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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 1, Episodes 15 and 16

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM

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What does it mean to believe, and where do you draw the line? Our ponies find out.

Episode 15: "Feeling Pinkie Keen"

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Twilight Sparkle and Spike are out in the world, practicing Twilight's magic. But Spike is being distracted by Pinkie Pie, who's being extra-super-herself today.

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Which is to say, spazzing out like mad.

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Pinkie explains that her tail is twitching, which means her Pinkie Sense is telling her that things are going to start falling from the sky.

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Twilight isn't buying it at all, especially because there aren't any rain clouds, but Pinkie didn't say anything about rain -- she had something a little more Magnolia in mind: a Chuck Jonesian frog from the pond, getting a lift from Fluttershy.

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Spike is amazed by the seeming accuracy of Pinkie's prediction, but Twilight still is not buying the notion of a Pinkie Sense.

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And thus begins Twilight's slow burn, and a series of physical comedy gags that feel slightly more justified than the slapstick in "Winter Wrap Up" -- such as another Pinkie tail-twitch, right before a not-looking-where-she's-going Twilight tumbles into a ditch. Also a coincidence, darnit.

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Other known Pinkie Sense-signs: Flapping ears mean someone's about to get splattered with mud (Twilight, natch); an itchy back means it's Pinkie's lucky day; a pinchy knee means something scary is about to happen; and an achy shoulder means there's an alligator in the bathtub with the mud-splattered Twilight.

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It's Gummy, Pinkie Pie's tooth-free pet alligator! I loves me some Gummy, especially because his character design is so very Ren & Stimpy. Tell me he wouldn't have fit right in the "Untamed World" episode. That's right, you can't.

Twilight Sparkle remains unconvinced that the Pinkie Sense is anything other than hooey, so Pinkie Pie asks what we've all been wondering: How is it any different from Twilight's magic?

Twilight takes no small amount of offense at this, and she awesomely stands on the soapbox next to the soap cart to explain that magic is quantifiable and practical, while Pinkie's ability is not those things.

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There's also, perhaps, just a tiny bit of class snobbery on Twilight's part. But, ever the good sport, Pinkie Pie agrees to be studied in Twilight's also-very-Ren & Stimpy underground laboratory.

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What cheeses Twilight off the most is that Pinkie Pie can't predict or control her precognitive twitches. Pinkie cheerfully lays bare the episode's thesis: Sometimes, you have to believe in things even when you can't figure them out. Twilight, who's built her worldview around the notion that all things are knowable -- and, remember, the very first image of the very first episode was of a book opening -- will not accept this.

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A now-simmering Twilight Sparkle follows and observes Pinkie Pie's wide array of forecasting twitches and tics for the rest of the day from a theoretically safe distance, but not safe enough to prevent Twilight from an attack by a swarm of bees, or getting put into traction after falling into Applejack's apple cellar. Which would be more than enough, except that after observing another tail-twitch, she gets a flower pot, an anvil, a half-dozen hay bales, and a finally a piano dropped on her head. Classic comic escalation! And fitting for an episode with such strong Looney Tunes DNA.

Ah, but where did the falling things come from? Pan up to reveal --

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That's right, folks. This episode's Derpywatch features not Proto-Derpy, but the first intentional appearance of Actual-Derpy! Just to give you a sense of the time frame, the pilot episode featuring Glitch-Derpy was broadcast on Oct. 10, 2010; she was identified and named by the fans on Oct. 25, 2010; and this episode was broadcast on Feb. 11, 2011. That's a pretty impressive turnaround time for Memeback, a word I choose to believe I just coined.

By the end of the episode -- including a scary chase sequence involving a Hydra, and some chilling voice acting from Tara Strong when Twilight Sparkle believes she's falling to her death -- Twilight finally concedes.

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As she explains in the Shoehorn, just because she can't explain how Pinkie Sense works, that doesn't make it any less real. Significantly, there's no implication that it's beyond explanation, or that it's evidence of an invisible, omniscient pony in the sky. Just that Twilight herself can't figure it out, and that's okay. People who don't watch the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic usually can't figure out why it's so popular, either.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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