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Spotlight on The Cutie Mark Crusaders - Week 2

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Bridle Timeout, 10 January 2016.

  1. Bridle Timeout

    Bridle Timeout I Love Twilight Sparkle

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    [​IMG]
    THIS WEEK'S EPISODES:

    The Show Stoppers (Season 1, Episode 18) - The CMC compete in a school talent show.

    The Cutie Mark Chronicles (Season 1, Episode 23) - The Crusaders learn how the Mane 6 earned their cutie marks. (Though this really focuses more on the mane 6, this should be a particularly interesting episode to rewatch in light of the S5 finale. :) )

    Sisterhooves Social (Season 2, Episode 5) - Rarity and Sweetie Belle have a fight about what it means to be sisters.

    CMC Cutie Mark vectors by KyssS90 on deviantArt.​
     
  2. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Right; I've watched the first of these now, so: The Show Stoppers is an episode a lot of people seem to dislike. I'm not one of them -- I think it's a good deal of fun. Not just for the big song finale, either. We get classic lines like "Dumb fabric", the introduction of the Clubhouse (though is it really sensible to have them where you can't keep an eye, AJ?) and that rather nice montage where the fillies try different activities. Apparently William Anderson doesn't much like the instrumental that's used for that -- I'm afraid I disagree with him! Mind you, the scene where they get trapped in the sweet-making machine is a little nightmarish... :eek: Also, going back to the performance: note that the three Mane Sixers who come to meet the CMC afterwards are Applejack, Rarity and... Rainbow Dash. Even back in S1, she's taking the place of a big sister. :)
     
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  3. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Well, I guess I'd better post on the others, then!

    The Cutie Mark Chronicles is my favourite episode of S1 and one of my favourites of all time. I love just about everything in this ep, especially the way everypony (of the Mane Six and CMC) gets something to do but the ep doesn't feel rushed. There's the massive amount of backstory -- even more impressive by S1 standards when so much less was known -- and Fluttershy's little song. Also, any episode which shows all the Mane Six as fillies has to be in the running for cutest cartoon in the history of the world. :D Interesting that Scoots really doesn't enjoy hugs and songs at this stage -- how times change!

    Sisterhooves Social is one I don't like as much as many, though that may be because personal reasons (I lost my own younger sister a few years back) meaning that I can't watch it without some unhappy thoughts. If anything, I like the FiW parody more, one particular line apart. But as far as the original ep goes, it's nice to see plenty of sisterly bonding going on. You can see how close the Apples are, but this does also flesh out Rarity's character a bit. Rather a shame her surprising parents haven't really been seen since!
     
  4. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    Yay, I've made in into the week 2 episodes. :D

    Show Stoppers
    Agree with all this. A really fun episode, and classic CMC. Loads of iconic moments like the introduction of the clubhouse, the crusading montage with that music, "Dumb Fabric", and the epic-fail theme tune performance.

    We get our first scene focusing particularly on Scootaloo with her awesome scooter riding skills. That slow-mo jump over the tree branch complete with the satisfying wing 'wmph'.. :D

    When the CMC finally got their marks in 'Lost Mark', I was intrigued by the individual symbols within the shields. Scootaloo's wing and lightning bolt seamed fairly sound, and sweetie's note and star seamed OK, although we hadn't really seen much of her singing side. AB's heart I'll get onto another time.

    What I'm trying to get at is that it was re-assuring to re-watch this episode, which lays out very clearly Scootaloo's acrobatic ability and Sweatie's future in singing. I had memory of her singing a little bit, but was impressed with how good she was shown to be. And I'd forgetten her flair for writing good lyrics. So I'm very happy for how her mark eventually turned out.

    The whole talent show scene was a joy to watch. Those costumes do look pretty cool on them, particularly Sweetie's, and they also facilitated that awesome looking shot in Under Our Spell. The song itself.. well, obviously it's supposed to sound bad, but I admit I'd gotten used to the fan auto-tuned version. The backing track has always sounded really great though.

    General thoughts on the episode:
    • DERPY! Did the fandom really influence the animators this early in the show? Her wall-eyed appearance under Scoots' ramp is definitely more pronounced than an honest animation error.
    • Granny Smith: "Soup's Up". o_O
    • It's brief, but Twilight and Spike are actually shown to have a really close friendship in this episode; something the show has maybe neglected too often.
    • Ponies stomping hoofs on the ground rather than clapping needs to be more of a thing
    • Cheerilee is a perfectly good teacher in season 1. What happened to her!?
    • Twilight certainly helped fill the "My Little Pony" name-drop quota for the season.
     
    #4 Oilyvalves, 17 January 2016
    Last edited: 17 January 2016
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  5. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Three episodes earlier still, actually: there's the scene where Derpy drops stuff on Twilight's head in "Feeling Pinkie Keen". I think that's been officially acknowledged as the first time wall-eyed Derpy was deliberately included in the show.
    Agreed. They say in The Art of Equestria that the creators always keep in mind that these are equines, but I really do think they did it more in S1. We don't often see them carrying heavy loads on their backs now, or pushing things/characters along with their heads, or comforting friends by rubbing their heads against the friend's neck, or... you get the idea.
     
  6. Mane25

    Mane25 Honorary Pony

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    The Show Stoppers

    OK, part of the delay in me doing this post is that I ended up watching The Show Stoppers three times. In doing this it's elevated its status to being a top-tier episode for me, through being reminded of what a classic it is.

    When I first watched the show, this was the first episode where I really got into the whole CMC story, as I was sceptical at first. There's a lot of development of their characters here, and you start to see them more individually as well as as a group. It's also a 'classic' CMC episode in the sense that it's actually based around 'cutie mark crusading'; random attempts at getting their cutie marks. Part of me kind of wishes there were more of these, although maybe that would've spoilt it.

    It's also one of the most hillarious episodes. Lots of very funny lines/incidents all building up to the final song. The CMC song had me falling over laughing the first time I watched it.

    It seemed like there were very obvious clues as to what their special talents were and now I'd be very interested in somehow finding out what Lauren's original intentions for their cutie marks would have been. Sweetie Belle is singing, Scootaloo is her scooter and choreography (acrobatic ability in general), Apple Bloom's seems to be design. It seemed so obvious what their talents were, Twilight certainly seemed to know. The whole premise was they all had very clear talents but didn't realise it yet, so they weren't working to their strengths. Discovering them seemed really close at this point and frankly they could have got away with wrapping up the whole CMC story in one more episode if they had wanted, I'm glad they didn't.

    As for their actual cutie marks, well, you can definitely see Sweetie Belle's talent represented in hers, I'm not so sure about Scootaloo and Apple Bloom (although you can kind of make connections if you really want). But, at the time I didn't want it to be as obvious as it seemed, the above-mentioned talents are fairly one-dimensional, so as their characters developed they needed cutie marks that would be more personal than just being straight representations of those initial talents - and that's what we've got, overall I couldn't be happier with their evential cutie marks. I just wish that there was a bit more explanation behind Scootaloo's lightening bolt and Apple Bloom's heart, but maybe we'll get that eventually.

    Oh, and I like how Twilight addresses them as 'my little ponies', it's cute, I don't know why that's so unpopular.
     
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  7. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    I just watched this again (had it on in the background whilst doing other things) inspired by your comment. It is a terrific episode; the writing in particular.

    The way I take it is that Scoots' lightning bolt is mainly to represent speed, in the same way Rainbow Dash, Lightning Dust etc have one. It also seems normal for pegasi to have the weather reflected in their marks in some way, As for her wing, the obvious link is her using them as propulsion during her Scooter riding, but it's also still ambiguous whether she'll actually fly. Agreed based on this episode (and other clips in the show) Sweetie's mark fits the bill perfectly. I would very much welcome a focus on their individual marks come season 6. I'm a bit skeptical it'll happen, but I particularly want to see a reason for AB's heart being there.
     
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  8. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    OK, moving on:

    The Cutie Mark Chronicles

    Not much to say about the CMC in this episode to be honest, as they aren't on screen all that much. It's interesting that Applebloom had the first close encounter with Rainbow Dash in Call of the Cutie, where Rainbow pushed the method of trying loads of things, whereas in this episode, it's Scootaloo who's now idolizing Dash, and completely failing to grasp the concept of earning a cutie mark, while the other 2 are invested in all the mane six's stories.

    Even though I really like the episode, there are a few moments which are written in a rather convenient way. For example, when Scootaloo says "the best flyer ever to come out of Cloudsdale", the other two say.. "Fluttershy?". That's an AJ-level dumb moment.

    It's very nice seeing the CMC interact with the mane six as they do. Like Sweetie yelling "Bye Fluttershy" as they scoot off, and her saying "it's just Pinkie being Pinkie". :)

    Moving on to the episode in general. Gosh. Having seen the events of The Cutie Re-mark where the main six fail to get their marks, seeing those scenes in full makes it even more disturbing! I felt like the events of Re-mark would happen any second; I guess that's a testament to how well the writers integrated the events of the two episodes together.

    The mane six fillies are super duper cute, particularly AJ! And it's also very interesting watching back Pinkie's scene, having finally met Limestone and Marble, and Maud not being there. Seriously, what were the writers thinking introducing her rather than using one of the other two? They even had to paste Maud into the picture of the party in Pinkie Pride.

    Finally, a contender for cutest Dashie pose:

    cute dash chronicles.jpg

    *edit*

    I thought it best not to commit the ultimate crime; tripple post, by putting a little add-on here.

    Sisterhooves Social
    Not quite as enjoyable as the last few CMC episodes, but still OK. I don't really have anything interesting to remark about the CMC side of it anyway. This episode is another that can't be viewed in the same way after experiencing FiW's contribution (which I enjoy greatly). Seeing Sweetie repeatedly screwing up in front of Rarity isn't something I like much; it frustrates me when a character is unable to prove themselves. Rarity's parents are quite fun to see though. Sorry to hear about your sister Logan.

    I like the background music inspired by the track 'Tennessee' from Pearl Harbour.
     
    #8 Oilyvalves, 20 January 2016
    Last edited: 21 January 2016
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  9. Mane25

    Mane25 Honorary Pony

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    Suffering from a bit of writers' block in writing up these episodes today so they're a bit shorter than before.....

    The Cutie Mark Chronicles

    Scootaloo: "It's no use. No matter what we try, we always end up without our cutie marks. And, surprisingly often, covered in tree sap."

    When I first started watching MLP I noted that this is the only S1 episode with its own Wikipedia article (that's still the case today for some reason), so I thought this must be something special. It didn't disappoint as this has always been a favourite episode.

    AB and SB think that Fluttershy is the greatest flier to come out of Cloudsdale... :p

    It is really weird to see these cutie mark stories again, especially after the end of S5, overall this is such an important episode. Especially of course Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash's story, now you expect Twilight and Starlight to pop up at any time. I don't want to go too much into each of their cutie mark stories here because I'm focusing on the CMC. This is the first time we see Scootaloo really emerge as an admirer of Rainbow Dash, and you can see she's quite a similar personality.

    Can't think of much else to say other than what has already been said. I think the writing in this episode is among the best. I love how unashamedly cheesy some of the lines towards the end are, especially "Who knows? Maybe you and your future best friends are all looking at the same rainbow." which I think is a classic! :D These are softened slighly by Scootaloo and Spike's comments of course...

    I'm paying attention to which character seems to lead in these CMC episodes. Excluding Bridle Gossip, each CMC has had at this point one episode each with the focus slightly shifted towards them; Apple Bloom = Call of the Cutie, Sweetie Belle = Stare Master, Scootaloo = Cutie Mark Chronicles (Show Stoppers was roughly even).


    Sisterhooves Social

    This one really represents the general change in style of episode from S1 to S2; a general shift in focus to episodes with fewer characters with more highlighting individual relationships rather than groups. This one in particular Sweetie Belle's relationship with Rarity. SB's attempts to cook breakfast are entertaining. Then Rarity gets annoyed at her well-meaning attempts to be helpful; I can kind of relate to that because I wouldn't like my family coming to my place and trying to organise things - but the lesson here is it was only done with good intentions. Rarity then feels bad, and again I can kind of relate in that it takes me back to the occasional argument with my younger sister from long ago. So I think some good messages here, not of quite the same calibre as the past two episodes but still one probably in the top half of my favourite episode list.
     
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  10. vcgriffin

    vcgriffin the (Quie Deaf) mustached Subgenius pony

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    Wow, this seems a much better way of watching things (can I join in?), (I was just going through them in order) (Sadly I haven't finished Season 5 yet (I know, I know) so will be without the CMC getting their marks insights and will try and dodge spoilers from you lot.
    Anyhoof;
    The Show Stoppers (Season 1, Episode 18) - The CMC compete in a school talent show
    There is A lot I liked in this episode, (and most of it has already been said) almost everything with The CMS' (up until they got a consolatory award for best comedy act, I was hoping they wouldn't get anything (I know I'm mean).
    I also think Spike deserves a shout out for his management (or lack of it) in the Library, I thought it was a realy good bit that showed his responsibilities , and Twilights reliance on him)
    My only major gripe about this episode is this,
    Much of Twilights appearances felt forced and wooden (if she was an actor)
     
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  11. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    You're more than welcome to join in if you want, although unfortunately as you've probably already gathered, spoilers for the end of season 5 will be rife in here.
     
  12. vcgriffin

    vcgriffin the (Quie Deaf) mustached Subgenius pony

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    ah I can live with that, and as The Cutie Mark Chronicles (Season 1, Episode 23) - was next on my run though anyway; I guess I can 'liveblog it'
    -AJ really went to the big city young eh? Nice to see that the apple have an orange branch (heh heh). Also we get to see a lot of ManeHatten.
    -FlutterShy, ah Pegasus flight camp, launched a 1000 fics (and dark matter butterflies!). And the song! I'd forgotten about this (it never comes up at con's (im looking at you @Loganberry :p )
    - Rarity & Twilight, I'm amazed how much is here, over the years I had written a lot of it off as fan stuff, but is in the source material, Highlights "Dumb Rock" and wow is Twilight happy!
    - Pinkie Pie, I am glad that we have gotten to know way more about Pinkie's family. (and is that parasite music I hear?)
    -Rainbow Dash, again I am amazed how much a central part of both the show and many of the fan fics I have read this has become. It seems to tie the universe together
    (speculating about unseen episodes)
    Overall this has this has to be in my top 5 episodes of season one (and definitely the cutest). We've had MLP for so long, I had forgotten how good and key the awesomeness of season one realy was (and I guess it has to be given how successful its been and the fact that we are all here)
     
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  13. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    I couldn't agree more with this. The last year or so I'd definitely neglected the earlier seasons whilst experiencing the latest episodes coming out.
     
  14. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Right! If I can make it to UK PonyCon this year, "So Many Wonders" will be sung. I will not allow anything to stop this from happening. :p

    And I also agree with your comment on S1. It's certainly different in tone from S5, but there's a lot of good in there. I'm looking forward to some of the other S1 episodes we'll be covering as part of this rewatch. :)
     
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  15. CuldeeFell

    CuldeeFell Ponies Rock

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    The Show Stoppers
    The first thing I noticed when re-watching this one was that the inside roof of the clubhouse is painted yellow, whereas in later episodes it's painted greyish green. I've probably been watching these episodes too much...

    Compare:
    the_cmc_clubhouse.png

    with:
    [​IMG]

    This is quite a necessary episode at this stage in their journey showing us what they do on a "normal" day and then showing us the most straightforward possible iteration of "and then the CMC tried to get their cutie marks".

    Twilight makes a great mentor figure in this one although her mentioning writing a report to the Princess at the end feels a bit formulaic since she wasn't really involved all that much in this episode.

    Given how much of the show has been mined at this point it's interesting that Sunny Daze and Peachy Pie have never come up again. Admittedly they've not got much more than a name and a design, but I'm not even aware of any fanfics involving these two.

    As lots of people have said the song sequence is great. Given how much of a disaster Sweetie Belle's first attempts at costumes were the final costumes are pretty good.

    The Cutie Mark Chronicles
    In several ways this is the end point of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' cutie mark hunting arc. Although the CMC's story is left open, the flashbacks showing how the Mane 6 got their cutie marks thematically resolve the CMC's story. Their realisation that they're not getting their cutie marks on their own and they need as much extra information about cutie marks as possible does feel like a resolution of sorts to their story. If (Celestia forbid!) the series hadn't been renewed for a second series this would still have been a fairly satisfying place to leave the CMC's story.

    It's noticeable that after The Show Stoppers which was almost the textbook definition of a CMC cutie mark hunting episode the series starts to acknowledge here that the CMC's story is dragging out, with a parody of the by now familiar CMC high hoof bump (when their hooves get stuck to each other with tree sap) and Rarity asking "Are you girls still obsessing over your cutie marks?" It's an acknowledgement that it's time for their story to move on. Certainly this is the final time we get an episode where the CMC are solely focussed on attaining their cutie marks. (With the possible exceptions of The Cutie Pox, which I haven't watched in a while but my memory is of Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo not being all that focussed on gaining cutie marks, and Bloom and Gloom which approaches the subject from a very different angle after a considerable gap.)

    As everyone else has said this episode is fantastic. I had an enormous grin plastered to my face while re-watching it, so densely packed is this episode with world building and character moments. Probably the most influential single episode the show has ever done. Certainly, Rarity Takes Manehatten, Maud Pie, Hearthbreakers and The Cutie Re-Mark (to name a few) would all be very different episodes if this episode hadn't been made.

    M.A. Larson did a very good breakdown of the various drafts of this script at a convention (and there's a video of it somewhere on Youtube) where he talked about all the various changes that happened in different drafts. One of my favourite facts about this episode was that Scootaloo's infatuation with Rainbow Dash was introduced here entirely to solve the plot problem of why it was that the CMC were listening to everyone's stories in turn. That's now a fundamental aspect of her character and it was introduced entirely to solve a plot problem. But that's the way fiction works.

    One final note, Ashleigh Ball outdoes herself here, making present day Applejack, young country Applejack, and young Manehattenite Applejack all sound distinctly different and then doing the same thing with present day Rainbow Dash and young Rainbow Dash as well. Tabitha St Germain does a great job with the younger version of Rarity as well, making her sound similar to Sweetie Belle in a couple of places.

    Sisterhooves Social
    Not so much to say about this one. My obligatory comment is to mention that Rarity and Sweetie Belle's parents' accents sound completely different to their daughters'. I guess Rarity is deliberately affecting an accent to sound high class and Sweetie Belle's copying Rarity? Or maybe not. I've no idea.

    This episode really sets itself apart from Series One. No Twilight, Rarity and Sweetie Belle writing a letter at the end, and quite unusually no Scootaloo in an episode with quite a bit of Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle.

    Oh, and cutie marks aren't even mentioned once in this episode, so that's something.

    It's an unusual episode, but a good episode. Rarity having to balance her work with spending time time with her younger sister is something I can sympathise with. Sweetie Belle becomes a much more rounded character in this episode. We'd already seen her adoring Rarity but the scene where she refuses to accept Rarity's apology and declares that Applejack is going to be her new sister shows us a new side to Sweetie Belle by showing her when she's pushed to her limits and starting to crack.

    The interplay between Apple Bloom and Applejack is also really nice in this episode with them doing chores together and Apple Bloom repeatedly stressing "One Day" when Sweetie Belle's doing the race with Applejack. She's clearly quite jealous at the thought of Sweetie Belle taking her place as Applejack's sister and it's not a dynamic we've really seen before (or since). Yet another thing that makes this episode something of an oddity.
     
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