The night of the Grand Galloping Gala has finally arrived. The girls go all out to make this the “Best Night Ever”, each one thinking of living out their own fantasy (first presented in “The Ticket Master”). Although Spike thinks they should all enjoy the night together, the girls quickly split up to go about their own pursuits. In short order, they discovered that none of them are getting what they want. Applejack can’t sell a single goodie, the Wonderbolts are so swarmed by fans that Rainbow Dash can’t get a word or trick in edgewise, Rarity is on a “date from Hell” with Prince Blueblood, everything is too low key and somber for Pinkie Pie to have any fun, Fluttershy can’t make friends with a single animal, and Twilight Sparkle can’t share so much as a single sentence with Princess Celestia because she has to greet every guest. Finally, Pinkie Pie, in an attempt to energize the crowd, whips out a DJ stand and starts pumping heavy beats and jumps into the crowd…landing on a cake that Applejack brought in with the intent of selling it to the crowds at the buffet…which splatters toward Prince Blueblood and Rarity, the former of which uses her as a pony shield, which makes her blow up and shake frosting onto him which makes him knock over columns…which makes Rainbow Dash try to intercede to save the day and show off but ends up smashing up the ballroom…and, finally, to top it off, an enraged Fluttershy herds all of the animals into the palace trying to get them to love her. With the whole place destroyed, the girls run for it and flee to the same donut shop where a depressed Spike is drowning his sorrows, and end up having a much better time just sitting around talking and eating donuts. Princess Celestia unexpectedly joins the group, saying how much she enjoyed that night. She explains the Gala is always terrible and she wanted them to “liven things up”. Twilight says how she learned being with your best friends can make even a terrible circumstance great, and they all agree it was the “best night ever”.
By the time I watched this episode, I already knew about the upcoming villains and some of the explosive ends and starts to seasons, so I figured I’d be let down a bit by this episode. But really…it’s a lot of fun and a great way to cap off the first season. It’s something a lot of us have had to deal with…going to what we think will be fantastic only to end up sorely, sorely disappointed. Poor Rarity…having that horrible date… 😛 And Fluttershy driven to enraged insanity for the first time in the series (but definitely not the last).
It had points I didn’t like. The main one can be summed up in three words: “At the Gala”. On listening to it a second time, it works fairly well as a character medley…but I think it’s one of the more “meh” songs in the series. It seemed as if they couldn’t think of any lyrics and just kept saying “At the Gala”, “At the Gala”, “At the Gala”, etc. But other than that, the pacing and setup was great. This was a difficult episode in terms of continuinity to hit…to be able to highlight key moments from the characters to show the night going from joy and optimism to disappointment to “seizing the day” to fleeing to finally the conclusion, and getting all of this in with six different characters in one 20 minute episode is no small feat.
This episode, however, more than any other one is the biggest reason for the “Trollestia” complaint. Princess Celestia doesn’t even hide it or “have a good reason” this time. She pretty much says she brought the Mane Six to the Grand Galloping Gala intending that they would destroy it. She even shows she anticipates it early on when, on seeing the ballroom destroyed, she leans in next to Twilight and whispers: “Run.”, showing she expected this would happen and she’d “cover their escape”. This isn’t so much a “bad” point as one that makes you blink.
So…is it the “best night ever”? Compared to later episodes, definitely not. But it’s a fairly worthy season finale to close out the “unambitious” era of the show, and “finalized” the “mood” for all future episodes. Starting with the Season Two opener…things would escalate quickly.
The conclusion to the arc that was done in “The Ticket Master” and “Suited for Success”.
Twilight Sparkle’s spell for the apple coach and on the mice is obviously a takeoff on Disney’s “Cinderella”. It’s also the only episode where there seems to be a distinction between “ponies” and “horses”.
Although it’s more infamously known in Season Two’s “MMMystery on the Ponyville Express”, this episode showed that Rarity’s eyelashes are fake.
Pinkie Pie tries to flatten her mane, but it doesn’t work when she’s happy.
Canterlot would get a “redesign” by the end of Season Two to make it look more “urban” and developed, but in this episode a lot of it is still “natural”. Nevertheless, this episode started the idea that Canterlot is mostly filled with the “elite” of society, both in terms of monetary wealth as well as social class. It would be further reinforced in the Season Two episode featuring Rarity’s visit.
When Rainbow Dash sings her part of “At the Gala”, the song turns to rock temporarily.
Princess Celestia making a sparkly “arch” over the palace of Canterlot might be a nod to Tinkerbell flying over Cinderella’s castle in the classic Disney logo. As another Cinderella ripoff, Rarity leaves a glass slipper behind when fleeing the Gala. When Pinkie says that means her prince will find her…she runs back to smash it.
Anyone else find it funny that “The Ticket Master” made such a big deal about the tickets…and no one ever takes them?
The Wonderbolt Soarin was named in this episode…and he seems the most “down to Earth” of the Wonderbolts (pardon the pun). Spitfire also was named…but she appears to suffer from “Mr. Burns” syndrome in spite of recalling Rainbow Dash in this episode…as she freshly forgets about her in every other appearance.
Out of all of the ponies in the four-member quartet…for some reason the one playing the cello resonated the most with the fans. They named her Octavia and created a running gag in the fandom where she’s always at odds with Vinyl Scratch.
Poor Pinkie Pie doesn’t even get a chance to “dream” about her fantasy…right at the onset it starts ending up being not what she expected.
I’m surprised no one ever complained about the gardener pony. Between his dress, his voice, and his line “I love whistlin’ while I work”, it seems he’s a knock off of Uncle Remus from the ill-fated Disney debacle “Song of the South”.
Andrea Libman’s voice really “falls apart” for Fluttershy when she gets angry. She really sounds like a whole different character when she screams: “YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE ME!!!” In Season Two she managed to “hold onto it” better for “Putting Your Hoof Down”.
Spike is acting like the donut shop is a bar at the end…and considering the fact it’s where all the girl’s end up, that’s a double “hidden joke”.
Twilight Sparkle was the only one who didn’t do anything to ruin the Gala…and was the only one of the Mane Six who got what she wanted: a chance to hang out with Princess Celestia.
3.5 Stars out of 5