Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
And the feeling’s right
Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
Oh, what a night (oh, what a night)

—“Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang

If it’s the best rollercoaster ever, why is it closing? Anyway, Rainbow Dash wants to ride it before it closes. However, she also has to chaperone for Grannie Smith, Apple Road, Auntie Applesauce, and Goldie Delicious (aka The Gold Horseshoe Gals). Applejack gives Dash a series a things she should not let them do. Hilarity ensues.

Rainbow follows the instructions to the letter—much to everyone’s disappointment. Even when the Gals are selected to be part of Big Bucks’s and Jackpot’s magic act, Rainbow Dash stops the trick and it’s a whammy (in a bad way a la “Press Your Luck”). Once the Gals realize AJ put Dash up to this, everything is forgiven and Dash gets to ride the Wild Blue Yonder thanks to their line jumping pass.

Yes, this was a very silly romp and a very funny one. That’s all the episode is trying to accomplish as the fast pegasus has to watch over what she thinks are slow grannies. The grannies are typically anything but slow and most of the humor (and flirting) in the episode comes from them. The other highlight was how AJ acts as Rainbow’s conscious to get her to act to make sure the Grannies don’t over-exert themselves.

It was just a funny episode and a breather one and works in what it was intended to do.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan

805 – “Grannies Gone Wild”

Written by: Gillian M. Berrow
Granny Smith and her friends are headed to Las Pegasus; Rainbow Dash tags along as a chaperone so she can ride the best rollercoaster ever before it closes.

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No song to intro this review because I have nothing on that end. Anyway, Rarity needs to finish a centerpiece dress for the Canterlot Royal Fashion Show and needs all her assistants from Canterlot and Manehattan to help. No pony else can help, so that leaves Fluttershy. While she has developed self-confidence, it does not extend to confronting the brazen and super-judgemental Saddle Row shoppers. Rarity advises her to access the strength confidence within her. She’ll have the assistance of her raccoon friends from “The Saddle Row Review” to help her.

No sooner does a customer ask about the number of threads on a suit does Fluttershy develop a “sophisticated” character that is able to please him. She adopts two more personas to accommodate the valley-girl and goth sets. However, she gets swept up in her characters that she becomes them drives away the raccoons, her friends, and the customers.

Rarity comes back to Manehattan to rectify things by sacking all three of Fluttershy’s personas before Fluttershy herself apologizes explaining that acting like the ponies of Saddle Row gave her the confidence to interact with them. Rarity explains that she only needed to be Fluttershy to run it. Fluttershy does give her the inspiration to finish the centerpiece dress.

Fluttershy’s timidness is not the problem here. It’s her getting too involved in something to conquer it that’s the problem here. We saw this in “Putting your Hoof Down” when she did a 180º from a doormat to a monster. The 180º here is from a newbie at running a shop to a snooty Saddle Row salespony. She talks about “baby steps” to overcome her fear of performing on stage in “Filli Vanilli”, but there are other situations where that is the appropriate approach when it comes to timidness. We’ve seen twice now that she flies before she trots into to something to conquer her timidness.

This had the potential to be an A-episode, but it gets derailed by Fluttershy getting too much into the characters she develops and leaves no time for inflection prior to the apology.

GRADE: B-

StatManDan

[source]

804 – “Fake It Til You Make It”

Written by: Josh Hamilton
When Fluttershy is the only pony available to look after the Manehattan boutique while Rarity is away, she takes on a series of characters to cope with the intimidating clientele and learns that she was already the best pony for the job just by being herself.

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Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started, wait
The earth began to cool, the autotrophs began to drool
Neanderthals developed tools
We built a wall (we built the pyramids)
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries
That all started with the big bang! Hey!

—theme song to “The Big Bang Theory” by Barenaked Ladies

Technically, I’ve never watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but my brother likes it and I enjoyed from PMVs set to this theme. Anyway, Maud has been too busy to spend time with Pinkie because she has a boyfriend now. His name is Sheldon Mudbriar who is a proverbial “stick in the mud” just like his cutie mark in the way he speaks. Pinkie for the life of here cannot see what Maud sees in him. Maud likes rocks and Mudbriar likes sticks and speaking in a precise form—technically.

Things do get a bit tactless when it is revealed that Maud only enjoys Pinkie’s surprise parties because she was protected her feelings. Pinkie has an internal crisis that drives her to the rock farm and Limestone actually proves useful with a metaphor to get Pinkie to understand (eventually) what Maud sees in Mudbriar. Eventually, they have a surprise party with Maud viewing from a distance as she preferred just a small party with Mudbriar and Pinkie.

Technically, this wasn’t the best episode involving Maud (that was “Maud Pie”). There were some funny moments, especially with the dialogue. However, that sometimes led to tactlessness on the part both Maud and Mudbriar. At least the former should know about Pinkie’s sensitivities. I’m also not sure the “opposite day” visions around the head accomplished anything, either.

It’s not a terrible episode, technically, but I don’t believe it will be in the top half of Season Eight’s favorites.

GRADE: B-

StatManDan

[source]

803 – “The Maud Couple”

Written by: Nick Confalone
Pinkie Pie’s super-best-friend-sister bond is challenged when Maud gets a boyfriend that Pinkie can’t stand.

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Get on up, look around;
Can’t you feel the wind of change?
Get on up, taste the air;
Can’t you see the wind of change;

— “Wind of Change” by the Bee Gees

(CAUTION: This review includes SPOILERS of the episode which aired on Discovery Family on March 24th, 2018. If you do not to know the result this review, look away now.)

It took the show one minute into Season Eight to declare the events of the Movie canon. With so many creatures who may not know anything about friendship, Twilight decides to open a friendship school.

She has the full support of Princess Celestia, but needs the full support of the Equestria Education Association (EEA) for accreditation. The EEA’s Chancellor Neighsay implores Twilight to do things by the book. The rest of the Mane Six will be teachers (second jobs for all of our heroines) and Starlight is the guidance counselor. The school isn’t exclusive to ponies such as Sandbar, there’s also a griffon named Gallus, a dragon names Smolder, a yak named Yona, a changeling named Ocellus, and a hippogriff/seapony named Silverstream.

Each of the Mane Six has a way to teach that gets the students interested, but Twilight insists everything gets done by the book, which is quickly the reason things are going “by the book”. After the student six cut class go on a “mental health break”, Neighsay arrives for an inspection. Things go off the rails as Ocellus makes an ill-timed decision to change into a giant insect and Neighsay is appalled that Twilight even has non-pony students. Long story short, the school is shut down.

In part two, Starlight sets Twilight right by writing their own rules. The rest of the Mane Six and Spike buy in—now they have to find the students or there is going to be a war. The “Student” Six didn’t want to be away from each other, so they take refuge at the Castle of the Two Sisters. However, they are not alone as they are threatened by bushwoolies puckwedgies. The Mane Six make the rescue and reopen the school going rogue against Neighsay by declaring it a “Friendship School” and probably hinting at what’s to come in the Season Finale.

Class is now in session. In a way it makes sense because instead of having the Mane Six and Starlight travel all around Equestria (which they had been doing since Season Five) and beyond (read: The Movie) to spread the gospel of friendship, why not have everyone come to them in Ponyville? It also represents, not necessarily a change in direction for the show as the Mane Six are now officially teachers, it’s safe to say it has been heading that direction since Season Four. It’s just now official.

It also shows that the show has not run out of ideas and it is blending in the worldbuilding from the previous seven seasons and the movie to create more worldbuilding. The world has gotten larger and larger and now the show is adjusting accordingly. It is ready to take on a social issue such as racism. Well, it has been handled in a sense better in some episodes (i.e. Hearth’s Warming Eve) than others (i.e. Over A Barrel). We now have a chancellor (played brilliantly by “The Brain” himself, Maurice Lamarche) who is what passes for Equestria as a racist (maybe a fascist as well).

What’s promising is that we finally have an overarching premise for the first time since Season Five and a majority of fans have said that and Season Four are the two best seasons of the show. Both those seasons had overarching storylines.

The opening two-parter is back as a setup for the start of a new season. “Return of Harmony” remains the benchmark for season openers, but given the direction and quickly declaring the Movie canon, this Season Premiere belongs in the top half of Premiers by comparison by giving its main characters new purpose and keeping the show fresh even in its eighth season.

GRADE: A-

Ranking the Season Premieres:

1. The Return of Harmony
2. The Cutie Map
3. School Daze
4. Celestial Advice
5. Princess Twilight Sparkle
6. Friendship is Magic
7. The Crystal Empire
8. The Crystalling

StatManDan