Title: And the Winner is…
Summary: Clover wins two tickets to a concert, and goes through lengthy angst about which friend to take. You may remember that FiM did this plot in Season 1. So, imagine that, with worse animation, a terrible song, and all the joy sucked out of it.
As you can tell, bat and I are not having fun with this. I think we’d have more fun if we recognised the ponies. [bat: Or, you know, THERE WAS ACTUAL MAGIC.] But you never know, there might be really good stories on the horizon.
Just probably not right this second.
We open with Pony Downtown Julie Brown announcing that they’re picking the big winner right now! For half a second, I hope this is the annual Hunger Games drawing and we get to see Bon-Bon fight with Sweetheart for the glory of being a victor!
But no, this is the their “see the Cleveland Bays live contest!” Really? You couldn’t come up with a catchier name than that? [bat: I figured it was a poor play on the Scottish band Bay City Rollers, mixed with Cleveland, OH, being the ‘heart of rock ‘n’ roll’. This mash up is still bad.] Or at least phrase it better. You don’t call something the “the [action the winner takes] contest”. Imagine if bat and I held a contest for someone to guest recap here, and we called it “the write a recap of My Little Pony Tales contest”. No, you call it “The Guest Recapper Contest!” Or you phrase it, “Time for the big draw! Tonight we find out which lucky pony will get to see the Cleveland Bays live!”
Anyway, I’ve digressed for far too long over that. [bat: Digressions, tangents, and CAPSLOCK RAGES are what make these recaps interesting and the episodes tolerable.]
The entries are bits of paper held in a clear ball. The amount of paper inside the ball changes from shot to shot. Pony Downtown Julie Brown announces that the winner is Clover!
And then we cut to Clover in bed only to realise that this was all a dream. Oh no. The sadness.
But on the plus side, when Clover wakes up she tells her mom (I assume) [bat: Same colour, darker pink hair, weird reading glasses, but a rolling pin rolling out dough cutie mark. Wild. No wait, I was wrong, it’s actually a book with a bookmark. I guess Clover’s family are the bookworm/nerds.] about her dream and we finally get a name for Pony Downtown Julie Brown. It’s Dazzle. [bat: WTF. Her colouring is closer to Magic Star. Not to mention her cutie mark is a gold star with a red triangle-ish shape behind it.]
Another pony that does not exist. These are all of the Hasbro ponies with “dazzle” in the name.
We cut to Clover at school, being taught by Miss Hackney, another pony that does not exist.
Nobody is listening, they are watching the clock. As it turns 3pm, a cuckoo pops out and Patch uses a dart blower to knock it back in. Why? No, seriously, WHY? Bat, WHY????????????? [bat: I know we complained constantly about the writers of MLP’NF, but damn, the writers of Tales have stolen the ‘worst cartoon writers ever’ trophy and run off with it. Also, that scene implied the cuckoo is sentient and now I want to pelt the Ponies with rocks to see how they like it. ALSO also, why the fuck would they do that???? THEY WANT TO GET OUT OF CLASS, THEY WANT IT TO BE 3PM. MAKE THIS SHOW MAKE FUCKING SENSE, DAMN IT.] [Dove: Thank you, bat, for that wonderful image of pelting these ponies with rocks.]
The students run out and all whoosh down the slide from the opening animation – which, btw, is missing from this episode. I can only assume because it is jam-packed with plot. [bat: Actually, it’s the versions we’re using to watch, Dove. The ‘B’ episode always seems to have the opening cut out.] [Dove: Bugger. That’s disappointing. I’d counted on us both getting two minutes of freedom per episode with the credits.]
They go to someone’s house – no clue who, someone said it while the slide animation was playing, so your guess is as good as mine. [bat: It was Clover or Sweetheart, I guess. Their voices tend to sound very similar, unlike the competent voice actors of G1.] Bon Bon is anxiety eating some white glop. I have no idea what it is and I don’t want to know. [bat: Insert “it’s nut time!” joke here. Also, I HATE BON-BON.]
They re-use the animation from Clover’s dream. Including the announcement that Clover is the winner. [bat: Melody standing up and screaming “ME! ME! ME! set my teeth on edge. I HATE MELODY. I wonder by the end of this series, will I have a tag for every Pony I hate?]
Clover does pirouettes of joy, while the others comment that Clover’s the luckiest pony they’ve ever met.
Bon Bon comments, “Nice chips, thanks.” And leaves. [bat: BON-BON IS FUCKING BITTER. SUCK IT, BON-BON.] Uh… that white goop was chips?
Everyone curtly says goodbye to Clover, except Sweetheart, who says she’s “really truly happy” for her. Clover says that everyone else is mad at her. Sweetheart explains that they’re not upset with her, just disappointed. “See you lucky – ah, I mean, see you later!” she says before leaving.
Passive-aggressive much? [bat: Also, what terrible friends. With Pony friends like these, who needs enemies.]
The next day, Clover receives the tickets through the mail, along with a letter from Dazzle. There are two tickets, so she advises that Clover bring a friend and have a ball. [bat: What? Why wasn’t that part of the announcement? Also, when I won tickets to see A Perfect Circle via a radio contest, I had to go to the station and present ID to claim them. What a sham contest!]
And now Clover has a decision to make. And drags it out by singing a dirgey song about how she doesn’t like making decisions. [bat: Ah, the theme song of a generation of wishy-washy millennials.] Right now I’m deaf in one ear. After two days of pain and pressure, I’ve found a silver lining to this horrible situation. I can hear this song a little less.
[bat: Clover sings, “My head just starts to ache!” and she has accurately captured what happens every time I have to listen to a Pony song. I also love that she only names BON-BON, Bright Eyes, and MELODY, and refers to her three other friends as “one of the other three.” REAL FRIENDSHIP RIGHT THERE ON DISPLAY.]
Over at the ice cream shop Starlight gives her a free milkshake to apologise for being cold with her after she won. [bat: It’s a form of bribery!] Clover invites her to go to the concert as her plus one.
Cut to the library, where Melody does not apologise for being snipey, and just flat out asks if she can go to the concert. [bat: This is threatening/abusive manipulation.] Clover invites her to go to the concert as her plus one.
Cut to a playground, where Sweetheart and Clover are on a see-saw. Sweetheart says she doesn’t care if she goes or not, it’s just a concert and there are more important things in the world. [bat: REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY!!!] Clover agrees and says Sweetheart can have her ticket.
Cut to the ponies getting together. Patch says that Clover invited her. [bat: When?? That wasn’t shown, you have no proof, Patch.] Starlight says that Clover is giving up her own ticket for her. Starlight says that she was invited, so how does that work? Melody says she’s been invited too. Also Bon Bon. [bat: FUCKING BON-BON WASN’T INVITED, WE DIDN’T SEE THAT, EITHER.] [Dove: Well, some of them are named as her friends, the others are “the other three”.]
The only one who doesn’t have a claim to a ticket is Bright Eyes at this point. She spots Clover and they yell, “GET HER!”
Are you serious? Get her?
What the fuck is wrong with you. Why are you chasing her and yelling “GET HER!”? [bat: I really hate these Ponies. They are worse than the worst offenders of the original cartoon.]
They corner her under a bench and Starlight snarls that Clover has some explaining to do.
Clover explains that she had no idea how to choose, so she just invited everyone. Bright Eyes says it’s a commendable idea, but it’s not going to work.
Clover suggests another drawing to see who should get the tickets.
Clover’s dad [bat: Whose cutie mark looks like scientific calipers?] is blindfolded and draws the names. The first winner is Melody. [bat: FUCK MELODY.] The next winner is… suspense builds, they pan across the faces of all the ponies, who look tense. Even Melody, who has already won… [bat: FUCK MELODY.] the winner is CLOVER!
Clover celebrates for half a second before sheepishly saying, “I won again! I didn’t mean to.”
Cut to a limo pulling up in front of a building and celebrity ponies (who don’t exist) getting out. [bat: I have no idea who those first two are supposed to be take-offs of. Maybe… George Michael? Elton John?? Certainly neither of them are Vanilla Ice.]
In the line, Melody is totally into it, but Clover quiet. Melody can’t understand why she’s not having the time of her life. BEING IN A QUEUE IS FUCKING AWESOME, CLOVER? ARE YOU NOT HAVING FUN STANDING IN A LINE WITH A BUNCH OF STRANGERS WATCHING LIMOS PULL UP? IS THIS NOT THE GREATEST MOMENT OF YOUR EXISTENCE?
Funnily enough, it’s not just the abject boredom of waiting in line that’s bugging Clover. She’s missing the others. For some reason, both ponies have this conversation with their hoof over one ear. Is everyone having an ear infection this week? Did we catch it from this episode? bat, are your ears ok? [bat: Now I’m paranoid. I am susceptible to ear infections.]
Melody says yeah, all their best moments are together.
Cut to the other ponies watching the show on TV. The doorbell rings and it’s Melody and Clover. They sold their tickets to a scalper and bought pizza with the funds. [bat: PRESS X TO DOUBT.]
Two things: 1) dude, you were scammed if all you could buy was pizza with the funds from two tickets to a sold-out concert; 2) … whatever that thing is, it’s not pizza. [bat: TBH, it might be deep dish but it looks more like a pie then a pizza.]
And it all resolves with Clover realising that she’s lucky not because she wins, but because she has the best friends in the world.
I don’t know why bat gets the awful ones and I get the boring ones, but that seems to be the pattern. [bat: We’re only 4 episodes in. Things still have time to change. I’m not remotely hopeful they will but I’m trying to be optimistic for a change.]
My final thoughts are going to be much the same as the first episode. Nothing special, but nothing offensive either. It was fine. The song was awful – but very few songs in the early MLP-verse aren’t awful.
I can’t really comment on it. It was fine. It happened.
I’d have rather had something incendiary, or just plain daft – like the endless Flutter Valley, where so many stupid things had to happen to keep it going – because then I could react, but this was just beige paint.
[bat: This episode is a prime example of lazy writing and poor character development. All we’ve seen of these particular Ponies – especially BON-BON and MELODY – is that they are self-centered, narcissistic, and irresponsible. They are emotionally abusive, emotionally/physically manipulative, and it’s possible one or more have borderline personality disorder. I would add that none of them have ever truly suffered consequences for their actions, either. Clover invites everypony to the concert because she doesn’t want to hurt the feels of her ‘friends’ – half of whom she can’t even name in the song – but in the end, self-sacrifices both tickets for a box of red goo to share with her ‘friends’, who aren’t really her friends. Honestly these Ponies remind me of the clique of girls in elementary school who weren’t my friends at all, but would occasionally include me if it suited their needs or they were forced to include me. They were all terrible children with no individual personalities who floated through life with no adults making them learn empathy or responsibility, or consequence of actions.
This episode reminds me of the Full House episode where DJ wins tickets to see the Beach Boys. She is, like Clover, forced to make a choice about who will attend with her. Although she ultimately chooses, the sore losers manipulate and guilt trip her into feeling awful and ruin what could have been a fun time attending the concert with her uncle. Of course, it is TELEVISION LAND and when DJ refuses to come downstairs to ride in the limo to the concert, the Beach Boys enter the house and become “friends” with the family, ultimately deciding the whole family can attend the concert so DJ doesn’t feel bad.
At least with Full House you sometimes had characters learn hard life lessons, not that it always stuck with them through to the next episode. Just like Tales, it botched the landing with the “making hard choices is something everyone has to do at some point in their life” lesson. DJ made a choice but was manipulated into misery, then rewarded when an outside source had the power to change everything for the better. Conversely, Clover engages a ticket scalper to rid herself of the problematic tickets in order to buy not pizza to cheer up her manipulative friends, WHO ARE STILL ABLE TO WATCH THE CONCERT ON TELEVISION. SO LITERALLY, THE PONIES WEREN’T GOING TO MISS OUT ON THE CONCERT, THEY JUST WEREN’T GOING TO ATTEND IN PERSON. OH MY GOD, HOW MUCH WORSE DOES THIS GET.
I can excuse bad behavior in the original My Little Pony ‘N Friends; it was a fantasy cartoon about talking Ponies in a magic-filled land. I cannot, nor will I excuse the behavior of these particular My Little Pony Tales Ponies, because they do not live in a magic land and are written to be as close to human-ish as possible. I’ve seen plenty of animated cartoons handle life lessons properly and stick the landing; most of them were made in the 1990s or early 2000s, sure, but still, it can be done! Plus, this age old story line was recycled by S1 of MLP:FiM, who did it so much better then this travesty.
I’ll end by saying I’m giving this episode an F. It doesn’t deserve anything higher/better.]