Pinkie Pie prides herself on being the friend of everyone in Ponyville and doing whatever it takes to make them smile. However, she soon runs into a difficulty in the form of Cranky Doodle Donkey, a curmudgeony old donkey who lives up to his namesake as he’s moving into town. Pinkie’s attempts to make friends only annoy him, and her attempts to “bring her A game” only end up in disaster for Cranky, such as destroying his toupee and exposing him to public humiliation. Although she manages to keep him from blowing up at her by giving him a spa treatment and a better toupee, things backfire again when she tries to help him unpack at his house and ends up burning a precious scrapbook to him that she was nosing through. Enraged, he angrily chases her out, declares she will never be his friend, and, in spite of her rather dramatic lengths she goes to, refuses to accept her apology either. Yet when Cranky yells that Pinkie destroyed “all I have left to remember her”, she deduces from the clues she’s been seeing that Cranky is unhappy because he was never able to find his long lost love in spite of looking all over Equestria for her his entire life, and that the donkey he’s looking for is another local resident: Matlida. She brings Matilda to him and, on meeting up with her again, Cranky finally smiles, thanks Pinkie Pie for going above and beyond in her attempts to make him happy, and agrees to be her friend…but still wants to spend some quiet time with Matilda by themselves. Pinkie writes to Celestia that there are many ways to express friendship, but the best thing you can do is make your friends smile.
This is, to me, the quintessential “Pinkie Pie” episode. Although she was almost the only member of the Mane Six to appear in an earlier episode this season, “Baby Cakes”, this one focuses a lot more on “Pinkie being Pinkie”. Unlike other episodes where her stupidity that ends up “hurting” others inadvertently seems rather mean, in this episode even her shouting out how bald Cranky is comes off as far more of a “innocent mistake”, making her overall more likeable in this episode. It has some of the best high-quality goofiness and “cartoonishness” that had been sorely lacking in this season. I’m not saying the show can’t be more dramatic and serious…it can just “lighten up a bit more” from time to time.
To me, this episode also proved that Pinkie Pie can pretty much carry the entire show by herself, if she wants to. Although lots of characters appear in this episode, Pinkie and Cranky are almost the only “real” characters. And for a one-shot, Cranky is pretty good. He comes off as a “real” character, not just an archetype of being cranky but more like someone who is just old and tired and doesn’t have time for an annoying kid to be pestering him and not getting the hint she isn’t wanted. In that sense…this is almost like “Dennis the Menace” at points.
And, like I said, this episode gets to the “heart” of Pinkie Pie more than any other episode. Really, she’s a pony who just desires to be everyone’s friend and make them happy. And while that can get a bit overbearing at times…there’s nothing wrong with that. 🙂
So, between the cartoonish humor and some fairly good drama, another nice episode.
The “Baby Cakes” feature at the beginning of this episode.
Zecora appears pretty much as a cameo.
Aside from a very brief scene, the only member of the Mane Six in this episode to speak is Pinkie Pie, although all of the Mane Six and the CMCs appear during “The Smile Song”.
One of the big songs of Season Two, “The Smile Song”, was in this episode. It’s also one of the longest so far, running at 3:22.
The part where Pinkie pulls up a “dark” version of her self is very similar to how she clones herself in Season Three’s: “Too Many Pinkie Pies”.
Naturally, when Pinkie Pie hears the donkey’s name is Cranky Doodle Donkey, the song she breaks out into is a parody of “Yankee Doodle”.
The “thought bubble” sequence is done using felt cutouts, similar to other “off-the-wall” cartoons like “Chowder”. The check she holds up after deciding to make friends with Cranky is also felt.
Pinkie is very “sing-y” in this episode. In addition to “The Smile Song”, she also sings “Cranky Doodle Donkey” and “Welcome, Welcome, Welcome” and “He Was A Cranky Doodle Donkey”.
Derpy is in the snow globe. 🙂
Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash both have lines, but Twilight has four and Rainbow Dash only has one. At any rate…Rainbow is in the library reading another Daring Do book. 😀
Pinkie Pie is at her most “toon-esque” in this episode…probably for the entire series. While a number of episodes in the first season had been similar to Looney Tunes, however, this one is more like one of the MGM Tex Avery cartoons, especially during the “chase” sequence where Pinkie Pie has the uncanny ability to already be wherever Cranky ends up. She also sprouts extra hooves out of nowhere. 😛
This episode also indicates that Pinkie Pie is something of a “savant” in that she’s able to make connections no one else sees.
The song Pinkie sings at the end is a parody of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
The credits roll to “Yankee Doodle” on the piano. Along with the score at the end of the Season Two opener, this is only the second episode so far that doesn’t end with the traditional ending theme.
3.5 Stars out of 5