• "A Hearth's Warming Tail": Episode Followup


    Fade in

    EXT. EQD, VICODIN'S OFFICE (lol) - DAY

    VICODIN
    Look at all those fans, waiting for a followup from someone else. They'll read the followup, they'll enjoy the gags and references, and they'll begin to comment. All of those comments, comments, comments! They'll give us so many paragraphs on what they watched, copy pasted within seconds as if it's waiting in a Google Doc.

    VICODIN
    They'll tell me that I'm not funny. And I'm not, well played, but that's not the point. They'll tell me about the references I missed or the fact that it's May. No, there will be no followup today.

    In comes Silver Quill, riding a human dressed up as Silver Quill as he descends from the heavens. His feathers shine from morning dew as he stands near Vicodin's desk.

    SILVER QUILL
    No, Vicodin. You must not trouble us with hackneyed scenes and references any longer. These followups are meant for the fans, it makes our site stronger. These followups are amazing, not a boon. Everyone comes here and waits until noon. There is a love spread throughout the land, as you type each reference and—

    VICODIN
    Okay okay stop rhyming, I'll do it. *sighs* So... who's that—

    SILVER QUILL
    It's my OC. My OC is a human.

    VICODIN
    So your OC is a human... and you're a griffin.

    SILVER QUILL
    Yep.

    VICODIN
    Followup after the break, this is getting too meta for me.


     Oh what a wonderful day. The grass is covered in snow, the houses are covered in snow. You know what that means! It's Winter Wrap—oh it's a new Christmas episode. In May? Sure.

     Ahmg it's the CMCs! And Rarity's parents! We haven't seen them in a while! Scootaloo's parents are still nowhere to be seen. You know what that means! Scootaloo's parents are Rarity's parents. Headcanon accepted.

     Oh so this is going to be a musical episode eh? Strap yourselves in, folks. Just like "Magical Mystery Cure", Ingram saved some of the songs for one huge episode. 

    Hello Octavia. And a bunch of other adorable ponies. I'm sure that ponies singing can get me out of any funk I'm suffering. I remember the "Smile Song" helping me through college.

    Rainbow looks like she'd be really good at DDR. Alright Rainbow, here's your first song. Don't come near me until it's AAAed.

    "Oh my... I didn't think they were so... big."

    He's talking about the pies. Get your mind out of the gutter.

    See? Look at all those pies. Totally huge. Not talking about anything else. Nope...

    I honestly wonder if all the characters know they're singing as a group. Or do they just all black out and sing like the Dancing Plague and then come back to life once the song is over?

    I guess instead of gross sweaters given by your grandma, Equestria has Rarity's hats. Is that an eggplant? WHO EATS EGGPLANTS? I honestly haven't seen an eggplant in years. Yes, it's because I don't leave my house. Shut up.

    It was at this moment that Rarity knew, Derpy F*yay*ed up. 

    Don't you give me that look, Derpy. Oh fine, I forgive you. Your depth perception is probably worse than the Fine Bros subscriber count. 

    Granny did you just...? OH MY GOD THAT FILLY! Uhh... Granny's going to have to go away for awhile everypony... I guess murder was on her bucket list.

     And all of that noise, noise, noise! Oh wait, I used this reference in the beginning. Sh*yay* I'm out of ideas... uh... 10 Reasons Why This Scene is the Best Ever! (It always goes back to Buzzfeed)

    The EQD Staff's reaction when they see that I'm taking a followup. You bet your *yay* I'm going to test Seth's patience. Gimme that candy cane, I'm hungry.

    Got some of that childlike honestly that we always like. And then Spike being pulled away like one of those canes in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Spike is cute. I like Spike. Chris Hansen go away, it was a joke.

    And we have another new writer joining us for this season! Mike Vogel has been the Vice President of Development for Hasbro Studios for a while now, and he has stepped in to give us an episode we will never forget! Spike is in the background, so far so good.

    Here is Starlight's impression of Twilight. Why is everyone pretending to be everyone else? Here I'll pretend to be Seth for the next picture.

    guys why isn't trixie here? here's a batpony. also trixie.

    Alright we got Diamond Tiara front and center. Good job, animators, you know how to please me. IS THAT OCTAVIA WITH ANOTHER STALLION? Vinyl's gonna be maaaaad. 

    You're a mean one, Mrs. —dangit I'm running out of references. Hurry, someone shoot their eye out so that I can use it (EQD is not responsible for someone actually taking my words seriously).


    "But Vicodin, everyone will love an insight and analysis behind the episode and what makes it tick."

    "IT'S THAT DICKENS STORY. WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?"

    How can you even be mad when your noses boop like that? Booping is a proven medical cure for grumpiness and lack of snuggles.

    Rule #1 of being a manager: Never offer your employees a chance to go home early.
    Rule #1 of being an employee: It's a trap. Don't take it.

    Looks like we have Sherlock Holmes and Watson down below, standing next to that filly and mare! They're discovering the case of how I got this followup! Bribery, mostly. Throw a batpony in Seth's direction and anyone can have it. There, I saved you two bad movies.

    Might be careful where you're doing that salute. At least no one is recording it and has a picture of you doing it. Oh wait...

    Oh hey another song, the song that we got from the trailer. Disney called, their lawyers might need to have a talk with you, Vogel.

    I LOVE this song. I also love Starlight's use in this episode. She gets her chance to be the villain once more, as a nod to those who didn't really feel that she was used well enough. Not only that, but her redemption story in this episode mirrors the one of the character she's playing. It's a neat intricacy and I feel that if we're going to have an episode like this, it's perfect to have it happen now rather than later.

    "Don't worry Pipsqueak, she's just going to clean it. It doesn't matter that you're 16 and still have a stuffed animal. Totally has nothing to do with it."

    Perhaps the song is a social satire on the fact that this episode was released in May, and Starlight's desire for Hearth's Warming Eve to never come back mirrors America's hesitance to let Christmas take over November and December? No it probably isn't. But you read all that anyway, HA!

    The last thing Pinkie sees before Vicodin finds her is his eyes. Also MFW they give me the followup for the week.


    "Oh Spike, at least Muriel takes Courage seriously. You'll get there, one day."

    Oh hey it's... uh... someone help me out? Apple Blossom? Apple Bloom? Couch just told me it's Applejack. Yeah, her. And now I have a black eye.

    I also love that the past spirit is Applejack. She's dressed perfectly in the time period and mood. Also her countryisms and accent is perfect for the role. This extends to the other two spirits. Nice job, Vogel.

    My heart would probably stop if a ghost walked through me. That's a neat visual idea they used for Starlight's fright. I don't think we've seen that yet. These animators are sure pulling out all the stops, new and old, to make this episode awesome.

    Is that rope real or fake? It's made by a ghost, but it's not ethereal and it's working. What's that? The rope is more real than my life? Well you're not wrong.

    D'aww. Is that Dinky? Did she not find her destiny yet?

    Oh hey, Snape. I thought you were dead? Spoilers?

    How can you deny that face? I hereby establish an official EQD decree: anyone who denies that face is literally Hitler.

    And here we have the allegory of the story presenting itself. Much like Snowfall Frost's childhood, Starlight Glimmer's was one where she didn't really get to have a childhood. Either due to a broken heart or the desire to become the best, sometimes you have to sacrifice more than you intended to rise higher. It makes you wonder how much of this Starlight is feeling while Twilight is telling the story. This would hit me really hard if I was in Starlight's shoes, to have this kind of lesson reflecting so aptly.

    It almost looks like Sans, if it wasn't for the hair. Also, BEST PONY TIME.

    And here we have the lesson from "Gift of the Maud Pie" radiating excellently through Pinkie's dialogue. Wow, Vogel. Looks like you did your research. Or Vogel knows these characters so well that it looks like it. Either way, good job.

    Oh hey Pinkie Sense is back! We haven't seen that since... a while? My memory is worse than Dusk's Dawn.

    Oh hey it's that guy on the right. Totally a reference to something that I totally know and remember. Yep. I know him. And that's him.

    Little does Pinkie know that the old mare was reciting a spell to have the kids come in and try to eat her gingerbread house. I think that's Christmas-ish. My joke bin is running out. All I have left is Carlos Mencia at the bottom. Well now I'm out.

    ANOTHER DIFFERENT STALLION OCTAVIA! How could this happen to me! After all the fanfics I wrote you in? After I regrettably named you "Best Gray Musical Background Pony Besides That One Guy"? WE ARE OVER.

    I'm sure there's a tap dancing movie (besides Annie) that this might be referencing but I can't put my finger on it. Either way, cute colt.

    Oh hey Vinyl. Tinkering with some weird gramophone. Another question. If this happens in the past and it's not a story, then are these all ponies from family generations past that look the same? My head hurts thinking about it.

    Oh m y god that blush. I'm so struck by the hngg I'm not eve going to fix m sentences. 

    This is probably the best frame that epitomizes a child/parent relationship. Twilight is like "Ugh" and Spike's just staring off into space, contemplating the double murder-suicide. Oh wait that's my family. MOVING ON!

    Wow, Rainbow. Even in a story you want all the attention. At least you look fly. Flier than... you? MOVING ON.

    We get it, Pinkie, you vape.

    Excuse me what? Is Luna about to...

    Vicodin.exe has stopped responding. Please restart the program or shove Diamond Tiara in his face to bring him back. Best song in the episode. Hooves down. No, seriously Luna put that hoof down it's frightening me.

    It's interesting that traditions in the pony society are way more important as a method of keeping Equestria from turning into this kind of wasteland than in other societies. Or maybe we just don't think of our own traditions (Christmas, Thanksgiving) as important as the ponies do. It's a neat little thought. I might write about that later.

    "So yeah, he's telling me how much he loves Trixie and I'm like no one gives a f—OOOOH Seth! How are you doing buddy? Nothing, don't worry about it, come in!" - Every con interaction ever with him.

    Dude Rainbow I'd keep it. You don't how how powerful a chemist's potions can be. Reminds me of the time my chemistry teacher said he got invited to a party and he brought dry ice for the drinks. Those drinks were cooler than DuskyKatt overlooking an explosion. Cooler than the Crystal Empire. Okay you get it.

    "Well now that I'm done lecturing you, Starlight, my time here is done." That's basically what I got out of this scene.

    And it is here that the Starlightius Glimmerus leaves it's natural habitat to join its family. Reminds me of my family. "No, Dad, I don't want to talk to my aunt about her new WoW Guild. PONIES. Also WoW is a dead game."

    Ponies are clear marshmallow things who easily absorb light and joy. Here we see Derpy extinguishing the sun and bringing forth a new world of derp.

    And with the closing of the episode, we have even bigger proof that Starlight is as integral to Ponyville's family as Snow Frost was in the story. This episode was an excellent spin on the classic "A Christmas Carol". You could see all of the effort that everyone on the team did, from animators to singers and voice actors, and everyone in between. More ponies are visible than usual in the scenes, which puts a lot of stress on the animators. We have multiple songs, written by Ingram and Vogel, which spices up the episode even more. Finally, the voice acting and dialogue is beautiful from start to finish. AND WE GOT A SOLO LUNA SONG. THIS EPISODE IS SO GOOOOOOD. I personally can't wait for another by Vogel.

    And that's all I have for this followup! Thanks for taking the journey with me. Let me know what you think of the followup in the comments below, or you can tweet at me instead. Make sure to thank as many members of the staff as you can on Twitter for giving us this episode. They're all awesome and oh so nice. See you guys later.

    For archival purposes, you can find the IntenseDebate comments for this post (if any) archived over here