Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Prince and the Ponies (S02E13)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Prince and the Ponies

Summary: The Ponies recieve a mysterious invite to a party at a palace. Without question, they attend. The writers then commence a story about enslavement and product placement, in this series finale.

Grade: A big fat fuckin’ F. Because F is for finale, kids.

Initial Thoughts:

*cues up appropriate song*

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end

Welcome, friends, to the last ever Season 2 and utterly worthless series finale episode of My Little Pony ‘N Friends. Yes, it seems fitting that I be the part of the duo that closes this chapter of our lives. Dove started this whole project with her review of My Little Pony and Friends: The Movie, although it was posted third in the series, after I explained Rescue/Escape From Midnight Castle was *technically* the originator of this Pandora’s box of stupid.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesWe have survived so much stupidity I’m not sure either of us will ever be the same. From white girl savior tropes, cages/nets, baybee twak, crab cops [Dove: The JOHN CENAs of Ponyland.], a whole menagerie of fantasy creatures and talking animals/bees, oodles of poorly written villains/villainesses, buy our merch, SHOO-BEE-DOO, Danny, Spike, super bad animation, continuity errors, plot says so, smash cuts, and everything in between.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I STILL DO NOT KNOW HOW MAGIC WORKS IN PONYLAND.

I feel like I have a lot to say but I also feel like it deserves to be written at the end of the recap, or in a final “very special” post where Dove and I chat about how this series has turned our brains to mush and disillusioned us of the very toys that once (and in some cases, still do) made us happy.

So, let me set the scene. It’s the final episode of the series. Hasbro has already co-opted several episodes in order to shill new toys in a stable-but-starting-to-fade toy line. They had one last shot at shilling two new types of Pony: New Born Twins and First Tooth Baby Ponies.

We’ve already shilled Princess Ponies, Big Brother Ponies, and now New Born Twins with a slight rehash of Baby Pony but NOW WITH A FIRST TOOTH. As for the New Born Twins I remember these, very well, and I’m 99% my first set was Milkweed and Tumbleweed. I think, if they weren’t, then it was Doodles and Noodles. These are all terrible names. [Dove: Especially because either Snuggles or Snookums had already been used as a name, so that’s confusing.] Anyway, I remember my mother loved these because they were a different, smaller mould than the standard Baby Pony mould and they came with different kinds of accessories than the Baby Ponies. We all hated the Baby Pony diapers, though. Those fucking things were nightmares and the stupid Velcro tabs always ripped, just like real diapers.

The First Tooth Baby Ponies? That implies that the Baby Ponies are running around gumming everything or at best have their baby teeth. Either way it is not… a pretty picture. Besides, if the Baby Ponies are magic mirror’d clones of the Adult Ponies, why wouldn’t they have teeth? I HAVE QUESTIONS AND I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED THE DAMN RECAP.

I guess it’s something that Hasbro went with different Baby Ponies, giving us (potential clones of) Tic-Tac-Toe and Quackers and Fifi, oh and I mustn’t forget North Star and Lickety-Split. I know for certain First Tooth Baby Fifi was my first from that series. [Dove: But why is her mum so-soft when Baby Fifi isn’t? EXPLAIN THAT, BAT?!] [bat: MARKETING’S FAULT!] I think I have all of them except Baby Bouncy. I know I wanted Baby Graffiti but I have no idea why. I think it was just the name. I’m not sure I ever got her.

Moving on, there is a titular prince in this episode. Remember how, waaaaaaay back when, during Escape From Midnight Castle, Spike was semi-protected by Scorpan? Who, at the end of the special (sorry, 30+ year old spoiler ahoy) was turned back into a human prince?? He’s literally shown wearing a… tiara? A gold chain of office, and a robe edge in ermine. I mean, hello! What a prime opportunity to bring the show FULL FUCKING CIRCLE, am I right?

It ain’t happening. I’m allowing you to have full disappointment early on.

But, one of the show’s very favorite special topics does come up: enslavement! Because that’s the trope it wants to go out on!

Without further adieu, let us begin the very final episode of My Little Pony ‘N Friends.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Somnambula (S02E11-12)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Somnambula

Summary: BIG BROTHER PONIES ARE BACK, A’RIGHT! For not knowing they existed, the Ponies sure missed them. Oh, but an evil sorceress has other plans for the Ponies. And not a Megan in sight to save everypony. But there’s cages, literal and metaphorical!

Grade: C+ (I know. I’m shocked, too.)

Initial Thoughts:

Ahhhhhh. It’s been a lovely vacation from Ponyland, apart from adding commentary to Dove’s recaps because it wouldn’t be fun to recap if we didn’t have a partner to suffer through this miserable series with. But anyway, I liked my break and now we get to the episode I’ve been excited about (yeah, I know, I’m shocked, too, again): Somnambula!

[Present bat: Oh god, of course I wrote all that before Covid-19 hit and the world immediately went to hell in a hand basket. Believe me, I did enjoy not having to write recaps and just kicking back to write commentary. Otherwise, my “vacation” has not been that enjoyable.]

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesFirstly, I’m going to tear into that title. “Somnambula” is not an actual word. Just like 99% of this cartoon is entirely implausible, even the non-magical stuff like Megan riding the Ponies, it’s not a legit word. I have researched words before that have come out of the MLP universe so why would this be a different case? After Google was no help, I turned to the dictionary, which suggested “somnambulate” as “somnambula” (as it is spelled) is a made up nonsense word.

Or is it?

Let’s go with… someone on the writers team deciding that no 5 year old will understand there’s titles of these episodes, let alone that the titles mean anything. I honestly, for many many years, did not know episodic television had episode titles. I just referred to them as “that one with Gusty” or “the time Bart went to a Shelbyville because of a lemon tree”. It wasn’t until I started collecting DVDs of television shows that, oh my god, there’s actual titles for these episodes?!

It’s weird because the episode titles are clearly shown on My Little Pony ‘n Friends but I’ll be damned if I remember anything clearly beyond “Escape from Catrina”.

I digress. So, let’s investigate “somnambulate”. By definition it is a verb that means “to walk during sleep; sleepwalk.” Somn(us) is Latin for sleep and ambulate means walking, so I’m right there with you, dictionary. But what the hell does this have to do with this episode? Did the writers actually come up with a storyline that will dazzle me and make up up for the other failures? Will they yet again botch their own concept and misuse a word they’ve also mangled into a fake word that won’t remotely convey their goal? Let’s find out!

Oh, and this episode features the Big Brother Ponies. Never mentioned before and, seemingly, never mentioned nor seen again. I’ve always been partial to draft horses – Clydesdales particularly (I got to sit on the wagon at a county faire when the Budweiser Clydesdales were on hand when I was ~4 or so, freaked my mom out because I was so high up, there’s a photo somewhere) – and I grew up around open farmland where just down the road were a couple of pairs of (generic) draft horses that spent their days in open fields looking quite majestic. So anyway, I was super excited when Hasbro threw the Big Brothers toy line into the mix.

FWIW, Salty is my A-#1 favorite Big Brother, followed by Barnacle and Wigwam in the second spot, and Tex at #3. I think it’s because they had hats? I dunno. I’ve always been more partial to hats then hair ribbons. OH AND THE BANDANAS OH MY GOD YESSSSSS. I never had any of the UK Mountain Boy (…I never understood that name, Dove, explain?) Ponies, though I’ve always wanted an Ice Crystal. A woman can dream, though. [Dove: Tex was the first Big Brother I bought – I love yellow ponies, and I like to believe he’s related to Floater, and possibly distantly related to G4’s Applejack. I do have Ice Crystal, he was my first purchase that announced I had moved from “I have a few ponies” to “I am a Collector with a capital C”. One day I’ll see him for a good price again and bat will have her dream.] [bat: Some day the secondary market on Ponies will bottom out and I can foresee Dove swooping in all “THAT’S FOR BAT HANDS OFF!” And I will treasure it forever.]

[Dove: As for actual initial thoughts, this is the only episode I definitely remember seeing as a child. I watched the hell out of the movie but the TV show didn’t really air over here (or if it did, it was on sky, not regular TV), and despite the overwhelming popularity of the toy line, it wasn’t a video you saw often. TV shows on VHS weren’t very popular because all the mums agreed (I remember hearing this conversation over and over) that it was a rip-off to rent or buy a tape with only one or two episodes on. But I did rent the show at least once and it was this episode. This episode inspired a lot of my storylines when I played, and because Strawberry Fair (Sugarberry outside the UK) was my favourite, she got to be the lead role. This led me to thinking she was in this episode. The disappointment is crushing. Even now. Also, who doesn’t love a theme park episode?]

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Ice Cream Wars (S02E10)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Ice Cream Wars

Summary: The First Tooth Baby Ponies are put in charge of the Newborn Twins: Sniffles & Snookums and Milkweed & Tumbleweed. The unruly twins are temporarily subdued with the promise of ice cream, but first the First Tooth Baby Ponies must reunite the feuding ice cream makers Rocky Ripple and Fudgy McSwain, who have cut off Ponyland’s ice cream supply.

Initial Thoughts:

I remember nothing of this. I can’t believe the newborn twins are in this, but no sign of Twice as Fancy. strangebat pretends that she rates the TaF ponies as highly as I do, and supports me when I rage that they’re not on the show. I love her for that.

Also, isn’t Baby Lickety-Split a first tooth pony? After the events of the movie, I wouldn’t trust her with a cardboard box, much less other babies. (more…)

Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Flight to Cloud Castle (S02E08-09)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Flight to Cloud Castle

Summary: Heartthrob, Locket, and Twilight help a young elf (gnome, actually) called Garf (said Garth, just to be confusing) rescue his true love Ariel from an enchanted castle, while facing many dangers on the way.

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThe only initial thoughts I have is: wow. It’s been a long time.

For some reason, I fell behind on this recap. I can’t explain why, because it even pre-dates lockdown, and sure, I did have major anxiety about that, but this should have been done in January and published in February. And then my anxiety should have kicked in in March. [bat: Well, we’re still in March, Dove. It’s just been 30 weeks long this year.]

All I can assume is that I feel behind for some reason, and then lockdown happened, and I’ve been putting this off because I assumed we had billions of episodes left. We don’t. We have six, three each, including the double-episode you’re reading right now.

Yeah.

[bat: Maybe you were accounting for all the future cartoon episodes to recap from the other generations of MLP incarnations, Dove? I dunno. I can say that for a time the opposite happened here and I became ridiculously productive with recaps. That’s kind of ended now, but only because I am facing surgery and counting the days until it finally happens.]

In other news, bat is now called strangebat, due to me mis-reading someone saying, “Doctor Strange, bat” to her and my adopting that as her full name. Though I’ve dropped the Doctor part to make it fit the Batman theme better. (Admit it, you’re humming it.) [bat: Actually, this is now stuck in my head.]

Ok, enough dawdling. Let’s get this done.

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Posted in Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (s01e02)

Baby-Sitters Club 2020 tv show title image

Summary: The spooky spirit of Halloween sweeps through Stoneybrook. Meanwhile, Claudia explores budding romance and struggles to connect with her parents.

This is one of my favourite books in the series, they’re so silly and sweet and spooky all at the same time, and I’m thrilled to see it in this adorable show. Fingers crossed that I love it as much as I do the book. 

Also: Claudia narration? CLAUDIA NARRATION!

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Posted in Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Kristy’s Great Idea (s01e01)

Baby-Sitters Club 2020 tv show title image

Say hello to your friends!

But this is not that show, as cheesy and wonderful as it was, so let’s get started with the actual show.

Summary: A creative concept comes to life as Kristy starts a club with her best friends — and a new classmate. But is she ready to be a team leader?

Uh, that summary sounds terribly boring. I know they tend to be short, but good lord, that is dry as fuck.

While we recap the books (the first 9 have been done so far) and we will recap the older tv show and the movie, I will not be recapping this tv show, mostly because it seems like the plots align pretty closely to the books. HOWEVER, I have looked forward to this show so damn much, and since this is where I bring my BSC nostalgia, I am going to share my thoughts. Written in real-time, edited only for spelling, adding information like actor names, and formatting for the site.

I AM SO DAMN EXCITED, Y’ALL! IT’S FINALLY HERE! I CANNOT WAIT TO BEGIN.

No more waiting. Let’s do this.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes (S02E06-07)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Golden Horseshoes

Summary: Mimic comes down with a MYSTERY DISEASE so Megan & the Ponies lie, cheat, and steal their way to collecting 4 MAJIKAL GOLDEN HORSE SHOES that will “save” Mimic. The usual nonsense happens. Stop expecting amazing shit to happen. Set your bar right on the ground because that’s where it belongs.

Grade: It’s complicated. See “Final Thoughts” for reasoning.

Initial Thoughts:

Back to back recaps are killers, you know. Yes, welcome, again, to another one of my miserable attempts to recap My Little Pony ‘n Friends, because either you’re a sadist or a masochist. I’m probably a little bit both, tbh. Dove escapes yet again with just commentary. Lucky, lucky Dove.

No, I mustn’t lie; I asked to recap The Golden Horseshoes because it was one I (seemingly) remember watching when it initially aired. What have I learned on this journey? That my memory is shitty when it comes to this cartoon. Honestly, the only thing I remembered for certain was the hot take on child abuse/endangerment in the entertainment industry, aka Night Shade and his Tale of Woe.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesSo whatever really happens in this episode, I specifically asked to watch it and suffer through it, all based on this particular memory: the deification of Mimic.

Back in the Stone Age of G1 Pony toys, for those too young to remember buying them brand new in Toys’R’Us or KayBee Toys in a mall, Mimic’s toy was released in Y5 as one of the Twinkle-Eyed Ponies, second wave. There were six Ponies in that wave and I can tell you right now, six year old me was not having it with the colours the designers picked. I think I was still very much in my “I wish I was girly but I’m too much of a fucking tomboy” phase and I have always been a very visceral person (part of that is having an artsy brain, part of that is being a Taurus) so the only one of the six I wanted was Locket. Granted, down the line I would come to own Tic-Tac-Toe (I think through a garage sale or something) but I don’t remember ever gaining the others from that set for my collection.

Then this episode of the cartoon happened and I wanted a fucking Mimic.

At that point, finding her was hard. I don’t think, based on the colours, these were very popular with girls. I don’t think they were produced in near the same numbers as the original TE Ponies. Face it, initially, you’re going to see a pea green Pony with a red Macaw as her cutie mark and think “wtf was the designer smoking?” Plus they chose a mold with a pose that was notoriously difficult to make stand on its own. Great going, Hasbro!

Anyway, fast forward some 15 years or so and eBay exists now and someone figures out there’s a ton of collectors who still want a Mimic. So they charge outrageous up-marked prices for theirs, in whatever shape they may be in, and they manage to sell them, because MIMIC. Honestly, I can’t go that far back in my emails (or can I?) (actually, no, I can’t, boo) but it seems I came into possession of a “slightly trimmed mane and tail” Mimic toy somewhere in 20??, uh, early 2000-something. I think I thought paying $25 (or was it $50?) for Mimic was outrageous but 2000-whatever me had not yet met 2010 me, who paid $600 for a piece of nice paper with artwork screen-printed on it, even if it was only 1 of 10 ever made. Whatever, we do what we do to get the things we collect. (I happen to truly love that goddamn expensive piece of paper, where as I’m not sure where Mimic has ended up. I think I last saw her in my garage. My, how fickle I am about Mimic now.)

[Dove: When I first began collecting, my innocent little brain decided that Mimic was the pinnacle of a collection. She was the one that signified that you were one of the powerhouses in the collection community. She proved you would lay down seriously money to collect. And when I got her, I thought I had arrived. And then I realised all I’d done was leave the “vague hobbyist” arena and step on to the entry level tier for collectors. It was quite humbling to step into the bidding war with a brand new credit card attempting to buy an Argentina Sugarberry, only to find the starting bid was above my credit limit. I don’t know how Raven found such a beautiful version of her, but she really is perfect. Her hair is soooo soft. I also have a “Dark Mimic” which I bought at PonyCon 2018. I would love to credit the creator, but unfortunately I didn’t keep a record – if you made her, please leave a comment.]

[bat: Ooo, that Dark Mimic is pretty. Nice find!]

And none of that has anything to do with the recap except to give you context about why I remember this 2-part episode. I mean, I could totally be watching the last three episodes of The Witcher instead but nope, here I am, trying to remember why I liked this episode, beyond MIMIC.

Without further adieu, and more rambling, let’s get to the recap.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Spike’s Search (S02E05)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Spike’s Search

Summary: Spike suffers from an inferiority complex when his “flame” is “too small”. Megan makes things worse by telling Spike, it’s not the size of the flame, it’s how you use it. Spike runs off to find more dragons with Danny for accompaniment. WAIT, WHY IS DANNY BACK??

Grade: (a big fat) F

Initial Thoughts:

Welcome back to yet another recap in which Dove and I chronicle our descent into the 17th circle of hell that is known as My Little Pony and Friends. [Dove: Actually, it’s ‘n Friends. The apostrophe makes it cool.] At this point, can you even find differences in our recaps? Excluding the title changes, they’re practically the same.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThis show sucks but we’re not quitters. We fight the good fight and continue to sit through this dreck, slowly losing our minds. We will be different people by the end of this nightmare, but stronger and more wary of taking on complicated recap projects, perhaps. (I say this as I’ve already committed myself to at least two other cartoon recap series that are non-MLP related. I’m stupid, what can I say.)

If I didn’t hate Spike already, I get the “very special Spike-centric” episode to recap. Didn’t I already do one? You know, I shouldn’t have felt sorry for that plastic toy Spike that got thrown away by my babysitter, seriously, I manage one act of (strange) kindness (compassion? empathy??) and I’m cursed by a fucking little purple dragon for the rest of my life.

Oh well. I’m already nauseated by the fact I am stuffed to the gills with antibiotics, why not make myself feel even worse by tacking this recap?! [Dove: I’m coming at this after a two-day buying binge at PonyCon, followed by watching the final episode of FiM. I’m utterly broken. I suspect I’m going to be very bitter throughout this recap. (If you didn’t well up during the final few episodes of season 9, you’re probably made of stone.)] [bat: I am 9 episodes behind AND they have not aired the final three episodes in the States yet. So I am clueless as to what happens.] [Dove: Note from the future, the above was true for half the recap, but life intervened and we both were away from this recap (which can only be a good thing) for a few weeks. So if anything seems to not match the PonyCon/season finale timeline, that’s why. Also, bat has now watched the finale. She has a heart of stone. I ugly cried. All three times I watched it.] [bat: I CRIED AT THE FLUTTERSHY PART! My heart is only 2/3rds stone.]

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Posted in TV

Jude’s Guide to Christmas Episode Identification

Best Christmas Specials
Best Christmas Specials

OH IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AND IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AND IT’S CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMASTIIIIIIIIIME!!!!

It’s my favorite time of year again and for Nostalgic Bookshelf I’ve started this article that turned into something a bit different from what I originally planned.

The Christmas episode, that one special episode a franchise usually creates in time for the holiday season. Sometimes they may be twice as long as a usual episode which means they don’t normally air in regular syndication, but if they’re normal length the stations won’t care enough to pull them from rotation.

You also have commonly retold Christmas stories such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “The Nutcracker” whose plots are so specific they tend to simply be re-adapted as their own tales instead of being used as the basis for an episode.

Sitcoms and cartoons have plenty of stock plots for easy episodes, “Two Dates At The Same Time,” “Miscommunication = Cheating Partner,” “Character Gets Drunk With Power,” “New Job Causes New Problems,” but none are as predictable as Christmas episodes. It can take a lot of effort to breathe new life into these ideas, and sometimes you have to either be really, REALLY funny or willing to make things really, REALLY bleak to stand out from the crowd.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (S02E03-4)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (Parts 3-4)

Summary: A bunch of mean girl Princess Ponies can’t figure out who should be their queen, and the villain of the week steals their magic. You know, I’d call that problem solved, but the writers don’t agree, so behold the next thrilling instalment and two completely off-key songs.

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesI only remember the end of this, not what went on before, and that’s not really a good thing.

My most important thought is: NINE EPISODES TO GO! [bat: Amen.]

I’ve really loved the experience of having shared pain with bat. I feel like our friendship is now utterly fireproof. This is a trauma we have endured together. I’ve also really liked the feeling of having recapped the MLP episodes, because nobody else has.

I’m also well aware of why that is. They suck. I genuinely believed that the series would be fairly mediocre, with a few highlights. And I suppose I was right. I just didn’t realise the song “Nothing Can Stop the Smooze” was one of three highlights (the other two were the specials, Catrina and Nightmare/Midnight Castle) and “fairly mediocre” is a bar that is way out of the writers’ reach.

Basically, I am fed up with this stupid show, and I can’t wait to reach the end.

On the other hand, the princess ponies are so cute. And I do love the Bushwoolies.

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