Iíve always been the kind of person who likes to analyze the varies parts of this show(for better or worse) and the characters are no different. With the close of the third season it seems like no better to time to take a look at our favorite ponies and how they have changed (or havenít) throughout the series.
Before I start, I would like to make it clear that I am only going to look at the Mane Six in this series since they have the most screen time and thus have the most material for me to look at and talk about. I may decide to do something for Spike and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but I just donít think there is quite enough there for me.
You may also notice the word ďopinionatedĒ in the title. This is there for two reasons; one, I really like S Fdebris, and two, itís a disclaimer that while I will try to be as fair as I can, this is by no means an objective character study. This is going to be me giving my opinions on these characters and their development.
One last note, for the purposes of this I am assuming that the episodes take place more or less in the order they are presented. I know that that is probably not necessarily the case with some episodes, but I frankly donít see a lot of reason to assume that the order of the events is that different except where explicitly stated.
So letís start with the character that is probably the most difficult to talk about in this sense. . .
I donít think itís a very big leap to say that of all the members of the Mane Six Pinkie Pie is the most static of the lot. Sheís hyper-active, fun loving, random, and an extrovert in the extreme. None of these characteristics go through any change or evolution and her interactions with other characters remain more or less the same.
There are meta reasons as to why this is so, namely that as the shows primary comic relief it is best that her personality remain the same as it always for more variety in jokes. However from an in-universe perspective itís also very easy to see why she hasnít really changed much since her first appearance, mainly because she has been given very little reason to change. What do I mean by that? Well, when you see the other characters many of them have suffered some pretty severe consequences for their actions and have to, at the very least, acknowledge a particular flaw about themselves and make at least a token effort to correct it (how successful they are is another story). Pinkie Pie on the other hand rarely needs to do this as, for whatever reason, the world seems to work out in such a way that things always seem to work out in her favor.
There are a number obvious examples of this happening throughout the show such as the events of A Friend Indeed, Baby Cakes, or even Best Night Ever. But Iím actually going to look at a different piece, Party of One. This is an iconic Pinkie episode showing a more fragile and co-dependent side of her personality. Itís also where she learns to be more trusting of her friends (something that is oddly contradicted by MM Mystery, but thatís another conversation), but letís say for a moment that they werenít really trying to hide anything and just wanted to do something different that day. In that case I doubt Pinkieís behavior probably would be very endearing to her friends. In fact if she decided to take it as far as she did in Party of One then it is possibly that her fears could have in fact come true, and it would have been her fault. Thankfully for her, her clingy, paranoid behavior turned out to be somewhat justified and her friends were just trying to do something nice for her, and with that the situation returned to normal and the party pony went back to her usual antics.
I will acknowledge that the other members of the Mane Six have had this happen to them in their own episodes (or all in the same episode in Best Night Ever), but I donít think it has quite effected (or in this case not effected) a character and their worldview quite like Pinkie. In the song ďSmile, Smile, SmileĒ we get a pretty quick summary of how Pinkie views the world and her place in it. She believes thatís her job to make people happy, and seems to feel that her presence always makes things better and those things all ways work out for her in this endeavor, and for the most part she is not wrong. Even in situations where her behavior does make things worse like in A Friend in Deed or Over a Barrel, things work out for the best in such a way that she doesnít need to change or acknowledge fault in herself.
After looking at all of this it does beg the question, if Pinkieís behavior has ultimately not resulted in any long term negative consequences and her worldview has been vindicated at multiple turns then there is no need for her to change is there? Well for the most part I will say that is true, if it werenít for a little incident that happened in Season 3.
Too Many Pinkie Pies stands in pretty stark contrast to pretty much every Pinkie episode that came before. In it Pinkie suffers pretty hefty consequences for her desire to be able to be with all of her friends at once, including inflicting her clones on the whole town, suffering an existential crisis, and having to be subjected to a difficult test to prove that she is who she is both too herself and her friends. Many have complained that her friends should have been able to easily tell her apart from the clones, but I have to strongly disagree. When you actually stop to look at how the clones behave, it really isnít all that different from how Pinkie normally behaves in other episodes, particularly ones that do not focus on her. It would not be unreasonable to believe that the others could not tell her apart from the clones or that Twilight would be suspect about the one sulking off on by itself being the real one. Pinkie also gets a unique opportunity to actually look at her own behavior (albeit exaggerated) without her own internal biases to tell her that what she is doing is perfectly fine and normal.
After being forced to go against her general nature in order to not be banished from Ponyville, could this mark a point where Pinkie would have to seriously exam her actions beyond this and whether there are aspects of her that should change? Probably not for the meta reasons set out above, but it does offer an interesting contrast to how things have gone before with Pinkie, and at least leaves the door open that Pinkie might not remain static forever.