We’re being sent back to Magic Kindergarten to take a look at My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 2.
Guest hosts include Clarissa and Gerald from AnimeWorldOrder and celebrity translator Neil Nadelman. CLICK HERE or on the image above to download our review of the show.
Review in a Nutshell: We didn’t go as deep or as esoteric this time around, but we did manage to mention the concept of the Doppelganger, Derpy-gate, the highs and lows of the fandom, and why we think the show has managed to remain fresh despite the loss of certain key talents.
Ok, here’s the deal with the staffing: Lauren Faust was running everything through the middle of last spring, then left without stepping into a lower role. She oversaw everything for the two-part premiere of season 2, final scripts for the first half of the season, and concepts for the second half. Rob Renzetti stayed as story editor through the end of season 2 before leaving for parts unknown. Meghan McCarthy and M.A. Larson are still on the show, as is new hire Natasha Levinger. Amy Keating Rogers left to story edit Care Bears after season 2, and Cindy Morrow *probably* left to join her after the next batch of (13?) episodes. Charlotte Fullerton left late in S2 to take over a new Ben 10 show after the untimely passing of her husband, who ran that series. (This is likely why “Putting Your Hoof Down” is a co-credit with Merriwether Williams). Dave Polsky may be coming back for a few season 3 episodes according to an email supposedly leaked from Rogers several months ago. Everyone on the DHX/Top Draw end of things seems to be sticking around for now.
Director Jayson Thiessen said he treated “Chocolate Rain” as a reference, but it’s not clear whether M.A. Larson meant it that way. Probably, given how much geek humor he puts in his episodes.
Can’t agree with you guys more on the fandom and Derpy, both positives and negatives.
As for the show itself, I actually thought this season was more even than the last, with most episodes being very entertaining but perhaps having a small narrative flaw or two. The animation team was able to do much more, building on the foundations already laid down in the first season. Ingram, the songwriter, keeps getting better and I’m really excited that supposedly most season 3 episodes will be getting a song. I do miss the “plot” elements from season 1 – not just the GGG, but also watching Twilight move to Ponyville and gradually develop relationships. Nobody wants the show to be Game of Thrones, but it would be nice to have a little more sense of forward motion.
Regarding episodes… I have to agree with the community about MMDW. I dislike it for a lot of reasons although Williams’ later episodes were solid. It’s the moral, treatment of the setting, pacing, and some painful Pinkie jokes more than RD being a jerk… although Williams tends to write jerkier than others. I also like Secret of my Excess and Ponyville Confidential even if Larson can get a little too into his references. And I thought they handled the CMC much better this season, getting them out of crusader mode for most of their episodes and at most using it as a framing device (Ponyville Confidential) or showing them using it more as an excuse to hang out (Scootaloo/SB in Cutie Pox).
Er, and nerdy technical note, I believe the deceptive/authenic cadence musical switches in the show finale come as the show moves back and forth between Chrysalis and Cadance in “This Day Aria.”
Regarding references in this show: it’s sometimes difficult to know when something is an actual reference, a fanon creation, or the odd case of when fanon becomes canon. I honestly wasn’t sure about the chocolate rain thing being a reference to the song, but it’s entirely possible that it may not have but then turned into one during production. This show is sometimes like a Rorschach test, where everyone sees something different in it. Things are further complicated by the feedback loop that’s developed between the staff and the older fans. Stuff that developed as total fandon and personal headcanon is being incorporated into the show’s canon (e.g. Derpy being seen carrying a saddlebag with a muffin-shaped clasp on it in “Putting Your Hoof Down”. That’s clearly a case of the staff giving a nod to the fans.).
The portion regarding those users who have been very vocal in disliking The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well was almost entirely unnecessary. It was rude, inconsiderate, and inflammatory. The single most vocal user on Ponychan regarding that subject has been treated with extreme disrespect on that board and is almost certain to take your statements as a personal affront if he listens to this, which, considering it is now on the /show/ front page, is very likely. You have no idea how difficult it has been for those that have interacted with him to get him to be less defensive and start feeling more welcome, which might soon become harder than ever. There is no excuse for speaking about someone who has never done anything morally reprehensible regarding this subject, and of whom you have never met or spoken to, in such a way.
I’m sorry that you feel that way. Personally, I think it’s rude, inflammatory, and inconsiderate to level personal attacks at an artist for doing their job, to the point where people with a dissenting opinion feel unwelcome in the online community. The people that would not stop harping on Mysterious Mare Do Well are the reason I stopped reading Ponychan, and I’m free to express that opinion any way I see fit, including ridicule.
I did not say you were not free to express your opinion, nor did I excuse the actions of those on that board, but mirroring such actions serves nothing more than to spread more negativity into the world.
I don’t think we’re going to agree on this. Meeting bad behavior with duly-earned criticism can have a positive effect. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t express myself to the fullest in this matter, and if you think that makes me negative or inflammatory, so be it. While hyperbolic and exaggerated for the sake of comedy, nothing I said on the podcast even remotely compares to the sort of vitriol these people were leveling against a woman whose work they didn’t like, so please don’t try to paint me with the same brush.
HOW DARE YOU!?!?!?!
How very dare we!
HOW DARE YOU PAUL!
Anywho, I’ve been chomping at the bit (no pun intended) to get at this episode, since it was YOU, Dearest Paul, that bit me and made me watch the show.
I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed this season, though I didn’t see what you guys were getting at with the first two episodes. They worked pretty well for me. Those two episodes reiterated in a big way what each pony’s particular trait was, which was something that was necessary for the casual viewer who might not have seen the first two episodes of the first season. Plus, I was a pretty big fan of Discord.
I really hated the last two episodes upon first viewing. They came completely out of nowhere, no build up, no nothing. I couldn’t feel anything for Shining Armor or Cadence because I didn’t know them. Yeah, we got some really great fighting scenes, and a couple of OK songs, but it just felt like something they shoe-horned in so they could make pretty wedding pony toys. I really, really hope that we get to see more of Cadence and Shining Armor because I ended up liking them by the end of the second episode. And I did appreciate that they saved the day, and not the goddamn Elements of Harmony.
One thing Gerald commented on a lot was whether or not the show was reaching its target audience. I question that too, because the one thing I notice when looking for toys and reading reviews on certain items is that a lot of parents are buying toys for children that are much younger. We’re talkin 1 to 3 year olds. My daughter is almost 1 1/2, and when we need to distract her we ‘Put on Ponies’ to keep her occupied. A lot of toddlers watch this show, but a lot of the merchandise isn’t geared toward them. Its kinda irritating, because I want to buy my kid Ponies but she’s not the recommended age for most of the toys. Hasbro’s totally missing out on a shit-ton of money from people like me, who would kill to get a decent looking Pinkie Pie plushie for my little girl that didn’t look completely possessed, or a Twilight Sparkle that sounds like Twilight Sparkle and reads you actual stories from the show.
Ya know, I wish I could put on Paul glasses and look at things the way you see them, because things like Pinkie Pie’s doppleganger never occurred to me. It was kinda surreal listening to that, and having this dawning realization of the greater depths of these characters. BUT, I digress.
Good show, good hosts, good God lets get some more ponies!
One more thing I should mention: the hiring of a new writer two months ago means that the show will definitely keep going for more than 13 additional episodes if you look at the lags in the production schedule. Therefore, it’ll go past the 65-episode syndication minimum that many cartoons still stop at. Whether it stops at 78 remains to be seen.
That story by the way that was mentioned with the Smurfs was called “The Black Smurfs” originally, though in some editions of the books (namely English) they were changed to purple and called “The Purple Smurfs”, but the story is still the same.
Given Derpy’s nature, I always took him/her as our current generation’s Clumsy Smurf the way I viewed the character, though perhaps it’s hard to get that across these days without getting into concerns about mental retardation.