The worldbuilding in “Breezies” was sloppy, but it did its job. Here’s why.

“It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” has drawn serious criticism of its worldbuilding.  BronyCurious articulates some fairly common complaints:

Holy crap, this episode…was not my favorite…To me, this is not only probably the worst episode of Season 4 thus far, but it’s probably the worst episode in the entire series.

This episode was a train wreck.  It was an absolute mess.  Nothing made sense, nothing was coherent.  It was basically an incredibly long, drawn-out, exposition-laden advertisement, and I wasn’t feeling it.

[The Breezies’] existence was ridden with plot holes.  Number 1: Where do they come from?…I think they’re in an alternate dimension, or something.  But they had to leave their dimension, to come into equestria, to gather pollen that doesn’t even exist in their world, with the assistance of creatures that don’t exist in their world.  What!?  So, this entire framing device, to me, just made absolutely no sense.

The breeze is another big thing: How has Seabreeze & Co.’s pollen not gone bad after all the time they spent at Fluttershy’s house?

None of the exposition or lore surrounding the Breezies makes any sense.

The KegHorn Brothers make similar criticisms, in their characteristically blunt fashion:

PhantomHorn: “Now that I think about it, it’s totally unclear, just like everything in this episode.  Which by the way, was fucking shit, and didn’t make any fucking sense.”

KegStandard: “Oh yeah, was that not clear?  This episode was complete shit.”

Okay, let’s just establish this right away; yes, the worldbuilding in this episode is riddled with holes.  And that is something that should have been fixed, and it is a fair criticism.

But it seems like despite that, a lot of people really enjoyed the episode, including several in the analysis community.  And honestly, I’m one of those people.  I thoroughly enjoyed the episode and the worldbuilding flaws didn’t really spoil it for me.  It had a lot of really good points.  The moral was valuable, nuanced, and well-delivered.  Seabreeze is a hilarious asshole, but also relatable and sympathetic.  Fluttershy’s collapse after kicking the Breezies out was touching, and really showed how difficult it was for her.

Also, this.  DHX, y'all are awesome.

Also, this. DHX, y’all are awesome.

So how do we explain this discrepancy?  Why did so many people enjoy the episode, despite its serious worldbuilding flaws?  Here’s one reason; for all its inconsistencies, the episode is consistent about the conflict and the characters’ abilities.

The episode tells the audience what we need to know to understand the central conflict: the breezies are on a clock to get home, Seabreeze wants to leave soon, the other breezies want to dick around, Fluttershy doesn’t have the hens to kick them out (at first), conflict ensues.  The exact reasons for the time limit might be poorly-explained, but there’s never any doubt that it exists, so the audience never really has to wonder whether something constitutes a threat or a danger.  This means that the errors are a lot less intrusive than they might otherwise be.

Twilight’s teleportation, by contrast, casts doubt on most of the conflicts she’s in.  Can she teleport the dresses to Rarity?  Can she teleport away from a fall?  Can she teleport out of Ahuizotl’s pyramid?  We in the audience don’t know, and that hurts the dramatic tension of these scenes.

(And yes, I know I’ve run the “teleportation” point into the ground, but it’s useful to bring it up here to illustrate the difference.)

The worldbuilding in “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” is definitely sloppy, and that is absolutely a flaw in the episode.  But not all flaws are equal, and it’s important to know which ones will cripple a story, and which ones will merely be annoying.  The flaws in “Breezies” are the latter, because they don’t undermine the conflict.

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