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YMMV: MLP: Friendship Is Magic S2 E8 "The Mysterious Mare Do Well"

  • Accidental Aesop: The episode's events easily support a decent aesop about acting responsibly in a crisis - Rainbow repeatedly put lives in danger by putting her showboating before doing anything to help, which Mare-Do-Well avoided. Unfortunately, the dialogue/the episode's inability to have Dash learn the lesson herself really don't support it, hence a lot of the complaints.
  • Accidental Innuendo: When Rainbow Dash pulls in Applejack for a photo opportunity, the positioning of the mouths and Applejack's reaction afterwards suggests something a bit more than being pulled into shot, which the fandom has noticed.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation/Broken Base: Even to this day, fans are bitterly divided over loving this episode or hating it. And pretty much all of it revolving how the actions of Rainbow Dash and the Mane Six are interpreted.
    • Mare-Do-Well (who is secretly five of the Mane Six) was either showing Rainbow Dash what a real hero was supposed to be like in the hopes of making her change her ways and saving ponies that Rainbow Dash would have been unable to save on her own, with the disguise as a way of showing her humility, or made a piss poor attempt at teaching Dash anything, instead presenting her with an unbeatable rival, along with egging her on to dangerous and embarrassing actions, with the disguise as just a cowardly and dishonest way of hiding from Dash.
    • Rainbow Dash was either doing good deeds all over Ponyville, acting as a real hero, and basking in much-deserved praise from the citizens, then driven to despair and abandoned by even her most loyal fans because she came across as looking pathetic compared to Mare-Do-Well, or was bragging way too much to the point that it was endangering other ponies, embarrassed herself and ruined her own reputation with little-to-no help from anypony else, and was too stupid to pick up on the lesson that Mare-Do-Well was trying to teach her until she had it spelled out to her at the end of the episode.
    • Dash's friends were either having some good-natured fun among themselves and dropping hints to Dash that she would be happier and more successful if she just improved her attitude, or were cruelly mocking Dash and her misfortunes while praising Mare-Do-Well (i.e. themselves), completely and fully aware of how Dash would react.
    • When Dash confronted Mare Do Well, she ran off into a series of back alleys. Either Mare Do Well was luring Dash away from the crowd so that the Mane Six could talk to Dash in private and spare her any further humilation, or Mare Do Well was genuinely trying to get away from any confrontation so that she would not be humiliated herself.
  • Clueless Aesop: Contributing to the Broken Base, it's been repeatedly pointed out that the message of humility would certainly have been stronger if the scene in Sugarcube Corner had Twilight, Rarity and Applejack praising each other's contributions to Mare-Do-Well rather than their own (fixing the dam, her outfit and her overall humility respectively). You're not being humble when you're talking about how humble you are.
    • This is also doubly weird, as the main cast have done far greater deeds than Rainbow Dash did in this episode, such as, say, saving Equestria. Twice.
    • This edited version even omits the entire Sugarcube Corner scene so as to make the Mane 5's actions seem even less questionable.
    • The episode more or less makes the same Broken Aesop as thousands of cartoons have before: "Being Rightly Self-Righteous is more tolerable than being plain egotistical".
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Near the beginning of the episode, Rainbow says there’s something wrong with the baby she just rescued. “She’s not cheering for everyone’s favorite hero, Rainbow Dash!” Afterword’s, Dash gets distracted by the paparazzi and casually tosses the baby to her mother, who doesn’t look too pleased by such carelessness. It’s not uncommon to find people, even those who sympathize with Rainbow Dash, that consider this joke to be poor in taste.
    • At one point, Spike mishears Rainbow as saying Mare Do Well is great and tries to write it down. Rainbow, in a moment of frustration, yells at him for trying to wright down something she didn't say about someone she doesn't like. The other mane six get a good laugh out of this. Unfortunately, this happens during the infamous Sugarcube Corner scene, where the other mane six are often interpreted as hypocritically bragging about their own accomplishments as Mare Do Well. Needless to say, pretty much no one likes it, even people who defend the rest of the episode have been known to find this moment cringe worthy.
    • A lot of the humor in the episode is based around humiliating Rainbow Dash in some way. While this is intended to be seen as her getting comeuppance for her reckless behavior, due to the botched up writing of the episode, it instead comes across as very mean spirited and kicking a depressed person while their down for many people.
  • Fanfic Fuel: If it isn't accusation fics or deconstruction fics, it's stories involving the title character having her own adventures, even in instances where she's played by a different pony.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: For many fans, this episode never happened.
  • God-Mode Sue: The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well. There is a reason, though.
  • Guilty Pleasure: Believe it or not, this episode is this for some, even by those who absolutely hate it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Pinkie Pie says that "the only thing that should be rubbed in anypony's face is chocolate cake" Guess what happens in the next episode during the birthday party.
  • Idiot Plot: The episodes entire plot hinges around the mane six never directly confronting Rainbow about her boasting until the very end and Dash herself being incapable of figuring out what it means to be a real hero until it has to be spelled out for her.
  • Internet Backdraft: Mentioning this episode can lead to year-long flame wars, even on this very wiki.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Rainbow Dash upon savoring her popularity becomes an egotistical ass and vents a lot of spite towards Mare Do-Well for taking it away. As her attempts to gain credibility get more and more pathetic however, you can't help but feel even a little bit sorry for her. After all, she's just trying to be a hero.
  • Les Yay: See Accidental Innuendo.
  • Never Live It Down: This was the first episode written by Merriwether Williams, who still hasn't escaped a reputation as the show's worst writer despite several of her later episodes being better received. See especially the episode "Bats," which was pretty much universally loved...until it was revealed the writing credit was a mistake, and it was actually Williams.
  • The Scrappy: Depending on who you ask, this status is handed generously to either Rainbow Dash or the rest of the Mane Cast.
  • Scapegoat Creator: The Broken Base nature of the episode immediately elevated the new writer Merriwether Williams to the level of The Scrappy of the MLP writers, while she has since written a several more episodes that have had better reception, she still has a sizable hatedom.
  • Strawman Has a Point: While the other mane six’s methods and attitude towards Rainbow Dash’s bragging can be considered questionable, they were right that she was letting the attention go to her head and that it would eventually lead to bigger problems; both with her basic social interactions and saving the lives of others.
    • While the mane six are right that Rainbow’s bragging would eventually cause problems, it should be noted that none of them are ever shown directly confronting Rainbow about the issue of bragging specifically until the very end of the episode; even when Rainbow starts badmouthing Mare Do Well and accusing her of being an attention seeker, it still doesn’t occur to them that maybe just talking to Dash or doing the heroic deeds openly, instead of presenting her with a seemingly perfect and unbeatable foe, might have been a better course of action.
    • While it’s mostly because of jealously, Rainbow’s comment about Mare Do Well somehow being able to know things before they happen and implying that the latter is intentionally setting up these accidents to pretend to save others, isn’t completely unreasonable. Mare Do Well is an unknown masked vigilante who only recently showed up in Ponyville. She always has the skills or knows exactly what to do to fix the problem at hand, never says a word to anyone and is always quick to leave the scene.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In this episode, we finally get to see a pony baby... and it is ADORABLE!
  • Uncanny Valley: The aforementioned pony baby could also invoke this trope.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Rainbow Dash tends to be favorably viewed in this episode by a lot of the audience. Admittedly, her arrogance did put several people’s lives in danger. However, she also saved several people’s lives at the beginning of the episode and her friends acted like jerks towards her just for basking in praise she’d actually earned. While her ego did cause problems with later rescue attempts, Rainbow still tried to save people and failed more because she lacked the skills to handle every emergency on her own rather than her boasting alone. Not to mention when Dash tries to regain her reputation, she gets beat up by Granny Smith (mostly her own fault), then mocked and insulted by the entire town, which they themselves (excluding Granny Smith) do for trivial reasons. She then goes into a depression, becoming too pathetic to get truly mad at by this point, something no one but possibly Scootaloo takes notice of. For many people, this gave the impression the episode is fine with pinning everything bad that happened on Rainbow Dash, even when it appears the town’s people and her friends at least share part of the blame for either ignoring or encouraging Rainbow’s attention seeking problems.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Twilight, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Fluttershy tend to be unfavorably viewed in this episode by a lot of the audience. Admittedly, they at least save several people’s lives as Mare Do Well. However, they never considered just talking to Rainbow Dash and acted like jerks towards her even before her bragging became a problem. In the sugarcube corner scene, Applejack talks about how modest and humble Mare Do Well is, while she and the others brag about their own accomplishments as the masked heroine. Then they directly confront Rainbow about her bragging problems only after she finds out her friends are secretly Mare Do Well. For many people, this gave the impression the other mane six just wanted to piss off Dash because of jealously or that they failed to see why approaching the situation this way might be a bad idea and were so incompetent at fixing the problem they only succeeded in making things worse.

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