Awkwardness is to humor as dissonance is to music: The Pie Sisters demonstrate

Apparently, when Natasha Levinger does fanservice, she doesn’t mess around.  Featuring Discord in an episode is enough to get Bronies excited, but she went all-out and brought in Maud as well.

Levinger also seemed to be channeling Dave Polsky a bit, because this episode used a lot of awkward humor.  As I’ve said before, I personally don’t enjoy that sort of comedy.  But recently, I had an epiphany about awkwardness and the role it plays in humor:

Awkwardness is to humor as dissonance is to music.

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“It’s magic, I ain’t gotta explain s**t (except when I do)”: *My Little Pony* and Sanderson’s Laws of Magics

No matter how much you like this show, it’s clear that FiM‘s magic system isn’t particularly robust.  There aren’t many clear rules as to how magic works in Equestria.

MagicAt first glance, this seems like bad storytelling.  I know I’ve shared this quote from Umberto Eco before, but it’s worth repeating:

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Why Luna is more popular than Celestia, part 2: the long shadow of “Luna Eclipsed”

When it comes to Luna and Celestia, I’m a pretty typical Brony; I certainly like Celestia, but I don’t inwardly cheer when she comes on-screen, the way I do with Luna.

“You stole a waifu, Flash? That’s cute. I stole three entire episodes.”

As I’ve argued before, much of Luna’s appeal comes from the fact that unlike Celestia, she is (sometimes) a primary character.  But as I was considering “Bloom and Gloom”, something else occurred to me; I may have actually underestimated the impact of “Luna Eclipsed.” Continue reading

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“It’s for kids” is not an excuse (and we don’t need one, anyway)

[EDIT: To clarify, I don’t think for a second that Miller uses “it’s for kids” as an excuse to phone it in. If he did, Season 4 would not be nearly as good as it is.  My concern was more that I’ve heard that line used by a lot of people who believe the show isn’t worthy of discussion or critique, and the Tweets seemed like a good jumping-off point to discuss that larger issue.]

Well, I was right — they handled it well.

Dem feels

Dem feels

But my most pressing thoughts after “Castle, Sweet Castle” weren’t about the episode itself, but about reactions to the the episode.  Jim Miller apparently got irritated with some of the fan commentary:

Getting tired of folks complaining about storied being ‘too predictable’ or ‘not mature enough’. It’s a show designed for viewers aged 6 – 12. I’m sorry it’s not as sophisticated as ‘Breaking Bad’. It’s not supposed to be. It’s great that adults enjoy it, but it’s not designed to work specifically for you. It’s supposed to be fun and easy to digest.

Miller’s argument troubles me.  Not because “Castle, Sweet Castle” was too predictable or immature — it was neither.  Nor do I think he was out of line in responding to criticism (though apparently he might).  What concerns me is the specific argument he makes to defend the episode:

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“We have met the enemy, and she is us”: why Starlight Glimmer is FiM’s most intriguing villain yet

After the Season 4 finale, I had a lot on my mind (as you might recall).  But I had one concern that I haven’t discussed on this blog:

“How are they going to top this?”

The fight with Tirek was great, but it’s certainly not something I want to see every season.  Would they keep introducing bigger and more powerful villains?  That way lies Dragonball Z — and while I cherish my memories of that show as much as any twentysomething male, it is one of the few shows that has made the destruction of a planet seem boring.

That’s certainly not something we should want for FiM.  So how would they introduce a new villain for Season 5 without creating a letdown?

I should have known they wouldn’t disappoint us.

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The beginning of the collaborator-driven era in TV animation — and why *FiM* just might start it

WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for Episode 100 of Friendship is Magic.  That said, if you even know the premise of Episode 100, you know everything I’m going to discuss.

Most of us are aware that this whole weird “Brony” thing originally spawned from 4Chan.  Fewer know that it was kicked off by — more or less — an analysis article.

Behold, our Boston Tea Party.

Behold, our Boston Tea Party.

Written by Amid Amidi and entitled “The End of the Creator-Driven Era in TV Animation”, the piece lamented the shift of creative control away from the generators of franchises — the Greg Weissmans, Gavin Blairs, and yes, Lauren Fausts — and toward corporate board rooms, shareholder meetings, and copyright-holders: Continue reading

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Spike and the challenge of adolescent characters

Of all the main characters, Spike’s depiction has drawn the most criticism (with the possible exceptions of Rarity and Applejack).  Complaints about the little guy tend to assert that he’s either a) inconsistent, b) inept, c) a jerk, or d) some combination of the three.  For this post, I’ll focus on the charge of inconsistency.

Tommy Oliver criticizes Spike’s characterization in a follow-up vid to his Equestria Games review: Continue reading

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