Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
23
Oct 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Great Rainbow Caper

Summary: In an almost incomprehensible turn of fate, a pair of monkeys called Gizmonks take Danny and Surprise prisoner until Megan turns over the Rainbow of Light to them.

Grade: C

Initial Thoughts:

I literally have no recollection of this. Let me arrogantly quote myself and bat over chat:

Dove: I’m doing Rainbow Caper now. I have no recollection of this one at all. If we’re looking for a silver lining… I guess that means it wasn’t so awful I was scarred for life, right?

bat: That’s probably true, we were young enough to repress it and move on

However, it’s a one-parter, so I can only assume that the storytelling will get to the point significantly quicker than Flutter Valley or Ghost of Paradise Estate did.

I know, I know. Ass. U. Me.

Got it.

Recap:

We start with the Rainbow of Light being used to bust rainclouds. Two things:

  1. I like the idea that Lauren Faust remembered this as a child and incorporated it into her version of the world – that weather had to be managed and generated, rather than was just a thing that happened.
  2. That’s a magical fucking artefact, Megan. And you’re using it as an alternative to an umbrella.
My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper 03

The Rainbow of Light (TM): Fun! Even when it lacks red.

[bat: I just want to add that for the most part, Lauren Faust was a true champion of the good parts of the MLP canon and was wise to incorporate those pieces into MLP:FiM. Someone was paying attention and did her homework. That’s the stuff I live for in “reboots”; the TMNT cartoon reboot series that ran from 2012-2017 was another fine example of creators/writers who grew up with the original, refreshed everything but put in enough original canon and callbacks to give other fans a warm fuzzy feeling.] [Dove: This. So much this. Tirek was really well done. I know she was gone by then (or around the time that decision was made), but I can’t fault FiM for making the effort to carry over old plot devices when it worked.]

As soon as she’s cleared enough clouds, they’ll be ready to pick cherries for the cherries jubilee. Or for Cherries Jubilee. I don’t know. It wasn’t clear if it was an event or a pony. It’s probably an event hosted by a pony. Imagination is kinda thin on the ground here.

“Ok, Rainbow of Light,” Megan demands prissily. “Back where you belong.” Um. Again. Magical artefact. She’s a bit on the disrespectful side, isn’t she? [bat: She’s also using the ONE WEAPON the Ponies have to do chores with. Yeah. Fail, Megan, you stupid twat.] On that subject, Danny steals the locket and says she needs to cut loose and have fun with the Rainbow.

How exactly do you have fun with a rainbow? (Also, I’m fairly sure a rainbow needs red in there somewhere.) Apparently the Rainbow is capable of creating a rain cloud and making it rain over Megan, Gusty, Fizzy and Surprise. Except I’m pretty sure Whizzer was there on the first shot, not Fizzy. I guess at least they both have double-z in their names. Never mind, they caught the error in the next shot. Oh, maybe it’s not Whizzer. It’s not a Twinkle-Eye at all. I just did a search on my collection database, which has every pony in the G1 release, and couldn’t find any pegasus who was pink with blue hair that would likely be in this episode. bat, do I win a discontinuity award for breaking my own database? [bat: Yes. That’s a first.] [Not to self, extend search function to exclude as well as search, this would have gone quicker if I had excluded babies, Twinkle-Eyes, and anything released more than a year after the show aired.] Also, one day I will make the database public, it’s just not ready yet.

Danny strides off, proud of himself for creating “portable weather”. Molly, Surprise, Gusty and Fizzy – yes, she’s back for this shot – remain in the tiny area that’s raining, because they’re too stupid to realise they can leave. Megan leaves to chase after him until he says he’s sorry and he’ll put it back to how it was. You mean pouring with rain? No, clear skies apparently.

Megan lectures Danny on the Rainbow of Light is the “most powerful magic in the world” (uh, except UTTER FLUTTER, BITCHES. The Rainbow got trounced by the Smooze), and can only be used “once in awhile” and only for “special things”. See my above rant about this very thing, Megan. [bat: Megan = hypocritical pain in the ass.]

Dove's cat adores My Little Pony

Catception. Cat watching a TV show, where someone is watching the characters on TV.

The shot pulls back to show that somecreature is watching this on a TV screen. We don’t see who it is, just that there is a screen, and presumably someone or something is watching. [bat: Oh no, it’s not Jason Voorhees, is it?? Villain POV sucks!]

Um. My cat is watching this episode very closely. I suspect he is not the big bad though.

Then we cut back to Megan and co – OMG, the pony is Whizzer. They just forgot to twinkle her eyes. And for some reason put red in her hair. Her hair should be blue/green/turquoise.

My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper Fail

Whizzer. Whizzer. Fizzy. Whizzer. WHATEVER. Pick a Twinkle-Eyed pony.

My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper

Takes photo face-on. Photo comes out profile.

Danny then continues his asshattery by taking a polaroid of Surprise using the flash. Given that Surprise is an irritating moron at the best of times, let alone when she has no idea what a camera is, or that it will flash light at her, she rockets to the moon and crashes to earth in a pile of broken hips. Also, the polaroid is haunted (is it from Say Cheese and Die?), because Danny took the picture face-on, but the picture comes out as a profile.

Danny suggests that he and Surprise fly off and take “aerial photography of Ponyland”. I’d be up for anything that got those two off my screen. [bat: Imagine in the present, Danny would be like, “I’ll just get out my DRONE, screw flying on a talking Pegasus!”]

“Let’s just go straight,” Surprise says. Then does a loop-the-loop, because even Surprise doesn’t listen to the shit that comes out of her mouth.

We cut to a kind of steampunk-hobbit-hole-above-ground kind of abode, and hear two voices talking. I perk up for half a second, because that’s the Bushwoolies! But sadly, it’s not. It’s two monkey-esque creatures, called the Gizmonks, [bat: The writers just stopped trying to be inventive with names at this point: “They’re um, monkeys, who um, use gizmos. GIZMONKS!”] being voiced by the Bushwoolies, and nobody told them they’d have to do different voices or characters, because they’re awfully agreeable.

My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper

Gluta and Gok. They’re not even trying with these names, are they? They’re just noises.

They’re inventors of some kind. And they have creatures in cages. So they’re assholes. I get the feeling I’m supposed to know that their inventions are stupid, but this whole series is so very odd that you can’t really tell what’s just wacky writer hi-jinks and what you’re supposed to go “Oh, that’s weird!” to. Luckily this is clarified when the female Gizmonk (pink bow, gender stereotypes, the 80s, etc.) says that they’ve invented stuff, some of which they don’t even know what they are yet.

And of course, there’s a song. And of course, it’s not on YouTube, so I have to rip a copy of it. Sigh.

I don’t really know what any of their inventions do, but at least this song shows us they feed the poor creatures they’ve kept caged up. I’ve checked on wiki, much like the Furbobs, the Gizmonks don’t seem to have individual names, so I’m just going to call them FG (Female Gizmonk) and MG (Male Gizmonk). Note from the future: they are later identified as Gok and Gluta. I can’t verify those spellings, so feel free to correct me. I’ll assume Gluta is the female.

Gluta says that soon they’ll have the best gadget of all, the Rainbow of Light. I’m not sure it’s a “gadget”. [bat: CONSIDERING THE RAINBOW OF LIGHT IS A TRUE WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION I AM OFFENDED.] They check the screen and see Surprise and Danny crash into a hedge and realise they were with Megan who had the Rainbow of Light. Gluta says to execute Plan A.

You wanna know what Plan A is? Well, the animators have taken a wild leap from their usual course. Plan A is not a net falling from a tree.

It’s a cage falling from the sky.

[bat: *sigh*]

My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper

Hungry Hungry Hippos is also owned by Hasbro. No idea what made me think of that.

Then a big pink Hungry Hungry Hippo arrives and picks up the cage and carries it back.

Despite the fact that if the cage had a bottom, it would have splatted Danny and Surprise like jam (RIP, you won’t be missed), it now has a bottom, so they don’t fall out when they’re being carried off. And if you think that doesn’t piss me and bat off, you clearly weren’t here for the last eleventy-billion times a net fell out of a tree and then was somehow suspended from a branch with everyone closed inside.

Hey bat, let’s make a drinking game. I don’t drink, and I’m pretty sure bat doesn’t either, but we could still make one. [bat: Even if we did a drinking game and only drank water, we’d get water poisoning from all this stupidity.]

Once the cage is installed in Gizmonk HQ, Gok demands Danny hand over his backpack. After finding it doesn’t contain the Rainbow of Light, they summon Drudge, a beaver type creature except for the boobs and the apron. Drudge is to take a message to Dream Valley that Surprise and Danny will be held until she hands over the Rainbow of Light.

If I was Megan, I’m pretty sure my reaction would be, “Oh, well. We did our best. Danny and Surprise would want us to carry on as normal.” Even if she does want him back, I’d say the best way to get Danny set free is to be around him for more than 10 minutes. The boy is an asshole. And Surprise is so irritating (which is annoying, because I think her toy is gorgeous). [bat: I hated Surprise too much to own her. But I think I have/had Baby Surprise? Can’t remember.] [Dove: Well, there’s always Honeycomb, a white pegasus with an identical colour scheme with three glittery bumble bees on her flank. Basically the same pony without the annoying connection.]

The Gizmonks seal a forcefield around the house, and Surprise wails that they’re trapped. Then Danny does the “I’ve got a plan” thing, followed by leaning close to her ear and making, “psh-wsh-psh” noises.

Given that Danny’s last plan was to stand in plain sight, sneak away, come back, and then yell “Now!” I don’t hold much hope for the coherence of this plan.

My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper

“‘Ere, Dave! I’m having a problem with this scene. Remind me, how big are cherries?”… “Cherries, mate? About the size of a twelve-year-old girl’s foot.”

Megan, Gusty and Posey are harvesting cherries, which are roughly the same size as Megan’s feet. That’s not weird at all. North Star and Wind Whistler arrive from one side, saying there’s someone here to see her, and then Drudge appears from the other side, because… fuck logistics, I guess. [bat: THERE ARE NO STANDARD MEASUREMENTS IN PONYLAND.]

Drudge gives Megan the message, and Megan tells her to go home and she’ll get back to them. Lol. I really hope she is going with my plan of let them annoy the Gizmonks until they surrender.

Sadly, she’s not. She tells Wind Whistler to follow her. Megan tells Molly that as soon as she knows where the Gizmonks live, they’ll make a plan to save Danny and Surprise.

Over in Gizmonk HQ, Danny and Surprise say they really like all the inventions. The Gizmonks are very flattered by this. Danny compliments something, and Surprise mouths the words along too, which still strikes me as a really weird mistake to make. I’ve seen it on bad soaps, with kid actors, but in animation it’s weird.

Drudge returns and passes on Megan’s message. Then Gluta orders Drudge to let Danny and Surprise out.

I think I’m going to have another awkward moment here. I think the Gizmonks are just ignorant of common decency. They don’t seem cruel for cruelty’s sake. They’re flattered by compliments. I think it just never occurred to them that stealing is wrong. Twilight Sparkle would take this moment to make friends with them, and teach them about friendship. [bat: I’m pretty damn certain “friendship” was only ever used in the loosest sense in this series. I learned more about slavery and drug addiction then friendship.]

I’m pretty sure Danny and Surprise are going to take this moment to screw them over – I don’t mean just leave, because that’s fair, they were held against their will. I’ve just noticed when G1 has the opportunity to take the high road, it doesn’t.

Let’s see what happens.

Danny and Surprise immediately start fucking with everything they can. Danny pushes buttons and adjusts levers, what Surprise does is off screen, but it leaves one of their inventions on fire, so… not good. Surprise frees some of the small creatures in cages. Drudge notes that they’re fucking with everything on purpose, and Danny admits he is, and they’re leaving. Drudge says, “Take me with you.”

I’ve seen plenty of true crime shows where someone who is held captive has many opportunities to run, but doesn’t because of fear. But honestly, literally every prisoner on this show has the ability to leave and doesn’t. And this show isn’t smart enough to go into psychology, and isn’t dark enough to go into the level of fear required to make someone so terrified they’re that obedient.

So what I’m trying to say is: Can I ask why nobody left, without victim-blaming? I suspect the answer is no.

Megan, on North Star for once, arrives, with Wind Whistler as well, and they realise they can’t get in, but try to get closer.

Back inside, Danny is making everything spout steam or smoke, while Drudge tries to save lives by opening more cages to set creatures free.

I don’t know where Gok and Gluta were this whole time, but Surprise leads them back into the main room (what?) to show them the damage. What the actual fuck is going on here?

Outside, Megan and co see everycreature running out of the Gizmonks’ home. When the Gizmonks pass Megan they tell her “no Rainbow is worth this”, and she needs to “take them home”.

Yeah, I could’ve told you that Gizmonks.

Out come Danny, Surprise, Drudge and the pink Hungry Hungry Hippo. Drudge says now they’re free, they’re going to make inventions that are actually useful. Wind Whistler says they’ll help any way they can.

My Little Pony - The Great Rainbow Caper

Riding Pegasus ponies may result in your feet spouting out of your knees. Dream Valley is not responsible for any adverse effects from riding Pegasi.

Uh… why would you invent things, Drudge? Weren’t you all prisoners? Actually, why were you all prisoners? What purpose did it serve? Don’t you want to go home? Why do the Gizmonks’ work? Didn’t you have a life before you did their bidding?

bat! I’m tired. And this is silly. And I want chocolate. [bat: You live in the land of real, honest and delicious chocolate. I’m stuck in the land of “milk” chocolate.] [Dove: Good point well made. Let me know what you like and I’ll send you some yummy treats.] [bat: “Mmm, British chocolate.” *Homer drool*]

Megan says they should get home. And she’s suddenly tiny. Not small enough to ride Wind Whistler comfortably, but she’s short enough for her feet to not drag along the ground. Or she’s proper scrunched up, which is more likely, because proportionately, her legs should be longer. There’s something very off about the kids’ legs in this cap. [bat: PROPORTIONS? WHAT ARE THOSE??]

Surprise and Danny take off flying and go head-first into a tree. Everyone laughs. Because that’s nearly as funny as a baby pony falling in a stream.

Final Thoughts:

Well. Um. That was a thing that happened. Where’s that clip I always keep ready for such occasions?

I mean, it’s actually not that true, but it’s contextually true, when you think that bat and I have sat through a 10 and then a 4 parter. Previously, the writers used a lot of space to tell a very small tale. In this case they used a small amount of space to tell a pretty small tale. Still, the lack of detail was a bit confusing. What did the Gizmonks want the Rainbow of Light for? What did all of their inventions do? Why did Grudge want to continue inventing? Where did the captured creatures come from? Were they for ransom too, or just to prove the evulz of the Gizmonks?

If only they could get the balance between storytelling and the amount of space required to tell it right. They definitely had it right on Catrina and Midnight/Nightmare Castle. What went wrong since then? [bat: EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING WENT WRONG.]

Overall, I’ll rate it C, but only because it was short, and that needs to be rewarded. Flutter Valley could’ve been better if they’d have applied the logic, “If you’ve got nothing to stay, shut up.”

[bat: This is a D- for me. Wow, that feels like a running joke at this point, but the sheer stupidity of the writers — misusing the Rainbow of Light™, “villains” who had zero purpose, BRINGING DUMB ASS DANNY BACK — it’s all appalling. The rose-coloured glasses are off, man. Yet another episode where one set of creatures enslaves another (or two, since the Gizmonks also used the Hungry Hungry Hippo) and want to steal shit from the Ponies, even if the Ponies totally deserve it because they are allowing a stupid human to misuse the magical weapon given to them for protection. IT’S NOT MEANT TO DESTROY FUCKING CLOUDS. I don’t think it’s going to get much better from here on out.]

I am Team Geiger (Making Out), Team Nina/Lucas (Making Out), Team Jessica (Sweet Valley) and Team Bad Guy (Point Horror). I was once in a Fairy Liquid advert and am the voice of a claymation cow named Daisy.

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