I’m starting to have a very dreadful feeling about this fandom, when the first thing I see in Equestria Daily is a post written by Sethisto telling the fans to pipe down the hateful comments, and the next thing I see is Jayson Thiessen thanking Sethisto for saying that. Have we reached the point where people are not even allowed to express their (wrong) opinions? And I say “wrong” because “The Mysterious Mare-do-Well” is still one of the best episodes of this season (and whoever says the opposite is wrong). But that nagging feeling is still there and there’s no better way to silence it but with another one of the best episodes of this season.
Before we dive any deeper into the episode I have to warn you that there’s going to be a lot of well deserved love for this one in particular. I am trying to think of negative things to say about it even when writing these lines and it’s turning out real hard for me. But before I say anything else, here’s your TL;DR. Is the episode good? Yes. Is this one of the best episodes of season 2? Guys, for all I care, this might be even better than Luna Eclipsed. And if you keep reading you will discover why.
So the episode starts and right away we are thrown into Canterlot seen through the eyes of Rarity. She dreams of becoming part of the high class society but she kind of regrets her more humble roots. When meeting with some upper class ponies (one of them is called Jet Set, oh loardy, this episode’s awesome) she decides to make the best, fanciest dress for Twilight’s birthday that takes place that weekend. It’s during one of her shopping trips that she stumbles upon, drum-roll, the new Best Pony of the show.
|I mean him, not his trophy wife.|
Fancy Pants is ¼ Teddy Roosevelt and ¾ Clark Gable, and he is one of the most likeable characters in the entire series. He’s nice, well mannered, humble, and acts with enough humanity that it makes you forget he is a colorful pony. It’s wonderful to see this show can portray high class ponies as real, three-dimensional characters and make them really interesting. That’s one of this show’s merits; it makes you want to know more of these characters. Besides, it was about time we have another male pony (besides Big Macintosh) who is good towards the Mane Six. Fancy Pants serves to give a lesson to both Rarity and the audience: Not all high class ponies (people) are monocle wearing twats who can’t think without having a wallet stuffed with money inside their brains. They can intelligent, snarky and gentle, and Fancy Pants fills those three adjectives. Kudos to whoever came up with this character, he/she deserves a medal.
|Even when he's upset he's cool! I have a new Role Model.|
So after such incident Rarity finds herself involved into the Canterlot way of life and she starts going to parties, events and every single type of high society situation that cuts on her spare time to do Twilight’s dress, something her pet cat keeps reminding her of. I am surprised with Opalescence in the good way, because this episode portrays her as the voice of reason Rarity keeps ignoring. I liked to see her pointing at the unfinished dress and not giving a cat’s crap for all that high society Rarity gets tied up into. Things only get worse for the poor cat when Rarity puts her under the shower to make it look like she’s ill. I never thought I’d end up feeling bad for her (I hated Opal in Season 1).
Oh, and speaking of dresses, this episode is the dream of a costume designer. I am a frustrated costume designer at heart. I always wanted to do costumes for any kind of movie; science fiction, fantasy, time period pieces… This episode features some of the prettiest (and tackiest) of costumes yet. It ranges from the laughable hat Rarity wears at the races to the surprisingly adorable dress Twilight ends up wearing at her Birthday party. I love overly detailed costumes and overcharged designs, but Twilight’s dress is really pretty, and it looks really good on her. She looks even cuter than usual.
The episode has a really good, very soft quality curve that keeps going up in a very subtle way, and then it reaches to Rarity’s solo song…How do I put this into words? If it made me happier, I’d turned into a Nuclear Bomb made of candy and friendship. Not only sounded great, it’s as catchy as every other song from the series. From this moment forth, the episode just gets better. Rarity makes up an excuse to skip Twilight’s Birthday Party to attend the high class Party, and that causes Twilight and her friends to show up…so they can have the party at the same time as the High Class Society party. Then Rarity and her friends arrive to the Castle’s Royal Ball Hall, where Pinkie makes use of-WAIT WHAT THE (CENSORED)!?
|Brain Not Found.|
December 3rd 2011. Party Canons exist, and Pinkie Pie has one.
When I saw that thing I was like “Oh my God, we are all going to die!” Pinkie Pie and Canon are two things that should never be together in the same room, and yet here we are! Not only we explain how she decorates that quickly, we now gave her a weapon of mass…partying? I don’t know, but it’s awesome. See? This is why I like this show so much. There’s so much room to keep surprising people! But all canon aside Pinkie puts on some music and so the party begins. Speaking of music, it’s fantastic to see they changed some of the background music too. Twilight’s Party music is very funky and it makes me want to dance. I hate dancing and even I want to score some Sparkle Dorky dance moves. And so, at the same time we have Twilight’s Birthday party, we also see the Garden Party Rarity wanted to attend. It’s a great moment to establish the obvious contrasts between her friends and the high class society, but also to explain the whole basis of the story.
This is, probably, the first time I see real life issues hitting this show. I don’t mean the previous morals couldn’t be applied to real life, far from it, they totally can! But this time they were dealing with something that stays with us from the time we are born to the time we die, and that is having to decide between work and family, between our own desires or friends. Rarity is presented with this decision: Should she stay with her friends or should she go on and keep her social status? Because she doesn’t want to give up either of them (generosity of course), she ends up biting off more than she can chew and is forced to lie. And that’s another great point for this episode, how much it destroys that terrible cliché that is “The Liar Revealed”. You know those movies, usually romantic comedies, when the main character pretends to be something he isn’t and then he is found out, everybody hates him and then he returns to repent himself? Well, here they take that and throw it out the window. Rarity lies her way through the high class ponies to achieve some status, and this gains her a lot of notoriety. But when the rest of the Mane Cast breaks into the Garden Party, as the loyal friend she is, she stays with them and reveals herself. To which Fancy Pants comes and says (not in this words) “Well, who cares? You are an awesome designer and your friends are great, why don’t you introduce me to them?” BRILLIANT! I am so happy they break this cliché I’m about to cry; wonderful work writing staff, well done Megan McCarthy.
Oh and, by the way, that ending with the group of friends wrecking the party and ruining everything is pretty awesome. It’s not as over the top as one might expect from a cartoon and the amount of silly moments (Rainbow Dash blowing the wig off a pony, Fluttershy gathering a bunch of birds around her) makes me think this is what I wanted to see happening in The Grand Galloping Gala at the end of Season 1.
So, overall, this is a great episode. Far more memorable than some other episodes of the show, filled with great lines, a really cool new character, great moments from the Mane Six (half way through the episode I was afraid they wouldn’t show up) and a moral lesson that hit me quite close to home. You see, sometimes I don’t feel particularly proud of my country. But, it hadn’t been for it and the people I met here, I wouldn’t be the person I am right now. Well done FiM team. You just taught me something in 22 minutes that my parents never actually did. You should be proud.
|Pony of the Year. NOW! He owns a flying Yacht! He could only be cooler if his pet was a bear!|
- Defining Moment: The last ten minutes are pure genius. Not only narratively, but also character wise and animation wise. They are full of all the quirkiness and charm this show spells every second.
- Moral: You should never forget that you are the product of your place of origin and your friends, and you should never be ashamed of that. And all it took to teach me that was 22 minutes of pretty colorful ponies living their lives.