When ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ started its first season, they barely registered a blip on the comedy radar. Oh they were funny then for sure, but it wasn’t until Danny Devito saw them and thought to himself “I want to be part of this show” that they really took off and became popular beyond their niche audience. I can only hope that Weird Al’s spectacular cameo will have the same effect and bring in new viewers to one of the few children’s shows left on air that has genuine depth and quality.
And if ever there was a testament to just how well put together this show is, it’s attracting the attention of one of the cleverest and most well-travelled comedians in the world; Weird Al Yankovic. I guess I can see his attraction to the show, because in a way his is a similar story to that of MLP. A lot of people view him as a novelty act and criticized him in the past for not being a real comedian or a real musician. But the reality is he’s had a longer career than most of the musicians he’s parodied and is one of the most talented people in the industry today.
Similarly, MLP has copped endless backlash, bullcrap and accusations from people who I can only assume live under bridges about how it supposedly has no substance, no creativity and is nothing more than “a stupid show about ponies for little girls”. It’s now in its fourth season, with a fifth confirmed, and legions of global fans. Whatever “war” people perceive is going on between MLP fans and loudmouth trolls is long over. It’s been over for years. (MLP won by the way).
As to the episode itself, I honestly thought Cheese Sandwich was going to be a long lost brother of Pinkies. His hair is more or less identical, and he has his own “Pinkie sense”, which is just as great a setup for them to be solving mysteries like Scooby Doo as it is for them to be rivals. Honestly there was no way this episode could have gone wrong…it just writes itself…and Weird Al’s musical style really lends itself well to Pinkies silliness.
Speaking of Pinkie, I’ve often made mention of how I consider her to be a comedy prop. While this season illustrates that point better than ever, it’s nice to see the writers still having the forethought to put a little character development in there too. After all, she is her own character with her own personality, hopes, fears, likes and dislikes. ‘Being true to yourself’ might be a theme done to death on modern media but rarely is it illustrated well enough to make you care.
Pinkie Pride is the exception to that. If you don’t watch this episode, we can’t be friends anymore.
Oh Rarity, you never cease to amaze me with how goddamn dramatic you can be.
Seriously, it hasn’t stopped being funny. After four seasons of Rarity getting steadily more insane, I find myself actually more and more as opposed to thumbing through a psychiatrist directory. Because as I’ve stated multiple times before, rarity is at her absolute zenith when she is experiencing one of two extremes; extreme comfort and extreme discomfort. Seeing Rarity get ‘stuck’ though, is guaranteed hilarity. What I mean by ‘getting stuck’ is when her own idiosyncrasies put her in a situation that she has nobody but herself to blame for. Her getting stuck is funny for the same reasons watching Eric Cartman get stuck is funny….because they have dug themselves a hole that is nearly impossible to get out of.
Obviously MLP is just a little bit slightly different to South Park in how it resolves these sticky situations but the principals of the story arc remain the same. Character wants something. Character tries WAY too hard. Character digs a hole. Character gets stuck in it. She is also the perfect example of the point made by Krusty the Klown during Cecil Terwilligers audition to be his sidekick. Krusty said; “Free comedy tip slick, the pie gag only works when the saps got dignity! Like that guy!” pointing of course to the dapper Bob. What Krusty means is that slapstick and gross out humour carries much more weight and is more effective when it happens to someone who REALLY doesn’t want it to happen to them…like a well-dressed neat freak as opposed to a slob who is filthy anyway. This is why Rarity going downhill is extremely funny. But it’s also why Applejack going overboard with being neat and proper is funny as well. It’s just basic role reversal, but when it’s done right it’s some of the funniest character based humour you can get from any show.
I’m reminded of an episode of Daria where Quinn is mistakenly assumed by the school to be highly intellectual, and essentially steals Daria’s identity as a braniac outcast. So to get back at her sister and set them both back to square one, Daria steals Quinn’s personality and becomes the attractive, popular damsel who is always going on dates and meeting with friends. It was funny in Daria, and it’s just as funny (if not more so given the sillier tone) here in MLP.
Loved seeing the old Applejack/Rarity rivalry flare up again, but I also loved Applejack being grounded enough to not lose control of her emotions during it.
A laugh out loud episode and of the few that dares to express feelings of obvious sexual attraction and general affection…which is another tricky subject that is difficult to pull off yetis done well within the confines of MLP’s animation frames.
And I’m always happy to see a little love for Derpy. Can you believe there have actually been people COMPLAINING about her recent high frequency of appearances? Make up your minds guys, holy shit. After all, she’s just a little misunderstood.
For those of you who dont know, a Zoo in Copenhagen is getting a shitload of backlash for putting down a 2 year old Giraffe named Marius, dissecting its remains in front of a crowd and then feeding it to lions. Marius was put down due to his genetic diversity not being clean enough to ensure healthy offspring (as he was partially inbred).
(Full story here: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/death-of-marius-the-giraffe-sparks-death-threats-against-zoo-staff-20140211-hvbvm.html
There’s alot to be said about this. On the one hand, I do not support the needless culling of zoo animals due to the zoo’s lack of foresight for its population capacity, but I dont think that is the case here.
As the article posted by Ricky Gervais said, when you have a surplus of genes in a particular population of animals, the risk for inbreeding rises dramatically. This means that if Marius was allowed to mate, there would be a very high possibility for little baby giraffes to be born deformed, in pain, brain damaged and miserable. In that respect, humanely euthanizing the animal is a smart (and sadly necessary) course of action. “Feeding his remains to lions” sounds very barbaric and dramatic, but its either do that (a perfectly natural occurrence in the wild mind you) or throw his remains in a medical dumpster.
On the other hand however, more foresight was needed to ensure enough genetic diversity among the captive population to render this course of action completely unnecessary. In that respect, the zoo management is at fault for backing itself into a corner where this course of action was the best option.
Having said all that though, the death threats are COMPLETELY absurd and demonstrate a much higher level of barbarity and idiocy than euthanizing an animal that was not only partially inbred but also likely to create more.
The dissection I dont have a problem with. Getting a look inside big exotic animals like Giraffes is an amazing scientific opportunity and I would encourage animal autopsies and dissections whenever the opportunity arises to broaden our scientific knowledge about these great creatures.
So all in all, I am disappointed that the zoo had to do this, but it was the right thing to do. I do not think they did anything wrong.
You know what? I think it’s time Rainbow Dash moved on from her dream of joining the Wonderbolts. She has humbled them several times now with her clearly superior speed, flying skill and social morals and I don’t think there is much else that can be squeezed from them without drastically changing their personalities.
Failing that, they need to be used as something more than just an episode plot device. Yes they can be competitive dicks; yes Rainbow can inadvertently teach them humility while learning it herself. But can we get a little character development now?
Whatever…’Rainbow Falls’ is another in a long line of episodes that seem to be re-treading ground that has already been explored with Dash. What I mean by that is, she seems to be repeatedly learning to calm herself down over and over again. She learnt it in ‘Wonderbolt Academy’, she learnt it in ‘Daring Don’t’, and she’s learning it again here. It’s just a slightly different coat of paint every time and I ‘m not sure there’s really much of a point in continuously neutering her abrasive personality.
I’ve spoken about stuff like this before, and pointed out that its ok for the ponies to keep re-learning the same lessons over and over again and not change their personalities because their personalities are not only what we fell in love with but also the best excuse for generating episode content. Dash however has felt a little more forced and I think she needs to up her arrogance and ego levels to start being truly funny again. She’s the only one who has shown any distinct change in personality but she’s doesn’t really need it. None of them do.
In other news, it felt SO good seeing Derpy again, I was worried for a while there that they would just run and abandon her entirely after that voice fiasco. But as a testament to their REAL fans, the MLP team saw fit to keep her around for longer than just that little shot in the opening credits. Did you notice her screaming gasp as well? They clearly have not lost sight of what makes Derpy great. Maybe instead of speaking they will simply keep her as a silent character who makes weirder noises than Pinkie. One can only hope.
On the whole, kind of a wishy washy episode for me. The main hook I found myself pondering was the shimmer of rainbow energies that shone through Dash’s eyes…the same shimmer that Rarity saw on the barrier rope during her fashion show. It’s not exactly a mystery to decipher the POINT of these mysterious energies, but I am very curious as to what exactly is causing them.
Three’s a Crowd
When Discord was first teased, I pictured him as this enormous, red-eyed, muscular destroyer of worlds who would emerge from an underground crypt in the Everfree forest and bring with him a cavalcade of horror and mayhem that would trigger the apocalypse. And this is why I’m glad I don’t write for the show. Because that is predictable and the Discord we got is way better.
Discord is essentially the Jack Sparrow of the Ponyverse; a charismatic, intelligent, talented con artist who always knows exactly what to say and do at just the right times to make the audience smile. He’s a show stealer who totally derails every episode with his utter lunacy and endless wave of pop culture references….which makes me wonder why he hasn’t buddied up with Pinkie more. Both of them enjoy regularly breaking physics, the fourth wall and uncomfortable silences with their endless claptrap which…in my eyes at least…makes them two peas in a pod. Two bullets in a mag. Two cannibal midgets in a fat guy’s ribcage. The day the do an episode about the acceptability of pranks centred on Pinkie and Discord is the day my heart leaps from my chest like a joyous alien and screams in girlish delight to the horror of multiple onlookers.
I’m also pleased to see that the noticeable references of this show are of more than just internet crap.
Everyone had a heart attack when they saw grumpy cat in ‘Rarity Takes Manehattan’ and if you ask anyone what background features they remember from that episode, that’s what they will tell you about. Nevermind that there was a very obvious Simpsons reference and the receptionist for the fashion show was CLEARLY the receptionist from Ghostbusters….oh no…it’s only the fucking grumpy cat anyone cares about. ‘Three’s A Company’? We have Harry Potter, Flashdance, Risky Business, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and a mountain of other great moments to enjoy. I want that shot of Applejack raining her eyebrow on infinite loop on my desktop.
The flip side to all this madness however is that the whole episode becomes unfocused and more concerned with the spectacle of the production that actually having a point. Cadence becoming weary of her life as a royal could have been a whole episode in and of itself, and one day I’d love to see an episode based entirely on supporting characters that doesent feature the mane six at all….like what South Park did with the Goth Kids episode. Once in a while, I’d say that’s a good thing….to destroy the pallet and enjoy the fun of being in an animated kids show about candy colored ponies with pictures on their butts, so long as we don’t get too carried away with the idea, otherwise we just end up watching fan fiction in place of a cohesive program.
A good episode, if kind of an unfocused one. It somehow manages to squeeze in a classic character moment for each of the girls amidst everything going on. You have Rainbow being a jerk and using her speed to get her own way (thank Celestia), it has Fluttershy being adorbz, it uses Rarities past exaggerations to make a joke, it has Applejack being so down to Earth she has become indistinguishable from the crust, and of course you have Pinkie being Pinkie.
The whole runtime was a bit of a clusterfuck to the eyes but in a weird way it sorta fits. Discord IS the harbinger of chaos after all and his presence is a great excuse to play around with what you can do within the confines of an animated show. Just like Pinkie.
Good fun. A good laugh. Can’t wait until the next episode.
Rarity Takes Mane-Hatten.
You know something? I always thought it would be better if Applejack and Rarity had each others element of harmony instead of their own. Think about it, generosity has never really suited Rarity as well as it does AJ. Honesty works well for AJ and it is the core of a lot of her humour, but it seems to me that generosity would have worked just as well, if not better for her. She’s already extremely generous as it is anyway. She sacrifices her own time, provides a huge service to the community, and never asks for anything in return.
Rarity……kinda does that too….but her personality just grates against it so hard that it has always been difficult to take her seriously as “the generous one”. But just imagine for a second if her episodes didn’t have to try and force her generous angle, and instead gave her free reign to be brutally honest.
Works a lot better doesn’t it? Rarity has always been at her funniest when she is experiencing one of two extremes. Either total control and comfort, or total discomfort is when she makes me laugh the hardest. When she is in her comfort zone, she is manipulative, prissy and carries herself as if she is wearing some kind of magical veil that can shield her from any problem in the world.
Take her out of that comfort zone though, and she turns into an absolute train wreck. Both situations are equally funny, but both are bogged down somewhat by her having to force a personality trait that does not seem to inherently be her own. Rarity doesn’t really need to DO anything to be funny or entertaining, she just needs to be herself and experience the current situation. I think that if you took away her necessity to do or prove something and just gave her free reign to speak whatever is on her mind, she would be a much more natural feeling character. And with the ponies really starting to hit their stride this season, things like this become more obvious.
As for Applejack, even with the element of generosity I don’t think she would change a helluva lot. She would still be the sturdy, moral compass and loyal companion. She would still be worried about her ability to perform well for others and would still be biting off more than she can chew in order to impress.
Having said all that though, ‘Rarity Takes Mane-Hattan’ would be the best way to introduce new viewers to Rarity if they have never met her before, because it features all the best things about her and puts her in both of the two extremes where she is at her funniest. It’s essentially structured like “The Last Roundup” featuring Rarity instead of AJ.
I really liked seeing Rarity descend into total hell-bitch mode again, but what really stuck with me from this episode was the ending. Specifically, Coco Pommel. That eloquent, well spoken, heartfelt speech she gave at the end almost stole the show. I mean, Coco could have been the main character this episode, and had it not been for Rarities meltdown, Coco would have more of a claim to that title than rarity.
I would LOVE to see more of her, but unfortunately this show has a habit of burying its best background characters when they are no longer needed (with the exception of Trixie).
A shame, but maybe we will get lucky this time, because as far as we know, Rarity is actually staying in Mane-Hatten for the foreseeable future, and Coco will be working for her.
I am also excited to see how this separation of Rarity from the group will affect the character and episode dynamic.
A good episode with lots of funny moments that tosses some new ideas up into the air. It also features Rarity at “Diamond Dogs” level of funny. A little odd that they still treat spike like dirt though, (really, none of them could carry ONE of those bags he had?), but still a good watch.
Pinkie Apple Pie
I look forward to a new episode every single week. The sneak peek for the upcoming Weird Al episode made me squeal like a little girl. But every once in a while there’s an episode that just doesn’t grab me like the others. This season, ‘Pinkie Apple Pie’ is that episode.
It was funny and cute and charming and all that other great stuff….but it felt predictable and clichéd, the story meandering along to an entirely foreseeable conclusion. I have always been curious about Pinkies life pre-Ponyville. We know that she had a couple of sisters and strict parents on a rock farm, but beyond that we know nothing. Did she run away from home at some point? Is she still in contact with them? Is her bouncy personality just a way to hide some kind of family pain? I would have liked to see some sort of closure on Pinkies origin before the credits rolled, but sadly it didn’t happen. She’s a friend, but a close enough friend to be considered a part of anyone’s family. Seen it before, wasn’t necessary to base an entire episode around.
Recently, the Western Australian government announced a plan to install a huge extension of drum lines in their coastal waters to prevent shark attacks. They plan to put a bullet in the head of each and every shark they find in and around those nets that is over three metres long.
It is a gutless, knee jerk reaction to an attack on a surfer and it is likely to be the final nail in the coffin for the White Shark population.
I find it rather fitting that an episode about animals and their place among us should air almost immediately after this barbaric plan is announced, as it illustrates PERFECTLY just how near sighted the WA governing body is when it comes to complicated matters. It’s a sad state of affairs when Fluttershy has more common sense and wisdom than an entire cabinet of people whose very job it is to find solutions to difficult situations.
But I digress; the episode itself continues the trend of this season being an absolute knockout with some great internal conflict and moral dilemmas centred on Fluttershy and Applejack.
Vampire Fruit Bats have overrun Sweet Apple Acres and Applejack sees them as little more than vermin, while Fluttershy is able to comprehend that they are living creatures with a place and function in the world. Fluttershy reluctantly uses her stare on the bats so give Twilights “Anti-Fruit Bat” spell an opening, but accidentally gets warped by it herself; transforming her into the cutest darn vampire you ever did see.
This is what we call “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Flutters has always been exceptionally well entrenched in the ways of the animal kingdom, and her literally becoming one of them is the perfect illustration of just how switched on she is when it comes to animal affairs. Nobody really has the right to refute anything she says at this point, because not only does she live with animals and interact with them daily, she now knows what it feels like to be persecuted just for being what she is.
And that is the point of the episode. Just because a creature SEEMS horrible and frightening, doesn’t give you the right to nuke them from orbit just to be sure.
Are you hearing me Western Australian government? My little Pony: Friendship is Magic knows more about sustainable animal management plans than you do.
Also, Pinkie Pie is the new Bugs Bunny.
If anyone would like more information on the WA shark cull or a place to voice your concerns, check out the links below.
Email them with your complaints directly:
The Power Ponies
Oh me oh my.
Oh my sweet buttery tap-dancing Jesus.
There is…….ALOT going on in this episode. Well, actually, there is decidedly little going on in this episode; the girls run afoul of a magic comic book and inherit super powers to defeat an evil villain.
But the things you see, the things they say…every second is an absolute joy. I didn’t laugh this hard when I saw Anchorman 2. I didn’t laugh this hard when I saw my friend eat mustard when he thought it was chocolate mousse. I didn’t laugh this hard when someone showed me The Mighty Boosh for the first time (a trend which continued with that show).
MLP has demonstrated an ability to be self-aware before, but never has it based the plot for an entire episode around it. The brilliant part however, is not in its constant over-exaggeration of the character stereotypes of the mane 6, but in its turning a weakness into a strength.
We all know Spike is the least interesting, most unfunny character in the show, and that is because he suffers by comparison to the other ponies, who are so much more fun.
But in the writers acknowledgment of this, they have highlighted just what an integral part of the show he is. In a way, his place as a fifth-wheel makes him a better example of friendship and inclusion than any one episode thus-far.
A lot of people seem to not like this episode very much but I honestly cannot see why. I’m willing to bet if you asked most people they wouldn’t be able to give you a decent answer. There’s just so much to enjoy, everything is dialled up to 11. Fluttershy hulking out just needed a classic Godzilla roar to be perfect, Raunbow Dash summoning lightning and tornadoes is awesome, and Twilight having just straight up LAZERS is extremely cool. The Mane-iac looks as though she is actually straining to laugh as hard as she does, which is a funny jab at how over-dramatic traditional villains are (ponyverse villains included).
It’s a harmless little non-risk episode where the characters can just be toyed with to the fullest extent of the imagination. It’s almost as if a little girl’s brother got a hold of her pony toys and turned them all into superheroes, and I guess that’s pretty much exactly what it is.
Loads of fun, loved it, cannot wait for the next one.
“A young woman was restrained, force-fed and injected with cosmetics in a high street shop window as part of a hard-hitting protest against animal testing.
Jacqueline Traide was tortured in front of hundreds of horrified shoppers in a bid to raise awareness and end the practise.
The 24-year-old endured 10 hours of experiments, which included having her hair shaved and irritants squirted in her eyes, as part of a worldwide campaign by Lush Cosmetics and The Humane Society.
The disturbing stunt took place in Lush’s Regent Street store, one of the UK’s busiest shopping streets.
Jacqueline appeared genuinely terrified as she was pinned down on a bench and had her mouth stretched open with two metal hooks while a man in a white coat force-fed her until she choked and gagged.
The artist was also injected with numerous needles, had her skin braised and lotions and creams smeared across her face.
Passers-by were gobsmacked to see Jacqueline, a social sculpture student at Oxford Brookes University, forced to have a section of her head shaved.
The gruesome spectacle aimed to highlight the cruelty inflicted on animals during cosmetic laboratory tests and raise awareness that animal testing is still a common practise.
The Humane Society International and Lush Cosmetics have joined forces to launch the largest-ever global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics.
The campaign, launched to coincide with World Week for Animals in Laboratories, is being rolled out simultaneously in over 700 Lush Ltd shops across forty-seven countries including the United States, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Russia.
Lush campaign manager Tamsin Omond said: “The ironic thing is that if it was a beagle in the window and we were doing all these things to it, we’d have the police and RSPCA here in minutes.
“But somewhere in the world, this kind of thing is happening to an animal every few seconds on average.
“The difference is, it’s normally hidden. We need to remind people it is still going on.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.fightinganimaltesting.com”
I HOPE EVERYONE READS THIS AND REBLOGS IT!
Woah! Ok…so I guess the Daring Do novels are actually a series of memoirs? Whoda thunk it right?
I really like the decision to make Daring Do an actual character rather than just having A.K Yearling as a grumpy, disappointing author. I’m not saying that wouldn’t work though, quite the opposite, it would have been an interesting inwards journey for Rainbow Dash if she had to come to terms with her idol not living up to her expectations….there is LOADS of episode value there.
But at the end of the day, we are here to have fun, and the best way to have fun in this episode was to make Daring Do a real pony, make all her adventures real life events and have Rainbow tag along for the ride while learning about when it is appropriate to involve yourself in someone else’s business and also what kind of courage you can muster once you do.
There’s a subtle undercurrent in this episode about the modern world of celebrities and how badly people tend to obsess over them. It’s never mentioned or addressed at all but it certainly feels as if there’s a little bit of a stab at celebrity/fan culture throughout the whole runtime.
“Ehrmagerd! George RR Martin took his trash out yesterday, did you hear? Ehmagerd Bryan Cranston is rumoured to brush his teeth every single night! Isn’t that just so fascinating?”
Being interested in a person’s accomplishments and life is one thing. Pressing your goofy face against their window is another, and it might take some pretty blunt conversations with a level headed friend to realise that you might be overdoing it a little.
But once you have a clear understanding of where those limits lie, you will be able to make much more informed choices when push comes to shove in the future.
Accepting help can be hard. Giving it can be even harder.
Flight to the Finish
Ponyville might be populated by mostly friendly folk, but one must never forget that it is home to some truly vindictive little shits.
Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara are easily the most irredeemable villains the show has offered thus far. They have no personalities beyond “Let’s hurt those three any way we can”, and it’s actually a little unsettling watching them constantly try to make the Cutie Mark Crusaders lives miserable.
But they are stock villains after all, and it’s nice to see the writers being a little bit self-aware with how ugly they both are.
“What else can we do? We already called them blank-flank!” was a great line that illustrates how they have no purpose beyond being mean, and despite my desire to delve a little deeper into their characters I doubt they are worth the time it would take to make an episode that could actually make us sympathise with them.
Speaking of sympathy, I find myself liking the decision to not actually have Scootaloo fly in an episode about whether or not Scootaloo can fly. I have always maintained that MLP:FIM could very easily pull off a more mature episode about irreversible loss or even death, and this is the closest thing I have seen to things not working out exactly the way the characters wanted.
Scootaloo tried and tried and tried but she didn’t really get anywhere. I’m sure she buffed her wings up a fair bit, but at the end of the day she still failed to accomplish what she truly wanted in her heart, and it was nice to see her deal with that sad truth by falling back on people she knew she could rely on.
Life isn’t perfect and you ARE going to fail and cry and be miserable at times. Although I’ve still yet to see an episode that truly addresses this in its rawest form, “Flight to the Finish” came pretty close.
I mean, just imagine if Celestia died? Or granny Smith? It’s not such a farfetched suggestion in my opinion, because at some point we all need to come out from under the security blanket. Whether we choose to creep out ourselves or have it ripped out from under us is all up to the inevitable, unavoidable chaos of life.
I think it might be wise to brace for something like this closer to the end of season 4. Despite my belief the writers could easily do so, I don’t think they will actually kill off a character or even mention the concept of death, but as the ponies grow, so too must their responsibilities. And with the growth of responsibility, comes the diminishment of authority figures.
Anyway, this was another great CMC episode with another toe-tapping song filled with great visual flair and a great moral. So far, this season is an absolute knockout.
Our first Slendid to study is “The Hide-Behind”: a peculiar creature that is unusual even amongst the Slendid group.
The Hide-Behind exhibits all the typical traits inherent to a slendid, but with a few major differences, the most glaring being that it does not seem to intend any sort of harm for the people it stalks.
Most slendids are exceptionally dangerous creatures. ‘The Rake’ for example, is notorious for terrible dismemberment and other acts of extreme violence against its victims. The Hide-Behind however, seems somewhat more content with simple observation, rather than direct interaction.
As its name suggests, The Hide-Behind enjoys lurking directly behind people, or just out of their field of vision and taunting them with a distinct buzzing sound (perhaps mimicked from the sound of the local lumberjacks chainsaws). What makes the Hide-Behind truly remarkable though, is its physiology.
Take a moment to observe this footage. This was shot early in 2013 by a young cryptozoologist named Dipper Pines in the remote town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. It shows clearly the body type of the Hide-Behind and it is clearly identifiable as a member of the Slendid family.
(This footage was recovered unbeknownst to the author by park officials)
Quite a fascinating creature isn’t it? Let’s go over how it functions.
The town of Gravity Falls (the only place the Hide-Behind has been spotted thus far) backs onto a lush mountain range and nature reserve, similar to Yellowstone Park in Canada. Based on this type of environment, the Hide-Behind could potentially survive as a carnivore, herbivore, opportunistic scavenger or omnivore.
Based on its face and mouth, the Hide-Behind most likely falls into the category of herbivore. Its mouth is very small, almost non-existent, and so it is likely that this creature derives sustenance from mosses, berries and dew. The limited nutrient derived from most hard plant life in this region likely gives it a slow metabolism, and most probably gives it very high sodium requirements (just like the local moose). Its digestion is most likely very inefficient and slow, and it may even consume stones to aid in the grinding of food matter in its gut.
It is unlikely that this creature hunts and feasts on meat, but it should be known that even the most devout herbivores can exhibit carnivorous behaviour under the right circumstances. Hippopotamus have been seen eating animal carcasses in times of drought, and wild chimpanzees regularly hunt smaller animals such as Tamarins for an indulgent meal of meat.
It is unlikely that the Hide-Behind is a predator, but based on its body, intelligence and speed, it could be more than capable of behaving as one.
Body and Behaviour:
Slendids possess the most extreme bodies in all of observed nature. They are capable of remarkable physical feats, and the Hide-Behind is no exception. Its first and most valuable asset is its speed.
As you can see from Dippers footage, it is extraordinarily fast, its limber frame and long legs allowing it to stride through the dense forest with ease, leaving only the faintest blur.
Its trademark ability (that is, the ability to camouflage itself amongst the thinnest of twigs for extended periods of time) is also something to behold. To comprehend just how difficult something like this is, hold your arm out to your side while keeping your elbow straight and your wrist level with your shoulder for as long as you can without dropping.
Not easy is it? This is because all of our muscles eventually build up lactic acid when kept in the same position for too long. Our bright red muscle structure is built for immediate strength, but has very little longevity. The darker an animal’s muscles are the better oxygen flow it has through its blood for those muscle groups. Whales for example, have deep red muscle groups in the tail that are extremely well oxygenated and therefore can continue to work for extended periods of time. Whales need this deep red muscle, because their tales are in constant motion.
The Hide-Behind likely has the same deep red muscles to prolong its ability to stand and hide in awkward poses. If you were to cut into a Hide-Behinds calf muscle, it would probably be a very deep maroon colour, perhaps even black.
The Hide-Behind has something else as part of its physiology…something completely unique to it alone.
Watch Dippers footage again, and pay particular attention to how the Hide-Behind reveals itself from the dead tree. Its shoulders and even its skull are clearly broader than the tree itself, so how does it manage to disguise itself behind such a skinny object?
The answer? Collapsible bones.
That’s right, the Hide-Behind can actually unhinge its entire skeleton, effectively disconnecting all its joints and folding itself multiple times to become even thinner. Much like a snake unhinging its jaw, its ribcage can fold like a book in either direction, and its muscles, organs and skin suffer no damage when compressed like rubber.
So despite its frail appearance, the Hide-Behind is likely VERY strong.
Ok, so here we have a voyeuristic creature with a revolutionary body that prefers to observe rather than attack. It is solitary, mischievous and virtually impossible to track or capture. What does the future hold for the Hide-Behind?
Well, with its total numbers and mating rituals still a mystery, it is safe to assume that the specimen lurking in the forests of Gravity Falls is the only one we will ever come close to observing in any detail. Unfortunately, it also lends no sound theories as to the origin of the paranormal Slendid family, due to its extremely reclusive nature. No real remains or leftovers have been found either, so the Hide-Behind still poses a multitude of exciting questions.
A fascinating creature, and one I hope to be able to re-visit soon.
Oh god it’s good to get back to basics.
Proving once again that the ponies are at the best when they have nothing important to do, ‘Castle-Mania’ is a real highlight of the season so far.
This is one of those quintessential pony episodes, one you can use to introduce people to the series and one you can keep coming back to over and over again to have a good time. It’s funny, it’s clever, it has all the characters doing what they do best and it teases something bigger without relying on it to make the episode work.
All the ponies are really in their element here, and even if you’ve never met them before you don’t require any prior knowledge about their history or personalities to enjoy this episode. We have Twilight spearheading another quest for knowledge; we have Applejack and Rainbow Dash trying to one-up each other in a pointless game of ‘who’s the bravest’. We have Rarity being an anal-retentive train wreck with borderline obsessive compulsive disorder, desperately trying to satisfy her own ego and craving for adoration. We have Fluttershy being tormented in a hugely unfamiliar environment, and we have Pinkie Pie being the goddamn Pinkie Pie. It’s just pure, unimpeded fun.
The chemistry between all the characters is rich and believable, the dialogue is snappy and sharp, and the comedic timing is 100% spot on. It’s a light, enjoyable, laugh-out-loud episode with very little plot and therefore plenty of room to let all the characters just breathe and be themselves.
To be honest I’ve been really missing episodes like this. With all the Princess Twilight hoopla the show hasn’t had a chance to settle down and just be funny until now, so this is immensely refreshing.
And that’s honestly all there is to say about it. All that has happened is the writers have dropped the girls into a haunted castle and said: “Right, roll the cameras, just let them go”, and the result is an instant classic.
Frankly I don’t even feel the need to speculate on who this ‘Pony of Shadows’ could be. If I had to guess, I’d say he/she is the Shang Tsung to Nightmare Moons Shao Kahn, but I’m really not concerned about it right now.
All you need to know is that Castle Mane-ia is one of the best episodes of MLP put to air so far.