It’s “Hearts and Hooves Day” in Ponyville, the equivalent of Valentine’s Day. The Cutie Mark Crusaders make a gigantic valentine for Ms. Cheerilee, but realize she has no “very special somepony” of her own, and decide to play matchmakers. Eventually, they settle on trying to pair her with Big Macintosh, but the two aren’t interested in each other. The girls end up trying to match them by mixing up something from one of Twilight’s books they think is a “Love Potion”. It works…but soon Big Mac and Cheerilee are doing nothing but looking in each other’s eyes and giving each other stupid, mushy pet names all day. It turns out the substance was a “Love Poison”, and it robs whoever drinks it of a desire to do anything but be around the object of their affection. Realizing that means that Cheerilee will abandon her teaching and Big Mac will stop growing apples, the girls try to break the spell by keeping the two from looking into each other’s eyes for a full hour. It’s difficult, but in the end they succeed. After it’s over, they confess what they did and admit that it’s wrong to try and force two ponies together even if you think it’s a good match. The CMCs get punished by having to do all of Big Mac’s chores, and Big Mac and Cheerilee pretend to go on a picnic to mess with them.
The writers really “bit off more than they could chew” in this episode. They tried to make it center on love and “toxic” love…but you can’t do either in a show that’s supposed to be rated Y and still get it through the censors. The end result is an episode that’s equal parts boring and stupid. Most of the episode is slow paced and dull without much in the way of humor. Even the brief CMC song doesn’t really help the mood, and the song is far weaker than others from this season. The main part of the episode occurs after Cheerilee and Big Mac drink the Love Poison…at which point the only expressions of love they can make in a Y-rated show is calling each other dumb names. Not only is it not that funny, it’s rather stupid. If they can’t even hug and kiss, it comes off that the main “problem” with the Love Poison was that it made them annoying rather than in a toxic relationship.
Pretty much the whole “Hearts and Hooves Day” premise to me is weak. Why would a book about “Hearts and Hooves Day” be pretty much telling a story about how stupid it is to be obsessed with loving someone else so much that you neglect everything else? And why in the world would the “Love Poison” potion be in the book?! Isn’t that like writing a story about a kid blowing himself up with fireworks and then including the formula of how to make them from household chemicals?
This episode is a real “low point” of the season to me. Most CMC episodes aren’t much fun to me, but this one is particularly bland. It has an opportunity to expand both on Cheerilee and Big Mac’s characters…and it does a paltry job of both. Especially the ending.
The girls did something they shouldn’t have, yes…but there was no need for Cheerilee and Big Mac to “troll” them again at the end when they had learned their lesson. That was just mean. Yet the real problem is the premise of this episode. The moral of the story was supposed to be that it’s bad to try and force people to be together.
So what is the specialty of Princess Cadance, the character who never should have existed in the first place, in “A Canterlot Wedding”?
Her power makes ponies fall in love with each other.
And no blaming separate writers, either. Both this episode and “A Canterlot Wedding” were written by Megan McCarthy. It’s just one big plot hole.
So yeah…possibly my least favorite episode of Season Two.
This was the first of several episodes in the series with the CMCs acting as a group of friends rather than out to get their Cutie Marks. I think that aspect works well. If they were constantly seen going to get their Cutie Marks, it would highlight how ludicrous it is that they don’t have them after four seasons. 😛
Another episode where a “real” holiday is translated for the show…this time Valentine’s Day.
The fillies can apparently leave school “whenever”. 😛
Also, the first episode to feature a song by the CMCs…well…other than “The Show Stoppers” one.
In the ring shop, the multicolored gems surrounding the one big one may be a nod to the Elements of Harmony…or Marvel’s Infinity Gems.
Big Macintosh’s hopping is similar to Pepe Le Pew from Looney Tunes.
Why is the clock chiming at five minutes ’til?
The girls put a mattress at the bottom of the pit? Don’t tell me falling into a pit without something soft in it is Y7 material too…
The only member of the Mane Six to appear in this episode is Twilight Sparkle, and it’s only to pretty much provide the plot device for the episode. So this is another rare episode with no Applejack.
Some fans think this is episode ends up with a Big Macintosh/Ms. Cheerilee shipping…but…no. There’s really no chemistry between them. Not even when they’re on Love Poison…
1.5 Stars out of 5