I've sadly not had a chance to watch the new episode yet (updates in probably like an hour once I've seen it), but yesterday I had a sudden attack of nostalgia and decided to go back and watch a Season 1 episode. 'Suited for Success', to be exact.
...My goodness, it feels so completely different to recent seasons, and I love it! I burst out in unashamed childlike laughter at least three times, and was basically wearing the biggest doofy grin the whole way through. I don't know how much is nostalgia talking (two years ago, when I first - and last - saw this episode, was a very different and much easier time for me) and how much is genuinely just the episode, but I just had so much... fun!
Don't get me wrong, I still love the show and the way it's going right now. Some of the Season 5 episodes were, in my opinion, among the very best - and I'm sure Season 6 has some more great ones in store too! But it was just great to go back and remind myself exactly how unique this show can be compared to other cartoons, and why I fell in love with it in the first place almost two years ago.
also Rarity is so wonderful, serious contender for best pony right there
Alright, just seen the new episode, and
is indeed probably the best way to describe most of it. Dash is one of my favorite characters but I tend to hate episodes where characters just dig themselves into deeper suffering, and that really was almost the entirety of this episode.
Ending pretty much saved it though. Seeing Dash so genuinely content - not pretending to be pleased, not overexcited to the point of messing things up, just plain old happy - was really lovely and made the episode for me.
I guess my big in-depth tangentially-related analysis for this episode is on the subject of MLP's humor, and where the best balance lies for this show. This episode follows a pretty common sit-com formula of a character trying to escape humiliation and only digging themselves deeper - think Seinfeld or most episodes of Frasier - but I think the reason those shows succeed where this one (in my opinion) failed is because even if you like the characters, you don't empathize with them nearly as much. I like Frasier Crane, George Costanza and all those other classic sit-com characters - but it's generally so much less painful to see them suffer because:
A) They bring that suffering upon themselves in a way that makes the audience feel like the character deserved it, at least a little bit; and/or
B) They're never deeply affected by it - mortal embarrassment or even the collapse of their very lives feels temporary, and because the characters never seem to be lastingly affected by anything, the audience doesn't feel as bad for them when those sort of things do happen.
FiM characters have neither of these going for them much of the time, but particularly that second point is where attempts at this kind of humor backfire (again, in my opinion) in this show. Every single character in the show, to some extent at least, feels like a real, developed person, and their emotions feel powerful and not nearly as understated as a traditional sit-com character's - and so when they do suffer, we tend to suffer too as an audience. You're not watching someone make a fool of themselves, you're watching someone hurt themselves; and that often ends up crossing the line from comedy to tragedy.
Anyways I think I've written more than enough words for one post. As always if I've gotten something blatantly wrong, or even if anyone disagrees, feel free to mention it! I'm always up for discussion, especially about fictional rainbow cartoon horses.