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Recap: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S1 E18 "The Show Stoppers"
KISS never looked this cute.
Scootaloo: OK. So that's six wooden planks, four-by-eight plywood, a box of nails, four cans of paint, and four brushes. Anything else?
Sweetie Belle: Yeah... Instructions on how to use six wooden planks, four-by-eight plywood, a box of nails, four cans of paint, and four brushes.

Written by Cindy Morrow

After fixing up Applejack's old tree house to use as a clubhouse, the Cutie Mark Crusaders go through a typical day of trying anything and everything to find their passion in life and earn their cutie marks. It ends in the usual string of failures, but then the girls learn that the school is holding a talent show. They decide to put together an act, hoping that will lead to them earning their cutie marks.

Things go badly when the girls branch out from what they know they're good at and do what they want (but are no good at) instead: Apple Bloom, who's good at fixing things but feels that's too mundane, develops choreography with some badly-incorporated karate moves. Sweetie Belle, who has an ear for music and a wonderful singing voice but is prone to stage fright, makes the costumes and sets, resulting in a mess. Finally, Scootaloo, a great dancer and acrobat who wants to sing in a rock band, writes the music and lyrics, resulting in a wreck of Painful Rhymes:

Scootaloo: We fight the fight, walk the walk, talk the talk, eat the...um...food...like a...celery stalk?

When the night of the talent show finally arrives, the Cutie Mark Crusaders put out a very enthusiastic and ambitious (but also very bad) Hair Metal performance, with off-beat singing, clumsy dancing and collapsing props that leads to them getting laughed off stage. Worse yet, they didn't even earn their cutie marks!

There's at least one bright spot in all this: the girls manage to win an award...for best comedy act.


Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):

  • Absentee Actor: Fluttershy and Pinkie are completely absent, while Rainbow Dash receives only a non-speaking cameo.
  • Call Back: to "The Elements of Harmony", when Cheerilee reads out the awards to be won at the talent show, and the camera pans to Apple Bloom for Drama, Scootaloo for Comedy and Sweetie Belle for Magic. Unlike the other time, when it was perfectly clear, it's hard to see any sensible meaning for this. Still, note that Scootaloo was the lead vocal in the actual performance (and you could make a case for Sweetie Belle, the unicorn of the trio who still lacks unicorn magic, and Apple Bloom bringing the drama as the first CMC in "Call of the Cutie").
    • Also, Apple Bloom mentions that she does like karate, one of the things Rainbow Dash tried to teach her in "Call of the Cutie".
    • The background music from the cuteceañera in "Call of the Cutie" is now the official CMC theme.
  • The Cameo: As Scootaloo rides her scooter through town, Derpy can be seen in the crowd of townsponies. One eye follows Scootaloo as she flies off the ramp, but the other eye moves in the opposite direction.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Why would ponies raise pigs?
    • Word of God is that they're just doing it to be charitable. "Even pigs need a place to live." And that the pigs are excellent at finding truffles.
      • The episode "A Bird In The Hoof" shows a ham sandwich on the table. Charitable indeed, though in hindsight the sandwich may have only been a technical error.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Twilight subtly points out their true talents but the Cutie Mark Crusaders decide that because everyone saw their failed music performance as humorous their talents are in comedy.
    • In detail: Scootaloo praises Apple Bloom for fixing up the clubhouse, and Apple Bloom constantly demonstrates her knowledge of design and construction; Apple Bloom praises Scootaloo for her awesome scooter stunts, and Scootaloo shows Apple Bloom how to twirl properly; both of them praise Sweetie Belle for her singing voice, and she helps Scootaloo with writing the song for the talent show. So of course, the rather clumsy Apple Bloom prefers dancing over set design, the fashion-impaired Sweetie Belle doesn't want to sing in front of the crowd and would rather design the set pieces and costumes, and tone-deaf Scootaloo would rather handle the singing than dance in front of everyone.
  • Disturbed Doves: Scootaloo is framed on either side by a flock of fleeing birds during her slow-motion jump.
  • Dreadful Musician: The CMC are so bad the audience mistakenly believe it was a comedy act.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Cutie Mark Crusaders take up scuba diving, only to get chased by a giant squid. In a lake.
  • Hair Metal/Glam Rock: The Crusaders' song (And costumes. And hairstyles) is a parody of these genres.
  • Hard Work Montage: In which the Cutie Mark Crusaders fail at everything they try to do to get a cutie mark.
  • Head Desk: Scootaloo bangs her head against the piano when she has difficulty composing the Cutie Mark Crusaders' song.
  • Hilarity Ensues: During the CMC's performance; they got an award.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Scootaloo wrote the horrendously bad lyrics
  • I Meant to Do That: The Cutie Mark Crusaders were initially put down when everypony laughed at their show. But when they received the award for Best Comedy Act, they agreed right away it was intentionally funny. In the end they even muse if comedy was their true talent.
  • Inept Talent Show Contestants: The CMC bomb the talent show.
  • Informed Flaw: Compared to where the Cutie Mark Crusaders start out at, their performance isn't that bad. It's balanced to have enough good elements to flow well and be fun to watch while having enough failed elements to be funny.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Focused on the CMC.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Spoofed. Applejack watches from the window with a horrified expression as the CMC practice for the talent show, only their shadows on the wall visible to the viewing audience.
  • Shout-Out: Scootaloo's angry head desking at her piano while shouting "Never, never, never!" is a nod to the old "Don Music" sketches on Sesame Street.
    • The costumes the Crusaders wear at the talent show make them look a bit like the Misfits from Jem.
    • The lighting at the start of the CMC's song is a shout out to Queen's famous "Bohemian Rhapsody" music video.
  • The Show Must Go On: The Crusaders insist on finishing their song as the set falls apart around them, not missing a beat through the whole thing.
  • Shown Their Work: Sweetie Belle's explaination of the phrase "Break a leg" is completley accurate to (one of) its possible origins. See here. (The superstition is that wishing good luck on a performance would be Tempting Fate, so it's best to hope something bad will happen instead. Notice how Twilight ends up saying "good luck" just before the crusaders go on stage...)
  • So Bad, It's Good: An in-universe example. The Cutie Mark Crusaders' Hair Metal act is so terrible that they end up getting an award for Best Comedic Act in the talent show.
  • Staggered Zoom: During the quote at the top of the page.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Crusaders' performance.
    Lauren Faust: I don’t recall giving [Daniel Ingram] many notes that were beyond tweaks, except for when we had to ask him to make the Cutie Mark Crusader theme song WORSE; poor Daniel! But it was an essential story point that their performance was legitimately bad.
  • Title Drop: Twilight's preferred method of address to the CMC. She seems to be emulating her mentor Princess Celestia, who refers to any group of ponies younger than herself (i.e., everypony) as "my little ponies".
  • Two Decades Behind: How many 8-year-old girls catch a Glam Rock parody?

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S1 E17 'Stare Master"Recap/My Little Pony: Friendship Is MagicMy Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S1 E19 'A Dog and Pony Show"

alternative title(s): The Show Stoppers
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