• "Horse Play": Episode Followup

    I signed on to write this episode followup the moment I read the synopsis. The ponies put on a play, and Celestia gets the lead role? And she can't act to save her life? That sounds amazing, sign me the heck up.

    And oh, what an amazing episode this was.

    I'm algernon97. Join me below the break for the followup to Horse Play.

    Note: This followup has a ton of pictures, and quite a few gifs. This may slow down some computers and mobile devices.

    A onseversery's great, but it's no eleventy-first birthday party.

    Good god, that's adorable. 

    Celestia reminiscing about her fillyhood friends putting on plays is a nice look into her past, even if it is brief. And judging by how she feels about the theatre, I think she'd get along rather well with Coco Ms. Pommel. 


    In all seriousness, this was a lovely moment for Twilight.

    "You'll be playing yourself!"

    Twilight, there's a reason why this very rarely happens in movies/plays.

    This smile is right on the edge between "cute" and "psychotic." Either way, it's a good entry for Best Face.

    This is exactly how the relationship between the set designer and the special effects people plays out in real life. Right down to imitating Mary Poppins and everything.

    And here's Applejack's entry for Best Face.

     Fluttershy's just traveled back to that river in 'Nam

    It's great to see that the baby steps technique has finally paid off. Fluttershy also appears to have a photographic memory, which makes her a million times better at that sort of thing than me. I lock my car about five times and still don't know if it's locked for sure, but Flutters here can memorize all of her lines in no time.

    There's nothing I could type up to caption this that would be better than what you're probably thinking right now. Suffice it to say this is Rarity's entry for Best Face.

    I can't tell if this is an improved version of the Rainboom effect or not. Either way, Rainbow really loves to do that lately, doesn't she?

    "We've met Princess Celestia before, plenty of times."

    The first of many instances where Applejack is the voice of reason.

    Two things:

    1) Warm-ups, in theatre at least, don't tend to be sweaty. They're more focused on dealing with the voice, and a lot of it is quickly saying tongue-twisters or stuff that needs proper enunciation in order to not sound dirty, like "I'm not the pheasant plucker nor the pheasant plucker's son, but I'll pluck your pheasant 'til the pheasant plucker comes." That, and going through music scales.

    If you're getting sweaty, it's because the stage lights are on and those things bring  the temperature up to ninety degrees.

    2) This exchange between Starlight and Twilight is gold, and I love it.

    "What could go wrong?"

    You just cursed the entire production, Applejack.

    Behold, the Great Disco Ball of DOOM.

    If this story's true, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be if Twilight wrote it, then working with Starswirl must've sucked. If you got picked to help him raise the sun, you'd have to kiss all your magic powers goodbye and spend the rest of your days as an earth pony.

    Do you think they drew straws for that? Or did Starswirl have to pick them out himself?

    Honestly that whole setup's kinda horrifying if you think about it. Imagine knowing that not only will a time come when there won't be any magic left, but the sun will never come up again as a result. And there's nothing you can do about it.

    I'm probably overthinking this.

    Spike's channeling his inner Cecil B. Demille and Buster Keaton with that outfit. Guy's pulling the look off rather well, I'd say.

    I also like the way he says "and here comes the best part." It's like he knows it's not going to turn out well but has to stay positive for Twilight's sake.

    Speaking of the best part...

    You know what, Sandbar deserves some serious credit here. Princess Celestia, the being that raises the freaking sun every day, is standing right there next to him and what does he do?

    He stays in character and gives her a silent cue when she screws up. Doesn't even flinch. That's professionalism if I've ever seen it. He loses a few points for looking at the camera by the end, but I'd do that too if the director wasn't yelling "hold" after a flub like that.

    Hoo boy.

    If you've ever heard of the term "underacting," this is it in a nutshell. Celly needs to project more, speak from the diaphragm instead of the throat.

    And here we have another entry for Best Face.

    Stephen King and Brian De Palma watching the dress rehearsal for Carrie: The Musical. 1988, colorized.

    Oh sweet pony jesus, dial back the projection, Celestia. You're literally knocking their socks off!

    Has Celestia used the Royal Canterlot Voice before? I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've seen her use it. Feel free to correct me down in the comments if I've got it wrong.

    Celestia, she said "just like you're talking to me," not "like you've been replaced by a pod pony."

    That being said, this is far from the worst performance ever. You ever see Illegal Heathers? That thing's a real trip.

    Celestia's bad at acting, but Twilight's direction isn't helping that much. She's giving out George Lucas levels of stage direction. I'm expecting her to say "faster" or "more intense" any second now. 

    On a more serious note, Nicole Oliver does a pretty good job of "bad" acting here. It's actually rather difficult for professional actors to fake "bad" acting and make it convincing, but she pulls it off really well.

    Presented without context.

    I've seen this happen in a few rehearsals. A good choreographer drills the heck out of the cast in order to make sure it doesn't happen.

    Spike, however, is not a good choreographer. 

    Still, at least the students are having fun here. That's what really matters for a school production. 

    I have no reason to post this image other than Celestia's face. 

    In my defense, that is an amazing face.

    Twilight and Starlight's reaction to the hat is just priceless. You'd think it was a radioactive monstrosity that insulted their mothers from how they look at it.

    And if you think this sort of thing never happens outside of cartoons, I've seen an actor accidentally throw a fake musket into the orchestra pit. I've also seen bits of a set fall from the rafters and nearly clobber an actor in the head.

    Point is, theatre work is dangerous, man. Those students are lucky that trapdoor wasn't all that deep.

    Applejack, being the voice of reason again. 

    We also have another instance of wings being used as hands... I think. I'm not entirely sure what Twilight's going for there, to be totally honest.

    The idea to shut down the play is something I'd expect Biaylstock and Bloom to come up with, but it actually would save the day. Pinkie's right when she says it's the perfect plan.

    But hang on, aren't we forgetting about someone?

    I'm pretty sure Fluttershy's back in 'Nam again.

    Rainbow Dash, making life difficult since 2010. 

    This is why you never advertise before starting rehearsals, folks.

    Twilight, I know you made a promise, and it's very admirable of you to keep it. But at this point you'd really be better off following Applejack's advice. 

    I'm just waiting for AJ to pull out a blackboard at this point.

    Celestia is just amazing at accidental guilt trips, isn't she?

    Also it's two in the morning and I've got a horrible cold as I write this. As a result, Spike's face is making me giggle uncontrollably.

    Oh hey, it's those actors from Made in Manehattan. Nice to see them get names.

    Twilight sends in a ton of entries for Best Face in this episode.

    Rarity's instant elation and instant sadness are comedic gold.

    Something I haven't talked about is how every character gets at least one moment to shine in this episode. It's a wonderful way to utilize the cast, and I wish more episodes were done like this. This is the first episode that Kaita Mpambara's written, and he did a fantastic job.

    God, how I wish this was a gif.

    Celestia's confusion and inability to understand any of the exercises is a highlight of this episode. 

    Also it would appear that Lyra's method of sitting has reached the mainstream. I wonder how she feels about that.

    This is an acting workshop, Raspberry, not an interpretive dance class.

    Presented without context.

    Also I love Twilight's delivery of "Do I wanna know?" It's so deadpan and resigned.

    The dictionary defines "Antidisestablishmentarianism" as "the opposition of withdrawal of state support or recognition from an established church, especially the Anglican Church in the 19th century." 

    This show teaches you a nice little SAT word every so often.

    It's also worth noting that if you make a professional actor collapse into tears just from charades, you're astoundingly bad.

    This is the winner for Best Face, possibly for the entire show. 

    Luna and Fleur De Lis know each other?

    I'd like to know how that friendship started. fanficwritersgetonthatpls

    Junebug and Berry Punch are also here, and that makes me happy.

    You already won Best Face, Twilight, stop sending in entries.

    I accidentally paused on this frame, and I've never been so glad to have done something like that.

    "Why would untested magic fireworks that I bought in a back alley from Trixie at midnight be unsafe?"

    That has to be one of the best lines in the whole show. 

    I am definitely not contractually obligated to include this image of Trixie. I am not in any way being coerced or forced to include it at the behest of Seth, this is a totally voluntary choice I made by myself.

    Send help.

    I'm honestly surprised her mane didn't catch fire here. That tends to happen when the red background shows up.

    If you listen carefully, you can hear the heartbreak in her voice. It's buried under the anger and disappointment, but it's there.

    It's also a nice callback to what Celestia said before they went into the workshop.

    Here's something for all you shippers out there.

    There was a time when Applejack was basically the secondary leader of the group. That time's long gone by now, but it's always nice to see her take on her old role. Even if it's just for a moment or two.

    He's dead.

    Standing room only audience, and you try to entertain them with juggling? They're gonna eat him alive.

    This scene is perfect in every way. The acting, the music, the setting, it's all perfect. It's heartwarming, emotional, and just a fantastic conversation between these two. 

    This episode was already good, but this scene makes it great.

    Celestia is a fan-f[yay]ing-tastic director and stage manager. 

    You know what's fantastic about the whole sequence? Celestia goes through all the techniques that the Method Mares tried to teach her, with the exception of interpretational dance. Visualization, improvisation, charades, they all come into play. 

    It takes what could have been one-off jokes and turns them into a great setup and payoff. 


    [insert hullabaloo about how they won't manipulate the sun for Songbird Serenade but will for this play here]

    You magnificent rainbow-maned troll.

    If you ask me, this is the best episode of the season so far. It's hilarious, every character gets a moment in the spotlight, and it gives us one of the best interactions between Twilight and Celestia ever. I love it.

    So what'd you think of this episode? Post your thoughts down in the comments.

    Thanks for reading, andI'll see you sometime in the future.

    algernon97 is waiting for Godot.