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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S7 E14 "Fame and Misfortune"

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Fandom rivalries are magic... or not.note 

"What? Really?! Are you attacking my friend because you want to be in a book?!"
Starlight Glimmer

Written by M.A. Larson
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Twilight Sparkle comes across two fillies named Toola Roola and Coconut Cream arguing and throwing food at each other. She patiently takes the two aside and explains that friendship isn't always easy, but it's worth fighting for. While this satisfies them, Twilight can't help but feel that it sounds familiar. She goes to her castle and finds it written down in the old Friendship Journal the Mane Six used when they wanted to write down something they'd learned about friendship.

With Starlight Glimmer's help, Twilight creates fresh copies of the book for all of her friends. She then suggests that they publish the journal so its wisdom can help others. The Mane Six all agree, and soon the journal is a sell-out sensation across Equestria. Unfortunately, Twilight soon realizes that ponies are buying the journal just because it features a Princess, or admiring some lessons and panning others — as two snobbish ponies demonstrate by insulting Rarity's stories within her earshot, causing her to run off in tears.

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Elsewhere, Pinkie Pie (the "funny one") is surrounded by a living laugh track; Fluttershy's 'admirers' criticize her for failing to stand up for herself (but find her less charming when she does); Rainbow is swarmed by fillies who want to hear about her adventures (several dozen times in a row); and Applejack is overwhelmed by freeloaders who consider themselves honorary Apples. When Twilight finds Rarity "stress sewing" to deal with the ponies who are boycotting her, she returns to the castle wishing she'd never had the idea to publish the journal.

Starlight insists that Twilight shouldn't blame herself because other ponies are failing to understand the friendship lessons. She departs on a mission of her own, while the Mane Six attempt to reason with their quarreling Loony Fans outside the castle. Unfortunately, their song about learning to appreciate their own flaws falls on deaf ears; the angry mob again fail to understand and resume their arguments. As they retreat into the castle, Starlight returns with Coconut Cream and Toola Roola, who tell the Mane Six that they read the journal and learned to be better friends from what it taught them. Touched, Twilight and her friends resolve to focus on their friendship (which will last), over the whims of their 'fans' (which won't).

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  • 8.8: In-Universe; despite the massive popularity of the journal, the newspaper that Rarity was reading shows a review for it that surprisingly only gives it 1.5 stars out of 5.
  • Absentee Actor: Oddly enough, Spike is not around for all of the drama that the Mane Six go through.note 
  • An Aesop: Some people will take your product as an excuse to fight and argue with each other. It's best to just learn to deal with them and concentrate on the people who appreciate it for what it is.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Discussed and ultimately justified. When some ponies criticize Fluttershy for having to learn assertiveness several times, she retorts that having one epiphany is not going to instantly turn somepony's life around (a plot point also noted in "Dance Magic").
  • Aside Glance: At one point during the final chorus of "Flawless", Pinkie Pie winks at the audience.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Flawless". At the height of their fans' and critics' bickering, the Mane Six practically explode into song about their ongoing character development in six-part harmony.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Mane Six can't stop the ponies from arguing or criticizing them, but Starlight shows them it isn't all bad; the journal helped two fillies repair their friendship and it has possibly helped others too. The Mane Six are okay with this, and decide they shouldn't let what other ponies say or think of them affect them.
  • Bookends: The episode begins with Toola Roola and Coconut Cream, ex-best friends and fighting each other. The episode ends with them friends again, having truly understood Twilight's friendship journal and that friendship is forever.
  • Broken Base: In-Universe, the readers of the published journal argue over which pony wrote the best lessons (among other things).
  • Broken Pedestal: Several of Rarity's clients cancel their orders after reading the journal because they think she's a snob.
  • Buffy Speak: Applejack and Pinkie Pie are in top form:
    Applejack: I've got so much cookin' and cleanin' and family-in' to do... I ain't got time for anythin' else!
    Pinkie Pie: At least ponies aren't laughing every time you talk! Not even I want to be funny all the time! I'm telling you, my days of hilariosity-ous-ness are over!
  • Bullying a Dragon: The ponies who gang up on Fluttershy. They're extremely lucky they don't push her far enough to use The Stare, and/or earn themselves a... less-than-happy... visit from a certain Draconequus. They almost earned themselves a "talking to" from Starlight.
  • Call-Back:
    • A rather subtle one regarding the "manifesto" Starlight learned the copying spell for. It's most likely referring to the books full of equal signs that were in the room she confined the Mane Six to in the season 5 opener.
    • While convincing Toola Roola and Coconut Cream to reconcile, Twilight uses the same speech she made in "The Return of Harmony - Part 2".
      Twilight: Friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for.
    • The lesson about not judging a book by its cover from "Bridle Gossip" is also briefly touched upon.
  • Character Development: Basically what the episode is dedicated to showing, especially with Fluttershy, who points out that just because you learn something doesn't mean you can change yourself all at once to explain her supposed Aesop Amnesia.
  • Chirping Crickets: As Pinkie talks to Twilight about how everypony thinks she's the funny one, it dawns on them both that the ponies around them are just laughing at anything Pinkie says. Twilight announces that's she has to get going, and then waits a beat for a reaction, smiling awkwardly. The crowd doesn't reply save for a cough, and Twilight sets off with an exacerbated sigh.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The critics and fans of the journal are all shown to be jerks who say how lessons written by some of the Mane Six are better than others and disrupt the Mane Six's daily lives by complaining about their lessons or "character", take advantage of them by never leaving them alone or boycotting them. Perhaps most importantly they all, in one way or another, ignore what the lessons are actually about.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Needless to say, the re-introduction of the Friendship Journal that drove most of the Season 4 episodes brings up a lot of facets of those episodes and others since.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Applejack enters the boutique, she accidentally hits Twilight with the door, flattening her against the wall. This happened to Twilight twice in "Feeling Pinkie Keen".
    • Chipcutter is briefly seen when Apple Bloom tells Twilight that she and her fellow Crusaders will be opening a cutie mark camp.
    • Twilight's "friendship mirror" is seen in her room while she frets about the effect the journal has had on ponies.
    • Twilight uses magic to enhance her voice and be heard above all the bickering ponies, like she did in "The Hooffields and McColts".
    • Twilight takes a breath then lets it out to steady herself, a tactic she learned from Princess Cadance back in season 3.
  • Death Glare: Fluttershy glares at Rarity when she tries to measure the buttercream yellow pegasus. She was already in a bad mood from defending herself about her supposed lack of assertiveness.
  • Deconstruction: The Sweet Apple Admirers getting too comfortable with Applejack's "family is inclusive" mindset does nothing to make her "popularity" enjoyable. The point being to show the realistic limits of such a mindset - the members of the Mane Six are close to be honorary apples, and fans of a book about her are not.
  • Deflector Shields: Twilight erects a magic bubble to protect herself from the onslaught of ice cream when she's caught in the middle of the Food Fight between the fillies.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: This episode is blatantly the writers venting years' worth of frustrating fan convention experiences all at once, wherein the writers (represented by the Mane Six) are variously hounded by a Vocal Minority over gripes and nitpicks, caught in bitter fandom wars over which pony is "better", and find complete strangers getting very personal with them like they were the oldest of friends. Then, at the end, the "writers" are reassured about their work by hearing about the positive effect it had on the little girls it was actually for, allowing them to ignore the complaints of the Periphery Demographic.
  • The Door Slams You: When Applejack bursts into the Carousel Boutique, she slams Twilight with the door, then quickly apologizes.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: The ponies who buy copies of the Friendship Journal focus more on the minutiae of the stories or the prestige attached to a book written by a princess than the actual lessons about friendship. Only Toola and Coconut focus on the latter.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted and Deconstructed. Because of the publishing of the Friendship Journal for all the ponies to read, the Mane Six become instant celebrities in Equestria. Everyone knows them and everyone loves them. However, things go horribly wrong when the crowd completely miss the point of the journal entries, and start harassing them to no end. After being put through hell and back and then some, it would be pretty safe to assume the Mane Six actually wouldn't mind going back to being widely ignored and forgotten by the populace.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The filly who thinks Rainbow Dash's lessons are the best (and that Twilight's are "boring") talks like this, likely due to being young.
  • Entitled Bastard: The "Sweet Apple Admirers" think that being fans of Applejack entitles them to live on her family's farm and laze around eating apples, taking selfies, and leeching off the Apples' hospitality without doing a thing in return.
  • Face Palm:
    • Rarity and Rainbow facehoof as the Loony Fans' arguments are reaching their peak.
    • Applejack facehoofs too just after the song, when the fans immediately resume their arguments.
  • Fan Dumb: In-Universe, the Mane Six are driven crazy by ponies who argue over which pony had the best lessons, or the ones that wildly misinterpret them.
  • Food Fight: The episode starts with Toola Roola and Coconut Cream having a dispute by throwing desserts at each other, and Twilight Sparkle gets caught in the crossfire and pelted with food.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Apple Bloom mentions the journal inspiring her, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle to start a Cutie Mark Day Camp, likely setting up "Marks and Recreation".
    • Among the arguing crowd, Toola and Coconut cannot be seen, which hints at the only two residents the journal's lessons have truly worked on.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Exaggerated. Pinkie Pie has to remind Sassaflash, one of the Ponyville residents in her new-found fan club, that they've known each other for years. In fact, it seems most of Ponyville has forgotten they all have History with Celebrity that have saved Equestria several times.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
  • A Friend in Need: Starlight is shown to be fiercely protective of her friends, angrily declaring that she will "have a chat" with the two snobby ponies who reduced Rarity to tears, and levitating one of Fluttershy's critics when he claims he should be in the journal instead.
    Starlight Glimmer: What? Really?! Are you attacking my friend because you want to be in a book?!
  • From the Mouths of Babes: The Mane Six starts to feel a bit better about themselves after Starlight Glimmer shows how some younger ponies, Toola Roola and Coconut Cream, actually learned something from the journal.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • While Fluttershy stands up for herself to the critics, the stallion Starlight had previously levitated beats a hasty retreat.
    • Likewise, while one of the ponies is ranting about how unrelatable Fluttershy is with her extreme shyness, a pegasus wearing pro-Fluttershy merchandise lowers her head and quietly sneaks away in the background.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Like the rest of the Mane Six, Applejack meant for the lessons she wrote in the journal to inspire. But since most of her lessons revolved around the idea that friends are like family, she is unable to turn away all the fans who have gathered around Sweet Apple Acres, wanting to be part of her family too.
    Twilight Sparkle: Can't you get rid of them?
    Applejack: And kick out my own family?!
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Some of the Friendship Journal's "fans" don't even read it, instead keeping in plastic wrapping as a collectible. Others use it to excuse to criticize, freeload, or argue with each other.
  • Group Hug: A double combo: Starlight Glimmer, Toola Roola, and Coconut Cream hug each other at the same time the Mane Six hug each other at the end of the episode.
  • Hair Reboot: Rarity and Applejack, looking worse for wear in Twilight's castle, come out of their friend's home looking groomed and less strained over being boycotted or having to take care of her "extended" family.
  • Hate Sink: All of the fan ponies are clearly meant to be this, but few are more hate-worthy than the two ritzy Ponies who badmouth and boycott Rarity. Indeed, when their words drive Rarity to tears, you can see them smirking as they watch her run off sobbing.
  • Hope Spot: Right after the Mane Six sing their "Flawless" song that nopony's perfect, it seems as though the mob absorbed its message... then they suddenly go right back to arguing.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Well, ponies in this case, but the entire point of Twilight's lecture and the song "Flawless" is that she and her friends all have flaws, and these flaws give them opportunities to learn from each other and strengthen their friendships.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Subtle, but the ponies criticizing Fluttershy for Aesop Amnesia are just as guilty of it themselves. Fluttershy demonstrates that she is more assertive than before, and her critics acknowledge it (to say they don't know what to make of it), but by the episode's end they've forgotten all about that and once more accuse her of being too timid.
  • "I Am" Song: "Flawless", which explains how the Mane Six are different and have their problems, and they're not perfect as it seems.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Even after the Mane Six perform a big musical number about how nopony's perfect, their fans go right back to arguing.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Maybe, when Rainbow Dash is trying to get some clingy fans off her back. She tells them that she needs to get those storm clouds back in their... pens. Of course, she's the pegasus tasked with setting the weather above Ponyville, so it might not be entirely a pretext but she's also a Wonderbolt these days.
  • Irony: Pre-Heel–Face Turn Discord would have had a good laugh at seeing the Friendship Journal creating strife instead of harmony because its readers are actually arguing over friendship lessons. In a case of situational irony, the friendship lessons that were intended to bring ponies together are instead pushing them apart.
  • It's All My Fault: Twilight blames herself for everyone arguing and making her friends miserable, but Starlight says it's everyone else's fault for missing the point of the journals and behaving so badly.
  • Jerkass Ball: While a good deal of the townsponies became more unpleasant this episode, the ponies in Rarity's Hatedom really took it up a notch by outright boycotting her because they didn't like her lessons. Lemon Hearts and Daisy especially get this treatment; the latter even becomes a Smug Smiler in one scene.
  • Karma Houdini: An entire mob of them, no less. The Loony Fans get no consequences — or even learn their lesson — for their treatment toward the Princess of Friendship and her closest circle as well as ruining their livelihood (Rarity, in particular, has been boycotted). In fact, the episode even ends with said fans continuing to protest, thus trapping Twilight and company indoors indefinitely (though it's stated they will have to go out and deal with the mob eventually and that the fad reaction will die down).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The episode ends with no resolution, with the Mane Six going about their business and the Pony Crowd still arguing amongst each other. This mirrors the real-life scenario of creators, as much as they try to quell and answer questions, are forced to go on about their own business and leaving the fans to take care of things themselves.
  • Loony Fan: The publishing of the journal attracts all kinds of crazy fans to Ponyville, from the nerdy ponies who beg Twilight Sparkle for an autograph, to the hordes of foals who hound Rainbow Dash and beg her to tell them stories, to the "Sweet Apple Admirers" who overtake the farm and take advantage of Applejack's hospitality.
  • Messy Hair: Both Rarity and AJ fall victim to this; Rarity as part of her Sanity Slippage, and AJ from getting overworked trying to accommodate all the visitors to Sweet Apple Acres.
  • Meta Fiction: Where to start...
    • The publishing of the journal and subsequent reactions to it have been widely interpreted as a metaphor for the show itself and the readers as the brony fandom. Twilight publishes it, it becomes hugely popular, those who read it start arguing over who had the best friendship lessons and who grew the most, they analyze the "characters" of the Mane Six, and fan and hate clubs for the six spring up. However, the two kids who initially inspired the book take it at face value and like it just fine — a reflection that the show was launched in the first place for the child demographic and that not everyone (child, adult, or otherwise) acts the way the Vocal Minority does.
    • invoked One pony proudly declares, "Twilight was better before she got wings," in a nod to the infamous Broken Base that sprang up over Twilight's ascension in the real-life fandom. For additional meta humor, this episode was written by the same writer as "Magical Mystery Cure," where Twilight got her wings.
    • Fluttershy is confronted by ponies who are upset she had to keep learning the same lesson about being assertive over and over. Fluttershy counters that self-improvement is more complicated than a single epiphany moment or two.
    • Applejack becomes hugely popular while Rarity is hated and boycotted, a reversal from the general fandom opinion where Rarity is very popular and Applejack is sometimes snidely referred to as a "background pony."
    • Pinkie's fans laugh at everything she says and does, confusing her because she doesn't always try to be funny, poking at her status as the designated Plucky Comic Relief of the group.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-universe. Twilight published the journal hoping the exploits of her and her friends could help other ponies with their own friendship problems. Instead those that read it start analyzing the "characters" of the Mane Six, argue over who wrote the best lessons, and so forth.
  • Mood Whiplash: While the Mane Six are sulking after learning nothing can stop their fans from arguing, their sadness is assuaged when Starlight returns with Toola Roola and Coconut Cream, who read the journal and truly understood its meanings, bringing the episode to a heartwarming finish.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The two fillies Twilight finds fighting at the beginning and who show up throughout the episode, Toola Roola and Coconut Cream, are named and designed after ponies from the G3 cartoon, the former being one of the core cast.
    • In addition to those two, an aesthetic similar to previous generations permeates the whole episode, with many minor characters having a pastel color scheme rather than G4's more vibrant colors, and the lisping Rainbow Dash fangirl being voiced in the style of earlier generations' performances.
  • Nightmare Face: As she's "stress sewing" in her boutique, Rarity's face stretches to bizarre lengths to emphasize her Sanity Slippage.
  • No Ending: While the Mane Six do learn a lesson, the episode doesn't have a resolution. It just stops, with the Mane Six having been shut inside the castle, and the massive pony crowd outside still arguing.
  • Noisy Shut-Up: The only way Twilight can quiet the crowd of fans and critics is to magically amplify her voice and shout "Listen to me!"
  • Odd Friendship: The reporter stallion claims that some readers of the Journal find it difficult to believe the Mane Six would be friends since they are so different.
  • Old Shame: In-universe and downplayed. Starlight's use of the book copying spell prompts her to reminisce about using it to "make copies of a certain... Ahem... manifesto," once again recalling how she had magically enslaved an entire village.
  • Only Sane Man: Toola Roola and Coconut Cream are the only ones who read the journal that truly understood its lessons and what they meant.
  • Orbital Shot: The song "Flawless" features a shot that rotates around the Mane Six standing in a circle, with a nice 3D feel that's impressive for Flash animation.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Rainbow Dash is so exasperated by all of the fans that are constantly following her that she resorts to using sunglasses to "hide" from them.note 
  • Pie in the Face: Pinkie Pie does this to herself to invoke an Everybody Laughs Ending.
  • Reality Ensues: The Mane Six sing a song about how they are not flawless and never have been but their flaws make their friendship possible... and the crowd of ponies immediately continue arguing once they are done. Fluttershy also Invokes this trope about her learning to be more assertive stating just because she learned about it the first time, doesn't mean she'll change automatically, and needs to be reminded again and again.
  • Right Behind Me: Two ponies insist the Friendship Journal would have been better without Rarity. She's right behind them in a café, reading a newspaper. Overhearing their comments makes her run off crying.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: When "stress sewing", Rarity ends up creating and wearing a bizarre-looking dress and giant hat that both appear to be crudely patched together from multiple outfits. Even Rainbow Dash, who usually doesn't care for fashion, can tell that it looks bad.
    Rainbow Dash: Uh, Rarity, what are you wearing?
    Rarity: My emotions, darling! STRESS COUTURE!
  • Sanity Slippage: Rarity is so distraught about her entries in the journal being criticized and leading her to lose business she holes herself up in her boutique and starts "stress sewing", making an awful and garish dress.
  • The Scrappy: Deconstructed In-Universe. When two snobby ponies claim that Rarity is a prissy loser who dragged the entire book down, Rarity (who is right behind them) is driven off in tears and spends most of the episode in a Heroic BSoD.
  • Self-Deprecation: One critic says "Twilight was better before she got wings!" The episode was written by M.A. Larson, who was responsible (albeit Mis-blamed) for giving Twilight wings in the first place.
  • Seriously Scruffy: Applejack's messy mane reflects how she's running herself ragged trying to keep up with all the ponies wanting to join the Apple family.
  • Split Screen: The song "Flawless" plays with this several times, splitting the screen between two ponies singing, only for them to ignore the separation and reach for each other.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Mane Six sing a song about how they aren't flawless, but the crowd couldn't care less.
    • Starlight Glimmer's manifesto. Given the authoritarian, forced egalitarian nature of her community and her hatred of cutie marks, it was likely analogous to the communist manifesto — Marksism/Marxism.
  • Straw Fan: The crazy fanbase of ponies is exceptionally nitpicky, overreactive, and unreasonable. Some to the point of attempting to harass and boycott Rarity out of business. They underscore how mature Toola Roola and Coconut Cream appear in comparison for using the Friendship Journal to learn about friendship.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Twilight Sparkle uses her version of the Royal Canterlot Voice.
    Twilight Sparkle: Listen to me! LISTEN TO ME!
  • Take That, Audience!: Much of the episode's humor come from poking fun at the fans who vent their criticisms and reactions to the show (like Fluttershy needing to re-learn being more confident and assertive). This is especially obvious at the climax of the episode, where they start spouting remarks like "Twilight was better before she got wings!" Even better, the pony who says this is an old mare; in other words, that kind of talk is old thinking.
  • The Tell: Starlight makes a mention of Twilight "window staring" after coming back from Carousel Boutique, wondering if Applejack's situation was really that bad.
  • This Is Reality: One critique says it would be more interesting for Twilight's character if she stayed in Canterlot. Twilight points out she isn't a "character", she's a real pony and the events in the journal actually happened.
  • This Loser Is You: The readers of the Friendship Journal have more than a few parallels to the brony fandom, having heated disagreements with each other over who the best pony of the show is and mirroring common fan complaints about the characters.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Downplayed. Amethyst Star is Fluttershy's one ardent fan. (She has a few other fans, but they cower when her critics go back to calling her "painfully shy".) Doesn't make her feel any better about her Unpleasable Fanbase. Rarity also has a couple of supporters in the crowd.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Rarity (in her garish dress) attempts one in Twilight's castle, grabbing her hind legs as much as she can and rocking back and forth.
  • Unpleasable Fanbase: In-Universe. A group of ponies criticize Fluttershy over having to constantly having to be taught to be more assertive. She eventually shows the courage to be more assertive and criticize her critics. The critics then criticize her for being more assertive, saying that she was better as a timid pony. They flip-flop again toward the end of the episode when they return to criticizing her for her timidness.
  • The Un-Smile: Rarity, when Twilight finds her at her sewing machine and asks her what's wrong, turns around and offers a very creepy smile as she explains what she's doing.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Twilight accidentally causes everyone to argue and bother her and her friends by publishing the journal.
  • Verbal Tic: Since her breakdown, Rarity has a habit of saying "darling" at the end of every sentence, like G3 Rainbow Dash.
  • Visual Pun: Fluttershy sings that it took her a while to come out of her shell... while the visuals actually show her coming out of a giant seashell.
  • Wham Line:
    • During the first half of the episode, most viewers were under the impression that this episode focused on fandoms in general. It isn't until one of Fluttershy's critics says this line that makes them realize that this episode is specifically about the bronies.
      Fluttershy Critic: We want to know why Fluttershy keeps learning the same thing over and over again! Be assertive already!
    • If it wasn't that line that did it, it was one of these for being such blatant echoes of memetic fan complaints.
      Elderly Critic: Twilight was better before she got wings!
      Pinkie Pie Fan: Are Pinkie Pie and Applejack related or what?!
  • Worth It: Despite all the chaos caused by the fans, the Mane Six are proud of the fact that the Friendship Journal managed to mend the friendship of Toola Roola and Coconut Cream and inspired them to be closer, fulfilling the Journal's purpose.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Rarity during her breakdown has mascara running down her cheeks.

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