• "A Trivial Pursuit:" Episode Followup

    Better late than never, right?


    It's a thing everyone has some experience with. And sometimes, the masters of this nebulous thing gather together to determine who is the one true champion of random knowledge. It is a game that can drive contestants mad. It is a game known to destroy friendships and drive one to break their moral compass without hesitation.

    Welcome to Trivial Pursuit.

    Head on down below the break for the followup to Twilight Sparkle Goes Completely Insane.

    Spike's pacing around in front of the library, talking to himself, late at night.

    You can't carve a groove into this floor like you could with the Golden Oaks's, but he's trying to do just that. Whatever's going on in that library, it's gotta be crazy.

    The classic mirror pep talk. It even ends with a fist-bump. Every great pep talk ends with a fist bump.

    It sounds like Twilight's Twilighting to the point of sleep deprivation. I've been there plenty of times, especially when writing a followup.

    Well, I see the books scattered around the place, but I don't see any sign of Twilight.

    I'm with Spike, this is weird. It's not like Twiggles to not be studying before something like a Trivia Trot.

    Maybe she went to get a glass of water or something.

    Or maybe she's learned how to be a bloody ninja.

    Seriously, that's some super creepy levels of quiet you've got going there, Twi.

    Looks like Twilight is a fan of Vinyl Scratch/DJ Pon-3, and if the condition of that T-shirt's any indication she's been following the Pony of Wubs for a long time.

    I wonder how she feels whenever she bumps into Vinyl in Ponyville. Or how Vinyl feels when the Princess of Friendship bumps into her.

    "...brains need eight hours of sleep to perform at optimum levels!"

    Oh, so that's why my brain's never worked right. I'm supposed to get eight hours instead of six or less. 

    Something tells me Twilight hasn't been following her own advice here, either.

    All that sleep deprivation, excitement, and cramming is for the chance to win a trivia contest three times in a row. 

    She's got a long way to go before she's got a chance of beating Ken Jennings's record streak (seventy-four wins in a row) for a trivia game, but she's getting there. 

    You, uh, you doing alright there, Twilight? You seem a teeny-weeny-itty-bitty bit obsessed. 

    The Zone. 

    A fabled state of mind, one where even the most stressful of tasks fail to disrupt someone's calm, rarely achieved by those who seek it. Most give up in the stressful, insanity-inducing quest for it. Others, the legend says, can find it from the moment they are born. 

    Personally, I've only reached that calm state when riding a lawnmower around a huge field of grass. I wish I could get into it during college or my job, but no, that's just not how The Zone works.

    "This is a whole new level of Twilighting, isn't it?"
    "The answer is YES!"

    Twilight is so far into a Twilighting episode that she doesn't even acknowledge the verb made out of her name. That, or she's come to accept her name being turned into a verb by this point.  Or she's just totally unhinged tonight, that's always an option.

    She says she's OK, though. I trust her. Just look at that face. That's the face of a sane, trustworthy pony right there. Definitely not somebody to run away from at full speed, that's for sure. 

    Even when she's gone nuts, Twilight can still manage to pull off something cute. 

    Twilight's channeling her inner Pinkie with that pronking (yes it's a real word, shut up google), there. 

    Does this count as foreshadowing since Pinkie shows up and plays a major part in the episode later? I think it does. 

    Your writer for this week is Brittany Jo Flores. This is her second episode for the show, with her previous credit being Once Upon a Zeppelin.  

    As for what's happening onscreen, Spike just made the mistake of thinking a trivia game is nothing but answering questions. 

    Poor guy's about to learn all the rules in great detail whether he wanted to or not.

    Two things: 

    1. Of course Twilight has a copy of the rules. 
    2. There are so many rules for the Trivia Trot, they've been divided into categories. And the first rule in that first category is about categorizing stuff. That is a very detailed set of rules. 

    I'm not gonna lie, I'd look the same way if I'd just had to listen to forty-one-point-six rules for a trivia game. 

    You can only learn so many rules in one day before your brain turns to mush or goes into autopilot. 

    Unless, of course, you're Twilight Sparkle. This pony lives for complicated, detailed rules and the chance to explain them to someone. 

    In all fairness, this is pretty much how I am in any conversation about movies.
    Or books.
    Or TV shows.
    Or anything I'm interested in, really.

     And Spike is what most people look like after I've started talking about those things with them. 

    Looks like the Trivia Trot is hosted at The Hay Burger. An odd venue for a trivia game, but not the strangest place for an event like that. 

    The pure relief Spike's feeling once Twilight can't go on about the rules is something I'm sure many people can relate to. 

    "I can't wait to see who my partner's gonna be!"

    I can give you a hint for that, Twilight: It's the pony you're least expecting right now. 

    "I read half of the rules out to you, how do you now know this?"

    "Look, after rule 13.B.5 I think my soul left my body, so anything past that just went right by me."

    "What? How could you be bored by this? Trivia Trot rules are the most fascinating rules put to paper since the Equestrian tax codes!"

    Before the internet was so commonplace, people solved arguments by going to encyclopedias and looking things up in them.

    This is exactly what the person who was right looked like after such an occasion. It's a lost art, smugly slamming a book shut and holding it over your opponent.

    According to the chart, Bulk Biceps has the weakest stats across the board. 

    On the opposite end, Maud's got the most consistently strong stats in all categories.

    And Fluttershy has an extra bar all to herself. 

    "Ha! I knew there'd be a chart!"

    Well, yeah. Twilight likes charts. She charts everything in the world. It's how she manages to survive each and every day. She's got charts for a schedule, charts for her friends' birthday parties, charts for games, charts for food groups...

    Of course, Twiggles doesn't like it when you point out how chart-obsessed she can be. She's heard it before, plenty of times, and pointing it out now is just going to get you a disappointed glare.

    Hey look, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are in the background over there. 

    Twilight doesn't hesitate at all to reassure Spike when he thinks he'd let her down in the game. It's brief, but it's always nice to see these two acting like family. 

    Looks like hardly any seats are left in the restaurant. It might even be standing room only. I wonder if the fire marshal is alright with packing that many ponies into a small burger joint. 

    Still, at least it's less crowded than BronyCon was this year. It's got fewer lines, too.

    If there is one thing in this world Applejack loves almost as much as her family, it's competing with other ponies. 

    Especially if it involves tackling a reigning champion.

    She also knows Twilight well enough to know that Twiggles is absolutely going to try for a third win, no matter what she says about Trivia Trot being "anypony's game."

    Why bother to write down your name when you can draw the unique symbol on your butt? 

    Granted, not everypony in the room thinks that's the best idea if the notes in that bowl are anything to go by, but it's sound logic for this universe.

    Different ponies approach a trivia contest in different ways. Some, like Twilight, spent long nights studying for it but admit that it can be anyone's game. 

    Others, like Rainbow "my ego knows no bounds" Dash, loudly and proudly announce that they are definitely, 100% going to win the heck out of this thing before the game even starts. 

    Some people get peeved by this, others don't. Me, I don't care one way or the other.

    Quit giving me that look, you've all said "peeved" at some point or another. 

    "I didn't come all the way from the Crystal Empire to lose."

    But what if you do? What will you do then, Sunburst?

    How serious does Sunburst take Trivia Trot (and his correct answer percentage)?

    Serious enough to clean his glasses the same way an evil scientist would. 

    Rainbow's having none of it, though. You think she's gonna let someone waltz in and take her spot as the most confident and/or egotistical character in the episode? Think again, pal.

    There was time when Twilight could dress up as Starswirl the Bearded for Nightmare Night, and the only pony to recognize the costume would be Princess Luna.

    Now, Rainbow Dash is using Starswirl to deliver a sick burn to Sunburst. 

    It's amazing how much can change in a few years. 

    "My opponents are tearing each other to shreds before the game even begins. Excellent. That three-time champion title is mine for sure."

    --Twilight Sparkle, probably.

    A new challenger approaches, brushing her pet rabbit like a classic supervillain. 

    And she makes puns. 

    Truly the most dangerous pony to face in a trivia contest. 

    Angel Bunny, being Angel Bunny, despises everything and anything that has led to this moment or will happen to him today.

    Wait a minute.

    Is that hoof-holding? 

    Gah, what sick ponies these two are, doing that in public. 

    Of course Twilight memorized the rules.

    She's pretty confident about this event. So long as no uncalculated variables pop up, I think she's got it in the bag.

    Cue the entrance of the impossible to calculate variable that is Pinkie Pie.

    Much like Pinkie herself, Pinkie's mane spits on the laws of science and nature. In this case, it's by functioning as an additional limb she can use to hold a pencil. 

    Don't try to understand it, you'll go crazy if you do.

    This is what happens when the most organized chart-y pony on the planet gets an unknown and impossible to account for variable thrown into her day.

    So much drama is applied to a scrap of paper being dropped into a bowl.

    I love it.

    I have been informed that the music used here is a shoutout to Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Thanks to Ghost Pear for pointing that out to me.

    That chart appears to be an analysis of how certain ponies will do when paired with other ponies. I can't tell who's paired with who, but I can see two check marks in a field of Xs. I assume check marks are threats to Twilight's threepeat.

    "She's never played before!"

    There's a very old saying about sports, and it goes something like this: the thing professionals fear more than anything else is coming up against an untrained amateur. Because while you can predict which moves an expert might take, you'll never know what a rookie is going to do.

    This just isn't your day, Spike. First you deal with crazy Twi in the morning, then you have to listen to a ton of rules, and now your insides are getting jumbled up six ways from Sunday.

    She's so tense she's clenched her chin.

    Can you even clench the underside of your chin? Is that physically possible? I shouldn't be this interested in figuring out the answer to that question.

    "Do I have to do that thing where I list all your successes as Princess of Friendship to put things into perspective and remind you this is just a game?"

    On the one hand, kudos to you for being so self-aware and knowing how to calm Twilight down in most situations, Spike.

    On the other hand, calling this thing "just a game" may have been the worst thing you could have done at this moment.

    Seriously, I think you can see the gears screeching to a halt in Twilight's head.

    If anything, he only made Twilight go even more Twilynanas.

    I've run into folks that take games or other types of entertainment media this seriously.

    They are among the most terrifying people I've ever met.

    Nopony in the background's bothered by the Princess of Friendship going mental over a trivia contest.

    Then again, her name's become a verb in the town because of stuff like this, so this is probably an average Tuesday for the Doc, Matilda, and Granny.

    It's still a near-death experience for Spike because, well, just look at that picture. Poor guy's getting a point-blank blast of stress-induced crazy right in his face.

    Twilight's panicking so much, she asks Spike to check if she left that chart about match-ups outside the restaurant even though she put it in her bag after showing it to him earlier.

    She was also looking at it just a few seconds ago. Panic does bad things to your head, man.

    Spike, of course, has been through this routine so many times that he just starts rolling the scroll up as soon as it lands on his head.

    This is why he's Twilight's number one assistant.

    That, and because nobody else could handle being her assistant.

    That's a good roll job you did there, Spike.

    It's not as tightly wound as Twilight's nerves, though. She's about as nervous as a chicken seeing Colonel Sanders pull into the farmer's driveway.

    We've got a closer look at the match-up chart now, and I still don't understand how exactly it works.

    All I know is that Applejack has the only check mark that we can see, for some reason.

    Cranky Doodle always pops up in the most unexpected places.

    I bet the fast travel he used back in his adventuring days is malfunctioning and sending him to random locations in town. It'd explain why he's so apathetic to almost everything.

    "Team AppleDash is basically unstoppable!"

    Do you hear that? That strange, tinny sound faintly echoing through the hills?

    That's shippers all over the world screaming.

    There are few things as intense as the rivalry between Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Not political debates, not fandom wars, not even the fight for how to properly spell words like color is as heated as the competition between these two ponies.

    And it's something a lot of ponies love to watch, including Twilight here.

    I'd like to direct your attention to the Sunburst doodle on this chart, because he looks like a fish that is staring into your soul. 

    He may have the weakest stats, but he makes up for it by bringing maximum effort to the table.

    Granny Smith really loves this job. Just listen to how enthusiastic she is to call out names.

    Also the longer I stare at this frame the weirder her nose gets, so let's move on.

    All of the contestants hate the news that Maud and Mudbriar are being teamed up again.

    Mrs. Cake and those two guys by that table, however, hear that news and think, "oh, this is gonna be good."

    "Maud and Mudbriar have been paired together every week. It's a statistical improbability!"

    The universe is too scared of what would happen if they weren't put together for a team to let them not be paired together. 

    You can actually see the paper itself catching fire.

    I'm surprised the quill didn't tear through it, to be honest. That's what tends to happen when I write that fast.

    By either chance or rigging, Twilight's ended up with Pinkie Pie as a Trivia Trot partner.

    What you're seeing here is an obsessed planner realizing that there is no way in Tartarus that she can calculate anything for this event anymore. It's tantamount to the end of the world for her.

    Twilight is currently wondering why the gods have forsaken her this hard.

    Pinkie's just happy to be here.

    Be like Pinkie.

    Oh, dear.

    Eye-twitching is never a good sign, especially for someone as prone to freaking out as Twilight.

    "So, I'm guessing the one pony who could mess up your winning streak is Pinkie?"

    Spike, you fool. Don't you know that uttering The Pink One's name can let her use whatever dimension-hopping powers she has to pop up right next to you?

    Well, I tried to warn you, but you just had to go and summon her, anyway.

    If you listen closely enough, you can actually hear Twilight screaming inside.

    The screaming's stopped, but the constant stream of "why," "oh, Celestia," "why," "this can't be happening," and "sweet Celestia, why?" are still going strong.


    "Help. Me."


    Some of you may be wondering where, exactly, Pinkie got those balloons.

    The answer to that question is, "don't ask."

    Twilight is dying inside. Just look at that face and tell me I'm wrong.

    Pinkie's dropping ship names left and right, here. I'm sure most of them are actual names the fandom's used at some point or another, too.

    Hearing her spout those terms is a very surreal experience.

    Ah, I think we've reached the Eureka moment.


    The closeup.
    The way it's said.
    That face.

    The show staff know exactly what they're doing.

    Remember that strange, tinny sound from earlier?

    It's happening again, only it's much louder now.

    Twilight's not quite as interested in hearing shipping names.

    She is, however, doing her best to let Pinkie know how much winning this thing means to her without going full Twilynanas.

    And Pinkie understands that, although I don't think she gets how insane this thing's starting to drive Twilight. 

    Still, it's the effort that counts, and Pinkie's doing all she can.

    Of course, nothing's going to stop Pinkie from bringing Pinkie-level energy to this thing.

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    "Pinkie might not be the partner I expected, but I can coach her along."

    I've often found that you can start something with this sort of mindset, only for it to devolve into chaos and horror very quickly.

    Now, I've never gone as completely insane as Twilight does in this episode, but the general concept's still rooted in real life.

    I think this is the only time Cranky isn't falling asleep in the episode. And if that foghorn is that loud, I need to get one to replace my alarm clock.

    Attentive viewers may note that Pinkie Pie is constantly looking around the room while Granny Smith's talking, and she even pokes the bell a few times before continuing her examination of the place.

    I can't speak for everyone with it, but for me this is pretty much what living with ADHD is like if I'm not on my medication.

    Scorekeeper really is an intense job, no matter what game you're playing. About the only thing I can think of that would be more intense is referee, and even then they're scorekeepers in a lot of games.

    That might be why everyone argues with them, now that I think about it.

    "Starlight used to do it, but now, well, I can't even say the word 'trivia' around her."

    Starlight confirmed to have trivia-induced PTSD.

    I wonder if she leaves Ponyville whenever the Trivia Trot's about to start now, or if she just barricades herself in her room for however long it takes Twilight to study up for it.

    This just ain't your day, Spike. It really ain't.

    And away we go.

    Everyone's cheering for the start of the game today, except for Mudbriar.

    He's being a stick in the mud.

    Well, it's not an exact copy. Applejack said squashed, Rainbow said squished.

    Still close enough for a lawsuit, but not pure copy-and-paste.

    "The first category is: literary figures!"

    And immediately, every pony in the room knew Twilight Sparkle was taking that point. Look at them, they don't even see the point in trying to answer it.

    B o o k s. 

    Twilight's first and only true love.

    Oh my god Twilight you can't just leave a friend hanging like that, you've broken Pinkie's heart AND the bro code. 

    You monster.

    A broken heart isn't going to keep Pinkie down for too long, though.

    Seriously though, never leave a friend hanging, it makes them feel awful.

    "Who is the pony that despises the holiday season in the old classic, 'A Hearth's Warming Tale'?"

    Most of the questions in this episode are going to be in the trivia games at conventions from this point forward.

    Or maybe that was just a BronyCon thing.

    Anyway, this should be an easy answer for Twilight. She's the one that introduced us to that story, after all.

    "oh no"

    --Twinkle Sprinkle, probably.

    It was at this moment that Twilight finally understood the extent to which fate had royally screwed her over.

    In fact, she's in so much shock at what she's seeing that she holds that expression for almost all of the eight seconds this shot lasts.

    Cheerilee, being a teacher, is naturally the second most disturbed pony in the room after hearing that answer.

    Meanwhile, Mrs. Cake can only sit there and think, "I knew this would happen. I hoped it wouldn't, but it did."

    You can feel the embarrassment coming out of this image.

    And if you look at Twilight, you can feel the sanity-destroying terror she's going through.

    When the scorekeeper has to actually draw a negative sign on your scorebook to show how bad you're doing, you know you're in for a bad day.

    And poor Twilight knows that all too well.

    "Sorry, I didn't know we could have negative points."

    In Pinkie's defense, most people that don't watch them probably don't know that you can score negative points in big trivia games, either.

    For those of you who are curious, the lowest score ever earned in the trivia game show Jeopardy! is (from what I could find in a hastily conducted online search) --$5,100.

    "Tip One: Try sitting still, and don't get distracted (or be distracting), oh, and remember to listen carefully, also it's best to keep quiet between questions."

    Much like the rules for the Trot itself, Twilight's tips for the Trot are divided into multiple parts. Here we see Tips 1, 1.A, 1.A.2, 1.B, 1.C, and 1.D, delivered about as quickly as a trainee auctioneer talking through a bidding war.

    Anyone who's ever decided to try out a new game just for fun, only to end up stuck with a group of people that take things way too seriously for the rest of the players, can relate to Pinkie here.

    Granted, Twilight isn't as arrogant as those people and she does seem to mean well, but, well, just look at Pinkie. You might as well have just told her to stop planning parties for a week.

    And asking Pinkie to sit still for an extended amount of time is basically the same as creating a time bomb.

    If you'd like to know how far into The Zone Twilight's gone, and if her face didn't already tell you that, her hoof is constantly shaking over the bell. That, or she's heard Pinkie reminding herself to stay still ten too many times.

    Granny Smith is going full ham when it comes to reading these questions out, and that is absolutely the only proper way to "host" a trivia game.

    Pinkie Pie fears few things in this world. A dark forest home to all manner of dangerous beasts? She laughs them off. A being of pure chaos trying to destroy the world? A silly Tuesday for her. An invading army hunting her and her friends to the edge of the map? Nothing a smile and a little positive thinking can't beat.

    But being next to Twilight Sparkle when she's furious at you?

    That scares the ever-loving stuffings out of Pinkie Pie.

    To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Maud knows the answer to the geography question.

    I'm just surprised it took her this long to hit the bell.

    Twilight's brain is moving at about mach four right now, desperately trying to calculate some way to catch up with everyone else.

    Pinkie, however, is still processing everything that just happened in the last few seconds.

    With the way eyelines work in editing, and because this shot is from Twilight's perspective, it's being strongly implied here that Rainbow Dash has been watching Twilight freak out for most of the time she's been offscreen, and Rainbow's been loving every single second of it.

    And when Rainbow knows that Twilight is looking at her, she does this.

    Rainbow's using goddamn psychological warfare against Twilight to throw Twiggles off her game, and nobody else notices it.

    The lesson to be learned here is that Rainbow Dash should never, ever be underestimated. Oh, and she really enjoys schadenfreude, too.

    Meanwhile, Applejack is eating an apple. Being only one point away from tying with the first-place team is a good enough time to take a snack break.

    A few seasons back, Bulk and Fluttershy here were on a team that competed in the Equestria Games. I wonder if they're catching up on old times between questions.

    And as always, Angel Bunny is busy hating everything to ever exist that is not Fluttershy.

    Twilight's so visibly stressed that Pinkie's getting worried.

    That probably isn't a good sign.

    "And the next category is apples!"

    >implying rigged

    Personally, I'd say the team assignments are more likely to be rigged, at least to the point where Maud and Mudbriar always end up as a team.

    "I didn't hear you complain when the category was 'Wonderbolt History.'"

    Well, she's got you there, Dash. I don't think your psych games are going to get you out of that one. 

    At least she's got Matilda to offer an understanding pat on the shoulder. 

    I think Pinkie's just now starting to realize how intense this game can get. 

    "A p p l e s."

    "You're scaring me, Twilight."


    "I'm hungry."

    I really don't know what Twilight expected to happen when she told Pinkie Pie to think about food. 

    Then again, I don't think Twilight's thinking too clearly right now.

    Smug Apple Horse is super smug.

    Pictured: A pony about to yell "HORSE HOCKEY" at another pony.

    "You kiddin' me?"

    Oh, that's some palpable disappointment, right there. 

    Twilight's still trying to coach Pinkie along, even at this stage of her freak out. 

    And you know, Pinkie would've given the right answer, too. Unfortunately, there's just one small problem keeping her from ringing the bell.

    And that problem is that Pinkie's still hungry. 

    I wonder if there really is a rule against tummies ringing in. The rule book for this thing is so detailed that it probably does say something about that. 

    "At least somepony around here knows her apples!"

    Applejack is never, ever going to hear the end of this. Granny Smith's going to hold that blunder over her head until the world ends.

    There's not knowing your own strength, and then there's Bulk Biceps. 

    Fluttershy's going to feel that hit in the morning.

    Hey, I wonder how Twilight's doing?

    Oh, dear.

    Hey look, Pinkie can rub her tummy and pat (someone else's) head at the same time. 

    She's got some excellent coordination skills if she can pull that off.

    Since the Lyra and Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops shot in the last thing I did a followup for was obscured, here's everyone's favorite "best friends" being spectators for the Trivia Trot. 

    "I don't want her to feel bad she's trying so hard but I mighthavetostartansweringeverythingmyself!"

    I know exactly how you feel, Twilight. You just summed up every group project I ever had in school.

    Granted, most of those people weren't as well-meaning as Pinkie Pie, but I still know how you feel.

    She even ate the metal plate.

    You're scary, Pinkie.

    "Maybe instead of focusing on Pinkie, you should just focus on how you're playing."

    That's some great advice, Spike. I think that's the best course of action for Twilight. If she focuses on herself and lets Pinkie be Pinkie, they'll probably make a great team.

    "OR, I should look at how everypony else is playing!"

    "Oh, for Celestia's sake, Twilight."

    --Spike, probably.

    And so the game begins again, this time with a question about Old Ponish.

    Looks like Pinkie's figured out an answer. And with that expression, I think she might be right.

    But the only way to know for sure is to hear her say it, so let's see what she says after hitting the be--

    Hey, uh, Twilight.

    I know this threepeat thing is really important to you, but what the actual hay?

    "Reward in Old Ponish is [unintelligible]"

    How to say "reward" in Old Ponish: talk while lightly clearing your throat.

    And so begins the insanity.

    "Twilight, what are you gonna do with that book?"

    "I'm gonna rules lawyer the hay out of this game, that's what I'm going to do."

    The way she says "disqualification" is just amazing. Recording this episode must have been a blast for Tara Strong. 

    A good way to tell if a rule in a game is obscure is if the host has to break out their own copy of the rule book when it's brought up.

    That, and Granny Smith not knowing this rule implies that she's probably just been treating the Trivia Trot as a casual, fun event instead of the serious competition Twilight thinks it is. 

    Without a partner, Sunburst is knocked out of the game. He's not going to let that stop him from maintaining his perfect percentage, though.

    Meanwhile, Twilight is way too happy to see all of this go down. 

    [insert shipping joke here]

    On a more serious note, Pinkie is actually worried to see Sunburst and Cranky get disqualified. 

    Twilight, on the other hand, only sees her new strategy paying off. 

    Actually, Angel Bunny's been guessing "carrots" for every question so far. 

    He's not the best assistant for a trivia game, really.

    Fluttershy is surprised.

    Bulk is terrified. 

    Angel is thinking, "Bruh."


    "Why would that rule even exis--"


    The smugness of a rules lawyer invoking the sacred laws of a game is awe-inspiring. Pray you never have to experience it.

    The rivalry between Applejack and Rainbow Dash is a fierce one. It has leveled mountains and turned even the simplest game into a life-or-death struggle.

    But sometimes, it's just confined to silly things like this.

    Pinkie can only watch in confusion as Twilight serves the crap out of everyone in the room.

    It might've seemed pretty rad to Twilight, but pulling this stunt in a game is anything but dank. That's straight, man.

    Typing those sentences was a genuinely painful experience and the joke was not worth it.

    Maud and Mudbriar have perfected the art of blinking to intimidate their opponent.

    Despite Twilight's best efforts to the contrary, having a stellar poker face is not against the rules of any game, nor will it be made against the rules any time soon.

    By this point in the Trot, everyone is used to Twilight's rule shenanigans.

    Except for Pinkie Pie. She's sick of it. And when Pinkie Pie is sick of your shit, it might be time to rethink whatever it is you're doing.

    And when Pinkie Pie is visibly concerned for your mental health, you should probably be worried.

    "The next category is: cupcakes!"

    Oh, hey, Pinkie should know the answers to this category. She bakes cupcakes just about every day, after all.

    While Twilight is busy grumbling about how her suggested rule should've been adopted and how she's gonna write to the ponies that made this game about it and get it made into a rule and then you'll see what it looks like when I give something a 'nice try,' Granny Smith,

    Pinkie has suddenly realized that she does, indeed, know the answers to questions in this category.

    "Twilight! I know all about those! You have to let me help."

    That's some sound logic if I've ever heard it. Twilight would have to be out of her mind not to agree with that.

    We've reached Twilighting levels we didn't even know existed and it just keeps going oh my god.

    "You're really starting to scare me, here, Twilight."


    "It's just one of those inflatable things stores use to get ponies' attention."


    "Twilight, please calm down."


    "Isn't that a confetti appreciation parade I see?"

    Man, Pinkie Pie must really like confetti. I know that she buys a ton of it for her cannon, but to get this excited over a parade for the stuff?

    That's a whole 'nother level of confetti fan.

    She's got murder in her eyes, and they're set firmly on the prize.

    God help anypony that gets in her way.

    Poor Pinkie. Tricked out of answering the one question she absolutely knew the answer to.

    That's a douchebag move, Twilight. That's a douchebag move.

    Every frame is a work of art.

    Chili pepper frosting on a fudge cupcake?

    Sounds wild. I need to make that and see how it tastes. Can't be worse than sauerkraut.


    What's that?

    "Hey! I knew that! I MADE those cupcakes."

    That has to be the guiltiest looking pony I've ever seen. All that shame welling up over distracting her friend is butting heads with the trivia-driven madness that's consumed Twilight's brain, and for a brief moment, it's winning.

    "Sorry, Pinkie, but you were looking at the parade and I didn't want our team to miss out on the point."

    It's squashed almost immediately, but you know, for a moment it was there. 

    Trivia Madness. It's a horrible thing.

    Pinkie's too gullible and pure for this world.

    Or at least, a trivia game where she's partnered up with a total maniac. 

    There is no Twilight Sparkle, only TRIVIA TROT.

    Twilight's so obsessed with the game that she doesn't notice how much missing a confetti parade affected Pinkie Pie. 

    Trivia Trot. Not even once. 

    The raw chaotic energy in this frame could power a small city for at least twenty years. 

    More if they use it conservatively. 

    "I thought we were friends..."

    "There are no friends in Trivia Trot."

    Twilight's main goal in this montage is to keep Pinkie from saying anything, and keep her in the background.

    So here's a shot of her literally blocking Pinkie from view.

    Pinkie draws the line at being tricked into smushing a cupcake instead of ringing a bell. 

    Because to Pinkie, cupcakes are serious business. She probably made that cupcake. Put time into making the batter, the frosting, and pouring it all into the molds. 

    And now it's been wasted just to keep her from ringing a bell. 

    "B A N A N A S!"

    I have been informed that quite a few people hated this episode. As I sit here, scrubbing along through it and laughing at things such as this, I can only wonder why.

    Pinkie Pie has become Moody Pie, the most apathetic and grouchy Pie on the planet...

    ...Up until we learn the next category is "sticks and stones."

    Because that is Pinkie's time to shine, and she knows it.

    "Technically, it's a kind of category where we know the answers, and you don't."

    That's one hell of a comeback, especially to a princess. I guess he isn't afraid to stick it to her.

    "Sticks and stones, eh? Well, I did grow up a rock farm, and my sister's boyfriend does love sticks. I know a little bit about both, and you don't know anything about either of 'em. Face it, Twilight. You're gonna need me on this round, and you know it."

    There's actually a brief moment after "I'm sure I know some of these" where Twilight stops, actually thinks about it, and then starts hyperventilating even more than she was before Pinkie said anything.

    It's a little thing, but it goes a long way toward selling the joke.

    "I'm doomed."

    --Twilight Sparkle, probably.

    For those of you wondering, flint can be gray, black, brown, white, or even green.

    So Pinkie's kinda right.

    Unfortunately, kinda right doesn't get you a point. Better luck next time, Pinkie.

    "I'd help you if I could; I know this category pretty well..."

    Oh, dear. I'm sure Twilight heard that, and if there's one thing a crazy Twilight Sparkle that's obsessed with Trivia Trot threepeat is going to like, it's that bit of information.

    Twilight is going to murder someone by the end of this episode I swear.

    "Gee, Pinkie, I forgot the name of that famous rock in Griffonstone. Could you ask Maud?"
    "You got it!"

    I said it before and I'll say it again, Pinkie Pie is too gullible and pure to survive having an obsessed lunatic as a partner for some trivia game.

    "And therefore, according to everything my teammate Twilight here just said, Equestria goes around the sun! That whole bit about raising the sun and moon is just a bunch of baloney used to keep the princesses in power, except for that one time the Storm King got that staff thingy but that's this weird one time thing and--"

    "Pinkie, Princess Celestia is
    right there."

    "What's she gonna do, send us to the moon for being on a debate team?"


    Look at that evil smirk.

    Twilight's gone over to the dark side of Trivia. Tricking someone into disqualifying herself is how it starts. Next thing you know she's going to be stealing the cards and memorizing every answer when Granny Smith isn't looking.

    "I'm sorry, Pinkie, but you're disqualified."


    Pinkie's been trying to have fun all day, and now she's been kicked out of the game. That's gotta hurt.


    --Pinkie Pie, probably.

    And for another brief moment, Twilight's conscience rose up and told her how badly she'd screwed up.

    The death glare from Granny Smith probably helped it out a bit.  

    And for the second time, Twilight's conscience was curbstopmed by Trivia Trot Madness.

    Attentive viewers may note that Pinkie Pie has almost exactly the same expression Twilight had when they earned that first negative point. Both times it pops up, the pony with it has just had their soul ground into toothpaste for different reasons. 

    Callbacks are fun.

    "Waiiiiiiiiiiit, you're not just trying to force me out of the game because I wasn't great at the questions are you?"
    "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat, no, get outta here, no way."

    "Oh, no! If I'm out, you don't have a partner! You won't be able to get your third win!"

    You can actually see the remorse growing on Twilight's face. Unintentional guilt trips are great at doing that. 

    Don't worry, Twilight's Trivia Trot Madness has that covered. 

    This is a rare moment for Pinkie Pie; she's the sanest pony in the conversation.  

    Also, Sunburst closed his book on Pinkie's nose and that's totally a dick move.

    Of course, using the rule book to eliminate your own teammate is also a dick move, but Sunburst isn't suffering from Trivia Trot Madness.

    The realization of what's happening just hit Pinkie, and it hit like a freight train made out of bricks and concrete uppercutting her. 

    You can actually pinpoint the exact moment she starts feeling betrayed if you watch closely enough.

    Well, at least she's still got her balloons. That's going to cheer her up a little, right?


    This day just keeps getting worse and worse for poor ol' Pinkie. It's like the universe hates her today, for some reason.

    Meanwhile, Twilight has world-domination levels of confidence as a result of switching out teammates. 

    "...but don't worry, I can pick up the slack."

    Well, Sunburst, you've been might cocky today, but saying that in front of a completely insane Twilight Sparkle might be the cockiest thing you've ever done. It was also probably the worst mistake you've made today.


    Being the smooth-talking pony he is, Sunburst is able to get out of Twilight's wrath and try a different approach. 

    On that note, starting off with "I'm just saying..." is guaranteed to diffuse any tense situation like this 100% of the time and you should totally do it.

    Under all the insanity and rage, Twilight's got to admit that she is kinda frazzled today. 

    This is a key moment in the episode, too, since it's the first time Twilight's on the receiving end of what she's been giving Pinkie all day.

    While "Lord Tirek" is the right answer to the question, Twilight's about to learn that there is always someone out there who can and will let you know if you screwed up even one tiny bit.

    In this case, that pony is Mudbriar, and the full answer is "Lord Tirek and Scorpan."

    I guess you can yoink points in this game, because that is absolutely what just happened. 

    Twilight, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but even in your manic state this isn't an argument you can win.

    "Oh, just rub it in, why don't you? Stupid floating text..."

    You know, even though Twilight wouldn't let Pinkie touch the bell, she didn't stoop so low as to make a forcefield around the thing.

    No, she used the conventional means of playing keepaway, like any respectable pony would do.

    For a second there, Twilight thought she'd squashed the bell under her hoof. 

    Trivia Trot Madness. It's like sleep deprivation minus the exhaustion. 

    For those of you wondering how intense this is for Twilight, her hoof has started shaking again. 

    This may be the cheapest cheap shot for a distraction I've ever seen.

    In her defense, Twilight would have to be pretty good at the game to win it two times in a row. 

    Unfortunately for her, she's basically got her earlier self cranked up to eleven for a partner. 

    Fortunately for her, she's got magic.

    Don't look so surprised, Sunburst, this is what happens when you use someone else's strategy against them.

    Of course Rainbow gets the Daring Do question right. She's friends with the dang pony, you really think anyone else is going to know more about Daring than the mare that's been on an adventure with her?

    What is it with you and your percentage, dude? I think you're the only pony in Equestria that cares about it. 

    "You're not the only pony to ever read a book, ya know."

    "And I've actually seen that hat myself. Because I know Daring Do. And I helped her escape a jungle temple. And my friend over there is pen pals with her. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Percentage."

    "...could you do a quick fact check?"

    So not only is this just as much of a dick move as it was when Twilight did it, but it's also stupid, because it's Twilight freaking Sparkle that you're trying to kick off of your team.

    Not only that, but he's trying to trick the one pony in the world that's memorized every single rule there is to Trivia Trot.



    Well, funny you should ask that, Twilight...

    You did just that to poor ol' Pinkie Pie over there. Broke her heart and everything.

    The Trivia Trot Madness has finally worn off, and Twilight's conscience can't be silenced any longer. 

    Getting a taste of your own medicine can lead to that sort of thing.

    I'm pretty sure Twilight didn't hear half of Sunburst's apology. She's got that specific look you get when you're looking back on all the mistakes you've made over the past who-knows-how-long.

    "And according to rule fifty-seven point six B..."

    So not only is there a rule about players that fall asleep being disqualified, but there's also a rule that lets them jump back in as long as they've had a good rest.

    This thing's rule set is so thorough I bet there's a rule about what to do if Armageddon happens during a game.

    Cranky doesn't know where he is, or what time it is, but none of that matters to him. The only thing that matters is his precious haycakes not being there to greet him when he wakes up.

    This is a donkey that's got his priorities in order.

    That's some nice noir-esque lighting going on to highlight Pinkie's sadness.

    And also to draw your attention to her, but mostly to highlight the sadness.

    "Yeah, and then you stole some dude's shaving basin and wore it like a hat."


    "Oh, yeah. Said it was the golden helmet of Mare-brino or something. And there was something about an impossible dream you had, I dunno."

    "I got so obsessed with one thing, I forgot what really mattered."

    Twilight does this a lot, actually. Much like Fluttershy's shyness, however, in real life this is a flaw that never truly goes away no matter how hard you try.

    Now all she's got to do is get the The Pink One to forgive her so that a dimension-hopping eldritch horror won't be mad at her. Sounds simple enough.

    Unfortunately for Twilight, all she gets is the blistering force of a party pony unleashing a fraction of their full sarcasm powers.

    All things considered, The Ponk let her off easy.

    Now, if Twilight had broken a Pinkie Promise, well...

    I'm pretty sure "Nothing is more important than my friend" is one of the central ideas of the show itself.

    "TwiPie forever?"
    "I-I don't know..."

    It is so surreal to hear this in a real episode.

    Pinkie Pie's actually a master of the bait-and-switch. She just doesn't know it. 

    I like that you can still see bits of her original frosting drawing that she had to scrape off. And that Sunburst's hair is just a bunch of squiggly lines. 

    All those hard-earned points for a threepeat, and she throws it all away just so she can have a good time with Pinkie. It's a move that nobody expected, least of all Pinkie.

    This is why Twilight's the Princess of Friendship.

    "These rules are really convoluted."

    You said it, Pinkie. The rule book for this thing was written by some insane pony that factored in everything when they wrote it. Sleeping, sticking tongues out, rejoining the game, categorization, you name it and that book's got a rule for it. 

    I don't think this episode has a moral, exactly, but it does have some good advice: 

    Games are meant to be fun for everyone. So relax, have fun, and don't treat winning the thing as the only reason to play it. 

    That might sound like common sense, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't follow this advice.

    Twilight pushes the bell over to Pinkie's side of the table for the first time in the entire episode. It's a nice touch, that. 

    And of course, hugs make everything better.

    "Candelicious Melty Wax" and "Competitive Library Musk."

    Considering how downright weird some candle scent names are in real life, both of those names have a fair chance of being the right answer.

    But I don't really think either of these goofballs care if they get the answer right. 

    Sadly, former Trivia Trot champion Derpy Hooves forgot that The Hay Burger's doors were the kind you had to push instead of pull. I'm sure she'll figure it out eventually.

    This could also be a callback to Derpy inadvertently locking the mane six out of Cranky and Matilda's wedding back in season five. 

    Your cast for this week. 

    I had a lot of fun watching this episode. It was a great little comedy, full of wild takes and jokes that always landed, at least for me. 

    But what did you think of it? Not enough Twilighting? Too much Twilighting? Tell us down in the comments.

    As for me, this is my last followup this season (and by extension, for the series). It's been a wild ride, this season, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all ends. How about you?

    Thanks for reading.

    See you next gen.

    algernon97 is going to miss this show.