Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic season 4 blog: It Ain't Easy Being Breezies

Easy Breezy Beautiful Covergirl!  ...Have I made that joke already?  Well, even if I did, I hope I'm not the only one who made that joke, though I haven't been reading what people have been saying about the episode, so I wouldn't know.

But yeah, I was away last Saturday, and thus missed the episode.  I just saw it today because procrastination.  Now that I've seen it...

OMG THIS EPISODE IS SO CUTE!!!  The Breezies themselves aren't that cute, at least until they started talking!  Those high-pitched voices, ESPECIALLY coupled with that different language, plus Seabreeze's accent, like, oh man, I can't take it!  I also can't take when my recording (or maybe it happened when it aired, just in general, but whatever) starts wonking out and the audio stops working briefly in the middle.  I still got a lot of what happened, but still, that annoyed me.

Okay, so, don't feel like going over the episode chronologically, so I'll just point out stuff that stuck out in my mind...

So this doesn't take place while Fluttershy was away in Three's a Crowd...  I still like how this episode referred back to that episode...  On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn't even been pointing this out, making note of it, or even praising the writers for doing this, since I feel that keeping continuity is how shows are supposed to do things regardless...  However, it DOES help explain how Fluttershy has such a knowledge about Breezies, while in Bats! she said she's unfamiliar with Vampire Fruit Bats, because she's actually had extended interactions with the Breezies as a whole.

Actually, that's another thing, there's quite a bit of exposition to get out of the way at the beginning of this episode, which make sense, seeing as you're introducing a new species and have to explain what they are and why they're so important.  What I like is that they mention that the Breezies are from an alternate world (or maybe it's not an alternate world, maybe it's just a doorway that's sealed for a time), thus explaining why they haven't been seen or mentioned up to this point.  See, this is what I'm getting at, the show is improving their continuity and explaining things like this, but honestly, I felt like it should have been that way from the beginning.  Ah well, at least I'm getting it.

Fluttershy's cheering session with the mane 6 felt like a call-back to her cheering session with Rainbow Dash in Sonic Rainboom, except not as blatant as many of the other call-backs and references this series has had.  Hell, I wasn't even sure if it WAS a reference, which honestly, I feel is the BEST kind of use for a reference joke: a joke that's still funny, even if you don't get the reference.  Not that I laughed at the joke, but I acknowledge it's a joke and that some would find it funny, and it's a decently executed joke, so alright then.

Like I said, the Breezies are uber adorable.  I was kind of uncertain about their designs, but seeing them in motion, plus talking, it just all goes together well...  I have to admit, I find the pony designs in this show, in general, adorable enough on their own, even if their not in motion or talking (which, incidentally, when all bundled together, creates perfection, in my humble opinion), so maybe I'm a bit spoiled by that, or maybe I just didn't buy into the hype of the cuteness of the Breezies that all the ponies were saying.

And then there's Spike.  I'm complained about Spike's treatment in this season, specifically by the writers and not by the actual characters in the show, but here, it's...  good.  My "Spike's the butt of jokes" thing kept flaring up like crazy, but nothing was really that bad.  Sure he DID cause the group of Breezies to break up, but he owned up to it, even crying while he did it...  and best of all, Fluttershy accepts his apology and says it could have happened to anyone (anypony, whatever)!  Like, holy crap, that's probably the nicest I've seen anypony treat Spike this season (except maybe Twilight in Power Ponies, but that episode...  ugh), though she DID recoil a bit when he hugged her.  Then again, Fluttershy IS shy, and he did knock her back a bit, into the Breezies...  Eh, whatever, I just feel Spike is in an awkward position regardless...

I guess I should just get onto the moral and key conflict here.  So apparently, this is Fluttershy's key episode.  I KIND of thought that would be the case from the synopsis's I read, and I DEFINITELY thought it was going to be that way when Seabreeze acting like a foil to Fluttershy, but it's still nice to see it happen anyway...  well, actually...

Okay, here's my thought process: these key episodes are all about each of the mane 6 having their elements tested.  I always thought that would be a hard thing to do with Fluttershy, since she's already kind...  how is she going to have her element tested?  I mean, Rarity can be selfish, Rainbow Dash can be disloyal, and Pinkie Pie can be misguided in her idea of spreading laughter.  I'm STILL wondering how Applejack's "honesty" test is going to go, though, but I always did wonder how is Fluttershy going to have her kindness tested?  Is it going to be another one of those "Fluttershy has to stop being a doormat" that everybody keeps complaining about with her episodes?  Well, the execution here isn't quite like that...  though it still left me a bit confused...  for reasons I can't really explain.  Apparently, this episode is all about Fluttershy being TOO kind, apparently, and that by proving her kindness she...  isn't as kind?  The episode does a good job as showing that Fluttershy isn't really being a doormat but just just trying to be nice.  In a way, I can relate very much to it.  The episode tries to make it out that sometimes, being kind means to have to be firm and direct sometimes, even if the person (or ponies...  or Breezies in this case) you're talking to seems unhappy with you at the moment...  I thought the execution of this was rather weird, in that Fluttershy was firm with the bees first before being firm with the Breezies...  So apparently, she KNEW to do that, but didn't think to do that with the Breezies?  Maybe it took Seabreeze to make her realize that?  I dunno, something about it just felt off, and I kind of have to wonder if the message will get across to other people that easily.  I mean, I got the message...  sort of, but it still felt weird to me.

I also have to say, Seabreeze aside, none of the Breezies seem to care that they're essentially abandoning their homeland and families (as Fluttershy mentioned at the end, they all were supposedly reunited with their families, not just Seabreeze) just because Fluttershy, an enormous creature they just met and know next to nothing about, was nice to them.  In a way, in retrospect, I really sympathize with Seabreeze more for trying to hurry up and get moving, despite...

You know, let's talk about Seabreeze for a moment.  First off, what's up with that name?  How is she related to the sea at all?  ...No wait, I meant he, HE!  Dang it, his voice is so high-pitched, plus all of the Breezies have eyelashes and look the same, it's hard to tell who's a boy and who's a girl!  Anyway, I think he's an interesting foil...  in that he's not a straight-up jerk, just a little insensitive.  I think the fact that they're Breezies is how Fluttershy is able to deal with Seabreeze's insensitive behavior.  So much like the previous "key ponies" we've seen, he learns a lesson thanks to one of the mane 6, in this case, learning to be more considerate of others despite...  well, I dunno, Seabreeze just seemed rough around the edges regardless.  At first I thought it was because he wanted to go home sooner, but then I realized that he was acting that way before Fluttershy started talking care of them.  Then again, maybe he's just really scared of Equestria, and finds comfort in being home with his family (who are adorable, including his little baby...  hey, he's a daddy, who knew?!) then being in a place where literally the tiniest of things can lead to his doom.  Maybe I need to ponder more about him and this episode to see it if really holds up outside me finding it adorable and good overall.  Oh, and I really like his accent.  It's like a viking!  Hinga dinga durgen!

I have to say, watching Fluttershy taking care of the Breezies was the highlight of the episode, because it was just so gosh-darn adorable.  I especially love that Angle had his little cushion taken.  Yeah, take that, you little...  You know, I'm surprisingly not as upset with him anymore...  I guess my hatred for him has been overtaken by new hatreds, most notably how the writers treat/handle Spike as a character, and Pinkie's insensitive, obliviously behavior being tolerated and even accepted.  But I digress, I love how Fluttershy gives them all really tiny things, like tissues for a blanket, thimbles for glasses for drinking water, etc.  I also have to say, while the Breezies are cute, I find Fluttershy even cuter while talking care of them...  Yeah, big shocker.

The technicalities of how the Breezies fly sounds really complicated, perhaps a bit too complicated honestly.  I get that breezes activates their magic, and that it has to be a certain speed for them to fly without getting hurt or overtaken, but I kind of found it difficult to grasp...  though I'll admit, seeing Rainbow Dash and the other Pegasus ponies flapping their wings softly was adorable and awesome to see.  Maybe it wasn't that complicated and I'm just brain-farting right now, but towards the end, it really did feel like the reasoning behind being unable to get the right wind-speed was just an excuse to have all the mane 6 becoming Breezies themselves.

...Yeah, so that happened.  I've mentioned time and time again how this season, while I felt is better then the other season, at least as far as "episodes I like"/"would enjoy repeatedly" go, feels a bit too "gimmicky", like ideas are just thrown out there without really tying it into the world of Equestria properly, or not being true to the characters.  On the one hand, I can excuse the Breezies themselves, since they were no doubt a mandate from Hasbro to sell Breezie toys, and they do an awesome job at tying them into the world of Equestria...  on the other hand, I feel like the mane 6 becoming Breezies themselves was hardly justified, and while they are adorable, I couldn't get over how the reasoning behind this felt really flimsy...  Like, they need more Breezies to fly better?  How does that work?  Maybe they explained it better then I thought they did, but regardless, I feel like they were stretching it a bit...  At the very least, it DOES give us a chance to see what the world of the Breezies looks like, and gives Fluttershy and Seabreeze one final goodbye (plus Seabreeze giving her a flower, which is hinted to be her "key"), so it wasn't a total waste...  What I find rather insulting, though, is how the scene where they fly to the entrance to the world of the Breezies transitions from a snowy plain to a hot desert!  Like, just how freaking far is this place?!  I mean, they put a lot of emphasis on how little time there was left, AND how the breeze has to be just right for the Breezies to fly!  Are you seriously trying to tell me that the breeze created by the pegasi of Ponyville was weak enough not to have the Breezies spiral out of control, but strong enough to carry them THAT FREAKING FAR?!?!  Give me a break!

Also, I can't help but feel this is sort of a power issue here with Twilight.  One could say that now that Twilight's an alicorn she can do stuff she couldn't do as a unicorn, but now I can just feel that there are moments before now, and even moments after this point, where Twilight will somehow be unable to do something, or NOT do something, and I and many others will say "So she can change six full-grown ponies into a completely different species, but she can't do [blank]?!"  Just you wait, it will happen, if it hasn't happened already...  Also, I thought it was strange for Fluttershy to suddenly start using the Breezie language...  I mean, why did she do that?  Does she know the Breezie language?  If so, why didn't she speak that language to the Breezies?  Did she gain it from being turned into a Breezie?  If so, then why didn't the other mane 6 use it?  Not to mention, why did she use that language at all when the mane 6 clearly aren't as knowledgeable about the language as she is?  It just strikes me as a failed joke...  Though one joke I thought was funny was how Rainbow Dash asked to be transformed into a griffon and/or a dragon...  Damn, I would love to see that.

Natasha Levinger wrote this episode...  she's new, so I can't really get a grasp on her style, yet.  She wrote this an Pinkie Apple Pie.  If there's one thing I've noticed, it's that there seems to be a trend of flimsy excuses for things, in otherwise fun/good episodes.  In Pinkie Apple Pie, it's the fact that there JUST SO HAPPENED to be ANOTHER smug over the name of the connecting relative to Pinkie Pie and the Apple family, when really, they could have used another plausible excuse, like if the paper was torn up a bit (there ARE a lot of cats there) or something like that.  In here, there's the whole Breezies flying thing at the end...  Ironically, both issues seem to take place close to the end of the episode...  Really, though, that's a nitpicky things, since I loved both episodes regardless...  I do find it weird that Pinkie Apple Pie made me laugh a lot, whereas this one was more cute then actually funny.

But like I said, it IS a good episode, and I like it a lot!  I tend to really like Fluttershy episodes (except Dragonshy and, to an extent, Putting Your Hoof Down), so that's not much of a surprise.  There's a lot of stuff to like about it, and it's overall very enjoyable (to me, anyway), but I can't help but feel a little confused and/or unsatisfied with certain other aspects...  Regardless, this will probably be another season 4 episode that I'll be watching repeatedly, for more reasons then one!

I feel like I should end this on a joke or something, but I already made the Covergirl reference...  Oh well.

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