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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S2 E18 "A Friend in Deed"

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Pinkie Pie: What just happened? Meet somepony new- check. Introduce myself- check. Sing random song out of nowhere- check. Become instant best friends... uncheck!

Written by Amy Keating Rogers
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It's the start of a typical day for Pinkie Pie: make the Cake twins laugh, say hi to everyone she knows (which is just about every pony, cow, and even donkey in Ponyville), and burst into an incredibly catchy musical number about how she loves to make her friends smile. But what's this? There's a new face in Ponyville, and it's not smiling!

That face belongs to an old donkey hauling a cartload of junk through the center of town. Pinkie Pie tries to introduce herself, but all she learns is that the donkey is named Cranky Doodle Donkey, he's very sensitive about his middle name, and he's not interested in being Pinkie Pie's friend. Confused, she goes over her thought process and wonders what would possess anyone to not be friends with her. She quickly becomes determined to win Cranky over.

Pinkie starts following Cranky through town, offering to show him around, asking about the stuff in his cart (of which he's very protective), and even rolling out an actual welcome wagon: the whole song and dance (literally, in the case of the welcome wagon). Unfortunately, this just annoys Cranky even more, especially when she messes up his toupee in the process and causes him quite a bit of embarrassment while trying to find a new one. After a trip to the spa and the gift of a replacement toupee, Cranky reluctantly thanks Pinkie Pie, but still refuses to crack a smile.

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Pinkie ends up following Cranky to his house and offering to help unpack, where Cranky mentions that he's been looking for a "special friend". While unpacking, Pinkie finds an old scrapbook with one page in particular that intrigues her... unfortunately, Pinkie accidentally sets fire to the scrapbook, and makes an even bigger mess of it trying to put out the fire. Furious, Cranky throws her out of the house and vows that he will never be her friend.

Pinkie Pie: Never, or never ever?
Cranky Doodle Donkey: Never ever ever ever ever! [slams door]
Pinkie Pie: That's four "ever"s. That's, like... [tears up] forever...

At the library, Pinkie Pie seeks sympathy from Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, who tell her that she should just let things go and give Cranky some space. Pinkie agrees that she should leave Cranky alone... once she gets him to accept her apology, that is. She proceeds to hound the old jack-ass across Ponyville and its outskirts, begging forgiveness, but he ends up barricading himself in his house and stubbornly refusing, protesting that Pinkie ruined the only thing he had to remember "her" by. Pinkie is suddenly struck by inspiration, and finally leaves, only to return with someone special in tow: Matilda the donkey, who had a scrapbook to match Cranky's, with matching contents... including a ticket stub and a menu from the Grand Galloping Gala!

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Cranky and Matilda met at the Gala years ago, but after Matilda left the next morning, Cranky missed the note she'd left him and spent his whole life trying to find her. Finally reunited with his long-lost love just when he was about to give up, Cranky manages a smile, and accepts both Pinkie Pie's apology and her friendship. Pinkie is ecstatic that she finally made Cranky happy... but quickly realizes that he'd be even happier if she gave him and Matilda some time alone.

The episode ends with Pinkie mentally preparing a letter to Princess Celestia, courtesy of voice over. In it she mentions that while some folks are as social and outgoing as her, others prefer to have some space to themselves now and then. Either way, she can be friends and make them smile.

*Cue... a piano rendition of Yankee Doodle?*


Tropes:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Pinkie likes being friends with everypony and can't deal with having someone in Ponyville who isn't her friend.
  • Abnormal Ammo: As has happened before, Pinkie accidentally loaded her welcome wagon confetti launchers with cake batter.
  • Accidental Pun: "That's four evers. That's like...forever!"
  • An Aesop: There are some people who like to have fun and some that just want to be alone, and that's fine. While Pinkie accomplished in earning Cranky's friendship for her good deed, she still learned to respect his private space.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Pinkie has a puppy-dog whimper to go with her Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • Almost Kiss: A kiss between the donkeys is interrupted when Pinkie bursts into song right outside their house and getting in the way of their private time.
  • Anti-Hero: Pinkie's behavior, while well-meaning and with no harmful intentions whatsoever, involved her stalking, harassing, and publicly humiliating Cranky Doodle, as well as invading his privacy, breaking into his home, and accidentally vandalizing his most important personal effects. She gets better and rightfully redeems herself by the end of the episode, but if Cranky called the Ponyville constabulary (if one existed) to haul Pinkie away on criminal charges before she could properly make up, he'd have been well within his rights, too.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Cranky is an old jack ass who refuses to smile.
  • Headdesk: Twilight Sparkle does this into a book after Pinkie Pie agrees to leave Cranky alone... then insists on apologizing first.
  • The Hermit: Cranky aspires to this, but Pinky won't leave him alone to do it.
  • "I Am" Song: Pinkie's "Smile Song" perfectly describes her personality; "Smile!"
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Pinkie does not realize that Cranky wants to be left alone, and accidentally burns one of his precious belongings.
    • Exaggerated when she initially tries to make friends with him and accidentally crushes his toupee.
      Pinkie Pie [through a megaphone]: Does anypony have a toupee? This donkey is really, really bald!!
  • Insult Backfire:
    • First off...
    Pinkie Pie: I've never seen you before!
    Cranky: Kid, you're smarter than you look.
    Pinkie Pie: Thanks!
    • And later on...
      Cranky: This was a special friend.
      Pinkie Pie: Like me?
      Cranky: (rolls eyes) No, you're "extra special", kid!
      Pinkie Pie: Yes! I'm in!
  • I Will Find You: Cranky spends most of his life travelling from town to town, searching for the long-lost jenny of his dreams. A somewhat unusual example in that he and Matilda had met a grand total of once beforehand.
  • Just for Pun: Pinkie has a wagon she uses to welcome people. Imagine that.
  • Kitsch Collection: From Hearth's Warming tree ornaments to windchimes to snowglobes with Derpy in them...
  • Lampshade Hanging: Pinkie Pie is fully aware of the random, out-of-nowhere nature of her songs.
  • Le Parkour: Pinkie and several other ponies are seen jumping along several rooftops during the "Smile Song" and again at the end of the episode.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Pinkie realizes the importance of personal time and leaves Cranky and Matilda alone with each other.
  • Leitmotif: A variant of Yankee Doodle Dandy for Cranky Doodle Donkey.
  • Lens Flare: A very subtle one during Pinkie's song.
  • Literal Metaphor: Pinkie Pie has a literal welcome wagon, as in a wagon she uses to welcome folks to Ponyville.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Subverted in Pinkie's letter to Princess Celestia.
    Pinkie Pie: Some friends like to run and laugh and play together, but others just like to be left alone...and that's fine too.
  • Manchild:
    • A slightly more disturbing example than usual. Pinkie demonstrates a child's understanding of personal property and personal space. It combines with Innocently Insensitive (see below). It can be quite disturbing when you realize that Pinkie's behavior is intrusive and insensitive. She looks through and handles someone's personal property not only without asking permission, but on multiple occasions in direct defiance of pleas to stop. She attempts to force her way into someone's home, again without asking permission and in direct defiance of pleas to stop. All of these serve to demonstrate a disturbing degree of childishness in Pinkie Pie's behavior.
    • Though played with later on when Cranky's mention of a 'special friend' appears to go straight over Pinkie's head. At the conclusion however she simply laughs and states she wasn’t ‘born yesterday' when Cranky expresses surprise that she worked out he was looking for a romantic partner.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A platonic variant. Pinkie sees that Cranky is very unhappy and she makes it her mission to cheer him up and be his friend.
  • Meaningful Name:: Cranky Doodle. Maybe his parents got fed up with his braying and coloring on the walls when he was a foal.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: The short sequence showing Pinkie's internal thought process is done as a felt animation, lampshaded in a brief Medium Blending when Pinkie inexplicably pulls out the green felt check. (The felt animation was done by Jayson Thiessen and his wife Jocelan Thiessen.)
  • Mind Screw: If you thought Filly Derpy was confusing, try Derpy inside a snow globe.
  • Monochrome Past: Cranky's flashback with Matilda.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Cranky Doodle Donkey = Yankee Doodle Dandy; Matilda = Waltzing Matilda.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: This is the first time Pinkie has utilized an Alternate Universe-style musical number, and later performs three other Diegetic pieces, as is more typical of her.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A normal person would probably not want to mess with some one named Cranky.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Averted! Cranky gets a kiss on the nose from Matilda twice!
  • Noodle Incident: As mentioned earlier, it's apparently not the first time Pinkie put cake batter in the cannons and confetti in the oven.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Pinkie Pie on multiple occasions with Cranky. Although it's justified in that Pinkie Pie considers him her friend, much to Cranky's dismay.
  • Overly Long Gag: When Pinkie tries to convince Cranky to accept her apology, she says she's really really really really really really really really (etc.) sorry.
  • Photographic Memory: Pinkie can remember every detail she's ever seen or heard about her friends, no matter how small or obscure.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Both "Yankee Doodle" (ca. 1770), as well as "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1904), by George M. Cohan (died 1942). It's hard to say whether Pinkie is singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" at the end of the episode or a Suspiciously Similar Song of it; since she's setting different lyrics to the same melody, she has the right to do so as parody.
  • Punny Name:
    • "Cranky Doodle Donkey" for "Yankee Doodle Dandy". In fact, Pinkie sings the tune of "Yankee Doodle" with his name in it. She later sings a song to the tune of the chorus of "The Yankee Doodle Boy". To drive the point home, the normal credits music is replaced with an instrumental version of "Yankee Doodle".
    • Additionally, William Anderson sneaks in bits of "Yankee Doodle" into the background score in scenes with Cranky.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Complete with quivering lip and whimpering. Even Cranky can't completely resist it.
  • Reality Warper/Rule of Funny: Pinkie appears inside a brick wall and from within a gramophone, holds up six hooves at once and literally blasts off like a rocket in happiness. She can make a jump rope work without anyone holding the ends (unicorn magic included). It even continues to do so after she leaves.
  • Remember the New Guy?: We've never been introduced to Matilda Donkey in any of the episodes beforehand, and yet it's been shown that Pinkie Pie knows her pretty well since day one. The same can be said of Pinkie for everyone in town.
  • Roof Hopping: Pinkie and all her friends love to do it because they do in the song.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Making Pinkie oblivious to Cranky's brush offs.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: The basic premise is that everyone in Ponyville is Pinkie's friend, except Cranky.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Pinkie acts in this way toward Cranky Doodle Donkey. More specifically, she's a Stalker Who Just Wants To Be Friends.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Cranky Doodle is a sarcastic donkey? I suppose you could say he's a real smart-ass.
    • Cranky Doodle was travelling all across the country with his keepsakes. In other words, he was "Waltzing Matilda".
    • A thought process usually shows how someone felt.
  • Stock Episode Titles: A number of other shows have used this as an episode title, as diverse as Pokémon: The Series, Columbo and The Facts of Life.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Lampshaded. Part of Pinkie's "checklist" to making a new friend is "sing random song out of nowhere".
    • And the trope's played with in her initial song in that episode, which manages to draw in half of Ponyville (averting the usual course of things) and would perfectly offset the plot if there were any plot yet. As all we see before the song turns out to be a warm up to the song, the sheer magnitude of the performance comes entirely out of nowhere.
  • Third-Person Person: Pinkie switches between first-person and third-person throughout the "Smile Song".
  • Training Montage: The episode opens with what appears to be Pinkie Pie's morning exercise regimen, complete with 80s synth-pop and aerobics gear. She's trying to entertain the Cake twins.
  • Visual Pun: During Pinkie's song when she sings "If you are sad or blue." The filly she was saying that to was blue, in both meanings of the word. Then she sings to a blue-tinged copy of herself on the bridge.
  • When She Smiles: This is Pinkie Pie's; to make Cranky smile. It, in turn, makes her so happy she blasts off like a rocket.

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