16 3 / 2012
When I watched season one of MLP:FiM, I found the episodes Feeling Pinkie Keen (15) and Over A Barrel (21) both awkward in the way that they presented their apparent moral messages. I was interested to learn that I wasn’t the only one who noticed the awkwardness—that both episodes were written by the same person, Dave Polsky—and that they were the only episodes which he wrote.
However, more interesting than the awkward moral messages of these episodes is a pair of dialog exchanges, which are also awkward in that they don’t reflect the kind of writing usually seen in the series. Both exchanges are smartly written and much drier than the usual slapstick and punchline gags which appear even in the same episodes. To me, they sound like stoner comedy conversations.
The exchange in Feeling Pinkie Keen begins at 12:56:
Spike: So… what do you think happened to Fluttershy?
Applejack: I hope nothin’
Spike: I know, but… what do you *think* happened?
Applejack: I’m tryin’ not to think about it.
Spike: Me too. But… I’m thinking about it anyway. Like… what if… she exploded?!
Applejack: Just… exploded? For no reason?
Spike: Yeah! Like, boom!
Pinkie Pie: Whoa!
Spike: I know!
Pinkie Pie: What if she exploded… and then… and then exploded again?!
Spike: Can you do that?! Can you explode twice?!
Applejack: Of course not.
Spike: But what if she exploded… and then exploded again… and…
Twilight: Will you two stop!
This is about forty seconds of dry dialog with no visual comedy or anything. The setup of the conversation feels like something out of a Seth Rogen film. It’s emphasized in the way characters trail off and repeat words and statements, making the conversation more organic than it would usually be. Stuff like Pinkie Pie’s “Whoa!” reaction and Spike’s “can you do that? can you explode twice?” sound like perfect stoner lines.
Next we have one of the best dialog exchanged in the show, from Over A Barrel, starting at 2:50:
Rainbow: Psst. Pinkie Pie. You asleep yet?
Pinkie: No. Are you asleep yet?
Rainbow: If I was sleeping, how could I have asked you if you were asleep?
Pinkie: Oh yeah *laughs*
Rainbow: When we get to Apploosa, do you think we’ll have to carry that heavy tree all the way from the train to the orchard?
Pinkie: What tree? You mean Bloomberg?
Rainbow (sarcastically): No. Fluttershy.
Pinkie: Fluttershy’s not a tree, silly!
Twilight: What’s going on?
Pinkie: Rainbow Dash thinks Fluttershy’s a tree!
Rainbow: I do no think she’s a tree! I was just—
Twilight: Did you *say* she was a tree?
Rainbow: No! Well, yes, but—not exactly—
Twilight: You know she’s… not a tree, right?
Pinkie: She’s not a tree, Dashie!
Fluttershy: I’d *like* to be a tree.
Again, this is like forty seconds of dialog, and even less is visually happening, with the scene being dark and uncolorful. The subversion of sarcasm here is brilliant, especially because Rainbow Dash never actually gets a chance to finish the usual kid show “I was being sarcastic!” line. The way Twilight tells Rainbow in complete deadpan that Fluttershy isn’t a tree, and Pinkie’s emphatic support of this notion, is hilarious, and Fluttershy caps it off with another one of those stoner-iffic, now memetic lines.
Spike breaks up the conversation before any of it has time to be explained, and I love this because it leaves the conversation so completely meaningless. It’s nothing more than a really dumb dialog between a bunch of friends that ends up feeling very real and to me, one of the most “this is friendship” moments in the show. (If just because these are the kinds of stupid conversations I have with my friends.)