• Overanalyze This: Pinkie Pie and the Unlikable Mudbriar

    In the last episode, we were introduced to a very interesting character in the form of Mudbriar.  Well... Technically he isn't interesting; He's dull as dishwater.  But what is interesting is what he represents.  You see, Mudbriar is a very unique being.  He is something that nobody ever knew existed, and in fact that many people thought could not exist at all.  He is... a pony that Pinkie Pie doesn't like.

    Yes, that most prominent of social butterflies, friend to literally everyone and everything Pinkie Pie has finally encountered someone that she simply cannot stand.  But what exactly does that mean?  And how will something like this affect her character going into the future?

    Let's analyze this stick in the mud after the break!

    Before we look to the future, it's important to understand why Pinkie Pie reacted the way she did to Mudbriar.  On its face, the whole premise seems a bit questionable, doesn't it?  Pinkie freaking Pie meeting a new creature and not immediately deciding to be ultra best friends for life with them?  There's at least one donkey in Ponyville who can tell you exactly how unlikely that is.

    Pictured here:  Successful friendship.

    Pinkie Pie has never been one to dismiss another creature based on a bad first impression.  Even when it was someone like Gilda, Pinkie had to spend an entire day watching her bully and torment people before she started to entertain the notion that maybe she wasn't a very nice person, and even then she still wanted to be friends.  So what is it about Mudbriar that sets her off?

    Say "technically" one more time and I will technically suplex you into that barrel.

    To be fair, he does have quite a lot of odd habits to rub her the wrong way.  His awkward, halting speech patterns, his obsession with technicalities and literality, a tendency to break into long winded explanations full of scientific jargon, a complete inability to recognize social cues...  Any of this starting to sound familiar?

    "He's talking about me, in case that wasn't clear."

    Yes, all of the things that Pinkie can't stand about Mudbriar are all of the things that he has in common with Maud.  And that is very telling.  Pinkie Pie's reaction to Maud's boyfriend is exactly the same way that Pinkie's friends reacted to Maud when they first met her. Pinkie's spent her whole life around Maud, so she's used to her and knows her well enough to look past the weird stuff that puts other ponies off. When she meets Mudbriar, she sees all the same awkward silences and missed social cues that everyone else sees in Maud, and she doesn't know how to deal with them coming from somepony else.

    That was the whole point of the comedy club scene in the beginning: to remind the audience that even though Pinkie (and by extension ourselves) knows Maud well enough to ignore her social awkwardness, to a stranger she comes off as kind of a quiet oddball.

    I don't care what those other ponies say, "My favorite thing to listen to is clastic rock" is some S-Rank puncraft.

    Pinkie has always been extremely possessive of her older sister.  Because she understands Maud better than most people do, she believes that she knows everything there is to know about her, and also that she can be everything that her sister needs.  Then along comes Mudbriar, who relates to Maud in a way that Pinkie Pie can't ever do for her, and that's where we see that spark of animosity.

    Sticks and stones and weirdo pones.

    The thing about Pinkie Pie is that she rarely, if ever, actually gets upset at other people unless they are actively trying to murder her (which does seem to happen more often than you'd think).  More often than not, she's really upset at herself for not being good enough for them.  She's not mad at Cheese Sandwich for stealing her party thunder, she's mad that she wasn't able to throw a good enough party for Rainbow Dash.  She's not frustrated with Rutherford for not appreciating her hospitality, she's frustrated with herself for being unable to accommodate him.

    And then there was the time she was so disappointed in herself for almost forgetting Sir Lintsalot's birthday that she had a nervous breakdown.

    Then Mudbriar comes along and not only does that, but he does that by coming in between her and Maud, the person she cares about more than anyone else.  All those insecurities Pinkie feels get amplified by her love for her sister, and wind up manifesting in an outright resentment for the pony who caused them.

    So what does this mean for Pinkie's future development?  How will these two opposites deal with each other from now on?  Well, if I can speak from an extra-narrative standpoint I don't find it all that likely that we'll see them interact much again.  Mudbriar is a supporting character for a supporting character;  He's probably not going to have such a significant role to play again.

    But I could see this as a step towards Pinkie Pie developing into a more mature person.  In the final scene of the episode, there's an important bit where it's shown that Mudbriar still very much grates on her nerves.  Over time she may come to understand him better, but for now she's just sucking it up for Maud's sake.  This could be where she begins to learn to recognize and accept these kinds of negative feelings instead of just repressing them to make others happy, eventually becoming a much more emotionally healthy person.

    Assuming, of course, she can keep herself from strangling him over those technicalities.  No jury in Equestria would convict her.

    It's at this point that I realize I'm doing that thing where I forget to stop writing again.  The TL;DR version is that when the perpetual people-pleaser Pinkie Pie finally encounters a creature that even she can't bring herself to like, it winds up saying a lot more about her than it does about him, but that might not be such a bad thing.

    ~ The Skullivan