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DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
"It's more of a "with technology I can do what others can but what can only I do?" kind of message. The possibility is still there and she can take that path but she's deciding that she wants to be different in a way that goes beyond her physical limitations.


Well, that would make for an intriguing character arc for her. Have her get herself something to get her the extra lift she needs, let her get the "ICANFLYICANFLYICANFLYICANFLYICANFLY!" out of her system, then have her ponder: How much of her original dreams were about what she actually wanted to do with her life, and how much was about wanting to be like Rainbow Dash for the sake of being like Rainbow Dash?


The two could even be tied together. "I built a jet pack so I can fly as fast as Rainbow Dash and then I kept making stuff." The kid calculated how to sling herself into the stratosphere. She's pretty damn smart. And since we know wheelchairs and artificial limbs are a thing, maybe she could learn some anatomy and make new technology for other limited individuals.


Some reviews of comic issue 81 have proposed that she do just that with Wind Sock's glider. Taking it to the next level (perhaps with her studying aeronautics, or engineering in general) could indeed be an interesting career path for her. Perhaps she could team up with whoever made Kerfuffle's leg? As a mechanical engineer who's thought about getting into the prosthetics field, that would elevate her to "best pony" in my book.

Though Rainbow Dash did teach at the school on top of being a Wonderbolt. Perhaps Scootaloo could do something similar — the stuff she'd learn in Wonderbolts Academy would be quite helpful for testing anything flight-related before offering it to patients, and as a handi-capable Wonderbolt she'd be a living advertisement for her tech.

Plus it reminds me of a fanfic I just read:

The Fault In My Cutie Mark

Scootaloo wonders how she got a cutie mark with a wing and a lightning bolt (features normally associated with "flies real good") with her wings the way they are. Then she meets a pegasus who's having trouble flying, and gives him some pointers that Rainbow Dash taught her (in an unsuccessful attempt to get her flying). She then concludes that that's what her cutie mark means, helping to teach other pegasi proper flight technique.

Developing assistive tech for other disabled pegasi (and potentially creatures in general) could also be a fitting interpretation of her cutie mark.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
As for having her walk away from her dreams simply because she'd have to use technology where an average pegasus wouldn't — seems like that would also be a not-so-great message for people with disabilities.
It's more of a "with technology I can do what others can but what can only I do?" kind of message. The possibility is still there and she can take that path but she's deciding that she wants to be different in a way that goes beyond her physical limitations. The two could even be tied together. "I built a jet pack so I can fly as fast as Rainbow Dash and then I kept making stuff." The kid calculated how to sling herself into the stratosphere. She's pretty damn smart. And since we know wheelchairs and artificial limbs are a thing, maybe she could learn some anatomy and make new technology for other limited individuals.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
I will say, the writers really mastered beating around the bush.


They sure did. I just stumbled across this from a few days after "Growing Up is Hard to Do" first aired:



"Fans are welcome to interpret things as they like", he says. I interpret that to mean "We're trying to have it both ways" (that is, placate both the fans who were hoping for the "accepting your limitations" moral and those who were hoping for the "overcoming adversity" moral). That and/or "We know you all are comparing her to Bulk Biceps, but we don't feel like coming up with an excuse for why he can fly but she can't".

And here's a fun coincidence: Issue 81 of the comic (which showed Scootaloo what would have been a practical piece of assistive technology, and had her help build one for Rumble) came out a bit over a month before "Growing Up is Hard to Do" (which essentially established that she'd need it if she ever wants to fly) first aired. Perhaps that's why she wasn't the slightest bit disappointed that her wings didn't grow with the rest of her.

As for having her walk away from her dreams simply because she'd have to use technology where an average pegasus wouldn't — seems like that would also be a not-so-great message for people with disabilities. Besides, "Flight to the Finish" had her pretty much get over her shame over her condition. Though if she suddenly had herds of background ponies staring at her glider-or-whatever and going "WTF is that thing?", I could maybe see her getting a little uneasy.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
The Washouts is a real mixed bag. The problem with doing the show was more a lack of practice and safety measures. Any real stunt performer would watch that in absolute horror. She could still pursue that dream. Probably best not to do things like The Washouts did, though.


Some have proposed ending that episode by having Lightning Dust see the error of her ways (or having Scootaloo replace her), letting Scootaloo's next show come after they implement proper safety measures. Perhaps Rainbow Dash could help them with that. If anyone involved actually did want to go for the "accepting your limitations" moral with her wings, then that would have been the perfect way to do it.

And it's not really "understanding her limits" until it's explicitly shown that she wants to be a stunt pony like Rainbow without technical assistance. If she's okay with the use of a glider or something then we'll finally know what the moral the writers want her to have (overcoming adversity).


Of course, they'd also have to unambiguously establish that there's no meaningful hope of her flying naturally (which the show's producers obviously weren't comfortable with).

As for the comic, the writer of issue 81 was pretty clearly aiming for "overcoming adversity" within the limits of the show's status quo. We'll see where Season 10 takes her, I guess.

Another possibility would be to split the difference: Have her strap on a glider-or-whatever and let her be somewhat disappointed that it's not exactly like standard pegasus flight (though Wind Sock's glider looked like it'd be pretty damn close), but still acknowledge that it's WAY better than being grounded for life.

Either way, having Scootaloo work towards her goal of flying (whether by way of training or technology) would be a cool way to further explore her relationship with Rainbow Dash (potentially better than much of what we got after "Flight to the Finish"). I'm picturing an equal mix of "Scootalove" Rainbow Dash and "hardass coach" Rainbow Dash.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
The Washouts is a real mixed bag. The problem with doing the show was more a lack of practice and safety measures. Any real stunt performer would watch that in absolute horror. She could still pursue that dream. Probably best not to do things like The Washouts did, though.
And it's not really "understanding her limits" until it's explicitly shown that she wants to be a stunt pony like Rainbow without technical assistance. If she's okay with the use of a glider or something then we'll finally know what the moral the writers want her to have (overcoming adversity).
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
Well, that brings up the question of if she should fly at all. Going back to Faust's intentions, Scootaloo was meant to be a late bloomer but it was later decided that she shouldn't fly and change her dream to something else. If she flies, whether through her own ability or assistive technology, then that moral ends up completely lost.


Well, there's nothing to conclusively suggest that they actually wanted that exact moral — there was nothing to contradict the "late bloomer" line until a few episodes before the finale (and even that's technically up for interpretation on account of Bulk Biceps). "Flight to the Finish" doesn't really count there seeing as it actively avoided answering the question of whether she'd ever be able to fly.

The only real discussion of the whole "accepting your limitations" thing was in "The Washouts". After much arguing with Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo reveals that her motivation for joining the titular stunt team: she had accepted her limitations, and found the Washouts to be a satisfying second choice to her previous dream. And then right after that (when Lightning Dust nearly gets her killed), we're given the message that this was a BAD thing, and there is no further discussion of what dreams she might pursue going forward. If the Wonderbolts are a no-go and her second choice is a deathtrap, what in Celestia's name IS Scootaloo supposed to do with her life?


It's a tough call to say which would be a better moral (over coming adversity versus understanding your limitations) but until that's decided we can only make assumptions on what and why she hasn't at this point.


As I've said, Scootaloo's specific situation as established is a rather poor candidate for the "accepting your limitations" route. Her wings offer plenty of thrust, but not quite enough lift — the solution there should be obvious to anyone with a shred of scientific literacy. If Equestria has the technology to let a pony with no wings at all fly, then so could Scootaloo (though there's no guarantee they'd let her into the Wonderbolts with whatever it is).

To impose the "accepting your limitations" moral upon her at this point would be to send the message "If you encounter an obstacle to your goals, give up without even trying to find a workaround" — not a great message to be sending to people with disabilities (or, you know, ingeneral).
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
Well, that brings up the question of if she should fly at all. Going back to Faust's intentions, Scootaloo was meant to be a late bloomer but it was later decided that she shouldn't fly and change her dream to something else. If she flies, whether through her own ability or assistive technology, then that moral ends up completely lost. Best way I can compare it is a little convoluted but please bare with me.

Human Scootaloo is often portrayed as an amputee. If she wants to be a world class runner her choices are A) learn to hop faster than people can run (natural flight inspite of her disability) or B) use a prosthetic leg (fly using a glider).
However, if Scootaloo isn't meant to fly at all then instead of missing a leg it would be more apt to say she has a congenital heart condition. She can't be a runner so she should look into being something else.

It's a tough call to say which would be a better moral (over coming adversity versus understanding your limitations) but until that's decided we can only make assumptions on what and why she hasn't at this point.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
That said, I'll have to review all of the episodes featuring Scootaloo and Bulk to see if I can find any connection wing size has on flight.


The thing with Bulk Biceps is that how well he can fly varies wildly. In "Hurricane Fluttershy", he flies in the tornado with the other pegasi, meaning that he must be able to at least fly normally. His appearance in "Wonderbolts Academy" implies him to be well above average. Yet "Rainbow Falls" has him flying barely any better than Scootaloo.

Though at the end of "Buckball Season", we see what is basically a gender-swapped Bulk Biceps (able to fly at least on the level of an average pegasus) playing defense on the Appleoosa team. And I'm pretty sure I've also seen a few pegasus kids in various episodes with roughly the same wing-to-body size ratio as Scootaloo.

For now, I think practical training and therapy are the best solution we have found so far for Scootaloo naturally attaining flight.


The problem with letting her fly normally is that after "Flight to the Finish", lots of fans latched on to her as a role model for people with disabilities (many with disabilities of their own). It's possible that the "late bloomer" angle was the initial plan (which would also explain why she never explored assistive technology), but the producers changed course in response to all that (which would explain why there was no reference to her making any further attempts at training her wings).

The problem with not letting her fly at all is that it's been thoroughly established in canon that:
a. Some part of her wants to fly (despite her knowing full well that there are plenty of other things she could do with her life)
b. Equestria has the technology to let her fly in some capacity if her own wings would never be up to the task

The assistive tech route just felt to me like a logical compromise. And after the comics showed us Wind Sock, even the Wonderbolts wouldn't be off the table.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
I will say, the writers really mastered beating around the bush. Scootaloo never mentioning alternative methods of attaining flight and always speaking of flight in a manner that implied natural performance did leave me with the impression that she wanted to fly only by her own volition. That said, I'll have to review all of the episodes featuring Scootaloo and Bulk to see if I can find any connection wing size has on flight. For now, I think practical training and therapy are the best solution we have found so far for Scootaloo naturally attaining flight.
DoctorWTF

@Background Pony #A863
The rest of it is due to all of the bullying and teasing she's gotten because of her wings from both her friends and the bullies at her school, and possibly the lack of any stronger parental figures to boost her confidence when she was growing up. But this is why Rainbow is a good role model for her, because the filly knows what it is like to be made fun of for her flying skills- Rainbow Crash, and doesn't let anything hold her back from her dream of being a Wonderbolt. Basically, the only thing that is truly holding Scootaloo back from being able to fly is her self-confidence.


The only time she's ever been teased was in "Flight to the Finish", when Diamond Tiara was trying to demoralize her so as to sabotage the CMC's contest entry and carry the Ponyville flag herself. And at the end, Rainbow Dash helped her get over that (though the episode's dialog appeared to actively avoid answering the "disability" versus "late bloomer" question). So if it were a matter of self-confidence as well as training, Rainbow would certainly be qualified to help her.

And for what it's worth, we don't know how long it took Bulk Biceps to get airborne, so technically nothing we've seen kills the "late bloomer" interpretation. For all we know, he was several years older than Season 9 Scootaloo when he got to what we saw in "Rainbow Falls".

Also: Ranbow Dash was there when Apple Bloom tried hang gliding back in "Call of the Cutie", and the end of "May the Best Pet Win" implied that she came up with the idea to get tank his propeller thingy. If Scootaloo were to have been diagnosed with anything that would prevent her from ever flying naturally, Rainbow could have helped hook her up with some form of assistive technology.

Or perhaps Twilight Time should have had her studying aeronautics instead of building a unicycle, so that she might build herself something akin to Wind Sock's glider from comic issue 81.


@Brass Beau
- She can beat her wings at an unprecedented speed


Her scooter activities make it clear that she has more than enough thrust. If she could combine that with something like Wind Sock's glider, she could easily become an impressive flyer. With a few refinements to its design (say, switch out the DaVinci wings for a proper airfoil), she might even rival Rainbow Dash herself one day.

We have not, in ten years, seen Dash train Scootaloo once. That said, since Scootaloo is now permanently living with Auntie Loftie, if she asked for training and got some therapy, she would then be able to fly.


For that matter, we've also never seen any indication that she had ever been to a doctor to sort out why she'd been having trouble flying. More fuel for the Scootabuse dumpster fire.

Also: you had speculated that there was never any discussion of assistive tech because Scootaloo was exclusively interested in flying all normal-like. The sea pony part of "Surf and/or Turf" had her dive underwater and be like "So this is what it must be like to fly!", and it formed a large part of her bias towards Seaquestria over Mt. Aris (in essence, her yearning to fly had consumed her to the point of interfering with her CMC duties — not exactly a great role model for people with disabilities, if that's what she was supposed to be). Why, then, would she be so ecstatic about something that's kind of similar to flying but isn't actually flying, but have zero interest in something that's not quite the same as normal pegasus flight but actually IS flying?


Hopefully now that the comic is no longer tied to the show's status quo, it can give this issue the treatment it deserves. The way she was involved in issue 81 made it feel like the writers were trying to subtly say "We would LOVE to have Scootaloo partake of the painfully obvious solution to finally get flying, but our hands are tied". And speaking of Auntie Loftie, issue 93 is supposed to focus on Scootaloo and her family. I wouldn't expect her wing situation to be relevant to that particular plot, but it would be lovely if they could toss in at least a little hint that she isn't being utterly neglected in that department.
Latecomer

@Brass Beau
I'm going to theorise a birth defect that leaves her naturally in the pegasus quivalent of Tempest's state. Sometimes these things self-correct as one grows up, so there was still hope as of Season 4 (or at least, doctors didn't want to tell an unmarked foal otherwise) but by Season 8, it's clear that she's not going to get any better without a magical miracle or as-yet-undeveloped surgery.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@Background Pony #A863
Hm. A psychological block preventing her from performing is an interesting idea.
Reviewing the possible causes of her lack of ability we have:
- Physical malformations
- Improperly treated physical injury
- Lack of proper training
- Lack of magical power
- Psychological blocks

We lack solid evidence for some of these but what we do know is:
- Her wings do not appear to be proportional to her body
- Wing size is not inherently indicative of flying ability
- Pegasi fly through a combination of wings and magic
- Wing injuries or losing magical power can prevent flight in pegasi
- Pegasi can learn to fly similar to an infant's ability to learn to walk
- She can beat her wings at an unprecedented speed
- She lacks parental support
- Scootaloo is capable of creating lift but not sustained flight

Armed with this information we can infer that, if Scootaloo is capable of flight, the most likely culprits are poor technique and/or self-imposed psychological limitations.
We have not, in ten years, seen Dash train Scootaloo once. That said, since Scootaloo is now permanently living with Auntie Loftie, if she asked for training and got some therapy, she would then be able to fly.
Background Pony #A863
I'm not actually sure if Scootaloo is handicapped in the way people normally think of. I do believe that her wings are stunted, and will probably never be proportional to her weight. But as we have seen, Bulk Biceps has the same handicap, and he can still fly with some difficulty. Scootaloo, on the other hand, seems to only be able to use her wings to propel her scooter forward, as part of her special talent. Which is why I believe that her handicap is only partially physical. The rest of it is due to all of the bullying and teasing she's gotten because of her wings from both her friends and the bullies at her school, and possibly the lack of any stronger parental figures to boost her confidence when she was growing up. But this is why Rainbow is a good role model for her, because the filly knows what it is like to be made fun of for her flying skills- Rainbow Crash, and doesn't let anything hold her back from her dream of being a Wonderbolt. Basically, the only thing that is truly holding Scootaloo back from being able to fly is her self-confidence.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
The disability angle came shortly after conception but "late bloomer" came first. As for the show itself, outside of Scootaloo saying "I can't fly," in The Washouts, it was never really addressed as a disability. Seems the writers didn't decide which interpretation they wanted to use.


That or the creative team wanted a disabled character, but the network didn't. Which might also explain why the glider idea was never explored — it might have drawn more attention to her condition than the higher-ups were comfortable with. Never mind that establishing that she had the option of flying if she so desired (if somewhat differently from an average pegasus) would have gone a long way towards putting a positive spin on her situation.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
The disability angle came shortly after conception but "late bloomer" came first. As for the show itself, outside of Scootaloo saying "I can't fly," in The Washouts, it was never really addressed as a disability. Seems the writers didn't decide which interpretation they wanted to use.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
Well, there was certainly representation within the series but Scootaloo was conceptualized as a "late bloomer" and though she was treated as having a disability by the fandom, it was never directly addressed in the show. Not outside of Scootaloo stating she couldn't fly in The Washouts. By the end of that episode, Scootaloo came to the conclusion that she didn't have to be just like RD to be great.


I could have sworn I had heard something about Lauren Faust saying that Scootaloo was originally intended to have been disabled. Plus there's her adult form from "Growing Up Is Hard To Do", though we never see her trying and failing to fly there (understandable given that it wouldn't have served the plot, though by all logic one would have expected her to try flying with her adult body at some point). It felt like they were trying to express the idea that she'd never fly naturally without explicitly stating it.

Now that I think about it, it's also possible that she had been seeing a doctor/physical therapist/something off-camera (one would expect Equestria to have medical professionals who specialize in helping pegasi who are having trouble flying), and she was specifically instructed not to use a glider because she might develop bad habits that would interfere with her eventually flying without one. But, like so much else related to Scootaloo's condition and her feelings surrounding it, that's just speculation…

And here's a fun fact: If her wingspan actually was the problem, then there is a real-world surgical procedure that could solve it, and it doesn't even require anything beyond what Equestria is shown to be capable of:

Limb Lengthening Surgery.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
Well, there was certainly representation within the series but Scootaloo was conceptualized as a "late bloomer" and though she was treated as having a disability by the fandom, it was never directly addressed in the show. Not outside of Scootaloo stating she couldn't fly in The Washouts. By the end of that episode, Scootaloo came to the conclusion that she didn't have to be just like RD to be great.
DoctorWTF

@Latecomer
@Brass Beau
It's also a bit problematic to link her disability to her earth pony heritage.


It'd certainly be problematic if that had happened in-universe — if "The Ending of the End" (where Cozy Glow spreads a few rumors and soon the Windigoes are showing up) is any indication, it seems like race relations in Equestria are on a hair trigger.


@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
It was the fact that she didn't pursue an alternative means of flight. Then there's that quote from The Fault In Our Cutie Marks where she said, "Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it can't." Not to mention the entire episode about the Washouts. She wanted to be just like RD. After The Washouts she was could pursue a new dream or find a solution for her lack of flight. She didn't feel pressured to be just like RD anymore.


I suppose that's plausible, but I'm pretty sure I've seen at least one or two scenes that suggested she actually wanted the experience of flight (such as one episode which ended with RD flying around and carrying Scootaloo, who seemed to be enjoying herself). And I thought "The Washouts" was largely about RD getting butthurt over Scootaloo idolizing someone else?

It'd be one thing if one of her friends pitched the idea of her strapping on a glider only for her to be like "Nah, I'm good", but we never even got that. And if she was to be a role model for people with disabilities, then seeing her fly in that manner (even if she didn't end up doing it regularly) would have made her much stronger in that department.

This whole thing feels like way too much was felt to the realm of speculation and headcanon (no, I'm not talking about what exactly is keeping her from flying). Which is highly unusual for a show where there is way more in-depth discussion of the characters' feelings than you normally see in a Y-rated cartoon. It's like they wanted to tackle the issue of someone's life goals threatened by a disability, but were too timid about handling such a heavy subject to offer much more than a superficial discussion of the matter.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
It was the fact that she didn't pursue an alternative means of flight. Then there's that quote from The Fault In Our Cutie Marks where she said, "Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it can't." Not to mention the entire episode about the Washouts. She wanted to be just like RD. After The Washouts she was could pursue a new dream or find a solution for her lack of flight. She didn't feel pressured to be just like RD anymore.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@Background Pony #2180
Scootaloo's dream wasn't to just fly, but to fly of her own ability like other pegasi.


Where do you get that idea? No one at any point has suggested the idea of her using technology to compensate for her disability, so there's nothing to indicate that she wouldn't find it to be a satisfactory solution.

Besides, the glider from issue 81 looked like it would offer an experience pretty close to natural pegasus flight (at least for a pegasus whose wings produce plenty of thrust, just not quite enough lift). And if an earth pony could get into the Wonderbolts with it, so could she.
Background Pony #2180

I will, however, say that I think something like this would probably work, given how fast she can make her scooter go, and it wouldn't be farfetched in terms of technology.

- "Call of the Cutie" had Apple Bloom attempt to fly in a glider exactly like the one in the fan art you posted (which was most likely the inspiration there). - "The Cutie Pox" had Apple Bloom sprout a hang glider cutie mark among all the others (I could have sworn I saw either a drawing of a hang glider on the "possible ways to get a cutie mark" list in the clubhouse, or the CMCs attempting to ride an actual hang glider, but I can't find it now). - "Griffon the Brush-Off" had Pinkie Pie on some Dr. Seuss inspired pedal copter thing. -"Testing Testing 1 2 3" had the earth pony Cherry Berry in a helicopter. -Tank has his propeller backpack. -Issue 81 of the comic had that glider thing that got an earth pony into the Wonderbolts (which ended with Rumble using a replica to fly despite a sprained wing, but no one suggesting that it might come in handy for the pegasus who, as far as anyone knows, would NEVER be able to fly naturally).

So, it's been firmly established in canon that Equestria is no stranger to at least basic aeronautical engineering. Any one of those devices could have been the answer to Scootaloo's prayers, but nope. That the idea of Scootaloo using technology to overcome her disability (as so many people do in real life) was never explored in the series is idiotic beyond comprehension. Hopefully the comic will fix that now that it's free and clear of the show's continuity.



It's sad when characters aren't going to get something they want out of life, not have one of their dreams fulfilled, but sometimes life just works that way.


Here's the thing: When you present a character's dreams as unachievable after establishing the existence of practical solutions for making said dreams come true, the message you actually send is "If you encounter an obstacle keeping you from your goals, don't bother trying to find a workaround — just give up".

If they really wanted to discuss the issue of coping with broken dreams, Tempest would have been a way way WAY better choice. We've never seen any evidence that prosthetic horns are a thing, so it's perfectly plausible that they wouldn't be.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@Latecomer
Well, going that route and playing some "Wild Guessing mixed with Headcanon" the plot could be that, as a newborn foal, she was with her parents on an adventure and a creature siphoned some of her magic. That's why she lives with her aunts.

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