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.
Summary: Capture the magic and escape to Dream Valley to join all your favourite Little Ponies! Take a magical journey to Ponyland just as the Little Ponies’ annual Spring Festival is about to begin. While the ponies enjoy their festive spring party, the evil witch Hydia is up in her gloomy home, the Volcano of Gloom, plotting to turn Ponyland into a wasteland. When her first attempt fails, she decides to cutterover Ponyland with a purple ooze called the “Smooze”. It looks like the end of Ponyland, unless all the magical creatures of Dream Valley answer the Ponies’ call for help!
Grade: C (it would be an F, but that Smooze song is sooooo damned catchy.)
Notes: You could do a drinking game with this movie. Every time there is merchandise to be bought (aside from the ponies themselves), take a shot. But you’ll die. Like really die. Instead, have a carrot stick. Or something. I don’t know. I’m not good at health and safety warnings.
Second Note: Several times I refer to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. To avoid having to write out this title over and over, I’ve abbreviated to FiM.
Timeline: I never really understood the order of this series, because the first episode of season 1 has everyone meeting the Flutter Ponies, who they didn’t meet until the movie, but the movie references things – without explaining them, ffs – which feels like it should be in the TV show. I’m really hoping bat will help me out on this, because she’s seen the whole show multiple times.
[bat: Basically with My Little Pony the toys came first, which were then shilled in two cartoon television specials: My Little Pony (aka “Rescue/Escape From Midnight Castle” or “My Little Pony in Dreamland” if you were in the UK) and Escape from Catrina (or Katrina, people seem to argue about this) before this feature length film was released in 1986. Subsequently, the G1 cartoon series followed. The television specials were chopped into pieces and added to the cartoon series, at the end of both seasons, respectively.]
Edit: For reference, I recapped this first, and then bat emailed me and said did I want a tag team partner for MLP, and if so, would I consider doing things in the right order? (*grin*) Thankfully, bat knows which order the episodes go in, so I did this recap, then watched Nightmare/Midnight Castle then Catrina/Katrina. But I stand by my questions. This is a stand-alone piece of media, there shouldn’t be so many unanswered questions.
I think my thoughts about this (and, by extension, the Smooze episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) are the very definition of “what could have been” at TV Tropes.
Let’s look at this objectively. A bunch of fundamentally nice characters are having a perfectly nice time when a tsunami of purple ooze crashes over their home, obliterating everything in its path, and hardening to a solid shell when it is finished, forcing the survivors to go on a quest to find a way of de-smoozing their home and friends. When the Smooze hits a living creature, that creature becomes grumpy and disagreeable. If the Smooze has hardened, there is a good chance that when they de-Smooze, they will find the corpses of their suffocated friends.
That, my friends, is horrific.
[bat: But it was the 1980s and all us kids watched Artax drown in the Swamps of Sadness in The Neverending Story yet he was resurrected without a scratch at the end of the film, which was released two years prior to this Smooze-fest… Okay, 1980s “children’s” movies messed up the lot of us.]
Yes, there’s confusion if the villain’s name is spelled with a ‘C’ or a ‘K’, but based on officially released packaging as well as the fact she’s a damn cat-person, we’re sticking with ‘Catrina’.
This television special was released on March, 23rd, 1985. I would have been three years old. Thirty-four years have passed. Ouch.
Also, this is the box art I remember from childhood. It has ZERO to do with the actual events, and shows Danny(?) riding(?!) Spike, who’s much bigger then normal, and the Moochick is there(??) and the only hint of the actual villain was a photo on the back cover. Someone dropped the ball BIG TIME on this.
Summary: The Ponies are planning a ‘Welcome Back’ party for Megan, but things go awry when villainous Catrina and her reptilian henchman, Rep, steal the baby Ponies as well as the Rainbow of Light. A rescue ensues and new allies are discovered in the form of the Bushwoolies.
Grade: A solid B+. Catrina isn’t as scary as Tirek, though yet again the writers came up with a story involving mass enslavement, kidnapping, several near-fatal incidents, stranger danger, and drug addiction. The animation was about on par with the first special. Three original songs in one 30 minute special is also pretty impressive, even if they’re not great.
Hi all, it’s bat and I’m a long time MLP fan. No, really, the MLP toys coincided with the beginning of my existence on this planet and they were the one toy I was truly obsessed with. Screw Barbie, give me ALL THE PONIES!
I watched MLP from the very beginning, though time has faded some of my memories of the cartoon episodes. That said, “Escape From Catrina” was my favorite of the two initial specials and I watched it way too many times.
The MLP specials were known for pulling “big” actors and actresses to do voice work. This particular special features the enchanting Tammy Grimes as Catrina (she voiced Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn) and Paul Williams as Rep (he wrote “Rainbow Connection” aka that song made famous by The Muppets).
Catrina’s use of the witchweed potion caused some trouble down the road in later years, because the USA was big into the “War On Drugs” during the 1980s. “The Good Old Days” song was excised when this special was cut down to two parts for the syndicated cartoon series; I’ll get into more detail about that in the recap.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be shortened to FiM, because that is a long time title to type out.
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.