My Little Pony Tales: The Play’s the Thing (S01E09)

My Little Pony Tales DVD cover, showing the main 5 ponies
My Little Pony Tales (1992)

Title: The Play’s the Thing

Summary: The Annoying 6 put on a play. Melody lets the “fame” go to her head. bat and Dove learn new levels of loathing to accommodate this new change.

Grade: C-

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesOk, so this recap is a little late. [bat: Not that late, Dove. We’ve had recaps that are decidedly late before.] Not because any drama happened, but because it completely slipped my mind. Yesterday I was working away on Cover Calypso for Sweet Valley, giving Raven pep talks for his recap, and generally updating the site in the background, vaguely aware that I knew I had another task to do, but thinking that if I just kept faffing with the sites, it would come back to me.

It did not. For an entire blissful day, I forgot this show exists. [bat: That is bliss!]

Then I woke up in a blind panic this morning.

[bat: Some may ask why I didn’t check in with Dove and remind her. Well, we are in very different time zones and generally are responsible/timely with our recaps. Or, typically, we let the other know in the event of delay, if possible. I did think about messaging Dove but I also hate to remind her this show exists and it’s hard enough to recap episodes without being reminded. So I telepathically thought ‘Hey, Dove, recap?’ a few times before tending to the six animals I am currently house-sitting. It’s not crucial to our every day lives, these recaps, and they get done when they get done. That said, we are still determined to GET THROUGH THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and stick to a schedule because this show is eroding our brains with stupidity.]

[Dove: And also, because I’m an adult. bat is not obligated to run after me. And six animals definitely trump my forgetful ass! Although I’m sure that telepathic message hit in the middle of the night (timezones, right?), hence waking up in a panic that I’d forgotten!]

So, let’s get this done!


Oh thank god. This episode has credits. That’s a minute I’ve got back immediately.

OMG, and that is immediately followed with a commercial break notification. Score.

One minute twenty-five seconds of non-recap. #Winning

We open with Melody in her bedroom telling the twins to watch her because nobody can play the princess better than her. And it’s the worst delivery possible. I don’t mean her portrayal of the princess, I mean the voice actor’s delivery of Melody’s lines leading up to it. She really did just phone in those words, with no care on delivery. Or, for fairness, she was badly directed. [bat: I think it’s both. These voice actors are not A-tier casting. They’re not even C-list casting. And I haven’t a clue who the director(s) are, so I’m sure they’re not good at directing, either.]

Also, the twins are gigantic. In previous episodes they bounced between being the size of a cupcake to baby-sized. Now they’re just a bit smaller than Melody. [bat: HOW DOES SIZE WORK? PERSPECTIVE MATTERS.]

Melody delivers a single line as the princess, and the twins BAY-BEE-TAWK at her, suitably impressed.

Melody’s mother walks into the room and tells her that the room is a bombsite (and it is, the artists have strewn clothes, books and toys in the background of each scene so far – well done, animators), and she needs to tidy it up. Melody tells her that she’s super famous now, and stars don’t clean, they have assistants for that.

Instead of Melody’s mother saying, “Yes, I’m sure that’s true. But you’re a twelve year old asshat who hasn’t even got a part in the play yet, so clean your damned room, you arrogant little snot!”, we just fade to the next day.

So, bat, do we think that Melody’s parents enabled this horrible behaviour? We’ve seen how annoying Clover can be, and she’s being actively parented by good parents. [bat: It’s kind of funny. We’ve never see Melody’s father (as yet.) And isn’t her mother the nurse or whatever, that works at the hospital? I have a feeling this is a single mother house-hold, which would be severely unusual with this show, that has been rather consistent in show a two-parent house-holds. And if it is a single mother, that would explain a lot of Melody’s attitude and behavior. Also, she endangered her twin toddler sisters and her mother was all, ‘ha ha, I watched the whole thing on TV while at work!’] [Dove: I had forgotten that. I remembered the Rockin’ Beats (nearly typed Rockin’ Bats, which would be cute) ep, but not that her mother was in it.]

Shakespeare is a classic. And this is precisely how it is performed.

We cut to auditions. Patch hurls the book across the room, saying that the audition scene was boring so she “jazzed it up”. Miss Hackney says that Shakespony is classic, but Patch gives zero fucks. [bat: Fuck you, Patch.]

“En guarde you landlubbers, take your swords and fight these pirates to the end!” Patch yells, while waving a sword. Miss Hackney politely thanks her.

Clover gives an exit line and then trips over, pulling down the curtains on top of her. Hysterical. That joke just never gets old. I’m laughing. Are you laughing? I’m definitely laughing. [bat: I laughed so hard I lost my gallbladder.]

“All right, that’s everyone!” says Miss Hackney, who is deeply aware that this show functions on the Two Pony Rule. In case you missed the recap where we came up with that, two ponies do something, and we just have to infer that the rest of the group, maybe even the whole class, did it too. Even if it’s super plot relevant.

She adds that the list will be posted tomorrow.

Cut to ponies running into the school house, which is a playset I have… technically. So many parts of it are missing that it’s barely a shell. [bat: Wait wait… there was a school house playset??] [Dove: Yep, here’s what it should look like… and here’s the broken shell I own.]


Inside, Starlight exclaims, “Melody, you’re the star!”

Bon-Bon asks if Melody feels like the luckiest pony evah, Melody gazes at her with resting bitch face before answering, “Lucky? No way. It’s talent, pure and simple.” Which causes Bon-Bon to walk away.

Clover’s a guard, and Bon-Bon is the wise old woman. “Oh great,” she grouses, “Just what I always wanted to be: a chubby old hag.” Did the wise old woman character call for fatness, or is Bon-Bon just projecting? Or are we just reminding people that fatness is literally the worst thing you can be. It’s way worse than being mean, shallow, vapid, spiteful, stuck up, or cruel. It’s the worst. [bat: FUCKING BON-BON!]

Starlight reassures her that everything will be great, and they should check out what needs to be done backstage.



For anyone with visual impairments, let me explain in full detail what that image shows. It shows three ponies, side on, two facing one. Bon-Bon and Starlight face Melody. Their height is about quarter of the screen. Melody is GIGANTIC. She’s so large that her head isn’t visible. She’s just this GIANT body and nose. Everything above the muzzle has been cut off by the top of the screen.

I don’t know if this is meant to show that Melody is in the foreground, and with the lack of shadows and shading, it’s just not working, or if the animators were on a tight deadline, off their tits on weed and vodka, and just went, “Oh, near enough. Kids won’t notice.” Or is it a clever metaphor to show how much bigger Melody’s ego is compared to her friends?

Melody sticks her nose in the air and tells everyone she’s the star, so they can get in the sea if they think she’s going to do any of the grunt work. Then she prances off like the asshole that she is.

Patch grumbles disagreeably at this, but Starlight is like, “Oh well, never mind.”

Cut to backstage. Bon-Bon looks in a mirror and wonders how anyone will every believe she’s a 75 year old lady. Um, they won’t. It’s a kids play. Everyone in the audience is either there under duress and is in their own head playing with their imagination, or they’re a parent, eyeballing their offspring with pride and delight, even if said offspring just ate some of the set pieces and peed all over the stage.

Oh good, a song. While searching for it on YouTube, I found this amazing channel with orchestral versions of MLP songs. So please enjoy.

It’s called The Magic of Theatre, and it’s a montage explaining that the mountains on the stage aren’t really mountains, they’re painted backdrops. Which I’m sure is going to be shocking to children. [bat: I’m shocked!]

Starlight taunts us with the hint of magic when she sprouts wings and flies, but it’s all ropes. Sigh. This world could have magic, but we’re in the worst possible timeline. [bat: These fucking annoying 6 don’t deserve magic.]

Apologies for the quality, it’s someone filming a TV set. [bat: Nothing says YOU TUBE like someone recording a television screen with their iPhone camera!] [Dove: But I ruthlessly decided it would save my bandwidth to use their copy instead of uploading a clean copy.]

As far as songs go, it was unnecessary, like pretty much every song in both Tales and ‘n Friends, but it’s a huge step up from last week’s whinge-a-thon from Clover. It’s not good, but it’s upbeat, and seems to have a structure. So, we’ll count our blessings here.

The girls make up Bon-Bon so she looks old and say she looks great.

“But not as good as me!” Melody says as she walks in. I hate her. I just want to yeet her into the sun. It’s annoying, because she’s a pretty pony in the line. I love the vibrant hot pink ponies. (Check out my Reverse Strawberry Fair.)

Melody: The sweet symphony of revenge is about to begin. 🎶💥

Starlight compliments Melody’s new hairdo, then adds that she should’ve been working on the masks for the ballroom scene, instead of getting a new look. Melody doesn’t care, because she’s going to be interviewed on PTV later. Like, why? It’s a school play. All I can assume is slow news day. [bat: Why the fuck is a music channel interviewing a MIDDLE SCHOOLER PONY for a shitty school play???]

Imagine if there was a news station in the ‘n Friends iteration. That would be a non-stop cycle of invasions, missing ponies, tsunamis of ooze, witch threats, and probably a daily slot called “Net Watch”, where people could phone in with sightings of nets in trees.

Clover is very taken with Melody’s new ‘do, and asks Starlight to style her hair the same. Melody throws a fit, nobody has this ‘do but her. This causes a hilarious fight, where Clover is in a swivel chair between them and Starlight and Melody twist her back and forth until she spins for several seconds and gets dizzy. So funny.

Clover says she’ll take a different style and Melody blows a raspberry at her.

I decided this was the perfect thing to gif.

It’s just a little weird…

… and then I remembered the very deviant corner of fandom that hypersexualises the ponies (they’re not the majority, I’m not saying that, but they’re so goddamned weird they make us all look bad), and decided that adding text might be less creepy. (I’m not talking furries, I’m talking weirdos.)

(Caribou. If you know, you know, right?)

Less creepy

Better, yes? [bat: CONTEXT IS IMPORTANT.]

Patch wonders what’s up with Melody, she’s so stuck up, [bat: Maybe the 30′ stick up her arse?] and Starlight has an idea.

Cut to the dress rehearsal, where Ace tells Teddy that he can’t wait to see Melody, she’s awesome. [bat: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, ACE.]

Melody is somehow acting as the narrator and the princess. This is meant to be a romance, so is this going to be Romeo and Juliet? [bat: Pony-o and Hoofiet?] [Dove: *nods approvingly* YES!] Anyway, the spotlight won’t stay on her, which forces her to run around the set chasing it. Well, it doesn’t force her. Anyone with an ounce of sense would stand still and let the spotlight operator look like the fool.

Then they yank the throne out from under her as she’s sitting.

Teddy laughs and says she’s terrible, but Ace thinks she’ll do better next scene.

Melody announces that her prince is making his way to her to read her a love poem… guys, if you say it’s Shakespony and specifically state it’s a classic, why not just do Romeo and Juliet?

Anyway, instead of a prince wooing her, she hears frogs ribbiting.


Then the door won’t open. In order to get leverage, Melody puts three of her hooves on the door and yanks. Melody might be the dimmest thing that ever lived. [bat: She’s up there.] Still, it works and pulls the set down. Not on her, you’re still thinking about real-world physics. No, this is Ponyland physics, where you can put all your weight on holding something shut and still open it. And then when it falls, it doesn’t fall in the direction it was pulled, it goes the other way. Oh, and it becomes fabric on impact, despite being clearly wood before it fell. And then it is on top of her, despite falling away from her. Because… well, fuck you for asking, that’s why.

Teddy and Ace laugh themselves into comas and Melody screams to stop the rehearsal.

… is Miss Hackney not involved in this at all? Or is she just like, “Yep, who cares? Nobody but the parents, that’s who.”

Melody’s friends confront her, asking did she have a problem with all the backstage unimportant stuff.

But before she can react, Miss Hackney totters out, apparently suddenly aware her play is falling apart, and asks what’s going on.

Starlight announces that the star mistreated her former friends.

Melody is shocked by the former.

At the Ice cream parlour, they grudgingly watch Melody be interviewed by Pony Downtown Julie Brown on PTV. [bat: Oh my god, PTV became what human MTV is in reality, before MTV did.] Nobody wants to, except Clover, who hopes she’ll say something nice about them.

Pony Downtown Julie Brown acts like being the star of the school play is super important and totally fame-inducing, and not the big snore that it is in reality. Honestly, if there were any plays that were put on at my school, I didn’t even know they were happening, much less who was in them. And there were only 1,309 people in my school (yes, that number is correct, I asked at the time. I was an odd kid). But sure, the entirety of Ponyland cares about this.

Melody humbly says that team work makes the dream work, and with a single sentence, everything is fixed. No need to apologise in person or deal with the fact that she was a snotty little asshat even before she got the role. Nope, it’s all fixed.

Cut to the play which… omg, they’re actually going to make us watch? Kill me now.

Before AppleDash there was Melodatch!

It’s all dirge. I give zero fucks. Except Patch is playing the prince, so AppleDash and LyraBon were not the first sapphic relationships in MLP. Apparently Melodatch (or Pelody?) got there first. Though admittedly, LyraBon actually got married. And AppleDash was confirmed by Word of God, so they have more weight. Also, I actually care about those relationships. (Although I wanted Rarity/Applejack. It just made more sense to me. Is that one RariJack? I love ship names, btw, can you tell?)

Ace, in the audience, says “This is the greatest.” Which makes me weep for his life. It was awful. [bat: You are not worthy of the name Ace, Ace.]

While the crowd goes wild over the mediocrity, Melody takes multiple curtain calls and Ace presents her with a bouquet of roses.

Oooh, Bouquet and Red Roses, why aren’t they in this? They’re such pretty ponies. Oh. Because they’re Unicorns.

Melody shares the bouquet with her friends and support, saying they’re the ones that really made it happen.

Final Thoughts:

Well, after last week’s moaning about what was the point of that, I’ll admit straight off that this had a clear through line and moral. Even if your role is the most prestigious, you’re nothing without all the others playing their parts.

Uh, can someone show this episode to the government and explain the moral in great detail to them?

However, I don’t like Melody, and she’s kind of an asshole to start with, so her face turn at the end was meaningless. She’ll be back to being a brat next time we see her.

I think this would have worked better if PTV hadn’t interviewed her. It’s just daft to think that an international TV station gives a stuff what a middle school is doing for their play, especially when it’s just a classic. They’re only going to care if you’re doing something bizarre or, in this current climate, inclusive, so that the right-wingers can have a meltdown.

It was fine, I guess. But Melody can get in the sea. It was mostly just boring. I cared more about the last episode because it made no sense and had no moral. I had something to argue about. This was just meh. Fine. Beige paint. I wouldn’t object to my hypothetical daughter watching this episode.

[bat: Another ‘here’s an actual life lesson you should bother to learn, kids, but next week the Annoying 6 will forget it and continue to be stupid, thoughtless, self-centered asshats’. This was dreck and not even worth the bother. Cleaning up cat puke – which I did this morning – was more interesting. I give it a D. At least Dove got to yell about perspective and make a gif.]