My Little Pony Tales: Out of Luck (S01E08)
Title: Out of Luck
Summary: Clover, the allegedly lucky pony, finds a teapot which is allegedly unlucky, and honestly nothing really happens except for an entitled brat whines about how unfair things are when things aren’t at all that bad. Or to rephrase: The Tell-Tale Teapot.
Oh my god. I’ve got two in a row. This sucks. Why are bat and I doing this to ourselves? [bat: Because we were naive about this little cartoon interlude between proper G1 and G3?]
I never thought I’d say this, but I really can’t wait to get to Gen 3 and see some magic. Also, while they haven’t fully finessed the animation in Gen 3, it’s so much prettier than this.
I am really really missing the magic. If only because it makes bat rage and ask MAGIC! HOW DOES IT WORK???? [bat: It’s hard to get a decent CAPS LOCK RAGE going when there’s no magic misuse to yell about.]
Oh well, let’s get on this and find out what this episode is all about.
And whether I make more gifs. I hope I do. I like gifs.
We open with Clover’s father rummaging through a junk yard. He is apparently an artist and he’s looking for inspiration. He won’t know it until he sees it.
Clover-Dad finds a buckled old wheel and seems pleased with it, but Clover finds a white teapot. He says she can start her own sculpture, but Clover has other plans for it.
Fade to: the clubhouse in the Berrytown’s backyard. Oooh, continuity. I like this.
Interior shot of the clubhouse. No sign of Logan Berrytown. Continuity fail. Not loving it.
bat, what are the odds that we never see Logan again? [bat: If I was going to place a wager, I would bet the entire farm we never see Logan ever again.]
The Mane 6… do we call them that? Maybe we shouldn’t. Feels weird. The Annoying 6 are using a teapot found in a junkyard. I know I value tea far higher than most people on this site, can’t help it, I’m British. But I also value cleanliness. I would not use a teapot – or any other food/drink container or utensil – that had had been discarded along with pee-stained mattresses and oily car parts.
And sure, you can boil it and bleach it, but even so, something about it gives me the wibbles. [bat: If it’s a metal teapot, that might be different, but I would still be squicked by using anything from a junkyard in relation to food. It’s likely in that junkyard for a reason.] [Dove: Oh! It’s metal! Yeah, you’re just going to have to go with me because I spend at least 90% of this recap convinced it’s shiny white ceramic. Because I’m British. And I have standards when it comes to teapots.]
Clover thinks it would make a “neat symbol for our club.” Patch recalls Aladdin finding a magic lamp. Bright Eyes adds that he got three wishes. Bright Eyes, by the way, has her own teapot with a flowery decal, which is more exciting than this boring white one.
As they excitedly exclaim over the potential of owning a magic teapot, I am transported back to my school days, because something went very wrong with this audio. It sounds like they’ve recorded everyone gasping in excitement in a school bathroom, with cold tiled walls and floors, and the sound is bouncing all over the place. Why, audio people? Why did you do this?
And then when it cuts back to ponies talking individually, we’re back to clean audio. Really weird.
They encourage her to make a wish. And she does:
“I wish… I wish it would rain a jillion jangles!”
What does that even mean? My theory: Jangles are the currency in Ponyland at the moment. But honestly, it’s never explained, so your guess is as good as mine.
There’s a rumble of thunder and a crack of lightning, and they rush to the window. “It’s really truly coming true!” says Sweetheart. And, y’know, since we’re not from this world and have no idea what Clover just wished for… uh, maybe? I really like the rain. Maybe that is what she meant.
Then some white liquid drips on Starlight’s bum, and she looks up to see white goo coating the inside of their ceiling. I can only assume this is honey, given what we learned about it last week. Or It’s Nut Time. One of those two.
“These aren’t Jangles,” she says. “It’s raining real rain.”
See, they were definitely expecting something else.
Cut to four of them on the roof, and Melody ringing out her tail, complaining that she thought they were going to be rich, not wet. Oh, so I was right. Also, Melody, we still hate you.
They decide to patch the roof with glue while it continues to rain. Dudes, put a tarp over it. Glue is not going to dry in a torrential downpour. [bat: I’m surprised they didn’t force Sweetheart to just stand over the leak and block it while they continued their meeting in the clubhouse.]
Patch suggests that Clover makes another wish so they can go home. Patch is only joking, but Clover takes her seriously and wishes “our teahouse would fix itself so we can all go home”.
Bon-Bon then drops a bucket of glue on Clover’s head.
Also, there are so many buckets of glue here. There is a cart full of them, the ponies on the roof have several, and Clover and Sweetheart, on the ground, also have several around them. My dudes, are you weatherproofing the entire building with a coating of glue… because, ok, sure, I made a seaworthy boat out of a cardboard box and sellotape for my MLPs as a child, but I really don’t think you can do that with actual buildings. [bat: Maybe those are vats of FLEX SEAL?]
“Gee,” Clover drawls, suddenly sounding like Madame Razz from the original She-Ra, “I guess my good luck turned baaaaaad.” I really expected her to add “dearie me, dearie my” on the end.
[about an hour later]
Nope. Not the same actress. That took longer than expected. When you have two iterations of She-Ra and five iterations of MLP, these things take awhile.
We cut to Clover in the bath, super pissed off and feeling very put-upon. Oh woe is her. How awful is her luck? How can anyone be expected to deal with such woe?
Oh fuck off, you stupid brat. Try growing up with a disability, a dead father and abusive mother, and then you get to cry in the bath about how hard your fucking life is. You don’t get to feel like it’s the end of the world because it didn’t rain money.
She sings a very self-pitying song about how life has really turned on her, and “life is as bleak as it can be” and so forth.
For fuck’s sake, I know children take things incredibly personally, but it is a breathtaking amount of privilege to be this upset that money didn’t rain from the sky – IN A WORLD WITHOUT MAGIC!
Also, all of the things in the song, falling over on roller skates, crashing into a fountain, being buried in a mud slide – NONE OF THAT HAPPENED TO HER. It’s all a fucking metaphor for not getting her own way and having glue fall on her.
This is some of the most self-indulgent nonsense we’ve had to deal with. [bat: I meant it when I said what I did about these stupid Ponies.]
I’d love to see how Clover dealt with the Smooze. [bat: They’d sacrifice Sweetheart to it.] [Dove: Sweetheart is the only one we love. And I have this horrible feeling that there will be an episode where we regret it.]
The song ends with the bathroom being flooded. Because this moron left the taps running at full pelt while singing a song about how hard her life is. I can’t even right now.
Her mother wades in, up to her hocks in water, to tell her to clean up everything and then go to her room.
I’m honestly not sure how you can have two feet of water flooding the upstairs without the whole house being doomed.
I remember seeing a YouTuber moronically beg for money after they threw 200 bath bombs into their jacuzzi bath (upstairs) and the resulting froth and flooding absolutely wrecked their house and they had to move into a hotel. Because they’re fucking morons, and I was astounded that a) the bath bomb makers chipped in, even though it was in no way their fault that morons did this; and b) their fans were like, “OMG, so sad, here is money!”
(You can google it. I’m not giving those morons clicks.)
This is just feckless stupidity.
If you do shit like this, it’s not misfortune, it’s an active choice.
Also, I’m not sure how Mommy Clover was able to slam the door with all that water. Have you ever tried to slam a door in two feet of water? It’s not as impactful as you’d think.
That night, Clover sleeps with the teapot on her bedside cabinet.
Even British people are like, “Dude, that is weird.”
She gets up and tells the teapot it’s all its fault. She creeps out of bed and dumps it in the trash, grumbling that she wishes she’d never found it.
The next morning, after she leaves for school, the trash collector shows up (how on earth does he drive? How does the steering wheel work?), and notices the teapot. He assumes it’s a mistake and hands it back to Clover’s mother.
Also, he has a New York/New Jersey accent (sorry guys, but as if Americans can tell the difference between a Yorkshire and a Lancashire accent, it’s hard when you’re not used to it), and either a bin as a cutie mark, or a take-out Starbucks cup.
Clover is not happy when she gets back to see the Tell-Tale Teapot sitting on the kitchen counter.
Her mum asks how school was, and Clover explains that she has a note from Miss Hackney because she didn’t do her homework. It’s not her fault. It’s the teapot’s. It was driving her to distraction and she couldn’t concentrate. It’s just bad luck. [bat: Did the writers actively forget the whole plot of ‘And the Winner Is…’? Because I didn’t. Clover kept winning. EVERYTHING. It was implied that she has so much fucking luck it ruins everything, including friendships. So now the tell-tale teapot has put a hex on her luckiness or did Clover use all of it up during the aforementioned episode? WHICH IS IT, WRITERS???]
Clover’s mum very reasonably points out that actively choosing not to do homework “has nothing to do with bad luck” and she’s grounded for the rest of the day. [bat: Holy shit, active parenting! I may faint if this keeps happening!]
Cut to Clover in her room having a bad time with maths homework. In frustration, she heaves the teapot into the bin. I have no clue why our lavender moron took it up to her room in the first place, given that she hates it so much.
Then she fishes it out again and puts it in a drawer. Then she gets it out and hides it under a rug. Then she gets it out again and puts it on her toy shelf, hidden behind a bunch of toys.
For fuck’s sake, Clover. Get it together. You’re just creating drama for yourself. Grow up.
She throws herself on her bed and – PHYSICS! HOW DOES IT WORK – the teapot randomly falls off and lands on the pillow next to her, despite being behind several plushies, which did not fall.
Pushed to her absolute limit, she grabs the teapot and climbs out of her bedroom window, down the wall, like a spider. [bat: HOOVES, HOW DO THEY WORK?] And despite there is no possible way she could have done that, even if one of her legs/hooves weren’t occupied with holding a fucking teapot, she does not fall, which I think rather proves that this bad luck thing is just Clover being an annoying drama queen.
She tosses it in a lake, which causes a nearby fisherpony to notice it. Despite teapots being usually made of ceramic or glass, it floats to the top. He looks at it speculatively.
I am so goddamned bored. How many people came up with this idea? Was this seriously the best pitch of the day? I can only imagine literally everybody involved in this had a more lucrative side-hustle, or at least an engaging family/home life that made them phone it in. If this truly was the best work they were capable of, then thank god it only ran for one season. [bat: I am starting to miss even The End of Flutter Valley. It was genius compared to this dreck.] [Dove: That’s pretty much the most insulting thing either of us could ever say. And I stand with bat on this.]
Back at the Clover household, Mom and Moron talk about dad. He’s still working on his sculpture and is worried he won’t get it done in time for the opening.
Then… something happens? For some reason Clover has a gun that slices cucumbers and it goes wild, shooting them out like bullets at her dad who walks in.
I can understand her using a juicer and it backfiring, but what the fuck is this? Is this a thing that exists in 90s America, or is it some bonkers thing the writers made up because a cucumber gun is just a “hysterical” concept? [bat: At least answering this one won’t make my search history worse than it already is. That, my British friend, is a take off on a Salad Shooter. If you thought the American propensity towards laziness wasn’t deep and entrenched, well, it is. I can’t find anything that is specifically devoted to just cucumbers slices- there is one for making stick-shape pieces – but yeah. I think it was more typical for cucumbers and whatnot to be sliced on a mandolin-style slicer. I remember when there was a huge infomercial about a product like that. My mother bought one. I wasn’t allowed to use it. It was sharp AF and probably would have cost me a finger.] [Dove: *blinks* Sometimes, the USA is beyond my comprehension.]
The doorbell rings and the fisher pony is there with the teapot. [bat: It would have been SO MUCH COOLER if it was a male merPony and not just a male Pony who fishes and by ‘fishes’ I mean naps in his rowboat and collects junk flung into the lake and returns it to the litter bug.]
Daddy confronts his daughter about why she hoofed a teapot into Paradise Lake.
Clover freaks out and hides behind her mother, saying she never wants to see it again ever.
Daddy tells her off for polluting, and tells her that her need to protect herself above the environment is completely unacceptable.
… parenting. Good parenting. Multiple times. Mummy grounded her for flooding the bathroom and not doing her homework, and bluntly told her neither of those were luck, they were actions. Now Daddy’s telling her off for fly tipping. (Does that phrase exist in the USA, bat? If not, it should.) [bat: I had to Google it and we have an equivalent term: illegal dumping. Doesn’t sound nearly as witty.]
I honestly have no idea how Clover is such a pain in the ass, given that her parents are utterly reasonable. There are no raised voices, no incomprehensible punishments, no “if you don’t know what’s wrong, you’re going to sit there until you figure it out” nonsense like in G1. They are telling her, in calm but disappointed tones, what she did wrong and why it’s wrong. This is excellent stuff. [bat: I have fainted from all the positive parenting.]
He sends her to her room.
We cut to Daddy in the basement, working on his sculpture. Clover comes in and says she needs to talk. And – still parenting – he welcomes her in. She explains about her bad luck, and he tells her that the teapot has nothing to do with it. Luck is made up of hard work and being in the right place at the right time. Again, excellent observation. [bat: Writers STILL forgetting the entire premise of ‘And The Winner Is…‘. A+ job, everybody!]
Daddy then welds it on to his sculpture. Huh. So maybe it wasn’t ceramic or glass. Maybe it was metal. Which makes its ability to float even more dubious. Unless it’s one of those aluminium monstrosities, in which case it should be a found art piece more than a teapot. They are foul.
Daddy is happy that his sculpture is now finished, but Clover is not.
Cut to an art gallery showing off Daddy’s work. By the way, calling them Daddy and Mummy? Not loving that, but nobody has names in this show.
Some posh pony is very taken with Daddy’s sculpture. The Annoying 6 (A6) [bat: That’s the tag. Even if there’s actually 7 of the main Ponies, we don’t count Sweetheart as annoying.] are there, and Bon-Bon is scarfing food again, so maybe bat’s on to something about her being the “chubby” pony, even though she’s no larger than the others. Because in the 80s/90s, heavy people are always eating, and if they’re not eating, they’re questing for food or bitching because there is no food. [bat: FUCKING BON-BON.]
Clover is still muttering darkly about how the teapot is the harbinger of doom, but the posh pony loves it and wants to buy it.
Somehow, this makes the A6 think he’s going to be famous. Clover, having learned absolutely fuck all throughout this 10 minute mess, decides that maybe it’s a good luck teapot after all.
OMG, excellent parenting.
Mummy overhears her and says, no, you muppet. It sold because it was good.
Clover: Maybe it was lucky that the sculpture was good.
Mummy: Let’s just say it’s good to be lucky.
There was no luck involved. And the only reason Clover had a run of “bad luck” is because she was a lazy thoughtless brat who would rather indulge her own made-up drama than turn a tap off.
What an absolute pile of shit that was. What was the moral of the story? Blame inanimate objects for all your woes, and maybe your dad will sell one of his projects? How is that a life lesson?
What the actual fuck was this episode about? What was it trying to say? What kid came away from this with a better understanding of the world? What kid came away from this entertained?
This episode fails on every possible metric. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun. The song is dirge. The moral is absent. The character needs yeeting into the sun.
The only saving grace was the active and positive parenting done by Clover’s long-suffering parents.
But ultimately, that was maybe a minute of the full run time and you can’t give a good grade for only 10% decency in a sea of boring nonsense.
This is a D-. I’d love to score higher for the good parenting, but the story wasn’t about that. I’m still not sure what it was about. Clover didn’t learn anything here, she just kept on, no matter what her parents said, she staunchly stuck to her ridiculous narrative, and I’m not rewarding that.
[bat: Funny, The Simpsons did a very similar premise roughly seven years later and it was fucking hilarious. Granted, it didn’t have Clover, or any of these crappy Ponies involved, so that made it instantly better.
Yes, we had some excellent examples of positive parenting. Not enough to save the episode, or the series at large, and it also failed to drive home the message behind the positive parenting. Clover screams and whinges and throws such fits over a goddamn teapot, what are children going to learn? THAT INANIMATE OBJECTS CAN BE BLAMED FOR ANYTHING BAD YOU WANT TO ASSIGN TO THEM. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, IT’S AN OBJECT’S FAULT!
Sure, there are actual cursed objects in existence but, this whole episode was ridiculous. Especially after we saw a whole episode in which Clover herself was the ‘lucky object’. I feel like there was a germ of a good idea in this one but it was a failure in execution and general good storytelling, rendering any positives moot. So I agree, a D- for this one.]