Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reviewing Is Magic: Episode 8

One of the aspects of the show "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" that has absolutely fascinated me is the weather patterns of the world these characters live in.  From all the various series, comics, and movies I've watched, it is truly mind-blowing that it's a show about young horses learning about friendship that has me the most interested about how the climate works on both a micro and a macro level.

This isn't to say that weather hasn't crossed my mind while watching or reading other series.  It's especially been something I've pondered during my time as a fan of comic book superheroes, particularly when it comes to Thor and Ororo Monroe, codenamed "Storm."

Both of these characters have control over the weather, able to not just make lightning strike wherever they want, but also cause storms to form or dissipate at will.  Ororo has created perfectly blue skies for a softball game or caused it to rain when she was angry at someone who was out for a run.  Thor regularly summons mighty winds and clouds to use as weapons against his opponents, and all I can keep wondering as I read is "how does this affect the weather on a local or a global scale?"

I keep waiting for a comic that features a lawsuit against one of these heroes, where their actions cause flood rains to be moved out of their projected path into an area where storms typically don't fall, or for much-needed rain for crops to simply be diverted away from farmland.  In one comic I have, Thor actually summons the trade winds to disperse a cloud that an enemy created, and that's officially affecting the weather on a global scale.

But this topic is never discussed, as far as I know.  I'm yet to see either hero refuse to alter the weather patterns because of any ecological damage it might cause.

On the other hand, we have episode eight of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, where we not only learn that there's a set schedule to weather patterns, but storm systems are actually built by winged horses, meticulously positioning every cloud into its proper place before the rains begin.

This episode starts by watching clouds be pushed into position by various pegasuses (pegasi?) who I'm sure have actual names, but I can't be bothered to look up.  We also have Rarity and Rainbow Dash down at ground level, getting rid of dead limbs from branches to prepare for said storm.

I really like the fact that Rarity complains about how what would be a "lovely day" is going to be ruined by this storm, and Applejack points out that a "sprinkle" was skipped the week before, so a "doozy of a downpour" is needed to make up for it.  This is said, of course, while she kicks trees to knock limbs loose.  I will never get over that.

But think about that for a moment.  There's a system, somewhere up where the peg- okay, hold on, I'm hitting Google for this.

Plural: Pegasi.

Got it.

Anyway, somewhere is a system where pegasi calculate how much rain is needed to maintain an area, and when even a small weather system is missed, it messes everything else up so badly the attempt to make up for it becomes exponentially larger than the original effort.  If I didn't know better, I'd say that one of the writers on the show might be trying to make us think there's actual scientific research involved here somewhere.

Now, something else I need to address is actually something I mentioned before, and that is that if Twilight Sparkle had never arrived in Ponyville, it's entirely likely some of these ponies would not be friends.  This holds especially true for Applejack and Rarity, who are polar opposite personalities.  Rarity gets caught up in details, Applejack looks at the bigger picture.  Rarity is delicate and demure and prissy, Applejack...well, she kicks trees on a regular basis and redirects cattle stampedes.  Rarity works in fashion, Applejack is a farmer.

This whole "conflict" is established pretty quickly, as both ponies wind up arguing for so long that it takes the storm breaking directly overhead to make them realize they need to find quick shelter.

The two get called into Twlight's domicile, and Applejack wins the award for "most practical thinker" by pointing out that "being inside of a tree during a lightning storm" might not be the best idea.

Of course, Twilight just says there's a "magic lightning rod" on top of it, so, whatever.  But I appreciate the writers thinking of something I'd think of.

We also get an interesting moment where both Applejack and Rarity get to make an aside about how, not only are they not really friends with each other, but they almost seem to despise each other.  But this needs to take a back seat for a moment to discuss what is both the saddest thing I've ever seen on this show, and something I'm absolutely jealous of.

Twilight gets the idea to have both ponies stay over for a slumber party (something she's always wanted to do), and she quickly fetches a book.  It's a book titled Slumber 101: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Slumber Parties But Were Afraid To Ask.   I'm guessing there's no Woody Allen ponies in existence making films of a similar vein.  It's also important to point out just how proud Twilight is of having this book, her "own personal copy," and she's been "waiting for a chance to use it."

The first time I heard her say that, I died a little inside.  I'll admit, I felt bad for Twilight, but I also felt compassion, having never really been the "social butterfly" growing up.  I could probably count the number of times I've stayed over at another person's house on one hand, and if I found a copy of that book at a bookshop, I'd probably be tempted to pick it up...not as a personal reference, but maybe to just read out of curiosity.


So we get some of the usual slumber party activities, each of which has moments of Applejack and Rarity all but attacking each other.  We have Applejack being humiliated through make-overs...

We also have bizarre ghost stories ("The Headless Horse" actually sounds cool), and we have s'mores an-

....whoa, whoa, whoa, wait.

...okay, we're all set.  I forgot that while marshmallows are technically made out of hooves and other animal parts (where did you think gelatin came from?) I guess they can't use horse hooves for it.  That...would have been rather terrible.

Glue, on the other hand, we'll get to in a later episode.  One that also features Rarity.

So we get to truth or dare and a pillow fight, both of which spiral out of control as tempers flare, and Twilight suggests everybody just heads to bed...and this is where one of the more surreal moments happens.

Applejack and Rarity share a bed.  ...no, this isn't any kind of freaky thing, unless you count the fact that two ponies are lying down on a mattress...a phrase I never thought I'd say.  How this works with pony biology, joint make-up, and physics just...it just boggles the mind.  And then there's how they get into bed.

I'm seriously overthinking this series.

Twilight chews out both ponies for "ruining her first slumber party" (again, I died a little inside), followed by a lightning strike (and Applejack's jumping to action) causing an over-sized branch to crash through Twilight's window, and things quickly deteriorate from there.  Twilight suffers what appears to be a tiny meltdown as she consults her book for anything involving tree branches, and we get to one more reason why I like Applejack so much.

Applejack manages to put aside her pride first to apologize to Rarity, point out that the other pony was right (about some things, not everything), and asks for help.  She even says "please."  Together, the two ponies manage to clean everything up,

Applejack and Rarity become friends, Twilight gets to check off "have fun" from her slumber party checklist (seriously, if you have to put that down on a list of things to do during any kind of "party," that's just tragic), and we end with Applejack goose-stepping.

Yeah, this show gets weird.

So, yeah, let's see what's next for My Little Pony: Freundschaft ist Magie.

It appears to be...voodoo and racism.  Oh, boy!

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