Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode Six

I liked this episode a lot more than the past few, though I'm not really sure why.  Must be the mustaches.

Boast Busters
Although Twilight Sparkle is in Ponyville to study the magic of friendship, she doesn't neglect her regular magic studies.  With a little help from Spike, she perfects her twenty fifth magical ability: growing moustaches.  Spike's all set to impress Rarity, but Twilight also needs to practice reversing that spell, so off it goes, to his dismay.  Later on, as the two walk through town, Spike can't stop gushing over Twilight's awesome magic abilities, especially since unicorns usually only have a few tricks that match up with their talents.  Twilight hypothesizes that her talent is magic itself, but doesn't see this as anything special, claiming that there are other ponies just as talented as she is right there in town.  Spike doesn't think so, but before they can discuss it further, those two unicorn boys from Applejack's game on The Hub's website come galloping down the street, picking up Spike along the way.  They are Snips and Snails, and they're on their way to check out the new unicorn, rumored to be the most magical unicorn in all Equestria.  Hearing this, Twilight wants to check it out for herself, and so she and Spike join the crowd.
As a voice beckons the gathered throng, a wooden cart unfolds into a stage, and with a puff of smoke The Great and Powerful Trixie appears.  She continually refers to herself in the third person and boasts of her great magical abilities.  Rarity is not impressed, nor is Spike, though once he realizes who he's standing next to, his speaking abilities go downhill.  Twilight is surprised to hear her friends being so down on magic, but Applejack clarifies that it's the showing off that puts them off, not the magic itself.  Trixie hears this lack of enthusiasm for herself, and warns the "neigh-sayers" about her supreme powers.  Spike finally gets his voice back and starts to assert Twilight's superiority, but the unicorn shushes him and pulls him aside.  She explains that she doesn't want her friends to think she's a braggart like Trixie.  Speaking of whom, Rainbow Dash finally has enough, and demands to her face to know why Trixie thinks she's all that.  With a wave of her hoof, a fireworks display shows her fight with the dreaded Ursa Major, an enormous bear creature that normally could never be vanquished by just one pony.  Seeing this, Snips and Snails are totally sold, rushing up to proclaim Trixie as the most magical, talented, and all around awesome pony ever.  Spike cannot let this stand, but when he tries to say Twilight is better, she magics a zipper for his mouth and shuts him up.
The rest of the crowd is not quite as sold as Snips and Snails, so Trixie challenges the lot of them to see who is better.  Spike literally begs Twilight to take on Trixie, but she refuses.  Finding no takers to her challenge, Trixie picks out a pony from the crowd, appearing to choose Twilight.  But it turns out she actually chose Applejack, who has had enough of Trixie's condescending nature anyway.  She takes to the stage and uses her tail to perform a lasso routine, ending with grabbing an apple from a nearby tree and launching it directly into her mouth.  Trixies ditches her hat to better show off her powers, and makes Applejack's lasso sway like a snake, then truss up Applejack, complete with apple in her mouth.  Still annoyed at Trixie for earlier, Rainbow Dash shows off her own speed skills by flying through the clouds and coming back with the moisture clinging to her, making a little rainbow over her.  "They don't call me 'Rainbow' and 'Dash' for nothing."  In return, Trixie magics the rainbow into a colorful cyclone that whirls Rainbow Dash around so fast she actually gets nauseous, and conjures a raincloud to hit her with a lightning bolt to boot.
Seeing the defeat of the other two ponies, Spike nudges Twilight, commenting that it'll take a unicorn to beat a unicorn, and Rainbow Dash and Applejack agree.  Rarity assumes they're talking about her, but insists she won't do anything so brash.  Until Trixie goads her into it, that is.  So she puts her ultimate quick-change ability on display, creating an outfit and hairstyle for herself in mere moments, showing the grace and beauty all unicorns should aim for, in her opinion.  Trixie doesn't even break a sweat when taking on Rarity, merely tampering with her hairstyle by turning it green.  Seeing his crush run off, Spike once again implores Twilight to show her stuff against Trixie, but Twilight balks.  Trixie hears their conversation and directly challenges Twilight, who continues to insist that she's just an ordinary unicorn, and runs off herself, making claims about laundry.  Trixie proclaims herself victorious, and the show is over.
Later that day, Snips and Snails bring Trixie a smoothie and demand tales of her amazing prowess, but she claims to be tired and sends them off until the next day.  As they leave, Spike sees them and demands to know what they're doing.  Hearing that they're sucking up to Trixie, he scoffs, calling her a lame show-off, unlike Twilight.  Snips points out that Trixie took on an Ursa Major, but Spike counterpoints out that they didn't see it happen, so they shouldn't believe her.  This gives the boys an idea...
Meanwhile, Spike is still miffed that Twilight Sparkle is acting so uncharacteristically modest.  What ever happened to "Celestia's most faithful student?"  But Twilight is certain that if she shows off her magic, her friends will drop her faster than you can say "braggart."  Spike is adamant, though, insisting that it wouldn't be the same, since she'd be showing up Trixie, and thus defending her friends.  Twilight refuses to talk about it any more, which she communicates by conjuring a door in front of Spike.  Spike refuses to take this as an answer, opening the door to tell her she's the best.  But again Twilight tells him no, and finally Spike sighs in resignation, telling her if that's the way she's going to be, he'll just leave.  He slams the door behind him, but has to open it again to actually leave.
While all that was going on, Snips and Snail snuck into the Everfree Forest in order to find an Ursa Major for Trixie to fight.  All too soon, they find themselves in the dark, so Snails, with a bit of effort, lights up his horn, illuminating the huge Ursa Major behind them.  Not taking kindly to the intruders, it chases after them as they run back toward Ponyville, right past a melancholy Spike.  As the boys call for Trixie, Spike goes to get Twilight.  Trixie in not keen on being disturbed this late at night, and promptly freaks out at the sight of an actual Ursa Major.  The bear soon has the three of them cornered, but Snips and Snails aren't worried, and wait for her to vanquish the monster so they can see it for themselves, admitting that they lead it to town.  Trixie calls them crazy, but when they remind her that she's the Great and Powerful Trixie, she puts in a token effort, using her rope and thundercloud tricks.  They only serve to make the Ursa Major angrier, so the boys demand to see the cool magic the fireworks showed.  Before Trixie can respond, the Ursa lets loose a mighty roar, and they all beat a hasty retreat.
The roar brought forth the rest of Ponyville to see what was going on.  Meanwhile Twilight (alerted by Spike) heads toward town square.  Snips and Snails are still certain that Trixie can handle the Ursa, but finally she admits that she can't, and never did; the entire story was a fabrication.  This breaks the boys' little minds, and suddenly things are looking more grim.  The other ponies watch in terror as the Ursa Major rampages, and Spike nudges Twilight, motioning for her to do something.  And so Twilight steps forward, consequences be damned!  Using all the magical power she can muster, she creates a strong wind that blows through the rushes to create a soothing melody, stopping the bear's rampage.  With the bear calmed down, she switches her power over to manipulating the town's water tower, turning it into a makeshift bottle of milk.  She then lifts the entire bear, gives it the bottle, and sends it back to its cave in the forest, as the other ponies look on in awe.
With the threat taken care of, the other ponies cheer, but Twilight pleads for them not to hate her for showing off like Trixie.  Rainbow Dash quickly stops her to explain that they didn't like Trixie because she was an unpleasant loudmouth, not being she was showing off her magic.  There's a touching moment as her friends assure her that her magic is part of her, and they're proud to be her friend (especially after taking care of an Ursa Major like that).  Spike is more impressed that she didn't even have to think about what to do, and asks how she did it.  It just so happens that she spent the afternoon doing research on Ursa Majors after hearing Trixie's tale, and it turns out that the rampaging beast she handled was not actually an Ursa Major, but an Ursa Minor, the baby form, having a tantrum from being woken from its nap.
Proving she learned nothing from this whole escapade, Trixie still condescends toward Twilight before using a smokescreen to mask her exit from town.  Rainbow Dash starts to go after her, but Twilight stops her, certain that Trixie will learn her lesson someday.  Uh, if you say so, Twilight.  In the meantime, there's still the matter of two certain unicorns who caused the whole problem in the first place.  Snips and Snails try to get out of a punishment by flattering Twilight ("We just wanted to see some awesome magic."  "And what you did was awesome!"), but one glare from her is enough to send them to the ground, ready to accept whatever she dishes out.  But all Twilight asks is that they clean up the mess, but she gives them "Number 25" for good measure, plus one for Spike, too.  Mustaches for all!  To close things off, Twilight writes of what she's learned this week, but is interrupted by Spike, who finally gets her to admit to being the most talented pony in Ponyville, though she still doesn't plan to brag about it.  Sadly, Rarity was not charmed by his moustache.  Twilight advises him to just be himself, but Spike is certain that adding a beard to the mix would do the trick.

Call me crazy, but I really liked Trixie.  Maybe because I knew in advance that she was going to be an obnoxious character, or maybe because her design was really pretty.  But there was just something about her showmanship that was pretty entertaining, making a rather slight episode feel like it had more substance than it really did.  And you have to admit, getting other people to do most of your show, yet still coming off on top takes skill.  On the other hand, I did not really like Snips and Snails, although I was glad to see them actually appear and get confirmed names.  But I hated their voices so much.  So much.  And how stupid they are.  I know that the plot wouldn't have worked without them being idiots, but it was just...ugh.  But other than that, I liked this episode.  Plus, it had Spike with a mustache!  Very little beats that.

Misc. Screenshots:
Twilight Sparkle blushes
Trixie's awesome face
Trixie and the Ursa Minor
Trixie is shocked

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mystery Crochet-Along Clues Five and Six

The fifth clue brought a surprise: not only was it the hardest pattern so far (a mitered square), but we had to make 16 of them!  Bernat assured us that this was the most squares we'd have to make, so it was okay if we didn't finish them by the time the next clue came out.  Which was good to know, because I wasn't even halfway done by the next Wednesday.  Or the next, even. (Though that's partly because I kept working on the other clues whenever I couldn't stand this one anymore.)

Most people were surmising that since each square made a kind of L-shape, we would end up putting them together in groups of four, making a ring of squares, as it were.  And as the placement for the squares has already been released by now, it turns out that was correct.  Due to the whole L-shape thing, too, I had a miserable time getting the squares to actually be square.  In the end, I just made sure to be looser on the second half, but I never really achieved a perfect square.

Now, while most of the posts for the clues have shown up at midnight EST (or pretty close), clue six didn't show itself until after 9 am!  Fortunately, it was a pretty easy one this time around, and in only one color, a welcome relief, after the last two squares.

A nice, lacy stitch.  It took me a little bit to get the pattern down by memory, but once I had it, all was well.  Or it was, until I discovered that I had forgotten the last row on the last two squares and had to add them on. OTL

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hark! A Vagrant - Javert

While I'm not a big fan of Les Mis, the blending of it with Rent definitely made me laugh today.  If you check it out, just be aware that the other strips in this series are straighter Les Mis fare.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode Five

This one was a little hit and miss for me.  Lots of Pinkie Pie character development, but at the price of a rather unpleasant new character.  Hopefully the next episode's new character, who is also supposed to be unpleasant, won't be quite as unlikeable.
Griffon the Brush-Off
Out in the park, Twilight Sparkle attempts to read while Pinkie Pie describes Rainbow Dash's various acts of derring do.  Fortunately for Twilight's sanity, Pinkie soon spots the pegasus she was talking about and takes off after her, forced to forgo her signature bouncing for a full-out gallop in order to keep up.  Rainbow Dash is not particularly in the mood for Pinkie Pie's antics, and flies ever faster, ignoring Pinkie's cries until she learns, too late, that Pinkie was just trying to warn her about an upcoming mountain.  Ouch.
At a later point in time, Rainbow Dash's cloud nap is interrupted by the sounds of Pinkie Pie asking all the ponies on the ground where she is.  She isn't quick enough to hide herself in the cloud, so the only available option is to take off at lightning speed.  She lands behind Sweet Apple Acres' barn, but to her shock, Pinkie somehow managed to get there at the same time as (if not before) her.  So she takes off again, with Pinkie happily hopping after her.  This continues for a while, with Dash flying off to the furthest corners of Ponyville, only to find Pinkie there waiting for her.  It's only after she lands by the lake and Pinkie emerges wearing scuba gear that she resigns herself and agrees to help Pinkie with her project.
For undisclosed reasons, Pinkie has Rainbow Dash move a cloud into position, then wait for her signal.  She waits for Spike to finish shopping at the scroll store, and then signals Rainbow Dash to kick the cloud, creating a clap of thunder that scares Spike so bad he gets the hiccups.  He's a good sport about it, but Princess Celestia probably doesn't appreciate getting a bunch of blank scrolls.  Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash enjoy a good laugh, even when Rainbow Dash kicks the cloud again, scaring Pinkie into getting the hiccups.  Seeing the prankster side of the pink pony, Rainbow Dash proposes they hang out, which the hiccuping Pinkie readily accepts.  Cue a montage of pranks!  Sneezing powder in Rarity's flowers, disappearing ink messing with Twilight Sparkle's experiments, painted apples on Applejack's farm.  The other ponies mostly take them in stride (though Applejack does chuck the apples at the pranksters, who beat a hasty retreat), as it turns out Pinkie chooses her targets carefully, refusing to prank the sensitive Fluttershy, even with something as tame as a squirting turtle.  But Pinkie always has a back-up prank...
Early the next morning, Pinkie shows up at Rainbow Dash's awesome cloud house, ready for another day of pranking, but not ready to come face to face with a griffin.  Rainbow Dash introduces her to Gilda, her old pal from Junior Speedster Flight Camp.  At Dash's request, Gilda joins her in performing the camp's chant for Pinkie, who somehow finds inspiration for a prank in it.  Gilda claims to be down with pranking, but would rather go flying with Rainbow Dash.  Seeing as her friend just arrived, Rainbow Dash begs off, promising to catch up with Pinkie Pie later, which Pinkie sadly agrees to.
And so the two speedsters spend the morning racing above Ponyville.  While they take a break on a cloud, Pinkie Pie barges in on them by way of a trampoline, claiming it's "later."  Rainbow Dash is amused by this, but Gilda does not cotton to this interruption and races Rainbow Dash to an even higher cloud.  This does not stop Pinkie, though, as she merely ties enough balloons to herself to get up to them.  So Gilda challenges Dash to another race, but while the pegasus takes off, she sticks around and pops enough balloons to send Pinkie back down to the ground.  But in no time at all, Pinkie is back yet again, this time in some kind of crazy flying machine.  Gilda has Rainbow Dash show off her latest flying tricks so that she can talk to Pinkie one-on-one.  And by talk, I mean, threaten and call a dweeb before sending her hurtling off into the wild blue yonder.
Unaccustomed to such rudeness, Pinkie does the only thing she can think to do: complain to Twilight about Gilda.  After listening (while trying to do some research) to Pinkie rant and rave about how mean the griffin is, Twilight prepares her hypothesis, namely, Pinkie's jealous of Gilda spending time with Rainbow Dash without her.  Her solution: Pinkie needs to improve her attitude.  Pinkie has no words for this apparent missing of the point, and she storms out (though she squeaks rather than stomps).  But as she heads back into town, she realizes that Twilight could be right, and she's been judging Gilda unfairly due to jealousy.  As she drowns her sorrows in milkshakes, she spies Rainbow Dash leaving Gilda on her own to take care of some weather jobs around town, and observes Gilda's less-than-stellar behavior.  Not only does she scare Granny Smith (by using her tail to fake a rattlesnake) and steal an apple, she bullies poor Fluttershy, who was only trying to lead a family of ducks safely through town, to the point of tears.  Seeing that her initial judgement was in fact correct, Pinkie calls for "extreme measures, Pinkie Pie-style!"
Which of course means throwing a party.  Fluttershy, naturally, is unclear on why Pinkie would want to throw a party for Gilda, but Pinkie assures her that "your auntie Pinkie Pie's got it all taken care of."  Fluttershy retorts (as much as Fluttershy can retort), "I'm a year older than you." (I love it!)  At last the guest of honor arrives, and Pinkie welcomes her with a hoofshake that hides a joybuzzer.  Rainbow Dash finds this hilarious, so Gilda hides her annoyance, but once Dash is out of earshot, she warns Pinkie that she knows something's up.  Pinkie feigns innocence, quite amusingly.  She then officially gets the party started by having everyone heartily welcome Gilda.  Gilda partakes of some of the snacks, but gets a pepper-spiked lemon drop and when Rainbow Dash directs her to the punch, she grabs a dribble glass, too.  Dash, Pinkie, and the other ponies snicker, and Gilda again swallows her annoyance (and some punch from a regular cup).  Rainbow Dash points out it's time for presents, but the first one Gilda grabs turns out to be one of those "snakes in a can," to her barely hidden frustration.  And soon enough it's time for cake, with relighting candles that Gilda tries over and over to blow out.
With Gilda's irritation becoming more and more evident, Rainbow Dash makes sure that Gilda isn't upset about the pranks, and yet again, Gilda puts on a good face for Dash.  As soon as she's gone, however, she pulls Pinkie Pie behind the cake to make more threats, but before she can do much, Applejack calls for a game of Pin the Tail on the Pony.  Gilda snatches the purple tail away from Rarity, claiming her right as the guest of honor.  Pinkie Pie's down with Gilda going first, which makes Gilda suspect another prank is coming, and she heads in the opposite direction that Pinkie tells her, slipping on some frosting and taking a fall, winding up with the tail on her beak.  The titters this raises is the last straw, and Gilda totally snaps, calling the entire party out as lame and singling Pinkie out as "Queen Lam-o."  She declares herself and Dash too cool for school, and is ready to bail on the party with Rainbow Dash at her side.  But instead, Rainbow Dash tells Gilda that all the pranks were her doing, and that they weren't aimed at the griffin specifically.  Gilda can't believe it, since the idea of the party being Pinkie Pie's revenge is much more convincing.  But no, Pinkie only threw the party in the hopes of putting Gilda in a better, more pony-like, mood.  Having seen Gilda's true colors, Rainbow Dash basically breaks off their friendship.  Gilda can't think of a proper response to this, and so she calls Rainbow Dash a flip-flopper and storms out of her life, slamming the door behind her.
As the non-core ponies whisper about what just happened, Rainbow Dash apologizes for Gilda's behavior, and gives Pinkie Pie a special apology for the ruined party.  But Pinkie's not upset, mostly because she, of course, has a prank up her sleeve.  As does Rainbow Dash, and the two ponies shock each other with simultaneous joybuzzers.  Twilight also takes a moment to apologize to Pinkie for doubting her judgment earlier, and again, Pinkie holds no ill will, though there's no joybuzzing this time around.  As the party continues, Twilight drafts a letter to Princess Celestia, summing up what she's learned about friendship this time (you can't pick your friends' friends, so just be a good friend and the bad friend will be found out eventually), and even includes a gift: disappearing ink.  And Celestia totally falls for it.
I find it impossible to believe that Pinkie only threw the party to improve Gilda's attitude.  I'd rather think that she put it together and either suggested or knew that Rainbow Dash would play some pranks.  And though Rainbow Dash claimed it was just bad luck that Gilda triggered all the pranks, some where rather deliberate (i.e. Pinkie's joy buzzer and the "present") and others she seemed to guide Gilda into.  So while Gilda definitely deserved all the pranking she got, the whole thing comes off as a little too harsh.

Misc. Screenshots:
Twilight points out Rainbow Dash
Pinkie visualizes
"A simple nod will do."
Ready with the squirt turtle
Rainbow Dash sticks out her tongue
Don't mess up the 'do
Happy Gilda
Pinkie Pie attempts to justify Gilda's actions
Pinkie's got her eye on Gilda
Spike in the cake
Pinkie is shocked

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Late Night Video - Yzma takes on Tik Tok

This is also some kind of awesome:


And while I'm posting about AMVs, I need someone to make one for Fight Club using the song "Confrontation" from Jekyll and Hyde.  Seriously.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Episode Four

The latest episode reveals quite a bit, such as the fact that Big Macintosh is Applejack's older brother, and his voice for the very first time.  And again, though the overall plot is rather simple, the way the story is told is definitely entertaining.
Applebuck Season
The episode begins with Applejack and Big Macintosh surveying that years' crop of apples, the biggest they've seen in years.  Applejack is sure she can handle the harvest on her own (and she'll have to, due to Big Mac's injury), but her brother isn't so sure.  Taking his uncertainty as lack of confidence in her, Applejack rashly vows to pick every single apple without any help from anyone.
As Applejack gears up to start working, the ground suddenly begins to shake.  Over in Ponyville proper, Rainbow Dash scopes out the situation and spots the cause: a stampeding herd of cows!  While most of the ponies head inside, Pinkie Pie points out the effects of the vibrations on her voice.  But there is no need for alarm when Applejack is on the case!  She and her border collie, Winona, manage to divert the stampede from Ponyville's path and gets the cows under control.  To thank her for this, the mayor plans to give her the coveted Prized Pony of Ponyville award, at a celebration one week later.
At the actual celebration, Twilight Sparkle attempts to give a speech in honor of Applejack, but it keeps getting hijacked by the others (Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy), who proclaim Applejack's awesomeness and how she promised to help them out.  When it comes time for the presentation, however, the guest of honor is nowhere to be found.  Applejack does show up eventually, burdened with bushels of apples, and with bags under her eyes.  She accepts the award with much yawning, gives a rather loopy spiel, and drags it off.  Her strange behavior does not go unnoticed by the others (except Pinkie Pie, of course), but only Twilight feels the need to visit her at her farm.
Down at farm, Applejack keeps falling asleep in between kicking trees, much to Twilight's confusion.  She teleports on over and asks just what's going on, so Applejack explains that it's "applebuck season," i.e. when they "buck" all the apples from the trees so they can be sold, and how Big Mac got hurt and can't work this season.  So Twilight (who keeps teleporting during her conversation with Applejack for some reason) asks what happened to all those relatives who forced food on her in the first episode.  It turns out they were just up for the Summer Sun Celebration, and all have their own farms elsewhere.  Seeing how unsteady on her feet Applejack is, Twilight offers her some help, but Applejack turns her down flat.  Twilight wrinkles her nose, but lets the stubborn pony keep at it.
Later on, Rainbow Dash waits impatiently for Applejack, who shows up looking the worse for wear.  Rainbow Dash is unfazed, though, and explains what she needs Applejack to do: jump onto the other end of a catapult, sending the pegasus into the air faster than she could take off on her own.  A simple enough task, but in her fatigued state, Applejack can't focus on where she's supposed to land, and falls to the side time after time.  When Rainbow Dash aks what "the hay" is going on, Applejack insists she's okay and tries just pushing the other end down.  Not even close.  So Applejack goes back up for one more try, but her sudden leap off the other end disorients Rainbow Dash.  Applejack gets it right this time, but Rainbow Dash ends up launched before she's ready, and lands on the library's veranda, where Twilight is enjoying some book time.
So it's another trip to the farm for Twilight.  Just before she gets there, Applejack bonks her head on a low branch, leaving her ears ringing.  After a bit of Auditory Difficulty, Twilight manages to make herself heard, and once again tells Applejack to get some help.  But Applejack is as stubborn as ever, even if she can only hear every other word anyone says.  But no time to argue, she has to help out Pinkie Pie at the Sugar Cube bakery while Mr. and Mrs. Cake are out for the day. Pinkie and Applejack attempt to make some muffins, but thanks to her sleep-deprived state, Applejack not only mishears Pinkie's instructions, but hears them in slow motion.  The resulting muffins, made with potato chips, cola, lemon juice, and worms (plus sugar and eggs, put in by Pinkie), send half the town to the emergency ward, though Spike is quite taken with them.
Twilight was mercifully not part of the "baked bads" epidemic, and thus pays Applejack another visit, this time finding her in a rather awkward position.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Applejack continues to insist she doesn't need help, not even with getting her apple cart back on track, and not even when Twilight points out she's bucking a dead tree.  Twilight tries to bring up the muffin incident, but Applejack's patience is worn too thin for that, and she shuts Twilight down before stomping off.  "That pony is as stubborn as a mule," Twilight comments, then turns to the mule standing next to her, "No offense."
Besides finishing the harvest, Applejack also has to help Fluttershy with the annual rabbit census, herding the bunnies so they can be counted.  Though Fluttershy warns her to be gentle, Applejack's irritation due to Twilight and lack of sleep just frightens the bunnies.  And while her and Winona's usual techniques do round up the rabbits, it isn't long before the rabbits snap and take off.  This is treated exactly the same as the cow stampede earlier, and is in fact even worse, since the rabbits are not diverted as the cows were, leaving a trail of fainted ponies and garden destruction in their wake.  While Fluttershy tries to take care of the runaway bunnies, Twilight (who somehow missed the whole thing) goes to give Applejack the lecture of her life.
Applejack, more asleep than awake, keeps on bucking mindlessly, and thus misses most of Twilight's alliterative rant about the chaos the pony has caused in town.  As Twilight insists yet again that Applejack needs help, AJ just laughs and points out that she just bucked the last tree, meaning that she did indeed harvest the whole orchard all by herself.  "How do you like them apples?" she asks, only for Big Macintosh to arrive on the scene and ask her "How do you like them apples?" pointing out the whole entire other half of the orchard, still covered in apples.  The combined effects of the strain she put on herself and the sight of all that work still to be done are too much for Applejack, and she faints clean away.  When she comes to, Twilight launches back into her lecture, and less than a paragraph in, Applejack finally agrees that, yes, she needs help, much to Twilight's surprise (but relief).  And so, as she and the others help Applejack with the rest of the orchard, Twilight writes a report back to Princess Celestia about what she's learned (friendship means not just offering to help your friends, but accepting help, too).  Applejack brings her workers some juice, but no snacks, so Spike offers up the muffins from earlier that he saved from being trashed.  Unsurprisingly, no one takes him up on the offer.

I didn't really mention it in the write-up, but the cows that stampeded and the mule that took no offense all could talk.  Winona, however, and all the bunnies (and the birds seen in earlier episodes) cannot (or maybe just don't).  I'm not really sure what to make of this, but I think it's interesting to note.  Also, one thing I really love about this show is how expressive the ponys' ears are.  Just wanted to point that out.
It was nice to see some more of the other denizens of Ponyville, like the nurses in the emergency ward, Mr. and Mrs. Cake (why they aren't Pinkie Pie's parents, I have no clue.  Seriously, the moment I saw Mrs. Cake on screen, my mind screamed "Pinkie's Mom!" though my second thought was the second (third?) coming of Minty, neither of which turned out to be right).  Tomorrow's episode will also be good in this regard, as it introduces an old friend of Rainbow Dash's.

Misc. Screenshots:
Big Macintosh is affronted
Pinkie likes to watch
Cheering for Applejack
Applejack rides off into the sunset
Rainbow Dash's squishy face
Spike blushes (so cute!)
Nurse Pony

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Hub on Gaia - Strawberry Shortcake's Hat

The Hub has a promotion on Gaia now where if you watch a clip from the new SSC series, you get Strawberry's hat for your avatar.  So cute ^_^  I wonder if The Hub will do this for any of their other shows?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maryoku Yummy - Build a Better Swingset and Ooka Times Two

I wasn't really planning on blogging Maryoku Yummy episodes--and I'm still not, but there are a few things about this one that I particularly liked and felt like mentioning here. The first half, "Build a Better Swingset," gets special mention for showing a good number of characters in hardhats and safety glasses (I don't know why, but cute characters are even cuter when they're in hardhats and safety glasses), and Young Fij Fij (so cute!).  Bonus points for having Yuzu completely fail at coming up with a rhyming catchphrase (something he usually does whenever he appears):
Yuzu: Need any help, Maryoku?  Using a hammer, drill, or ladder, Nonki and Yuzu are good... at... it all.
Nonki: It don't rhyme.
Yuzu: Hey, they can't all be winners.
The opening scene of the second half, "Ooka Times Two" is really why I'm making this post, as it's basically a spoof of every mad scientist movie ever made.  It starts in Nonki and Yuzu's workshop, with ominous organ music playing as they put the finishing touches on their latest invention.  Yuzu's expression is classic mad scientist, though his dialogue ("everyone is going to love this") isn't quite.  Until he tells Nonki to pull the lever, that is.  And it is, indeed, one of those ones.  Electricity surges, and their creation begins to rise as Yuzu cries out, "It's alive!"  Fade to black.  (They just made a robot, not an actual Yummy.)
I also liked this episode because it showed Maryoku finally cracking down on Ooka's goofing off.  It did feel a bit out of character, as she's usually more tolerant of Ooka's fun-loving side, but I imagine that Ooka's been ramping up her attempts to get out of work lately (as she greets Maryoku with "Isn't it a lovely Sunday?" and Maryoku immediately replies, "It's Monday" as if this isn't the first time), and even Maryoku has her limits.
Lastly, as part of a plan to get back at Ooka for tricking Nonki and Yuzu into using their robot to do her chores, the Yummies create The Wish Sitter Awards, and we get to see everyone (but especially Hadagi) glammed up.  The very end is a bit lame, but that's neither here nor there.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode Three

After the two-part adventure pilot, the rest of Friendship is Magic takes a turn toward the slice-of-life, and the series kicks this off with one of the most clich├ęd sitcom plots imaginable.  Despite this, the episode has a ton of good lines and some really awesome moments.

The Ticket Master
The episode opens with Twilight Sparkle helping Applejack bring in some apples, with the promise that if they do it by lunchtime, Big Macintosh will have to make good on his bet and walk down the street in one of Granny Smith's girdles.  Spike, meanwhile, searches for the perfect apple while riding on Twilight's back, and burps up a letter from Princess Celestia.  It's an invitation to the Grand Galloping Gala for Twilight and one guest, soon followed by the actual tickets.  Twilight and Applejack start freaking out about it, but Spike wants nothing to do with something as girly as a dance.  Applejack envisions herself setting up a stand there and drumming up enough new business to replace not only the barn's roof and the old plow, but Granny Smith's hip, as well.  That's a good enough reason for Twilight, but before she can formally invite Applejack, the two of them are ambushed by Rainbow Dash, who was napping in a nearby tree and heard the whole thing.  Knowing that the Wonderbolts perform at the gala every year, if Twilight took her, she could interrupt their performance, wow the crowd with her signature moves, and be invited to join the team.  But Applejack jerks Rainbow Dash away from Twilight Sparkle and tells her that she asked first, and when Rainbow doesn't back down, decides to settle this with a "hoof wrestle."  Twilight, however, points out that the tickets are hers, so she'll decide who to take.  Unable to figure out if "money for Granny's new hip" is a better reason than "living the dream," she backs out to get some lunch and make her decision later.  And Applejack and Rainbow Dash go right back to hoof wrestling.
On her way to get some lunch, Twilight is unintentionally tackled by Pinkie Pie, who ends up with the tickets on her face.  She starts freaking out, thinking they're bats(?), until she actually sees them, and then starts freaking out in song because the GGG is the biggest party ever, and she's always wanted to go.  She also assumes that Twilight is going to take her, even though Twilight has not actually said anything yet.  And then Rarity arrives, and when she hears about Pinkie going to the Gala, she starts going on about how wonderful the gala is, and how she's destined to meet "him" there.  Since neither Twilight nor Pinkie have any idea who this "him" is, Rarity spins them her own gala fantasy, a true Cinderella story that ends with her being introduced to, and eventually marrying, Princess Celestia's nephew.  She then fixes Twilight with a "How could you!" since Pinkie is apparently going and not her.  While Twilight sets the record straight, a bunny steals the tickets from Spike and takes them to Fluttershy, who is delighted (and not worried about a thieving rabbit in the slightest).  
Hearing that Twilight hasn't given the ticket away yet, Fluttershy tries to ask for the extra, but in her shy, roundabout way, such that Rarity interrupts her with an incredulous "You want to go to the gala?"  It takes prodding from her bunny friend to get Fluttershy to admit that she does want to go, not for the dance, but for the fancy garden that surrounds the whole place, full of the most beautiful flowers and animals, including "hummingbirds that can really hum, and buzzards who can really buzz."  Twilight seems to be leaning toward Fluttershy, but Rainbow Dash shows up to make sure Twilight doesn't give the ticket to any pony who isn't her.  Applejack, suspecting this, also arrives, to make sure Rainbow Dash doesn't try anything funny.  All five of Twilight's friends start to argue over who should get the ticket, even Fluttershy(!), until Twilight calls for quiet.  She reminds them that the decision is hers and hers alone, and she can't think straight with all that noise, or on an empty stomach.  So she shoos them all away so she can get some lunch for real this time.
Seated at a nearby cafe, Twilight agonizes over who to take, playing "loves me, loves me not," with a centerpiece daisy, then licking up the petals out of hunger.  When asked for her decision, she yells out, "I can't decide!" only to find it was the waiter (male French waiter pony with a mustache!!) asking for her order.  Taken with centerpiece, she orders a daffodil and daisy sandwich, while Spike, unable to get any rubies to eat, goes with the hay fries.  While they wait, Twilight tries to get Spike's advice, but he's very unsympathetic to Twilight's dilemma.  Twilight's specific problem is that she doesn't want to disappoint any of her friends, but even if she gave up her own ticket, three friends would still be upset.  Interestingly, she imagines Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity as the disappointed friends, meaning she's leaning more toward Applejack and Fluttershy at this point.  Her thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of lunch, and she sets up to eat her sandwich, hoping for some clarity with a full stomach.  But suddenly, all the other patrons run off, and the waiter asks if she's going to eat in the rain, much to her confusion.  She looks up to see why it's raining everywhere but where she's sitting, and who should pop out of the hole in the clouds but Rainbow Dash, claiming to have made the hole because they're such good friends.  Twilight easily sees through this, and, refusing to accept any special treatment until she's made her decision, asks Rainbow to close up the hole again.  Too bad she didn't think to eat her now-soggy sandwich before asking for the hole to be closed, but oh well.
Seeing the waterlogged Twilight, Rarity hijacks her friend for a make over at her salon, and the clip previewed on Yahoo ensues.  Twilight is at first quite taken with the outfit that Rarity forced her into (though Spike rejects his and runs off to the library), but when it becomes clear that Rarity is also just trying to get into her good graces and get the ticket, she flings the outfit back at its maker and goes off in search of lunch.  And she finds it immediately outside the door in the form of Applejack with an entire wagon full of apple treats (including apple brown betty, "The dessert, not my aunty").  Though sorely tempted, Twilight rejects the treats, and wails that not only are the favors not helping her decide, they're confusing her even more.  She makes a break for the library, but not even that is safe, as she finds Fluttershy there, singing the original MLP theme tune and cleaning up with her animal friends.  The little bunny, named Angel, even made a salad.  Twilight is certain that Fluttershy is just doing this for the ticket, but the pegasus assures her it's because they're such good friends...until Angel gives her a dirty look, and then she admits, yes, it's just for the ticket.  Twilight nearly gives into Angel's salad, but instead opens the door to kick Fluttershy and the animals out, only to be surprised by a burst of streamers and confetti.
That's right, it's Pinkie Pie's turn to butter up Twilight, which she does by throwing an impromptu party.  As the other partygoers toss Twilight in the air, Pinkie sings her a song that blatantly states the party is her way of getting the ticket, prompting Twilight to state, "At least the other ponies tried to be subtle about the ticket."  Mention of the ticket brings on every pony in Ponyville, it seems, who all try to woo Twilight into giving them the ticket.  Spike arrives on the scene to help Twilight escape the crowd, but unfortunately for him, there's only one thing they can do: a Benny Hill homage.  Yes, it's true, for the next thirty five seconds, Twilight and Spike continually elude the stampede of ponies through hiding, costumes, and just plain running, all while a knock-off of Yakety Sax plays in the background.  
Finally, both Spike and Twilight are cornered with no place to run.  The pressure causes Twilight to let loose a burst of magic that teleports both her and Spike back to the library, much to her own surprise.  They quickly lock all the doors and turn off the lights, but it's too late, her friends are already there!  The sight of them, eager and waiting (plus still not getting anything to eat) makes Twilight let loose a primal yell and word glurge about her indecision, not wanting to disappoint anyone, and the favors just making it worse.  By the end, her friends realize how selfish they've been, and they each apologize in turn, telling her it's okay if she gives the ticket to someone else.  Well, all except Rainbow Dash, who does a victory dance when she realizes everyone else gave up the ticket, making it hers by default.  But everyone else fixes her with a glare so strong, she backtracks and claims that her "signature moves" still need some work, so she doesn't need the ticket yet.  Now knowing what to do, Twilight has Spike take a memo for Princess Celestia, returning the tickets.  Her friends are shocked, but she explains that if they all can't go, she doesn't want to go either.  Spike appears to be sickened by this show of friendship, but it's actually Princess Celestia's rather prompt response: a note saying simply "Why didn't you say so?" and enough tickets for all of them.  To celebrate, the others treat Twilight Sparkle to dinner, a suitable way to make up for how they acted earlier.  As the ponies filter out, Spike notices that there isn't a ticket for him, and though he was adamant before about not wanting to go, he can't help but feel a little left out now.  Fortunately, Princess Celestia comes through, somehow managing to send it when he's alone, and thus only Applejack gets a peek at his joy.
I couldn't really do justice to this episode, since there just a lot of craziness that had to be seen, like the dance Granny Smith does in Applejack's imagination, or Rarity's fantasy courtship, and especially the Benny Hill chase.  But it's good to see that even with a completely predictable plot, the show still managed to surprise me.  Seriously, people were ready to declare the show a failure when the synopsis for this one came out, and the second episode hadn't even aired yet.  So yeah, glad to see Ms. Faust and the team came through with an episode that was not only fun to watch, but fun to rewatch, as well.
Now, the episode ends without us actually seeing the gala itself, leaving one to wonder how the actual thing compared to all the fantasies.  And does Princess Celestia actually have a nephew, or was he a figment of Rarity's imagination?  Considering that the only sister we know she has only just got back from the moon, and the fact that Rarity never mentions his name, I'm leaning toward the latter.  
Considering Celestia's quick response to Twilight's RSVP, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say she probably set this whole thing up as a test, to see how Twilight would handle such a decision.  I guess when you're over a thousand years old, you get pretty good at Xanatos Gambits.  Also, didn't Rainbow Dash already have a chance to meet the Wonderbolts at the Summer Sun Celebration?  She was planning to show them her stuff there, and while their performance was most likely postponed due to the never-ending night, surely they didn't cancel it altogether?  Then again, maybe they did, and they were already too far from Ponyville to make it back for the Welcome Back, Luna celebration.  Hm.... perhaps an upcoming episode will have Rainbow Dash actually getting to join them and finding out being a Wonderbolt isn't all she thought it was?  Or maybe it will be, but she gives it up to be with her friends anyway.  Only time will tell.