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Daily Archives: October 15, 2011

Play-By-Play: Lesson Zero

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. And of course be aware that this commentary will contain MAJOR SPOILERS.

The premise for this episode is that the writers Twilight Sparkle is unable to think of a lesson about friendship that she learned to send to Princess Celestia and she has a nervous breakdown because of it. We all know how great Twilight is when she goes crazy (as well as everypony else for that matter – this whole town needs to be on Prozac or something), so let’s jump right into the episode.

Earlier, someone asked me to embed the video so that they can have an easier time following along with the episode, so I’m going to do that from now on.


0:12 – Scalpel. Forceps. Bubblegum.

0:16 – I just realized that Spike is just holding up that scroll without a flat surface to write on. Shouldn’t he just use a clipboard? I know he has one from Winter Wrap Up.

0:18 – You made a checklist of things you need to make a checklist? We need to go deeper.

0:32 – Hey look, it’s Twilight’s trollface! Not bad, Twilight, but you need to keep your eyes open a little bit.

0:35 – Really? You’re gonna go to the intro off of that joke? …okay, if you say so. I guess it could be worse. It could be a red herring scene featuring the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

0:36 – This intro sounds a bit different.

0:44 – Whoa! It IS different! I completely forgot that this episode was going to be the debut of the new Season 2 opening. Well, let’s watch it and see how many characters are included for fanservice reasons. Right off the bat we have Big Mac, Granny Smith, and Cheerilee.

0:45 – And a split second later we have DERPY! HOORAY!

0:47 – CUTIE MARK CRUSADER CABOOSE! And Berry Punch on the edge of the screen.

0:50 – Who are these guys?

1:08 – Okay, so they didn’t change all that much. Still, it’s nice to see a new intro that acknowledges the fanbase somewhat. I don’t remember a big train running through Ponyville, but then again if it wasn’t then they wouldn’t have been able to go to Appleloosa.

1:19 – Jesus Christ, Twilight, maybe you should just get a smart phone and a Google calendar so that Spike doesn’t get your checklist all dirty when he drags it on the ground.

1:25 – OH GEE, I WONDER WHY YOU RAN OUT SO FAST. Seriously, I’d expect this from Pinkie Pie wondering about why she’s out of party supplies because she’s dumb as rocks, but I thought you were more perceptive than that Twilight. For a pony who is supposedly well learned and very scientific, you’re a fucking dumbass.

1:30 – Thank you, Spike, for capturing my emotional reaction to this perfectly. Why isn’t this show about you instead of Robin Williams from Flubber over here?

1:37 – I don’t even need to bring it up and you’re already thinking it. You know what I mean.

1:46 – Huh, I thought it would be Pinkie Pie trying to explain it instead of Mrs. Cake.

1:52 – What an abusive mother. I’m calling Dragon Protective Services on Twilight.

1:55 – Are you fucking serious, Twilight?

2:03 – Well, that’s a bit of a justification, but you’re still worrying way to much about it. Also, this could totally be the setup for a brick joke. (Spoiler: No it’s not)

2:12 – That spatula looks a lot like a knife.


2:15 – Okay, we all know where this is going – There’s going to be none left on any of them by the time Twilight gets through.

2:30 – Oh god, I already know what’s going to be photoshopped there.

2:39 – Oh my god, what’s wrong with your faaaace?

2:53 – That was fucking awesome.

3:06 – A check within a check within a check? We need to go deeper.

3:13 – Oh shit, Spike has wanker’s cramp. Looks like he’ll need to go to the Southpaw Saloon for his nightly ritual with a picture of Rarity tonight.

3:28 – “BAD!? The last pony who didn’t keep up on their friendship reports got banished to the moon for a thousand years! SO YES, SPIKE, IT’S PRETTY FUCKING BAD!”

3:36 – “Not every other week, not every ten days, not with a three week break in between episodes or a four month break between seasons! EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.” Twilight should be in charge of scheduling at The Hub.

3:55 – For me, it was Tuesday.

4:01 – Why is the windmill ticking like a clock?

4:03 – …Banished?

4:04 – Oh, god forbid. Twilight, you are such a dork.

4:06 – Pinkie Pie’s not the only one who can break the fourth wall. You show ’em, Spike.

4:24 – “But Spike, do you have any idea how cold it is on the moon? There’s no way I’m taking that chance.”

4:41 – Twilight, aren’t your test dates on your syllabus?

4:50 – Actually, I’m studying to become a teacher and I can tell you that all she would do is make you take the course again, maybe suggest you complete an IEP, your graduation date might be pushed back a little but you can make it up in summer school. Seriously, Twilight, chill the fuck out.

4:55 – Oh right, I forgot that this show is supposed to be for little children. I mean why wouldn’t it be?

5:00 – Magic Kindergarten? Is that like a feeder school to Hogwarts?

5:06 – Look at that one unicorn in the back row looking contemplative. What’s her deal?

5:08 – 4th wall? Fuck that shit, I’m a dragon, son.

5:36 – “Well, there is this one white unicorn I like, but I don’t really think she’s into me. Can you hook a brotha up here? Either that or you could magically make me a giant again so I can live like a dragon should. Do it or I’ll torch your Harry Potter books.”

5:43 – “I got nothin’. ‘Twilight Sparkle’, I mean seriously. I can’t even work with that.”

5:59 – Hey, it’s Berry Punch! Maybe you could help her with her problem of people creeping on her on Tumblr.

6:09 – Rarity just saw a compilation of Lady Gaga’s outfits.

6:21 – Oh shit, Sweetie Belle learned magic and found out how to clone herself?

6:30 – Well at least you still have Tom. OH WAIT.

6:54 – Oh Rarity, you’re such a drama queen.

No seriously, she’s a total drama queen and it’s very annoying. I honestly don’t know what you see in her, Spike.

7:31 – Twilight, it’s rude to teleport away when you’re talking to people.

Also, it’s probably worth noting that Rarity’s telekinesis seems fairly advanced since she can levitate multiple objects without needing much concentration. I never really noticed it until now, but it’s pretty impressive. I think it’ll be interesting to see if Sweetie Belle share this affinity for psychic/magical prowess, not that she’ll need it when she finally earns her cutie mark as a set designer.

7:42 – Rainbow Dash has been learning the Horse-Style Kung Fu as well as Rarity. Actually, it’s been established that she’s a black belt, so maybe she’s the instructor. Anyway, why is she wearing those safety goggles?

7:53 – Okay, what the hell is going on here?

8:02 – No, we did the Rainbow Dash vs Applejack episode already.

8:08 – “My friends hate eachother! I’m so happy!”

8:35 – lol Twilight as a shrink. I think Lucy from Peanuts would be a better psychologist.

8:39 – “Well, Twilight, when I was growing up in Cloudsdale, I’d go into the fillies locker room and I’d see the other girls, and sometimes I’d get these…feelings…”

9:00 – Fire the orbital friendship cannon!

9:07 – Holy shit, there really was a Sonic Rainboom at the end.

9:28 – “Fluttershy always needs help whenever she goes off her anxiety medication, which is always. I’m sure I can help her out of her stew of psychoses.”

9:37 – I got $200 on Fluttershy.

9:40 – HOLY SHIT. Are you watching this, Mane6Dev?

9:53 – FINISH HIM!

10:07  – FRIENDSHIP!

10:31 – We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little ponies. Wicked, tricksy, false!

>No. Not master!

>Yes, precious, false! They will cheat you, hurt you, lie!

>Master’s my friend!

>You don’t have any friends! Nobody likes you.

>I’m not listening… I’m not listening…

>You’re a liar, and a thief.



10:36 – Hey, Spike’s back! The episode is awesome again.

10:45 – Yeah, this is what a lot of people think of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

10:49 – Oh Spike, do your reality altering powers know no end?

11:20 – Wow Pinkie. Just, wow. Also, nice shades, Dash.

11:26 – Just eat off of some napkins. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since I moved into my apartment.

Oh my god, I’m disgusting.

11:34 – Oh, so you forgot to bring the plates but you remembered to bring your drama couch?

11:50 – You’re going to see that face in your nightmares now.

12:35 – Wow, way to be supportive of your friend in her time of crisis, guys.

13:07 – Fluttershy, weren’t you there when she got so mad flames came out of her mane? You know, when she was possessed by the Phoenix Force?

13:10 – Dear Kettle, You’re black, Love, Pot.

13:20 – I gotta admit, this episode has some of the best facial expressions I’ve ever seen.

13:29 – Oh god, she’s gone off the deep end. This is going to be like that one comic book where that one superhero went mad with power and turned the world into a totalitarian regime. I think it was called Squadron Supreme, Irredeemable, Superman: Red Son…

13:39 – Oh hey Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo! Where were you after the beginning of the Discord story arc? CUTIE MARK CRUSADER PLOT HOLE!


14:05 – Twilight would name her doll Smarty Pants.

14:25 – Is that what girls do with dolls? Make them do homework? idk, I only really played with Legos.

14:30 – It just occured to me that Kefka’s theme would probably go well with the rest of the episode.

14:37 – Wow, Sweetie Belle, you must really like her mane.

14:50 – She sure is, Scootaloo.

14:55 – Hah! Good one, Apple Bloom.

15:20 – Wow, so now she has a love spell?


15:33 – Okay, we’ve heard the opinions of the other two, but what do you think of the doll now, Scootaloo?

15:35 – I was expecting her to say “Dumb fabric” actually.

15:38 – “The Want-It-Need-It spell”? Isn’t that how Larfleeze forged the Orange Power Ring?

15:47 – OH I’M SORRY, DID I BREAK YOUR CONCENTRATION!? I didn’t mean to do that. Please, continue. You were saying something about lessons to be learned?

15:56 – Twilight gets into a fight with three kids half her age and GETS HER ASS KICKED. That’s just sad.

15:59 – “Big Macintosh! You licked me last episode. And it was, uh, gross. But, if you ever get the urge to do it again, I live in the library and I can send Spike out on an errand to count all the blades of grass in Ponyville or some tedious shit. What do you say?”

I’m not even joking about this. Twilight is waaay too wound up about her friendship letter. She really needs to get laid.


16:20 – Bic Macintosh is a brony? Why am I not surprised. Oh, and even when men try to solve problems, they fuck everything up FEMINIST THEORY FEMINIST THEORY FEMINIST THEORY.

16:35 – All the female ponies are all over Big Mac? Yup, I’ve read that fanfiction.

17:16 – “Don’t look at the Ark!”

17:44 – Oh shit, it’s about to go down. I hope you packed your oxygen tanks, Twilight.

17:56 – DERPY!

18:10 – Wow, he really is a brony.

18:20 – “Meet me in the library. There’s a better path to the moon on the second floor.”

18:25 – “If you care to visit, contact NASA. I’m sure they could hook you up with something.”

18:38 – Sure you will…in a thousand years.

18:45 – What is it with Rarity and Sweetie Belle repeating jokes 3 times in this episode? Maybe it’s a genetic defect.

19:41 – “You’re right Fluttershy, I shouldn’t banish Twilight. I SHOULD BANISH ALL OF YOU, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!”

20:13 – Once again, Spike saves the day.

20:35 – Aww, that’s sweet. Almost makes me forget the abuse Spike had to go through under the hooves of these ponies back in season one.

20:48 – Fluttershy, why are you looking straight at the camera?

21:05 – You took the words right out of my mouth, Spike.

21:20 – Well shit, Spike, you don’t have to cross out the whole thing.

21:23 – “No respect at all. I got Rarity’s cat watchin’ me when I’m over at her house, she wants to learn how to beg. Back at Canterlot, I was in a game show and I won, so Celestia gave me a 20 day vacation…to the moon. And Twilight keeps takin’ me to the Everfree Forest, she says she’s hopin’ my real parents will claim me. I get no respect, I tell ya, no respect at all.”

So that was the third episode of season two, and I thought it was pretty good. The animation is solid with some wacky faces being used all over, the acting and writing are very good in that nobody is doing anything out of character, with the only possible exception being Twilight’s nervous breakdown, but that sort of thing is not unprecedented. In contrast to the season premiere, this episode is extremely character driven, and character driven episodes are what this show excels at. I also think that it’s a decent episode to serve as a jumping-on-point, although most of the ponies besides Twilight kind of get ignored. This is the first episode of the entire series where Lauren Faust is credited as a Consulting Producer instead of an Executive Producer, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the quality of the show at all. I said in my Return of Harmony Play-By-Play that this was nothing to worry about, and I’m glad that this episode largely proved me right. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season, especially after reading some of the episode summaries.