• "Spice Up Your Life": Episode Followup

    For the perfect followup: take one pony episode. Add a dash of pop culture. A smidgen of snark. And garnish with some healthy competition. Serve with a bountiful desert of discussion.

    Or turn it over to a bozo who doesn't know when to quit. Let's talk ponies after the break!

    Oh, yeah! That map thing's been pretty inactive lately. Turns out it needs tech support.

    Spike, that only works on my old VCR! For this, you need professionals.

    "Thank you for calling magical tech support. Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

    "Really, Silver? An IT Crowd reference?"

    I have a life outside of you, Twilight!

    Also, props to Starlight for having an important role without a one line of dialog. I think the young people call that "Mad skillz, yo."

    NOOO! Don't cross the streams!

    A little surprising the map duo is Rarity and Pinkie. They did great together in Gift of the Maud Pie, so I know they work well. Just didn't think they'd be paired up again so soon. But first let's have some friendly competition...

    Choose your favorite expression! Round 1: Are you for real?

    Alternate title: That's all we get this episode?

    I like Pinkie's attitude about this whole thing. No more second-guessing yourself like in Made in Manehattan. If the map chose these two specifically, then doing what they'd do naturally is the best course.

    And part of the fun of visiting new locals in Canterlot is seeing familiar faces. One can easily make a game of spotting familiar background ponies.

    Why three hooves for top marks? Human five-star ratings seem to match our digits so I would think that four–

    I'm sorry, I've just been informed that this is incredibly nit-picky and no one cares. Let's move on, shall we?

    I've seen restaurants like this before. The only thing emptier than your stomach is your wallet.

    Expression Competition, Round 2: The heck did I just eat? 

    It's hip to be square, so if you want a well-rounded meal then I urge you to consider the food pyramid.

    Follow my nose, wherever it goes!

    If my memory serves, this is the first instance we've seen of an elephant in MLP. Even in logo format.

    I love this setting. The staff went all-out on this place. A tasty treat for the eyes indeed!

    Much like its owners! Saffron Masala is such a great-looking pony. Her punjabi suit not only looks good but is very accurate to real life. Her mane and tail also follow a style that goes against the norm of straight or smooth tails and mane.

    It's not just the clothing and mane/tail style. Little things like the shape of her ears, eyes, and face help make her look distinct.

    Coriander Cumin is a little more familiar, as we've seen this body shape on several other characters. His short kurta and mane, tail, and mustache are the biggest factors. I found his expressions and defeatist attitude more charming. Cause I'm one of the few folks who would find defeatism charming.

    Even the food is looking authentic. From left to right we have naan flatbread, samosa (fried dumplings), and Baath cake.

    Now that's an approval stamp!

    Whatever you do, don't end up on an episode of Jer-Neigh Springer. You know he's out there...

    Pinkie! What did the doctor say about trying to touch your brain?

    Look, Father! We have our first rating. Our restaurant is now "TV Y" quality!

    Expression Competition, Round 3: I'm cute and I know it! 

    One can tell early on that things will get worse before they get better. What I enjoy about this is how both ponies are acting on the same plan, but have different executions. It's nice that even after all the time they've spent together, our mane heroines haven't become a hive mind.

    On Rarity's side, well, I think she's catching the greater flack from this episode. Her re-envisioning the Tasty Treat does make sense from a business standpoint. A new look will help draw a fresh, curious crowd and hopefully spread word of mouth. There's no shame in adapting.

    Not to mention she found the best dang work crew! They made this change happen in mere hours!

    Pinkie may seem blameless in this endeavor. After all, who could speak ill of a pony singing about being yourself?

    In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
    - Thomas Jefferson

    Why is this quote significant? Because Rarity's designs are a matter of style and can work to their benefit. When Rarity begins substituting the food, she's now compromising their identity. Given the lessons learned in Sweet and Elite and Canterlot Boutique, it's surprising that's she's willing to go so far. Perhaps she doesn't identify as closely because this isn't a fashion store, but hopefully she'll see that principle and integrity apply to any career.  

    But is Pinkie Pie flawless? At first, her message of being true to oneself is important. Yet one thing Pinkie has not yet learned is to curb her enthusiasm. She's assuming her exuberance from Ponyville will have the same affect. She's not tailoring the advertisements to Canterlot standards. Without intending, her quirks might drive customers away. While Rarity needs to learn to stand firm, Pinkie must learn to adapt. 

    Me and you. You and me. We don't have to be one and the same thing...

    Chargrill Breadwinner and Orange Slice. I found these two too delightful to make any Wisconsin stereotypes. Although I find that "U" on Chargill's polo interesting. Is this the first time an actual letter has been displayed on the–

    What's that? Too nit-picky again? Right, next competition!

    Expression Competition, Round 4: What have you done?

    "Father, what are you wearing?"

    "I would answer your question, daughter. But this treacherous necktie is cutting off the air to my brain."

    I hate ties.

    Okay, let's meet this Zesty Gourmand everypony fears...

    Good gravy! How do you even get cheeks like that? I think the surgery for it is illegal in every country except Guatamarea!

    Pinkie just realized how much of Zesty's face is actually organic.

    Whoa! Party foul, Rarity!

    Expression Competition, Round 5: We done goofed.

    She had it coming! Oh, wait, this is supposed to be bad.

    Um... oh no?

    "Rarity, when it comes to fashion, you are adequate."


    She just made the list.

    Last week I talked about introducing secondary characters. It's a funny contrast. We are seeing these two at their low point, much like Zephyr Breeze, yet their conflict isn't driven by ego. Tension, sure, but their genuine care for one another shows.

    As does the show staff's detail in bringing out thukpa, the spicy flat noodle soup. Popular in India, Tibet, and China. 

    Because they're so kind to one another and our mane cast, they become more endearing right away. Now we definitely want to see them triumph. And Rarity now knows what to do!

    "Do you like... apples?"

    "Well I'm a fantastic advertiser! How do you like them apples?"

    Okay, just from this scene I want these two to return. Canterlot's finally getting a cast outside the royal family. More please!

    More indeed! That's a lot of reference ponies. All of them chefs. Think you've got me stumped, Friendship is Magic production staff? Think I can't see through your clever and well-designed references?

    Well, you're right! I'm hopeless. I only recognized two thanks to Epic Rap Battles of History.  Thankfully, there are more culturally-attuned members within this fandom! Let's break it down:

    Well done, Bronies and Pegasisters!

    Let's chat a little about Zesty Gourmond. Many have made the comparison between her and Ratatouille's Anton Ego. Many have also noted the critical difference. Anton was willing to try something new and reflect upon his outlook. Zesty won't budge. A food critic who refuses to taste. Her ego has corrupted her profession, and is arguably a caution to anyone who wants to be a critic/reviewer/analyst. 

    Turns out he's more a Featherweight fan. Who knew? 

    Overall this was a very fun episodes. Opinions on who was right or wrong and how the plan came together will vary. Discussion and disagreement can be the spice of life, so long as we don't throw in bitter resentment or condescension. 

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading! Let's chat!