Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top 5 Best/Worst MLP:FiM Season 1 Episodes


With the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic right around the corner, I decided to commemorate this occasion by listing my favorite (and least favorite) episodes of the series.

This first list will focus on the best/worst episodes from the first season, with the next list featuring episodes from the second season. To be fair, I decided to focus on single episodes rather than two-parters, as those tend to be del facto good.

Now keep in mind that this list is all my opinion. These are all what I consider to be the best and wort. If you disagree with me, feel free to do so, and feel free to mention what you consider to be the best and worst episodes of the first season in the comments section below.

Top 5 Worst Episodes


MLP Wiki


#5: Look Before You Sleep

This episode received mixed reviews among fans. Some liked it. Others did not.

Some didn’t like the episode because they felt it was too girly. And I agree. There’s nothing more mind-numbingly girly than a slumber party. However, I can overlook the girliness since, after all, this is a little girl’s cartoon. So of course a slumber party episode was inevitable.

Others didn’t like the episode because they felt it portrayed Twilight out-of-character. And I agree. The first episode had made it clear that Twilight did not care for social interactions, especially parties, and did everything she could to avoid them. So having her throw a slumber party, let alone say she always wanted one, is simply out-of-character for her. However, I can overlook her breaking character since, before Season 2, she was the only one who could write letters to Princess Celestia, and thus was the only one to present the moral. So there really was no other way around it.

So I can forgive the girliness, and I can forgive the out-of-character acting, but what I cannot forgive is the incessant bickering between Apple Jack and Rarity. It irritated me to no end having to listen to these two argue over the most minor trivialities. I know people tend to quarrel over minor issues, but they tend to be little kids. As Joshscorcher mentioned in his review, both Apple Jack and Rarity are grown adults who own their own property and businesses. They should be above such insolent quibbling, and having them act like this only makes them appear immature. I know this episode was supposed to be about conflict resolution, and I admit that I sort of enjoy watching the contrast between the two characters, but I feel that it could have been played out much better.

As for the rest of the episode, the story was simply dull, boring, and cliché. Other than the main (and petty) conflict between Apple Jack and Rarity, there was nothing else this episode had to offer, which made it all the more irritating to watch.

And wouldn’t you believe that this was the episode that spawned the Apple Jack/Rarity shipping? Really? Could anyone watching this tell there was chemistry between these two, other than the highly unstable kind?



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#4: The Show Stoppers

One of the best things about the series is the music. You can tell that the creators put a lot of effort into writing it, which is more than I can say for the music in other little kid shows. (Have you ever listened to a song from “The Backyardigans” or “Yo Gabba Gabba”? If you haven’t, don’t! Your ears will thank you later.)

I would even go so far as to say that the songs are on par with Disney. They have that same memorablity that allows them to remain forever engrained in the back of your head even if you haven’t listened to them in a long time. And how can they not be when they’re so catchy and well-written? Heck, two were nominated for Daytime Emmy awards (“Every Pony” and “Find A Pet”). I have yet to listen to a My Little Pony song that I didn’t like.

Well, to be honest, there are two: Pinkie’s Grand Galloping Gala song (which makes me want to gouge my ears out with pencils every time I hear it), and the song for this episode: "The Cutie Mark Crusader Theme."

I don’t know which is worse: the Cutie Mark Crusaders making my ears bleed with their off-note singing, or their laughably-bad 80’s punk costumes blinding me with their neon colors. Yes, I know the song and the scene is supposed to be bad, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s still bad. You could argue that it’s so bad it’s good, but my raped eardrums would disagree with you.

The rest of the episode, while not entirely bad, isn’t entirely good either. Nothing even happens during the first half—unless you count the montage of the Crusaders trying to find they’re Cutie Marks—and almost killing themselves attempting to do so.

And that’s another thing: didn’t they learn in “Call of the Cutie” that they didn’t have to worry about finding their Cutie Marks, and that they had plenty of time to do so? Well, I guess they must have forgotten that lesson because this episode and all future CMC episodes completely negate it.

Overall, this episode is mediocre at best and forgettable at worst, and the ear rape song pretty much cements its spot on this list.



MLP Wiki


#3: Party Of One

This infamous episode features Pinkie Pie’s transformation into Pinkamena. Seeing the otherwise cheerful and bright Pinkie with a gloomy demeanor, straightened hair, darkened complexion, and talking with random inanimate objects (all which manage to talk back) is equally hilarious as it is surreal. The scene would make for an overall good episode if not for what triggered it in the first place.

Earlier in the episode, Pinkie tries to invite her friends to a party but they all have excuses as to why they can’t attend. This makes her suspicious as to why, leading her to believe that they don’t want to be her friends anymore. This depresses her to the point where she transforms into Pinkamena Diane Pie. It’s only later in the episode when she learns that they were setting up a surprise birthday party for her that she reverts to her normal self.

Now if that was the entire plot, it would make for a decent episode. But there’s one thing I forgot to mention that changes all that: at the beginning of the episode, Pinkie and her friends celebrate a birthday party for her pet alligator Gummy, and it’s after she learns how much they enjoy her parties that she decides to throw another one THE VERY NEXT DAY!

Really Pinkie? You seriously wonder why you’re friends don’t want to attend two parties in a row? You assume they have nothing better to do with their time? You think they can just drop what they’re doing and go along with whatever you want them to do? You honestly believe that it’s because they don’t want to be your friends anymore? Are you really this obtuse—this selfish?

Granted, the real reason they didn’t want to attend her party is that they’re busy setting up her surprise birthday party, but this only raises the question as to how someone can forget their own birthday.

This episode would have been much better had it simply involved Pinkie trying to invite her friends to her own birthday party only for them to decline. That would have been a more justifiable reason for Pinkie to assume they didn’t want to be her friends anymore and stoop into a depression. But to have her get upset because her friends don’t want to attend two parties in a row makes her less sympathetic and more selfish. In fact, it’s episodes like this that make me wonder if Pinkie suffers from Histrionic personality disorder. (If you don’t know what that is, look it up on Wikipedia. I’m not wasting my time with the details.)



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#2: Feeling Pinkie Keen

This is the most controversial episode of the series. It received so much heat that Lauren Faust personally apologized for it—even though she wasn’t involved with its creation.

The episode seems innocent enough: Twilight Sparkle learns of Pinkie Pie’s ability to sense future events through random bodily ticks, otherwise known as “Pinkie Sense,” and she attempts to analyze it in order to debunk it, refusing to believe that it’s just coincidence or magic.

The premise alone proves why this episode fails: in a world where the sun is raised by an alicorn princess, letters are delivered through dragon’s breath, and flowers have the ability to change a pony’s physical appearance, a pony being able to predict the future through the flick of her tail doesn’t exactly seem incongruous. The episode could have easily ended with Pinkie explaining that it’s no different from Twilight’s own magic. (And no, Twilight’s explanation that “magic doesn’t work that way” doesn’t cut it. Perhaps it would in other media like Fullmetal Alchemist where magic is governed by a coherent system of laws, but considering how the magic in this series doesn’t seem to have that, it simply doesn’t cut it.)

So the entire episode seems out of place—until you realize that it serves to convey an underlying message, revealed in conversations like this:

Pinkie: Sometimes you have to believe in things, even when you can’t figure them out.

Twilight: I will not believe in anything I cannot explain.
Yes, if it isn’t crystal clear by now, this episode is tackling the debate between religion and atheism, faith and science. For a children’s series to address such a mature subject matter is commendable to say the least, especially considering how mainstream the debate between religion and atheism has become, but the way the episode handles it is poor.

For starters, the episode outright vilifies Twilight for trying to understand “Pinkie Sense.” Every time she tries to study or analyze it, something bad happens to her, like Derpy dropping a flower pot on her head. Along with an anvil. And a wagon. And a piano. (Sweet Celestia, this episode is cruel to Twilight!)

Furthermore, Twilight is a bad skeptic. She attempts to debunk Pinkie Sense for the expressed purpose of proving it wrong. This is not how skepticism works. If you attempt to study something with the intent to either prove or disprove it, you run the risk of confirmation bias. You end up focusing only on the evidence that supports your hypothesis while ignoring any evidence that contradicts it.

Real skeptics, on the other hand, don’t go out to prove something is wrong, but rather to test it to see if it’s real. James Randi created his entire career on debunking supernatural nonsense like psychics and faith healers. But he doesn’t do this by trying to prove it wrong. Certainly, he approaches the matter with the opinion that it probably is wrong, but only because prior experience has shown him that similar situations tend to be hoaxes. He always subjects the alleged phenomena to scientific testing to see whether or not it’s legit. (Big surprise: it usually isn’t!) If in the rare instance the evidence proves it is real, he is more than willing to accept that it is. (Another big surprise: it rarely is!) He’s even offered a million dollar reward to anyone willing to prove through scientific testing the validity of a supernatural phenomenon. (Yet another big surprise: no one has yet to claim that prize!)

By portraying Twilight as someone who refuses to believe in anything regardless of evidence, the episode completely misrepresents skeptics. Skepticism is not about claiming you can’t be convinced of something, but that you can be convinced of it through logic and evidence. What’s even more frustrating is that Twilight shifts from one extreme to the next. She starts by refusing to believe in anything regardless of evidence, and finishes by choosing to believe in something even without evidence. As she writes in her letter to Princess Celestia: “I now realize there are wonderful things in this world that you just can’t explain, but that doesn’t necessarily make them any less true. It just means you have to choose to believe in them.”

What type of moral lesson is that? Just because you can’t explain something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe in it? If there’s no rational explanation for acupuncture or homeopathy, should you go along with the treatment anyway? If a politician proposes a spending project without any evidence to support that it will stimulate the economy, should you just support him and his proposal anyway? This is a terrible moral to teach children!

Shortly after the episode was released, and after receiving much backlash over it, Lauren Faust explained on deviantART that she didn’t intend for the episode to have religious implications or for the moral to be that people shouldn’t bother trying to explain things. She admitted that the moral was poorly thought out and that she would have revised it if she had the chance.

To be fair, there were some good moments in the episode—from the appearance of Derpy Hooves to Twilight turning into Rapidash and Princess Celestia’s epic appearance at the end, but overall, its message was poorly handled. There are many ways to reconcile faith and reason, but this wasn’t one of them.



MLP Wiki


#1: The Ticket Master

I had seen every episode of the series except this one. I avoided watching this episode and I had no intention of ever watching it. I only watched it recently so I could place it at the top of this list. I knew even before watching it that this was going to be one of the worst episodes of the series, and watching it only confirmed that belief.

The story is as cliché as it gets. Twilight Sparkle receives two tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala and has to decide which one of her five friends to take. I don’t have to say anything else. You know from that one sentence how the rest of the episode is going to play out because we’ve all seen this same exact plot played out so many times before in so many other media.

And it’s not so much that it’s a recycled plot. It’s entirely possible to take something old and familiar and rework it to seem new and original. The problem is that this episode doesn’t do that. It offers nothing new or original to this cliché as dirt plotline. It plays it out just as you would expect it to play out: the other ponies try to convince Twilight to take them to the Gala and end up fighting over each other to do so. This frustrates Twilight to the point where she shames them for allowing something as trivial as this to interfere with their friendship. Everyone then realizes the error of their ways and makes up. And then as a Deus Ex Machina, they all receive tickets to go to the Gala. And then they all live happily ever after. The freaking end!

As I said, the episode is the exact same plot we’ve seen done countless times before. Oh sure, there are a few interesting moments like the Benny Hill chase scene or Fluttershy singing the theme song, but none of them are able to redeem this overtly cliché plot.

Perhaps what makes this episode most insulting is that it immediately follows the epic two-part series premiere. You have the very first two episodes of the series which prove that the creators are willing to put actual honest-to-God effort into making a little girls cartoon, followed by an episode that seemed as though it was pulled straight out of their asses. It’s almost like an elementary school student creating a proton accelerator for one science fair, and then for the next one, showing up with a cup of dirt. It’s downright disappointing because you know they’re more than capable of doing far superior than that.

And another aspect that adds insult to injury is that this episode introduces the story arc for season one. Throughout the first season we have a recurring theme of the characters preparing for the Grand Galloping Gala which they attend at the season finale—and this sick joke of an episode introduces the entire story arc. Without this episode, we would have no clue as to what the Grand Galloping Gala is, and we would have no context for the following episodes including the finale. How sad is it that the worst episode of the season (if not entire series) is also the most vital?

But the biggest slap in the face is that this episode is featured on a DVD packaged with select My Little Pony toys. Seriously, Hasbro? This is the episode you want representing your toy line? Are you sure you didn’t want to go with that epic two-part pilot episode? Oh sure, it would have required a larger DVD and it would have increased the price of the toy, but it would have been a far better introduction to the series. That’s the whole purpose of the episode! Heck, you could have packaged the two parts with separate toys, requiring children to buy two in order to get the entire episode. That would have been an awesome as hell marketing ploy! But no. Instead, you chose to go with the episode with the extremely cliché plot. The best incarnation of the franchise is being promoted with its worst episode. You might as well offer an episode of the G3 series.

I know I sound more upset that I ought to be over an episode from a little girls cartoon, but I only feel that way because, as I said before, I know that the creators can do much better than this, and the fact that they didn’t is both disappointing and insulting. In fact, sometimes I wonder if Lauren Faust had this episode created just to troll people.

In the words of Rarity: this is the Worst. Possible. Thing.


Top 5 Best Episodes


MLP Wiki


#5: Sonic Rainboom

The best thing about this episode is in the title itself. Rainbow Dash performing the Sonic Rainboom is the most iconic scene in the episode, if not the entire series.

An interesting thought about this episode: originally, Rainbow Dash was going to be a pink and black pegasus named “Firefly,” modeled after Lauren Faust’s favorite pony from the original series. But for some strange reason, they couldn’t use her. So they decided to paint her blue with a rainbow mane and called her Rainbow Dash. With this in mind, one has to wonder if this episode would exist if she had been Firefly. You can’t have a Sonic Rainboom without rainbow colors.

Anyway, the episode involves Rainbow Dash competing in the Young Flyer's Competition in Cloudsdale. The other ponies decide to tag along to cheer her on by using a magic spell that allows them to walk on clouds. The only other pony who doesn’t use the spell is Rarity, who instead uses a spell that gives her rainbow butterfly wings. As the tournament draws near, Rainbow Dash becomes nervous, which isn’t helped by Rarity showing off her new wings. The tournament arrives, and Rainbow Dash is too scared to participate. Rarity decides to take her place instead. All goes well until Rarity’s spell wears off, causing her to plummet to her doom. Rainbow Dash regains her courage and flies off to rescue Rarity, causing her to perform a Sonic Rainboom and win the tournament.

While I find the plot to be lackluster, the other moments within the episode are anything but. There’s the Sonic Rainboom scene, of course, but there’s plenty of other great moments. Most of the best ones come from Rarity, as the attention she receives from her new wings causes her to act more outlandish and carry more braggadocio about her. I really love her laugh, and the outfit she wears at the tournament is so bad it’s hilarious.

But of course, the most memorable gag is Rainbow Dash coaching Fluttershy to cheer, only for her to utter soft and silent “yay”s. But it all works out in the end once Rainbow Dash performs a Sonic Rainboom and saves the day, prompt Fluttershy to cheer her heart out. And I’m sure once you’re done watching this episode, you’ll be that way too.



MLP Wiki


#4: Griffon the Brush Off

Whereas "The Ticket Master" was awful because of its cliché and predictable plot, this episode is great in that its plot is the exact opposite. It plays with the audience’s sense of direction and keeps them guessing which direction it’s heading in. It’s almost like a Simpsons episode where it begins with one plot point before changing into another.

The episode starts with Pinkie Pie chasing Rainbow Dash a la Pepe le Pew—and unlike a Pinkie Pie chase scene later in the series (more on that later), this one is hilarious to watch. She asks her to help her pull off some pranks and the two go around Ponyville pranking their unsuspecting friends.

One would assume that this episode would be about how it’s wrong to pull pranks on people. But then Gilda comes along and changes all that.

Gilda is a griffin friend of Rainbow Dash who has flown into town to spend time with her—without Pinkie Pie. Pinkie assumes that Gilda is a jerk, but is told that she shouldn’t be quick to judge someone. This is good advice, but then Pinkie witnesses Gilda acting like a complete douchebag to everyone in town—including poor Fluttershy. This prompts her to throw a party in her honor where Gilda is subjected to prank after prank, each one revealing her true nature and forcing her to snap.

One would assume that this was deliberately created by Pinkie Pie to have her reveal Gilda for the jerk that she is. But the pranks actually turn out to have been set up by Rainbow Dash as a bit of friendly fun. When she sees Gilda react so negatively, the two have a heated confrontation that ends with Gilda flying away and Dash learning that she should trust her true friends.

So aside from the less than predictable story, this episode features some hilarious gags, especially the Pepe Le Pew chase scene. There were also plenty of hilarious visuals—from Rainbow Dash’s droopy face to Pinkie Pie’s Suess-esque flying machine.

But perhaps the best part of the episode is the antagonist. What makes Gilda appealing as a villain is that there’s nothing special about her. She doesn’t have any evil powers like Nightmare Moon or Trixie nor is she a beast of unfathomable size like the Hydra. She’s just your average run-of-the-mill jerk. She’s relatable to the audience in that she’s the school yard bully most young children would most likely encounter. She’s also a complex villain in that she portrays anti-social behavior while being friends with Rainbow Dash. It’s almost as if Rainbow Dash is her only friend, which gives their breakup at the end a bigger impact. Oh, and she also commits the unforgivable sin of making Fluttershy cry. (I heard there was a big demand for turkey recipes after the episode aired.)



MLP Wiki


#3: Green Is Not Your Color

Watching this episode for the first time gave me an eerie sense of déjà vu. Allow me to offer a synopsis and tell me if you feel the same way: you have one character who’s chosen by an eccentric fashion designer to be a fashion model, and while being forced to work as one, ends up spending less time with her friend, who in turn feels that the other character is snubbing her and becomes jealous.

Sound familiar?

If you grew up in the 90s like I did, this episode sounds vaguely similar to the "Seat to Stardom" episode from Rocko’s Modern Life (albeit without the toilet humor). I’m not accusing the episode of ripping off Rocko, nor am I saying that it’s any less good because it seems so similar to it, but because it’s so reminiscent of the cartoon, it really shows that the series is capable of emulating the quality of such classics, and to me, that just makes the series all the more epic. (This is true for another episode on this list, but I’ll discuss it when we get to it.)

In this episode, Rarity convinces Fluttershy to pose in her dresses for the fashion photographer Photo Finish, who becomes more impressed with Fluttershy and hires her as a full-time fashion model. Being the shy pony she is, Fluttershy doesn’t care for the life of a model, let alone all of the unwanted attention that comes from it, but she reluctantly remains one in order to keep Rarity happy. Rarity, on the other hand, feels left out from Fluttershy’s new life and becomes jealous of her fame, but doesn’t tell Fluttershy how she feels in order to keep her happy. Meanwhile, Twilight realizes the conflict that each of them is feeling, but doesn’t tell the other one about it because she feels she would be violating their trust by doing so—and because she made a Pinkie Promise not to tell their secrets. (And we all know from Season 2 what happens if you break a Pinkie Promise!)

Even though it has been played out many times before, I really enjoyed the conflict within the episode, and I feel that it helped convey the lesson that we need to tell our friends about our feelings rather than keep them secret. I felt it was a very good lesson, and the way the episode taught it was very effective.

I also enjoyed the visuals within the episode. There were a lot of vibrant, bright colors and cool designs, most of which were from Fluttershy’s dresses. Since Fluttershy is one of my favorite characters, I really enjoyed seeing her in all of those different outfits, and I really feel they highlight her otherwise hidden beauty.

But by far the best part of the episode was the character Photo Finish. Her character design looks like a mix between Lady Gaga and Edna Mode from The Incredibles. I know she’s supposed to be based off a real fashion designer, Anna Wintour. But let’s be honest: one look at her and you’ll be hearing the lyrics to “Bad Romance” in your head. Other than her design, her eccentric attitude and mannerisms led to some really memorable gags in the episode. ("Time to make de magics!")

Speaking of gags, this episode had some really memorable ones, from Fluttershy’s cute attempt to scream her lungs out and kick over a vase, to her being enchanted by Twilight to act uncouth on the catwalk, and of course, the best by far, the running gag of Pinkie Pie hounding Twilight in order to keep her Pinkie Promise. (And again, we all know what happens when you break a Pinkie Promise.)

All and all, this was a fun episode to watch, and it really does make one feel—the magicks!



MLP Wiki


#2: Bridle Gossip

This episode introduces my favorite side character of the series: Zecora. I find it odd that this is a show about talking equine and yet it’s only now that we have a zebra as a main character. (Okay. In the first series, we had a zebra character, but he was a villain, so he doesn’t count in my opinion.)

The story is one we’ve seen countless times before: a mysterious stranger comes into town. Everyone distrusts her except one person. Something bad happens. Everyone suspects the stranger. They confront her. Learn it wasn’t her fault. Realize she’s really a good character. She makes everything better. And now everyone likes her. The end.

So it’s a cliché as dirt storyline, so why do I like this but hate "The Ticket Master"? I guess it’s because, while "The Ticket Master" had nothing of redeeming value, this episode contained a few nuggets of goodness that allows me to overlook, and even forgive, the unoriginal plot.

As I said before, this episode introduces my favorite character Zecora. I really have a thing for these mysterious, mystical characters—the type that isolate themselves from society to live out in nature, study the mystical arts, and garner unfathomable wisdom. And she speaks in rhyme. That alone makes her 20 percent cooler.

I also liked how they made Apple Bloom the one to trust Zecora and see her for who she really is. I really like these stories where all the older characters who are unsuspecting while it’s the youngest one who knows better.

And then there’s the way the six main characters are cursed. Not only are all the curses visually hilarious, but they manage to fit the characters to a tee. Pinkie Pie can’t keep her mouth shut, so she’s cursed with a bloated tongue that prevents her from talking. Twilight depends on her magic, so her horn becomes flaccid and impotent. (Enter erectile dysfunction joke here!) Rarity cares about her looks, so she receives massive bed head. Rainbow Dash prides herself in being an excellent flier, so she’s cursed with crashing all the time (which isn’t any different from how she normally is). Apple Jack considers herself the big older sister, so she becomes smaller than Apple Bloom. And then there’s Fluttershy, poor quiet Fluttershy—cursed with a deep voice smoother than butter.

Speaking of which, there’s the song of the episode: Evil Enchantress. As with many of Pinkie Pie’s songs, it’s really short and really annoying. In fact, the fact that she keeps singing it over and over again makes it all the more annoying. But then Fluttershy—or rather, Flutterguy—sings it, and suddenly, it becomes epic. This rendition alone makes the entire episode worthwhile. If you have to watch this episode for only one reason, it’s to listen to Flutterguy sing.

All in all, while this episode may be a story we’ve seen before, it manages to pull it off in a way that makes it seem new, with little tidbits here and there that distract us and make us forget we’re seeing something we’ve already seen before. Making something old seem new is the highlight of good storytelling.



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#1: The Best Night Ever

Before I begin discussing this episode and why I thought it was great, did anyone else think that it bore a striking similarity to an episode of an older cartoon? You have the main female characters get dressed and powdered up to attend a big party, expecting to have the night of their lives and even flirt with a few boys, only for things not to go as they had expected, and for everything to end in disaster—ironically due to one of the characters going insane.

Sound familiar? Like an episode from another series featuring little creatures?

If you couldn’t tell (or didn’t grow up in the 90s like I did), I’m referring to the Tiny Toon Adventures episode “The Amazing Three.”

Now as with “Green Isn’t Your Color,” I’m not insinuating that the show’s creators ripped off Tiny Toons, nor can I prove that this episode was influenced by it. And by no means am I implying that the similarities make this a bad episode. If anything, the fact that this episode is reminiscent of one from another memorable cartoon series shows that this series is on par with the great nostalgic classics.

As someone who grew up in the 90s watching Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, and the Disney Afternoon series, I am disappointed, if not disgusted, by most modern cartoon series. Perhaps it’s because they don’t have the same standards as the older cartoons. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up and my tastes have matured to the point that I’m no longer entertained by cartoons. Either way, shows like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic prove that there are cartoons which can be up to par with the nostalgic classics, and this episode proves it.

First and foremost, this episode contains the best musical number of the season. Remember how I said that the music in the series is on par with Disney? Well “At The Gala” actually surpasses that, being on par with an actual musical. I find that both the song and the choreography are grandiose enough to have been ripped straight out of something from Broadway. It shows that the creators really put honest to God effort into making every aspect of the show right down to the music.

The story is fairly decent. The main six characters attend the Grand Galloping Gala each with high expectations of their night: Twilight wants to spend time with her mentor Princess Celestia, Apple Jack wants raise money for her family by selling apple treats, Fluttershy wants to see the animals in the royal garden, Rainbow Dash wants to mingle with the Wonderbolts, Rarity wants to fall in love with a prince, and Pinkie Pie just wants to have fun.

But as the night progresses, things don’t turn out exactly as they had planned: Celestia becomes too distracted to talk with Twilight, Apple Jack can’t manage to sell any of her wares, the animals in the garden keep avoiding Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash can’t get the attention of any of the Wonderbolts, Rarity’s prince turns out to be a self-centered prick, and Pinkie is completely out of place with the hoity-toity atmosphere.

Most other shows would have made it so the characters manage to get their way at the end, but this episode doesn’t do that. In fact, the harder the characters try to get things to go their way, the worse things actually become, to the point where the entire gala turns into a big disaster to everyone involved. And that’s not even an exaggeration. The entire gala literally falls to pieces because of the six. In the end, they learn that things don’t always turn out the way they expect it, and that you have to make the most of what you have.

I really enjoyed the gags in this episode, from Pinkie Pie jumping on the trampoline at the very beginning to their coach being created by a pumpkin (an obvious reference to Cinderella). But of course the funniest moment had to be Fluttershy’s ultimate breakdown. For a pony whose special talent is relating with animals, she had terrible luck trying to befriend the animals in the garden, and her failed attempts to do so really works at her patience, affecting not only her outward appearance, but her inner character as well. What results is perhaps the most epic Fluttershy moment in the series. “You’re going to LOVE ME!”

Overall, this episode ended the series on a high note, and showed that the creators not only can start a season with a bang, but end it with a bang as well. And it wouldn’t be the last time they manage to do that. But more on that with Season 2.