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11 February 2014

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Simple Ways"

Once upon a time I was part of the furry fandom. It was a dark and damp time during which a lot of Rule 34 was drawn and drama knocked at the doors of my gallery every week. It was also a time filled with self-righteous assholes coming at me and telling me that the way I was doing things was wrong. At least once a month during ten years I always had someone coming to my VLC gallery or to my FurAffinity gallery with a list of complains and a handful of pictures with red traces on them, to show me how to properly do anatomy. I wasn’t that confident back then, so I followed all of their advices as they shouted at me through the power of caps lock, and always the result that I ended up with looked nothing like what I had produced. It looked like someone had shat it through a Rob Liefeld generator, and it had the exact same aesthetic as what every popular artist was drawing at the moment.

That’s when I realized that doing what other people tell you to do only works on two cases: With truths that are universal (like telling the difference between “you’re” and “your”), and when they are paying you for it. Even with the last one there are some things you shouldn't be forced to cope with. You don’t need to change anything about yourself just because you want to appeal to other people. You have to be who you are, with all your flaws and all your virtues, and if you try to change because you want to make other people happy, then you are hurting yourself more than you can imagine.

This week’s episode might have reminded me of those times when I was trying to please everyone and forgot about being myself, and even when doing so I ended up getting ridiculed and laughed at. It’s not hard to send me flying on a flashback though, but I give this episode merit for doing so. This might be a good episode, sure, but I am not sure if it’s the perfect episode to introduce people to the character of Rarity. In the end, how well does it hold up being the halfway point of Season 4, and coming after a perfect run of fulfilling episodes? Let’s find out.

So the episode starts with the Mane Six attending, along all of Ponyville, to the reveal of the Master of Ceremonies for the upcoming Ponyville’s Day Celebration. It’s such a big event that everypony has gathered to see who the winner will be, and that’s none other than fashion horse and diamond butt extraordinaire, Rarity! With this new found responsibility, she sets to make the celebration the most “chic” celebration of all, all the way down to the name of the theme. After setting up the different events, and splitting the responsibilities between her friends, Rarity then focuses in making the celebration good enough to impress the one pony that she has a crush on, a travelling journalist pony known as Trenderhoof. Trenderhoof happens to be an expert in discovering places and making them popular through his writing, and Rarity is ecstatic to impress him, but not as much as she is invested in declaring her love for him.

Geeze Rarity, take a cold shower, would you?
She welcomes him once he arrives to the train station (thanks to Twilight’s confidence push) and proceeds to show him around town, all while Rarity has eyes for him and him only. But then, as soon as they get to Sweet Apple Acres, Trenderhoof’s attention is drawn by Applejack, who seems to be bucking and eating apples in the most seductive and slow-motion-est way possible. Trenderhoof gets wrapped by Applejack’s country ways and soon forgets about Rarity, who’s heart shatters into a million pieces.

Look, I captured the exact moment when her soul breaks into smithereens.
Back at her Boutique, Rarity is hopelessly upset by this turn of events, so much so that she quickly disregards Spike’s crush on her and tries to figure out what Applejack has that she doesn’t. At the same time, Trenderhoof is trying to court Applejack with less success than Clive Palmer’s Jurassic Park project, as they get interrupted by Rarity wearing a very Gaudy country outfit in the hopes of tickling Trend’s farm side. Failing at that, Rarity then moves to try and doing some farm chores but when Applejack (who’s only actions in the entire episode have been just being herself and doing her daily job) proves to be more country than her, Rarity accuses her of stealing Trenderhoof’s attention from her. Appalled, and desperate, Rarity then does something even more extreme. She changes the entire subject of Ponyville’s Day Celebration making it farm themed, puts on a really exaggerated country accent, messes up her hair, puts on some torn overalls, and basically goes so country that Bob Dylan is telling her to tone it down.

I love being a meme in 4chan!!!
These changes don’t please any of the Mane Six, especially Applejack who knows very well this is just to impress Trenderhoof, so she sets up a plan to take it back at Rarity. Back at Sweet Apple Acres, Rarity is getting everything ready for one of the events, when Applejack shows up all coiffed and brushed, wearing a beautiful dress and with her hair styled like a Manehattan lady. She then starts acting exactly like Rarity, accent and all, as she lists how beautiful she is, and how well she smells (no really, she does). Rarity, on the other hoof, says how bad her hooves are and how dirty her hair is. The situation escalates to a point where Rarity ends up jumping into a puddle of mud and some of it splashes onto Applejack’s dress. This crime against fashion is enough to make her snap out of her idiotic trance, as she apologizes to Applejack for acting like a self-centered idiot who just wanted to impress someone else. But it’s right here when Trenderhoof shows up, all dressed in a similar outfit to Rarity’s, and says he wants to move to Ponyville! When Applejack fails to tell him this is a bad idea, Rarity then proceeds to change his mind with the moral of the episode. She tells him that changing who you are just to impress others is not the way to go.

Oh...but I had already appointed the gelding with the doctors.
With everything solved, and Rarity returning to the way she was before all of this, Ponyville’s Day Celebration goes swimmingly, everypony has a great time, and their conflicts end up being resolved.

Another Tango would have been nice, though.
So that was “Simple Ways” and boy is this going to be a complicated review. I really don’t know how to tackle this one, I really don’t. It’s not as simple as dividing it in the things that I liked and the things that I didn’t like, because they are so mixed up. Hell, there isn't even a point in organizing this depending on how the fandom reacted to this because everybody loves or hates this episode for completely different reasons. Some say is the absolute best and that it’s a one thousand seventy three out of ten episode, and others are calling this the biggest betrayal since “Star Wars Episode III”. The division in this episode is staggering, and I have never seen something like this since the reviews of the new version of Les Miserables”. I guess I am going to start with those issues that I have with the episode that aren't muddled in with the things that I liked; these are the problems that I think can be cleanly cut out and fixed.

Stop using the wipers, they are not fixing it, they are making it worse!
I think the rhythm if this episode is total crap. I know, I am sounding like a broken record when it comes to this, but if Season 4 is going to be remembered in my book of complains is as one of the most unevenly paced Seasons in fiction. This makes the narrative suffer immensely and so far only a couple of episodes have managed to avoid this problem. The three act structure in this episode is, once again, thoroughly trampled for a structure that doesn’t divide its acts properly. A well planned episode can be divided in three chunks and all have a consistent amount of action and dialogue to keep the narrative satisfied. I have done examples in the past, but in case you haven’t seen them I will show it again for all of you just so you know what I am talking about here. Let’s pick an episode from this season that has good pacing, like "Power Ponies".

I will never stop referencing this episode.
- Act 1: The comic book is established and our heroes are introduced.
- Act 2: The heroes’ powers are shown, and they end up getting captured.
- Act 3: The heroes are rescued, defeat the villain, and return to their world.

As it is right now, “Simple Ways” goes more or less like this.

- Act 1: The Ponyville’s Day event, Rarity’s crush on Trenderhoof, and Trenderhoof’s crush on Applejack are all introduced.
- Act 2: Rarity tries to impress Trenderhoof and failing changes her looks.
- Act 3: Applejack gives Rarity some of her own medicine, and everything gets restored back to normal.

Do you see the problem here? The second act the same consistency as wet toilet paper, and it goes literally nowhere. There are so many scenes that aren't needed at all that it feels like peeking into a trash can full of rejected ideas. The scene where Rarity is trying to buck apples is totally unnecessary, as well as the endless walk around Ponyville with Trenderhoof and Applejack, and don’t get me started with the scene where Rarity accuses Applejack of stealing Trender from her. The first act and the third act get the story going and then resolved respectively, but during the second act it feels more like the narrative has gone away to catch butterflies or something because it doesn’t advance one inch. This is particularly terrible because we barely get enough pay off after a build up that lasted more than half of the episode. I guess this was made to accentuate the comedy of the whole thing but, to be perfectly honest, the comedy isn't really that good.

Perfect metaphor about the episode's comedy.
The comedy is particularly uninspired in this episode. What little there is isn't really all that satisfying, and for an episode that featured Rarity throwing herself into a puddle of mud it feels boring and kind of unneeded. But most important is the dialogue, and what is supposed to be a funny comedy routine between the characters. The jokes felt forced most of the time, and some of the funny dialogue has no direction. Which is a shame because there were very good moments here and there. The scene where Spike looks at the camera right after Rarity accuses him of not knowing what it is to have a crush on someone is downright hysterical. That look he gives at the camera says it all. Or the scene where Rarity is trying to make a plow work and she’s totally clueless about it, that was hilarious as well. Or the scene where Applejack reveals herself as Applejewel, and she is giving the duckiest duck face in the planet. Those scenes were awesome!

More of this please! No, seriously, a lot more of this.
But for every one of those somewhat funny moments there is a cascade of bad ones or, even worse, cringe worthy ones, so there is really no point in me considering the comedy nothing but a flat point in this episode. This really hurts me because Josh Haber also wrote “Castle Mane-ia” which I regard as one of the funniest episodes of the entire show, and then he presents this uninspired, awkward, unfunny fest, and all I can do with this is just shrug and cross it as just not funny at all.

Besides, Rarity suffered a lot more in that episode.
Also, I don’t think the character of Trenderhoof is really well flexed out. I know he is a new character, and that new characters usually take a while to grow on you, but I think he isn't really that interesting, which is funny when he considers himself the most interesting pony in Equestria. He doesn’t really have anything that I could say would make Rarity go crazy for. With other characters like Blueblood, or Fancy Pants I could see why she’d be interested in them. Blueblood was an asshole, but had a position of power and a gorgeous mane, and Fancy Pants was a really nice guy with connections all over Canterlot. But Trenderhoof is just a popular journalist. He is a popular journalist who doesn’t do any journalist stuff while he is in town. He has no pen, no notebook, and when he focuses on Applejack he just loses all interest in the event he is supposed to be writing about.

"Uhm, aren't you supposed to be workin' sugarcube?"
"Oh, I'd rather see you working your flank off, sweetie pie."
In his defense though I will say that her is harmless. He isn't such a big of an asshole to Rarity as Blueblood was, and he is not as harmful to Applejack as the Flim Flam brothers were. He is not a villain, he’s just a guy. He is just a harmless uninteresting guy who got struck by Cupid when looking at AJ, and who Rarity has a crush on. So he might be underdeveloped, and boring, but from this point of view I have to appreciate his simplicity. I don’t hate the guy, far from it, in fact he seems to be pretty adorable. He doesn’t want to gain Applejack’s heart for some egotistical purpose, he just wants to impress that pony that struck him hard enough to drop everything around him. He might be flat, but he is strangely compelling.

Come on, he's a cute waifu thief, you all have to agree on that.
And this is where I think the episode’s virtues start to shine, at least for me, because I think the character interactions are brilliant. There are times where it feels like they are being dragged by the story more than by their actions, but overall it is really good. First of all, we have Spike. Spike is the poor guy who got stuck in the friendzone forever and now he’s always being dragged around by the object of his desire all over the place. He is always there to help out Rarity, even after she calls him out for not knowing what it feels like to have a crush on someone else. The little guy is willing to put up with Rarity’s crap so much which shows how blind his appreciation for her is. This is so relatable that it hurts my heart. More than once I have had to put up with a lot of shit some of my friends give to me, and many times my friends are the ones that have to put up with the shit I give to them, but we never abandon each other because we are friends. We known better than to leave the other in the dust.

The friendzone smells like tears and run mascara.
I loved the interaction between Applejack and Rarity. It felt like the friendship between these two is still really genuine. Granted, there were a couple of scenes that were pretty awkward, especially the argument where Rarity accuses Applejack from stealing Trenderhoof’s attention, but I dare you to tell me that you have never had an argument like that with your friends. We all have, admit it, we all have been that low at some point in our lives, and that scene captures the essence painfully well. Also, their back and forth at the end, with Applejack being all fancy and high class, and Rarity being all country and farm pony is priceless. It was a really smart glance at the lives each pony could have lived, had they chosen a different path when they were fillies (what with Applejack trying to go to Manehattan, and Rarity being born in Ponyville). They even gave Applejack a hairstyle similar to the one she had in her flashback in “The Cutie-MarkChronicles”. Their banter in that scene was great, and it got resolved into a really good moment that cemented their friendship much better than “Look Before you Sleep” did. This time it got resolved because Applejack knew exactly how to make Rarity realize the err of her ways. She proved to be a good friend by not abandoning her and showing how wrong she was for acting this way. Not even after Rarity was a total bitch to her for accusing her of stealing Trender’s attention with her country ways.

Admit it though, it's really hard to ignore those country ways.
Applejack, by the way, is a fantastic character in this episode. Ever since the premiere of Season three I have been defending the cow-pony against all her detractors, and I am happy that I've done so, because this episode proves how likable her simplicity is. I like characters that are straight forward, good hearted, and nice to people; you know like Captain America, Nicolas Angel from “Hot Fuzz”, Fix it Felix, Optimus Prime, or Princess Cadance. One look at them and you’d think they have nothing going on but what you see, and that’s exactly why I like them. They are simple, easy to talk to, and (for me) very easy to get engaged to. In this regard, Applejack is perfect in this episode. She is just being herself and she is the last one who wants to be involved in this whole love triangle mambo-jambo. She knows what to do, how to do it, and she ends up being right in her assumptions. That slow-mo shot of her sweating and removing apple juice from her mouth is both hilarious and head-scratching worthy, and when she dressed as a fancy pony she totally killed me. This episode shows everything why she’s become the new favorite pony of so many fans, and she’s still my second favorite. She was everything I liked her for.

Duck face included.
As you might have noticed already, I am making my efforts to ignore the white coated and purple mane unicorn in the room, as I really wanted to leave her for last. I was thinking for a good half an hour what else I could talk about before moving to what really is the heart of this episode, and to be perfectly honest I don’t think there is much else to say.

Let's see if I can find something to say around here.
The moral was really good. I don’t think this show has ever tackled a moral like this before, and considering the tone of Season four overall it’s really fitting and it makes a lot of sense that right now they talk about it. This moral doesn’t really say anything to me, as I learnt this years ago, but those little kids that started watching this show when they were five or six years old are now eight or nine, and they are getting to the age where looks and behavior are judged severely by their friends and class mates. It’s good that this show is teaching those kids to be proud of being who they are.

The rest of the Mane Six are surprisingly un-involved in these events, despite them being there the whole time, but they do have their good moments here and there, like Pinkie Pie’s balloon head, and Fluttershy commenting on how ridiculous Rarity’s new get up is.

The tone is consistent and keeps itself between farcical drama and romantic comedy. It’s kind of weird, but then the entire episode is so it fulfills on itself and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get used to it.

And the cameos were a lot of fun, especially seeing Derpy Hooves, Vinyl Scratch, Bulk Biceps, and a collection of oddly dressed ponies in the background.

So, overall, there isn't really much else to talk about at great length but Rarity and how was she portrayed in this episode, so let’s stop dancing around the issue and let’s talk about it.

I think Rarity was amazing in this episode.

I know my opinion is like a loaded die, and it might look like I am cheating, but I am going to explain why to such an extent that I will prove to you guys how much of an obsessive fanboy I am.

My obsession doesn't reach these levels, mind you.
I will start by saying that Tabitha St. Germain left her vocal chords in the acting booth. This episode gives us all the types of Rarity one could ever ask for. She is wimpy and whinny, with her adorable screechy whimpers and cries. She is loud and dramatic, screaming at the top of her lungs. She can be shy and nervous, and really insecure. And when she puts on the fake southern accent it definitely is worth losing your marbles for. She is an absolute riot and Tabitha’s performance makes Rarity come out of the screen. It makes me forget that what I’m watching is a cartoon pastel colored tiny marshmallow horse, and all I see is a character that is just alive.

She has the moves like Jagger.
Rarity has had her share of episodes where she is the main focus, and in all of those episodes there has been a strong emphasis of her positive as well as her negative qualities. This is always the case as to balance out her flaws and her virtues, which end up making her one of the most well round, compelling characters of the entire series. In every other episode however she has either been the butt of jokes, or the generally helpful support character, but one thing that has never happened is that she has been portrayed in an exaggerated negative manner. Her flaws have never been accentuated. If you think about it the episodes where Rarity isn’t the focus have portrayed her as either a likable, helpful, and good pony (Putting your Hoof Down, Dragon Quest, The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000, CastleMane-ia, Power Ponies, Swarm of the Century, Secret of my Excess) or as a flawed pony with redeeming qualities (Sleepless in Ponyville, Look Before you Sleep, A Dog and Pony Show, Mmmystery on the Friendship Express) but very rarely has an episode portrayed her in a completely negative way. This was good for all of us fans of Rarity. We had our perfect white horse being all great and wonderful, and untainted and pristine, and we enjoyed it. We could ignore all her flaws because her virtues were so strong, or mostly because her flaws were never exploited.

I am a dirty, dirty, dirty horse Spike! Dirty I tell you!!!
Well here’s this episode to shove her flaws right on our faces, and we are hand-tied so there is nothing we can do about it. In this episode Rarity comes of as a horrible pony. She is self-centered. She is egotistical. She puts her interests before those of her friends and the whole town. She disregards her responsibilities. She is screechy. She is whinny. She has no decor for her own image and her craft. She lets a silly crush on a guy who doesn’t care for her dictate her actions. She is accusative, and heartless with those that love her. She is every single negative thing that has to do with her but turned up to eleven, and then a bit more. Despite a very humbling, and very well done redemption at the end of the episode, she comes off as one of the most horrible ponies in the entire show. It might sound like I hate this by the way I’m wording it, but my words don’t come from hate but from fear. The scary thing is not that Rarity is like this in this episode, but the fact Rarity has the potential to be like this…all the time!

Imagine this, in every episode, at all times.
Let’s think about what I said before. From day one Rarity has been that one character that people were undecided upon. Do we hate her? Do we love her? Is she the typical prissy girl, or is she the antithesis to that? Well, Rarity has all the potential to be the typical prissy girl that is usually the villain in shows like this one, but we have always seen her from a very positive point of view. We know all her virtues, that she is generous, caring, helpful, happy with her craft, able to help others, determined, she loves her friends, she loves her sister, and her family, she’s proud of her place of origin, and she aspires to be famous without losing those who made her who she is. But how can we appreciate how good she is and how good she can be, if we don’t see how bad she can be and how low she can fall? This episode is the lowest I think we will ever see Rarity hit in the show. She starts alright, then she gets really low, and then she hits rock bottom and she starts digging to see how much lower can she get. I have always had a deeply sadistic enjoyment for seeing my favorite characters suffer and being treated like dirt, just to see them stand up and realize that they have to improve and fight for themselves. While this episode doesn’t go as far as I’d like it to, it goes far enough to satisfy my inner sadist.

I will have this on loop for a good couple of days before I get tired of it.
I have been checking some forums and message boards before writing this review, and I haven’t seen any comment regarding what I am about to mention here, but I think it’s necessary that I tackle it as part of my review. At any point this episode feels like Rarity is acting out of character. We may not want to admit it, but Rarity can be really bad when she gets obsessed with something or someone. She was like this during season one, when she was all focused around Blueblood and how she was able to put up with his bullshit just because she was enamored with her own idealized perception of him. This episode is that kind of crush, but magnified, and I know it’s all for the sake of comedy, so I am not bothering to read deeper into it; the show clearly doesn’t, and it’s not meant to do that. This “romance” is used as a device to show how low Rarity can go, so we can easily see her flaws.

Not that they are hard to see to begin with.
Ultimately, this is an episode that Rarity needed, and for a long time I must add. She was the only one out of all of the Mane Six who had yet to have an episode that focused entirely on her and her flaws. Twilight Sparkle has “Lesson Zero”. Pinkie Pie has “Party of One”. Applejack has “Applebuck Season”. Rainbow Dash has “The Mysterious Mare-do-Well”. Fluttershy has “Putting your Hoof Down”. Even Spike has “Secret of my Excess” and “Just for Sidekicks”. Rarity has had her flaws pointed out before (especially in “Sonic Rainboom”) but never strongly enough to leave an impact. “Simple Ways” has definitely left an impact. If we needed an episode that could help people back their arguments as to why they hate Rarity so much, this will be it.

Please Twilight, hide me from the anger of the YouTube Analyst Bronies.
In my opinion, and being I a massive Rarity fanboy, I appreciate her even more now. Now that I have seen how low she can get, and how hateful, and how bad, and how egotistical she can become, I can appreciate how good hearted, how generous, how caring, how considerate, how dedicated, and how nice she can be. The bad things need to be there so we can appreciate the good things, that why I try to not hate the flaws of the things that I play, read, watch and enjoy, or the people that I love and appreciate.

I know that I am taking this episode with a massive silver lining, and I don’t deny it. It’s in part because I am a huge fan of Rarity, but also because I think that what this episode lacks in structure and rhythm it compensates in character interaction and character development. It’s a perfect example of an episode where the story and the events happen not because the story controls the characters, but because the characters are in control of the story. Everything is in control of Rarity and her crazy sense of admiration for Trenderhoof, and seeing it develop on the screen is a spectacle.

Admit it, you'd watch anything if it had Rarity in charge of the production.
In the end, this episode has big flaws in it. It could have had a better structure, it could have had a better sense of comedy, and it could have flexed Trenderhoof a little bit better. But the parts that are good are the important parts. The character interaction is great, the character writing is great, the dialogues are great, and it has a pretty compelling and somewhat relatable moral. Is it the best Rarity episode though? I don’t think so, there is a lot of tough competition to even consider it the second, third, or even fourth best. Is it a weak episode? Nah, far from it, though I wouldn't call it the best episode of Season four either. It’s definitely much more engaging than “Flight to the Finish” or “Rainbow Falls”, but it lacks the charisma of “Power Ponies” and the positivity of “Rarity Takes Manehattan”. This episode calmly sits right in the middle of the road, covered in mud and splinters, and wearing droopy drawers.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

- Defining Moment: The banter between “Applejewel” and Rarity at the end of the episode, where Rarity ends up throwing herself into a pig sty.

- Moral: There is no point in changing who you are just to impress someone else. If they don’t like who for who you really are, then it’s their loss.


  1. -I feel like the episode had all the right ingredients to be one of the funniest episodes in the entire show right out of the box, but then, there was a voice in the back of my head about halfway through the episode that kept going "Why isn't this funny?"
    -I think the root of the problem is Trenderhoof, in that there isn't much character for the viewer to be engaged with him. He starts out fine as he's conversing with Rarity, but the moment he goes gaga for AJ, he has nothing to do but to follow her around trying to get her attention. Considering that he's the prime motivation for Rarity's actions, and by association also Applejack, in this story, there isn't enough character to keep me engaged or make me believe that he's the kind of guy for whom everything Rarity does in this episode is worth doing, especially when he disappears for most of Act 3 and then the story decides to give him some kind of arc.
    -Applejack is fine throught most of this episode, simply being herself, which means that it's up to Rarity to carry the rest of the episode, but unfortunately, she falls completely flat on her face.
    -Rarity's attempts at impressing TH are awkward at best and cringe-inducing at worst. I feel like having this whole thing being intentionally awful, right down to Rarity's fake southern accent, is supposed to be part of the joke, but unfortunately the joke isn't very funny at all.
    -It would help if Rarity was actually trying to imitate AJ, but honestly, it feels more like she's either trying to imitate a bad pastiche of AJ or trying to incorporate said pastiche of AJ into a style that suits her own personality. It started out pretty sad, but escalated into downright infuriating when it stuck me that the episode is telling us that her "Rarihick" appearance is apparently the way she sees one of her closest friends, basically less Jessie from Toy Story and more Cletus from The Simpsons. What the fuck?!
    -And yes, having her accuse AJ for trying to steal TH away from her is mean spirited for all the wrong reasons. Also, her friends keep pointing out how she's slacking off with the Ponyville Days festival, yet it never comes back to bite her in the butt. Again, what the fuck?!
    -We've seen episodes where Rarity is mean and scornful to her friends, but the reason it worked in, say, "Manehattan" is because of our understanding of how important fashion is to her. All of Rarity's bad behavior in this episodes comes from wrongfully feeling that one of her best friends is trying to steal a guy the audience has no familiarity with and hasn't come to understand if there's something that makes him special as a character. This is easily the most hateful (not in a good way as pointed by James above) portrayal of Rarity since Sonic Rainboom.

    So, after all this, why do I think this episode is still redeemable?

    When I heard that name and saw the lights go down, I exclaimed out loud, expecting to be blown away by what was to come, and it was everything I could've asked for and more. It's very funny in and of itself how AJ is better at imitating Rarity than Rarity is at imitating AJ (I've been kinda waiting for the show to make a callback to AJ's backstory from Cutie Mark Chronicles). It's the funniest and most unexpected thing the show has ever done with AJ, and easily one of the best standalone scenes of any episode of the show. The scene is so good, I think it redeems the rest of the episode, and makes it rewatchable. It's worth it just for that scene, even if you have to sit through the rest of it.
    -Oh yeah, Spike was pretty good as well.

  2. I had been waiting in long time for this episode as I read about this episode on a twitter at first.

  3. While I'm sorry that you're taking a break from reviews, I do totally understand why, and I'm glad I got to sit down and read this one, it was fantastic. ^__^

  4. Thanks for the great -and perhaps final- review!
    Now, I go along with the best part of it.

    I loved this episode, so I give it 4/5! It was a nostalgic experience because it reminded me of Season 1 both in story, personalities and character interactions.

    The humor was just perfect. It is one of the funniest episodes in the season, but it wasn't just for fun, it provided a strong moral for us.
    Moral: changing yourself to impress others isn't the right way. Real friends will like you for who you are.

    There was a very original voice acting in the episode. For example, Rarity's crying is something marvelous from Tabitha St. Germain. The new accents of both Rarity and Applejack were just as priceless. Moreover, we got a new farm-style design for Rarity! I also have to mention the moment when Rarity explores Twilight's ass. (Or better to say, Twilight's prince-ass. NO, NOT with her horn! It would fall into the clopfic category.)

    I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love with Applejack! If I think Rarity was funny, then Applejack totally outshone her. It rarely happens that I 'fall in love' with a character. The few examples are Twilight in Season 1 and Rarity in Season 2. And now, I'm starting to appreciate Applejack in this show.
    Se was so well-portrayed. I laughed every time when she was on screen. When she was bucking apples and streaming with perspiration (aww, she is so sexy); what she did with this chicken-coop; and when she became a super hot fashion pony.

    The confrontation between Rarity and AJ was well done. It could have been boring if the conflict would have been the same old fashion-'farm life' conflict. However, it was a love affair! I'm starting to admire Josh Haber's creativity.

    AJ is fully responsible now and proved to be a good friend (in agreement with your opinion), as we have seen the same thing emphasized in other episodes of Season 4. It seems to be a permanent improvement. Rarity was selfish again, but I don't blame her for that. It is a significant part of her personality and she wouldn't be herself without it. Plus we all know very well the eternal truth: love makes people blind.

    On the other hand, there were some flaws. They weren't too embarrassing, though.

    The tension was almost insensible. Thus, the dramatic side of the story was destined to remain in the background. It isn't a disaster, just a lost potential.

    Spike wasn't really taken into the story. This thread should have been more developed. He could have become very jealous and set a trap for Trenderhoof or something like this.

    It was a funny twist that Trenderhoof had a crush on AJ. Aside from that, the story was linear and too simple. I agree, the second act had big flaws in it.
    For that matter, Trenderhoof wasn't an interesting supportive character. He was just born to be cliché without any background story.

    Finally, I concluded that Josh Haber and Pinkie Pie are completely orthogonal beings. Let's leave it at that.

    All in all, I am satisfied with the outcome, and why I think it is one of the best episodes in Season 4 is the fact that it is EPIC. Every single moment of it is very original and memorable.