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.
I 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.]
We open with three pegusus ponies flying through a rocky valley. The ponies are North Star, Paradise and Lofty, who, as far as I know, don’t have any character features at all. (Whizzer and Wind Whistler are the only ones who do. Whizzer is fast and talks like she’s on speed; Wind Whistler is snobby and sounds as if a bot subjected to hours of if… else statements and given a thesaurus is controlling her tongue.) [bat: North Star was kind of a Wind Whistler clone, if I remember correctly.]
Lofty is complaining that all they can see is rock, but North Star says nobody has ever been here before, so it’s exciting. Really? There are unexplored places within a morning’s flight from Paradise Estate? How has nobody explored so far? It’s not like the ponies just arrived at Paradise Estate from a different world in episode 1 and have since been getting used to the new world. They were born (created?) here. You’d think a few would have the vibe of Daring Do, don a worn but dashing hat, and explore the world. Or perhaps a generation or two before might have done so?
But no, apparently, these three are the only ponies in the history of ponydom who have ventured here. And there’s no indication they’ve been travelling for hours, so I can only assume the valley they’re in is quite local to Dream Valley. [bat: These are the same stupid Ponies who apparently know “legends” that happened 500 years prior to the series but can’t remember fucking details. So colour me not remotely shocked.]
Still in the same breath as deeming this exploration “exciting”, North Star gestures vaguely in a direction. “Like that,” she says, pointing at an ornate gate set into a cliff face. The ponies fly down to the gate and Paradise points out there is a “KEEP OUT” sign. North Star says, “They couldn’t mean us!” [bat: TRESPASSING BE DAMNED!]
Paradise and Lofty say that she should be cautious. North Star agrees. She flies into the air for all of half a second before doubling back and telling them she’s going in. Paradise says what if it’s the Golden Door. Apparently a long, long time ago, Ponyland was ravaged by a terrifying (unspecified) creature (maybe it was logic, I’ve never seen logic in Ponyland). [bat: For about five seconds I thought you meant Logic, Dove. That was funnier.] A sorcerer created a door to the Land of Legends and forced the monster in there. The monster, by the way, is your standard green dragon. As long as the door is undisturbed, the monster will stay on his side.
So Paradise tells North Star to chill and leave the door alone, then she flies off. I’m giving three seconds before the muppet opens the door regardless.
North Star, channelling Wind Whistler, uses too many words to say, “Fuck that stupid story.” Lofty cautions her against opening the door, but it’s pointless because North Star says that Paradise didn’t tell her not to open it, she only said “don’t pass through it”, which isn’t true at all. Then, obviously, she opens the door.
There’s nothing but a generic misty background, which rather disappoints North Star, who shuts the door again. She and Lofty fly off, but the door opens again and an arrow is fired at them. Sadly, it hits a tree, not them, but someone with photoshop skills could definitely make this screen cap a happy ending.
A male voice calls “Stand and deliver!” Then out pops what I assume is Robin Hood and his band of (badly drawn and allegedly) merry men. They do not look merry. [bat: But are they wearing tights? Because they’re clearly roaming around the forest looking for fights!] They ask the ponies who is their master, and whether they have any money. Because apparently, Robin Hood, from Nottingham, England, is used to brightly-coloured talking ponies.
When Lofty says they have no money, the “merry” men immediately fall to the floor in a crying, wailing, tantrumy heap. I would say, “how progressive, these men have no shame expressing their feelings”, but they’re acting like toddlers, and I suspect it’s a hysterical play on the fact they’re called “merry men”. Probably both of those words are sarcastic in the writers’ minds. It’s funny! Because they’re men! [bat: They’re men in tiiiiiiights!]
Robin says that his men could do with a holiday, maybe it would cheer them up. He calls for everyone behind the door to come out. Highlights include a prince and princess (not sure which ones) [bat: General Prince and Generic Princess from A Kingdom™], Paul Bunyan, Aladdin, Hercules and… from the sounds of it, Tiamat from Dungeons and Dragons. We don’t get to see the monster, because they shut the door in time.
Can we talk about the door now? Is it working on the honour system? Did the sorcerer banish them behind the door and then not put any kind of lock on it? Because once North Star opened and closed it, Robin Hood and co just opened it with no problem. [bat: HOW DOES MAGIC FUCKING WORK]
Lofty wonders if the monster is the one from the story that Paradise told. North Star agrees they should tell people. The door shakes and rocks fall, but we cut away to Dream Valley, where Paradise is collecting flowers with Heartthrob, who is wearing the Hearts and Candy outfit (BUY OUR MERCH) and howling in despair because it’s such a beautiful bouquet and she wants to give it to her true love, except she doesn’t have one. Paradise tells her not to be discouraged, sooner or later Hasbro will make boy ponies.
You know what this calls for? A fucking dire song, filled with notes that Heartthrob’s voice actress cannot hit no matter how hard she tries. It’s not even high notes, she’s awful.
Inexplicably, Heartthrob dreams of a human man riding a horse. That’s weird, right? Wouldn’t that be like a human romantically dreaming of a cat being carried by a random nondescript human? [bat: I’m not sure Heartthrob is gonna care about Boy Ponies after that…]
“You called?” snaps a male voice, and we cut to a Prince Charming who calls Heartthrob his darling and basically professes his love immediately. For all of half a second before declaring his adoration for (in order): Paradise, himself in a mirror, and Galaxy, who was walking by in the background.
We cut to Paradise Estate (BUY OUR MERCH), where Hercules is cleaning up. When finished, he says, “I just love a tidy place, don’t you?” and Ribbon lies and says yes. No you don’t, you don’t care, otherwise you wouldn’t have let it fall apart in the last episode. Hercules comments that he hasn’t had so much since he cleaned some stables. Then stomps off to find more things to clean. So far, he’s the one I hate the least.
Over in the Baby Bonnet School of Dance (BUY OUR MERCH), one of the characters – I have no idea who she is, but I’m going with Asian (but drawn as white with black hair) [bat: Over here we’d identify her as Middle Eastern, what with the harem pants and veil getup] because of the fact she’s wearing a veil over the bottom half of her face, which compliments the rest of her stripperific outfit (a bathing suit but with see-through Princess Jasmine pants). (Not shaming a woman here, shaming the men who fetishise cultures, and take the “sexy” bits, twist them to be “sexier”, jam it with American strippers, and think they’re being clever. Such as the people who created this character.)
She is literally teaching the baby ponies the Dance of the Seven Veils. I originally wrote this paragraph quite flippantly, pretending it was that dance, but she literally names it. I looked it up on YouTube to double check (just in case I’d overreacted) and yeah, this is not a dance I would teach to a being who was young enough to say things like, “Glory want nap-nap.” [bat: Considering we didn’t have touch tablets to Google shit on in 1986, we were spared knowing the meaning of said dance for quite a while. Ah, the bygone days of innocence when you had to look shit up in reference books at a library.] [Dove: Do you think many parents found their kids playing with dolls wrapped in bits of fabric. “Oh, little Susie, what are you doing?” … “Barbie and the MLPs are putting on the Dance of the Seven Veils, mom.” I really hope some conservative moms had that exchange, and called Hasbro to complain.]
In other news, Baby Cuddles is a Unicorn now. Fuck you continuity, you can go the way of appropriate behaviour.
(Note: I will be slagging off the unnamed character a lot in this. I am not slagging off the original tale or culture she may have come from. I am being angry and hostile to the writers and animators who created this fetishised character and made her behave so… grossly.)
[Note from the future: At the end, I find out who she is, and then I have a lot to say.]
Before we see too much grinding, we cut over to Buttons, Lickety-Split and Wind Whistler having a picnic. Lickety-Split grumbles that it looks like it’s going to rain – Jesus fucking Christ, don’t these ponies ever stop moaning? – and Buttons sets out a golden lamp she traded from Aladdin. No mention of what he got. “Oh, that’s all you have in the world? Oh, see, in our country, it’s a custom to give your host a gift. And we don’t give you anything.”
Buttons uses her tail to clean it – why on earth has she brought a lamp on a picnic? Is she worried it’s going to get dark? [bat: I question if Buttons even knew it was a lamp.] Lickety-Split says Aladdin tricked Buttons, there’s nowhere to put a lightbulb. I want to stab her. Then a genie pops out of the lamp and says he is obliged to grant them three wishes. I hope Wind Whistler logics her way through this.
Lickety-Split wishes the weather was perfect. The genie does exactly what I would do if I was cursed with his awful life: he immediately demands specifics, temperature, humidity, pressure, you name it, he wants numbers. Lickety-Split has no clue, and asks what’s so difficult about “perfect”.
This scene is basically my job. Someone calls me and says they want analysis on something. They never have any kind of information for me. They just expect me to know exactly the setup of their team, how they work, what they do, how many in the team, etc. I’m siding with the Genie here.
We cut to Robin shooting arrows at targets (where did they come from?) and Lofty bitching at North Star, saying she hopes she’s happy, because Dream Valley is full, and these undocumented illegals can just go back where they came from. #MakeDreamValleyGreatAgain
North Star says Lofty is exaggerating, and everything’s fine, they shut the door behind them. There is no monster.
Robin repeats “Monster?” and his idiot flunkies all huddle up in a pool of terror. North Star says there’s nothing to worry about. Lofty asks, then why they all look so scared?
Cut to the gate, which is open now. See above rant about the honour system. Heartthrob flies through it calling, “Darling?” because Heartthrob is a wet rag that will happily put up with a man who falls in love with literally everything he sees. She ends up in a land that is mostly rocky and unpleasant with some candy canes. “How romantic…” she coos inexplicably.
Cut to the door again and the screen shakes, and there’s a growling/howling/Tiamat sound going on. Then the unthreatening green dragon approaches. I hope this is a twist that he’s actually dead cute and running from the scary thing making that sound, and everyone assumes he’s the scary thing, and not to judge a book by its cover. Except it won’t be. The moral of this story will be: “don’t trust the animators to be able to convey anything accurately.”
We open where we left off with the dragon approaching the door. [bat: What is with the curly grey toupee on its head???]
Then we cut to North Star learning to shoot a bow (humans hold the bow, she holds the arrow in her mouth) – when will this ever be practical? North Star comments that she’s not as good as Robin Hood. Of course you’re not, you twit, he’s been doing this for ages and he has opposable thumbs. Robin takes a shot and misses, and immediately cries into his hands because he’s never missed a shot before.
In Paradise Estate, Hercules is done cleaning, and then picks up Paradise Estate to clean under it. He nearly drops it because it’s too heavy and wonders where his strength has gone.
Over with Prince Charming, he also has no qualms about the age of consent, because he’s telling all four baby Sea Ponies that he wants to be with them. So gross. He then starts declaring his love for himself in a mirror… until he sees a wrinkle.
Cut to a clearing where the dancing woman is performing the Dance of the Seven Veils for a bunch of ponies and fairy tale characters, with the baby ponies, only to be interrupted by the crash and growls of the approaching monster.
And the Genie now has an audience of Shady and Posey, as well as the three that were already there, Wind Whistler, Buttons and Lickety-Split. He’s still asking for specifics on “perfect”. Buttons tells her to cheer up. Lickety-Split says the only thing that will cheer her up is a gigantic ice cream sundae. The Genie asks which flavour and Lickety-Split buries her face in her hooves. FFS, your favourite ice cream flavour isn’t as mystifying as all the science required to construct perfect weather. Just choose one and stop being a brat.
Wind Whistler steps forward with some impressively precise requirements for Lickety-Split’s sundae. The genie looks very relieved, and now I want them to become best friends.
The ice cream that arrives is a cone, which starts to topple. Lickety-Split demands he make it go away. They set off running, and just as it’s about to squash them, it vanishes. They ask how the Genie made it vanish (probably the same way he made it appear: magic), and he says he didn’t.
And we have the Discontinuity Award winner for this episode: Heartthrob flies through the open door again, despite the fact she was already through the door and exploring earlier. She looks around and sees that everything is falling apart, and comments that they’ve let it go to ruin. Which is a bit fucking rich from one of the ponies that let Paradise Estate fall apart.
(I’m not saying she couldn’t have gone through the door, back out, then back in again. I’m just saying they didn’t show it, and if she’s looking for her prince, there’s no logical reason she’d go in then out.)
We cut to Megan (FFS!) who is in Paradise Estate, and notices that all the words have vanished from the books. Paradise flies in through the window and tells her about the legends she’s just met.
Wait. So, Megan’s been in Paradise Estate the whole time, and hasn’t looked out of the window once? She didn’t hear a bunch of people talking – or the merry men weeping? – and notice there were new people around the house all fucking day? And it must be all day, because the creepy fetish woman had time to teach baby ponies to strip and put on a strip show for the locals, Robin Hood erected targets and taught ponies to shoot and Prince Charming has proposed to half the sentient beings in Ponyland by now.
Paradise says that the legends left the Land of Legends to come here today.
Oh. Now Megan’s saying “Let’s go to Paradise Estate…” So, where was she? Is she is Lullaby Nursery? If so, hasn’t she noticed there are no baby ponies because they’ve run to the store to buy stripper heels? She could be in Dream Castle, except I’m pretty sure the writers have no idea that exists. It was covered in Smooze, then given to the Grundles in the movie and has never been mentioned again, despite being one of the best playsets they had. Other playsets that exist but are never mentioned include: the Grooming Parlour, the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, the Crimp n’ Curl Salon, the Show Stable, the Perfume Puff Palace or the Waterfall.
[bat: All I can say is Fuck Megan. Useless twat.]
Paradise and Megan head over to Paradise Estate to meet Robin, and Megan verifies that he really is Robin Hood because… well, she’s fucking Megan, ok. She just says so.
“Run! Run for your lives!” cries the stripper. And Megan glares in response. She is the only female around here that gets to boss the ponies around.
Nobody runs. In fact, Stripper and Paul Bunyan are the only people running toward Paradise Estate (assume they left all the other critters to get eaten), and they come to a full halt to explain that the monster is coming.
Megan says she doesn’t think the monster looks dangerous. Robin grabs her hand and drags her inside, because it is the 80s, and that is what you do with a female in an action scene.
The dragon says “hey, no fair hiding!” And I was fucking right. He’s completely non-threatening. I’m just pissed off that of course Megan noticed it too. It couldn’t be any of the ponies. It has to be White Saviour Girl.
The baby ponies run up (Cuddles is no longer a Unicorn, and none of them are wearing the veils any more) and one of them tells the monster to stop. However. All of them are animated to speak.
Baby Lickety-Split says he’s a bad monster and he plays too rough. The monster moves his head down to her level and wails.
Out walks Megan to summarise, saying that he can’t help being the monster any more than Prince Charming can stop being charming or Paul Bunyan can stop chopping down trees. Way to fail there, Megan. Paul Bunyan has chopped down absolutely fuck all during these episodes, and Prince Charming has been an insufferable tit the whole time. Megan says they all need to play their roles in the Land of Legends.
Robin objects, then Heartthrob calls, “Yoo-hoo! Prince Charming!” but in another spectacular animation fail, Robin is the one animated to talk. Thus giving us cannon slash in the fandom.
Heartthrob flies down in front of Prince Charming and says, “Princey, my love, I thought I’d never see you again. Unfortunately, you’re not nearly as charming as I remember.” He agrees that he’s losing his looks. Others comment that they’re losing their special abilities. Heartthrob says their home is falling apart, and they… run off.
There’s an awkward pause before Megan says they’re going to help. Of course you are, you busybody Elizabeth Wakefield clone. Well, I suppose chronologically, Elizabeth is a clone of you.
They get to the gate and it’s “falling apart”, which means it is still in pristine condition, but every few seconds, someone half-heatedly animates a rock falling to the side of it. Megan immediately sees the problem, it’s falling apart because they left. (She’s secretly joined Lofty’s #MakeDreamValleyGreatAgain crusade.)
The characters say they’ll go back, but not with the monster, who immediately cries over this. Megan asks if he’s ever actually hurt them, and the answer is no. The monster says he’s only doing what he has to. He scares them and then they win because they’re heroes. He just has to keep losing.
Oh, fuck me. A song.
Megan says, “Why don’t you take him with you?” as if it’s a brand new idea and they haven’t just been discussing it for a few minutes and a song. Everyone looks interested by this very new idea, and they agree. They apologise to the monster, and he weeps joyful tears.
They go through the gate and Megan pulls it shut, and all the fallen rocks repair themselves around it.
Cut to Paradise Estate and North Star and Lofty are putting away the targets and both say they miss Robin Hood. They find Megan’s books on the ground – why are they Megan’s? Weren’t they in the library of whatever building she was in earlier? – and see that the words are back.
North Star spots the tale of Robin Hood and says, “It’s him!” gleefully, despite the fact that the Robin she met had brown hair and this one has blonde, but whateves.
All the ponies come out and start looking at the books. One starts with the line, “Once upon a time there was a princess named Scheherazade…”
[bat: *gets popcorn out and settles in for a Dove rant*]
So that’s who the stripper was? Are you KIDDING me? First of all, she’s not a princess. Second of all, she’s not a stripper. She’s a smart young woman. Basically, the King decides that after having a troubling first wife, he will marry a new virgin every day and kill her the morning after. Scheherazade agrees to marry him, and tells him half a story, but does not finish it, leaving him desperate to hear the end. She keeps this up for 1001 nights, when she finally runs out of tales. By this time, the King is madly in love with her and spares her life. She uses her brain, not her body to win.
And she was reduced to teaching baby ponies the Dance of the Seven Veils? There may be some overlap that I’m not aware of, because I honestly don’t know much about Scheherazade or the dance, but if a light googling doesn’t reveal the link, don’t put it in a kids show. In fact, just don’t put it in a kids show regardless. It’s not a stripper dance or anything like that, but watch it on YouTube and ask yourself if you think it’s appropriate to teach a toddler that dance.
What on earth am I going to grade this? I’m thinking an F. Everything is just so half-arsed about it.
Why did the world start to crumble when the characters left? Weren’t they originally from Ponyland and banished there by a sorcerer? Why didn’t the door lock? Why does everything start with “Don’t do $thing” quickly followed by, “Fuck that, I’m doing $thing!” Why are we supposed to care about this nonsense?
The characters were stupid, see my above rants and questions about Robin Hood and Scheherazade.
I’m just fed up with this stupid season. It started so well with Nightmare/Midnight Castle and the introduction of the Sasswoolies, but it’s been downhill ever since.
On the plus side, bat and I have finished season 1.
[bat: This is a big fat F- for me. Just when you thought the series couldn’t sink any lower, we get handed this bullshit, last “original content” episode for S1. Everyone stopped fucking trying. Except us. We survived, Dove! We made it! I’d say let us never speak of it again but S2 recaps quickly approaching…]