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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 2, Episodes 18 & 19

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Page 2 of 2

Season 2, Episode 19: "Putting Your Hoof Down"

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Fluttershy has always been a target for bullies, and few bullies have targeted her more relentlessly than her pet bunny Angel, whose history of abusing Fluttershy dates back to the third episode. The latest round of abuse comes when Angel slaps her and hits her with a cookbook to convince Fluttershy to make him a certain kind of salad.

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She doesn't fare much better at the market, where she gets constantly cut in front of and demeaned by crones and valley mares alike.
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This is witnessed by Rarity and Pinkie Pie, who are palling around because A) it works better thematically to have only the three overtly feminine characters involved in this story, especially for a pivotal scene later in the episode, and B) Rarity and Pinkie have never been paired up for an episode, so why not?
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Rarity and Pinkie try to teach Fluttershy how to be assertive, particularly when it comes to haggling, a necessary skill in the pony marketplace.

Instead, Fluttershy commits the worst sin of haggling: Expressing actual want for the item, which puts all the power in the hooves of the seller. That's why the grocer raises the price of a cherry from one bit to ten bits -- and then up 20, just because he can -- and then sells it to somepony else for only two bits. And he rubs it in, too.

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Back home, the battering Angel refuses to eat the salad because it lacks the all-important cherry on top. He throws Fluttershy out of her house, where she happens upon a flyer for "Iron Will's Assertiveness Training Course."
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Determined to no longer be a pushover, Fluttershy attends the course -- and is immediately shoved to the back of the crowd. But as self-help gurus do, Iron Will plays to the cheap seats with loudspeakers, generic hard rock, and fireworks.
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Also as self-help gurus do, his "course" is little more than hot air and meaningless slogans -- with the guarantee that you only pay if you're 100 percent satisfied.
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Fluttershy is dragged onstage ...
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... and Iron Will knows both an easy mark and a marketing opportunity when he sees one.
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Embolden by his sloganeering (and the applause of the audience), Fluttershy tries the whole "assertiveness."
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Though kindness is vital to the survival of pony society, it doesn't prevent ponies from being outright rude and/or self-involved on an individual level. Fluttershy takes on a gardener who's over-watering the petunias ...
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... a pair of garbage-hauling ponies blocking her away across a bridge ...
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... and she bullies her way to the front of the line at Sugarcube Corner.
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Basically, this new Fluttershy has gone waaaay too far in the other direction.
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Pinkie Pie and Rarity try to intervene with this monster that they sorta kinda helped to create.
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As it must, the monster attacks.
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Rarity objects to what she calls Fluttershy's "petty insults," so Fluttershy raises them from petty to personal.
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When Pinkie defends Rarity's passion for fashion Fluttershy just gets meaner ...
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... not to mention a little meta.
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Seeing her devastated friends running away in tears doesn't quite set Fluttershy right, though seeing her reflection does.
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She walks home (accompanied by a music cue which hilariously invokes the closing theme of The Incredible Hulk), boards the doors and windows, and has a probably all-too-willing Angel tie her to a chair. A forgiving Rarity and Pinkie Pie try to talk her out, but Fluttershy refuses, lest she become a monster again.
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Speaking of monsters, it takes the one known as Iron Will to get her out of her house. He's come to collect his money ... and when she refuses to pay, he threatens her with physical violence.
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Nope! She's not satisfied with his course, so she's not going to pay. That is that, and no means no. Iron Will is flummoxed, but relents in the face of her polite-yet-firmness.
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In her Shoehorn, Fluttershy reports that she's learned that you can stand up for yourself without being a total nozzle about it. Here's to hoping someone tells Rainbow Dash.

Next Time: Twilight Sparkle encounters her time-traveling future self in "It's About Time," and Spike tries to fall in with the wrong crowd in "Dragon Quest."

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Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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