Reviews Comments: Bit of a step down.

Bit of a step down.
Now, don't get me wrong- I love this show. I practically worship the air it breathes, but this was a gigantic step down from the usual quality it produces. I don't usually make reviews but I found that it was worth pointing out; many of the jokes seemed forced, and the overall plotline was expectable, trite, and quite frankly disappointing. There seemed to be a few forced attempts at memedom hidden inside the episode (Spike is a ghost, anyone?), and a few of the characters were acting a bit... off, to say the least.

I find this a shock, coming from such a fantastic episode as "May the Best Pet Win", but this isn't an isolated incident in the second season; "Sisterhooves Social" pretty much evoked the same response from me. I can't say the entire season is doomed to this fate, as we still have great works like "Lesson Zero" and "Cutie Pox" in our wake, but I'm praying that the season will hopefully shape up for the next few episodes.

Overall... 6/10. And I'm surprised that I'm giving that type of a rating to this fantastic show. Hopefully things will change.


Is it odd I found cutie pox bad and enjoyed this ep?

Cutie Pox wasn't that funny, didn't have many good charminger moments, had a repetitive, predictable plot and once again Applebloom failing to really learn anything
comment #11530 AnsemPaul 26th Nov 11
actually I liked the episode. my only real problem with it was it spend a bit too much time on setup early on. the jokes didn't seem that forced, only one made me groan, and to be honest, to the slightly less observant, the twist wasn't THAT predictable. more of a twist than I expected from the show at least.

plus, I don't think they are trying to start memes. I think that is reading a bit too much into the intentions of the writers.

it wasn't the best episode but I think there's a bit of a bias going on. there were worse episodes than this in season one.
comment #11531 Exarian 26th Nov 11
I think you're seeing things as far as the humor goes. Spike's a ghost is hardly memetic, and I didn't think it was forced at all.

Will say that I found many of the humor in this episode to be uninspired.

As for characters, I found all of them to be in character. Specially Rainbow Dash. She hadn't been subjected to any sort of character development that would've brought her ego down.

Also, Sisterhooves Social is easily one of my favourite episodes this season, while Leson Zero doesn't really rank high. Cutie Pox WAS pretty awesome, though.
comment #11536 MrSeyker 26th Nov 11
come to think of it, this IS the first episode written by a new writer to the show. anything that seems off could be contributed to that.
comment #11539 Exarian 26th Nov 11
Another issue is that the "RD shouldn't try so hard to be radical" card was already played in the previous episode.
comment #11540 Millstone 26th Nov 11
I actually believe Cutie Pox to be the worst episode so far, just due to the amount of sheer filler it packed in, whereas I really liked Sisterhooves Social. Huh.
comment #11558 arix 26th Nov 11
About Cutie Pox having filler, do you mean the whole sequence where Apple Bloom wows the town with her plate-spinning/loop-de-hooping skills?

I might agree with you, had the animation not been excellent. Cartoons are just as much about spectacle as they are about story, and that episode certainly provided both.
comment #11560 theodrixx 26th Nov 11
Sure Cutie Pox had filler but the story didn't seem to suffer for it. I wasn't a fan of Cutie Pox but I didn't think it was phoned in. I did find the Truth Flower cure to be more than a little contrived, though. On the other hand I consider both Lesson Zero and Sisterhooves Social to be top-notch.

I will agree that this episode wasn't as good as May the Best Pet Win; in that episode Rainbow Dash went through legitimate and significant character development while exploring an area unfamiliar to her. This episode seems rather forced to me; if Rainbow Dash was really as arrogant and attention-grubbing as it shows, why doesn't she ever play the "I helped save the world twice" card? The traits she displayed in this episode seemed very exaggerated, almost to the point of satire. I found the mystery to be as predictable as a clock and a little boring but not to the point of being bland and forgettable, and it was more "not my taste" than "objectively bad" and since this IS a little girls' show I can't fault the creators for it. I didn't find the jokes forced at all, and really the only way you can claim forcing a meme is if the characters repeat it constantly like a meme; Spike being a ghost has maybe two mentions in this episode. By contrast Rarity claiming things as THE! WORST! POSSIBLE! THING! is done three times in Lesson Zero, yet that actually went on to be a real meme.
comment #11563 OmniSonic 27th Nov 11
Oh I know that, but just the sheer amount of it. Between the hooping at school, the parade through the town, and the worsening of Applebloom's condition near the end, it all just dragged on a bit long for me, and the "spectacle" wore thin.

That said, I still liked the episode. I don't believe the show has had a truly "bad" episode yet, just that Cutie Pox is my least favourite so far.
comment #11564 arix 27th Nov 11
I agree, Cutie Pox I didn't like very much, mostly because nothing really changed or no characters really developed; the episode could just as easily never have happened and nothing would be different. Sisterhooves Social centered around Rarity and Sweetie Belle growing closer as sisters, which was good to see. This episode I didn't really see any big problems with, although I agree the Mane Five laughing at Rainbow Dash was kind of an asshole thing to do. They may not have been trying to hurt her feelings, but you'd think they would know better.
comment #11574 Robotnik 27th Nov 11
You liked Lesson Zero and hated Sister Hooves Social? I can't even process that, Sister Hooves is the best episode of season 2 so far due to its wonderful character development and emotional qualities. And Lesson Zero is by far the worst episode in the show due to its fan pandering, its out of character-ness, its "lets do this for the sake of making awesome stuff happen, while adding nothing, and possibly taking things away from the characters" attitude and its utter atrociousness in general. I'll agree that this episode felt weird, the mane 6 seemed a little too... mean-spirited. Pinkie was written really oddly and not effectively in any way. That being said, it can't be worse then Lesson Zero! That episode has set the bar for terri-badness so low, nothing, save for Over a Barrel could top it. Or bottom it as it would seem to be.
comment #11583 Erroneous 28th Nov 11
I disagree. I found Lesson Zero to be one of the finest episodes in the series. Twilight has always been super-organized and practically worships her teacher/ruler to the point of refusing anything to go wrong. She says she has never been late with an assignment, and since she doesn't socialize with other students it can be safely assumed she doesn't realize that the consequences are not as severe as she thinks. I'll admit she does go a bit overboard with the whole "magic kindergarten" thing, but it's a great joke in my eyes so I let it slide. Twilight is a very obsessive pony, so the longer she goes without a problem to solve the more she focuses on that issue, to the point of ignoring others' attempts to relax her and neglecting the possible consequences of her actions. Spike was written perfectly in-character; I don't think the most diehard critic could find fault with him. The other Mane Six members didn't see as much screen time, but they didn't seem too out of place for me. Rarity is a ham as always, Pinkie Pie hardly ever got screen time so it's not even an issue, and Rainbow Dash did Applejack a favor as a friend. They all seemed rather unaffected by Twilight's dilemma, since it IS objectively not a major problem, but they should have at least tried to calm her down instead of just dismissing her concern. It is likely they couldn't foresee the consequences of leaving Twilight on her own, since they aren't used to the high-pressure relationship between Twilight and Celestia. Plus we've established multiple times that these are not the most mature ponies around; they can't be expected to act perfectly in all situations. The only real issue I have with the other Mane Six is that Fluttershy seemed to get WAY too into that chiropractic massage, though Rule of Funny quashes my concerns once again.

I'm rather puzzled what you mean by "fan pandering." I didn't really see anything that pandered to the base in Lesson Zero, except maybe the Atomic Rainboom that hasn't ever been mentioned in the show but was theorized by Einstein's grandson, and the whole Fluttershy beating the crap out of a bear scene. Those are still legitimate jokes though, and keep in mind that fan pandering is not always a bad thing. Done right, in can reinforce an already strong fan base and be a nice continuity nod, done poorly it comes off as uninspired and desperate. I think those scenes were done great, if you don't think so that's fine by me. As far as the whole "adding nothing and taking things away" thing goes, I present these facts to you: Lesson Zero established that any of the Mane Six can write to Celestia now, freeing the rather cumbersome restriction of having Twilight always be in the episode and allowing episodes to focus more on their main pony. If Lesson Zero had not happened as it did, this would not be in effect, and therefore we would have no Aesop for Sisterhooves Social, the first episode without Twilight. Since this is an Aesop comedy, the Aesop is kind of important, so if Lesson Zero had not happened we would have no Sisterhooves Social, one of the best episodes of the series.

More on this episode, I'm a little skeptical about calling the Mane Six "mean-spirited" towards Rainbow Dash. Okay, yes they laugh at her and bring her ego down, but I think Rainbow deserved it for getting so overblown about herself in the first place. I don't think their intent was to explicitly be mean to Rainbow Dash, just to get her off her high horse and recognize that other people can be the hero at times. My problem with this episode, again, comes from Rainbow Dash and how ridiculous she acted.
comment #11589 OmniSonic 28th Nov 11
Previous comment was tl;dr, so some of these points may have already been covered more thoroughly, but here goes:

Lesson Zero went a long way toward character development. Until that episode, Twilight being borderline OCD and her twisted perception of Celestia were alluded to, but never addressed. Her mindset has always been kind of unhealthy. Nobody paid much attention, because it was just Twilight being Twilight, but in fact it's always been a problem for her.

Lesson Zero took her obsessive tendencies and turned them to eleven so that nobody could ignore them. It was a deconstruction of her personality flaws. If the episode had ended with everyone validating Twilight's fears, that would have been pointless. But this does not happen; Celestia assures Twilight that she doesn't need to send a friendship report every week, and doesn't punish her at all. Twilight realizes that she was being stupid. If that's not character development, I don't know what is.
comment #11596 theodrixx 28th Nov 11 (edited by: theodrixx)
I agree completely. We see hints of Twilight's mindset with regards to Celestia in episodes like Swarm of the Century and Bird in the Hoof, and we finally get a full reveal in Lesson Zero. It's a rather disturbing relationship, actually; Celestia was the closest thing Twilight had to a friend before moving to Ponyville, and Celestia honestly wants Twilight to be friendly with her yet Twilight still regards her more as a monarch than a friend, and a rather strict one at that.
comment #11598 OmniSonic 28th Nov 11

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