And that’s the whole TV show!
I agree that most episodes were unnecessary in the later seasons. However, the complaints I’ve been reading now are the same type of complaints I had back in season 4. I remember I watched some episodes like Bats and I thought “what’s the point of this?”. I think it shows that the entire team of writers, animators, producers, voice actresses was limited, so they focused on a little bit of everything.
I still think the root of all the problems of Friendship is Magic is that it doesn’t have a solid sense of continuity and consistency.
That’s why we got some episodes where the main character doesn’t act like she would based on previous episodes. For example, the show wanted to show some sense of ambition, but at the same time it doesn’t want to let go the slice of life formula. By sticking to both opposite approaches at the same time, Friendship is Magic is rarely at its best. We got unnecessary returns, repetitive episodes, a lack of variety in the villains, a huge stack of writers forgetting Chrysalis, baffling redesigns, ridiculous concepts, pacing problems, rushed episodes, filler episodes and… [11 paragraphs until Ring complains about Starlight Glimmer]
Wait, I’m not supposed to talk about that yet. Let’s have some final thoughts.
Friendship is Magic wasn’t a perfect TV show. It wasn’t perfect ever
. However, I think this constant imperfection reminds you that there’s real people behind this TV show we constantly talk about. Because of that, I can’t be that mad, desperate or frustrated by some questionable creative decisions made by them. I think the only single episode where I would be a little bit of intense is one from the season 6. And that’s my case. Many people in the fandom probably have their “worst episode ever”, and that’s a good thing. Don’t be frustrated, have fun with it, turn your frustration into something entertaining, where we can have fun and also understand you.
Almost half of the episodes of each of the later seasons were filler, so I do wonder what would happen if this show had like 4 or 5 seasons in total. Without the filler or stupid episodes, I’m pretty sure we would get not only a pretty solid TV show, but also some interesting concepts. We would save the best episodes of the seasons from 4 to 9, we would keep them in the seasons 4 and 5, we would get some interesting villains, Chrysalis as the ultimate villain for Twilight and then we would celebrate it and we would talk about our favourite episodes.
I think an hypothetical reorganization of Friendship is Magic deserves a discussion of its own.
Not today, because I’m exhausted of studying and writing all this.
Overall, despite all the problems, Friendship is Magic is a pretty good TV show. However, no matter how much I like it, I always see a troubled show that didn’t live up to what Hasbro and the writers wanted out of it.
For every really good episode this show has, there are two episodes that were ridiculous, unnecessary, close-minded, confusing or weird that kinda splitted the fans, especially the major creative decisions.
A part of me is still slightly conflicted because the show can succeed at getting me to like some characters from the last seasons, like Yona and Terramar. Yona is like a big huge dog, I like her. And Star Swirl and his friends are still cool I guess. Even Gabby in the season 9, she was fine.
I haven’t even mention Cozy Glow once in this whole long text if that tells you how important she actually is to the plot of the seasons 8 and 9.
And, while I love their best episodes such as A Canterlot Wedding, Crusaders of the Lost Mark, Over a Barrel, Party of One and many other episodes, I think out of the 222 episodes this show has, there’s only 80 episodes that are well worth watching today, and only 30 of these 80 have aged well.
But the best episodes are REALLY GOOD
episodes. The season 9 may have its flaws, but it has a great conclusion. And season 6 might be my least favourite season, but On your marks was the episode that made me say “I’m really glad to watch an episode from season 6”. And the MLP film kinda got what I wanted in the show right. When I watched it back in 2017 my first thought was “this is amazing, why can’t the show be like that?”. And, after rewatching the film several times, I understood that not everything is perfect. And it doesn’t have to be like that. If the lack of continuity annoys me, then I watch the episodes as their own thing. Another approach can help you to appreciate other episodes.
This show is not perfect… but I love it. And, at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. The good stuff, the memories, the friends we made and make, the songs…
Because that’s what Friendship is Magic is. Memories that will last forever.
Ok. Starlight Glimmer.
So, after finishing the last 3 long seasons filled with good episodes, great moments, unnecessary episodes, unnecessary returns, nice additions and a Starlight arc character that lasted for four years where the writers wanted to talk about redemption, I want to vent.
At the end of season 5, Starlight wanted to fix things and she finally said sorry to everyone after what she had done. And in the next seasons, after saying she wanted to do the right thing, she still wants to do magic in a maniac crazy way like she did in season 5: Manipulating everyone, controlling everyone’s minds and manipulating the cutie marks. When she doesn’t use her magic for her own benefit, she finds characters like Trixie and Maud Pie and use their contextual moments as excuses to say she doesn’t like being judged even though she did and does pretty bad things.
Ok, so, after many years and seasons, what was the point of all this? What was the goal here?
I didn’t want Starlight to do all this crazy stuff. I didn’t want Twilight to be superstitious about her being capable of manipulating her friends and the cutie marks. If the entire Ponyville decided to question Discord’s intentions since season 3, I don’t know why everyone wouldn’t do the same thing with Starlight considering what she did.
But none of that matters at the end of the day because Starlight’s inconsistent and convinient story still works. Regardless of her actions, everything is going to be ok even if she’s a manipulator sociopath who got away with everything. She knows how to cover bad things up with a good image. And it worked. Because everything will be ok at the end of each episode, like nothing ever happened before. Because Starlight doesn’t have bad intentions, of course not, give her a break. She has many friends, she lives in a fine castle, she has a teacher that unquestionably respects her and she doesn’t have big problems, just little problems that she can easily solve. And she’s the seventh main character of a successful animated TV show.
All that without changing her toxic mentality and attitude. She eventually got what she wanted by not changing herself for the better. Kinda like Cutie Map from the season 5.
The TV show made that extremely crystal clear as frequently as possible.
Starlight is the main character, so that means she’s gonna be viewed as a great respected heroine despite being a selfish, manipulator, petty, powerful, and evil sociopath.
Which I think it’s kinda the point, right? The fact that everyone look at one character with good eyes because that is the main character despite his or her attitude, because we want to be identified with that character. He or she is the main hero, so of course people wanna find that relatable. I wanna admire the main character at whatever cost.
Leonard Heofstadter, the main character of The Big Bang Theory, has done a lot of bad things in the show, such as hiding women he slept with so Penny wouldn’t find that suspicious. Or ruining some research done in the Antarctica and lying about it. Or being too jealous because one of his friends went into outer space. But, like Starlight Glimmer, none of that matters because he has a good ending. He has a good job, women like him, he’s married with the woman of his dreams (despite that none of these characters has shown any signs of love, respect or kindness to their friends during the entire show) and he doesn’t have huge problems. Both characters are toxic. Both characters don’t learn from their mistakes because there’s absolutely zero consequences on their actions. but that doesn’t matter because they’re the main characters from TV shows where continuity doesn’t matter.
Starlight also reminds me of Superman from Man of Steel, because, despite being a destructive hypocrite character, everyone is too forgiving to him. But the problem of that film is that, while the dialogue explicitly says that Superman is the new hope of humanity, his characters actions show him as a destructive alien with the power of destroy the world, not a heroic person. This is a constant feeling during the entire movie, but the last sequence where he destroyed a satelite shows the final word of Superman: “Don’t watch me. If I help you, I help you because I want to, screw you”.
It’s basically “I’m gonna do whatever the fuck I want”. And nobody would stop him because he’s Superman.
And the fact that the most commented thing about this film is that “the actions sequences are cool, stop complaining” says a lot about the discussion about the film and the filmmakers in Warner Bros.
Starlight Glimmer reminds me of all the Sonic videos created and written by Aurk, the YouTube personality, where we see an antagonistic character that repeats the same unfunny jokes, tries to be hip and tries to manipulate anyone just to get what he wants or kill anyone who doesn’t agree with or start begging for their freedom. The difference is that all these videos are intentional.
We could say the same thing about Trixie. What was a character who only appeared in two episodes from seasons 1 and 3 ended up being not only an integral of Starlight episodes, but also a jerk who doesn’t learn her lesson, especially after watching A horse shoe in. kinda like Starlight.
All I’m gonna say is this: If the point was to intentionally transform a dangerous selfish villain that I don’t trust into an absolute saint that I should admire without fully committing to that transformation in an organic and consistent way, just to talk about empathy and redemption during many seasons at a point where you already did that before and better without solely depending on magic or power fantasy as the main gimmick (such as Luna Eclipsed, One Bad Apple, Crusaders of the Lost Mark and the MLP film), while maintaining an outdated statu quo where nobody questions her actions, her attitude, her power to manipulate everyone and her hypocrisy for many many years just because she’s one of the main characters, then I really only have one damn thing left to say.
The show made me love the Mane 6. Legend of Everfree made me love Sunset Shimmer. Crusaders of the Lost Mark made me love Diamond Tiara. The MLP film made me go back to love the show, especially Twilight Sparkle and Tempest Shadow. And Starlight… First, skepticism. Then, frustration. Now, nothing.
I’m not mad at Starlight. I just thought she was better than this.
And because of that, I am disappointed.
PD: I don’t wanna get too negative. The take I’m giving here is probably not one that you’ll see other people (especially the big active people) in the fandom making, but I feel it needs to be said. I just want to clarify 3 things.
1. Despite the problems, I really like the show. Some of these episodes are very rewatchable. And considering how The Last Problem was written, I’m so happy with the ending that I don’t think I should be worried about the flaws of Friendship is Magic. I just wanted to talk about the problems one last time and never think of them again.
2. All the stuff I said about Starlight doesn’t mean that the Starlight fans have less right to like her. If you love Starlight, go for it. More power to you. So please don’t disrespect other people just because they are some disagreements.
3. I said this before, but I think it’s a rule of thumb: Praising a character or a story just "because it wants to say something to us" is a pretty boring way to talk about movies, shows, books or videogames. It's also equally important to talk about what stories might say in an unintentional way.