Wham Episode Western Animation Discussion

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10:08:22 PM Feb 12th 2016
edited by Unknownlight
So, the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic examples are suffering from a case of Square Peg, Round Trope. I'm going to go through each example here and compare it to the definition on the main Wham Episode page

The season 2 premiere revealed Equestria's horrible past, broke Celestia's pedestal of perfection, brought a hyper-competent villain who curbstomped the mane six without breaking a sweat, and closed the deal with a lot of Nightmare Fuel. And the next episode takes this From Bad to Worse.

Not an example. It doesn't change the status quo. Discord is just a powerful villain who was defeated at the end of a two-parter, and then things went back to normal.

"Lesson Zero" shook up the status quo by allowing the other main characters to write friendship letters to Princess Celestia and thereby shifted the show's overall focus slightly away from Twilight, as well as fully establishing a slightly dark vice for the latter that would hinder her for several episodes after.

Not an example. This episode slightly changes the status quo, but not in a shocking way. Season 1 was about "Twilight and her 5 close friends"; this episode changed that to the show being about an ensemble of 6. It was a small, inevitable change.

"Secret of My Excess" also surprised everyone by making Spike confess his crush to Rarity... and Rarity not only already knew, but she also took Spike's confession with a smile and teary eyes.

Not an example. This is a classic Snap Back. The writers completely forgot about this episode.

"A Canterlot Wedding", otherwise known as the Season Two Finale, gave us Queen Chrysalis and the changelings. Not only did it add more to the world of Equestria and give us an impressive villain, it surprised EVERYPONY, seemingly coming out of left-field. Especially notable, considering the advertisement for it.

Perhaps even more importantly, it gave us the dual revelations that Celestia and Luna aren't the only two pony princesses after all and that Twilight Sparkle has a big brother.

Not an example. The changelings didn't change the status quo, they were just unexpected villains. Cadance and Shining Armor are just new characters / extra worldbuilding.

"Magical Mystery Cure" in which Twilight rewrites an ancient spell, thereby becoming an alicorn & a princess. Sweet Celestia, where do we go from here?

Perfect example. This is a proper Wham. Wham Episodes should never be subtle, or debatable. They should smack you right in the face and make it blatantly obvious.

"Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 2" manages to top the above by having the Mane Six relinquish the Elements of Harmony to keep the Tree of Harmony from dying. Nothing Is the Same Anymore, indeed.

Not an example. It did seem like a Wham at the time, but it turned out to just be the introduction of a story arc where the characters got more powerful versions of the Elements of Harmony at the end.

"Flight to the Finish" takes a usually feel good Cutie Mark Crusaders style episode and turns it on its head when we learn that Scootaloo's wings are impaired and she might never actually be able to fly. This is all the more heartbreaking when you consider that Rainbow Dash is her hero for being the best flier in Equestria.

Not an example. It's an unexpected episode because CMC episodes aren't usually somber, but it wasn't a shock and it didn't change the status quo. If anything, it's a minor example of a Cerebus Retcon. It took the "Scootaloo has trouble flying" joke from previous episodes and took the concept seriously.

"Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2": Let us count the ways: Twilight's library is destroyed; she faces the Big Bad in a battle of Dragon Ball Z proportions; Discord's Heel–Face Turn is nearly complete; the Mane Six are bestowed with new Elements of Harmony in the form of Rainbow Power; Twilight is dubbed Princess of Friendship; and Twilight is given a brand new castle of her very own, with thrones for herself and all her friends (including Spike).

Decent example. The actual Wham here is Twilight's library being destroyed; the rest of it is just embellishment.

"Crusaders Of The Lost Mark": The Cutie Mark Crusaders finally get their Cutie Marks, thus ending a major plot arc that had been ongoing since season one. Also, they get their Arch Enemies Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon to undergo Heel-Face Turns.

Great example. Nobody expected the central quest that defined the CMC as characters to suddenly be resolved in a random mid-season episode.

"The Cutie Re-Mark": Starlight Glimmer is finally redeemed, then Twilight takes her on as a student, meaning she's joining the cast as a regular.

Not an example. Starlight being redeemed wasn't a surprise, it's happened to nearly every villain in the show (Nightmare Moon, Gilda, Trixie, Discord, Sunset Shimmer, etc.) It's also not clear yet what Starlight's role in the future of the show will be.

All right, so I'm going to cut most of these...
06:26:03 PM Oct 9th 2017
Questions about the following examples.
  • "They Times They Are A-Changeling": Thorax proves that the Changelings are not inherently evil, and his acceptance by the cast opens up new story possibilities.
  • ''To Where and Back Again, Part 2": The Changelings kidnap the Mane Six and the royal family, and Starlight Glimmer recruits Thorax and two fellow reformed villains, Discord and Trixie, to rescue them. Not only does this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits save their friends, cementing their Heel-Face Turns in the process, but Thorax reveals that Queen Chrysalis has been exploiting the Changelings all along, causing them to overthrow Chrysalis, evolve into beautiful new forms, and make Thorax their new leader!

If "The Cutie Re-Mark" was deemed not to qualify, why should they? The Changelings have less impact on the status quo then Starlight.
12:47:06 PM Oct 23rd 2017
edited by Unknownlight
I don't think either of those qualify as Wham Episodes either.

In retrospect, "The Cutie Re-Mark" ended up changing the status quo of the show way more than I had originally expected, but I feel that's something that was built up over time, not a sudden "wham". That said, you could make a decent argument for adding it back in.

Similarly, "To Where and Back Again" did completely overhaul the changelings, who have been villains since Season 2, so I can see the wham argument. I don't agree that reforming villains counts as something "surprising" in this show, and it was somewhat foreshadowed by "The Times They Are a-Changeling" (which is definitely not a Wham Episode), but meh.

Personally I'd cut both. The only two really, genuinely, non-debatable "wham moments" in the show are Twilight's alicornification and the CMC getting their marks. Golden Oaks being destroyed is a lesser example, but still a pretty good one.
08:10:52 AM Dec 29th 2010
Venture Bros: There seem to be so many of these. Should we consider things like: The relationship between 21 and Dr. Ex-Girlfriend Mrs. The Monarch, and how The Monarch finds out. The Monarch verbally destroying the Moppets, only to hire them on as the Pupa Twins. Hank finally having sex, only to find out that the girl is Dermot's Mom... and that Dr. Venture is Dermot's father doesn't help matters any. Nearly averted when Brock wipes Hank's memory, but Hank had a backup plan. King Gorilla has cancer Sargeant Hatred, not even the show's biggest pedophile, becomes Dr. Venture's new bodyguard. Wasn't he supposed to have some sort of restraining order?

Just a few ideas. Not sure how many of them are valid.
04:48:59 PM Dec 29th 2010
Try going for plot-shattering horrific impact instead of just wacky things. As in, it's a Wham Episode for everyone, not just a few characters.
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