• Let's Review: Friends Forever #27

    You'd run too. I'm just saying. You have not known fear until you've fled an angry Granny Smith hitched to Pinkie Pie. 

    These two got to star in the latest issue of Friends Forever! How'd it turn out? Let's talk.

    Watch out for spoilers!

    During a video on Leap of Faith, my co-reviewer LethalAuroraMage drew attention to the fact that Granny Smith has changed a lot from her season one persona. No longer a sleepy lady with a bad hip, Granny's become much more lively and outgoing.

    I like this change. It makes Granny Smith a diverse character that can interact with the main cast. Her "bad hip" joke was funny, but one joke can't last over six seasons. 

    The comics seem to be offering a third interpretation of the character. Granny has not had a lot of focus to date, but her roles in Friends Forever #9 and today’s comic present a much more hostile and bitter character. Less vim and vigor and more venom. 

    Granny suffers a bad fall at the start of Cider Season and we have our first unbelievable event. The doctor makes a house call!

    In a realm of magic, monsters, and talking ponies,
    this is what I find unbelievable. MADNESS!

    And with Cider Season in full swing, the rest of the Apples can’t mind Granny while attending their own chores. Enter Pinkie Pie, the most generous and patient pony in this comic. She gives of her time and energy by chauffeuring Granny Smith via cart. Not one bit of Granny’s irritation seems to register. 

    At first I wondered if Granny’s anger is a mixture of fear and frustration. The fall itself would be scary and she is likely in pain. Then there’s her line “Gimme back my dignity!” For the Apples, working the farm is being part of the family. Being denied that would likely drive any of them crazy. There’s also the matter of Granny Smith’s self-image. More on that in a moment.

    Yet there’s a limit to how far this reasoning can go. Granny dismisses Pinkie as a “non-Apple”, even though Applejack points out that Pinkie is considered as good as kin. And Pinkie makes an effort to help with farming first before settling on how she can make a solid contribution. Granny then spends the rest of the comic being irritable.

    Friends Forever #9 seemed like satire as Granny complained about a convention and the changing fandom attendance. This current issue is painting her sourness as a character trait that I don’t see in the show. When she did complain, it was about some modern contraption she couldn’t master. Or she would be cross with a pony who was doing her a disservice.

    "I ever tell y'all what happened to the last pony who pushed me?"

    I enjoy comics that add perceptions to characters in addition to what we’ve seen on the show, but this seems a contradiction. 

    There are minor bonding moments for Pinkie and Granny, especially in witnessing a piece of Sweet Apple Acres history together. Yet even Applejack comments that everything Pinkie does–without complaint or hesitation–seems to upset Granny.

    I wonder if AJ arranged the ending lesson a la Celestia, or if it’s just luck. I’d prefer the former but can’t say with certainty. 

    The moral of the story is to accept help with grace and humility, but I feel like there’s a secondary topic that wasn’t covered. Granny Smith is upset that she can’t get around like she used to. Losing her mobility is undermining her confidence, which translates into aggression. This story was a good opportunity to talk about the respect due elder citizens.

    Her grandchildren and Pinkie meant well, but they were so fixated on the immediate need of moving her between errands that they weren’t paying her attention as an individual. They could have made it clear that shuttling Granny was act of love and she wasn't diminished in their eyes. That’s why I want to believe Applejack arranged a learning opportunity. Either way, this story is a weaker entry in the line because it relies on a single joke scenario with some odd ideas:

    In terms of art it’s a strange thought that the backgrounds look more solid than the ponies. Each scene is detailed and some nice gradations help keep things lively. That’s not to say the ponies are poorly-drawn but there are cases where the proportions seem off. Either in relation to their surroundings or their body parts. Big McIntosh has moments where his head seems to defy gravity. 

    Proportions are like spelling and grammar.
    You don't appreciate them until something's off. 

    As much as I enjoy Pinkie Pie and Granny Smith (Pinkie Apple Pie, anyone?), I can’t put this comic in the win category. The conflict and character interaction needed some refinement to rise above one note. The fault lay entirely with Granny, though there was an opportunity for all the Apples and Pinkie to learn a new lesson. 

    I also noticed that Apple Bloom had less panel time compared to her siblings. Probably because the staff are holding her in reserve. Next month features my favorite princess and the newly marked CMC. Hmm. Might want to have a doctor nearby again.

    Twitter: Silver Quill