Monday, 9 April 2018

Episode review: S8E04: "Fake It 'Til You Make It"

Fluttershy and Rarity hugging, both smiling with closed eyes, in front of greenery
See this picture? This is what I wanted from this episode
Season 8's first two episodes had been reasonably entertaining without blowing me away, so I was anxious for something really great to assuage any worries that we might be in for another S6-style run of mehness. I was also nervouscited that "Fake It 'Til You Make It" would be a Fluttershy/Rarity episode – perhaps only the third the show has had after "Green Isn't Your Color" and "Filli Vanilli". The writer was Josh Hamilton, whose record with me has been mixed. How did he do? Past the break I'll give some brief thoughts.

As those of you who follow me elsewhere will know, I did not like this episode first time around. I was mostly disappointed that we didn't, in fact, get the ep full of cute RariShy friendshipping that I'd so wanted (though there was a bit in the first act, at least). With FiM probably not having that long to run now, there may not be another chance. I was also unhappy with some elements of the characterisation, but here I have moderated my views a bit.

Let's start with the big one: back in "Suited for Success", it was established that Fluttershy has a "freaky knowledge of sewing". Many people remember that episode for her rant at Rarity, but actually the "FKoS" quote comes from later, when her expertise helps the Mane Six complete Rarity's Gala dress. We also see her request "haute couture"together with a fairly detailed drawing. So Flutters knows fashion. (Also, Fluttershy says she's never tried acting before, but she was in the play in "Hearth's Warming Eve".)

Fast forward to this episode and 'Shy doesn't even know what a thread count is. While I can easily credit her stumbling over some of the more esoteric details in her anxiety, something as basic as that? No. And I didn't like her being so unkind to her friends later, either. So why have I changed my mind (a bit)? Because I realised I was getting way too hung up on this and that the episode was actually pretty fun. This show is aimed at kids, not at us, and I think I may have let myself lose sight of that a tad this time.

Fluttershy (right) looks angry at a brown customer stallion in a purple hat. Pinkie and Spike look on worriedly from the left
"And you should not presume to wear a hat like mine. The very idea!"
Fluttershy's adopted characters are amusing all three, especially the goth one, though I do wonder how well the (admittedly deliberately) forced use of words like "woke" will age. I do still feel that this part of the episode dragged a bit, with essentially the same joke being hammered into the ground, but for a while it was a pretty good joke. It was actually something of a surprise that we didn't see her apparent otaku side make an appearance!

Had that section been shortened a little, the Mane Six's supporting roles could have been fleshed out a bit. Spike's little comment about charades was great, and Pinkie's irritation at Fluttershy's "rodents" line became progressively more amusing. (Against my initial expectations, the raccoons were themselves rather fun.) Mind you, I'd be fascinated to know why Twilight is only writing the School of Friendship's curriculum now!

There were definite echoes of "Putting Your Hoof Down" here, even if the message of the ep wasn't quite the same. I'm not all that fond of "PYHD" in the way it treats Fluttershy, and the reasons aren't a million miles away from the ones that bother(ed) me here. I don't dislike that S2 episode as much as some fans do, though. Both episodes did have the effect of making me want to skip to the ending and the inevitable making-up with friends.

I must give a mention to Andrea Libman, who did an absolutely fantastic job with the voice acting. All Fluttershy's personas were consistently voiced, and it was always immediately obvious which one was which. In the final analysis, this is not one of my favourite Fluttersodes – but now that I've softened towards it, I think it's right on the two-star/three-star boundary. I do still wish we'd had more of Flutters and Rares on screen together, though.
The three raccoons looking worried, standing in front of an equally concerned Twilight, with Spike in the foreground to the right
"Look, I know Fluttershy mentioned leather, but she didn't mean..."
Best quote: Rainbow Dash to Fluttershy: "You are a small-town pony! And your cottage isn't even in the town!"

Yays
  • Superb VA work from Andrea Libman
  • Fluttershy's characters are funny... for a while
  • Cute early and late scenes of friendshippery
  • Nice supporting role from the raccoons
Neighs
  • Missed opportunity for some rare extended F/R interaction
  • Over-the-top Fluttershy went on for too long
  • Continuity with past episodes was less than perfect
  • Not even a mention of Coco "Miss" Pommel?
★★/

10 comments:

  1. The whole set of small inconsistencies really bothered me, because it shows a fundamental laziness from the writing team. Not only Fluttershy forgetting everything about fashion, but also things like Rarity first asking Rainbow Dash, of all ponies, to watch her store, or how everyone can simply go back and forth to Manehattan on a whim. And given that the writers and producers are adults, we can certainly hold them up to these standards.

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    1. Are they, though? Can we be sure they aren't some sort of single-celled organism?

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    2. I keep going back and forth about this episode. I've ended up copping out and rating it 2-3 stars. For some reason the Manehattan travel thing hadn't occurred to me until you mentioned it. On the other hand, it's obviously much harder to keep seven-and-a-bit seasons of continuity in order than it was to do that back in 2012, and the staff doubtless don't have any more time than they did then.

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    3. As for PP's question: I've met G. M. Berrow and she seemed pretty multicellular to me. Can't speak for the others!

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  2. I actually loved this episode WAY more than the previous one (which left me a bit discouraged). Sure, Fluttershy went a bit too far with her characters but here's the thing: she was faking, and it was doing too much that she didn't even realized it. Besides, the entertainment value and the moral made me enjoy this episode very much.

    In regarding of the continuity issue, Jim Miller said that effectively lately they are having a bit of trouble in keeping 100% intact the continuity as they as they are over 200 for this show (counting even the not aired ones) and they are doing their best to keep intact anyway, althought he admitted that sometimes they might derp. Doesn't matter to me in this case thought, as the continuity issues didn't affect the story.

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    1. Hearing things like this is hilarious. The fandom can keep continuity straight for 100+ episodes, and we don't get paid! The heck is their excuse?

      Oh wait, they don't care. :V

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    2. We don't have to do what Hasbro says. That's quite a big difference. :P

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  3. This episode was pretty middle of the road if you ask me. Also this episode proves that the IDW comics are not cannon with the TV show as Fluttershy is shown to have great knitting skills in her Micro Series issue and in this episode she struggels just to make a teacosy.

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    1. Well, I've (eventually) settled on a 2-3 star rating (since I don't do half-stars) and so "middle of the road" about sums it up. I was really disappointed with it first time through, but liked it more on the second run.

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  4. This episode feels like a season 2 episode... I like it.:v

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