• Editorial: Subtle Double-take: Why Didn’t They​ Write Each Other?

    "Uncommon Bond" is an episode about how time changes interests but friendship bridges those differences. This moral, however, isn't what I want to take a closer look at.

    Why Didn't They Write Each Other!? Seriously, is there any other question a Starlight Glimmer fan could obsess over more? Except of course how she manages to stay friends with the odd friend group she's in.

    If you consider yourself to be a Starlight Glimmer fan to any degree, this question isn't new for you. I think the answer might be found in the episode "Uncommon Bond."

    "Starlight does have a tendency to overdo."
    Overdo? Twi, overdue is for library books. Glams done turned her friend into livin' puppets once! Starlight doesn't just overdo things, she's not even about blowing things out of proportions. Starlight is the kind of pony who catches the whole house on fire because she saw a spider. Her reactions to things that displease her are more unpredictable than Discord. Starlight is not a very stable pony. . . get it? Stable? Like where horses . . . I'll stop now.

    There is nothing strange about two friends acting like kids again, right?

    This episode she is no different. Starlight, for all her intelligence, doesn't seem to understand how to evaluate the feelings she has. She doesn't regulate her emotions at all and is often completely wrecked by them. If she's not stuffing them into a bottle, she's using her feelings to fuel her extremely dramatic spells. Dragging a pony back through time to their foalhood is not how one properly recaptures the good old days. Who resorts to such extremes when upset?

    She maybe moments away from tearing reality apart, but she looks so happy.
    But of course, all these emotional hang-ups are the result of her losing Sunburst. Based solely on what I can deduce from the episode "The Cutie Re-mark" without any additional input from any other source, Starlight didn't seem to have much support outside of Sunburst. She didn't make new friends and her family didn't help her cope with loneliness for whatever reason. It completely appears as if Starlight's whole world was wrapped up in this one connection she'd made.

    Kinda wish I could step in there and nudge her to go celebrate with everypony else, because while they were all celebrating, Starlight was isolating.
    According to her constant mentioning of foalhood fun in "Uncommon Bond," Glams obsession with Sunburst was present from the start. All her happy memories have him in them. Playing board games, drinking juice, causing trouble; she doesn't have positive memories without him.

    The cuteness is too much!
    None of this is news, but there's a strong point to be made here. Starlight is prone to overreacting to things. She didn't have many friends or family members to rally around her. She's lonely. And like most lonely kids, when she made a friend she latched on and didn't want to let go. I almost feel like Starlight mistook her friendship with Sunburst to be a predestined given instead of a choice that would have to be continually made by both parties.

    May I tell you how my friendship with a pony I haven't seen in years is going to be exactly as it was when we last saw each other as foals. I'm not naïve, right?
    So we understand that there is no way she would have been able to dream up something as simple as writing to her old friend. She went straight to the most over-the-top conclusion she could draw: Never make another friend so a cutie mark can't steal them away. And when the lonilness got to be too much, she just got rid of cutie marks instead.

    Glams was determined enough to kidnap a princess, gutsy enough to stalk the famed Elements of Harmony with the Spirt of Chaos standing there, willing enough to destroy the very fabric of time! But somehow, with all this manic expenditure of energy, she was never inspired to write Sunburst, visit him, or even look him up on social media.

    To ask why she didn't write is the wrong question.

    Instead let's ask: how could she send a letter? I look at her behavior through "Uncommon Bond" and I am overwhelmed with just how ill-equipped she is to handle social conflict.

    I'm out of ideas, back to the game board.

    Starlight's overdramatic reaction to simple things leads me to believe that nopony outside of Twilight and co. have ever had the opportunity to teach her how to cope with negative feelings. As an emotionally hurt foal, Starlight never had the ability to think about contacting Starburst and she had no one to help to send a letter. Foals need adults to help them learn what to do. Starlight only had her over active imagination to comfort her.

    Never going to try for a friend again becuase I imagine they'll leave me! No proof of that, just a thought!
    Okay, so what about Sunspot? What's his excuse for not keeping in touch?

    I want you to think back on your time in elementary school. How many of your old classmates are you still in touch with? Maybe 1 or 2, but as we grow up, we usually accept that not every person we meet is going to be part of our lives forever.

    How about we not pick up where we left off and instead try something new?
    When Sunburst first steps off that train in "Uncommon Bond," he is an immediate excitable ball of happiness. He's experiencing something new! (That can include antiquing. He's looking at old stuff he's never seen before.) Yes, his old foalhood friend is there, but there are so many things he has yet to experience in the town of Ponyville.

    Is this a card? Of course it is, be amazed at my knowledge!
    Now I have no strong idea what his younger self was like, but I can watch his adult reactions. Every chance to connect to something novel, his attention is pulled away from Starlight. His tolerance to repeat old experiences is low, he wants to meet new ponies and try new things. Starburst doesn't dwell on the past.The fact that he is so easily making friends - something he doesn't really have back home- is too enticing to stay focused on just one old acquaintance.

    He fits in! He's making friends! He's seeing new things! It's just like when he got his cutie mark and he ran out on the pony that gave him the oppertunity to earn it in the first place.

    I Don't Even Know What I Was Doing Before Now! CUTIE MARK!

    Sunburst's adult reactions are consistant with his foal reactions the day he got his mark. Imagine what must have been going through his younger self's head. He would be moving to a prestigious magic school; new faces, spells, city, Life! Sunburst was completely distracted by everything happening to him that his old life didn't occupy much of his mind. And it looks like his family and hometown very much wanted him to be preoccupied with his new oppertunities.

    Without their parents offering a playdate between the two, I think there is little these foals could have done to stay connected. Sunburst was too busy trying to live up to the expectations of his new life while Starlight was too hurt to think clearly. Neither pony would have thought much about reconnecting until too much time had passed.

    That's, uh, a nice light fixture you've got there.

    I think like most of us, Starlight and Sunburst (StarBurst if you will) didn't mean to lose their friendship, it was just a result of things way beyond their control as foals.

    If you've never had a chance to sit down with an old 'best' friend from your elementary years, let me assure you it's odd. You can't really explain why you didn't keep connected but at the time there were hundreds of reasons why you just couldn't. And . . . it's really awkward.

    I know it's not a very satisfying answer, but I think we have to look at the fact that Starlight isn't the most rational thinker and Sunburst's attention is easily diverted. Seriously, who comes to visit a friend and then doesn't hang out with them, or creates a spell to transform into a foal just to play a board game?

    Should have just hung out with Trixie.

    Regardless, I thought it was worth a double-take. So what do you think. I like my reasoning, but maybe the real truth was that neither could afford stamps. Why did these two lose contact?

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