at the young end of the fanbase. But it moved the storyline along how it had to be moved (I supposed it would be Not Done for there to be a Royal Couple without an heir. Then again - Celestia is single and, as far as we can see, childless. I wonder how succession works in Equestria, or if Celestia and Luna are sufficiently immortal for it not to be an issue? Or could they be grooming Twilight for such a role some day?)

1 comment:

CGHill said...

Well, she's not really a "new" writer; it's just that she's been working on the books, not on the TV series. Given that background, I'm surprised there were as many visual gags as there were.

And I appreciated the fact that Mrs Cake gave the secret away early on: it made me feel a little more of Pinkie's discomfort at not being able to say a word.

I would think that Cadance would have seniority over Twilight, were succession to become an issue, but I've been wrong before.