Cranky Doodle Donkey and Matilda are finally getting married, but find out due to Cranky (trying to be cheap) hiring Derpy/Muffins to print out the invitations, they all mistakingly sent out the announcement the wedding was happening a day early; namely today. Unfortunately, the Mane Six are completely tied up trying to defeat a Bugbear that is attacking Ponyville and unable to help. What results is a series of short stories:
- Derpy, eager to make up for her mistake, ends up appropriating Doctor Whooves’ flameless fireworks to use as flowers for the wedding.
- Doctor Whooves attempts to get his suit tailored in time and ends up stuck in a bowling championship with a group of ponies who abide.
- Octavia Melody is stuck on what to play for the wedding until she gets a bit of help from her housemate Vinyl Scratch/DJ-Pon-3.
- Matilda runs rampant trying to get herself ready, ending up recruiting Amethyst Star as the new wedding planner and meeting up with Cranky’s selection for best man: Steven Magnet.
- Lyra and Bon Bon find their “special” friendship pushed to the limit when Bon Bon reveals she has a secret she’s been keeping from her.
- Princess Celestia and Princess Luna clash over whose fault it was for not bringing the wedding gift.
In the end, everything is sorted out, the wedding goes on as planned, Mayor Mare gives out a rousing speech in tribute of Cranky and Matilda, but also to the stories of all the residents of Ponyville, and the Doctor’s flameless fireworks go off when the secret ingredient is added: love.
I mean…THIS episode. If you’re a fan, I could probably just say that and you’d be fine. I could end the review right there. Let’s see what I can say…
One might argue the ultimate high mark for a series is when it obtains its own fandom. Oh sure, there’s lots of shows out there that have fans. Many of them are incredibly popular. But few shows actually become so popular that you can have fanart galleries devoted to them, their own wikipedias, conventions devoted to them, and, as the highest mark, the point where the series evolves beyond the original concept and starts taking a life of its own in the fan community. This can go bad…but usually its a mark of both being a milestone as well as showing the legacy of the material. “Star Trek” was likely the first show to really do this. Believe it or not, some of the early episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” were adapted fanfics from “Star Trek”. In that sense, it showed the final stage of the emerging fandom: the point in which the fandom feeds back into the source material.
As I said, this isn’t always a good thing because in can lead to shark jumps and the fandom ruining their own show. But it can and does happen, and it has for years. Usually its quite subtle, occurring only in a fancanon nod here and there as the years go by. Once in a while we get something like that one episode of Futurama that was a parody of the original Star Trek, featuring the original actors voicing themselves, and having little gags fans would get (such as the one scene where George Takei and Walter Koeing are forced to share a script, much to their irritation, reflecting the fact the two actors didn’t get along at all at first…to the point where they were never in the same episode together until the third season).
But I dare say no fandom has ever done something like this. Everyone knew that Episode 100 was going to be a tribute to the background ponies before this episode came out, but we had no idea we were going to get this.
This is the ultimate love letter to the fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”. Whereas the rumor has gone about for years that the writers for the show are told to avoid the fan community like the plague for fear that their ideas will bleed into the series, I find it hard to believe after this episode they didn’t decide to eschew the rules and just look at the top fancanons and go ahead and throw them into this episode. Watching this episode for the first time was like a kid at Christmas. I eagerly kept watching waiting for the next delightful surprise to show up, and it didn’t disappoint. As soon as the episode started with a triple-whammy…Derpy returning, Derpy speaking, and Derpy having the same love of muffins the fans had given her…I knew this was going to be a treat.
I love this episode. It would be one thing if it only had the fan references, but the fact of the matter is it’s also visually great, it pushes the envelope for the storytelling, and the epic cello/DJ Mix is phenomenal. You can tell this episode was a labor of love when it was made.
I hate to say this…ever so much more than I hated saying something bad about “Twilight’s Kingdom”…but I have two beefs. One is little enough to totally overlook…the other, sigh, unfortunately not.
The first is that I would have preferred if there had been even less of the Mane Six in this episode. Pretty much ever scene of them battling the Bugbear is time that stole for more opportunities for the background ponies to shine, and most of them were just there to show “Look! They’re still fighting the Bugbear!”. But like I said, that’s a nitpick. It’s very small.
The other is a criticism a lot of this episode’s haters said and, unfortunately, it’s valid. This is indeed a love letter to the fans…specifically to the adult fans or “bronies”. If you’re the target audience, namely little kids, this episode has some fun visuals and action, but the fact of the matter is most of the charm and hidden humor is going to go right over a seven-year-old’s head. This episode, more than any in the entire series, was written for adults and pretty much ignored the kiddies. And the adult fans, unfortunately, rarely watch the show on TV unless they want to livestream. They usually download (or even pirate…) it later. I thought this problem was small enough to overlook for months, but it really isn’t. The fact is the major side effect of the show appealing more and more to the adult fanbase is a loss of ratings. I’m fearing that the original audience is being alienated. So while I personally love this episode and, even more so, the spirit that went into making it…a dark thought entered my head that the shark that was jumped wasn’t just literal. That this might be the beginning of the end…
But, refusing to allow that to get me down, especially since more phenomenal episodes were on the way this season, I love it. You can’t call yourself a fan of the show and not indulge in this marvelous little slice of life.
Because this episode is so ridiculously riddled with fandom shoutouts, I’ve created a separate section for those below this one: “Fan References”.
While only Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash have any lines out of the Mane Six in this episode, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, and Tabitha St. Germain (all of the girls except Twilight) get other roles in this episode.
The second appearance of Matilda and Cranky Doodle Donkey, who first appeared in Season Two’s “A Friend in Deed”.
Derpy (the cross-eyed gray pegasus) is now officially canonically named Muffins, according to the credits. But good luck getting the fans to stop calling her Derpy. 😛
Derpy has spoken one other time, in one of the more controversial episodes of the entire series: Season Two’s “The Last Roundup”. Tabitha St. Germain, who is also the voice of Rarity, provided the voice in both occasions. Derpy’s original voice caused complaints that she was making fun of individuals with intellectual disabilities. St. Germain herself claimed this was due to mistakingly thinking she was voicing a male character. “The Last Roundup” was later released with Derpy sounding more distinctly female and bubbly, but this also caused a controversy as Derpy was always seen as a “fan-created character” (and she was, as she was originally an editing mistake that the show writers went with) and that she was being changed to suit the tastes of a few paranoid parents. In this episode, St. Germain went for a “hybrid” between the two voices.
This episode featured the return of the hidden joke in “The Cutie Pox”, namely the three background ponies who were pony versions of the Dude, Walter, and Donny from “The Big Lebowski”. While Donny doesn’t get to do much and Walter only loses his temper in one scene, the Dude pretty much talks exactly like the Dude in the movie and is even listed in the credits as “Lebowski Pony”. His Cutie Mark is, naturally, of a rug. In one scene, he even appears to be drinking a White Russian. Walter’s Cutie Mark is a briefcase. (This isn’t listed in fan references because the show creators put him in the scene in “The Cutie Pox” all on their own.)
For what it’s worth, any serious bowler will tell you never throw the ball straight unless you only have one pin left. You always want it to curve into the pins. 😛
APPLE BLOOM: “The way they’re (the Mane Six) huddled up like that, I’d say it’s either a friendship problem…or a monster attack!”, SWEETIE BELLE: “Maybe it’s just a friendship problem. And it’ll all be cleared up in a half-an-hour or so.” Basically, a big fourth-wall joke right here. 😀
A bugbear is a form of hobgoblin or monster creature. The monster gets most of its recognition as being an enemy type in “Dungeons & Dragons”, but looks nothing like a bug or a bear. For this episode, however, the artists decided to go totally literal. 🙂
The three flowerponies passing out every time some minor inconvenience occurs is a throw way, WAY back to Season One’s “Applebuck Season”, in which ponies passed out in fright from…a rabbit stampede, of all things.
Steven Magnet holds the record for the longest absence in the show’s history, having appeared 98 episodes ago. O_O
When the Doctor moves in to try the 7-10 split, his advance is similar to that of Fred Flintstone while bowling.
The epic mix in this episode of Octavia and Vinyl was professionally done, with an “electric cellist” brought in to do Octavia’s part and the beat for Vinyl’s portion coming from “Turn Down for What?”
Vinyl Scratch/DJ-Pon-3’s DJMobile literally jumps a shark at one point. 😛
One of the more popular filly background ponies, Button Mash, makes a return appearance in this episode after a two-season absence. A colt who plays video games and wears a helicopter beanie, he was taken off of the show for legal reasons following a supposed “appropriation” by fans that resulted in legal action. He appears to have been restored in this episode by changing his mane color and not referring to him by name.
The “Twili-cane”, which became very popular after Discord created it in Season Four’s “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, makes a random cameo appearance.
For those of you with especially sharp eyes or who like to freeze-frame, during the collision of the DJMobile with the Twili-cane, there are a couple of frames of animation replaced with a photograph of five people wearing horse masks. The one in the black horse mask is storyboard supervisor Timothy Packford, the one in the brown horse mask is director Jim Miller, the one in the pink horse mask is storyboard artist Katrina Hadley, the one in the white unicorn mask is supervising director Jayson Thiessen, and the one in the zebra mask is the co-director of “Rainbow Rocks” Ishi Rudell.
Much to our shock, we find out just what’s going on in Gummy’s head most of the time in this episode.
Spike makes it to the wedding although he doesn’t have any lines. However, Cathy Wessluck, his voice actor, gets to voice other characters in this episode.
In a rather surprising cameo, there’s a single Changeling in the audience. (Well…at least one that we know about. :P) Shining Armor and Cadance seem to be remarkably “cool” with it being there. It doesn’t seem to realize what the problem is.
THE REFERENCE: Derpy is widely considered to be the quintessential mark of the brony fandom, as she first appeared as a background pony error in the pilot episode and was readily considered an original character by the audience. In the fan community, for one reason or another, the idea came about that Derpy is obsessed with muffins.
Derpy’s friendship with the Doctor.
THE REFERENCE: Just as the fandom often considers the Doctor to be the pony version of the Doctor from “Doctor Who” (see below), they frequently see Derpy as his “female assistant”.
DERPY: “Doctor!”, DOCTOR: “My life’s work! Decades…centuries really…of experiments”, the interior of the Doctor’s house, the Doctor’s scarf, DOCTOR: “Allons-y!”
THE REFERENCE: Due to the Cutie Mark and mane style, the brown-maned background stallion with a gold hourglass for a Cutie Mark has been named “Doctor Whooves” by the fan community and is considered to be the pony version of the Doctor from “Doctor Who”, or perhaps even a regeneration of the Doctor into pony form. While the name “Doctor Who” is likely copyrighted so they aren’t about to call the character “Doctor Whooves”, the mere fact that he’s referred to as “Doctor” the whole episode is a shout-out. Along with the fact that his house is filled with old crappy looking equipment and you never actually see the two go into a building (implying a variation on the TARDIS), that he hints in one line that he’s centuries old, that he owns the same scarf as the infamous Fourth Doctor’s scarf, and that he says: “Allons-y!”just like the Tenth Doctor, and it’s clear he’s supposed to be the Doctor in this episode.
DOCTOR: “Ever since a particularly traumatic experience as a foal…”
THE REFERENCE: Pretty much one third of all fanfiction that focuses on an OC has a lead-in that starts off with this line or some variant.
The presence of Octavia Melody.
THE REFERENCE: Octavia was originally a nameless background pony musician in Season One’s “The Best Night Ever” but, like other background ponies, became a surprise background pony hit. For some reason, she was singled out among the others and was named “Octavia” by the fans. Hasbro, as it did with many other fan monikers, adopted the name and called her that in merchandise, eventually expanding her full name to “Octavia Melody”. While Octavia had already made another stand-alone appearance in humanized form in “Rainbow Rocks”, this episode relocated her to Ponyville. The biggest fan-reference, however, is that the voice that Kazumi Evans gave her is essentially identical to the fan-dubbing she received in the infamous Youtube fan cartoon “Epic Wub Time”. (More on that video later…)
AMETHYST STAR: “But nopony’s asked me to organize anything since Twilight came to town!”
THE REFERENCE: As near as I can tell, there wasn’t any direct reference to Amethyst Star’s character having done anything in the fandom here. This seems more like a general fanfiction reference again, concerning situations in which two characters have similar Cutie Marks but one’s Cutie Mark is “slightly subpar” to another’s.
Lyra and Bon Bon’s…”special” friendship.
THE REFERENCE: Ever since these two background ponies were shown eating in an outdoor cafe together in Season One’s “Swarm of the Century”, rumors started to go about that the two were, in fact, a homosexual couple. As the writers/artists started to put in more scenes with them close to one another, that only fed on itself until this episode, where things have pretty much come to a head and now it’s about as obvious to the audience as Mr. Smithers’ sexuality on “The Simpsons”. The funniest part is that this is one fan reference that didn’t stop with this episode. It was hinted at yet again in “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” and carried over to their humanized counterparts for one of the “Friendship Games” shorts.
BON BON: “My name isn’t Bon Bon. It’s Special Agent Sweetie Drops.”
THE REFERENCE: The background pony “Bon Bon” was, in fact, originally licensed by Hasbro as “Sweetie Drops”. However, the fans almost immediately gave her a nickname “Bon Bon” when she first appeared and continued to circulate throughout the community. Eventually, Hasbro went with it and started using the name interchangeably with their own.
Bon Bon’s background story.
THE REFERENCE: This is another popular trope for MLP:FIM fanfiction…usually bad fanfiction. There are lots of stories out there in which some innocent-seeming background character ends up having some dark and serious backstory to them in which they’re some sort of vampire hunter, demon slayer, secret agent, or the like and are secretly hiding out pretending to be a totally innocent technicolor pony. It also parodies the idea of the benevolent-seeming Celestia running secret strike team organizations. (Lyra’s reaction to Bon Bon’s story is pretty much my reaction to the same type of fanfiction. :P)
BON BON: “I’ve got to go find a crowd to blend into before I put you in danger!”
THE REFERENCE: A background pony referencing their tendency to be ponies in the background. Whoa, dude. My mind is blown.
STEVEN MAGNET: “I’m Steven Magnet!”
THE REFERENCE: The sea serpent from the pilot episode never had an official title, but eventually the name arose as a result of a mistaken Youtube auto-generated caption. Remarkably enough, yet again, Hasbro adopted the fan-name. He was officially given this title in the trading card game prior to this episode, but hearing it here set it in stone.
Octavia Melody and Vinyl Scratch living in the same house.
THE REFERENCE: Several fan-creations out there become so epic that they take on a life of their own and actually become headcanon, spinning off associated fan-theories of their own. One of those is the fan-animation on Youtube: “Epic Wub Time”. That animation presented the idea that Vinyl Scratch/DJ-Pon-3 and Octavia Melody are actually housemates in spite of their clashing personalities. As a side note, Octavia is pretty much identical to how she appeared in that fan-animation. Vinyl, on the other hand, is mute and tries to keep her shades on at all times, more like a “stereotypical” DJ.
Princess Celestia and Princess Luna arguing.
THE REFERENCE: For years, it’s been generally-accepted headcanon that when not out making royal proclamations, helping ponies via dreams, or ordering the Mane Six out on assignments, the two goddesses of Equestria are pretty much thoroughly normal sisters who can be just as petty and “average” as the next pony, especially when interacting with each other. It’s a far cry from their brief interactions we’ve seen in episodes like the pilot and “The Crystal Empire”.
LYRA: “You know those expensive imported oats you were saving for a special occasion? I cooked them up and ate them!”
THE REFERENCE: This is, frankly, a fan-reference so dark I’m shocked it made it into the episode. There’s another fan-animation on Youtube called: “Ponies Wearing Hats” that features Lyra and Bon Bon wearing hats, but also a highly disturbed Bon Bon nervously questioning why there is a dead, mutilated human body in Lyra’s possession; to which Lyra cheerfully and cluelessly explains how she went about killing him, apparently not realizing what the problem is. At one point, Bon Bon asks why the body’s hands are missing. Lyra answers: “I cooked them up and ate them!”
4.5 Stars out of 5