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.
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.
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.
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 andhis Tale of Woe.
So 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 fuckingMimic.
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.
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
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.
This 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.]
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.
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.
I 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.
Title: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (Part 1-2)
Summary: “Look! It’s Malibu Stacey! And she’s wearing a new hat!” When your merch begins to drive your story lines, you have a problem. Speaking of, look! There’s Princess Ponies! And they all wear hats! And each has a Bushwoolie slave servant! I don’t even care what the plot line is at this point. BUY OUR MERCH! [Dove: Literally the best summary of this show I’ve ever seen.]
My break from the land ‘o Ponies wasn’t long enough but what can one do, especially when one is so very much wanting to be free of this series yet there’s still *checks notes* 13 episodes to recap? (Yeah, see there’s technically 15 but Dove and I already recapped Escape From Catrina in the order in which the specials aired, because tacking the specials onto the ends of the seasons was bullshit.)
Yeah. So. 13. Normally that’s my family’s lucky number but this just feels… the opposite.
Let’s see, 13 is a huge drop in episodes, down from the 48 “original content” episodes in that first season. Y’know, that was just a godawful amount of episodes. Dove and I are still traumatized by that 10-part “the movie flopped so here’s an entirely rehashed account of it” Flutter Valley nightmare. There is nothing that epic in season 2. Nope. Mostly two-part episodes. I can’t say any of them are any good; I only remember some of the titles and that doesn’t mean I remember plots.
I can, however, say that I clearly remember when the Princess Ponies were released as toys. Oh my god, that was huge. They had tinsel in their manes and tails, they had resin wands, they had pointy damsel hats that princesses wear, raised metallic cutie marks, and (in the US at least) they came with the first physical incarnation of the Bushwoolies! I specifically remember when my mom and I came across them in Toys-R-Us and she was liked Princess Tiffany the most. Until the Carousel Ponies came along, these were my mom’s favorite release. I also had Princess Serena from the first release, and when the second wave of Princess Ponies was released, I got Princesses Moondust and Pristina. Those little crown/tiara clips were one of my favorite accessories.
TIL that the UK got baby dragons with their Princesses, which explains why Dove never had Bushwoolie figures.
[Dove: We not only got different slaves/companions for the ponies, our ponies had completely different names too. I can’t be bothered to look them all up, but I remember that Princess Tiffany is Princess Pearl over here. I have no idea why. Also, it’s fairly easy to get Bushwoolies in the UK, but people will fight to the death over the dragon pals – I’ve seen them go for over £50 per dragon. (But, to be fair, I’ve seen the same dragon sell for half that in the same week, so part of that is people who can’t walk away from a bidding war.) I don’t actually remember these guys being released over here. Looking at the years, I know I was still young enough to unashamedly stand in the MLP section of a toy shop for hours, thinking about which pony I wanted next. So either: they didn’t get a huge release in the UK; or they did, but a large amount of shops in Kent never bothered to buy them in. Maybe the latter, because I had Strawberry Fair (or Sugarberry, to the US audience), who was released the same year, and she was the most beloved and cherished of all of my ponies ever. Behold my obsession. So yeah, tl;dr: I don’t remember these ponies being around at all.]
Now that I’ve been reminded that the Princess Ponies each had wands, I can foresee a lot of MAGIC: HOW DOES IT WORK ranting in my future. You’ve been warned. Also, wait, if Majesty was a queen… HOW DOES THE ROYALTY SYSTEM WORK IN PONYLAND??? I don’t even know if MLP:FiM ever addressed that. Dove? Did it? [Dove: Not exactly, but the most recent season seems to imply that it’s not a bloodline royalty, but a title bestowed on the most worthy candidate, chosen by the current monarch. Possibly in reaction to Majesty being superbly absent, and the Princess Ponies being incapable of thought?]
Already this shaping up to be a fucking nightmare. What did I expect…
Summary: A door is opened to the world of fairy tales, and the ponies meet legends such as Robin Hood, Aladdin’s genie and Hercules.
I dimly remember watching this. Not as a kid, but when I first got hold of this series. It stuck in my mind, but not in a good or bad way. Just in a weird way. Why on earth does Ponyland have the same fairy tales as us? Perhaps my question will be answered in the episode. But given that bat asks every single week “how does magic work?”, I don’t hold much hope.
[bat: I don’t remember this at all. Which isn’t surprising. Why bother to come up with anything original when you can steal borrow copyright-free characters and shove them into Ponyland at will!]
On the plus side, this is the final episode of season 1. This is a real milestone. bat and I have lasted this far.
[bat: I am proud of us. We may never be the same again but we have survived.]
Summary: The Ponies are terrible slobs and fail to do any upkeep or property improvement on their vast land holdings, so Paradise Estate (and its contents) rise up again their equine oppressors. There’s some kind of magic paint involved and yet another character who wants to steal the Ponies’ home. Wash, rinse, repeat.
OH MY GOD. I DID IT. I SUCCESSFULLY SURVIVED SEASON ONE OF G1 MY LITTLE PONY. HOLY FRICKIN’ COW, I AM FREE. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
[Dove: Really? It feels like the recap equivalent of being at Newark Airport. I know that eventually it will end, but I’ve no illusions it’ll be any time soon. (Dove is very bitter, in the space of two layovers, she spent 30 hours there.)]
Well, okay, as soon as this damn recap is completed, then I am free. Until we start season two. Which, from memory, is awful, possibly worse than season one.
But holy shit I am celebrating now, because this has been a very long slog. How many years ago did we start this, Dove? How much have we aged and how bitter and more jaded have we become, due to this cartoon?
Honestly, it’s been an honour to suffer (alongside Dove) through what seems like hundreds of hours of bad plots, terrible writing, subpar animation, insufferable Ponies, cartoon teen girls with white savior complexes, MAGIC THAT HAS NO EXPLANATION WHAT SO EVER, and then there was that episode with the red ball. God, I’m never going to get over that particular nightmare.
Throw in some heavy handed topics like drug use and predatory grooming, plus all the times the writers botched the moral messages… it’s amazing Dove and I didn’t give up. (Dove still has two episodes to go, appropriately entitled “Through the Door”.)
Okay, focusing in on this final installment, this is one I partially remember, at least in concept. I kind of don’t want to say anything because it is a wild concept — just look at the title — and leave it all for a surprise for those that haven’t seen it. I will, however, leave you with a cartoon from The Far Side (which I read constantly as a child and probably explains some things) which has always reminded me of this particular episode:
[Dove: This is the one episode I actually remember. Well, except for the one where the travelling fair comes to town and… something happens. In my games, a witch stole everyone’s magic and symbols and the ponies were so upset, they couldn’t bear to look at themselves without their beautiful symbols, so they wore robes to hide them (a nice scarf my mum never wore, cut up rather roughly with her best dog trimming scissors). Eventually Strawberry Fair saved the day with super Mary Sue powers. But that never happened in the show.
Anyway, back to this episode. I seem to remember this being a fun idea in concept, but since it’s MLP, it’s bound to be terrible in execution.]
Summary: A vicious dog carved from rock charges through Ponyland, turning everything it encounters to stone. But not, sadly, Megan and/or Danny. Sigh.
I have no recollection of this story at all. My only thought is: WHO THE HELL THINKS 50 EPISODES PER SEASON IS A GOOD IDEA?
At least bat and I only have two more stories to recap (four episodes total) until we get to the end of season 1. That’s exciting. And bat has promised me that Rainbow Brite will be more fun. [bat: At minimum, the Rainbow Brite animation is so much better our eyeballs will no longer bleed.]