Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode Eight

We finally get to focus on Rarity this time around, though she shares the spotlight with Applejack.
Look Before You Sleep
On a beautiful, sunny day, the pegasus ponies are hard at work, moving clouds into position.  It seems that the they are in charge of making sure Ponyville gets enough rain, and since they accidentally missed a shower last week, they've planned a downpour for that evening to make up for it, meaning all the loose branches need to be pulled down from the trees to keep them from doing any damage during the storm. Rarity, however, would rather graft the branches back on and create pretty topiaries, much to Applejack's annoyance.  And thanks to Rarity fussing around, it starts raining while she and Applejack are still out.  Applejack suggests taking shelter under a nearby picnic table, but Rarity balks when she sees the mud underneath.  This leads to an argument that basically devolves into "does so/does not."  The two ponies agree to go their separate ways, but a bolt of lightning brings the term "safety in numbers" to mind.  Applejack hunkers down under the picnic table, but Rarity refuses.  Fortunately for her, it turns out that they're not too far from the library, and Twilight Sparkle calls for them to come in from the rain.  Applejack questions the wisdom of going inside a tree during a thunderstorm, but Twilight informs them about the library's magical lightning rod.  Rarity makes Applejack wash the mud off her hooves before coming in the house, which Applejack goes to do, with much muttering under her breath.
While Applejack attempts to work a hose, Twilight and Rarity make small talk about the storm, and Twilight invites them to stay the night, since Spike is away on "royal business."  It hits Twilight that this could be the makings for a slumber party, and she gets all excited.  Rarity, not keen on spending an entire night with Applejack, pretends to have suddenly remembered a pressing engagement, but Twilight is so excited about having her first slumber party (and her first chance to actually use her book on slumber parties) that Rarity just can't say no.  And so when Applejack comes back in, her hooves sparkly clean, she is quite surprised to find the two unicorns with mud all over their faces.  This is step one of a successful slumber part: makeovers!  Realizing the implications of a slumber party, Applejack also attempts to back out, but a clap of thunder reminds her it's probably better to stay put.  And so her face is mud masked as well (though when Rarity adds cucumbers for her eyes, Applejack just eats them).  Twilight squees over following the book's recipe for a fun slumber party, which Rarity uses to force a truce between her and Applejack.  Applejack attempts to seal the deal with a spit hoofshake, but Rarity is just squicked.  It looks like their truce is going to be harder to uphold than they thought.
After makeovers, the next thing on the list is ghost stories, which Applejack and Rarity try to use to needle each other.  But then Twilight hits the lights and tells her ghost story, The Legend of the Headless Horse, which is successfully scary.  Next up, s'mores!  Rarity tutors Twilight in the art of perfect s'mores, but Applejack is not impressed, seeing them only as tasty snacks.  Twilight keeps rolling with her slumber party checklist, leading to a game of Truth or Dare.  Applejack and Rarity ignore the actual rules to snipe at each other, putting their fight in plain view.  Twilight attempts to get things back on track by reading the official rules, so Applejack dares Rarity to go out in the rain and ruin her hair-do, which Twilight insists she must do, according to the book.  And she does, and then dares Applejack to dress up in a frou frou princess dress (which Twilight happens to have, for some reason).  This all just leads to more fighting, so Twilight suggests they move on.
After an epic pillow fight, Twilight, a casualty of war, decides it's time to just call it a night.  While Twilight sleeps, Rarity and Applejack are unable to drop their feud, even to fall asleep, as Rarity gripes about Applejack's muddy hooves, then snags the blankets after the earth pony shoves her hooves in her face to show she got all the mud off.  When Applejack snags it back, Rarity pushes her out of bed so she can make the bed again, and then insists Applejack scooch her way under the covers as she does.  Not in any mood to acquiesce, Applejack instead divebombs the bed, bouncing Rarity right out.  Applejack feigns sleep, but Rarity snatches the blanket clean off, leading to a tug-of-war, until Twilight finally has enough and calls the two ponies out for ruining her slumber party.  As she demands to know what else could go wrong, a bolt of lightning hits a tree next to the library.
As the three ponies watch a chunk of the tree teeter ever closer to the house next door, Applejack essentially blames it on Rarity, telling her this is why they needed to take down the loose branches.  Not quite sure that this is the same thing, Applejack.  Before Rarity can defend herself, Applejack opens the window and gears up to lasso the branch and keep it from falling.  Rarity calls for her to wait, but Applejack refuses.  She lassos the branch and gives it a tug, sending the entire thing crashing through the window and into Twilight's bedroom.  Rarity tells her, "I tried to tell you so," while taking cover from the wind and rain now pouring into the room, and Applejack apologizes to Twilight.  But Twilight is more concerned about how having a giant tree branch in your house effects a slumber party, and searches her book for an answer.  Meanwhile, Rarity starts picking up the books that fell off the shelf, and Applejack, seeing she's getting no help from either pony, tries to beat the tree into submission on her own.  When that doesn't work, she calls for Rarity to help, but Rarity ignores her demands until Applejack finally swallows her pride and apologizes, admitting that Rarity's eye for detail would have kept them out of this mess.  She asks for her help with the tree branch, but again Rarity balks at the thought of getting icky.  Applejack starts to gripe, but switches tactics and simply asks her to put her aversions aside because she's the only one who can save them now.  And so, while Twilight continues searching her book on how to turn this into a slumber party solution, Rarity uses her unicorn power to turn the branch into a bunch of little topiaries.  Applejack prepares to kick away the last bit of branch, but with a glare from Rarity, she checks herself and merely drops it out the window.  And so the day is saved, though Rarity is all covered in mud and leaves.  Applejack just adds some cucumbers for her eyes, and the two share a pony hug.  Meanwhile, Twilight finally notices that the branch is gone.
With the feud over, Twilight, Applejack, and Rarity spend some time having an actual good time playing 20 Questions.  When Twilight points out that they could have been having this much fun from the start, it almost looks like Applejack and Rarity will start fighting again, but they end up in a bit of good-natured back-and-forth over who is more sorry than who instead.  Twilight declares her slumber party a success, since she can finally check off "have fun."  While Rarity guides a blindfolded Applejack through a maze, Twilight writes to Princess Celestia about what she's learned (even ponies who are totally different can still get along and be friends) and is ready to start planning her next slumber party.  Rarity and Applejack are not quite as enthusiastic as she is.
There's been some debate over whether or not Twilight Sparkle was out of character in this episode, as her being so enthusiastic over the slumber party activities made her seem as if she was channeling Pinkie Pie, and her comment that she's always wanted to have a slumber party seems to clash with the who-needs-friends-when-I-can-study kind of life she appeared to be leading in Canterlot.  But at the same time, wanting to go exactly by the book, and being slightly socially awkward about the whole thing is very much in line with Twilight Sparkle as we've seen her in the series.
I really liked this episode, and was surprised that Rarity and Applejack arguing so much didn't get old fast, as I thought it would.  I've said it before, but it merits repeating that one of MLPFIM's strengths is that it can take the same old plots that almost every cartoon and sitcom has done before it and yet still be new and entertaining.

Misc. Screenshots:
Curlers for everyone!
Applejack snickers
Applejack and Rarity get in each other's faces
Applejack hanging

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