Saturday, August 17, 2013

Flash Sentry (and others) vs. Wendy - Character Comparisons

Another character comparison, coming right at ya!  Once again, if you don't know much about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, go here:

And go here if you don't know much about Gravity Falls:

Okay, this time things are going to be a little different due to the characters involved in this one.  What was hard was that I couldn't find a good My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic character to compare the Gravity Falls one to...  So I'll just go with 3 this time.  Hopefully, you'll see what I'm getting at by the end of all this.

Oh, and mild spoilers for Gravity Falls and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.

So, one of the characters I'll include in this comparison is Flash Sentry, who was introduced in My Little Pony movie, Equestria Girls.  In said movie, there are 2 Flash Sentry's, a pony one who acts as a new recruit in the Crystal Empire, and a human one who Twilight Sparkle encounters in the alternate universe she enters in that movie.  The pony Flash Sentry is only seen at the beginning and end of the movie, while the human one is the one we "get to know".  I say that in quotes because, despite being a major characters, we don't really get to know that much about him...  other than that he's in a band, and that he helps clear Twilight's name in the middle of the movie when she's accused of wrecking the Fall Formal.  Other than that, there's not much to him, or his personality...  Though Twilight develops a crush on him, and it seems like the feeling is mutual...  for the human one, at least.  It's yet to be seen if it'll go anywhere with the pony version (supposedly not, since story editor Meghan McCarthy has said he won't appear in the upcoming season 4).

2 other characters I feel like bringing up in this comparison are Shining Armor and Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, aka Princess Cadance.  Shining Armor is Twilight's older brother and former captain of Canterlot's royal guards and Princess Cadance is an alicorn princess who used to be Twilight's old foalsitter.  They got married in the season 2 finale, A Canterlot Wedding, and in the season 3 premiere, The Crystal Empire, they assumed rule over said Empire as Prince and Princess.  Aside from these two appearances, they've also appeared in one other episode, Games Ponies Play, but that's about it.  Perhaps because they've appeared in so very few episodes, even though they are generally nice characters, there isn't that much to speak of...  Shining Armor is generally cool and was apparently the best big brother in the world and Twilight's closest and only friend as a filly, while Princess Cadance was super nice and the best foalsitter in the world and...  apparently also Twilight's friend as a filly... ???  Er, anyway, point is, that aside, there isn't much to go on with these two characters, and are often accused of being Mary Sues (or Gary Stu for Shining Armor).

The reason why I'm going with 3 characters this time is because I believe they have a common connection with the [i]Gravity Falls[/i] character I'm doing this time around: Wendy Corduroy.  Wendy is a 15-year-old teenage girl who works at the Mystery Shack along with Soos.  Unlike Soos, though, she's not nearly as dedicated.  In fact, she slacks off from her duties every chance she gets.  She is really detached and seems to have a basic disinterest in anything, and loves goofing off with her friends.  She's also had a lot of boyfriends and break-ups, and ones she's forgotten to break-up with.  In other words, Wendy is your A-typical teenager.  Dipper has a major crush on Wendy, but she doesn't seem to be aware of this...

SO, do you see the pattern here?  Basically, the characters chosen here here have one basic similarity, and are the reason I chose them for this: they all have a very vaguely defined personality, if they have a personality at all.  None of these characters, while they definitely have fans or supporters, are nearly as popular or beloved by their respective fandoms as any of the other characters in their shows (with the exception of Wendy, who I've actually seen a lot of fanart for).  Oh sure, they have episodes, or in Flash's case, a movie, and we seem them and how they act and react, and while their characters aren't bad or mean or anything (except for Wendy, who can actually be a bit of a jerk at times), there isn't anything really notable about them, or makes them stand out AS a character.  Wendy's been seen in several episodes of Gravity Falls, and aside from acting like a general teenager, and being an love interest for Dipper, I can't really say anything else about her.  Same goes for Shining Armor and Cadance, even though I like them, there isn't really anything there, other than Twilight likes them a whole bunch and they're just generally nice, cool ponies.  Flash is probably the worst of the bunch since he only serves to be a love interest, and his one noteworthy act in the movie could have EASILY been done by anyone in that movie.  In fact, BECAUSE there's so very little to go on with this characters, there aren't that many similarities I can think of...  I guess Wendy and Flash are kind of similar in that they're a love interest for the main character, and Wendy and Shining Armor/Cadance are similar in that they're connected to the main character in a way...

But when it comes to differences, you might think that since they've so loosely defined that they don't have much differences.  And while that might be true, there's one big difference between Flash Sentry/Shining Armor/Cadance and Wendy, and it's one that I actually find frustrating and why I feel she's probably my least favorite character in Gravity Falls.  Shining Armor and Cadance, though they can be considered supporting characters at this point, they aren't really major characters, and have only appeared in a handful of episodes.  Flash Sentry was only just recently introduced and doesn't look like he's going to be showing up again anytime soon.  Wendy, on the other hand, is supposed to be one of the main characters of Gravity Falls!  She's featured just as much as Soos in the opening theme (technically even more), and has been featured in most of the episodes so far!  And yet, despite that, whenever she DOES show up, it's usually as a plot device, that is, she's there to have Dipper fawn over her and try to win her over somehow, usually getting the supernatural involved and learning a life lesson in the process.  See, I HATE this aspect of the series for a number of reasons.

1.) Writing Wendy this way makes her less of a character, and more of a prize to be won.  It also makes me think less of Dipper, because as is the case with most shows that follow this cliche, there's some jerky guy who's already her boyfriend or trying to win her over, so the good guy has a rivalry going on with him and tries to convince the girl that HE will be better for her.  I mean, that's pretty much what we're meant to think, even though, seeing as Wendy and Robbie are similar to each other in more ways then one, I feel like they'd actually make a decent couple, rather than Dipper following his basic attraction to Wendy and thinking that she's too good for the other guy...
2.) Wendy almost NEVER gets involved in Dipper's adventures, the only exception is The Inconveniencing.
3.) These stories are ALWAYS the most uninteresting part of any episode of the series.
4.) Dipper trying to win over Wendy feels ultimately pointless because a.) Wendy's older AND much taller then him, that only is kind of awkward, b.) Wendy is completely oblivious to Dipper's affections, and c.) even if she DID know, she clearly doesn't think of Dipper in that same light.  Even though there ARE life lessons to be had with this, I feel like this is ultimately going to end in disappointment for Dipper...  unless the show decides to be stupid and somehow make it work.

It really burns me up that a character so prominently featured in the show does so little when it comes to the actual plot of the show.  That's probably one of the biggest differences between her and Friendship is Magic characters.  ...Though there is one other difference that I noticed.  While there isn't much to be said about Flash Sentry, Shining Armor, and Cadance, the one thing that can be said is that they're generally nice.  Wendy, being a stereotypical teenager, typically acts like a detached jerk a lot of the time, even though she's casually friendly with Dipper and Mabel.  Her worst moment, though, was in Boss Mabel, in which Mabel becomes boss of the Mystery Shack as part of a bet with Stan, and Wendy immediately abuses Mabel's nicer new management by inviting her friends over, who proceed to wreck the place.  When Mabel politely asks to clean up the mess, Wendy accuses her of starting to act like Stan, to which Mabel immediately gives her the day off (with pay) to prove that she isn't...  and Wendy takes it.  Later, when the Shack is destroyed by a monster Dipper caught to put up as an attraction, Mabel asks both Wendy and Soos to help rebuild, to which they both deny.  With Soos, it's a pretty jerky move on his part, too, though to be fair, he was stuck in a revealing costume for most of the day in the middle of the woods.  He still opts to hang out with a bunch of wolves then help Mabel, though.  Wendy, on the other hand, has no real excuse for this.  She claims to have a headache and asks for the entire weekend off (with pay, of course).  This is enough to make Mabel snap, and start barking order just like Stan, who you can finally understand we he acts the way he does.

So I guess at the end of it all, the one thing these guys have in common is that they're all loosely-defined mary sues who could stand to have a bit more characterization added to them (and in Flash Sentry's case, they're both love interests), and the two things they don't have in common are they the My Little Pony characters are supporting characters at best while Wendy is supposed to be one of the main characters, and Flash, Shining, and Cadance are all generally nice, while Wendy's generally a bit of a jerk...  So... yeah.  That's all I got. *shrug*

Though I do have a few tidbits again:

-Wendy is the daughter of Manly Dan, a minor character seen in several episodes; he's a gigantic lumberjack who's incredibly strong.
-Twilight and Cadance have an adorable little "handshake" they do, which is how Twilight can tell it's really her in A Canterlot Wedding.
-Before the actual movie came out, fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gave Flash Sentry the nickname "Brad".

The next character comparison will be back to the same formula, FYI.  Please comment what you think of this, tell me if you like it!  If you do, feel free to share it with others who might like it!

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