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Authors Saving Throw / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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  • In "The Last Roundup", beloved background pony Derpy Hooves is given spoken lines, giving rise to a back-and-forth fans have dubbed "Derpygate".
    • A small group of parents protested this scene, finding it offensive (the name "Derpy" and the voice acting, which was a misunderstanding where the VA thought the character was male). The studio took the original episode off of iTunes and replaced it with one where Derpy's voice was changed and her name was not mentioned.
    • In response to the creators removing the episode and changing the voice, the fandom revolted, so the creators would later include Derpy in "Rainbow Falls". She return for speakings roles starting in "Slice of Life", unnamed in them but named in the credits as Muffins, a less offensive Ascended Fanon name while allowing those inclined to keep using her old name.
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  • At the end of "Dragon Quest", Spike takes Peewee, a baby phoenix, from his parents and adopted him. Many fans complained about the kidnapping and the Broken Aesop because the same episode began with Spike complaining about not knowing where he comes from. In "Just for Sidekicks", it is revealed that Spike returned the phoenix to his parents (in a series of briefly-seen photos of him doing so.) That was also somewhat contested by people who felt the character was wasted, and so an even later episode had Peewee show up, now fully grown, and he and Spike still recognize and love each other. Best of both worlds!
  • A lot of the fanbase wasn't happy with how Season 3 portrayed Spike as being quite incompetent (in "Spike at Your Service" he causes massive damage whenever he tries to help, and in "Just for Sidekicks" he screws up pet-sitting so badly that he ends up on a train in another country). As a result, the Season 4 episode "Power Ponies" is pretty much based on the premise that Spike is helpful and the rest of the cast don't view him as The Load.
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  • "One Bad Apple" got some criticism that Babs being bullied herself wasn't enough of an excuse for how big a jerk she was to the CMC. But in "Rarity Takes Manehattan" we get confirmation of just how much worse bullying can be in Manehattan, while keeping in tone to its In-Real-Life counterpart.
  • A number of fans were angry that Spike wasn't invited back to the Crystal Empire in "Games Ponies Play", even though he was the one who saved it. "Equestria Games" reveals that Spike is considered a hero throughout the entire kingdom. It also gives him a lot of appreciation, something that, according to the fans, almost every Spike-centered episode — including Equestria Girls — after the Season 3 Premiere seriously lacked.
  • For those opposed to Twilight becoming an alicorn princess, a commonly cited argument was that it felt like the show was putting Twilight above her friends, which not only seemed like favoritism from the writers, but went against the show's defining theme of friendship. The revelation in "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2" that Twilight's friends including Spike will apparently be ruling alongside her in her role as the Princess of Friendship addresses this.
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  • Many fans have complained that Discord's sudden Heel–Face Turn from "Keep Calm and Flutter On" was too rushed, heavy-handed, and sappy. So later episodes have him still being the gleeful and sarcastic Troll he's always been, and when Tirek talks him into turning evil again, he realizes how empty their partnership is compared to his friendship with Fluttershy, and comes crawling back to her after Tirek betrays him.
  • "Slice of Life": Some fans were upset about Featherweight being a Karma Houdini in "Ponyville Confidential." Here he gets sprayed with ink, just like Diamond Tiara's punishment in that episode.
  • "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?":
    • For those who felt the Nightmare Forces from the comics devalued Luna's being The Atoner, this episode shows Tantabus as the literal embodiment of her guilt.
    • Fans have long wanted to see the God-Emperor princesses cut loose, but anytime something that would require the level of power we expect from those who control the sun and moon — and hear of them having used in the distant past — shows up, they end up suffering The Worf Effect, or never acting beyond exposition duty at all. Not today, as we truly get to see Luna take action, showing herself quite powerful though not without limits. One sequence was much like fans have discussed wishing had happened at times like "A Canterlot Wedding"; a role that lets the Princesses not seem so useless by holding down the fort in one way while still needing the Mane Six. In this case, Luna's mindlinking the entire city, which limits, but doesn't fully eliminate, her ability to act directly.
  • "Dragon Quest" had received lots of criticism for wasting the opportunity to explore dragon culture and portraying the dragons in general as Always Chaotic Evil. "Gauntlet of Fire" included far more information about dragon culture, as well as introducing more nuanced dragon characters.
  • Most of Spike's earlier focus episodes had received fan criticism for sticking Spike with the Conflict Ball or Idiot Ball to make the plots work. Similarly, most episodes also derived all their humor from the often disliked "Spikeabuse"note , with Jim Miller himself acknowledging it has long worn out its welcome with a lot of fans. "The Crystalling" and "Gauntlet of Fire" both bucked the trend and focused on Spike's efforts in helping solve the conflicts rather than making him the cause of the problem.
  • From Season 3 onward, one of the main complaints of the show was about many a villain and bully being Easily Forgiven and pulling a Heel–Face Turn at the drop of a hat, peaking with Starlight Glimmer at the end of Season 5. During Season 6, recurring villains such as Garble, the Film Flam brothers, and Queen Chrysalis show up and don't get reformed. It's especially notable because the latter two examples actually do get offers of redemption, but refuse them.
  • Conversely, a few of these Heel Face Turns were also the result of a saving throw.
    • Many fans felt the treatment Gilda gotnote  was massively Disproportionate Retribution compared to what she actually didnote , and were quick to point out a lot of the antics pulled by "good" characters were worlds worse, yet they got free passes because they're the protagonists. "The Lost Treasure Of Griffinstone" actually acknowledged that the protagonists were too harsh on her, and gave Gilda a second chance by having Gilda save Rainbow Dash.
    • invoked"The Great and Powerful" Trixie loses her home, all her belongings, her job, and is vilified in the eyes of everyone in Ponyville because she was a jerk onstage to a few hecklers and told a few outrageous lies. Not only that, but the major conflict of the episode - an Ursa Major destroyed part of the town - was brought about because of Snips and Snails, not Trixie. As such, Trixie came across as Unintentionally Sympathetic. The throw came about in "Magic Duel," which made Trixie punish all of Ponyville for the actions of a few, treat Snips and Snails like slave labor, and banish Twilight from town. All of this was done with an Amplifier Artifact that made her turn evil, which Trixie used knowing what it would do. This had the double effect of making her less sympathetic to the audience and setting up an apology at the end of the episode that felt more natural, and fans were far more receptive.
  • "All Bottled Up":
    • The "magic = Imagination-Based Superpower" lesson Starlight gives Trixie seemingly justifies many Forgot About His Powers/Strong as They Need to Be moments in the series: Physical God or not, your power is useless without proper focus (which can be broken by preoccupations, the heat of the moment, etc.).
    • Starlight's history of being Unintentionally Unsympathetic via amoral uses of magic on others is averted here: This time — her only target is herself (via Emotion Suppression so she can accomplish things without stress), and the other Ponies affected are clearly accidents. Afterward — Starlight fixes Bulk Biceps's peanut-cart that got smashed during the mayhem, and rejects Trixie's suggestion to just alter the Spa Ponies' memories.
    • Starlight being a normal unicorn who possesses alicorn level magical abilities has been one of the main contributors to Starlight's Base-Breaking Character status. More importantly, people were questioning why there wasn't any given reason as to why she is that powerful to begin with? This episode alluding that the strength of her magic is more or less dependent on emotions (and the fact that Starlight is highly emotional) can be seen as an effort to appease these complaints.
    • One for Twilight Sparkle's doubts on Trixie being a good influence on Starlight during "No Second Prances" becomes pretty understandable and solid in this episode. Trixie shows her tendency to ignore the lessons she learns and kept bringing up the stuff that Starlight did before her Heel–Face Turn. We see Starlight grow angry and frustrated with her for the first time, and Twilight's initial hesitance with Trixie has become more justified in the eyes of the audience.
  • The Wonderbolts' weren't exactly role models in "Rainbow Falls", "Rarity Investigates", and "Newbie Dash". In "Parental Glidance", they finally do act likable. They don't make fun of Rainbow or get mad at her for her parents' distruptive cheering, they help her out with her apology show to them, and Fleetfoot even tells Rainbow's dad that he raised an excellent flyer.
  • Season 6 was criticized for marketing the concept of taking the cast all over Equestria only to do very little with it, as most episodes still took place in Ponyville and only a few episodes actually explored outside the town, with most of the ones that did only revisiting previously seen locations like Manehattan or the Crystal Empire. And even when they do explore Equestria, it's off-screen. For Season 7, the theme was announced to be focusing on family, and many feel that this time around the season's concept is sticking to delivering its promise. Several episodes in the season have focused on the relations between the Mane Cast and their siblings and parents, most notably finally giving viewers glimpses of both Rainbow Dash's and Applejack's parents.
  • Likely in response to how controversial the changeling's transformation in "To Where And Back Again" was, "Triple Threat" had Thorax state there was an entire rogue faction of changelings that refused to follow his lead and remained living as their former selves. Though "To Change A Changeling" ends up explaining that he since won them over, it happened off-screen and the idea that not all the changelings were on board with such a radical change and the possibility there are more of the old-school ones still out there was cathartic for the fans that despise the transformed changelings. It's also revealed that transformed changelings can freely change their appearance, so even a heroic changeling could still use the old design if they wanted to.
  • For the last few seasons, Starlight's detractors have decried the writers for making the main characters either suffer the Worf Effect or hold the Idiot Ball, thus making her the most competent character in the room/the only one who can save the day. In "School Raze", Cozy Glow defeats Starlight off-screen and she remains out of commission for almost the entire Season 8 finale, giving the other characters a chance to shine.
  • Celestia finally getting some much needed love in episodes like "Celestial Advice" and "Horse Play".
  • "Yakity-Sax": Early in the episode, Twilight initially plots to find ways to get Pinkie to stop playing without having to tell her. Applejack quickly points out that this is what caused the problems back in "Horse Play", relieving fans who were worried about the Mane 6 undergoing Aesop Amnesia again.

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