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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E12 "Flutter Brutter"

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Fluttershy: Remember how we talked about you getting a job?
Zephyr Breeze: It was just yesterday, and it's totally on my to-do list, but you can't expect to find something befitting my awesomeness overnight.

Story by Meghan McCarthy
Written by Dave Rapp
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While having lunch with her parents and Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy's father brings up her younger brother, Zephyr Breeze, who is a notorious slacker with visions of being artistic. Mr. and Mrs. Shy, however, have already agreed to let Zephyr stay with them while he's between jobs, having dropped out of mane therapy school recently. Zephyr, despite his lack of success, is boastful, brash and rude to his family, moving things around his parents' house, even ruining his family's furniture and cherished possessions. Fluttershy tells her parents that they should make him stay somewhere else, and they insist they'll be assertive, but they continue to enable his behavior by being pushovers. After leaving, Fluttershy confides in Pinkie Pie and Applejack about her frustrations, to which Applejack says that if her parents won't be assertive, she'll have to be assertive for them. Fluttershy agrees, and returns to her parents' home to kick Zephyr out, her assertiveness enabling their parents to agree. Though heartbroken, Zephyr agrees to leave, saying he has somewhere else to go, only to show up shortly thereafter at Fluttershy's house to crash with her.

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Fluttershy agrees to let Zephyr stay with her on the condition that he gets a job. To this end, she signs Zephyr to dye fabric with Rarity, but he tries to get Rarity's cat and the local wildlife to do it, and he's fired. Twilight offers to let him clean her windows for work, but Zephyr tricks Spike into doing all the work. Finally, Rainbow Dash demands Zephyr work for the Wonderbolts, but when he still can't complete his tasks, she fries him with a lightning bolt. Zephyr wants to continue to stay with his sister, but since he still hasn't found a job like he agreed, Fluttershy forbids him from staying any longer. Zephyr leaves to go live in the woods, with Fluttershy upset at the situation.

Fluttershy confides in Rainbow that she still doesn't want Zephyr to be upset, despite his failings, and the two go to find him in the woods. Zephyr is not much use on his own, failing to start a fire or set up a camp. Fluttershy and Rainbow find Zephyr, when he admits that he's so scared of failing that he doesn't put effort into anything he does, even admitting that Fluttershy and Rainbow are far better than him, being multi-time saviors of Equestria. Fluttershy responds that they were always scared they would fail, but gave it a try anyway. They convince Zephyr to return to Fluttershy's house on the condition that he do exactly what his sister tells him. It turns out to be giving his all into correcting the mane style on his training dummy. While reluctant and resistant at first, Zephyr finally does put in his full effort, and the mane comes out looking fantastic. Finally seeing what he's capable of, Zephyr goes on to finally graduate from mane styling school, his future finally looking bright thanks to Fluttershy's help.

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Tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Zephyr Breeze to Rainbow Dash, complete with No Sense of Personal Space. Adding to this is the unfounded belief Rainbow has a crush on him.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Zephyr fails to remember Pinkie Pie's name, calling her "Sprinkle Pie."
  • Adult Fear: Zephyr Breeze is so scared of failure that he doesn't put any effort into anything he does, feeling it would be better to not try at all than give it his all and fail.
  • An Aesop:
    • You shouldn't let the fear of failure hold you back from trying something.
    • Just because someone is your family doesn't mean you should let them walk all over you.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Zephyr Breeze tussles the top of Fluttershy's mane several times throughout the episode, putting it in disarray over her eyes. She's clearly annoyed by this, but doesn't comment on it.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Zephyr Breeze refers to Fluttershy as "Flutter Butter". He also calls Rainbow Dash "Rainbows". Zephyr himself is often called "Zeph".
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Zephyr has a crush on Rainbow. She is annoyed by his very presence.
  • Art Shift: The photographs of ponies (and a minotaur) in Pinkie's wallet use a different style than the usual Flash animation to portray the characters, with no lines or shades and muted colors.
  • Berserk Button: Rainbow is clearly, but successfully, suppressing some massive rage when Mrs. Shy assumes that she has feelings for Zephyr. Also a Rage Breaking Point, or rather dangerously close to it, as Rainbow had managed to stay calm for an entire episode's worth of Zeph making that same assumption.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Fluttershy takes this to a whole new level as she is shown to be very impatient and frustrated with Zephyr Breeze's constant laziness and narcissism, especially when it comes back to affect their parents. Even though she loves him dearly, it's clear that Fluttershy will NOT tolerate her brother exploiting others through his unwillingness to work, and in every one of their interactions she is uncharacteristically stern and easily aggravated by him.
  • Big Little Brother: Zephyr Breeze is younger than Fluttershy, but he's taller than their parents.
  • Black Sheep: Zephyr Breeze is pretty much the polar opposite of his family. He's loud where they're quiet, narcissistic where they're humble, and insecure where they're content. Even as far as interests and talents, he's focused on mane care where his family have more traditionally outdoor interests (Fluttershy likes animals, their mother likes flowers, and their father likes clouds).
  • Book-Ends: Zephyr moves back in with his parents at the start of the episode, and does so again at the end of the episode.
  • Brick Joke:
    • When Zephyr arrives at his sister's cottage, he brings a rabbit garden gnome. When he leaves, he takes it with him again, right when Angel is warming up to it.
    • Zephyr mistakes Pinkie's name as "Sprinkle Pie" in his first scene. Later on, when he moves in with Fluttershy, Rainbow says she has to help Pinkie "Sprinkle... something" in order to leave.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Zephyr apparently does have some legitimate talent with mane therapy, but is too afraid of failure to try.
  • Call-Back:
    • Zephyr references his sister being a multi-time world savior.
    • Rainbow Dash being a Wonderbolt is also brought up.
  • The Cameo: Pinkie shows off a wallet with photos of various characters which include the Mayor, Moondancer, Iron Will, Cranky Doodle Donkey (wearing his first toupee), Daring Do in her A.K. Yearling secret identity, Snails and Cheese Sandwich. Pinkie also mentions Ms. Harshwhinny by name.
  • Camp Straight: Zephyr Breeze displays camp traits like speaking in a singsong voice and having an interest in hair-styling as a profession, but he also shamelessly flirts with Rainbow Dash who he thinks has a crush on him.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Zephyr seems to see himself as this, constantly flirting with Rainbow Dash. Rainbow responds to his advances with a mix of annoyance and disgust.
  • Character Development: The episode indicates how far Fluttershy has come since the series started; she does everything one could expect to be both kind and firm with her brother, all in the hope that he will better himself and stop manipulating others to avoid facing his own fears. This particular case might be a subversion since Zephyr tells Fluttershy "you always were kinda bossy," implying that she's already been assertive to him his entire life even before she started trying with ponies unrelated to her. However, this depends on how you interpret the remark (and on how much you trust the word of, well, Zephyr).
  • Companion Cube: In his brief stay in the woods, Zephyr Breeze eventually begins to talk to his mane stylist mannequin head as though it is real. He even names it Wigford (it does bear a mild resemblance to a certain Wilson).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Rainbow Dash reads a Daring Do book while in the Shy family's living room. Not only that, but it's the one she helped write.
    • When Pinkie Pie tries to guess who Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy met at the Shys' home, she mentions Mayor Mare, Cranky Doodle Donkey, Cheese Sandwich and Ms. Harshwhinny. Among the many photos she deploys from her wallet at the same time, we can also recognize Moondancer, Iron Will, A. K. Yearling and Snails.
    • Fluttershy seems to have picked up Twilight's stress management technique.
    • Zephyr knows it will take baby steps to achieve something better, the same concept Fluttershy learned back in "Filli Vanilli".
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Dash warns Zephyr that if he even tries to weasel out of the simple tasks she assigns him, she'll immediately zap him with a storm cloud. She isn't kidding.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: A mare does this to her foal whenever she hears Fluttershy shout the word "peeved". The same mare does it again when Rainbow Dash uses it a few moments later.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Quite tragically, Zephyr briefly becomes a hermit living out in the woods, talking to a mannequin and falling to a fit of rage.
  • Cringe Comedy: Zephyr's excuses and attempts not to do his jobs can come off like this, especially considering how Truth in Television it can be to some viewers. Likewise his attempts to flirt with Rainbow Dash.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fluttershy of all ponies is shown to be very snarky when dealing with her brother. For example, when he tries to delay finding a job by saying he needs to spend time looking, she replies, "I thought you might say that. So I did it for you." Then again, at the Castle of Friendship:
    Zephyr Breeze: You said you were taking me to tea with the princess!
    Flutershy: Actually, I said I am going to tea with the princess. You're going to work.
  • Disapproving Look:
    • Who knew Fluttershy had such a large repertoire of scowls?
    • Rainbow Dash joins her several times in scowling at Zephyr.
    • Twilight Sparkle does one as well when she finds out Zephyr tricked Spike into cleaning her castle's windows for him.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Fluttershy is willing to put up with a lot of things, including Discord, but Zephyr's general treatment of their parents makes him one of the few people she's genuinely on bad terms with and never once puts up with any crap from.
    • Rainbow Dash clearly has zero interest in Zephyr and is in fact flat-out disgusted by his advances, to the point of being a Berserk Button. But she isn't willing to let him kill himself trying to rough it in the Everfree forest when it's clear he's incapable of making it through the night, let alone live there.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Fluttershy points out that their parents didn't intend for Zephyr to move in with her when they said to move someplace else, he counters that it's not their home so it's technically "someplace else".
    • At one point, Zephyr thinks Fluttershy is "taking [him] to tea with the Princess." Fluttershy reminds him that she said "I was going to tea with the Princess."
  • Expy: Mr. and Mrs. Shy being extreme pushovers who are constantly mistreated by a wacky Jerkass mooching off of them and too afraid to stand up for themselves brings out a lot of similarities to the Flanders family. Mr. Shy even has a nicely groomed mustache and collects odd memorabilia in a private room that gets destroyed and Mrs. Shy also wears the thick glasses and has her yard ruined.
  • Extreme Doormat: Mr. and Mrs. Shy let Zephyr walk all over them, making Fluttershy look less shy by comparison. They even consider her bold compared to themselves and Zephyr at one point says Fluttershy "was always a little bossy."
  • Failure Knight: Subverted. Zephyr believes that he is a failure who'll never amount to anything because he's failed before at numerous things (it's implied that he flunked out of Mane Therapy school the first time) and hides his insecurities through a Jerkass Façade, but Fluttershy sees more in him.
  • Fence Painting: Twilight hires Zephyr to clean the windows in the castle with Spike as his supervisor. Zephyr instead tricks Spike into cleaning the windows for him by convincing Spike to show him various "cleaning techniques".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Zephyr comes home after giving up on mane therapy, he messes up Fluttershy's mane and then perfectly restyles it back to the way it was. At the end of the episode, he goes back into mane therapy after realizing that he's good at it after all.
    • That his behavior is heavily influenced by fear is first indicated by the utter sweating panic he has when Fluttershy first suggests he move out of their parents' house.
  • Frame Break: During the song toward the end, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are on either side of Zephyr in a Split Screen, but he nervously pushes both frames away.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Fluttershy usually calls her brother Zephyr, but if she gets really peeved at him, like when she finds him ruining their mother's flowers and dad's cloud collection, she lets out an angry "Zephyr Breeze!"
  • Furry Reminder:
    • Early in the episode, Rainbow whinnies in shock at Zephyr's blatant advances.
    • During Zephyr's temper tantrum in the forest, he engages in quite a few very horse-like kicks and rears.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Zephyr's suggestion that he and Rainbow Dash "go for a fly and see where the day takes us." The raised eyebrow doesn't help.
    • It's very clear from the other ponies' reactions (i.e. Rainbow Dash's shocked expression and the mother covering her filly's ears) that "peeved" is meant to be a cuss word.note 
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Zephyr in his camp out in the Everfree. Parodied in that he's out in the woods for less than a day and he's already a total mess.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Fluttershy is so upset at Zephyr's freeloading that she says she is "peeved". Cue horrified reaction from a pony covering a nearby filly's ears nearby as though she used vulgar language. Repeated when Rainbow Dash mentions the word and the same pony overreacts.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Zephyr loves his "Siesta" (nap); complete with background Latino music.
  • Here We Go Again!: At the end of the episode, Zephyr has finally taken a step forward with his life to make something of himself, only to say that he's still having trouble looking for his own place and asks if he can move in with his parents again.
  • Hidden Depths: Underneath his arrogance and narcissism, Zephyr is very insecure, with a crippling fear of failure. It's implied that part of this is due to him feeling like he's living in the shadow of his world-saving big sister.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rainbow of all ponies takes issue twice with Zephyr napping in the middle of the day. It's probably justified since Rainbow has a job (and being a Wonderbolt, a very physical one) and she's very good at it, so she sees her own napping as a well-deserved break, while Zephyr is simply a Lazy Bum.
  • Incoming Ham: Zephyr announces himself proudly each time he enters a scene.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Rainbow Dash leaves Fluttershy with Zephyr saying she needs to go help Pinkie "sprinkle something".
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Zephyr enjoys bragging about himself a lot despite the fact that he is actually insecure about himself.
  • It Runs in the Family:
    • Submissiveness and low self-confidence seem to run strong in Fluttershy's family. This is clearly demonstrated by Mr. and Mrs. Shy, but it's played a bit more subtly with Zephyr, whose obnoxious and narcissistic behavior mask a crippling fear of failure that Fluttershy can relate to all too well. Her parents actually consider her the one with a backbone.
    • Zephyr thinks that Fluttershy's ability to talk to animals runs in the family, so he tries to get local animals to do his job. It doesn't work.
    • Mrs. Shy has a passion for gardening, something that most Pegasi wouldn't be interested in, due to living on clouds. This is much like Fluttershy's talent for animal care, another skill that would seem uncommon to their species.
  • Jaw Drop: One of Zephyr's bout of flirting with Rainbow Dash inspires this reaction from her. Zephyr then closes her mouth by pushing her lower jaw up.
  • Jerkass Façade: It's eventually revealed that Zephyr is only acting like a narcissistic jerk because he wants to hide his insecurities.
  • Mama Bear: Inverted: it's Zephyr's treatment of their parents that gets Fluttershy enraged enough to chew her brother out and come to their defense.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Zephyr easily talks his parents into letting him stay at their home, not only during the present events but several times before, even though they really don't want him to. While this works, in part, for the parents being doormats themselves, Zephyr also later uses it to convince Spike to clean the windows in Twilight's castle.
  • Meaningful Name: Zephyr Breeze begins the episode with a history of letting his career interests drift about as though they were buffeted by the slightest breeze.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Fluttershy's mother has a darker shade of yellow for her body and is interested in gardening. Both of these are characteristics of Fluttershy's G1 counterpart, Posey. It could also count as Ascended Fanon, as some fan arts tend to depict the G1 version of Posey as Fluttershy's mother.
    • During the "Can I Do It on My Own" song, a picture of Fluttershy based on Lauren Faust's preliminary sketch of Posey as a G4 character can be seen hanging in the background.
  • Narcissist: Zephyr carries photos of himself everywhere. Some of them are even framed, and he hangs them on the walls of wherever he's currently living.
  • NEET: Zephyr is one of these, having left school without a diploma and possesses no greater motivation than mooching off his parents. By the end, he goes through mane therapy school... but still ends up moving back in with his parents.
  • Never My Fault: When Rarity gets upset over Zephyr trying to get woodland creatures to do the fabric dying job for him, Zeph points out that Opal gave him the idea. He also storms off offended that Rainbow Dash zapped him for doing a shoddy job even though those were the express terms of the task he was given.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Zephyr really moves annoyingly close to everyone, especially when it comes to Rainbow.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Rainbow tries to give Zephyr a job even he can't mess up, and she warns him she won't hesitate to zap him with a storm cloud if she catches him goofing off. In the next scene, Zephyr stumbles through the door, coat singed in multiple places, and yells "Rainbow Dash is crazy!"
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Fluttershy says this near the very start after her parents say they have something to tell her about Zephyr, establishing right off the bat that him crashing at their house is far from a rare occurrence.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Fluttershy is so sick of Zephyr's behavior that she is blunt and snarky with him from the second he shows up, a far cry from her usual somewhat pushover-ish state. When they return to Ponyville after Zephyr's homecoming, Rainbow notes that Fluttershy is being "kind of quiet, even for you." She even swears!
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Can I Do It on My Own" features Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash encouraging Zephyr to stop being a quitter.
  • Perma-Stubble: Zephyr Breeze appears to have this; a darkened area around his lower muzzle where human facial hair would normally grow. Later on, in his makeshift camp, hairs stick out of his lower muzzle, invoking traits of a real stubble.
  • Playing Hard to Get: Zephyr interprets Rainbow's disinterest in his advances as this. He's wrong; she's just not interested.
  • Pretty Freeloader: Zephyr thinks that he's a ladies man and doesn't have a job. At least until the end of the episode, where he goes into legitimate mane therapy.
  • The Promise: Rainbow tells Zephyr that if he screws up at Wonderbolt HQ, she'll smite him with a lightning bolt. He returns to Fluttershy's cottage in the next scene with burn marks and his mane standing on end.
  • Pushover Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Shy are even less assertive than Fluttershy is, letting Zephyr Breeze walk all over them.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The last scene where Zephyr graduates from mane therapy school but still asks to move back in with is parents is Played for Laughs, but it's not like he can get a job in his field and make enough to get his own place straight out of school, so him still needing to bunk with his parents for a bit until that's sorted is perfectly understandable now that we at least know he's trying.
    • It is heavily implied that Zephyr was either kicked out or dropped out of school, and it's clear that it's because of his "free spirit". While having your own style is nice, a school wouldn't appreciate it; no matter how much "vision" a person has, they still have to be able to follow instructions.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Fluttershy's family is seen for the first time in the series, yet the Mane Six treat it like they've met on a regular basis.
  • Robinsonade: Self-inflected with Zephyr, who choses to attempt to camp out in the woods rather than abide by Fluttershy's rules and get a job. Of course, his attempt at roughing it is disastrous. He can't build a simple shelter, can't light a fire with flint, sets a cooking pot directly on the kindling rather than suspending it above, and mistakes toadstools and nightshade berries for edible food.
    Rainbow Dash: Honestly, I don't think he'll make it through the night.
  • Sanity Slippage: Zephyr quickly loses it in the woods, talking to a mannequin head like it was real.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fluttershy's parents also believe that Rainbow Dash has a massive crush on Zephyr.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A pony that looks suspiciously like Link from The Legend of Zelda is shown pulling a cart filled with rupees, er... gems. Said pony even has a heart container cutie mark and has Epona's color scheme.
    • Zephyr's makeshift "camp" and disheveled appearance invokes Cast Away. The practice mannequin head, Wigford, serves the role of Wilson here, even.
    • Zephyr tricks Spike into doing a hardworking job for him in a way that Tom Sawyer would use to con people.
  • The Slacker: Zephyr, who tries to get out of any job he does or take disastrous shortcuts.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Zephyr is convinced that he's a genius and it's everypony else who don't appreciate his ideas and style. He even thinks that Rainbow became a great flyer solely to impress him.
  • Stealth Pun: Zephyr quickly gets in over his head during his attempt at roughing it in the forest. You could say he's "in the weeds".
  • Take That!: With his "man bun" and obvious sense of entitlement, Zephyr is clearly a take on the stereotypical Millennials and/or Hipsters.
  • Tantrum Throwing: When his efforts to start a campfire only result in frustration, Zephyr loses his cool and begin to trash his makeshift camp, throwing things around.
  • Tempting Fate: "Dyeing fabric is the simplest thing," says Rarity, when Fluttershy wonders if her brother is up to the task. Two seconds later, it's proven that he can manage to screw that up.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Zephyr Breeze is this to both his parents and his older sister. It's stated he's been like this for quite some time until Fluttershy kicks him out.
  • This Loser Is You: Strangely some adult viewers took Zephyr's behavior to infer this because he is a lazy moocher, even though nothing was directly implicating the audience as being targeted.
  • Title Drop: Close: Zephyr's nickname for Fluttershy is "Flutter Butter", though she doesn't call him "Flutter Brutter" in return.
  • Tranquil Fury: Even though Fluttershy rarely raises her voice in the episode, you can hear just how peeved she is at Zephyr.
  • Truth in Television: Zephyr's story bears similarities to many people in real life. Everyone fears failure and is scared to do things on their own, but by not trying at all we make a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result of not giving it our all.
  • Verbal Backspace: Rainbow is telling Fluttershy that stopping Zephyr from mooching off of their parents is 100% a good thing. When Zephyr comes through the door of Fluttershy's cottage, she amends it to 70%.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: Zephyr is the antagonist of the episode, but he's not a monster; instead he's an insecure slacker that needs a confidence boost.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Zephyr truly believes that he and Rainbow Dash have Belligerent Sexual Tension between each other, when in reality she couldn't care less about him.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Fluttershy manages to motivate Zephyr into finding his true talent so he can gain a life of his own.

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