In an attempt to take the initiative in making new friends, Princess Twilight Sparkle has seized on the northern country of Yakyakistan opening its borders for the first time in 100 years to try and foster a friendship between them and Equestria, and has invited the yak Prince Rutherford to Ponyville to welcome him. Twilight has arranged a variety of activities and hospitality to be Yakyakistan-themed to welcome them, but, unfortunately, each item is slightly off from the true version. Worse yet, each failed attempt to be like Yakyakistan causes the yaks to grow violently enraged and smash the surrounding area to bits. At last, Twilight only has the hope of Pinkie Pie throwing a genuine Yakyakistan party to make them forget all previous irritations. With the stakes higher than they’ve ever been for one of her parties, Pinkie Pie realizes the only chance is to be the first pony to ever travel to Yakyakistan and bring back something genuine from there. But in spite of making the entire trip across Equestria, a mishap literally at the front gates leads her to end up all the way back where she started in Ponyville, while the yaks themselves get so angry they vow to declare war on Equestria instead of making friends. At the same time, the girls discover Pinkie Pie’s special “party planning cave”, revealing her extensive and meticulous work she does in making everypony’s parties just perfect for them, and gain a new appreciation for her. Pinkie finds them and relates the bad news, but gets an idea on realizing how supportive everypony she met along the way was of her journey. She ends up changing the party’s theme entirely to instead highlight everything good and welcoming about Equestria to show off the desire of ponies to be hospitable and make guests feel at home. It succeeds in impacting Rutherford and he cancels the declaration of war and announces the befriending of Equestria instead. Princess Celestia congratulates Twilight and Pinkie for a job well done.
The show’s momentum took a bit of a hit after the last episode, and this did little to help it, which is kind of sad on the second viewing.
For the most part, this episode features a lot of standard Pinkie Pie antics, which are always a lot of fun. Her cartoonish quality, ability to pop in and out of nowhere, energy, and general crazy sense of logic always make things nice even if the episode as a whole isn’t that good. And this episode is no exception. It also does have a twinge of heart in it. While the girls have long since learned to respect Pinkie’s antics for whatever purpose she has behind them, and here is no exception, they learn to appreciate her even more when they find out just how much work she puts into getting parties absolutely right and going above-and-beyond the call, especially when they learn how hard it is to put on parties of their own. So in terms of that, this episode is pretty nice in a “Pinkie love” sense.
What people tend to slam this episode for is the yaks and, I agree, there’s some validity in that. It’s one thing to try and make friends with someone who’s cranky and grumpy. It’s another thing to bend over backward for what amounts to a race of brutes only for them to get outrageously violent at every unintended infraction. The whole bit with them throwing a fit and smashing things up might have worked as a running gag in a different setup, but when it ends up being critical to the plot, at some point the audience begins to wonder: “Why do they want to make friends with these guys again?” Plus, let’s be honest, it’s ridiculously petty, childish, and ungrateful to want to make war on another country because your bed wasn’t made from genuine material from your native country or there was too much vanilla in a cake that was made in your honor.
But really, if you see past that, this episode still has some good Pinkie fun in it and even just a teeny, tiny touch of heart. And that makes it above-average in my book.
Twilight’s “calming technique” is the same she used way back in Season Three’s “Games Ponies Play”.
Based on Twilight’s description of the location of Yakyakistan, it likely has never appeared on any of the show’s maps. It also kind of debunks the theory that the Crystal Mountains are at the North Pole as there’s something even farther north.
Prince Rutherford frequently channels the Hulk, especially how he keeps yelling “Yaks smash!”
Apparently, ponies can sleep while running. 😛
Pinkie Pie’s brief aside story features her joining pony versions of the Beatles, specifically John Lennon, Paul McCarthy, and George Harrison. Apparently, she got Ringo Starr’s part. 😛 Unlike with other inspired characters, the Cutie Marks for the Beatles change in every scene.
Gary Chalk provided the voice of Prince Rutherford. He’s one of the few voice actors on the show who actually regularly acts in live-action. He had done one voice prior to this episode, namely a Diamond Dog way back in “A Dog and Pony Show”, but was uncredited.
3 Stars out of 5