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: 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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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (S02E01-2)

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

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.]

Grade: D

Initial Thoughts:

I’m back.

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.)

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap Series

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…

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Through the Door (S01E47-48)

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

Title: Through the Door (Parts 1-2)

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.

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesI 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.]

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Revolt of Paradise Estate (S01E45-46)

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

Title: The Revolt of Paradise Estate (Part 1-2)

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.

Grade: F—————————–

Initial Thoughts:

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.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesBut 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:

The Far Side - Gary Larson
This pretty much sums up this episode better than you know.

[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.]

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My Little Pony: The Would Be Dragonslayer (S01E40)

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

Title: The Would Be Dragonslayer

Summary: In what is a rather random rip off of both Sleeping Beauty and The Sword in the Stone, the Ponies befriend a human boy who just wants to become a knight but must “do a good deed” before that will happen. Join the damn Boy Scouts, moron.

Grade: F

Initial Thoughts:

Hi-ho, bat here, ready to sit through another soul-sucking episode of My Little Pony & Friends and complain my way through it. The misadventures of Woebegone was bad but…

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesYet again I get a one-shot filler that’s probably going to have a failed “moral” at its core and just my luck (because it can’t hold out forever) MEGAN AND SPIKE ARE IN THIS ONE. Ugh. My first complaint and I haven’t even started watching the episode!

At least this episode is only ten minutes, which means it won’t take an eternity to recap. Which means I can get back to mourning(?) the loss of Game of Thrones. (Here’s an unpopular opinion: I thought the ending was fine.)

[Dove: I’m actually with you re GoT, but then, I was doing the “partner-watch” thing. I’d been kind of into it to begin with, but had become progressively bored as the seasons went on (the bits with the Ironborn were particularly snoozy – except Reek) and I was only there to keep my husband company, so I was at least glad that things happened. Oh, wait, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re talking about this dire filler episode of MLP. My initial thoughts were correct: 1) it’s a one-shot, so at least it’s short; 2) it’s a one-shot, so it’ll be awful.]

 

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Woe is Me – Parts 1-2 (S01E36-37)

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

Title: Woe is Me [Dove: So. Fucking. True.]

Summary: A hobo with horrible luck takes shelter with the Ponies. Disaster and destruction of various play sets follows. Buy our merch so your little brother can destroy it, says Hasbro.

Grade: D+

Initial Thoughts:

I’m back! I mean, did I ever really leave? No, I just got a break from this utter nonsense. Turned a year older, clearly not all that wiser, since I’ve returned with another recap of a very stupid episode — actually, it’s probably easier to list the decent episode(s?) of MLP instead of the stupid, since the stupid ones are a dime a dozen — and Game of Thrones is on its way out the door into history so I need a distraction from all that.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThis episode is one I have vague memories of, in that I remember the… would you even call it a “guest star”, I mean it’s clearly the “insert character of the week” who shows up so the Ponies have something to do / solve / torture. Just like in the giant random puppy episode, there is no Megan in this installment, so the Ponies have to use their tiny brains and think for themselves how to get out of this mess. No white girl savior tropes this week!

Shall I repeat that? THERE IS NO STUPID MEGAN THIS WEEK WHICH IS A GIFT TO ME!!

Better get into this before I get entirely too happy over that turn of events, because you know nature abhors a vacuum, thus something will fill that vapid hole where Megan is missing…

[Dove: I never thought about it until you mentioned it, but how unimaginative must the writers be if the basic plot of the unverse is: “There are multicoloured ponies living in a magic land, some do magic, some fly, some don’t. Run with it.” And their first act is “Welp. Let’s get a human. And if she’s not around, we’d better write in extra characters, because otherwise, WE HAVE NO PLOT.”]

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My Little Pony: Little Piece of Magic (S01E30)

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

Title: Little Piece of Magic

Summary: Several Baby Ponies, who are only identified as such by their smaller statures and the fact they cannot speak proper grammatical English, spend the afternoon playing imagination games. Or are they really just some metaphorical acid trip?

Grade: F-

Initial Thoughts:

…wasn’t I just here? Didn’t we just take a vacation to that fabulous liminal space that only appears every 500 years, aka Tambelon? Did I wink out improperly?? WHY AM I BACK IN DREAM VALLEY SO SOON???!

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesBecause Dove and I fairly divided up the episodes so we would suffer equally through this project, and it’s my turn to do back-to-back recaps, starting with this utter piece of crap filler episode, that’s why. Which, because the recap gods hate me, has stuck me with an episode that is entirely devoted to the goddamn Baby Ponies. Yes, a whole 25 minutes of cutesy baby talk. WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED SO UNJUSTLY? [Dove: I didn’t know this would happen, but I can’t help be relieved I didn’t get this episode. I’m sure the recap gods will hit me with an equally horrible episode at some point.]

Because I want to know who to hold responsible for this bullshit, I looked up Michael Reaves on the ol’ IMDb. Seems he went on to have quite a career, writing for Batman: The Animated Series (which I love, still, to this day, best Batman ever, FIGHT ME) and the original cartoon series for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (again, FIGHT ME, although I really did love that reboot Nickelodeon did a few years ago) and The Smurfs, as well as The Real Ghostbusters, and there was an episode of Jem, as well. Dude, why you gotta hurt me so? I well realize that he wasn’t the only writer responsible for the travesty that is the majority of these episodes but I’ve seen his name get onscreen credit enough that I’m just gonna pin it on him.

Still reading Dune, FWIW.

Let me just put this poison pill between my back molars… ready. Let’s go.

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