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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 2 E 19 Putting Your Hoof Down back to reviews
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Disturbing
I'm generally a calm and easygoing brony. I shrugged when people were bashing "Mysterious Mare do Well". I rolled my eyes at "Derpy is being censored!" rage.

But this is the first episode that I actively dislike.

I was off-put by the amount of meanness in this episode. Since the beginning, it feels like this is not the same setting the previous episodes established. Rather, it's like some fan-made A Day At The Bizarro piece, where everyone, including Pinkie and Rarity, is being a jerk to one another for no reason at all. Like Friendship Is Witchcraft, though without the spark. Why would they put this in an official episode?

Well, the answer is probably "Lazy Writing 101: We Don't Have Time To Introduce Proper Conflict, So Let's Just Exaggerate Stuff To The Point Of Absurd."

Unfortunately, most of the episode's humor revolves around those displays of jerkiness (and a Looney Toons gag repeated over and over), so I didn't find it amusing at all. Well, except for Iron Will himself - I found him a great and funny character.

That appears in only two scenes. Way to throw away your best card.

It all culminates in a scene where Fluttershy aggressively humiliates Pinkie Pie and Rarity and seriously insults their lifestyles (as the two of them criticized her "new" personality), than in a fit of self-hate she locks herself in her house and decides to never come out.

Wow guys. Those that theorize about Fluttershy being abused in the past can pat themselves on the back.

Sorry, writers, but you can't just open a whole can of seriously unpleasant implications about Fluttershy's issues, then go ahead and never address it again. Or for the matter, call out no one but Fluttershy on the crap they were doing.

And all's magically well and good, as soon as the ponies find a scapebull to blame for, basically, everything that happened in the episode.

Funnily, Iron Will's approach would plainly appear to be too extreme, if only the bullying of Fluttershy by other ponies wasn't so grotesquely exaggerated, that her reactions seem almost justified.

Maybe I'm taking it too personally. But even disregarding all that, it's just a mean-spirited, unfunny episode.
I heartily disagree!

Pinkie and Rarity being jerks? Where are you getting this? I found every character to be... well, in character throughout the episode. Rarity does take the asparagus off the geeky pony through some unscrupulous practices, but this show is called "Friendship is Magic," not "Ethics are Magic." And Pinkie Pie gets a questionable discount at the tomato stand, but it's established that the insane price jack wasn't really justifiable.

"The Conflict" in this episode isn't between Fluttershy and her inner demons (this is a story, not a psychological essay), but between Fluttershy's desire to be assertive and her desire to be herself.

The problem is that she takes everything she hears at the seminar literally, and applies it without discretion. This is obviously shown when she knocks the punch bowl onto Pinkie's head. Pinkie Pie wasn't even laughing *at* Fluttershy, just laughing in general — because that's what she does — but Fluttershy decides to take it personally and overreact. Afterwards, she leaves the shop, oblivious to the shock she caused to her friends.

That's because she's looking forward, being aggressive — all the things Iron Will taught her to do, except - again - she is taking it too literally, in typical Fluttershy fashion. I say "typical" because this tendency is highlighted in the beginning of the episode, when Fluttershy tries to emulate her friends' methods when bargaining for the cherry. She imitates the superficial elements, and fails to grasp the subtleties.

Eventually, this causes her to say some very mean things to Pinkie Pie and Rarity. I feel that this is what is causing some consternation for many viewers. What Fluttershy said won't go away, because it's true — that's why it hit them so hard.

...except it's not true. Pinkie Pie isn't passionate about party hats and balloons (again, superficial elements), she's passionate about bringing joy to others. And Rarity is obviously a successful fashion designer; her concerns about fashion are anything but petty, since she depends on knowing the ins and outs to make a living.

Anyway, Pinkie and Rarity are momentarily heartbroken and run away, causing Fluttershy to realize what a jerk she has become. Then she locks herself in her cottage, emphatically NOT out of self-hate, but out of a desire to protect her friends and community from the monster she believes she has become.

Ultimately, Iron Will shows up to give Fluttershy a final chance to prove that she can be assertive without being nasty, and THEN all is well. Nobody blames Iron Will for Fluttershy's brief transformation into bullyhood. Sure, they call him a "monster," but this is treated as more of a faux pas than a genuine accusation. He's treated as a minotaur of integrity and respect, if a little too willing to get physical. He was perfectly within his rights to demand his fee from Fluttershy — in his mind, Pinkie Pie and Rarity were being jerks for trying to stop him from getting paid for his work.

Again, nobody blames Iron Will. Rarity and Pinkie Pie call him a "monster," but this is more due to his brutish nature and the suffering he inadvertently caused than because they really believe that he is evil. Iron Will is played sympathetically, and there was no point where I thought he was being treated unfairly.

Fluttershy is the cause of Fluttershy's (and her friends') sorrow, and she learns her lesson, which she relays to Princess Celestia. Or did you think she said "Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that you shouldn't listen to assholes like Iron Will"?
comment #13057 theodrixx 5th Mar 12 (edited by: theodrixx)
'this show is called "Friendship is Magic," not "Ethics are Magic."' - So it is. Hence there can be jerks in it. And so I think Rarity and Pinkie Pie were acting like ones. Or will we absolve Gilda for stealing, too?

If anything, I found the conflict to be between Fluttershy and the suddenly jerkified populace of Ponyville.

There was no dilemma for Fluttershy whether to be assertive or be herself - she was perfectly satisfied with her "new" personality.

What's more, it's pretty much explicit that she hated her "old" self for being a pushover. Rarity only says she used to be nice - and Fluttershy instantly equals it with being a wimp, etc. She outright states it! See, I can't really look away from psychological issues when they're being flaunted. I think they *shouldn't* really be, but they are.

It's a good point, that the problem is Fluttershy adopted Iron Will's lessons literally and indiscriminately. But...

In the end, the consensus seems to be that "[Iron Will's] the one that made you act super-duper nasty." This is never overturned, and it seems the basis for Fluttershy to deny payment to Iron Will.

The way you explain why Fluttershy said to Pinkie and Rarity what she said seems like superfluous semantics (wouldn't Fluttershy exaggerate her insults on purpose? It's clear what she meant to say, anyway). I don't think she *really* thought their lives were worthless, but rather just wanted to hurt them in response to them insulting her "new" personality and demanding her to be a pushover again (or so she though), which brings us back on how she hated herself for being a doormat.

And then she began to hate her "new" self too, for hurting her friends. Sorry, but when she calls herself a monster, I'm hard-pressed to believe it's not out of hatred. Not to mention that the scene with her tied to the chair immediately follows another emotionally loaded scene of Pinkie and Rarity running away crying (and Fluttershy being as close to actually throwing the F-word at them as this cartoon ever got), giving us something bafflingly dark and depressing, that honestly shouldn't even be in a MLP cartoon to begin with.

It's not that I think the resolution of Fluttershy learning to be assertive without being mean, when talking to Iron Will, is a bad one - but it's appended to a train wreck the authors wrote themselves into, that honestly couldn't possibly be resolved within three last minutes of a children's cartoon. I believe it's for the same reason that everyone in Ponyville is a jerk - exaggerating things for ease and practicality.
comment #13058 StyxD 5th Mar 12 (edited by: StyxD)
Saying the concepts in this episode "shouldn't even be in an MLP cartoon to begin with" is probably mistaken.

First, while some of our past Aesops have been rather simple ("Don't judge a book by its cover") others, like the one from Feeling Pinkie Keen, are rather complex but very applicable to the complicated world that children are growing up in today. No, it's nothing philosophically deep but they are ones you have to think about and with application to modern problems.

I bring that up because for me, this episode hit close to home as a victim of bullying as a child in grade school. I was the doormat, I didn't fight - until one time, which felt good at the immediate time but was something I never wanted to do again. And basically having to come to the same realization that Fluttershy ended with - that sometimes its just better never to give bullies the satisfaction they want, but its never good to respond to that with more of the same.

Given today's schools (and in particular, the school shooting that happened the week prior to the first airing of this episode), it's a rather good piece of advice to remind children.
comment #13060 Masem 5th Mar 12
I was off-put by the amount of meanness in this episode. Not all ponies are sugary sweet. Trixie and the Flim Flams prove that much. Sure, it's more commonplace in this episode, but the ponies of the town don't take it to the extremes that those villains did. Unfortunately, most of the episode's humor revolves around those displays of jerkiness (and a Looney Toons gag repeated over and over) They did that gag twice, three times if you include Fluttershy's botched attempt. Hardly a sign of dependency. Also, being a jerk isn't funny by itself; the circumstances and reactions of the characters are what make the humor. Those can be hit or miss depending on the gag, but I laughed until it started getting too serious. Those that theorize about Fluttershy being abused in the past can pat themselves on the back. Maybe I'm missing something here. How does isolating yourself in justified self-punishment imply an abusive past? Sorry, writers, but you can't just open a whole can of seriously unpleasant implications about Fluttershy's issues, then go ahead and never address it again. This show implies stuff like that all the time! They've done it since the pilot! How much drama do you think Celestia gets behind the scenes for the imprisonment of her sister? Plenty of fan material has speculated on such an uncomfortable subtext. Twilight likely has a truckload of psychological scars, judging from her perfectionist attitude and neuroses when it comes to impressing the princess. The only reason you might have to react differently to these implications is because you favor Fluttershy, which does not mean it is a problem with the episode. Or for the matter, call out no one but Fluttershy on the crap they were doing. Why call them out when they are punished? Bon Bon and her friend were acting pretty badly on the bridge and they got garbage dumped on them. Rarity and Pinkie Pie pulled some antics but were viciously lectured by Fluttershy to the point where they were both reduced to running away in tears. Yeah, there are a few Karma Houdinis in the episode but it's not unfairly biased against Fluttershy either. And all's magically well and good, as soon as the ponies find a scapebull to blame for, basically, everything that happened in the episode. Pinkie Pie and Rarity did blame Iron Will for changing Fluttershy, but that accusation does not resolve anything, ever. It does not let Fluttershy realize what a bully she is, it does not motivate her to come out of her cottage, and it does not cause Iron Will to bow out gracefully at the end of the episode. Those events are all triggered by different sparks. Hence there can be jerks in it. And so I think Rarity and Pinkie Pie were acting like ones. Or will we absolve Gilda for stealing, too? Well Pinkie Pie and Rarity might be using questionable practices, but comparing them to Gilda isn't fair. Rarity did give the nerdy stallion what the asparagus was worth, so it was a fair trade even if some coercion was involved. Pinkie Pie's trick is perhaps less fair, but if the merchant was ignorant enough to fall for it she did technically put that price out there. Gilda, meanwhile, offered nothing for what she took at all, which is much worse than haggling or charming. If anything, I found the conflict to be between Fluttershy and the suddenly jerkified populace of Ponyville. Ah, that must be why nothing happened after Fluttershy left in her taxi, because only the Mane characters and Iron Will showed up after that and there was no conflict between them at all. What's more, it's pretty much explicit that she hated her "old" self for being a pushover. Rarity only says she used to be nice - and Fluttershy instantly equals it with being a wimp, etc. This is a rather unfortunate result of Iron Will's seminar; his idea of assertiveness is much more aggressive and antagonistic than what is necessary, and attempts to justify itself only in the sense that it beats being a total wimp (which may not be true in itself). Fluttershy was unhappy as her old self, and that unhappiness turned into rejection when Iron Will came across way too strong. His views on asserting yourself are very flawed and self-centered, and could potentially leave a lot of ponies unhappy and alone. ...the consensus seems to be that "[Iron Will's] the one that made you act super-duper nasty." This is never overturned, and it seems the basis for Fluttershy to deny payment to Iron Will. Again, nothing comes of this accusation. In fact it's the reason that Iron Will wants his payment in the first place, because he was the minotaur responsible for her transformation. Fluttershy refuses to pay because she is not satisfied with the results, and since Iron Will promised a money-back guarantee there's really nothing he can do. Regardless if the consensus is true or not, nothing changes as far as story or Aesop goes. ...giving us something bafflingly dark and depressing, that honestly shouldn't even be in a MLP cartoon to begin with. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

In the 1984 series, "Rescue at Midnight Castle" featured kidnappings as well as the physical and mental corruption of ponies into monsters. "Escape from Catrina" featured slavery and a possibly abusive relationship between Catrina and Rex.

In Friendship is Magic, "Party of One" featured a twisted vision of a party examined through some unspecified psychosis. "Lesson Zero"... that's all I really have to say about that episode. "Hearts and Hooves Day" featured brainwashing that directly caused the fall of a kingdom.

Perhaps if you don't want to go to dark places, My Little Pony is not for you. Or at the very least, don't complain when it does go to dark places, because they balance out the light and fluffy nature of the show and make it much more well-rounded and interesting. That's what I think this episode did, and I liked it because it did that.

tl;dr I disagree, I thought the episode was pretty good.
comment #13067 OmniSonic 5th Mar 12
@Masem

I never said it about the whole episode. I just think the execution is sloppy. I referred to the scene I described, towards the ending. They could have gotten their point through without it.

@OmniSonic

"Not all ponies are sugary sweet. Trixie and the Flim Flams prove that much. Sure, it's more commonplace in this episode, but the ponies of the town don't take it to the extremes that those villains did."

The villains had their motives. Ponies in this episode are suddenly confrontational for no reason at all.

"They did that gag twice, three times if you include Fluttershy's botched attempt. Hardly a sign of dependency."

Normally, I'd agree, but the sequence is way too long to be a good running gag, at least for me.

"Maybe I'm missing something here. How does isolating yourself in justified self-punishment imply an abusive past?"

Not really, but since this theory (to which I don't subscribe) popped up even before the airing, I'm sure the episode will provide some fuel.

"This show implies stuff like that all the time! (...) The only reason you might have to react differently to these implications is because you favor Fluttershy, which does not mean it is a problem with the episode."

This may be true. However, since I never had any problem with any other episode, I'm inclined to think something's amiss with it instead. Also, Fluttershy's outbreak is never really discussed or resolved, Twilight's in Lesson Zero was.

And while I love tyrant!Celestia theories, they don't really have any base in the show. Just a bunch of complete fanon.

"Why call them out when they are punished? (...) Rarity and Pinkie Pie pulled some antics but were viciously lectured by Fluttershy to the point where they were both reduced to running away in tears."

Rarity and Pinkie Pie's verbal beating is clearly meant to be seen as Fluttershy's being faulty, and not a consequence of any sort.

As for calling anyone out - Fluttershy supposedly "takes it too far", even though everyone else's behavior is even more unrealistically exaggerated.

"Ah, that must be why nothing happened after Fluttershy left in her taxi, because only the Mane characters and Iron Will showed up after that and there was no conflict between them at all."

I was half joking, but it all was kicked off by Fluttershy going to Iron Will's workshop, which she wouldn't do without the crap in the first half of the episode. Fluttershy did not have a problem with herself at all (as I understood theodrixx was suggesting).

"Well Pinkie Pie and Rarity might be using questionable practices, but comparing them to Gilda isn't fair."

The principle stands. Swindling is as punishable as mugging. Although I was referring to just Pinkie Pie with that Gilda comparison.

"LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL , etc."

No love for Discord episodes? Aww.

Most of the examples you gave is pure fantasy stuff. Lesson Zero, as I said, actually did justice in the end to Twilight's psychosis, at least in my opinion.

Party Of One is actually a good example. It had some really dark stuff about Pinkie Pie, true. I overlooked it, because I don't really care for Pinkie. Now it's hard to take it seriously, as the fandom merged it with Cupcakes and turned depressed!Pinkie into a serial killer, but it's there, I give you that.

So yeah, as I said in the review, I probably approached that scene too emotionally. But I still stand by my opinion. And even without all that, I'd still think the episode is bad.

"Perhaps if you don't want to go to dark places, My Little Pony is not for you."

And that must be the second funniest thing I heard about MLP this week. We should make this a brony catchphrase.

"Or at the very least, don't complain when it does go to dark places"

I will complain, thank you very much. The review section would be boring with just the positives, don't you think? And I'm not the only one to dislike this episode, though I may be the only one here.
comment #13071 StyxD 5th Mar 12 (edited by: StyxD)
The villains had their motives.

Fair enough, though Trixie's motive of just showing off isn't much better than having no reason at all.

Normally, I'd agree, but the sequence is way too long to be a good running gag, at least for me.

That's your opinion, I guess. *shrug* I think the Looney Tunes' version is funnier because they executed their gags in quick succession, not spread out through the episode, and made more of an effort to focus on Daffy as the instigator. I still liked Pinkie Pie's version but she just can't compete with Bugs Bunny.

Not really, but since this theory (to which I don't subscribe) popped up even before the airing, I'm sure the episode will provide some fuel.

The fanbase will invent fuel if it doesn't exist. Nevertheless, I advise you not to spread theories you don't believe in. You might mislead some poor sap like me.

I'm inclined to think something's amiss with it instead. Also, Fluttershy's outbreak is never really discussed or resolved, Twilight's in Lesson Zero was.

You mean the outbreak of implications you don't believe in, and ones which you have yet to establish sufficient evidence for? Gah... Well, let's pretend for a moment that these implications about Fluttershy's abusive past surfaced. In fact, I'll even provide a moderately reasonable example. In the beginning of this episode, Angel Bunny is quite clearly taking advantage of Fluttershy, refusing to accept the slightest compromise and even slapping her. This is not a clear sign of chronic abuse considering Angel has helped Fluttershy in the past, but it could certainly imply an abusive relationship on its own. Even then, this finds resolution at the end of the episode, where the same situation arises but Fluttershy handles it far better. Whatever abuse she might have taken in the past, I doubt she'll be taking any more without something to say about it.

And while I love tyrant!Celestia theories, they don't really have any base in the show. Just a bunch of complete fanon.

I didn't really have that particular angle on the princesses in mind. If I remember right, Trollestia and tyrant!Celestia theories both stem from "A Bird in the Hoof", which is just another example of implications and assumptions gone wrong. The relationship between Celestia and Luna remains vague; it hasn't been discussed in the show since the pilot, not even in "Luna Eclipsed". I'm actually hoping we get an episode dedicated to the two of them, though I'm not sure what lesson it would end up teaching. If it never emerges, there's a fan comic called "The Real Story" by Nimaru on deviantART that deals with what I'm talking about.

Rarity and Pinkie Pie's verbal beating is clearly meant to be seen as Fluttershy's being faulty, and not a consequence of any sort.

Granted, Fluttershy called out Rarity and Pinkie on totally unrelated and unwarranted subjects. The connection between their assertiveness and their lecture is barely there if at all. I don't really think Rarity and Pinkie Pie needed a punishment for their actions though, not when you compare them to the evils of everypony else, especially Fluttershy.

As for calling anyone out - Fluttershy supposedly "takes it too far", even though everyone else's behavior is even more unrealistically exaggerated.

Fluttershy was violently assaulting ponies for asking her to open her mouth and drop a letter! The worst that happened to her in the marketplace was cutting in line and the cherry merchant trying to take advantage of a good with perfectly inelastic demand!

Fluttershy did not have a problem with herself at all (as I understood theodrixx was suggesting).

She didn't at first, but it isn't as if the townsponies forced her to go to the seminar. That was entirely her decision after she saw the pamphlet in the mail. If anypony is to blame for sending Fluttershy to the seminar, it's Rarity and Pinkie Pie. Remember how they were the ones to let Fluttershy know that she had a problem? Before then, she would probably have been content with being a doormat, not knowing there was any alternative.

The principle stands. Swindling is as punishable as mugging.

I think you're being a bit harsh calling Pinkie Pie a swindler. Sure she tricked Miss Heinz into reducing her price, but it is still a price that Miss Heinz set and was paid in full with honest money. Pinkie just pulled a haggling gambit that only worked because Miss Heinz allowed it to.

No love for Discord episodes? Aww.

My posts are long enough as it is. *shrug* I don't need to list every example, though I probably should mention Discord before love poison next time.

Most of the examples you gave is pure fantasy stuff.

Do you mean I made it up? Because no, none of those examples are my own personal fanfiction. Those are all real dark things that exist in the scope of MLP cartoons, not just Friendship is Magic.

Lesson Zero, as I said, actually did justice in the end to Twilight's psychosis, at least in my opinion.

That doesn't make her behavior any less disturbing over the course of the episode. Her madness isn't the only dark moment in that episode either. Until the "massage" is revealed as such, watching Fluttershy attack the bear is pretty shocking given the show's tendency to avoid violence.

I overlooked ["Party of One"], because I don't really care for Pinkie.

Coincidentally, "Party of One" is the only Pinkie-centric episode that I have no serious problems with. I usually find her much more enjoyable when she supports other members of the Mane Six in their own episodes, but "Party of One" hit all the right notes for me. The fans' rabid obsession with Cupcakes is of no concern to me.

So yeah, as I said in the review, I probably approached that scene too emotionally. But I still stand by my opinion. And even without all that, I'd still think the episode is bad.

Well I dunno if you were too emotional about the scene in question. As you said, it is a very emotionally charged scene, and my reaction was emotional as well albeit different from yours. I'm simply pointing out that it isn't the first time ponies have given the audience something dark, and very likely won't be the last. By all means though, stand by your convictions. I'd be more than a little disappointed if you didn't.

We should make this a brony catchphrase.

That would be awesome.

I will complain, thank you very much. The review section would be boring with just the positives, don't you think?

There's a reason the negative reviews always get commented on. I faced it two weeks ago with "A Friend in Deed", even though I disliked some parts just as much as I loved others. All I really want to prevent is complaining for the sake of it, though it's a losing battle on the Internet.
comment #13074 OmniSonic 5th Mar 12 (edited by: OmniSonic)
It's funny that nobody mentioned Angels' bullshit in this episode. It justifies a big deal of Fluttershy's accumulated frustration and firmly places him as The Scrappy for me.
comment #13079 Teraus 6th Mar 12
I don't think you can count someone as a scrappy when they've supposed to have been a jackass (I hesitate to say Token Evil Teammate) from day one.
comment #13080 emeriin 6th Mar 12
"Pinkie just pulled a haggling gambit that only worked because Miss Heinz allowed it to."

That's like saying a con isn't a con because the mark was dumb enough to fall for it. It doesn't change the fact that Pinkie was manipulative and took advantage of someone in the heat of the moment. She paid money, but not the amount of money the vendor ever really had in mind. Not that the joke wasn't funny or that Pinkie is a bad pony, but you're arguing no wrong was done at all.

"I don't think you can count someone as a scrappy when they've supposed to have been a jackass (I hesitate to say Token Evil Teammate) from day one."

A jackass is one thing, but Angel actually slapping Fluttershy and throwing her around escalates his brattiness to the point where it's arguably Dude Not Funny territory.

comment #13086 Robotnik 6th Mar 12
You mean the outbreak of implications you don't believe in, and ones which you have yet to establish sufficient evidence for?

Which of the two? :P

Actually (which I didn't make clear at all, I admit), I meant the implications of Fluttershy hating herself for being a doormat, which may mean, since she was like that from the beginning, that she felt that hatred throughout the series. Which may be reinforced by what she said to Discord.

The relationship between Celestia and Luna remains vague; it hasn't been discussed in the show since the pilot, not even in "Luna Eclipsed".

I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that Celestia and Luna made amends off-screen for whatever happened 1000 years before. A more serious implication is that since ponies didn't suddenly turn nocturnal, Luna's original problem remains unsolved.

And I don't think they'll ever make an episode about the princesses. Thousands-year old characters are probably hardly relatable for the target audience.

Fluttershy was violently assaulting ponies for asking her to open her mouth and drop a letter!

Well, yeah, though those were the last straws. I was thinking more about whether her reactions to those ponies that actually were jerkass were supposed to be seen as acceptable, or too much (come to think about it, it's not clear in the show).

Before then, she would probably have been content with being a doormat, not knowing there was any alternative.

Either way, it was something external that kicked off the plot of the episode (unless that theory about self-hatred actually holds water).

Pinkie just pulled a haggling gambit that only worked because Miss Heinz allowed it to.

Miss Heinz? Where'd that come from?

And technically yes, but Pinkie still was acting in bad faith. And there are enough cases where people are mislead by fine print or purposefully unclear wording in contracts, which is technically only their fault, but...

Do you mean I made it up?

No, I meant they're of the fantasy genre. By that I mean they're more, shall I say, esoteric to the viewer than the issues of self-hatred or telling someone their lives are worthless, etc.

Until the "massage" is revealed as such, watching Fluttershy attack the bear is pretty shocking given the show's tendency to avoid violence.

Surprising, yes, but shocking? It was to unbelievable to be taken seriously in this show.

By all means though, stand by your convictions. I'd be more than a little disappointed if you didn't.

Why so?

All I really want to prevent is complaining for the sake of it, though it's a losing battle on the Internet.

Yeah, but aren't all reviews of professional works like that? It's not like the authors would change the content of the episode because of its review. Or try to avoid something in future episodes because a review pointed it out as a mistake (I'm not talking about my review here, just generally).

Episode reviews are even more pointless then work reviews. The latter could possibly encourage (or deter) new people to try the show. I think only fans bother with episode reviews, so it's not even a question of whether they'll watch it.

@Teraus

It's been mentioned over and over everywhere I look. Long story short: it's wabbit season for the fans. There's not much to add or argue about.
comment #13088 StyxD 6th Mar 12 (edited by: StyxD)
I don't see any implication that Fluttershy hates herself. She's very susceptible to what other people say about her and tell her to do, and she shouldn't be happy with being a doormat. She doesn't deserve any crap from Angel or anyone else, which she comes to realize. The problem is Fluttershy finding a happy medium between being a complete pushover who gives in even when she really shouldn't, and being a complete Jerkass, a problem she finally resolves at the end.

Every character has issues to work on; the one most discussed for Fluttershy here is "being a doormat", but an equally implict one is suppressed anger issues. Fluttershy seems to stamp down on her "hurtful" emotions, but there have been various times over the series that it hasn't quite worked. The idea here is partially to confront them in a healthy fashion.

I didn't get the feeling that the 'New Fluttershy" rant was self-hatred so much as showing how Fluttershy had changed. True to form, she'd taken Iron Will's already over-the-top advice, combined it with the truth that she shouldn't be a doormat and some repressed anger and resentment, and had become something she wasn't, a pony her friends no longer recognized.

comment #13089 Robotnik 6th Mar 12
Actually (which I didn't make clear at all, I admit), I meant the implications of Fluttershy hating herself for being a doormat, which may mean, since she was like that from the beginning, that she felt that hatred throughout the series. Which may be reinforced by what she said to Discord.

Hm. So if I'm understanding this right, the theory here is that she locked herself in her house because she hated her old self for being a doormat, but also hated her new self for being a monster. The concept sounds reasonable enough within the scope of the episode, but I still find it hard to believe that she hated herself before then. While talking with Discord, she mentions she is lucky to have friends who want her to be the best she can be. That doesn't sound like a pony with low self-esteem to me, but perhaps you can back up your claim?

I don't think they'll ever make an episode about the princesses.

Realistically, me neither, but I can hope.

I was thinking more about whether her reactions to those ponies that actually were jerkass were supposed to be seen as acceptable, or too much (come to think about it, it's not clear in the show).

If you claim the writers didn't call anyone out besides Fluttershy, then it's safe to say they labeled it as too much, at least when it came to that point. But before that happened, let's consider her actions to the other ponies, at least after the seminar; she doesn't really go back and get revenge on anypony that mistreated her in the marketplace. After the seminar I viewed her behavior as escalating aggression. Her reactions start as just mean and gradually get more confrontational, leading to intimidation and violence over increasingly petty problems. The first sign that the show gives that she has crossed the line is when Pinkie gets the punch bowl dumped on her head, and when Fluttershy's friends witness her blowing up on a tourist they're pretty much obligated to call her out on it.

Either way, it was something external that kicked off the plot of the episode (unless that theory about self-hatred actually holds water).

Well the plot does have to get started somehow. But I'm a little confused on what you mean by "external". Do you mean that Iron Will has never appeared in the series outside of this episode? Because that's not unusual for this series. Please clarify your opinion on the plot device, if you don't mind.

Miss Heinz? Where'd that come from?

Oh that's just a name given to the tomato merchant by someone on Youtube named Limpurtikles. Not official or anything, but quite a lot of people seem to like the name, including myself.

And technically yes, but Pinkie still was acting in bad faith.

I'd also like to respond to Robotnik's comment on my quote here. I want to make it clear that I do not condone what Pinkie did to Miss Heinz. I even stated that Pinkie's trick was questionable, and less fair than what Rarity did to the nerdy pony. The original point I was trying to make was that even though Pinkie and Rarity used less than perfect ethics to get what they wanted, they certainly weren't acting on Gilda's level by selfishly stealing behind ponies' backs and giving nothing in return.

No, I meant they're of the fantasy genre. By that I mean they're more, shall I say, esoteric to the viewer than the issues of self-hatred or telling someone their lives are worthless, etc.

So you're claiming my examples are only dark within the context of a fantasy setting or child-targeted work like My Little Pony? That might be true for a few examples, namely the transformation of ponies, the brainwashing, and perhaps even the kidnapping. But issues like slavery, relationship abuse, and psychosis are not strictly fantastical in nature, and can get depressing even in adult-oriented fiction.

Surprising, yes, but shocking? It was to unbelievable to be taken seriously in this show.

I guess that's essentially a matter of opinion. Most of what gets past the radar in this show isn't meant to be taken seriously, but it can still have an impact.

By all means though, stand by your convictions. I'd be more than a little disappointed if you didn't. Why so?

I like challenging my own views as well as seeing how they compare and contrast with the views of others. It allows me to test the reasoning I use and sometimes provides insight that I have missed. Not to mention I respect anyone with confidence in their views even if they are different than mine, as long as they can provide adequate justification for them. A person with no conviction in how they feel just bores me, and a person with incredibly flawed conviction irritates me.

Yeah, but aren't all reviews of professional works like that? It's not like the authors would change the content of the episode because of its review. Or try to avoid something in future episodes because a review pointed it out as a mistake (I'm not talking about my review here, just generally).

Actually, that's the point of reviewing a professional work, particularly one designed to make money like this one. Retroactively changing content of a TV episode usually isn't worth the money and usually is only done if something offends a great number of people, but if the creators can appeal more to the audience in future seasons they will opt to do so in hopes it will increase viewers (or potential customers) and sales. Reviews are a method of letting the creators know what they are doing right or wrong to their audience, not that I imagine the Hasbro PR team surfs TV Tropes.
comment #13091 OmniSonic 6th Mar 12
While talking with Discord, she mentions she is lucky to have friends who want her to be the best she can be. That doesn't sound like a pony with low self-esteem to me, but perhaps you can back up your claim?

Well, what about "I am weak and helpless."? To me it sounded like her friends have a higher esteem of her then she herself, hence this "want me to be the best", which is how she possibly perceives them not putting her down.

Also, I don't think cheerfully admitting that you're hopeless is a healthy sign. It suggests resignation.

But I'm a little confused on what you mean by "external". Do you mean that Iron Will has never appeared in the series outside of this episode? Because that's not unusual for this series. Please clarify your opinion on the plot device, if you don't mind.

The plot device is usual for the series, nothing wrong with it. As for "external", well, It's still in context of theodrixx's comment that the conflict was "between Fluttershy's desire to be assertive and her desire to be herself."

As I said, there was never internal conflict between what Fluttershy wanted. The conflict sprouted, because she treated others badly, but she didn't mind that herself, hence it stared on the "outside" of her.

Up until the very end at least.

Sorta... if I'm not being clear in these posts, it's probably because I write them at 2 A.M. :-|

The original point I was trying to make was that even though Pinkie and Rarity used less than perfect ethics to get what they wanted, they certainly weren't acting on Gilda's level by selfishly stealing behind ponies' backs and giving nothing in return.

Rarity, maybe. As for Pinkie, I'm not sure - supposing the apple that Gilda stole costed one bit, she and Pinkie would be kinda equal now.

But issues like slavery, relationship abuse, and psychosis are not strictly fantastical in nature, and can get depressing even in adult-oriented fiction.

Yeah, but I guess it depends on how they are presented. I didn't really watch (or at least remember watching) those G1 specials, so I can't say. If they are simply mentioned, then glossed over, that probably won't leave an impact.

Slavery is another thing. It's terrifying in the real world, but it's a pretty worn-out trope in fantasy. Unless psychological and/or psychical damage beyond repair is suggested, you can usually count on the slaves being freed by the time "The End" rolls around.

As for "Putting Your Hoof Down", I'm under impression there was unusual emphasis and gravity put on that scene, with Rarity and Pinkie simply breaking into tears on the spot. I don't think something like that ever happened so far in the show.

Or am I being deluded?

Reviews are a method of letting the creators know what they are doing right or wrong to their audience, not that I imagine the Hasbro PR team surfs TV Tropes.

Well, yeah, that's kinda why I said posting a review here has almost no bearing on anything.
comment #13099 StyxD 7th Mar 12
Also, I don't think cheerfully admitting that you're hopeless is a healthy sign. It suggests resignation.

I've always interpreted that as simple humility. Isn't it possible to dislike some aspects of yourself and want to change without being completely self-hating?
comment #13101 Robotnik 7th Mar 12
Well, what about "I am weak and helpless."? To me it sounded like her friends have a higher esteem of her then she herself, hence this "want me to be the best", which is how she possibly perceives them not putting her down.

Keep in mind that Fluttershy is the one saying this, not her friends; what esteem they truly hold her in cannot be determined through Fluttershy's thoughts. Also, "weak and helpless" aren't necessarily her words; Discord told her that her friends think she is weak and helpless, and she politely agreed while expressing her gratitude towards them. She is very thankful for her friends and believes the best of them, which provides another reason I don't believe she has low self-esteem.

Individuals with low self-esteem tend to think negatively about themselves and those around him; they may perceive their friends and family as being overly critical and are dissatisfied with themselves. Fluttershy's bright tone and the smile on her face while admitting her flaws are not indicative of this attitude. Therefore, I believe it's not out of the question that she is not only aware of her own weaknesses, but content with them. All of this is assuming, of course, that she is being honest with Discord and not counter-trolling him like a pro.

As I said, there was never internal conflict between what Fluttershy wanted. The conflict sprouted, because she treated others badly, but she didn't mind that herself, hence it stared on the "outside" of her.

I think I get it now. As you say, the internal conflict for Fluttershy's character did not start until she realized the full effect of her actions. Before that happened, however, the main conflict was between Fluttershy and Ponyville's population; they walked over her as a doormat, then she went to the seminar, and for the second act she kind of went too far against them. This conflict is sort of resolved when Fluttershy realizes what she has done; not wanting to hurt anypony anymore, she boards herself up in her house. It's not the cleanest resolution since she doesn't really contact anypony she hurt afterwards (aside from her friends), but then again I don't really view this conflict as the main one. The Aesop deals with assertiveness without being unpleasant, and after Fluttershy displays the two extremes of this scale she develops her internal conflict that leads to the Aesop. Her internal conflict takes up less screen time, but I believe it is much more important to the plot.

Rarity, maybe. As for Pinkie, I'm not sure - supposing the apple that Gilda stole costed one bit, she and Pinkie would be kinda equal now.

Because the ethics of your actions are measured in bits, right? Hey wait a minute... Pinkie wasn't even haggling with her own money. She was saving Fluttershy a bit. So if bits translate to ethics, Pinkie Pie is kinder than Fluttershy, who is on Gilda's level. You just blew my mind.

Slavery is another thing. It's terrifying in the real world, but it's a pretty worn-out trope in fantasy. Unless psychological and/or psychical damage beyond repair is suggested, you can usually count on the slaves being freed by the time "The End" rolls around.

Psychical damage? Are we talking about slaves of Mewtwo here? :P I'll guess you mean physical.

I did a brief search on this site about slaves in fantasy, but couldn't find much information in one place. Perhaps "Fantastic Slave" should be a trope. Regardless, I'll fill you in on what happens in "Escape from Catrina". A feline witch is the master of another race of creatures called the Bushwoolies. They grow tired of her after a few minutes and escape through a crack in the wall. And... that's pretty much it regarding their slavery. Admittedly, not a deep exploration of slavery's potential damage. The relationship decay between Catrina and Rex gets considerably more attention, though.

As for "Putting Your Hoof Down", I'm under impression there was unusual emphasis and gravity put on that scene, with Rarity and Pinkie simply breaking into tears on the spot. I don't think something like that ever happened so far in the show. Or am I being deluded?

Ah, that's right. They cried quite a bit in that scene. But it is not accurate to say that hasn't happened before.

In "Griffon the Brush-Off", when Gilda bullies Fluttershy the pegasus is seen running away and crying.

"Winter Wrap Up" had Applejack lecture Twilight on using her magic, and the unicorn also runs away crying, unable to face her failures any longer.

"A Bird in the Hoof" had Fluttershy crying over what seemed like the death of a pet in her care. Perhaps this example has less emotional impact if you already know it's a phoenix, which is pretty obvious from the whole "bursting into flame" thing.

"The Last Roundup" featured Big Macintosh quite clearly crying over the news that Applejack is not coming back to her family. Considering how heavily family ties are emphasized in the Apple clan, it hardly comes as a surprise, but the gravity of the situation is quite clear.
comment #13105 OmniSonic 7th Mar 12
Wait, why is Pinkie's psychological trickery (which only worked because Miss Heinz/Iron Will ended up arguing for the sake of arguing) considered any more unethical than Heinz's price gouging to begin with? (Rarity too; her flattery resulted nothing more than the geek pony selling the asparagus at the same price he bought it for, a bit dishonest but hardly jerk material.)
comment #13109 KingRaptor 8th Mar 12 (edited by: KingRaptor)
@KingRaptor

From what it looks like, Ponyville has a free market, so whatever price Miss Heinz sets for her own goods is perfectly fine as long as it isn't completely outrageous, like ten bits for one cherry. If the price is too high she probably just won't get any customers, unless she has a monopoly on tomatoes for some odd reason. Personally, two bits for three tomatoes doesn't sound that bad to me considering I used to work at a store that sold four tomatoes for six dollars.
comment #13111 OmniSonic 8th Mar 12 (edited by: OmniSonic)
@omnisonic

There's no reliable conversion factor from Equestrian bits to RL money, so we kind of have to take Pinkie's word for it that "two bits for tomatoes is outrageous."

Also, the price used to be one bit per three tomatoes, meaning the salespony raised prices by 100% in a matter of days. She doesn't even try to justify it, which she probably could if she had a good enough reason (problems with the supplier, improved quality, etc.). It's just yet another pony being a greedy jerk in this episode.
comment #13117 theodrixx 8th Mar 12 (edited by: theodrixx)
I suppose two bits might be more than it seems, considering Fluttershy doesn't even have twenty bits on her at the time. *shrug* I could have my stick figures displayed in the Louvre before I could figure out Equestrian economics. I simply don't know enough about our little salespony to accurately judge her behavior.
comment #13120 OmniSonic 8th Mar 12
@Robotnik

I've always interpreted that as simple humility. Isn't it possible to dislike some aspects of yourself and want to change without being completely self-hating?

It's a possibility. But I'm kinda trying to fuel my theory here :P. Plus, the scene may appear different in light of the latest episode's events.

@OmniSonic

Individuals with low self-esteem tend to think negatively about themselves and those around him; they may perceive their friends and family as being overly critical and are dissatisfied with themselves.

(The below is one interpretation - I'm not saying that's how it must be)

But Fluttershy's opinion of herself may not translate directly into her opinion of her friends. She may be grateful to her friends that they bother with her at all. Since she thinks so low of herself, she treats any act of kindness from her friends as something to be grateful for.

Fluttershy's admission to being weak and helpless may also tie with her "doormat" status. She just doesn't think to argue with someone that criticizes her.

The Aesop deals with assertiveness without being unpleasant, and after Fluttershy displays the two extremes of this scale she develops her internal conflict that leads to the Aesop. Her internal conflict takes up less screen time, but I believe it is much more important to the plot.

Then I suppose it would be better worded as "conflict between wanting to be assertive and not being cruel to others".

Because the ethics of your actions are measured in bits, right?

I'd rather say "damage done" than "ethics".

Ah, that's right. They cried quite a bit in that scene. But it is not accurate to say that hasn't happened before.

I didn't think they never cried before. It's not just the crying. I don't know, perhaps it's entirely subjective, I can't quite explain why I think that was probably the most emotionally dramatic scene in the show.

In "Griffon the Brush-Off", when Gilda bullies Fluttershy the pegasus is seen running away and crying.

Contrary to what would be expected from a Fluttershy fan, that scene had no impact on me. I mean, knowing both Gilda and Fluttershy, that course of events was predictable, and really inevitable. And as scared as Fluttershy was, she probably wouldn't lose sleep over some random stranger griffon shouting at her.

"The Last Roundup" featured Big Macintosh quite clearly crying over the news that Applejack is not coming back to her family.

Yes, that one should have been dramatic, and yet I kept thinking "they're playing manly tears for laughs".
comment #13121 StyxD 8th Mar 12 (edited by: StyxD)
But Fluttershy's opinion of herself may not translate directly into her opinion of her friends. She may be grateful to her friends that they bother with her at all. Since she thinks so low of herself, she treats any act of kindness from her friends as something to be grateful for.

If this was true, then she wouldn't expect much from her friends. Yet the first thing she says while talking to Discord is that she expects her friends to do their best to find her. Not only that, but if she was supposedly self-hating it doesn't make sense for her to surround herself with friends who treat her with compassion and understanding. That sort of treatment is healthy for an individual's self-esteem, and while it may not completely remove the problem it certainly makes it more manageable.

Fluttershy's admission to being weak and helpless may also tie with her "doormat" status. She just doesn't think to argue with someone that criticizes her.

The problem with this statement is that Fluttershy denies all of Discord's manipulative claims without hesitation. This scene is not good proof for her being a doormat because she does argue with everything he says.

Because the ethics of your actions are measured in bits, right? I'd rather say "damage done" than "ethics".

Hehehe, now I'm imagining ponies playing Burnout. Again.

Anyway, let me go back a bit and state why I don't think Pinkie has stooped to Gilda's level. Taking the whole "damage done = bits" angle, Rarity has a pretty clean track record since she traded the nerd pony what his item was worth, and did it with his consent. Pinkie on the other hand has one bit on her record from her little cartoon gag, as does Gilda assuming the apple she stole is worth one bit. So in respect to damages, the two of them are equal. However, I still think Pinkie's actions were more ethical than Gilda's because Pinkie gave the merchant a fair chance at catching her in the act. If Miss Heinz had cottoned on a little quicker, the outcome would have been much different. Also, Pinkie was not pulling the trick for selfish reasons. Gilda's theft, by contrast, is completely unfair in every aspect and only served herself.

I didn't think they never cried before. It's not just the crying.

I'm well aware of that. If I listed just moments where ponies cried I would have started with Pinkie Pie's two-second waterfalls after the climax of the pilot.

I don't know, perhaps it's entirely subjective, I can't quite explain why I think that was probably the most emotionally dramatic scene in the show.

I have a theory as to why; you may confirm or deny it at your leisure. I included examples from "Griffon the Brush-Off" and "Winter Wrap Up" because they seemed to be the best matches for how this scene in "Putting Your Hoof Down" played out. Ponies receive a lecture from somepony else who is pretty pissed off, and this upsets the first pony (or pair of ponies) so much that they run away crying. The main difference between these scenes is the personal bond shared by the participants.

First, in "Griffon the Brush-Off" there is for all intents and purposes zero connection between Gilda and Fluttershy. The scene could just as easily be described as "The jerk yells at the Shrinking Violet because she's a jerk, and Shrinking Violet cries and runs off because she's sensitive and shy." Nothing of value would be lost in that description, and it is perfectly understandable that you didn't feel any impact. ("Griffon the Brush-Off" is not one of my favorite episodes, as you can tell.)

Secondly, "Winter Wrap Up" has more of a connection between Applejack and Twilight, though the reason Applejack yells at Twilight is due more to tradition than personal issues. However, considering it was probably the Apple family that began such a tradition, Applejack might have seen Twilight's actions as a personal offense. Not to mention, being called out so badly for doing something that comes naturally for her has to be heart-wrenching for Twilight, particularly after all her other failures that happened as an indirect result of not using magic. Ultimately though, the emotional stakes are kind of like parents' reaction to a bad report card; sure it sucks, but it will pass. Not a lot of bridges being burned here.

Now consider "Putting Your Hoof Down". This scene is not triggered by a jerk doing jerk things, nor a iconoclastic catastrophe, but two friends showing major concern for Fluttershy. The radical changes that Fluttershy goes through are quite alarming and her behavior is so opposite of what her friends expect from her, so her friends reach out to her in an attempt to calm her down and connect with some portion of her old personality. Unfortunately Fluttershy refuses to accept who she once was, rejecting her traits that Rarity and Pinkie Pie valued and sadly vilifying their friendship. Not only that, she takes the opportunity to insult and trivialize activities that her friends have dedicated their entire lives to. So to recap, what started as a couple of friends showing concern for somepony's personality changes ended with damages to Fluttershy's friendship with both friends as well as blows to her friends' self-esteem, and Rarity and Pinkie Pie were driven away bawling. Pretty freaking harsh.

I agree that the scene in question is depressing and dramatic, easily one of the more dramatic scenes I've seen in this show. With regards to your original opinion about it, that it shouldn't even be in something like MLP? I certainly wouldn't want the whole show to be like this, but I give the target audience the benefit of the doubt; I think they can handle it.

Yes, that one should have been dramatic, and yet I kept thinking "they're playing manly tears for laughs".

What exactly about that was funny? There's lots of laughs to be had during "The Last Roundup" but to me that scene seemed like it was played straight, at least after the bit with the mailpony. Losing a valued family member is no laughing matter.
comment #13126 OmniSonic 8th Mar 12
If this was true, then she wouldn't expect much from her friends. Yet the first thing she says while talking to Discord is that she expects her friends to do their best to find her. Not only that, but if she was supposedly self-hating it doesn't make sense for her to surround herself with friends who treat her with compassion and understanding.

Yeah, I suppose her faith in her friends would not be so unrelenting if she did hate herself. Unless she's lying to Discord. Or herself. ;)

But why wouldn't it make sense for her to surround herself with friends? If only to make herself feel better.

The problem with this statement is that Fluttershy denies all of Discord's manipulative claims without hesitation. This scene is not good proof for her being a doormat because she does argue with everything he says.

All except one - that she's weak and helpless. It's pretty consistent with what we've seen up to that point, I think - that Fluttershy can stand up for others when she feels it's necessary, but won't try to stand up for herself.

If Miss Heinz had cottoned on a little quicker, the outcome would have been much different. Also, Pinkie was not pulling the trick for selfish reasons. Gilda's theft, by contrast, is completely unfair in every aspect and only served herself.

That's like saying that the shopkeeper should have noticed Gilda's tail. Pinkie certainly did not set out to do what she did intending to fail. Were her reasons not selfish? The price was 2 bits, not 12 like for that cherry. It was a trivial saving. Pinkie seemed to just want to prove a point.

With regards to your original opinion about it, that it shouldn't even be in something like MLP? I certainly wouldn't want the whole show to be like this, but I give the target audience the benefit of the doubt; I think they can handle it.

And probably better than a brony that overanalyzes everything. ;)

I do think they mishandled that scene. It's dark, but it amounts to little, story-wise. The resolution feels rushed (I don't think it's bad on its own) and would mesh better with something lighter, I think. There was simply no need for such scene in order to reach the episode's Aesop, and with the way it is I think the unpleasantness is too quickly dismissed and wrapped-up.

As for your theory, I'd have to think about it. As I said, it's not too clear to me why I react to that scene so negatively.

What exactly about that was funny? There's lots of laughs to be had during "The Last Roundup" but to me that scene seemed like it was played straight, at least after the bit with the mailpony. Losing a valued family member is no laughing matter.

I think it's overplayed, intentionally or not. No one cries except for the biggest stallion, and he also raises his hoof to his face and makes an anguished expression. Almost like Rarity usually overdramatizes stuff, if you think about it. He also repeats the very same gesture and expression at the end, when he's happy that Applejack returned, reinforcing my impression that it was supposed to not be taken seriously (and somewhat of a running joke).
comment #13138 StyxD 9th Mar 12
Yeah, I suppose her faith in her friends would not be so unrelenting if she did hate herself. Unless she's lying to Discord. Or herself. ;)

In which case nothing she says can be used as evidence, at least while she's lying.

But why wouldn't it make sense for her to surround herself with friends? If only to make herself feel better.

Because it clashes with the theory of low self-esteem. If she had friends that criticized her often, her self-respect would remain low, but her friends treat her very well which would improve her self-image.

However... her pony friends are not the only creatures to consider for this theory. What about her animal friends that she takes care of? We see in the beginning of the episode that they take advantage of her care, with Angel Bunny being an egregious example. I already addressed this angle of the theory, however; if the animals were the reason for her supposed self-esteem issues, the end of the episode shows she won't be taking their abuse any longer.

All except one - that she's weak and helpless. It's pretty consistent with what we've seen up to that point, I think - that Fluttershy can stand up for others when she feels it's necessary, but won't try to stand up for herself.

Discord was not actually trying to call Fluttershy weak and helpless; he tried to upset her by "revealing" that her friends think of her as The Load. Fluttershy only agreed with part of his message, and it wasn't the important part. She refused to follow his suggestion of getting upset over it.

That's like saying that the shopkeeper should have noticed Gilda's tail. Pinkie certainly did not set out to do what she did intending to fail.

I only think that Miss Heinz could have noticed Pinkie's trick, not that she should have seen it coming. Pinkie did not intend to fail but the opportunity was still there, as opposed to Gilda who snatched and scarfed far too quick for anypony to do much about it. Miss Heinz could have even called out Pinkie after the debacle if she wanted; as far as I know, you can't eat bits.

Were her reasons not selfish? The price was 2 bits, not 12 like for that cherry. It was a trivial saving. Pinkie seemed to just want to prove a point.

Pinkie was haggling for Fluttershy's sake. She was saving Fluttershy's money and trying to show Fluttershy how to stand up for herself. So yes, she was trying to prove a point but it remains a selfless cause.

And probably better than a brony that overanalyzes everything. ;)

Heeeeeeeey. At least I'm not as bad as the brony who made a video pointing out that Applejack and butterflies must be made of dark matter.

I do think they mishandled that scene. It's dark, but it amounts to little, story-wise. The resolution feels rushed (I don't think it's bad on its own) and would mesh better with something lighter, I think. There was simply no need for such scene in order to reach the episode's Aesop, and with the way it is I think the unpleasantness is too quickly dismissed and wrapped-up.

I remain unconvinced. Rarity and Pinkie Pie went to Fluttershy's boarded-up cottage after her outburst and continued the discussion from earlier, while Fluttershy was beating herself up over her previous actions. Their argument led to Fluttershy realizing she had gone too far, which is important to the Aesop of... well, not going too far. Maybe it could have been handled a little gentler, but I wouldn't say there's anything fundamentally wrong with the scene unless there's an easier alternative I'm missing.

As for your theory, I'd have to think about it. As I said, it's not too clear to me why I react to that scene so negatively.

I respect that. It's only a theory after all, and I can't pretend to comprehend your thought processes, only form a hypothesis from my own.

I think it's overplayed, intentionally or not. No one cries except for the biggest stallion, and he also raises his hoof to his face and makes an anguished expression. Almost like Rarity usually overdramatizes stuff, if you think about it.

Granny Smith also makes her sadness known. In the same shot as Big Mac's tears, we see her lips trembling (her entire jaw looks like it's shaking) and her eyes glistening. Not too much earlier Apple Bloom shouts out in distress while pouting with puppy-dog eyes. The mere act of crying and raising one hoof does not amplify Big Mac's reaction all the way to absurdity. If he cried like Pinkie Pie does in "Baby Cakes" then maybe you'd be right. But considering his emotional display to even approach the level of "I vant to be alone!" is ridiculous.

He also repeats the very same gesture and expression at the end, when he's happy that Applejack returned, reinforcing my impression that it was supposed to not be taken seriously (and somewhat of a running joke).

Tears Of Joy, do you know them? Big Mac is clearly not as stoic as he seems.

Actually I'm not sure why I'm arguing a case for "The Last Roundup" that has little or no relevance to "Putting Your Hoof Down". There's no Manly Tears in sight for this episode, unless you count Fluttershy hulking out as manly. *shrug* Oh well, it's the Internet so I'm bound to stray off-topic.
comment #13142 OmniSonic 9th Mar 12
Because it clashes with the theory of low self-esteem. If she had friends that criticized her often, her self-respect would remain low, but her friends treat her very well which would improve her self-image

So you say, it's impossible to someone with low self-esteem to have supportive friends, since that would necessarily mean that their self-esteem would improve and they would no longer have low self-esteem?

But this seems to assume psychical reactions are rational.

We see in the beginning of the episode that they take advantage of her care, with Angel Bunny being an egregious example. I already addressed this angle of the theory, however; if the animals were the reason for her supposed self-esteem issues, the end of the episode shows she won't be taking their abuse any longer.

I'd firmly say the animals' behavior is the side-effect and not the cause of her problems. Even if they take advantage of her, she still seems much more confident around them than other ponies.

I only think that Miss Heinz could have noticed Pinkie's trick, not that she should have seen it coming. Pinkie did not intend to fail but the opportunity was still there, as opposed to Gilda who snatched and scarfed far too quick for anypony to do much about it. Miss Heinz could have even called out Pinkie after the debacle if she wanted; as far as I know, you can't eat bits.

Yes, it was more physically possible for Miss Heinz to pry the bit she was cheated out of from Pinkie, than for the apple shopkeeper to retrieve the apple from Gilda's stomach. But still, the apple seller could demand payment from Gilda for what she stole, if she did notice.

And I don't think it would work in either case. If Miss Heinz tried to call Pinkie out, wouldn't Pinkie just reply "but you agreed to it"? And she did agree, even if only because of a trick.

Heeeeeeeey. At least I'm not as bad as the brony who made a video pointing out that Applejack and butterflies must be made of dark matter.

Well, I was referring to myself, but if you feel you're overanalyzing things, be my guest :P. It's one of the trappings of being a brony, it seems.

And I remember that Applejack theory - it's wonderfully simple and logical, really, and I like it. ;)

I remain unconvinced. Rarity and Pinkie Pie went to Fluttershy's boarded-up cottage after her outburst and continued the discussion from earlier, while Fluttershy was beating herself up over her previous actions. Their argument led to Fluttershy realizing she had gone too far, which is important to the Aesop of... well, not going too far.

Well, that's what I don't see in that scene.

1. They didn't continue the discussion. Pinkie and Rarity just said they all have something to regret about that situation (although Pinkie doesn't regret one bit), and really, it's all Iron Will's fault.

2. Fluttershy knew she went too far by the time she boarded herself in. It's not something Pinkie and Rarity needed to explain to her. She still claimed to be a monster by the time Iron Will arrived, at which point the scene shifts to him, and when Fluttershy emerges from her house she's suddenly like "Imma gonna be all 'no means no' on ya now!", with no hint whatsoever to how she arrived there from "I'm too far gone". If there's any development that makes her get over her disgust for her actions and learn to be assertive without being aggressive - it happens off-screen.

The mere act of crying and raising one hoof does not amplify Big Mac's reaction all the way to absurdity. If he cried like Pinkie Pie does in "Baby Cakes" then maybe you'd be right. But considering his emotional display to even approach the level of "I vant to be alone!" is ridiculous.

I dunno. It's just how I see that scene. Can't unsee it. I'm not saying it's bad or something. But the emphasis seems to be on "Big Mac is crying".

Tears Of Joy, do you know them? Big Mac is clearly not as stoic as he seems.

It's not that he shouldn't cry. But the exact same pose, you know...
comment #13165 StyxD 10th Mar 12 (edited by: StyxD)
But this seems to assume psychical reactions are rational.

There you go with the psychic thing again. Anyways, what's the problem with being rational? Emotions don't always lead to rational decisions but they do have a logical cause. I wouldn't be angry while enjoying a can of soda, for example.

I'd firmly say the animals' behavior is the side-effect and not the cause of her problems. Even if they take advantage of her, she still seems much more confident around them than other ponies.

Then the theory for low self-esteem is essentially dead in the water; if the animals don't lower her self-esteem and her friends make her feel better, where did this self-hatred come from?

If Miss Heinz tried to call Pinkie out, wouldn't Pinkie just reply "but you agreed to it"? And she did agree, even if only because of a trick.

I think this has gone far enough. I concede that Pinkie's trick could be considered as bad as Gilda's theft from a certain viewpoint. It is not my viewpoint, but it seems I cannot convey my opinion to you properly.

Well, I was referring to myself, but if you feel you're overanalyzing things, be my guest :P

I'm attempting to psychoanalyze a pastel Flash creation. I have no shame.

1. They didn't continue the discussion. Pinkie and Rarity just said they all have something to regret about that situation (although Pinkie doesn't regret one bit), and really, it's all Iron Will's fault.

Granted it's not a perfect continuation, but you're missing something else Rarity said. In the earlier argument, Rarity wanted Nice!Fluttershy back, and in the later discussion she claims Fluttershy can be a pleasant pony and still be assertive. Not to mention Rarity blames Iron Will both before and after running away crying.

2. Fluttershy knew she went too far by the time she boarded herself in. It's not something Pinkie and Rarity needed to explain to her.

Oops, I probably should have typed my sentences better. When I say "their argument" I mean the discussion before Rarity and Pinkie Pie run away crying. The way I typed it makes it seem like I meant the discussion after that.

She still claimed to be a monster by the time Iron Will arrived, at which point the scene shifts to him, and when Fluttershy emerges from her house she's suddenly like "Imma gonna be all 'no means no' on ya now!", with no hint whatsoever to how she arrived there from "I'm too far gone". If there's any development that makes her get over her disgust for her actions and learn to be assertive without being aggressive - it happens off-screen.

This is a completely legitimate complaint. The development of the Aesop is a bit rushed and Fluttershy seemed to jump into that character immediately out of being a nervous wreck. It doesn't really support the opinion that the scene following the tourist pony was too dark, but it definitely helps establish a basis for claiming the scene was mishandled, if only slightly.

Yet the scene is still necessary to reach the Aesop. Part of the Aesop is avoiding being nasty, which can't really be justified without showing how being nasty affected Fluttershy. I mean sure, the audience knows she is doing wrong by harassing the mailpony, but she needed to have some serious negative consequence in her own life from being overly aggressive. Only then would she see how her new personality affected her and her friendships. When Fluttershy drove away her friends, it gave her a reason to avoid being a total jerk to everypony. Can you disprove this scene's relevance, or perhaps suggest an alternative that reaches the same effect without being too heavy-handed?

I dunno. It's just how I see that scene. Can't unsee it.

Seems I can't convince you otherwise. *shrug* It has little to do with this episode, anyway.
comment #13177 OmniSonic 11th Mar 12
There you go with the psychic thing again. Anyways, what's the problem with being rational?

Isn't low self-esteem kind of a psychological problem? I'm not saying it has to be a disorder, but still, it's in the head.

The problem with being rational is that minds really aren't. In Fluttershy's case, if she's insecure enough, she might really persist in thinking that she's useless, despite her friends saying otherwise (they're just encouraging her to be the best she can be - doesn't mean she succeeds).

I wonder if there's any point in continuing that angle of discussion though. I obviously won't be able to bring any rock-solid proof of what's going on inside Fluttershy's head, only my (biased) guesses based on experience.

if the animals don't lower her self-esteem and her friends make her feel better, where did this self-hatred come from?

Uh, I dunno, maybe ALL those jerks in Ponyville, wonderfully exemplified in this episode? Or the fact that she was bullied in flight school? She was barely able to speak to strangers in s1e1, and her friends are relatively new development for her.

Yet the scene is still necessary to reach the Aesop. Part of the Aesop is avoiding being nasty, which can't really be justified without showing how being nasty affected Fluttershy. I mean sure, the audience knows she is doing wrong by harassing the mailpony, but she needed to have some serious negative consequence in her own life from being overly aggressive. Only then would she see how her new personality affected her and her friendships. When Fluttershy drove away her friends, it gave her a reason to avoid being a total jerk to everypony. Can you disprove this scene's relevance, or perhaps suggest an alternative that reaches the same effect without being too heavy-handed?

The scene is obviously relevant (it's the climax, really).

Were there other ways? Possibly. They went the heaviest, most sureshot way to shake up Fluttershy, but (as you know) I think they didn't handle the consequences well at all.

An alternative, maybe, would be for example eventually make everypony in Ponyville run from Fluttershy (Birdle Gossip style) when she just wanted something completely normal from them. As Iron Will's lessons dealt only with reacting to aggression, Fluttershy would be completely lost as to what to do with others' fear, but feeling as bad and ostracized by it. It could lead to her realizing that something is wrong with the way she acted/advice she received and bring in the Aesop.

(Of course, I'm no writer and the above probably sound really boring. But I think the idea could be worked with)

It wouldn't nearly be as dramatic and effective, but I think I'd find it more appropriate.

By the way, in the last episode, Fluttershy totally let Pinkie walk all over herself and make her carry lots of heavy stuff with no intention of helping her whatsoever. Turns out by "nice Fluttershy" they meant "free work force". That nefarious pink pony.
comment #13201 StyxD 11th Mar 12
The problem with being rational is that minds really aren't.

Correction. Minds under the strain of mental disorders are not rational. For the most part, normal minds are rational but that doesn't mean they are not unique; two minds can act differently based on differing past experiences and knowledge.

Uh, I dunno, maybe ALL those jerks in Ponyville, wonderfully exemplified in this episode?

She hardly leaves her cottage and barely even acknowledges other ponies she doesn't know. I doubt the town is the reason.

Or the fact that she was bullied in flight school?

Might be a reasonable claim if not for the fact that she left flight school and was far happier for it. The last line of her cutie mark song seems to indicate pretty high self-esteem, actually.

She was barely able to speak to strangers in s1e1, and her friends are relatively new development for her.

Those are just signs of being introverted. They have no apparent connection to her self-esteem.

An alternative, maybe, would be for example eventually make everypony in Ponyville run from Fluttershy (Birdle [sic] Gossip style) when she just wanted something completely normal from them.

I could see this working, actually. Maybe not to the extent of "Bridle Gossip" where the streets are barren, but a situation more like Luna's introduction in "Luna Eclipsed" where ponies are cowering in fear. Having Fluttershy actually see how the ponies react to her presence would be much more powerful. It would probably also do well to have her friends among the ponies cowering, or were you trying to avoid using her friends altogether?

As Iron Will's lessons dealt only with reacting to aggression, Fluttershy would be completely lost as to what to do with others' fear, but feeling as bad and ostracized by it.

Ehh... Fluttershy still took Iron Will's lessons beyond reacting to aggression, though. She harassed a mailpony for an honest mistake he didn't mean to make, and assaulted a tourist for something that wasn't even his fault. These events would have to be erased for the suggested alternative to make sense, though I wouldn't be that disappointed if they were.

It could lead to her realizing that something is wrong with the way she acted/advice she received and bring in the Aesop.

So how would you demonstrate the proper way of being assertive, then? The same way, with Iron Will coming to collect? Given that you would remove several minutes of screen time with this alternative, you could fill that in by bridging the gap between monster Fluttershy and properly assertive Fluttershy.

By the way, in the last episode, Fluttershy totally let Pinkie walk all over herself and make her carry lots of heavy stuff with no intention of helping her whatsoever.

Sure Pinkie helped. She carried the balloons. Did you see how many balloons she was carrying?

Turns out by "nice Fluttershy" they meant "free work force". That nefarious pink pony.

Aw come on, Fluttershy said she was happy to help. And I'm sure Fluttershy will make her Pinkie Promise to have Fluttershy carry balloons next time.
comment #13218 OmniSonic 11th Mar 12
Y'know, it's always amusing to see people argue religiously over children's cartoons.

No offense or anything (in fact, I find your conversation rather gravitating), but still, it's kinda funny.
comment #13241 BlueGuy 13th Mar 12
No offense taken. It is kind of funny in a "big picture" sense, but at least we're making a conscious effort to keep things civil and reasonable. This discussion is downright docile compared to the flame wars for episodes like "Feeling Pinkie Keen" and "The Mysterious Mare Do Well". And of course the iTunes edit of "The Last Roundup" still has some people up in arms.
comment #13244 OmniSonic 13th Mar 12
Correction. Minds under the strain of mental disorders are not rational.

I'm pretty sure you don't have to actually have a disorder to not have a clear cause-and-effect reactions, if only because all experiences are subjective and something rational for one person will appear stupid for another. Which is what you said, too. Or perhaps I'm mixing "rational" with "optimal" and "logical", but I've seen it used that way too.

She hardly leaves her cottage and barely even acknowledges other ponies she doesn't know. I doubt the town is the reason.

Well, in the present timeline of the show, maybe that's an effect. Plus, she seemd rather distressed when she had to put up with them, so it's a stretch to say it doesn't affect her at all.

Those are just signs of being introverted. They have no apparent connection to her self-esteem.

I'd say being introverted often correlates with low self-esteem, but yeah, it doesn't have to.

Looking at the above arguments, I may actually be confusing her non-sociable-ness (is that even a word? Where's Sweetie Belle when you need her) with self-esteem issues, but still, it's kinda hard for me to imagine someone completely comfortable with themselves that let others treat themselves the way Fluttershy does in this ep.

(Birdle [sic] Gossip style)

Heh, it's just like that time when I learned I was spelling "missile" as "missle" for some five years.

It would probably also do well to have her friends among the ponies cowering, or were you trying to avoid using her friends altogether?

They'd probably need to show up at one point. Not sure how I would handle that without sending her to the same rage she was in the actual ep. Maybe if her friends would only point out why others are evading her? But it still would have a chance to lead to the whole "the old Fluttershy's not coming back" scene.

Ehh... Fluttershy still took Iron Will's lessons beyond reacting to aggression, though. She harassed a mailpony for an honest mistake he didn't mean to make, and assaulted a tourist for something that wasn't even his fault. These events would have to be erased for the suggested alternative to make sense, though I wouldn't be that disappointed if they were.

True. I'd rather leave them in too.

Actually, Fluttershy's personality actually could make this ending hard too pull off - her disassociation with other ponies could make it impossible to shake her up without making her hurt her friends.

On the other hand, she did think she was wronged by those two ponies even if she wasn't, so her reactions made sense to her. So maybe she would snap out of it in other circumstances.

So how would you demonstrate the proper way of being assertive, then? The same way, with Iron Will coming to collect? Given that you would remove several minutes of screen time with this alternative, you could fill that in by bridging the gap between monster Fluttershy and properly assertive Fluttershy.

Well, I could fill it if I had any idea how to write episodes :D. But really, it's hard to make time estimations. Those few minutes left could be, for example, padded with gags.

@BlueGuy

Y'know, it's always amusing to see people argue religiously over children's cartoons.

Were we arguing religiously? I'm sorry. ;)

I, for one, simply enjoy overanalyzing everything.
comment #13252 StyxD 13th Mar 12
I'd say being introverted often correlates with low self-esteem, but yeah, it doesn't have to.

Extroverts usually have higher self-esteem, but introverts tend to be neutral; they are only relatively low.

Looking at the above arguments, I may actually be confusing her non-sociable-ness (is that even a word? Where's Sweetie Belle when you need her)

Introversion, I would say.

with self-esteem issues, but still, it's kinda hard for me to imagine someone completely comfortable with themselves that let others treat themselves the way Fluttershy does in this ep.

I think of Fluttershy kind of differently. I believe she places the happiness of others over her own, to the extent where she hardly considers her own present and future needs. She represents an extreme of being too kind. This attitude might be an indicator of low self-esteem in some cases, but Fluttershy doesn't exhibit any regular self-destructive behaviors that complement that signal.

Maybe if her friends would only point out why others are evading her? But it still would have a chance to lead to the whole "the old Fluttershy's not coming back" scene.

I think it's critical that Fluttershy sees herself so she can establish how far she has gone; after the seminar she is much more concerned with herself than what other ponies think of her. Perhaps she needs something from Rarity and goes to Carousel Boutique. Rarity doesn't have it for whatever reason, Fluttershy gets pissed, Rarity starts backing away towards a mirror, then Fluttershy happens to glance at herself in the mirror. Broken, she leaves the boutique and boards up her cottage, or whatever you want to do afterwards. It doesn't have to go on very long, but it would still be significant and the insults wouldn't fly.
comment #13265 OmniSonic 14th Mar 12
She represents an extreme of being too kind. This attitude might be an indicator of low self-esteem in some cases, but Fluttershy doesn't exhibit any regular self-destructive behaviors that complement that signal.

Except for her outbursts of rage? Granted, they're not exactly self-destructive, but still it seems to me she sometimes acts kind but really rather wouldn't. Though such behavior could be easier attributed to introversion and evasiveness than self-esteem, I guess.

But I guess we'll get nowhere with psychoanalyzing Fluttershy. There's more than one interpretation, and it's impossible to know which one's correct. Maybe my outlook on Fluttershy is too dark, and that's why I didn't like this episode. Others don't look at her that way and had no problem with it. But I still think I'm not wrong, really.

In the end, the last episode shows that Fluttershy is still not afraid to get somewhat aggressive in asserting herself, which made me a happy brony again for some reason. :)

Fluttershy gets pissed, Rarity starts backing away towards a mirror, then Fluttershy happens to glance at herself in the mirror.

I really like your alternative, though this part is a bit iffy. It's rather hard to believe anyone would be shocked to such degree just by seeing their reflection.
comment #13322 StyxD 17th Mar 12
I really like your alternative, though this part is a bit iffy. It's rather hard to believe anyone would be shocked to such degree just by seeing their reflection.

Well really the reflection is only the method by which Fluttershy reaches the shocking conclusion: that she has transformed into a monster who threatens her friends for an unfortunate but harmless circumstance that they can't help. Fluttershy is pretty self-aware, and would view this change as horrific because she used to be so kind. My reflection scene would pretty much mirror the reflection scene from the episode in concept, but it would be different in execution.
comment #13329 OmniSonic 18th Mar 12
Well, in the episode proper Fluttershy looks at her reflection only after she begins to realize what she's done. If it was the same way in your version, instead of being the sole reason, that I'd like more.
comment #13398 StyxD 22nd Mar 12
"Hurricane Fluttershy" confirms Fluttershy's self-esteem issues and bullying in her past. How about that?
comment #13421 OmniSonic 24th Mar 12
Well, yeah, I was just about to come here and gloat about it :D.

Though in fairness, I think in that episode we've seen plain old fear of rejection, not so much self-esteem issues (as Fluttershy didn't think she's an awful flier, she just knew she won't be able to do well in front of others).
comment #13437 StyxD 25th Mar 12 (edited by: StyxD)
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