Friday, April 8, 2011

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Episode Twenty

You think we'd be tired of Rarity-centric episodes by now, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Green Isn't Your Color
It seems that Rarity and Fluttershy are closer friends than we knew, as they have a regular date at the spa, which Rarity is currently late for.  But with good reason, she assures Fluttershy when she finally shows up.  As they go through their usual treatments, Rarity reveals that she happened to run into the famous fashion photographer Photo Finish, who was so taken with Rarity's latest hat design that she's coming over the next day to take photos at Rarity's shop.  And of course, there's only one pony who can do justice to Rarity's current fashions: Fluttershy!  But Fluttershy is reluctant to agree, being shy by name and nature, and it takes a plethora of "pleases" from Rarity before Fluttershy gives in.
As the hour of Photo Finish's arrival draws near, Rarity enlists the help of her friends to get her featured dress just right, including a love-addled Spike, whose devotion is such that he even lets Rarity use him as a pin cushion (not that he feels any pain, thanks to his thick scales).  While Rarity is distracted, Spike confides in Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie about his crush on Rarity, though this is no secret to anyone, really, and Twilight nearly says as much.  But Pinkie Pie insists that she not say anything, since "losing a friend's trust is the fastest way to lose a friend forever!"  No time to worry about that now, though, as Photo Finish has arrived, assistants in tow.
And so the fashion shoot begins.  All of Fluttershy's coached poses are rejected by Photo Finish, but her dejection intrigues the fashion pony.  After just a few snaps, Photo Finish leaves with hardly a word, and Fluttershy and Rarity try to console each other on a botched first impression.  But wait, Photo Finish suddenly returns, insisting she's found the next fashion star who will shine all over Equestria (with her help, of course), and ordering a photo shoot in the park.  After she's gone, Rarity can hardly believe her ears: Photo Finish is going to showcase her designs!  In her joy, she gleefully jumps up and down, unaware that she's mashing Spike's tail as she does.
In the park the next day, Photo Finish arrives carried on a litter and instantly rejects Rarity's chosen outfit (a leftover from Sapphire Shores?), wanting instead something inspired by nature.  Rarity searches through the outfits she brought, not finding anything appropriate, but it turns out she's unneeded.  When Photo Finish said she found a new fashion star, she was actually referring to Fluttershy as a model, not Rarity as a designer.  As Rarity packs up her things, Fluttershy tries to bow out of modeling, but Rarity insists that she see it through, so at least one of them can shine.  Back at her shop, however, she must admit her disappointment to the others.  Spike shoos the others away, hoping for a chance with Rarity alone, but no dice.
Meanwhile, Fluttershy is prepped for her fashion debut on the catwalk.  Despite her nerves, she goes out for Rarity's sake, and her natural grace and timidness endear her to the crowd.  Hoity Toity himself declares her perfect for his next ad campaign.  And thus begins her life of photo shoots, stretch limo-carriages, and product endorsements.  Before long, she can't even walk down the street without being hounded by mobs of fans and paparazzi, much to her dismay.  She takes refuge in Rarity's shop, and the two ponies mask their true feelings for the sake of the other.  But their reunion is short-lived, as Photo Finish tracks her down, reminding her they have "the thing at the place."  Fluttershy promises to be at the spa for their regular date, but Rarity can barely contain her jealousy as the pegasus is dragged off.  Even more so when two of the regular background ponies have forgotten her name in favor of Fluttershy.
While Photo Finish gives a press conference, Fluttershy tries to get the photographer to finish up, so she can get to the spa.  Instead, PF suddenly remembers that Fluttershy is due to appear at the ballet opening, and so off they go.  At the spa, meanwhile, Rarity is waiting, sitting in the hot tub for so long that her hooves have gone pruney.  She gripes about Fluttershy's new career to Twilight Sparkle, confiding about how she should be happy for her friend but is too jealous, and makes Twilight promise not to tell.  Twilight starts to quote Pinkie Pie from earlier, but the pink pony pops up out of nowhere (actually, a bowl of sponges) to finish the quote herself: "FOREVER!"  Unable to wait any longer, Rarity leaves the hot tub and changes into her latest design.  Apparently she's been channeling her jealousy into her work.
No sooner does she leave than Fluttershy finally shows up, apologizing, but only Twilight is there to hear.  Her frustration is so great, she can't helping screaming, though not much actually comes out, and it doesn't even make her feel better.  She asks Twilight not to tell Rarity how much she really hates modeling, since Rarity wants her to do it so much.  Seeing the obvious solution to both Rarity and Fluttershy's problems, Twilight almost divulges Rarity's true feelings on the subject, but Pinkie Pie pops up out of the sponges yet again to remind Twilight of her promise.  "Forever!"  Unable to enlighten Fluttershy on her misconception, Twilight asks why she doesn't just quit.  Fluttershy insists that Rarity would be disappointed if she did, and Twilight nearly lets what Rarity told her slip, only to be stopped by Pinkie Pie popping up out of a nearby apple cart.  She even menacingly eats one of the apples to inspire Twilight's resolve to keep her promise.
Fluttershy laments the fact that she's just so moe, without even trying, which gives Twilight an idea: she can solve Rarity and Fluttershy's problems, while still keeping their secrets, with a little magic.  As she tells Pinkie Pie, if she uses her magic to make Fluttershy as un-moe as possible, then Photo Finish will drop her as a model, Rarity won't be jealous, and their secrets won't be a secret any more.  She also makes Pinkie Pie promise to reveal the plan to no one, which Pinkie Pie does by miming zipping her mouth closed, burying the key, building a house on top of the buried key, and then moving in.  Whatever floats your boat, Pinkie.
At the next fashion show, Rarity, who had been avoiding the shows, makes an appearance to see for herself if Fluttershy is really "all that."  Imagine her surprise when Fluttershy suddenly falls flat on her face, and then puts on a most disgraceful display, even managing to pick her nose (how is that possible with hooves?).  The crowd turns on Fluttershy, and Twilight smiles at her plan going as planned, until Rarity actually starts cheering.  The crowd is similarly perplexed; who in their right mind could have enjoyed that?  When the ponies see that the cheerer is a fabulously dressed unicorn, they are swayed, for someone with that much fashion sense obviously knows what she's talking about.  Twilight's plan has failed, and Fluttershy is more popular than ever!
Backstage, Fluttershy is so frustrated over the failed plan, she kicks a nearby vase, though without actually knocking it over.  "If only Rarity didn't want me to be a model so badly," she moans, and Twilight again nearly let's Rarity's secret slip, stopping herself short by stuffing her hoof in her mouth.  Rarity, however, shows up herself to see how Fluttershy is doing.  Fluttershy again puts on a brave face for her friend, causing Twilight stuff both front hooves in her mouth to keep herself from revealing the pegasus' true feelings.  Rarity confesses that she actually felt good when the crowd started turning on Fluttershy before, and Twilight has to stuff a basket of fruit down her throat to keep from telling Fluttershy the whole thing.  But fortunately for Twilight, Rarity finally tells her friend that she's been jealous this whole time, hoping that something like this would happen so that she would fail.  But when it actually happened, she realized how terrible it was for her to wish failure on her friend, when she was just doing what she loved.  Which prompts Twilight to stuff her head in a plant to keep Fluttershy's secret under wraps.  But Twilight needn't have bothered, since Rarity's confession inspires Fluttershy to confess her own true feelings, that she was only modeling because Rarity wanted her to.  They both realize they could have avoided the whole thing if they'd just been honest with each other, and promise to always share their true feelings in the future, Pinkie Pie style.
Which is when Photo Finish arrives, crowing about how brilliant Fluttershy was, and how many jobs she's already got lined up.  But Fluttershy tells her she's quitting, and she and Rarity exit, leaving Photo Finish wondering what just happened.  And all the strain of not telling secrets finally gets to Twilight, as the first thing out of her mouth once she goes up for air is Spike's secret.  Pinkie Pie appears in a nearby mirror (...somehow) just to let Twilight know how disappointed she is in her.  Later, as the ponies relax at the spa, Twilight dictates her latest letter to the princess on what she's learned (keep your friends' secrets, but don't be afraid to share your true feelings), but Spike is having none of it, still miffed over Twilight's lack of secret-keeping skills.  The unicorn apologizes, but Spike still won't take down her letter, since he's too busy fanning Rarity.
What I loved about this ep was the little touches, like how Rarity is such a regular at the spa that she has her own monogrammed bathrobe, not to mention all the little contrasts between her treatments and Fluttershy's (i.e. Rarity gets a full mud mask while Fluttershy just has her cheeks covered).  And this ep also explains how Fluttershy knew so much about sewing and fashion back in "Suited For Success."  Still, it was a little frustrating that Twilight didn't think to tell Fluttershy and Rarity to just talk to each other, but I guess it might not be something that would spring to her mind, still being relatively knew to the friendship game.
Animation-wise, there were so many good expressions!  And Fluttershy really did make an adorable model.  I wish she'd wear her hair up more often.  And one last thing: it bugs me that so many people think Photo Finish was based on Lady Gaga when she's so obviously meant to be Anna Wintour, head editor of Vogue Magazine, famous for her pageboy haircut, never taking off her sunglasses, and discovering new talent.

Misc. Screenshots:
Pouty face
Rarity T-Shirt
Too much blush
Magazine cover 1
Magazine cover 2
Twilight's plan goes awry


Tekaramity said...

Reading this recap (and it's another excellent one, pensive!) only adds to my mixed opinion regarding this episode: all of the little details were amazing, as was the astoundingly commanding presence that was Photo Finish - but for some obscure reason I'm not convinced that this episode ranks in the season's top half. The parts are greater than the sum thereof, mayhaps?

One thing I do hope is that this is the last episode of the season in which a couple of main cast members only receive cameos. The best eps, from my view, feature all six of them (or seven, counting Spike) contributing in well-executed bit parts, at the *very* least.

Laura said...

Wow! What a recap! Thanks :)