Jan. 26th, 2012

nenena: (Default)
Because I apparently stan hard for cartoon ponies, I guess.

In the wake of last week's My Little Pony episode I've seen a lot of people on LJ, DW, and Tumblr bemoaning how Season 2 has gone downhill, is catering too much to Bronies, sucks compared to Season 1, and how the show just isn't the same without Lauren Faust at the creative helm. There's also been not a few people quitting the show altogether. Now, "The Last Roundup" was an undeniable stinker of an episode - not just for its squeamish depiction of "Derpy Hooves" but for being a boring episode all around - and I absolutely can't fault anybody for having their I am DONE with this show! moment, because hey, sometimes when you're done with a show, you're done with a show.

But I would like to point out that Season 1 had its share of stinker episodes, too. And has the show really changed all THAT much since Season 1? Other than the Derpy scene I can't find any evidence of outright pandering to Bronies - at least not any more so than the previous background pony shoutouts from Season 1 - and heck, the episode "Babycakes" even mocked the overinvested Brony fanbase at one point.

So, in a kinda-sorta defense of the idea that Season 2 actually hasn't been going downhill so far (with "The Last Roundup" acting as an admitted gigantic asterisk to that notion), here are five episodes from Season 2 that I absolutely love:

Episode 3, "Lesson Zero"
Hands-down the funniest episode of the season, possibly of the show overall, and one that presents an unusually complex moral to boot. Yes, Twilight Sparkle was clearly wrong for losing her perspective and blowing the horror of being late with one of her letters all out of proportion. But the real moral of the episode was that, when you have a friend freaking out about something utterly trivial, it's important to listen to them sympathetically and help them with their problem, NOT laugh at them for freaking out about something trivial. That's a pretty complex moral to have in a show for little girls, and it's a beautiful example of how MLP refuses to talk down to its audience. And yeah, in addition to the moral of the story, like I said, this is possibly the goddamn funniest episode of the show so far, from the depiction of Twilight's slow descent into madness to all of the bizarre comic touches like Big Mac running off with Smartypants at the end. Definitely one of the best episodes of the season.

Episode 4, "Lunar Eclipsed"
Even if it weren't for Luna's return to the show and the awesomely hilarious storyline involving her awkward attempts to fit in with Ponyville ponies, this episode would still rank among my favorites if only for the fact that it brilliantly displays how gorgeous and detailed the animation for this show is, on every possible level. The backgrounds! The costumes! The colors! The lighting effects! All of that and: PIPSQUEAK THE PIRATE. Best. Baby. Pony. Ever.

Episode 7, "May the Best Pet Win"
There's something deeply satisfying about watching Rainbow Dash actually learning a lesson, something that happens far too rarely in the series altogether. There's something equally as satisfying about watching the turtle that nobody thought could do anything finally proving himself to have actually been the best pet all along. It's a classic underdog story and I have to admit I am a complete sucker for a good underdog story. Plus this episode had a great musical duet by Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. Tank the Turtle's story is epic and so is this episode.

Episode 10, "Secret of My Excess"
Every single moment of Rarity's final confrontation against Spike was not only hilarious but sweetly touching as well. Rarity is hands-down my favorite pony, and although she's gotten a few great episodes completely focused on her this season, this episode - which is much more about Spike than Rarity - is the episode that actually provides my favorite "Rarity moment" of the season so far.

Episode 12, "Family Appreciation Day"
Loved loved loved everything about this episode. The bond between Granny Smith and Apple Bloom, the Cutie Mark Crusaders starring in a story that wasn't about their Cutie Marks, the bizarre magical apples, the epic story of how as a filly Granny Smith saved her family from starvation and freakin' FOUNDED PONYVILLE while relying on her smarts and courage alone, the fact that the show finally remembered that Twist and Apple Bloom are still friends, and all of the comical moments actually being quite funny. A perfect episode.

...So those are my highly-biased picks for the best episodes of Season 2 so far, episodes which I would also present as evidence that Season 2 isn't actually going downhill and/or significantly changed from the tone and style of Season 1. Of course not every episode in Season 2 has been great, or even good - but then again, not all of the episodes in Season 1 were either. I also can't deny that the pacing of the episodes this season has been pretty bad (two Rainbow Dash episodes back-to-back? Three Rarity episodes bunched together in the first half of the season? Really?!), nor can I deny that I completely understand why "The Last Roundup" was the last straw for a lot of viewers. But as for me, I'm going to keep watching, and keep hoping that the second half of Season 2 will provide a few episodes as great as some of the episodes that we got in the first half of the season.