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Synopsis:

In their latest attempt to get their Cutie Marks, the CMCs decide to join the school newspaper staff, even if doing so means being under Diamond Tiara as the new editor-in-chief. She demands “juicy” stories, and dismisses everything the girls give her until they report on a story of Snips and Snails getting stuck together from chewing gum. Although the two foals take the story as their shot at fame, everyone else in school, and town, loves it for being an embarrassing piece. Diamond Tiara wants more, and soon the girls create the persona of a gossip columnist named “Gabby Gums” and go around town spying on everyone’s embarrassing moments, “stretching the truth” on them, and then publishing them. They’re a sensation and soon selling all over Ponyville and Cloudsdale, but as time goes on, the Mane Six and other ponies close to the CMCs get slandered by the column, and eventually Rarity finds out their identity. On telling the other girls, they’re soon infuriated at the three and refuse to talk to them. They want to quit, but Diamond Tiara demands they either continue to be Gabby Gums or she’ll publish embarrassing stories about them instead. In spite of the threat, the CMCs eventually run a story exposing their own identity, shutting down the column, and asking for the town’s forgiveness. Soon after, Ms. Cheerilee boots Diamond Tiara off the staff, keeping her from ever running the embarrassing stories in retribution.

Review:

Even by “CMC Episode” standards…this episode is just plain weak.

Don’t get me wrong…out of all the “after school special” episodes they can do, and out of all the ones in the “standard playbook”, gossip is one of the most important. Especially nowadays in the era of cyberbullying. I dare say it’s more important than “standard bullying”, which showed up in Season Three’s “One Bad Apple”, because it simultaneously encourages the bully by providing them anonymity, while spreading to everyone else quickly. Yet this episode failed multiple ways to handle it well.

First, it placed all the blame solely on the CMCs. And, granted, they were indeed the gossipers and most of the blame belonged on them…but it utterly failed to address the “elephant in the room”. With the exception of Twilight Sparkle, each and every character loved Gabby Gums until they got slandered by her. Even when Twilight tried to tell them all that the gossip might be hurtful to who was involved, the girls brushed her off. They claimed it was all “innocent”. That it was “fun” to have your “name in the paper”. In other words, they excused the fact that by soaking up every bit of gossip that was put out, they were, in fact, causing Gabby Gums to thrive and continue more than the CMCs were. If no one actually read Gabby Gums, then it wouldn’t have been an issue. Diamond Tiara would have yanked the column. Yet by their own admission, the ponies said they didn’t like the “Namby-Pamby” stories any more than Diamond Tiara did. It was NEVER until they suffered themselves that they started getting all up-in-arms about how terrible the gossip was.

To me? That makes every last one of them a hypocrite who doesn’t have the right to run the CMCs through the wringer. …Except maybe Twilight. 😛 The ponies in town deserve to share the blame for this one.

Second, it suffered from rather big plot holes. Spike gave not one but two interviews to “Gabby Gums”. He had to have known her real identity. And Ms. Cheerilee seemed to completely ignore any negative impact Gabby Gums might have had on the community until right after the CMCs apologized for it publicly and disowned themselves from it.

Third, it was yet another “have it all” ending. The Mane Six were understandably infuriated at the CMCs for what they did. So mad they didn’t want to talk to them at all, were in constant tears, or, in Rainbow Dash’s case, made it continuously rain on them whenever she could. And I can see that. That’s the cruelest thing about gossip. It’s like tearing open a pillowsack full of feathers and running around and shaking them everywhere, and then being told to put them all back. No matter how hard you work or try, you will never be able to get every last one of those feathers back in that case…and such is the same with trying to “un-gossip” something. Yet all the CMCs have to do is print one “umbrella apology”…and they’re instantly forgiven completely by everyone. That’s…probably the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen on the show. And coming from a show that makes rainbows in factories and a dracoequis who can make chocolate rain…that’s saying something. But it fits here because the CMC episodes are designed to be realistic and “down to Earth”. And gossip is such a hurtful thing that is such a violation of trust that it takes a little more than an apology, even if it meant exposing themselves, to undo it.

I would have preferred if the girls did run their own embarrassing stories as “penance”. Sure, they would have been awful and terrible for them, but if that went along with the apology, it would have been not only poetic justice but would have made everyone “even”.

I do compliment it on not going the “traditional route” that “anti-gossip kid cartoons” go…which would have been for the girls to print an embarrassing article about Diamond Tiara. But the alternative was not believable and poorly executed, especially for a show that tends to handle matters like this rather well.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge CMC fan and I think most of their episodes are mediocre at best…but this one crosses into “bad” territory again.

Fun Facts:

Although it’s a CMC episode, it seems to focus more on Sweetie Belle as opposed to Apple Bloom and Scootaloo.

The opening of the episode, between the background music and the slow overhead shot going to school during the bell, may be a nod to the opening to “The Simpsons”.

Did…Diamond Tiara walk out of the class just to make a dramatic entrance coming back in? :X On that note, Diamond Tiara is just a “generic bitch” in this episode for once as opposed to being a snobbish bully.

Based on the equations on the board…it looks like Ms. Cheerilee is teaching the foals calculus. O_o

Anyone know the joke behind the one student in the fez reading the paper? ‘Cause I sure don’t.

This episode finally confirms Scootaloo is flightless when her tiny wings are unable to keep her from crashing into mud.

One of the articles the girls write is about “The Great and Powerful Trixie”. No wonder she was a laughing-stock by the time Season Three rolled around. 😛

When Twilight gets a pedicure, she’s wearing a massive foam array for all four hooves. This is actually accurate. Horse hooves are individual fingers that fused and grew massive and long over time as opposed to hands.

The fact that the girls did a personal interview with Spike means he must have known who “Gabby Gums” was long before anyone else, including Rarity.

Big Mactintosh still has Ms. Smartypants. 🙂

In a bit of an inversion, Applejack confines herself to one-word replies and Big Macintosh is more talkative to the CMCs. The joke would have worked a bit better if there hadn’t already been plenty of times when Big Macintosh was talkative.

Until the last story, Diamond Tiara had read every single article the CMCs had turned in before printing. The fact that she didn’t read that one was a big telegraph it was going to be something she didn’t want out.

Ms. Cheerilee sounds very “Princess Celestia-esque” in this episode to me for some reason… Ah well.

Rating:

2 Stars out of 5

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