Title: Mish Mash Melee
Summary: After a magical mishap, Fizzy, Shady, Wind Whistler, and Gusty must live each other’s lives until they can restore the balance of nature.
As I type this, bat is gleefully tweeting about Game of Thrones. I resent her for watching much better TV than me. [bat: I SPENT A HOUR AND A HALF STABBING 778 THUMB TACKS INTO A FOAM EGG! I HAVE A PROPER DRAGON EGG NOW!! And I am still stuck in season 5, this rewatch is taking forever. Don’t worry; I already watched the season 8 premiere. I know what’s a’happenin’ in Westeros.] Raven is playing Grand Theft Auto, and while I’m more of a puckish rogue myself, I resent him for having more fun than me.
I don’t actually know what this episode is about, but they’ve been quite bad recently. On the plus side, it’s short. Yay. [bat: Unfortunately, in the world of recaps “short ≠ good”.]
We open with Fizzy asserting she can’t imagine a more perfect day for polo. [bat: How can Ponies play polo properly if they don’t have riders with giant polo mallets riding them? Have I misunderstood polo for my entire life??] [Dove: I’m pretty sure that MLP has misunderstood the universe since day one.] Aren’t all days perfect in Dream Valley? Y’know, when there’s not an apocalypse? She and Gusty are playing against Shady (who is not good at polo) and Wind Whistler – “Polo is not difficult,” she says robotically. Wind Whistler then uses far too many words, but Gusty helpfully translates to Shady that Wind Whistler means you just have to bob the ball with your nose.
Gusty luzzes the ball over to Shady, who runs away from it, then falls over, and the ball rolls past her. Gusty then approaches, dribbling the ball with her feet. Except yeah, the ball rolled past Shady to the right, and Gusty enters from the left.
Shady moans that she’s just not cut out for this game – Shady is a whiner, she really is – and Gusty tells her to keep her eye on the ball. Fizzy walks up, magics a bubble around the ball, giggles and runs off with it. What are the rules of this game? Anyone but Wind Whistler explain them to me.
Fucking lol. I’m doing a blind recap of this – watching and recapping as I go – and as I hit play after typing the above sentence, it cut to Wind Whistler, who is going to explain the rules. Ok, she’s not, she’s just objecting to Fizzy using magic. Fizzy says she’ll stop using magic as soon as she figures out how. Let me just remind you that bat is going to die on the hill that demands an explanation of magic in this universe. [bat: I AM THE SWORD IN THE DARKNESS… oh wait, wrong show. Still gonna die on a magic hill!]
The ball flies away and Wind Whistler takes to the air to chase it. Fizzy thinks this is funny. Apparently no bubble has ever gotten away from her before. No? How about the one with Molly in it?
They approach a forest, and Wind Whistler goes above, while Fizzy, Gusty and Shady go by land. After about four steps, Fizzy asks “Where are we?” in dazed tones. Literally five steps from where you were playing polo, Fizzy. That’s where you are. Keep up. [bat: 98% of the Ponies seem to have the short term memory slash attention span of a goldfish, which is about 3 seconds. Sigh.]
It abruptly turns foggy and Gusty asks if anyone can see their ball. Why would they be able to see it? It’s flown off into the sky. Why are these ponies so thick? (And I resent having to say that. I love Gusty.)
Fizzy asks where they are (see above, you fucking muppet), and Wind Whistler arrives to say that it’s called the Mestificent Forest (not sure on that spelling, couldn’t find it online) and there might be Dell Dwellers (gnome-like creatures) who live below the ground in the forest. I’m very glad they renamed it Everfree in FiM. Mestificent is a fucking stupid name. I googled it, just in case it meant something… somewhere… to someone. Zero results. Google thinks I mean Maleficent.
[bat: Well, it looks like Latin. I turned it up in some book uploaded to Google – the word matches but there’s no translation/definition. So I broke it down into various Latin parts. BECAUSE I AM A NERD. You’re going to scream, Dove. Basically, when you break it down, it is a SERIOUSLY POOR ATTEMPT at a in-joke. “Mes” came up as “Mash” in the Google translator (Latin to English) and “cient” in an online Latin dictionary can mean “provoke (war)”, which a melee is a fight/battle… so some dumb ass writer basically just gave you the title of the episode “Mish-Mash-Melee” in bad Latin. Now I want to violently stab 800 thumb tacks into something.] [Dove: You have now done more research and given more consideration to this universe than anyone involved in creating it.]
As Wind Whistler speaks, we see the Dell Dwellers at work. Apparently they smooth the edges off rocks so they skip perfectly. They plant the oak trees. And all of this happens by use of a conveyor belt that stretches through the forest. I guess it doesn’t have any water to smooth rocks or a gust of wind to disperse seeds. Wind Whistler says they’re very orderly, and it cuts to a barrel labelled “Balance” in the middle of… a clearing? A cave? *shrugs*
[bat: The fact that the barrel has BALANCE scrawled on it amuses me to no end.]
Fizzy stands on a large rock and asks if they’re dangerous. Yeah, because if someone tells me they do gardening and mineralogy, I immediately think they want to kill me. Shady thinks they should leave, and backs away nervously. She walks backwards into a bit of wood leaning against the rock that Fizzy’s on, and there’s a crash. Then Gusty and Wind Whistler gallop for ages towards them (even though they were maybe four steps away), and when they arrive, Fizzy is gone. *shrugs*
Wind Whistler and Gusty land on top of the rock, and then they fall downwards too. Shady’s response? “Don’t leave me here alone?” Because their falling into a trap is all about you, Shady. She jumps on to the rock too, and gets knocked off… apparently into the ground, because the artists haven’t drawn in anywhere she could fall to.
Despite all logical sense, Shady is now on a Goonies-style slide leading into the earth. [bat: NEVER SAY DIE, SHADY!] All the ponies skid about. Fizzy and Gusty land on shifting platforms on pulleys. Fizzy says this is great fun. Gusty ends up on a conveyor belt where a Dell Dweller is inexplicably hitting acorns with a hammer. When Gusty lands in front of him, he clocks her on the head. Then a pincer style piece of machinery picks her up and carries her to another slide, where Wind Whistler is still sliding. The animators recycle an earlier shot of all four ponies on the slides again.
Despite the fact that Shady very clearly ends up on a conveyor belt and lands in a huge tub of acorns, in the next shot, she’s back on the slide, and all four ponies come flying off the slides at exactly the same time, from four different angles, to perfectly crash into the barrel labelled “Balance”.
That seems like a design flaw to me. I suspect that barrel is important and probably not to be smashed into. Therefore designing slides that are all angled for a perfect x4 collision is a bit of an issue. The Dell Dwellers may be hard workers, but they’re fucking idiots.
The barrel flies into the air, lands upside down, and loads of multi-coloured sperms fly out of it. From the bottom. So there was a hole at the bottom of the barrel?
A Dell Dweller cries, “Run! Hide!” and then promptly does neither. He starts the scene in blue dungarees. They change to yellow. Then a sperm hits him.
All around the cave, the multi-coloured sperms rain down on the Dell Dwellers and ponies. There’s a shot of some of the Dell Dwellers doing something at the conveyor belts, but since I have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing, I don’t know if this is to convey that the sperms are making them wacky, or just to fill time because the animators are drunk.
Wind Whistler lays on her back giggling as the sperms rain down on her. Yeah, I’m not even going to attempt to clean that sentence. Fizzy says they must do something. Wind Whistler continues to giggle as Fizzy rails at her with a surprising lack of contractions or joy in her speech.
Shady walks across a wooden bridge in a dare-devil fashion – yet again, the Dell Dwellers have failed health and safety by not including safety bars or ropes. Fizzy tells her to come down, so Shady leaps off the bridge and swings down on a vine. Fizzy notes how out of character both she and Wind Whistler are. I’m not sure how she can tell. bat and I have been watching this shite for months now, and all we know is: Megan sucks; Whizzer is a tweeker; and Wind Whistler is insufferable. (OK, I suppose the last one is relevant.)
Fizzy says they need to put everyone back to normal, and Shady says fuck that, she’s exploring. Which is exactly what Gusty has said all those times she never did.
See, this is the problem with personality-swap episodes. Everyone involved needs a personality. Failing that, a single personality trait. Gusty’s is that she’s voiced by Bart Simpson (which doesn’t even count, because this show aired first). I suppose if pushed, you could say she’s disagreeable, but Shady’s line didn’t convey that, it was more that she wanted an adventure. Again, that’s not really Gusty’s thing. She’s been involved in adventures, but it’s not like she’s the Famous Five and insists on an adventure every moment she’s free. [bat: Putting aside our bias since she’s our favourite, she is known as “Gusty the Great” in G4, so either someone fudged or it is known (IT IS KNOWN, KHALEESI) that Gusty loved adventuring by future Ponies.] [Dove: I am also delighted by every mention of G1 in G4, but my clearest memory of G1 Gusty is when Megan has just finished warbling that “There’s always another rainbow // round the bend” and Gusty snarking, “More Smooze too.” Although that might just be because I really love anyone who squashes Megan. Either way, adventuring no. Being sassy, yes.] [bat: Really, the G4 people missed an opportunity to denote her as “Gusty the Sass-Mouthed”.]
Fizzy says she must return the Frazzits back to the barrel. How do we know those multi-coloured sperms are called Frazzits? The same way we knew what the Smooze was called. It’s right there in the script, and fuck you for questioning it.
Fizzy makes some magic, which doubles the amount of Frazzits. Then she falls back on an old favourite, she makes bubbles. Fizzy scoops up some Frazzits in her bubbles, then narrates that it will take ages to get them all back in the barrel, and also, where is Gusty?
Gusty pops her head out of a tree stump that she cannot actually have fitted into. Fizzy drops her bubbles and canters over to her. Gusty is hiding. Fizzy tells her she needs her help, and Gusty obligingly follows her. (Wow, that fear must be insurmountable, right Gusty?)
She asks Gusty if she can make a breeze to blow the Frazzits (now back to “these things”) back into the barrel. Was this episode cut together in the wrong order? [bat: I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true, tbh.]
This goes without a hitch. Gusty blasts them, a bit too hard at first, towards the barrel, Fizzy remembers she was doing that bubble thing, and they ask Shady to knock the bubbles into the barrel.
You know what this car wreck of an episode needs right now? A song.
Apparently everyone loves being each other. So… leave. Live with it. No? The plot insists we have to slog through another three minutes? *sigh* Oh, all right.
Fizzy finishes putting all of the Frazzits into the barrel and picks up the lid, clearly marked “THIS SIDE DOWN” and ignores it in favour of moaning that nothing has changed back. Then she notices the writing and turns the barrel up the right way.
We get some shots of the Dell Dwellers doing stuff at the conveyor belt, and – just like last time – I have no idea whether this is an indication that it’s going to take awhile to kick in, or whether this is proof that it worked. Whatever they do, it makes no sense to me.
A Dell Dweller in a top hat thanks them, and Gusty says think nothing of it. Uh, why are they being thanked? They’ve caused havoc – although, as I mentioned earlier, that’s largely down to the Dell Dwellers’ setup which is an accident waiting to happen.
Wind Whistler has returned, and she quickly recaps the episode for us. The episode is 11 minutes long, Wind Whistler. And we were there. But do fill some extra time with your big words.
Wind Whistler finishes by saying that Fizzy fixed everything, and nuzzles her. Fizzy says she has no idea what she did. Wind Whistler smugly says “Back to normal!” and everyone laughs at Fizzy. Happy ending, right!
Grade: C (I’m being generous)
I’m hoping that Generation 5 takes a run at this concept. FiM has done it, but unfortunately it was the finale of season 3, which was massively rushed and crammed into a single episode. It could have been epic, but it was merely good.
This couldn’t have been any better than it was: mediocre. There isn’t enough character development for a personality switch to work. Megan is the person who does everything. Sure, Wind Whistler is irritatingly wordy, but everyone else is really interchangeable. I spent the entire episode thinking that Fizzy was Sweet Stuff. And for context: I rehaired Sweet Stuff today. That’s not a quick task. I love these ponies, and I can’t tell their TV counterparts apart.
I generously gave it a C because I liked the idea. The execution was terrible – not just because of the major issue, but also because the buildup was non-existent. They walk a few meters away from Paradise Estate and instantly wail, “OMG, WHERE ARE WE? THIS IS A BRAND NEW PLACE FULL OF MYSTERIES NOBODY CAN UNDERSTAND!” There is no sense of world in this show. If it’s not Paradise Estate, then it’s Other, but there’s no sense of where all these other places are in relation to each other. Wouldn’t they have to walk through the forest to get to Flutter Valley?
Sort it out, MLP.
[bat: I’m not going to be remotely generous. This was a big fat F in my book. From the pseudo-translated Latin (WHAT FIVE YEAR OLD WOULD GET THAT, EVEN IF IT WAS CLEARLY AN IN-JOKE AMONG THE WRITERS. GUESS WHAT I SOLVED IT 30 SOME YEARS AFTER THE FACT AND IT WASN’T FUNNY, THEN OR NOW) to the terrible production / plot /writing / etc., it’s just fucking awful. You can always tell when the D-team was in charge of the script. 35 episodes in to season 1 and no one can handle writing a single, self-contained episode. It was all about the big 4-part story arc episodes, which had real writers creating them. This back end of season 1 is all awful. From the titles and my memories, it’s true. And Dove is right. The Ponies live in a kingdom FULL of other inhabitants / zones / realms / whatever but there’s no (yet again) show bible that gives the viewers, let alone the writers, anything to go on. They can’t even distinguish if the whole realm is Pony Land or Dream Valley, so it really shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Of all the amazing (and not so great) things that came from G4, at least we got a FULLY FLESHED OUT WORLD that had a goddamn map and acknowledged that hey, Ponies aren’t the only creatures who exist in this world! I’M GOING BACK TO WESTEROS NOW WHERE AT LEAST THEY HAVE RULES ON HOW MAGIC WORKS. AND DRAGONS AREN’T PURPLE AND WHINGING ALL THE TIME.]