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Synopsis:

Rainbow Dash’s combination birthday/anniversary of moving to Ponyville is coming up, and Pinkie Pie plans on throwing her the best party ever. Yet as she’s setting up, a pony named Cheese Sandwich, who advertises himself as the best party planner in Equestria, shows up into town and offers to do the same job, and soon upstages all of Pinkie’s own plans. Pinkie is at first depressed at the thought of a better party planner than her, but then becomes determined to outdo Cheese and prove herself to be the superior planner, challenging him to a “Goof Off” competition and having Rainbow Dash pick one of them to exclusively headline her party. Yet in the middle of the competition, Pinkie realizes that Rainbow’s own celebration is being totally overshadowed by their contest and she’s not having fun at all judging the event. On doing so, she forfeits and apologizes for letting her pride ruin the event, then tries to pack up and leave town. However, the girls, Spike, and even Cheese intercept her and tell her that Cheese is great as a “guest party planner”, but she’s still the town’s “permanent” one. Furthermore, Cheese admits that he wasn’t always a “super duper party pony”, but in fact he was originally shy and introverted. He got his Cutie Mark as a result of traveling through Ponyville and coming across one of the filly Pinkie Pie’s own parties, making her the source of his inspiration. Both Pinkie and Cheese join together to throw the biggest party in the town’s history, and Cheese Sandwich moves on to another town at the end, but not before leaving behind a memento for Pinkie: his own rubber chicken mascot Boneless, which emits a rainbow shimmer…

Review:

Similar to “Rainbow Falls”, this episode is overshadowed by a character. But whereas it was incidental in “Rainbow Falls”, it’s pretty clear the show’s creators intended this episode to be upstaged by Weird Al Yankovic and his portrayal of Cheese Sandwich. I thought it was kind of interesting that this episode ended up being a Key of Harmony episode. While Weird Al wasn’t quite as “en vogue” as he would be in a few months (after “Mandatory Fun” got released), he alone could have been a selling point for an entire episode.

As such, this episode doesn’t quite hit “as deep” as the other Key of Harmony episodes. Granted, it shouldn’t. This is Pinkie Pie. If there’s any member of the Mane Six you don’t want to get “too dramatic” with, it’s her. And this episode is mostly one intended to be just “wacky” when it’s not making fun of the fact Weird Al is in pony form. It’s also a bit unusual that it’s Pinkie’s pride that ends up being picked on considering the ones who normally have to swallow their pride are Applejack or Rainbow Dash.

Similar to Season Three’s opener, this episode is a musical, which is, yet again, an unusual turn for a standard 22 minute episode. I think it definitely “works” for this one as the entire episode was meant to be silly and zany, but the songs, once again, are hit and miss. Whereas the story got “told” a bit in the songs in Season Three, in this episode they’re pretty much just there to pad the time and it shows in more than a couple. Still…songs like “The Goof Off” might be secretly the best songs of the season. That song was entirely done by Daniel Ingram, but it really does have the feel of one of Weird Al’s polka remixes…enough to where it’s almost hard to believe Al didn’t write it himself. I think that’s the most skill Ingram has shown since “This Day Aria”.

So, again, a better-than-decent episode with good laughs and fun. I wish they would have been just a little more subtle with Weird Al being part of this episode, as some points seems simply there to scream: “Hey! We got Weird Al in this episode in case you forgot in the past two minutes!”, but it’s still quite good.

Fun Facts:

Similar to Season Three’s finale, this episode is a musical.

As if the point needed to be stated any more clearly (it was advertised all week leading up to the episode), Cheese Sandwich is not only voiced by “Weird Al” Yankovic, but although he’s clearly a clone of Pinkie Pie in many respects (as that was part of the episode, right down to saying things like “doozy” and having a “Cheesy Sense”) his character is essentially a pony version of him. During the “Goof Off”, the song eventually “degenerates” into a variation of Al’s signature “polka mixes”. He even starts doing a polka version of “The Smile Song”. (Heck, I’d buy a polka mix of him doing MLP songs in a heartbeat.) He plays the accordion just like Weird Al (I wonder if Al actually played that part of the song…). Cheese as a filly has Weird Al’s old “look” of the big permed hair and nerd glasses as another nod. This is the first “celebrity voice” (well, not counting John DeLancie) ever brought in to do an episode on the show. It should be noted this was still a few more months before Weird Al became part of the “vernacular” again when he released “Mandatory Fun” and it became his first album to hit number one on Billboard. Until then, some people actually thought he had retired, so he probably wasn’t quite the “selling point” he would have been months later. Nevertheless, the songs were all written by Daniel Ingram, same as always. Weird Al only performed them. I think Ingram does a pretty decent job of making the songs “sound like his”, though, especially “The Good Off”.

By comparison, “Make a Wish” sounds pretty much like the last song of the Season Two finale repackaged.

The opening takes place in Appleloosa. Cheese Sandwich is dressed like Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name”. At the end, Pinkie says the line from the franchise: “I never did get that pony’s name…”

During the opening song, Diamond Tiara sings about her “Cute-seaniera”, and admits it was decent…in spite of the fact she got upstaged during it way back in Season One’s “Call of the Cutie”. Ah well…she more than deserved it.

When Pinkie makes her “certified promise” to Rainbow Dash during the opening, she shoves a cupcake in her eye. That seems random, but it isn’t. It’s an allusion both to Season One and this season about the “stick a cupcake in my eye” part of the oaths she makes.

Apparently, Rainbow Dash moved to Ponyville on her birthday.

Pinkie’s mane doesn’t go “fully flat” in this episode, but it does deflate a bit, similar to “Party of One”.

During one of Pinkie’s songs, she looks at a picture of her family from the flashback in “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” throwing her first party. But…there’s something different. A third sister with a more “lazy” look is in the picture. This is Maud Pie, who would appear in a later episode and become yet another fan favorite, but that doesn’t change the fact she was retconned into the series in this episode. 😛

“This cheese has stood alone…” is an allusion to “The Farmer and the Dell”, an old American folk song. The final verse starts: “The cheese stands alone.”

Matlida from another Pinkie Pie episode, “A Friend In Deed”, cameos.

Based on the artwork, Cheese Sandwich hails from Manehattan.

The most “random” part of this episode is during the “Goof Off” when both Cheese and Pinkie cut to live-action bits of their respective mascots. Such a technique was used frequently on kid shows like “Chowder”, which was also supposed to be “off the wall”.

Derpy makes numerous appearances in this episode, including the flashback which finally shows her as a filly.

Although Pinkie Pie is shown writing in the diary, the “lesson she learned” is never stated…at least not in the “traditional” sense.

One of the few episodes that doesn’t end with the “ending credits” theme song.

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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