So yes, “Fame and Misfortune” is a controversial episode for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is how the episode might have been targeting certain fans who are overly nitpicking, super judgmental, and basically being a “Quibble Pants” (pun and reference to “Stranger Than Fan Fiction” intended).

Let’s set something straight right off the bat. This is not targeting the fandom as a whole. Most fans do appreciate the show for what it is and there are fans that appreciate the show for displaying the Mane Six’s flaws and how the develop over time. No pony is perfect and the song did a great job in expressing that. But yes, some in the fandom do treat and over-analyze the show like it were the NFL or [insert Oscar-winning film here]. It is not either of those things.

There is also the lesson for the show staff in the episode. While they may not be able to change certain people’s attitudes towards episodes (and towards themselves occasionally), they can change the way they deal with such criticism. Granted, that didn’t occur in the episode until late, but it is still a good lesson.

Twilight had the best of intention about publishing the journal, but the best laid plans of mice and ponies go often askew. That leads to another frustration about the episode and the show as a whole—that fans ignore the lessons from the episode in favor of being overly critical and/or, worse, confronting show staff on social media about it. That is something I have addressed before and something I’ll likely have to address again.

Should we take the lessons from the show a bit more to heart? Actually, look around the world for a minute and answer that question yourself. Also, ask yourself this, “Why have so many people, both then and now, been drawn to the show to begin with?” I’ve also said previously that sometimes we need a reminder of why we watch this show to begin with.

I was at BronyCon last weekend I cannot help but feel that despite there not being as many people as there were the last two years, there was still a feeling of great positivity even if it was mostly negative outside the Baltimore Convention Center. Ask yourself this question: Why should “Friendship is Magic” be criticized for trying to teach morals while shows like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” are lionized for their cynicism and boorish “humor”.

Yes, there are always consequences when you put your story/thoughts out that that someone will disagree with you and not be the most mature about it. Indeed, there are ways for me to deal with that and some are most professional than others, but just remember that the episode in question was not tarring the fandom as a whole with the same brush. Most fans are appreciative of the show and have been inspired from the show and fan content it has spun off. (One frequent comment at BronyCon last weekend was how there was so much talent around.) There are prices to being famous, but some people can be taxing excessively through being super judgmental.

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Remember that Friendship Journal and that Twilight hoped that one day other ponies could learn from her and the Mane Six. Well, that day came in this episode and if “Slice of Life” was a thank you to the fans, this episode is somewhere between a “Take That” and “WTF” to certain parts of the fandom (including those who review the show).

Where to even begin with this? There were critiques about how Fluttershy was learning the same lesson over and over (back in Season Four) and Fluttershy going to great lengths to show how more confident she’s become in this Season Seven episode. There was a critique about how “Twilight was better without wings” which I suppose was a shout-out to those who are so “Quibble Pants” about everything since “Magical Mystery Cure”. Of course, this episode was written by MA Larson–more than two years after he wrote his last episode, “Amending Fences”.

It seems there is a great deal of frustration in ponies (and fans of the show) who do not make an attempt to learn from the friendship lesson and descend into petty arguments such as who is best pony and other critiques of the show. Worse, the crowd outside the castle are still going at it by the episode’s end. The other lesson in this is a good one in that you can change how you deal with these things and you can take solace with those who do take the friendship lessons to heart as Starlight showed with Toola-Roola and Coconut Cream.

So yes, there will be many mixed reactions to this episode, and this episode aired during the weekend of BronyCon (which is likely a coincidence). My reaction is that it’s an okay episode, but left too many things out there like how Rarity is getting neg-repped via cancelled orders and the other ponies in the worst they have behaved perhaps ever in the series. The song was appropriate and the secondary lesson of how to deal with harsh (and sometimes unwarranted) criticism is one the show staff could use as well. At the same time, and this is something I have touched upon before, some fans could do well to actually apply the friendship lessons themselves rather than get into petty arguments like the ones seen here in this episode.

There are lessons for all of us here, and sometimes they can be pretty harsh as they were here.

GRADE: B

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714 – “Fame and Misfortune”

Written by: M.A. Larson
Twilight Sparkle’s publishing of the friendship journal has unintended consequences when ponies start to argue over who wrote the best lessons.

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Summertime Shorts – “Shake Things Up”


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Two for the price of one this weekend. Let’s get straight to it!

After many a tea party at Fluttershy’s place, Discord decides to invite Fluttershy to his house for tea. Since Discord has never hosted a tea party before, he needs to figure out what would be best for his guest. Upon receiving advice from Pinkie Pie to just make her feel comfortable, Discord forgoes the singing ginseng tea, flying teapots, and sneezing piñatas to a normal setting which is very abnormal for Discord.

So much so that Discord starts to fade away since “normal” behavior is unbecoming of Discord. Fluttershy comes to the rescue by causing her own chaos such as knocking over tea cups, speaking to many reflections of herself, and trying to undo the extreme makeover Discord’s other selves done. That gets Discord back to his chaotic self and he brings back the aforementioned singing tea bags, flying teapots, and sneezing piñatas.

Discord feared initially brining those things in would drive Fluttershy away because they are so different and many ponies don’t get their friendship. Fluttershy counters that he’s introduced her to so many things since they became friends and that she likes him because of their differences.

There are two things that carry this episode. The first is John de Lancie’s voice acting which is always stellar with Discord. The other is Fluttershy in the third act which is more of the self-confident Fluttershy we have seen this season. We also see a side of Discord we have not seen before in that he is not as assured of himself when it comes to hosting a tea party. It’s almost a role reversal from earlier interactions between the two characters.

Anyway, this was a good episode and one where Discord is in a different role than an agitator and couple with the more self-confident Fluttershy we have seen this season.

GRADE: B+

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So, “The Perfect Pear”. Out of all the characters that you can focus on in the series, an episode that involves Applejack’s parents is perhaps the one that is most anticipated of them all. Not only that, you have William Shatner and Felicia Day in this episode. There was a feud between the Apples, led by Granny Smith, and the Pears, led by Grand Pear (voiced by William Shatner). The only Apple and Pear who got along was Bright Macintost and Pear Butter (aka “Buttercup”)(voiced by Felicia Day)—Applejack’s, Apple Bloom’s, and Big Mac’s parents!

Not only is there the shock that they are half pear, but they go on a tour of getting to truly know their parents through those that knew them such as Burnt Oak (who knew Bright Mac and his honesty), Mrs. Cake (whom Buttercup helped get her cutie mark through baking), and Mayor Mare (more on that later). I’m not sure anyone expected a “Romeo-and-Juliet” type story at all.

Everything about Bright Mac and Buttercup’s romance is very heartwarming. The song is one of the best in the series and will be in many a fan’s head for years to come. It’s also very bittersweet, not just for the obvious reasons, but how things came to a head when Grand Pear announces that the Pears are moving to Vanhoover. Rather than lose the love of his life, he plans a secret and not-so-splashy wedding with Buttercup, officiated by Mayor Mare, and witnessed by Mrs. Cake and Burnt Oak. The marriage goes through, but faced with an ultimatum from his father, Buttercup chooses staying with Bright Mac instead of moving while Granny Smith ultimately accepts her.

The Apple Siblings go about mending fences with their grandfather, who really came back to Ponyville to do the same, and with Granny Smith, who apologizes for not telling them about their parents sooner. The episode ends with the siblings and grandparents together at a winding tree with apples and pears.

I honestly though Season Five had the monopoly on emotional episodes such as “Tanks for the Memories,” “Amending Fences,” and “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”—the latter two being two of the best episodes the series has had. This episode will have fans have the feels for years to come.

Everyone involved puts in an outstanding performance from special guests Shatner and Day; to regulars Ashleigh Ball, Michelle Creber, Peter New, Tabitha St. Germain, and Cathy Weseluck; to newcomers Bill Newton (Bright Mac) and Bill Mondy (Burnt Oak).

Season Seven has had a gem in “A Royal Problem” that’s a bonafide top 20 all-time episode. This is a top five all-time episode. That’s all credit to the cast and crew of the show for delivery such gems—especially in the show’s advanced age. One of the most anticipated episodes perhaps in show history is truly one of the best in show history.

GRADE: A+

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713 – “The Perfect Pear”

Written by: Joanna Lewis, Kristine Songco
The Apple Siblings learn about their parent’s love story and find out that they’re half Pear.

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712 – “Discordant Harmony”

Written by: Michael P. Fox, Wil Fox
When Discord invites Fluttershy to his realm for tea, he worries she won’t be comfortable there and begins to change it and himself with disastrous results.

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