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Synopsis:

Spike has stockpiled a large number of gems to bake into a massive gem cake, but his gluttony leads him to subconsciously eat them before he can get started. While lamenting his loss, Fluttershy comes by and offers a rather large jewel to Spike in exchange for watching Angel Bunny tomorrow while the Mane Six are off on an errand in the Crystal Empire at the request of Princess Cadance. He readily accepts, and soon offers to pet-sit for the rest of the Mane Six in exchange for more gems, not really caring about what he’s getting into so long as he gets to make his cake. When the girls leave, having given Spike long lists of instructions that he wasn’t paying attention to for the pets, they soon run amok. He tries to pass them off onto the CMCs when Angel, seeing Spike is neglecting to even take some curlers out of his tail, gravitates to them, but they want one of the six gems to pay for equipment for them. When it turns out they’re terrible at pet-sitting, Spike ends up taking them back and getting more headaches. He gives a gem to Zecora in exchange for some advice, but her only advice is to stop focusing on his greed for the gems before she donates it. When he ties the pets up and tries to roll them home, he ends up having to give Granny Smith another gem to bribe her to “look the other way”. However, Angel escapes and gets on board a train bound for the Crystal Empire and, to get himself, the pets, and the CMCs on board (the latter to act as pet chaperones), he has to give up another gem. During the trip, the pets destroy Donut Joe’s cart, forcing him to give up another gem to pay for damages, leaving him with only Fluttershy’s. On arrival at the Crystal Empire, the Mane Six are getting ready to depart. Angel tries to run up to Fluttershy, and to stop him Spike throws away his last gem to knock over some luggage in his path. He, the CMCs, and the pets sneak back on the train, but the Mane Six sit on the seats where they’re hiding. Angel nearly alerts them, when Spike, realizing he’s been neglecting them all the entire day and only caring about his stomach, apologizes. As a result, Angel helps Spike keep quiet and gets him the large gem back to boot. The gang manages to arrive back in Ponyville and the girls suspect nothing. Spike takes the last gem to bake in the cake…but subconsciously eats that too before he can put it in.

Review:

Well…it’s mostly a “blah” episode, even humor-wise, but at least it’s not last week’s.

Again, when Spike gets an episode to himself, he proves to be shone in a negative light. Again, his greed, or “gluttony” to be more exact, gets the better of him in this episode. This episode also showed, unlike the girls, Spike can’t really carry the show on his own as a result of always showing his negative traits. It does have some good humor at points, and as an episode that seems mostly devoted to being a highlight of the side characters, it’s overall a nice one in that regard. It’s also nice to see some of the pets again after a lengthy absence. This is only Tank’s second appearance.

It also has some “nice touches” here and there. I was still “aching” after Angel’s abhorrent appearance in “Putting Your Hoof Down”. In this one…I think it helped redeem him a bit. He still seems spoiled around Fluttershy, but he’s no longer “nasty”. The only character he’s actually “mean” to in this episode is Spike, and with good reason. And when Spike comes around, he ends up actually bailing the dragon out, which is nice.

Yet in spite of all that, there’s really nothing that “stands out” about this episode. And I can’t help but roll my eyes at how Rarity’s “generosity” only lets her give Spike a tiny gem, especially since she had the longest list of demands. The Rarity in this episode, although briefly seen, is rather hard to reconcile with the one we see in Season Four’s “Rarity Takes Manehattan”.

Well…that’s what you get with an episode that’s all about sidekicks. 😛

Fun Facts:

The next episode to air after “Wonderbolt Academy” was “Apple Family Reunion”. However, in terms of production order (and what came out on DVD), this is the eighth episode of Season Three. It was aired prior to “Games Ponies Play” to keep the continuity of the series up. (See below)

“Just for Sidekicks” is a (so far) unique episode in the series as it runs parallel to “Games Ponies Play”, with both episodes showing the same “day in the life” of the Mane Six and Spike/the pets, respectively. Both of the episodes share a number of scenes, and some seemingly random events in “Games Ponies Play” are only “understood” in light of watching this “matching” episode.

Apparently, by the time this episode was made, the writers remembered that Spike was supposed to have a pet phoenix of his own following “Dragon Quest”. Through the magic of “comic-style” family pictures, he’s conveniently written out of the story. Another staple of Season Three…rushing. 😛

“Spike is great! Makin’ a jewel cake!” is an allusion to Bill Cosby’s infamous comedy routine: “Bill Cosby: Himself”. Part of the standup is a joke concerning him, being a dad trying to get out of having to cook breakfast for his kids, coming to the “logical conclusion” that giving them already-made chocolate cake for breakfast is nutritious. The kids love it, naturally, and sing: “Dad is great! Gives us the chocolate cake!”

Angel has no love for Spike, but seems to both fear and respect Owluiscious. Not surprising…he could probably eat him. 😛

One of the big “bad” trends that had been happening in this season, and the last, was that Rarity was gradually becoming more prissy and “hoity-toity” to the exclusion of her other character traits…including her generosity. It’s particularly bad in this episode when she gives Spike only a sliver of a gem in exchange for watching Opal.

When the CMCs say they’re going to try and get marks for skydiving, the poster has a picture of an airship in the background…the first time one has appeared since “Sweet and Elite”.

Right after Spike takes the “sidekicks” back and it cuts back to town, there’s a shot of a background pony nurse talking to a pony with frazzled hair. I think that’s the “lunatic” pony from “Read It and Weep”. She looks like she’s “getting better”. 🙂

This episode is a huge nod to various side characters in the series. It features the CMCs, Zecora, Granny Smith, and Donut Joe…not to mention the return of the various pets who hadn’t been seen in a while (like Tank).

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5

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