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Synopsis:

After enjoying a night of her unique style of stand-up, Pinkie Pie makes plans with Maud to go on an outing the next morning which is a covert attempt to pick out a cake for Maud’s upcoming surprise birthday party, only to find the next day she’s seemingly gone missing. After a lengthy search and some mishaps, Pinkie eventually finds her and discovers that the reason for her absence, as well as many others, was that she’s now dating a stallion named Mud Brier. The stallion appears to be a perfect copy of Maud (save for having an affinity of sticks over rocks) but, as she doesn’t know him personally, Pinkie soon finds him to be as boring, uninteresting, and apathetic as most others find Maud and develops a dislike for him. To try and connect with him like Maud has, she reluctantly enlists his help in planning Maud’s surprise birthday party; only for Mud to point out that he knows Maud doesn’t like surprise birthday parties at all. Now insulted at the idea that he would know Maud better than her, she asks Maud for confirmation only to be surprised when she admits she only likes surprise parties because she likes seeing Pinkie happy. Upset at this, Pinkie runs back home to Limestone and Marble Pie, but while there the two of them point out that rather than trying to see Mud the same way Maud does Pinkie should appreciate that Mud makes Maud happy. Deciding to view him in that light, Pinkie returns and apologizes to Mud before asking for his help again. In the end, following his suggestion, Pinkie throws a surprise party for a cardboard cutout of Maud; allowing Maud to be happy that Pinkie got to throw a bit surprise party but didn’t have to actually be present for it.

Review:

This episode debuted the new, and final, intro, featuring the School of Friendship, the girls in their current roles in life (such as Rainbow Dash in the Wonderbolts and Rarity at Canterlot Boutique), Luna and Celestia’s new throne room, and numerous characters that had been added including Maud Pie, Sugar Belle, and Flurry Heart, as well as the group photo taken at the end of “School Daze”.

It was a bit refreshing to see that just because the Student Six and the School of Friendship were now parts of the plot, it didn’t mean that individual stories with the Mane Six were going to be totally left by the wayside. That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode.

It definitely touches on some new territory. Dating and relationships of the romantic type had been either scarcely touched on by the show or presented in the most stereotypical fairy-tale fashion imaginable. Dealing with more of the real side of relationships, especially a situation in which someone brings home a new boyfriend/girlfriend who definitely doesn’t jibe with another family member, was an interesting realistic turn. One that’s more bold and mature than one would expect for many kids’ shows, in true MLP:FIM tradition.

What more, this highlighted another episode that showed off the “bad side” to Pinkie’s character, namely that she can be thoughtless and even a bit egocentric; even in her attempts to make others happy. It was also a bit unusual for her. Ever since “A Friend in Deed”, one gets the impression that Pinkie Pie likes everyone and wants to be friends with everyone, because she likes making everyone happy. Seeing an episode with an individual she doesn’t like is an interesting change for her.

That being said, there wasn’t too much great about this episode to me. While Pinkie Pie had a good laugh or two, a lot of the humor fell flat…which isn’t helped by the fact we have basically “two Mauds” taking up most of the episode. When Maud is by herself, her unusual deadpan reactions stand out with punch. When it’s two people who are equally deadpan, it doesn’t seem to resonate as well to me.

On a plotwise complaint note, Pinkie seemed to jump to dislike far too easily with Mud Brier. This is the same individual who seemed invulnerable to Cranky Doodle Donkey’s attempts to get her to leave her alone, but it only takes a few lines in the cake shop for Pinkie to start not liking Mud. It’s a bit forgivable, though, as the writers only had so much time.

Finally, while if I focus on the dialog itself, Mud Brier’s lines are fine, the way his voice acting is handled give the impression not of someone deadpan but rather someone a bit arrogant and smug. The fact that so many of his lines involve continuously correcting Pinkie Pie doesn’t mix well; making him seem like something of a snob.

While it did have some good points, it didn’t seem executed that well. As such, I kind of see this episode the same way Pinkie sees Mud Brier: as a stick in the mud.

Fun Facts:

The title is a reference to “The Odd Couple”, a Neil Simon play/TV series about a neat freak and a slob being in a situation where they’re stuck rooming together in the same apartment.

This episode alludes back to Maud’s earlier comment about how she enjoys stand-up comedy. However, Maud’s performance itself might be an allusion to Steven Wright, who’s infamous for being a deadpan, seemingly-emotionless stand-up comedian. Perhaps the reason her “earth pony” jokes didn’t go over so well is she was performing for a crowd of them. 😛

Check out near the door in the comedy club. Is Ms. Cheerilee dating? Also, Berry Punch is sitting with a stallion with green grapes for his own Cutie Mark. Hope he’s not an enabler.

The workpony’s reaction to Pinkie Pie materializing from inside his helmet. Yeah…I’d be freaked too.

Granny Smith apparently has a wax museum…for some reason. O_o

Mud Brier’s Cutie Mark is a stick in the mud. A “stick-in-the-mud” is another expression for someone who is dull, unenthusiastic, and generally ruins things for everyone.

When Pinkie Pie says she has nothing in common with Mud Brier, Starlight suggests that they both care about Maud. This is kind of a throwback to Maud’s original appearance, in which the only thing the rest of the Mane Six have in common with Maud is they care about Pinkie Pie.

Although Pinkie Pie is the only one of the Mane Six who appears in person in this episode, all of the voice actors had to say some lines for her hallucination. (Personally, I crack up at “I never learned to read!”, especially as it leads to Pinkie’s existential crisis.)

Rating:

2.5 Stars out of 5