Monday, February 3, 2014
A Canter on the Weird Side
** SPOILERS **
"Playing it safe" is a charge on which My Little Pony can certainly plead "not guilty," based on the evidence of the past two new episodes. "Pinkie Pride," with the celebrated guest appearance by Weird Al Yankovic as the party pony Cheese Sandwich, was much the more ballyhooed, but "Three's a Crowd," which preceded it, took an even larger leap of faith by entrusting non-singer John de Lancie, the voice of chaos-causing Discord, with a lengthy patter song. De Lancie carried it off quite well IMHO, though listening to the thing without the crazy visual accompaniment takes away roughly three-quarters of the bit's charm. Incidentally, Discord originally starts this little performance because he's sick and wants Twilight Sparkle and Twilight's visiting sister-in-law Princess Cadance to bring him a glass of water. The demands escalate from there.
that one off-the-wall comic-book arc that parodied 80s teen films, Cadance is still somewhat lacking in personality, and "Three's a Crowd" sadly fails to budge her off that "bland" setting, with one curious exception: Cadance mentions to Twilight that, because things were getting a bit boring back home in the Crystal Empire, she preferred the excitement of this visit to the quiet "quality time" experience that Twilight had originally planned for her. I think that Shining Armor has some work to do in the old boudoir, if you catch my drift.
Pinkie Pie has been acting like a caricature of her already-somewhat-Toonish self this season, and Pinkie well and truly bottomed out during her brief appearance in "Three's a Crowd," swooning over an ad for "used patio furniture" and constantly being distracted by balloons. She's random and zany, but she ISN'T simple-minded or crazy. Once I learned about the plot of "Pinkie Pride" and realized that this would probably be the ep in which Pinkie had her "Elementary crisis" and got her "rainbow key," I felt sure that a rehabilitation project was coming. That's exactly what happened. Cheese Sandwich turned out to be, not the snarky and antagonistic fellow I was half-expecting, but a genuinely nice guy who also happens to be an awesome party-thrower. Facing the existence of someone who presents a challenge to her in the realm of her own special talent -- and might even be better than her at it, in some ways -- Pinkie goes through a major identity crisis, with "rainbow hints" being dropped along the way. Talk about returning to "first principles of characterization" with a vengeance.
Rainbow Dash's "birthiversary" party. Sight gags aplenty, and one of Weird Al's signature polka riffs, follow in due course. The visuals even include a couple of live-action cut-ins a la Spongebob SquarePants.
Power Ponies." But we wound up having our "rubber chicken" and getting some real meat to chew on, as well. Hopefully, future eps with Pinkie won't forget that she can be a serious, and sometimes even quasi-tragic, character when the foundation of her buoyant nature is called into question.
Next week, we get another Rarity-centric episode! Can't wait.