Unpopular opinion time

Ring Team
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So I've recently watched Non-compete Clause. And yeah, it was a bad episode, but I think it could have been at least an ok episode if you change a little detail: the attitude of Applejack and Rainbow Dash. They would care about their job as teachers, they would care about the education, they would care about the students, etc. They can have flaws, but just because they have flaws doesn't mean they have to be mean.

I'm saying this because, after reading so much that "it's one of the worst episodes", I think it was bad, but not that bad. I'm not sure if they genuinely believe in that of if they say it because "that's what everyone else is saying". I'm not sure if you care about this episode in a point where the TV show is constanly throwing baffling concepts in a random pattern.

And now that I mention it, why are the Mane 6 teachers now? Back in 2012, I loved the idea that Twilight would be a teacher, but in season 3 they turn her into a princess, which is fine. But now in season 8 not only Twilight is a teacher and also a princess, but her friends are also a teacher. Why? I like Rainbow Dash, but I don't see her being a teacher.

This show is like a pinball.
Latecomer

@Ring Team
They're teachers because someone (be it Hasbro or writers) wanted the School, and having it be just for Twilight with her friends playing no part would sideline them heavily.
Myoozik
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How Do You Do
I think for me the reveal of Fluttershy being teacher of the month for so long was the most infuriating part of the episode, not the character regressions for Dash and AJ and rehashed plot.
Ring Team
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So, The break up break down. Nice message from one of the most boring episodes in the show.

Molt Down… so that's where his wings come from. I like the last 5 minutes and the first 6 minutes, but I have mixed opinions about the rest. I like the idea of the stone scales, but some comedic moments weren't that funny.

But I could say that it's maybe the second episode in the season that I didn't find boring, I guess?

Welp, 15 episodes to finish season 8.

@Latecomer
I understand the concern, but I think having Twilight as a teacher doesn't mean that her friends have to be also teachers. In fact, by having Twilight as the only teacher, the episodes would have been more diverse. An episode about Twilight teaching something, an episode of Rainbow Dash and Applejack going in an adventure, an episode of Fluttershy helping Twilight with a problematic student, an episode about Twilight sharing a hobby with a student, etc. The possibilities would be endless.
Ring Team
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@Myoozik
I think that was a cute moment. I think showing different pictures of different reactions instead of having the same expression would have made it really funny.
Kiryu-Chan
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World's Okayest User
@Myoozik
Not to mention the only reasons she wins it all the time is because she treats the students like babies.

Though I think the angle of "You guys taught us all what not to do!" is tied with this for the most retarded thing in that episode


@Ring Team
I don't have any issues with the Mane 6 being teachers, the problem was entirely saddling the mane 6 with The School of Friendship, both with it's concept of the school being retarded as well as saddling the mane 6 with a job that, quite frankly, none of them really need given what they have to deal with already. If the writers really wanted to use the Student Six, they should have been used as the mane 6's personal apprentices, and not for the elements of harmony but for their actual professions(like AJ helping someone start up a farm of their own, Rarity takes up a promising fashion designer, or a WB cadet wants RD to train them)

@WyrmSpawN
Between this episode and Hasbro deciding to use Yakity Sax as a "preview episode", S8 really didn't do well with first impressions
Background Pony #33AF
I think the school is a dumb concept, but I liked that it gave Twilight something close to princess duties that was relevant to her role as Princess of Friendship. Like the map was an interesting idea, but considering how many times it put effort to not call on Twilight, it didn't make much sense to me for that to be the only way she could fulfill her princes role and spread friendship.
Background Pony #E406
School was dumb to begin with and only went to show the level of incompetence we were going to be in for during the final two seasons from the team. The VA’s who’s only job is to speak into a mic and from a script somehow came up with a better ep (Sparkle’s Seven) than the people who get paid to write could muster in two seasons.

We could feel they ran out of stuff to do with the main cast and needed some new blood in there. A school solves both: make the old cast teachers and get the students to be the new cast. Only they never fully gave enough attention to the students to really give them the depth as characters or proper development everyone else on the mane cast had. There was no way they were going to do that for 6 new castmembers AND still do eps for the old cast.
Ring Team
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I'm not sure if things like the school and some filler episodes are there because of a tight budget or time constraints. Maybe the show needed a better planning or something.
Background Pony #E406
@Ring Team
It and the Student 6 were there to fill in the content gap left when the team realized almost all the main cast were done developing as characters but they still had 2 seasons worth of episodes to fill.
Twiface

Equine Ear Enthusiast
@Background Pony #E406
Yeah. I think the school could have done better if they had actually devoted more time and attention to it.

Maybe the writers were afraid that changing the rhythm of the show in such a big way would alienate fans, and thought they could play it safe by half-assing the school arc rather than going all in. They could have either avoided the controversy altogether by just not including the school at all (though this begs the question, what would they make episodes about?), OR they plan a season-long arc featuring the school front and center. In this case, taking a middle route doesn't please the school-lovers OR the school-haters.

The Student Six weren't a bad idea, but they were very underutilized. I think each of them should have been given their own episode to develop their characters beyond their brief introduction scenes in the season premiere (or, if devoting six episodes is too much, pair them up so you only need three episodes). 'Hearth's Warming Club' served this purpose for Gallus, 'She's All Yak' did this for Yona and should have been in Season 8 (doing school episodes in Season 9 when the school has nothing to do with the season's story arc seems like filler at best and damage control at worst). When I watched 'Student Counsel' and 'Sweet and Smoky' I initially expected them to be focused on character development for Silverstream and Smolder, so it felt as though the episodes got hijacked by other characters instead. Ocellus and Sandbar never got enough screentime to really develop them beyond their initial introductions. Alternatively, character development could have been done by having more episodes with the Student Six doing things together with the Mane Six playing supporting roles, and we saw some of that. '2, 4, 6, Greaaat' helped Smolder, Ocellus, AND Silverstream all at once and should have been in Season 8. 'What Lies Beneath' was good but could have been better if Smolder and Silverstream had been given more personal fears rather than 'evil villain who oppressed my people'; for example, giving Ocellus a fear of failure. Even though it's just grafted straight from Twilight, it's something that provides an actual opportunity for personal growth. In fact, having the Student Six share traits with the Mane Six would allow the Mane Six to share their expertise. Having each of the Student Six develop a close mentor-student relationship with one of the Mane Six would have been a great way to further the show's message of learning, friendship, and growth.

Also, I think the Season 8 pilot's pilot was okay but somewhat nonsensical. Making a plot about school accreditation, of all things is kinda out there, but suspension of disbelief can make anything work as long as it has consistent internal logic. The main flaw with the episode in my opinion is that they spent the first half building up Neighsay and the EEA's rules as a big obstacle and then just anticlimactically dismissed it at the end. It would have been a lot better with one simple fix: instead of having Twilight & co. just ignore the EEA completely, they could have just had them petition Celestia to pressure the EEA into giving Twilight a second chance and allowing her to bend the rules as an experiment, or something like that. Actually give the EEA authority so that all the worrying you did at the beginning was justified, rather than retconning them into being paper tigers to deus-ex-machina your way to a conclusion.

It also doesn't really make sense that the Mane Six would have the time to supervise a boarding school when they already have day jobs; especially Applejack and Rarity, who both had several episodes about how they were so overworked that it was damaging their relationships. Are we supposed to believe that they magically have lots of free time to teach classes just due to optimizing their work schedules alone, especially when Rarity now has to supply not just ONE shop, but THREE. Having a throwaway line or two about hiring additional help and tacking a few new background characters into future scenes at Sweet Apple Acres and Carousel Boutique would easily plug this plothole that, in my mind, greatly undermines the entire concept of the friendship school.
Twiface

Equine Ear Enthusiast
@Ring Team
Maybe the show needed a better planning or something.

I think one the show's biggest detriment was not having a permanent writing staff. Or better yet, not having a single showrunner for the whole duration to provide a single, consistent vision for how the show should be. Even having the writers and the production located in the same city instead of a thousand miles away might have helped. Instead this show was a ship of Theseus, where the writers peeled off one by one until not a single one of the original writers remained by Season 8.

Then again, it was never intended to last more than three seasons in the first place.

@Background Pony #E406
The VA’s who’s only job is to speak into a mic and from a script somehow came up with a better ep (Sparkle’s Seven) than the people who get paid to write could muster in two seasons.

Acting is about more than just reading lines from a script; to get a good performance an actor has to become the character mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. So they're basically writing about themselves.
(Also, the VAs were some of the few people who stayed with the show for all nine seasons, whereas the writers were all relatively new.)
Background Pony #E406
@Don't
It having no clear direction in general seemed to be a problem the last 2 seasons. So many new writers and so few original people left, it really felt like amateur hour some episodes. That happens any season with new people but usually, the older writers who’ve been around a while and have a better feel for the show, the lore, the tone, the characters and so forth can almost always right the ship for the rest of the season. There were so few of those people from the first 2 seasons left the last two seasons, the rookies were running the place and it showed.

I know I’m really railing on the last 2 seaosons but I’m still astounded at the sheer drop in quality we got. S7 wasn’t all that but it felt like the quality fell off a cliff from S7 to S8.
Kiryu-Chan
My Little Pony - 1992 Edition
Wallet After Summer Sale -

World's Okayest User
The quality drop from S5 to S6 was big enough as it was that I was surprised S7 felt like it was regaining it's footing, but then S8 came out and shared a lot of the same issues S6 had(and note unlike S6 I actually liked S8)
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