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: 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.]
I almost thought for a split second I’d never have to listen to this damn theme song again but that was when I remembered season two.
We open with an establishing shot of Paradise Estate sitting on a plateau (how many different locals has this damn estate sat on over the course of a single season??) and a voice over of Paradise reading a scary story about a little Grundel to Baby Cuddles (?) and Sweet Stuff. Already we can see the disrepair the couch is in and there’s bits of plaster (?) on the floor. More of the ceiling falls when Paradise imitates the giant banging on the ground as he chases after the Grundel. I’ve got questions. How is Paradise banging her hoof that hard to cause the ceiling plaster to break off and fall?
Cherries Jubilee wanders in the room and Paradise greets her. Cherries Jubilee pokes the exposed spring on the couch before physically inserting her face right into Paradise’s and demanding to know why things are being fixed up. Paradise immediately becomes submissive. Hm. This is weird. And awkward.
Cherries Jubilee insists everything needs fixing; Paradise passive aggressively counters, “not everything”, just as a very large part of the ceiling falls and hits her on the head. Sweet Stuff laughs at Paradise’s pain. Great. See, the Ponies are Mean Girls. At least Baby Cuddles shows concern. [Dove: Why are the ponies so bloody toxic? They’re supposed to be the good guys. Did nobody tell the writers this?]
Insisting again that everything be fixed, Cherries Jubilee gets slapped in the face by some of the plaster Paradise shakes from her mane. Sweet Stuff tells Baby Cuddles to run along and take her nap while she and Paradise get to work. Something tells me they both used Baby Cuddles as an excuse to not work, which seems to be a common MO among the Ponies.
We smash cut to Paradise smashing a hammer into the wall by the door, missing the nail. Firstly, Ponies really shouldn’t use hammers. Secondly, the hole creates a running crack that follows along the door frame, popping the rest of the nails free, until the dry wall falls free, leaving the door standing. Um.
The door eventually falls down, Sweet Stuff walking in and standing on it, apologizing to Paradise. (For what??) Paradise drops the hammer, which smashes right through the wooden floor. Um, how is Paradise Estate not condemned right now?? [Dove: Cue Wind Whistler riling up the ponies about the shoddy workmanship done by rabbits and Moochicks, followed by a suggestion to build a wall to separate Dream Valley from the Mushromp.]
Paradise blames Paradise Estate for falling apart, even goes so far to say their tools are a mess. Wow. Just wow. Way to shift blame onto inanimate objects that need care and upkeep.
Sweet Stuff says they promised the other Ponies they would fix the Estate (how? why? with what???) and that if they fail to keep their promise, she will be unable to face them. Paradise ignores her and grabs an oil can with her mouth, flying over to oil a roller shade in a window that I’m not sure existed before it was needed for the segment. When Sweet Stuff goes to help, Paradise drops the can into the shade, which rolls up and squirts oil everywhere. Not remotely plausible. [Dove: Can I be the voice of reason (well, the other one, since bat’s doing her bit) and say: that is the least of your fucking worries, ponies. I watch property programmes non-stop, and here’s the order you do things: structure reinforcement; watertight building (windows and doors); walls, plumbing and electrics; painting; and then the final touches like a fucking blind. Get it together, you tits.]
Smash fading to outside, Paradise is trying to re-tile the roof. Paradise Estate has very distinct roof tiles. Paradise is laying/smoothing out the mortar, all the while complaining that home repair is never like it is in “fairy tales”. OKAY GIANT QUESTION WHAT FAIRY TALES ARE ABOUT HOME IMPROVEMENT REPAIRS BECAUSE I CAN’T THINK OF ANY.
She even goes on to tell the plot of one where a wizard snapped his fingers and cleaned up a whole kingdom. WELL WITH HOW POORLY MAGIC IS GOVERNED IN THIS SERIES, WHY WOULD THAT BE A PROBLEM SUDDENLY??
So anyway, a goddamn Pegasi is spreading mortar and bitching about the situation and then is somehow able to lift the large c-shaped roof tiles into place. Yet, and granted I have never physically re-roofed a building of any sort, but I’m 99% CERTAIN THAT YOU DID THAT ENTIRELY FUCKING WRONG, PARADISE. [Dove: I did mentally circle all the fails in the picture, but I just want to highlight one in particular: the bottom row of the tiles are concave instead of convex. How does that work?]
Because in in the shot following Sweet Stuff whinging about it being just as easy for Ponies as it was for that fictional wizard, we see Paradise standing atop the completed re-roofed section. Sure. Wow, I guess this final episode for me really wants me to go out entirely pissed off at it.
As soon as she stomps a hoof on it, crowing about her prowess at roofing, the tiles fall away and Paradise slides off. At the very last second she seems to remember she can fly, escaping falling into the pile of tiles. Luckily, Sweet Stuff is only scared, not harmed. Paradise announces she’s had enough and yells for Sweet Stuff to go with her, in search of some decent tools.
I’m still wondering why the job of repairing Paradise Estate as a whole was left up to two single Ponies and wasn’t made a project of the collective group. [Dove: Everyone else is forming search parties, because they asked Megan for advice.]
Paradise, who’s given up flying, is galloping along side Sweet Stuff, happy they took a break. “Why can’t life be more like a storybook?” She asks rhetorically. Yeah, okay, Paradise was one of my favorite toys; the fuzzy white So-Soft body may never have stayed “purely white” from play but the Day-glo orange mane and tail were particular favorites. The cartoon version is ruining my fond memories of this particular Pony. [Dove: My copy needs deflocking. She’s halfway done because when I started, my kettle died, and I never went back to the project.]
A flash of light illuminates Paradise’s face. Enter slightly-demonic-looking green-skinned peddler, who’s dragging a wooden cart. He greets the two Ponies, having overheard Paradise’s rhetorical question and announces life won’t be dreary if you have the right equipment!
Pulling the cart to the side, he reveals shelves full of bottles, all strangely illuminated by a special effect that is poorly used. Paradise starts rambling out a list of items they need. The green-skinned stranger is all, I could sell you that shit but all you need is this CAN OF MAGIC PAINT. Um.
Both Ponies are actually skeptical. Wow, a first. The stranger insists that the can of paint will fix everything, even as the size of the can varies greatly, from being larger than the Ponies’ heads to smaller than Sweet Stuff’s face. And that’s when the stranger tells the Ponies they can have the can as a “free” sample!
THERE IS NOTHING IN ANY WORLD THAT IS “FREE”.
Why the fuck did Paradise just sniff the can?? What?? Of course she announces they will take said magic can of paint, like a fucking idiot. Sweet Stuff attempts to register her concern but Paradise snaps, “Haven’t you ever heard the one ‘never look a gift Pony in the mouth’??” She continues her probably fatal mistake by thanking the stranger. If this stranger is Fae, you’re totally screwed, Paradise. After the Ponies walk away, said stranger begins to laugh in an evil manner.
Yeah, not suspicious, what-so-ever. Like the artists should have just drawn a sign around his neck saying, “I WANT TO RULE DREAM VALLEY AT ALL COST!”
Back at Paradise Estate, Paradise has presented her pot of magic paint to three other Ponies. Cupcake is down right pissed. Seriously, Cupcake berates the ever living fuck out of Paradise over this paint. I can see this now, clearly, that the writers were like, “hey, remember Jack going to town to sell his cow but trades it for magic beans? LET’S DO THAT, BUT A PONY GETS A FREE CAN OF MAGIC PAINT!”
Posey and Cherries Jubilee are angry but don’t say anything while Cupcake reads Paradise the riot act. Instead of cowering or apologizing, Paradise dips a funny looking paint brush into the can, flies over, and paints over a large crack in the stucco. Sure. And double sure that the paint just happens to match the color.
Sweet Stuff, bless her, says it looks a little better. Every Pony gasps as the paint magically repairs the crack. Well, more like the crack fucking disappears. I don’t think there’s exactly “repair” involved. Although Paradise didn’t paint the shutters, they pull themselves back into place. Uh huh.
WELL THAT’S IT! THE PONIES ARE FUCKING SOLD ON THIS MAGIC PAINT!
Just a reminder: the Ponies cannot make proper decisions of their own accord as well as allow a teenage blonde girl from another world to boss them around. These are core elements to this series.
Every Pony grabs a brush and starts to slap paint around on the walls and IT’S TIME FOR A FUCKING SONG, so helpfully titled “A FRESH COAT OF PAINT”.
Y’know, I would highly recommend not painting the furniture with fucking house paint. I realize this is a cartoon but it is so poorly animated the act of painting looks sloppy and weird. And it’s even worse when the furniture magically grows eyeballs. Yes, you read that right.
And right after that, the couch grows hands. Only three fingers and a thumb on each hand, but still. Oh, and a mouth. Because… sigh.
In addition to the couch, the ceiling lamp fixture, the grandfather clock, a door, a table lamp, a floor lamp, a dresser, a gramophone, a rug, and a wooden chair all come “alive”, the last grabbing the paint brush and swiping it into Cherries Jubilee’s face. The furniture all begins to sing this stupid plot-forwarding-device song, as the Ponies faint and freak out at their living furniture.
Why do the Ponies have a television set? And how exactly does it work, let alone what channels does it pull in? I should mention that a lot of the furniture has ANGRY EYEBROWS, which is this weird trope in cartoons that indicates NEFARIOUSNESS.
OH BLESS YOU, SWEET STUFF, YOU ARE SUCH A PURE INNOCENT CINNAMON ROLL. She thinks it’s fucking wonderful that the magic paint brought all the Ponies’ furniture to life. You know and I know that if this was reality, Sweet Stuff would be the first to die in some horrible fashion, because she’s too innocent to survive. [Dove: I really think you and I should work together on a fanfic about this one day.]
The furniture all have old man voices/attitudes i.e. “You damn whipper snappers! Get off my lawn!” I don’t get this or why it was chosen but whatever. I’ve given up on trying to understand any conclusions the writers made with this series. The gramophone demands the Ponies talk. “Um, hi?” ventures Sweet Stuff.
Posey wanders over to the couch and asks if it was the one she was supposed to fix. Yep, although the couch says it’s fixed itself. Um. THEN RANDOM FUCKING SMASH CUT TO THE GARDEN that was so damn weird and there’s Posey with a watering can. A picket in the picket fence begs to help. The picket with the face waves another picket as though it is an arm, demanding Posey not skip the begonias. But she needs more water! And that’s when the watering can grows a face and legs and a campy tone of voice, running over to the water spigot that has eyes and yelling, “Fill ‘er up, buddy!”
Okay, I take it back, the red rubber ball nightmare has NOTHING ON THIS UTTER ABOMINATION.
After leaving Posey and the watering can showering the garden, we smash cut to the Lullabye Nursery, this time with MY LITTLE PONY logo painted onto it. Like, wait? That’s never been there before?? WHY NOW? (BUY OUR MERCH!)
Inside, Baby Cuddles is literally rubbing herself against the baby buggy (or pram, if you will) and loudly announcing how the object is her best friend. This child-like Pony needs some help. That’s when the damn pram announces she always will be Baby Cuddles’ best friend. Um, this is becoming more terrifying than I remember. [Dove: I went to The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.]
The face on the pram is straight out of nightmare-ville, ala Thomas the Tank. Like, I am going to have nightmares. Baby Cuddles screams, “I LOVE YOU!” and immediately jumps up and into the pram, while the damn pram badly “la la las” its way through a lullaby.
Over in the kitchen of Paradise Estate…. WAIT A MINUTE. Did the idiot Ponies use the paint on the Lullabye Nursery?? Did it still need repairs from when Woebegone fucking destroyed it? Am I ever going to get answers to any questions I ever have about this cartoon???
In the kitchen, Cupcake is stirring batter while a boiling pot screams at her to turn down the heat. This is disturbing on so many levels, how many children were traumatized by this episode? The spoon complains about being stuck in the batter. This is just fucking weird.
And oh look, now we’re in the gym (Paradise Estate has a gym????) and Cherries Jubilee is on LEG DAY and the bench press (?) is literally her trainer. I’m going to give kudos for the display of creativity (“How many objects can we make talk?” “Why not everything, Bob!”) from the writers/animators but man, this is next level disturbing now.
Paradise, randomly walking through some room, gets yelled at by a floor board to wipe her feet, he was just polished. Well, it’s becoming more and more clear where this is headed. The feather dusters begin to complain and the (literal) revolt of Paradise Estate has started.
Who knew the feather dusters would be the first to have the last straw with the Ponies.
Sweet Stuff wanders in to complain to Paradise that the “whole place is getting so pushy”, which was the wrong thing to say, because immediately every piece of furniture in the room starts to yell. Posey gets yelled at in her garden by the fencing as well as the watering can. That’s when the fencing cries, “Let’s get rid of her!” The garden tool shed opens itself (that’s… a disturbing sentence to write) and all the sharp tools that can do bodily harm hop out. Posey flees and is promptly locked out of the garden.
Cupcake, in the kitchen, is being screamed at by the cabinets, the crockery, and the flooring. “I’m going to have a nervous breakdown!” she cries before attempting to flee, but the door yells at her and demands she returns back to work. Apparently she does suffer some kind of breakdown because her mane turns bubblegum pink for a hot second, before a voice screams her name. It’s Paradise. She’s been physically crammed into the dumbwaiter. (Which, hello, is fucking odd, since there’s no second story on Paradise Estate. [Dove: *blinks*])
Oh, my bad, apparently it’s being used as an escape hatch. Cupcake, whose mane is back to its turquoise color, runs over and hops into the tiny dumbwaiter (physically impossible) and follows Paradise in an attempt to flee. Meanwhile, other Ponies have been forced into moping / sweeping /dusting /cleaning while the furniture screams at them.
We even have a brief cut of Cherries Jubilee still trapped on the leg machine. Eventually she starts to scream, jumping off the machine, and galloping away. Which seems odd, since shouldn’t her legs be like Jello at this point? Three weight bars… that’s basically what they are, right? They block the door and sneer at Cherries Jubilee in New Yorker accents. That’s when Paradise pushes open a window (a window that is placed between rooms? WHAT KIND OF WHACK ASSED DESIGNER DESIGNED THIS ESTATE? [Dove: The Moochick. A creature who is surrounded by mushrooms. I think that explains everything.]) and yells for Cherries Jubilee to run for it!
The other group of Ponies is fairing poorly, as the furniture begins to run them down, the Ponies screaming their Pony heads off. The feather duster rubs itself in Sweet Stuff’s face, causing her to have a sneezing fit. Shady and Posey jump through open windows, but Sweet Stuff crashes through a closed on, shattering the glass. There must be blood everywhere!
The other ponies jump through windows, while Gingerbread is thrown through one, smacked by a cushy recliner. You know, this is pretty violent. I’m kind of shocked.
Over in Lullabye Nursery, Baby Cuddles is still napping away in her pram, which is still fucking singing. A creaking noise (?) awakens the Baby Pony (that was the worst sound effect ever, wtf) when the door opens. Paradise! She tells Baby Cuddles they have to leave. Hop flying over, she picks up the Baby Pony in her mouth and flys away. OKAY WHEN THE FUCK DID THE PONIES BECOME CATS? HAVE THEY EVER DONE THIS BEFORE? THIS IS PHYSICALLY FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE.
Baby Cuddles totally protests leaving and that’s when, for no reason at all, we see Paradise fly her out of a room of Paradise Estate.
OKAY I HAVE HAD IT. WHY HAVE AN ESTABLISHING SHOT OF LULLABYE NURSERY ONLY TO TOTALLY FUCK THAT AND HAVE IT BE A ROOM IN PARADISE ESTATE, THEREBY COMPLETELY FUCKING UP YOUR OWN PLOT AND HAPHAZARDLY FIXING IT WITH MORE BULLSHIT. I know I’ve called EGREGIOUS FUCK UP on shit before in this cartoon but this is THE UTMOST WORST EXAMPLE.
Dumping Baby Cuddles next to a group of Ponies (yet there isn’t a single other Baby Pony and I know for a fact there are FAR MORE PONIES IN EXISTENCE THAN WHAT IS SHOWN IN THE SHOT) we are treated to Ribbon and Lickety-Split being tortured by a throw rug before being thrown out of the gates.
Sweet Stuff, bawling her eyes out, whines that Paradise Estate is their home. Cherries Jubilee tells her, “not anymore” before she, too begins to bawl. And with that, the image fades on the sobbing Ponies and I can’t remember off hand another episode that ended with TO BE CONTINUED…
Not that it matters, since I have all the episodes on hand and don’t have to wait 24 hours for the next piece to air.
Five seconds ago, Sweet Stuff was sobbing her eyes out. Now, she’s screaming about going back inside Paradise Estate and showing the furniture who’s boss. Again, this is where a show bible would have been handy. All the Ponies seem to switch personality traits on a whim even though at some point they’ve been established to act/feel otherwise. Sigh.
The Ponies… well, okay, Cherries Jubilee decides they have to find the mysterious stranger aka THE PEDDLER who gave Paradise and Sweet Stuff the magic can of paint and hope he can fix shit. The other Ponies begin to walk away from Paradise Estate, all sad and shit.
Baby Cuddles, still being carried like some monstrous oversized kitten by Paradise, is flailing and wailing about not leaving her pram behind. Paradise puts her down and demands the Baby Pony stay with the adults, as returning is too dangerous. Paradise then promptly gallops off to catch up with the group.
So, of course, Baby Cuddles returns to the Estate.
BUT, YET AGAIN, THE WRITERS COMPLETELY FUCK EVERYTHING AND SHOW BABY CUDDLES GALLOPING PAST PARADISE ESTATE, OVER A GODDAMN BRIDGE, AND INTO LULLABYE NURSERY TO FIND HER PRAM.
Dove. I am seriously developing an ulcer from this episode. [Dove: Was this episode the cause of one of your migraines this month? Just think, this season is done for you once you’ve finished this recap.]
Also: apparently the art director “forgot” to actually look at the goddamn playset. Points for getting the door right, but since it’s normally SHAPED LIKE A BOTTLE, leaving off the rubber nipple top part takes back those points. I swear. WHAT IS CONSISTENCY.
Said door screeches at Baby Cuddles, telling her to stay out and away. Baby Cuddles does her best Shaggy and Scooby-Doo impression and skedaddles in a puff of dirt. But it doesn’t deter her, as she apparently knows about a vent around the back of the Lullabye Nursery that leads to a basement. YET AGAIN INVENTING A ROOM THAT SHOULD NOT REMOTELY EXIST FOR STORY LINE PURPOSES. Somehow she squeezes herself through the vent, even though the adult Ponies just totally squeezed into that improbably sized dumbwaiter without issue.
CONSISTENCY IS DEAD.
Just in case small children watching this would forget, we get a random ass insert of the adult Ponies having gone back to the scene of the crimethe scene of Paradise’s folly where Paradise and Sweet Stuff ran into the stranger. He’s not there, of course, even though the Ponies literally point out the fact that no one is there, as if viewers are totally blind. Sigh.
Baby Cuddles is now in a corridor that belongs in Paradise fucking Estate, not the goddamn Lullabye Nursery. I’m like goddamn pissed off at this bullshit involving buildings. I cannot even. Baby Cuddles calls out for her stupid pram, who answers back in an elderly lady voice before rolling down the hallway to hug Baby Cuddles with the handle as if its a pair of arms.
AND THAT’S WHEN THE ARMY OF ROCKING CHAIRS APPEARS IN THE HALL, READY TO BREAK UP THE REUNION. (Firstly: the Baby Pony figures came with flat rockers to stand on, not chairs. Secondly: THERE AREN’T THAT MANY FUCKING ROCKING CHAIRS IN EITHER BUILDING.)
Baby Cuddles and the pram RUN AWAY, being chased by the rocking chairs, which have functional hands for some reason. And this is when YET AGAIN WE’VE SHIFTED TO PARADISE ESTATE AND SCREW THE FACT THAT WE KNOW BABY CUDDLES WENT IN LULLABYE NURSERY. I literally hate this fucking cartoon right now.
The rocking chairs herd Baby Cuddles and the pram into a room with a brick fireplace (????) and the other pieces of furniture surround them, trapping them. At this point? Burn the fucking Pony and the pram alive, I’m done. But, because PLOT SAYS SO, Baby Cuddles and the pram MAGICALLY (or not, who fucking cares) JUMP INTO THE AIR AND SOME HOW ENTIRELY CLEAR THE VERY LARGE AND TALL FURNITURE CLOSED IN ON THEM AND RUN OUT OF THE ROOM.
Dove. Dove, I’m gonna… I’ve lost it. After all this nonsense, this is going to be the episode that breaks me.
Baby Cuddles runs through a door, into a room that has a shoddy wooden staircase to a lower floor. YET AGAIN MAKING NO SENSE AND IS TOTALLY BECAUSE PLOT SAYS SO. As she races downstairs, the pram stops and shuts the door. Uh huh. We never see the pram roll down the stairs, it just ends up there. In a basement that never fucking existed until this episode. And that’s when Baby Cuddles and the pram see mysterious stranger arrive. Through a tiny window. Right. Sure.
You know what, I’m gonna call this dude green-skinned Lucius, because his arrogant ass and silver hair remind me of Lucius Malfoy. (It’s totally not because I’ve been rewatching the HarryPotter films while totally complaining about how wretched they really are, fight me.) Technically I suppose this dude should be Voldemort but he has hair and an actual nose, so, Lucius it is.
Green Lucius demands to be let inside Paradise Estate. The gate screeches, literally, GO AWAY. Like, ow, my ears. It’s like Gate from The AddamsFamily, but not as funny or cool and far more like Gate’s screechy cousin that can actually say words and not just sounds.
Hi. There may now be alcohol involved, so I’m probably going ramble on about random shit (bat’s recaps! now with MORE rambles!™)
Green Lucius doesn’t get mad; he just pulls out a fucking fake magic wand (they’re the black ones with the white tips, everyone has seen one of those at some point) and holds it up at the gate. Like, it’s not even menacing. It’s not anything. It’s when he waves and points it at the gate, blasting it with hot pink magic (???!) and yells LET ME IN that anything happens.
I have a lot of questions about green Lucius but also the alcohol makes me not want to ask them or care. I have found the key to getting through this episode: NOT CARING BECAUSE I’M TIPSY.
Now that the gate has been blasted open, green Lucius strides in. Okay now I’m going to ask questions. I feel YET AGAIN no one in the art department fucking bothered or took the time to look at the actual playsets and you know, make notes about how they look. Because I know for a fucking fact that the real world Paradise Estate playset came with a boatload of pieces. I know because while I got the major pieces — the four “rooms” and the pool — I also got a mishmash of random bits that didn’t always jump up and say “hey, I go here!” Like I had the gates and the walls (?) they attached to but I was never sure they attached to the actual buildings.
And right here in the cartoon they are attached to the buildings but I don’t remember them being there in other episodes. Or hell, I don’t remember them being in the previous fucking episode, either. SO GOOD JOB, ART DEPARTMENT!
Oh and Baby Cuddles is stuck in that tiny window, staring at green Lucius, the damn pram watching him, too. Like. I can’t.
BACK TO THE ADULT PONIES. “We’re looking for a piece of hay in a needle stack!” I’m not sure who said that; Paradise, I’m guessing. But what the actual fuck. Oh shit. OH SHIT NO. NO NO NO NO NO…
….wait, Cherries Jubilee didn’t say Megan. She said THE MOOCHICK.
Oh god why did it… I mean… there are no pros to it being Megan or the Moochick. Just cons. Always cons. Forever cons.
So the adult Ponies have quit prancing about in the woods and are headed to the Mushromp. Yay.
I’m tired of these fractional updates. Stick with a damn scene, you idiots. But no, we’re back at Paradise Estate and green Lucius has been surrounded by the furniture in that room with the fireplace. It seems that the room size has enlarged disproportionately to show shadows on the walls. WHAT DOES SIZE AND SCALE MATTER! The furniture is trying to menace green Lucius, so he zaps an end table that sasses him. Then screams that maybe now they’re understanding that Paradise Estate belongs to him.
No. No I don’t think they’re getting the message.
Oh shit, yet another blip back to the other half of the story! No wonder my generation has zero attention span, we never got to focus long enough on a story! The Ponies have found the Moochick and instead of some weird and bullshit interlude, they’re all lying on the floor of his house while the Moochick rambles about magic paint. He’s never heard of it. Surprise, surprise.
“I’m going to have to see the situation for myself,” the Moochick announces and for half a heartbeat I honestly thought he was going to physically go with the Ponies back to Paradise Estate. Nope. He squeezes the end of his walking stick (wand? Shillelagh??) and a bunch of pink… clouds spew out the tip (this is so wrong) and suddenly every Pony can see inside Paradise Estate.
Where the furniture is cleaning the floor and each other. “Why do they look so scared?” Well, that’s when green Lucius pops into frame to zap them with his magic store wand and basically explain the fucking plot again and now the Ponies know his magic is responsible for the contents of their home coming to life and trying to murder them.
AND NO PONY HAS FUCKING NOTICED THAT BABY CUDDLES IS NOT WITH THE GROUP. THESE PONIES ARE THE WORST PARENTS EVER. [Dove: Basically, the average child watcher should think, “It’s ok if my mum doesn’t ever pay any attention to me. I’ve seen it in MLP. I guess that’s normal.”]
Okay. Why would you want to be “master of Paradise Estate”? Why not Dream Valley? Why not Pony Land? I mean, has green Lucius seen all the other villains fail and set the bar low, so low that he just wants to rule over a stupid estate? This seems odd to me.
Ah, Paradise and Sweet Stuff recognize green Lucius. The Moochick explains the dude is known as Bezan and his magic is contained in the cheap ass wand. Yeah, I wouldn’t point at that weird stick that just totally got redrawn super weirdly, Moochick. The Moochick goes on to say that Bezan must have known the Ponies needed paint and TOTALLY THOUGHT UP A SUPER ELABORATE PLOT TO STEAL PARADISE ESTATE BY GIVING PONIES PAINT.
Worst. Plot. Ever.
Instead of forming a logical plan to defeat Bezan and regain their property, the Ponies rush out of the Moochick’s house super emotional and angry, determined to take Paradise Estate back. (Sounds like some familiar teen vampires, if you ask me.) (Don’t ever get me started on that tangent.) We don’t even see the Moochick say goodbye; it’s just SMASH CUT back to watching the feather dusters swirl around on a poorly drawn coffee table.
Apparently Bezan is an asshole and all the… well, you can’t call a mop furniture. All the cleaning implements (yes, that works) are bitching about having to constantly clean and how they miss the Ponies. AND SOMEHOW NOT ONLY IS IT TIME FOR A FUCKING SONG IT’S ALSO TIME TO GO BACK TO THE PAST. LIKE HOW. AND WHY. WHY DOES THE FURNITURE HAVE FACES IF THEY DIDN’T IN THE TIME THEY ARE SINGING ABOUT, WHEN THE PONIES WERE SO GOOD AND KIND AND TIDY???? [Dove: When were the ponies good and kind and tidy?]
This is just fucking painful.
So, the damn furniture wails and weeps about how they miss the Ponies and yadda yadda yadda, “the old days”, I’m so emotionally and mentally checked out, I do not care.
Also, this is twice now that Gusty has showed up yet she does not have a speaking role in either episode. Why bother?? AND YET HER GHOST JUST FORMED A HAND THAT WAS HOLDING A FEATHER DUSTER, WHO THOUGHT THAT MADE SENSE??
The furniture is now crying and I’m half regretting the alcohol (partly because I need my meds and they don’t mix well with alcohol. DAMN IT.)
Bezan zaps the feather dusters for stopping, but who cares, because on that horizon is a stampede of Ponies. No one bothered to draw in details; just vague Pony-shaped/coloured blobs that are surrounded by flying dirt to indicate that the Ponies are running at break-neck speeds to save their real estate. For all it matters, the blobs could be Sasswoolies. God I wish it were Sasswoolies.
The furniture is literally crying out for the Ponies to help it. Like, you tried to intimidate, terrorize, and possibly murder the Ponies. Now you want their help? WHAT KIND OF FUCKING MESSAGE IS THIS EPISODE TRYING TO SEND??
Bezan wanders over to the gate, turns around, and roars at the furnishings to keep the Ponies out. We get a shot of furniture having grown stick legs, marching to do Bezan’s bidding. This episode has lost the plot and probably jumped fourteen dozen sharks at this point.
Even Paradise Estate gets another locale change. It’s on some weird grassy plateau now. I’ve honestly given up trying to understand how it keeps moving.
The Ponies come galloping over a PLOT SAYS SO SO THERE’S NOW A HILL, when Paradise pulls up short and warns the others that Bezan probably has “every scrap of furniture” in the Estate ready to block them. Yeah, sure, good guess, Paradise. This whole nightmare is your fault.
So the Ponies yell, “Charge!” and take off. [Dove: Excellent plan, Leroy Jenkins.] Meanwhile, Bezan is berating the furniture and demanding they keep the Ponies out, when Baby Cuddles’ psycho pram comes zooming in (complete with sound effect) and whams into Bezan from behind. He’s knocked into the air to do several somersaults, conveniently giving the pram enough time to turn around and get under him, so Bezan falls into it. Sure. PLOT SAYS SO.
With Bezan out of the picture, Baby Cuddles marches in and yells at the furniture: which did they like better, now or before? Ponies or Bezan? Do I even have to tell you what they answer?
The Ponies are galloping, still. Baby Cuddles has apparently rallied the furniture back to #TeamPonies, because every piece parts, letting the Ponies literally slide into the courtyard. Of course, where the fuck the pool went, I don’t know. The Ponies crash into a huge pile against the wall.
Meanwhile, the pram has sped down some sort of hallway, smashes into a door, and drives down the stairs to that basement where Baby Cuddles and the pram were hiding(?), with Bezan in said pram. That was a shockingly poor bit of animation from an episode where there is a hell of a lot of poor animation happening.
Cherries Jubilee yells for everyone to get Bezan, the furniture running after the Ponies. Does it even matter? Somehow Bezan has gotten out of the pram and is now threatening it. The pram speeds back up the stairs, the sound effects totally an actual car speeding away (wtaf) but somehow Bezan got ahead of the pram and is now standing in the doorway (having completely skipped the staircase) and is screaming upon seeing the Ponies barrelling down the hallway at him.
I SO FUCKING HATE THIS EPISODE WHAT THE ACTUAL HONEST FUCK IS GOING ON HERE THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EPIC FAILURES OF THIS SERIES THEY ARE LITERALLY SLAMMING THIS STORY TO ITS CONCLUSION BY MAKING NO SENSE
Bezan zaps the furniture with his wand, rendering it useless furniture. Yet, somehow, even though the Ponies were hit with the same magic, nothing happens to them. (I want to scream.) The Ponies attempt to bum rush Bezan, who “escapes” (ie runs away) and zaps whatever is in his way, turning it “normal” in order to make sure his escape isn’t impeded by pesky anthropomorphic furniture and fixtures.
WHY DOES THIS EPISODE STILL HAVE OVER THREE MINUTES LEFT IN RUN TIME [Dove: Sometimes it’s just really long credits. *crosses fingers*]
Bezan gets hindered by a bunch of furniture but just a zap of his wand and it’s all rendered useless. Yet he turns around and runs the other way? And why do we need four thousand shots of the camera zooming in on Paradise’s face until she’s nearly cross-eyed? Finally, one of the magic zaps knocks Paradise and Sweet Stuff into a room. Paradise announces she has a plan.
DO I EVEN CARE AT THIS POINT
Several Ponies watch Bezan zap more furniture “back to normal” (??? what even is??) before they wander in and observe said “normal” refrigerator. Huh? “There’s nothing to protect you now!” Bezan crows at the Ponies. Like, you wasted fucking magic paint on these dumb ass horses and were forced to undo all your magic, Bezan. WHAT KIND OF SHITTY FUCKING PLAN IS THIS.
Oh. That’s when Bezan says with a flick of his magic wand he can snuff the Ponies out of existence.
You know what.
WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU DO THAT IN THE FIRST GODDAMN PLACE, BEZAN, WHY THE FUCKING RUSE WITH THE FUCKING PAINT WHO WROTE THIS BULLSHIT THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST AND AN UTTER WASTE OF TIME
I am so done. [Dove: Wow. Just wow. Why wouldn’t you do that rather than this silly paint/furniture bullshit?]
Just as Bezan is about to zap the Ponies into oblivion, Paradise somehow flies over his head (with the height of the ceilings, impossible) and dumps the can of magic paint right onto his wand. Which immediately makes said magic wand sentient. It cackles and starts to screech at Bezan in a high-pitched voice, yelling something about being enslaved for so many centuries. But that’s over and now Bezan will be the wand’s slave.
The wand begins to zap at Bezan, who goes running out of Paradise Estate, the sentient wand chasing after him. And now there’s a convenient forest background painting for Bezan to disappear into. Because plot says so.
The Ponies stand in the doorway (gateway?) and laugh. Just seconds ago they were threatened with death but HA HA HA FUCKING HA HA WE SURE SHOWED BEZAN.
And that’s it. We get a weird fade transition and Paradise is sitting in a doorway, hammering a nail, the hammer in her mouth. Sure. Sweet Stuff and Cherries Jubilee show up, Cherries Jubilee bitching that Paradise Estate is now in worse shape. Paradise wanders by and says: “Fine with me! There’s nothing better then a sense of accomplishment to make you feel all good inside.”
MY EXPRESSION IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS CHERRIES JUBILEE’S. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. SOMEONE FUCKING CLOBBER PARADISE WITH THAT HAMMER AND BURY THE REMAINS IN THE BACKGROUND PAINTING.
Sweet Stuff pronounces everything is back to normal. Baby Cuddles wanders by, whines, then we somehow jump over to an upstairs window (HOW. PARADISE ESTATE IS A SINGLE LEVEL BUILDING.) and Baby Cuddles wanders over to her pram. My god, make this end already. Climbing into it, Baby Cuddles bitches she misses “baby buggy” and the damn thing starts to glow, rock back and forth, and sing that stupid lullaby.
THE FUCKING END.
Do I have to? This was honestly one of the worst episodes of the entire season. Yet again, a concept that could be marginally awesome was ruined by shit animation, no sense of continuity or reason, and a rushed together ending that undid any message or moral lesson. Like, why even bother? We can tell these episodes were thrown together because filler was needed to cover that 50 episode order. Can’t really call it a cash grab but it’s certainly similar.
I believe I feel more disappointment than anger. Which, honestly, is a worse emotion to deal with than anger. I’m disappointed that 30 some years later I’m watching these and realizing how fucking god awful they really are. Which, giving perspective, means my imagination was 1000x better than anything I saw on in this cartoon. So yay for my creative mind?
Still. After this (and the final episodes that Dove will be recapping, which will mark the end of season one) how the hell did this cartoon get a renewal? Yes, there were only 13 episodes ordered for season two, which is a drastic cut, but clearly someone was unhappy with the creative direction and began to question shit. I know it does not get better. What little I remember of season two gives me zero hope.
On that note, I bid you adieu until season two.
[Dove: I didn’t take this episode as personally as bat, but it is a lot more personal when you spend several hours watching something scene by scene and recapping it. This episode gets an F grade from me because it pissed off my friend, and not in a comedy way. I was actually really looking forward to this episode. I remembered that Baby Cuddles was almost frighteningly obsessed with her buggy, but I figured that with a “house comes to life” story, especially at the end of the season, a bit of last-minute thought might have gone into it. Sadly not. This is just irritating drek, and having the bad guy capable of killing them all and deciding to go along with this daft plan instead is just further fuel to us ripping our hair out. Bad form, MLP. Bad form.]
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.]
Title: My Little Pony: Escape from Midnight Castle aka Escape from Nightmare Castle aka Firefly’s Adventure aka Rescue at Midnight Castle aka Rescue at Nightmare Castle
Yes, I’m pretty sure this episode was named by a group of drunks. [bat: It was also known as “My Little Pony Special”. Because it was the first.]
Summary: Tirek captures some of the little ponies to use as demons to pull his Chariot of Darkness at midnight. The rest of the ponies panic, fearing that they will be next. Firefly goes off for help and finds Megan, a girl who lives at a stable at the other end of the rainbow. Megan agrees to go to Pony Land with Firefly, but will they be able to rescue the little ponies in time?
Grade: A+ mostly because, having seen the movie, I know it’s going downhill from here, and I really enjoyed bits of this, so I want to give it a strong grade so I’ll remember that I loved it.
Just so we’re clear, I haven’t watched this yet. I’ve watched the movie many times and a chunk of the first season of MLP, but this is the first episode, which means it is last in the season on the DVD. I think these guys went on to sort out the scheduling of Firefly on Fox. Now there’s a recent joke that will resonate.
Also, I’m not being lazy by not giving bat a capital b, that’s how she spells it. [bat: It’s true.]
I’ve known bat for almost as long as I’ve known Wing. [bat: we’re old!] We were all in fandom together, but when I arrived, bat was taking a time out – she came back a month or so later. This would be circa September 2001. We have never worked together, so I’m very excited to share this project with her.
[bat: Funny how we’ve gone from vampires to ponies yet never really worked together one-on-one on anything. I’m super stoked to work with Dove on all things My Little Pony!]
[Dove: Also, I forgot to mention, bat introduced me to Raven, who I’ve been with/married to for fourteen years. Most of the time I’m grateful about this.]
I will refer to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as FiM, to save typing it all the time.