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Play-By-Play: The Return of Harmony Part 1
September 17, 2011Posted by on
It’s no secret (or at least it won’t be after this) that I am a huge fan of the recent hit animated show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The writing, the characters, the animation, the sound, all combine to create one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, and something that you can enjoy if you’re a young girl or a 16-25 year old male. I could go on and on about it but the short version of it is that I just really enjoy the show. Needless to say, I’ve been really looking forward to season 2, the first of which I’ll be talking about today.
Now let me explain how this is going to work. In these little play-by-plays I watch an episode and as it goes on I make commentary on it. It’s kind of like a Riff Track only there’s no time limit on jokes based on the progression of what you’re watching. Once we get into it more, you’ll probably start to get it.
And of course be aware that this commentary will contain MAJOR SPOILERS.
Now let’s begin!
0:06 – The episode starts with Cheerilee taking the Cutie Mark Crusaders on a field trip. Great, the most annoying characters get screen time first.
0:25 – “Victory-ful”? That’s not a word!
0:26 – “That’s not a word!” Hey I just said that you little bitch!
0:28 – “What are you a dictionary?” Oh boy, another memetic mutation to put on the pile. Expect to see photoshops and drawing of “Sweetie Belle’s Dictionary of the English Language” on ponychan, Equestria Daily, ponibooru, etc. by the end of the day.
0:48 – “What do you suppose that represents?” Well obviously it was made in protest of the war in the Middle East. But seriously, what kind of elementary school teacher asks their students questions about artistic meaning? I mean I know about Bloom’s Taxonomy and stuff, but this is going a bit too far.
0:53 – “It’s not chaos you dodo.” So now Scootaloo is a dodo instead of a chicken. Remember back when she was just a pegasus?
1:03 – Cheerilee, your students are fighting around a bunch of priceless sculptures that are probably part of Princess Celestia’s private collection. Shouldn’t you like, and this idea may be pretty far out there but just bear with me on this one, FUCKING STOP THEM!? Where did Cheerilee get her teaching degree anyway? Through a correspondence course?
1:07 – And now the statue’s heart is beating. It’s as if that isn’t a statue at all! **gasp** I would be so shocked if I hadn’t already watched all the previews for this episode!
1:12 – Oh sure, tell them their answers are all correct AFTER they’ve been kicking the shit out of eachother for ten seconds.
1:24 – Heh, making them write an essay as punishment. Nice, but again, these ponies are in elementary school. They probably can’t write complete sentences yet.
1:34 – How are they still arguing about it when their teacher JUST TOLD THEM WHAT IT WAS? Kids these days are so dumb.
1:36 – Okay, that laughter was pretty fucking evil. But we can’t hear more of it because we have to watch the intro.
2:12 – Developed for Television by Lauren Faust…who is no longer a regular part of the production of this show.
2:29 – Rainbow Dash covered in something sticky? I think we all know what’s going to be photoshopped in this image.
2:47 – So why exactly is APPLEjack growing corn? Is anyone going to answer that?
2:56 – Chocolate Milk Rain, Some stay while others feel the pain, Chocolate Milk Rain…
3:09 – And of course Pinkie Pie enjoys all the crazy shit happening. She represents the element of schizophrenia.
3:20 – Oh Rarity, you’re such a useless bitch.
3:33 – WHAT THE FUCK ANGEL IS A GIRAFFE. Someone’s going to photoshop a real life version of this and it’s going to give me nightmares for years.
3:43 – “Don’t worry everyone, I’ve learned a new spell that’ll fix everything!” Is it the spell to bring back Lauren Faust as Executive Producer?
3:54 – Don’t be sad Twilight, at least it looked cool.
5:00 – Okay, that was a pretty good plan on Twilight’s part. Spike totally wasn’t listening to her though because apparently his indegestion got worse over the 4 months between seasons.
5:23 – “We came as fast as we could.” kyrospawn is going to post that as a reaction vid and people are going to make dirty comments on it.
6:57 – Wow, that was a pretty epic speech that explained a lot about the continuity of the show and set up a lot for the episode!
7:00 – …And of course, Pinkie Pie has to fuck everything up.
7:04 – Already did a Chocolate Rain joke, moving on.
7:10 – “Don’t listen to Pinkie Pie, princess, she just needs to take her meds.”
7:12 – Whoa, spicy insertion.
7:28 – Hahahaha, the world is ending and Rarity is greedy. Isn’t that hilarious? (Protip: No it isn’t)
7:36 – “I have total confidence that you will be able to defeat Discord with DEEZ NUTS!”
7:46 – I’m still waiting for someone to punch Pinkie Pie in the face and remind her what the stakes are.
7:49 – Hey wait, Pinkie Pie just left, how’d she get back so fast? CONTINUITY!
9:05 – Okay, Discord is making a pretty cool first appearance as a villain, but him naming the ponies and the elements they represent is a tiny bit hamfisted. Still, it’s pretty awesome.
Another fun fact is that Discord is voiced by John de Lancie, an actor who is most famous for playing Q from several Star Trek series starting in TNG. I find it amusing that someone who previously played an all-powerful trickster is once again playing an all-powerful trickster. I just hope he’s not getting typecast.
9:31 – Okay, I gotta hand it to Pinkie, Discord Moonwalking on Twilight’s head is pretty funny.
10:14 – “My little ponies!” Hey, just like that one show that I can’t remember the name of! I think it was called…Sex and the City.
11:14 – So Discord is banning magic, but one of the Elements of Harmony is magic. Isn’t that a little unfair?
11:46 – Okay, that was pretty clever timing about how to get them separated. I’m sure it’s mostly a plot device though.
12:03 – And of course, Fluttershy has a panic attack. Cause you know, it’s not like she FACED DOWN A FUCKING DRAGON IN SEASON ONE or anything.
12:16 – No Applejack, don’t go towards the light! Oh, and why were you growing corn earlier? I still haven’t heard an answer for that.
12:37 – Okay, if I was a little girl, talking piles of apples would probably freak me the fuck out.
13:22 – OH MY GOD! EVERYPONY GOT THEIR HORNS BACK! THIS IS GREAT NEWS!
(I should note now that I was watching this episode originally on someone’s channel who split it into two parts. This is where the second video begins, so I’ll record the timer that way. I’ll try to edit this post later to make it more accurate for people watching the episode in one piece.)
0:14 – Applejack already knows a lot about lying. Hasn’t Discord seen S1E25 Party of One? Well, I guess he was trapped in stone at the time.
0:42 – “Come on Twilight, Applejack wouldn’t lie!” …has anypony seen Party of One?
0:43 – Speaking of Pinkie Pie…
1:22 – “Your friends laugh at you all the time.” Can’t argue with that.
1:55 – I thought she was going to turn into Pinkamena. I’m disappointed.
2:16 – So Applejack is lying compulsively? Isn’t that a bit excessive? And why was she farming corn?
3:11 – I suppose ravenous greed is the opposite of selfless generosity, but isn’t this a bit of an obtuse way to show it?
3:28 – How is the going to carry that huge diamond without her unicorn telekinesis?
3:30 – MY GREED GIVES ME SUPER-STRENGTH!
3:39 – OH MY GOD A GIANT ROCK! Why does Rarity make me want to quote Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged so much?
4:42 – Nice self-confidence there Fluttershy.
4:55 – Wow, Fluttershy is totally shutting down Discord. Typical Fluttershy, talking the villain to death. LIKE A BOSS.
5:01 – If he could hypnotize them by touching them, why didn’t he just do that with everypony?
5:27 – Wow, Bitchyshy is pretty intense.
5:44 – “I know where you live.” Twilight’s home is the Ponyville library, everypony knows where she lives.
6:34 – Is that Derpy Hooves?
6:46 – So now we see Discord’s real motivation for confiscating everypony’s wings and horns – so that he could bribe them!
6:57 – How did Twilight get stuck carrying the rock by herself? I thought greedy Rarity wouldn’t let anyone but her carry the
giant rock gem? Of course, if Spike had more than 3 lines in this episode, we know that Rarity would exploit his infatuation with her to get him to carry it.
7:12 – If he knew Rainbow Dash was going to leave the game to go to Cloudsdale, why didn’t he go to her first?
7:50 – Wow, Discord’s in the position to rule all of Equestria! He’s left the ponies completely trapped and they’re in no position to fight back! What is he going to do now? How will the ponies fight back? Why was Applejack farming corn? I wonder what’s going to happen next!
7:52 – “To be continued…” MOTHERFUCKER!
8:00 on – Wow, Hasbro is making game shows out of board games now? There really isn’t anything else worth watching on The Hub.
So that was the first episode of Season 2, The Return of Harmony. My final thoughts are that it was a good episode but not a great one. The episode does a good job of setting up the next one as well as giving the viewer the history of the characters in the show, but fails to neglect some previously established plot inconsistencies and sometimes over-exaggerates character traits, both while the ponies are hypnotized and when they aren’t. This is most noticeable in Applejack, who lied several times in season one and apparently became a compulsive liar (and a very poor one at that) in this episode. There are also several plot points that are introduced and dropped – What happened to the Cutie Mark Crusaders and their classmates? And what was Spike doing the whole time?
One of the real strengths of this episode is the villain though. Discord is a lot better done as a villain that I expected, even though he doesn’t seem to have any real motivation other than that he’s had blue balls for thousands of years and just wants to get out of his stone prison and fuck shit up, which I guess could be a lot worse. Discord also isn’t that good at planning out his villainous exploits, as he could have just hypnotized everypony with a touch and then made Rainbow Dash disqualify herself within the first ten seconds with his godlike powers. I guess it could be interpreted that Discord’s character has a degree of sadism and that he likes to toy with his victims and completely demoralize them before he can feel like he’s really achieved something, but in the 14 minutes of screen time he’s had (not counting when he was a statue) there hasn’t been much to suggest that. Discord really reminds me of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, not dark and edgy like Heath Ledger, not lighthearted and campy like Cesar Romero (thankfully), but not even a balance of the two like Mark Hamill. His character seems to be largely driven by the actor playing him having a lot of fun with the role instead of his character being deep and nuanced. At least it’s not as bad as John DiMaggio’s Joker where he totally phones it in and just plays Bender in a more high-pitched voice.
But despite all this, the episode is still quite good and I’m very interested to see how everything turns out next week.
But why was Applejack farming corn?