It’s very easy to forget where you come from when you are so focused on what you are doing at the moment. It’s funny how this fandom usually forgets that it has its origins in one of the absolute worst places in the internet, yet the positive and helpful stuff that comes out of it still tramples over everything negative we do. It’s kind of a loaded argument to use, especially coming from a guy who was stuck in the furry fandom for eleven years until he realized that it was the closest one could find to a furnace full of ungrateful drama-loving douche-nozzles. My attitude towards this fandom has always been positive, and it still is despite all the bad that’s been hitting us lately, so no matter how hard others try I will still see this fandom as the best fandom I've ever been in. However, it is clear that many times we forget what inspired its creation. Why are we here? Why are we called Bronies? Why do we rush to our TVs and PC monitors every Saturday just to watch these pastel colored tiny talking horses prance around a non-existent land called Equestria ruled by two flying unicorn sisters that control the Sun and the Moon? And why do we still try to make sense of things like figuring out how old is Rainbow Dash? I never lost track of where we come from. We are basically new to the scene, yet we are as integrated and normal as every other fandom out there. So what gives us our personality and makes us stand out above everyone else?
So the episode starts with a mysterious pony dressed like The Man with No Name, though this pony does have a name and that is Cheese Sandwich. He is leaving what I think is the town of Appleoosa when his entire body shakes from head to hoof. As it turns out, his Cheese Sense (trademark pending I guess) is telling him that his next party should be in the town of Ponyville, so he takes on the journey with his trusty companion Boneless, who’s nothing but a googly-eyed rubber chicken.
|I have seen some shit.|
It’s in the town of Ponyville where Pinkie Pie is arranging the preparations for an upcoming party at the rhythm of a song (expect me to say that a lot, because this episode does follow on the trend of the Season 3 finale, with a song every two sentences). This party is a really special one because it’s Rainbow Dash’s Birthday and her anniversary of when she moved to Ponyville, or like Rarity puts it, her Birthaversary. But it’s right during these preparations that Cheese Sandwich shows up and he happens to be such a fun loving super duper party planner (as his introductory song exposes) that every pony in town focus their attention on him and forget about Pinkie Pie, who just stays on the sidelines and lets the party pass her by.
|There goes my generation, all with degrees but me.|
So with all the town paying attention to Cheese, Pinkie Pie can’t find the energy to even keep up with his apparent beaming talent, so she goes through what I can only describe as a very rushed existential crisis as she realizes that maybe her party planning skills aren't what they used to. We see her try different jobs, and failing at all of them, because her true calling and what’s makes her Pinkie is her incredible party organizing skills. However, and despite putting away her party cannon, her balloons, and everything else, as she is going through her party memory lane, she realizes that there is no point in giving up without putting a fight. After looking at the pictures of all the parties that we have seen in the show (the very first one with her family, Twilight’s welcome to Ponyville party, Gummy’s Birthday, The Royal Wedding) she grabs her party paraphernalia and challenges Cheese Sandwich to a Goof Off.
|Insert "Scott Pilgrim VS The World" joke here.|
A Goof Off is basically a duel to prove which one of the two challengers is the funniest, and since this is Rainbow Dash’s Party, Dash has to be the judge. This only turns into a chaotic pandemonium of silliness, giant cheese wheels, balloons, cuts to real life versions of Boneless and Gummy (to which I lost it almost immediately) and cakes big enough to count as buildings. It’s because of one of these cakes that falls of the crane Pinkie is using to lift it and falls right on top of Rainbow Dash. Right there Pinkie realizes that Dash is not really enjoying the celebration, as she is pretty much sad and kind of annoyed. Right there Pinkie stops the Goof Off and forfeits, giving Cheese Sandwich the victory. This surprises all of the ponies, including Cheese, as Pinkie packs her stuff and prepares to leave Ponyville.
|Oh my God, I just realized it's her "Welcome Party Wagon", but she's using it to leave.|
But right as she’s leaving her six friends (the Mane Five and Spike) stop her from leaving and apologize for paying more attention to Cheese than to her. It’s in this moment when Cheese shows up to apologize to Pinkie, as his enthusiasm only comes from how excited he was for showing his party skills to her. Then Cheese tells the story of how shy and meek he was as a little colt, and how he left Manehattan wondering if Equestria would ever know his name. He then one day stumbled into Ponyville, right in the middle of a major party, and that inspired him to become a party pony himself! He partied left and right all over the land, and his name became well known to every pony. But all of this couldn’t have happened without that one party in Ponyville, as the one who organized was none other than Pinkie Pie herself. Knowing that Pinkie inspired Cheese, and accepting his apologies, they both team up and organize the most epic Birthday-Anniversary party ever! The set up is so unbelievable that the party lasts all night.
|The hangover the next morning was unbelievable.|
The next morning Pinkie is writing on the Friendship Diary as Cheese gifts her his most prized possession: His rubber chicken Boneless. He then walks away, heading to another town where parties are needed, leaving behind a town that will surely never forget him.
|Just another day in The Wasteland.|
So that was “Pinkie Pride”, and my God I really don’t know where I start listing all the things that I liked about it. In typical true fashion with these reviews I think I shall tackle what I thought was its only weakness, and it’s so minute I shall cover it in a small paragraph.
I think the rhythm is too all over the place. The secret to the narrative in this show is a perfect combination of character arc, rhythm and tone. When you combine all three flawlessly what you get is a flawless narrative. If we were to follow this criteria then the episodes with the best narrative of the season have been “Castle Mane-ia”, “Bats!” and “Rarity Takes Manehattan”, as these episodes have a perfect combination of those three elements. Usually an episode of this show follows a three act structure with an intro, all of which are separated by a fade to black where they cut to commercials. “Pinkie Pride” has four fades to black, so the usual three act structure can’t be applied. However, I don’t think this is the fault of the episode, not even Amy Keating Roger’s. The rhythm is so jittery and it moves so all over the place because the story demands it to be like this. It’s tied to how random, weird and unusual this story and it’s events are. It’s a case of it being out of control and it being unable to be any other way. While this isn't bad, especially because it gets the point across that what is happening is indeed really odd, it’s still a break from the norm and it’s worth pointing out. If it had happened in any other episode it would have been a disastrous flaw, but because it happened in this one then it’s nothing but a nitpick.
|Oooh, a nitpick he says. He has a nitpick mister "I love every episode regardless of quality".|
As for what I liked, I think I could finish this review very quickly just writing “I liked everything else” and call it a day. But I am not a hack, and I am in no hurry no time constrain like those YouTube “analysts” are. Since writing a review is way easier and faster, and since I have no space limits in my own blog, I can take all the time in the World to write what and why I liked of this episode.
|Let's look in the dictionary the definition of "Smugness".|
For starters, I love the structure based upon songs. You’ll have to admit that, whether you liked or hated “Magical Mystery Cure”, this show has proven that it can pull off a musical episode and make it be as compelling and fun as it can be. This episode not only develops the musical episode concept for this show, but it improves it. I know it’s pretty incredible for me to say this, but I think the songs in this episode work better than in the Season three finale. While in the finale it was more like a constant mood whiplash, this episode is all about building a tone and setting up the next song, that way it flows better.
The songs are all amazing. They are all catchy, memorable, smart, and really well written. “Pinkie the Party Planner” is upbeat and fun, and has a similar vibe to it like “Smile, Smile, Smile” though with a different tune. It’s very down to Earth when you think about it, as it’s simply a song about Pinkie Pie drawing a banner for Rainbow Dash’s Birthday.
“The Super Duper Party Pony” is just random fun. The transitions between each segment are insane, and they capture the feel of a Weird Al Yankovic video clip. Seriously, it felt like I was 8 years old and I was watching “The Top 40 Singles” in my living room (it was a Spanish music TV Show similar to the MTV). It has all the rhythm and energy of a Weird Al song, and it ends in a fitting sad note that prepares us for the next song.
“Pinkie’s Lament” is one of the most surprising songs of the series. It starts very sad, very slow, and very moody. We are basically seeing Pinkie Pie giving up, putting away her stuff, and basically quitting partying. The moment she puts her Party Cannon away is just downright depressing. But then she starts looking over her old party photos, and decides to try one last thing before giving up, so the song switches from depressing and sad to upbeat and hopeful, which also serves as a great segue for the next song.
“The Goof Off” is just insane. It feels like peeking inside the mind of an insane pony. If Screw Loose thinks of anything but barking, this must be what it looks like. When the show cut away to live action shots of Boneless and Gummy I thought I had gone mad. It’s really weird, and really out of nowhere, yet within the context of this episode (and especially this song) it totally works. It’s a bit of a bummer that the song ends so abruptly though, but it works since this is a type of song that literally goes nowhere. It’s not telling a story, it’s not teaching us anything, it’s just throwing stuff at us to see what sticks to our minds (answer: everything).
“Cheese Confesses” is one of those songs that will go down in MLP history for being so filled with positivity and hope. It seems to be an ongoing thread in this season, but it really is a hopeful song that encourages us to not giving up on what we like doing. It’s the story of how Cheese was inspired by Pinkie to become a party pony, and if it hadn't been for her he wouldn't be around. Who knows what his talent could have been! The same way “Smile, Smile, Smile” reminded us to be happy, this song reminds us to keep doing what we do best and not give up on it, as there will always be someone that we inspire with our craft.
“Make a Wish” is a good song to give closure to all the story lines in the episode, as Pinkie’s, Cheese’s and Rainbow’s Birthday all converge together in one last happy hurrah before the ending arrives. It’s catchy, it’s very pop and when it comes to the lyrics it’s not as creative as the other ones, but the setting is what sells this song.
|If Hasbro ever makes that balloon, I'll by a fleet of them.|
|I'm passing on the punch.|
By the way, the visual aspect of this episode is amazing. I know I have been saying the same of every episode of this season, but they just keep on coming. There is so much stuff going on in each scene that one viewing is not enough. This is the type of episode that you need to watch several times, with the finger on the pause button, in order to appreciate all the work and effort that goes into it. There are background events, cameos, little jokes, details, everything! Rainbow Dash’s party towards the end feels as it epic as the characters say it is. There are giant balloons, a fruit punch swimming pool with giant doughnuts, a karaoke, dancing, party tanks, kites, rides on hippos, roller coasters, giant party cakes, anything you can imagine and it’s there. It’s a great set up. And previous to that we have had Cheese’s random scene transitions, his musical numbers, the Goof Off duel, it’s just so much. But it never feels cluttered or disorganized. It all makes sense within the context of the episode and it adds up to the madness.
|Cannons and roller coasters, it's like my childhood.|
|Where's Waldo pony?|
The tone and the writing are, indeed, pretty chaotic, but at the same time they are happy, joyful, upbeat, and hopeful. There is a distinct lack of cynicism and that’s primordially because Amy Keating Rogers is an expert at avoiding it. Her episodes shine without a spot of sarcasm or subtext. What you see is what you get and she manages to squeeze all the potential out of it. Every time a song ends it always leaves you feeling like there is something better coming up, like there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is positivity and the certainty of something better out there. I don’t want to read too much into it, but it’s the kind of thing we should listen to when our strength starts failing us. Every character is written in character, and it keeps the focus on Pinkie, Dash and Cheese while also giving the others something memorable to do (like Twilight and her “Goof Off Guide” or Rarity coming up with the word “Birthaversary”). It also throws enough continuity at us to stop a train, and this goes from seeing the settler ponies and the buffaloes in Appleoosa to the Baby Cakes cameo and the photos to Pinkie’s past parties.
|This is the only context in which I'll happily remember "Over a Barrel".|
The one thing that really worried me was Weird Al Yankovic doing a guest appearance in the show. Don’t get me wrong, I love Weird Al Yankovic. He is a genius of the parody, an incredibly talented man, and a fantastic guy. His creativity spans decades, he has managed to improve famous songs thanks to his own versions, and he never fails at bringing a smile to our faces. I think I have never ever seen someone say something bad about him. Seriously, I have never seen someone say “I don’t like that guy”, because how could you? He is Weird Al Yankovic! He is probably the most likable human being on the planet! How can anyone hate this guy?
|Or any of these guys for that matter?|
My concern, however, comes from a very problematic and extended trend within the voice acting scene that affects every production that takes the potential risk of bringing celebrity voice actors into their projects. Let’s face it, very rarely a celebrity voice actor will surpass the talent of a professional voice actor. I wouldn’t bother hiring Mike Myers if I can get the talent of Peter New, and I’d definitely wouldn't think of hiring Mandy Moore if I can get Tara Strong. Celebrity voice actors are rarely very good in their performance, and they come so few and far between that it makes one feel hopeless. To me a perfect example of celebrity voice actor fusing with the character like they are one is Vincent Price as Ratigan from “Basil, the Great Mouse Detective”. We have an example of this in My Little Pony, though not as unbelievably amazing as Vincent Prince, but John de Lancie takes the role of Discord and makes it his own with all the right of those who tailored it for him. So, how good can a show be to pull this kind of stunt twice? Well, considering how much I've been writing about this episode, I’d say this show is definitely good enough to pull this off twice.
|Do I make a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" joke or a "Jazz Man" joke?|
Weird Al Yankovic is not just good as Cheese Sandwich. He is Cheese Sandwich. It doesn’t take that long to believe that he is a super duper party pony with a grilled cheese sandwich mark on his butt (by the way, whoever came up with that Cutie Mark deserves an award in design). When I saw him and, most importantly, when I heard him in the show I didn’t see a guy standing in front of a microphone, nor a ponified version of Weird Al Yankovic. I saw a real full-flexed character that felt like it came from another world but at the same time like it belonged to it. That is really difficult to pull off, making a character that’s both unusual but that it also belongs to the universe is thrown in. His design was brilliant. Brown mane and yellow-y orange body, pretty much like a toasty cheese sandwich; dressed like Clint Eastwood in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, with a rubber chicken named Boneless riding on his group. His singing was energetic and happy, full if catchy tunes that I will be humming for weeks to come. And not only is he well acted, talented, fun and funny, but he is really likable. He is beyond likable, he is relatable. By the time the episode was over I wanted to give this guy the biggest hug. His motivations and his attitude hit really close to home for me as well. It felt wonderful that this show put my concerns to rest the way it did.
|He even had an accordion, come on guys.|
From my point of view, and when it comes to the perception of the fandom, this show has two types of episodes.
There are episodes where the audience is divided on, and with this I mean there are the typical episodes that are either loved by some and hated by some. For example “BoastBusters”, “Fall Weather Friends”, “Look Before you Sleep”, “Owl’s Well that Ends Well” or “A Dog and Pony Show” in Season one; “The Cutie Pox”, “Hearts and Hooves Day”, “Puttingyour Hoof Down”, “Dragon Quest” or “A Canterlot Wedding” in Season two; or basically the entire run of Season three. Hell, Season three is pretty much the embodiment of this kind of thing. There is no unanimous consensus in the quality of any of the episodes of that season. I have seen enough reviews, arguments, videos, articles, forum threads and image gallery comments to realize that we will never figure out how good or how bad Season three really was, which is why every time people talk about it they emphasize how personalized their opinion is. Objectivity doesn’t agree with Season three.
|Relevant to this fandom.|
However, the second type of episodes this show has to offer are those where the audience’s opinion is pretty much unanimous. They are episodes where you really need to dig and look hard in order to find a negative opinion of them, and those are episodes like “Dragonshy”, “Winter Wrap Up”, “Sonic Rainboom”, “Green Isn’t your Color”, “Party of One”, “The Return of Harmony”, “Luna Eclipsed”, “Sweet and Elite”, “Family Appreciation Day”, “Read it and Weep”, “A Friend in Deed” or “Hurricane Fluttershy”. These episodes have proven to be really excellent episodes that you can play at any brony meet-up or convention and you will guarantee the enjoyment of the entire audience without having them throw their fedoras at the screen.
|Touch my fedora and I will strangle you.|
So far Season four has given us only three episodes where the opinion seems pretty much unanimous, and those are “Princess Twilight Sparkle” and “Rarity Takes Manehattan”. It seemed like this season was going the way of Season three for some, but we then find an example of this with “Pinkie Pride”. “Pinkie Pride” will go down in history as the one episode that made every single Brony analyst and reviewer agree in their opinions. I seriously have yet to see a negative opinion about it and so far the positivity is so overwhelming and so gushing I can imagine Amy Keating Rogers flying on a hot air balloon fueled with enough Brony praise to reach the Moon.
|Fly Pinkie! Fly to Freedom!|
In conclusion, this is one of the greatest episodes in the series. It’s the type of episode that makes you feel happy for becoming a fan of this show. It has great writing, great characters, great songs, great imagination, great set ups, a lot of happiness, positivity, hopefulness, it feels magical, it feels awesome, it just feels right. It’s a great episode and I am really glad that many others agree on this regard.
As for the ongoing background story line, it seems like this episode continues the build up to what lies inside that mysterious hexagonal chest that we saw at the beginning of the season. So far three episodes have had characters’ eyes beam with the colors of the rainbow, followed by a supporting role character that gives them a gift that also glows with rainbow colors. Does this mean that these objects are the keys to open that chest? And is this an indication that what lies inside it has something to do with Hasbro’s new Rainbow Power toy line? I’m pretty sure it is related, but as for what causes all this I am going to take a long shot and say that what’s inside the box is the Rainbow of Light from Generation 1. That would be really fucking cool.
|But, you know, whatever they want to give to us is fine.|
- Defining Moment: Cheese Sandwich's confession where we discover that the one who inspired him to become a party pony was none other than Pinkie Pie.
- Moral: For the first time in this show, we are not told what the moral is, and before doing a long shot interpretation I am going to hold on to it. However, I know it will be revealed in an upcoming book Hasbro will release this summer! So, keep an eye out for it!