• "The Mane Attraction": Episode Followup


    Get excited to meet a new character from your past, even though we've never heard of her until now. Go meet that character, only for her to be totally unlike how she used to be (and kind of a bad word while we're at it), and then watch as no one believes you when you say something's up. Finally get smart and throw aside the veil to reveal the true villain behind it all, and get your old friend back again.

    Ladies and gentlemen who still read Equestria Daily, the follow-up for Amy Keating Rogers' very last episode for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: "A Canterlot Wedd--"

    --oh? This isn't that episode? Pft, of course it is -- I'm stupid, not dumb. Hit the break.


    APPLE. TREES. AJ, you have taken this bit too far. Fluttershy knows it, but just can't bring herself to tell you.


    "Sparkler, I appreciate your help in organizin' this shindig, but what's this hotel reservation with our names it got to do with everything?"


    Photoshop > Filter > Pixellate > Mosaic > Be 12 years old, like me.


    When Cereal and Seth first started these follow-ups, they were just there to point out all the cool gags and references people might've missed on their first viewing. Anyway, here's Spike trying and not quite succeeding in doing the Sonic thing with his eyes.


    Hoo ho, snap. Sapphire Shores, the "Pony of Flop", more like! Man, whoever introduced her to the world back in "A Dog and Pony Show" must be feelin' the burn about now. Seriously, who's the scrub?


    ... clearly my copy of the episode got 'shopped. And also every other copy out there.


    And here Pinkie goes, tearing off after this week's Best Face Award.


    Grrrrrrrratuitous apple trees in the background. Man, never gets old. I love you, DHX layout!


    Do we have a name for the stallion obscuring Noteworthy's secret identity as a blue alpaca? No, seriously, that's some stretch on his neck here.

    On a more germane note, I identify a lot with Applejack here. Right up to the point where people become confused and a little afraid when they realize that all I can really speak to in today's pop-culture environment are ponies.


    Maybe it's her. Or maybe it's




    With Applejack being as perfect as she is already, I don't really blame the writers for defining her character growth this season as "being the pony who will never know personal space again."


    "I may or may not have spent large amounts of time at camp memorizin' her butt."


    Only because my friend isn't here to do this: "And then there's Rarity."

    No, really. When we artistes are picky about our working conditions, it's because we're bulls[ ]ting you and would rather work on anything other than what you're asking us to do for exposure and hmm. This went somewhere.

    See over there on the right? That's an outhouse.


    Holy snap, that's Russell.

    Holier snap, he looks like my little brother. No joke. Scrolling away from this cap before it gets too real.


    Earlier today, Vicodin, Calpain, and I spent an hour discussing the various merits, virtues, perfections, and divinity that come together to make up Applejack, and something that came up during the conversation was how she got an episode that for once didn't involve apples or family. Putting aside "Look Before You Sleep" because that set a big ship sailin' and "The Last Roundup" because it focused on her being missing (and she traded apples for cherries, which are smaller apples anyway), I'm pressed to find another episode where she establishes a meaningful relationship with someone outside of her clan. We'd joke a lot about this kind of episode ever happening in the EqD chat, but it finally happened and we almost missed it.

    In case you didn't get the message with "Amending Fences" or "Brotherhooves Social" this season, there are probably some people out there who'd be thrilled to hear from you again.


    I was a little weirded out at this eight-or-nine-year-old filly belting it out in a mature alto register, though.


    The angry grinding sound you hear out there is the analysis community eating itself over why developed cutie marks have begun to -- and have always been able to -- glow.


    Now go back to the screenshot before last and tell me what's odd about this triangle and its stand.


    Oh God, Pinkie, turn that off this instant.


    That's better. That's... actually a lot better. Awwwww.


    Y'okay, this dude. I'm now talking about Party In Front, Business In The Back, Out Of The Nega-80's Guy. He does that same hoity-toity, high-stepping gait Sassy Saddles does shortly after the opening credits in "Rarity Investigates", only he's stomping all over an off-screen, unconscious Pinkie Pie.

    The show is trying to tell you that you're not supposed to like him. Hot tip.


    While running through her show in Santa Marenica, the pier collapsed, dumping Countess Coloratura and her eyebrows into the ocean. Environmental crews have yet to clean up that oil spill, even today.


    Previously pictured: Rara.

    Pictured here: Rarara.

    Hat tip to GoatTrain for making this important public service announcement.


    There's a lot to unpack with Svengallop's presence in the story. Fortunately, all it will take is two links to explain: one to explain where the hay he comes from, and one to give context to the ridiculous demands visiting talent sometimes demands of venues.

    In the meantime, pay attention to three of the items in Countess Coloratura's rider: flowers from the Royal Canterlot Garden, chocolate ├ęclairs made by Gustave le Grand, and color-sorted cherries courtesy of Cheery Jubilee. For those keeping score at home, we just referenced "The Best Night Ever", "MMMMystery on the Friendship Express", and "The Last Roundup" in that order -- all of which were written by Amy.

    If this isn't her way of saying "This is my world, live in it," I'm not sure what will.


    If you're paying attention, you can see Pinkie jamming along in the background while all the other ponies simply stare. It's cuter than it has any right to be.


    I'm sure five minutes of searching Ingram's Twitter feed will tell me if "It's a Spectacle" was intentionally overdone, or if people genuinely think it's horrible, but I was surprised that this was a debate at all. This sequence mirrors a lot of the visual and audio tropes pervading many slices of today's pop culture, though I don't think unicorn auto-tuning courtesy of Prince is as big a deal as sing-whinnying is today.

    Moreover, is that Flash Sentry on sabbatical as a back-up dancer?


    Let's ignore the fact that Lily Longsocks (as Derpibooru calls her) and Teeth (as I call him) make a return from "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" (also an AKR episode, bonanza) because when was the last time you saw Twist?

    Also, aside from how Photo Finish has gone from curating and promoting haute couture to most any occasion the layout team needs a photo pony, there's a subtle bit of heartwarming that comes with the complete lack of other paparazzi in this scene. Whether it's because the shutterbugs feel obliged to give the Countess her space or because she requested they stay away, the foals get her and her alone either way.

    She's Pony Gaga, hooves down.


    Throwing up some quippy line like "Please keep those teeth exactly where they are" would damage this genuine joy Rara gets from hanging with schoolponies. That's sincerity right there. I'm leaving that alone.


    I think Svengallop has some yak blood in him, and Celestia forbid that knowledge leaks. He'll never get another client again.


    I amused myself during this scene by imagining the inside of Apple Bloom's head to be nothing but car crash noises bouncing against her skull. Yes, I'm normal and well-adjusted, thank you.


    "You're doing the crossy-leg thing. I don't like it when the crossy-leg thing comes out."

    "It's called bein' country, sugar."

    "Svengallop tells me the country ate his parents."

    "...Yeah, that's kinda how it works."


    Those are some nifty gadgets for peeling and coring apples, but 1) Pinkie is SUPER far behind and 2) they're just going on the ground afterward??? That's how you get ants, Pinkie.


    No, seriously, Pinkie's been rocking Best Face all afternoon. I think the buzz-saw look works well on her mane.


    "Hey, if you want to stop doing everything that guy tells you to do and get him off your back, do everything I tell you to do."

    WHAT LOGIC, AJ.


    DAMN.


    Hey, Twilight! Are you sure you're not projecting your own issues onto someone else? Haha!


    This scene means a lot more when you think about who put that veil on Rara in the first place.


    Something tells me Rarararara isn't gonna work out. Sorry, folks.


    You know, for kids.


    Okay, this song.

    Were any of you around last October -- no. Last June, when a dark-haired, borderline-hysterical Broadway actress stepped to the podium at the 2014 Tony Awards, gasping so hard that her chest should have exploded twice? She ended her speech by saying "Friendship is Magic," which she confirmed the next day as a shout out to little ponies everywhere. As it'd turned out, she'd found herself in a bad place one morning, and upon firing up Netflix found that MLP was on offer. Cartoons, right? Cartoons should make her feel better.

    She watched something like three seasons in a row. Someone in Providence or LA or Vancouver picked up on this, and before anyone knew it, she was in the recording booth for a Season 5 episode, tossing out a video containing the first two lines of this song a couple of months later.


    "The Magic Inside" is a powerful song. All credit to Amy for penning up some wonderful lyrics -- "there's more to me than glitz and glam" is as dramatic a refusal it gets of everything "It's a Spectacle" stands for. But I don't think it could have worked as well if Rara's singing wasn't as raw as what showed up in the final product. This is the first time Rara gets to sing as she really is, and she's going to be a little rusty as the fundamentals come back to what auto-tune left behind.

    Add to that the person on the other side of the screen singing this, one Lena Hall, and her impossible journey from happenstance fan to member of the voice cast, and for a moment it's easier to believe that the world can't always keep you down.


    In a season (and its parallel ad campaign) that kicked off with the importance of cutie marks, granted the cast a cutie-mark-centric plot device, gave the CMCs cutie marks of their own, cutie mark this and that... notice that the veil is no longer over Rara's face, but over her other end. I for one am always ready to accept any anti-corporate readings of this show, but the forest I'd be missing for the leaves is that the little children growing up with ponies aren't going to have magic tattoos telling them what they're meant for in life. They'll have to do with honesty.

    That's the kind of message I can get behind in this show. Bravo to the designers for getting this in.


    And then AJ got caught staring.


    Rara doesn't look like she minds one bit.


    I'll let Amy do the talking for this one.

    The last stage direction she wrote for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is Sweetie Belle, now bestowed with a cutie mark from an episode Amy made, using unicorn magic to hold up a triangle for AJ.


    Sorry, Pinkie. AJ and her cheek smoosh will have to win Best Face this week.

    With having had her on the writer's roll for four seasons out of five, and being the first writer after Lauren herself in "The Ticket Master" and "Applebuck Season", Amy Keating Rogers takes her alliteration, music, and theater to Disney to start a new page in her writing career. If you wanna check out her latest project, Star Darlings is right on over this way.

    From us to you, Mrs. Rogers, thank you, and we wish you all the best.

    Thank you for reading. CouchCrusader, out.

    BONUS MATERIAL:

    Lena Hall (Coloratura's voice actress, as I doubt I made clear) recorded her reactions to the episode here. She has a niece watching with her. They're adorable.

    Also, this fandom is freaking lightning: