Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Pinkie Pie Party DVD (with bonus Season 2 DVD review)
This is the fourth My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic five-episode DVD put out by Shout! Factory, and instead of attempting to create a theme for this one, the episodes collected all feature the character Pinkie Pie.
Pinkamena “Pinkie” Diane Pie is a hot pink Earth pony who lives in Sugarcube Corner, a sweets shop and bakery where she works; occasionally, with supervision, as a baker, but mostly as a party planner, which is her magical talent. That description makes her sound boring. She isn’t. As she represents the Element of Laughter, a distinction she won by making fun of some trees one time, she’s the show’s designated comedy relief, despite it already being a comedy cartoon. Basically, she’s the one who’s allowed to get away with jokes deemed too silly even for the average brightly colored cartoon pony.
Pinkie Pie’s episodes tend to be the funny ones.
This collection features two Season 1 episodes, two from Season 2, and one from Season 3. Even putting aside the episode’s availability online, both officially and unofficially, all three seasons are available now on DVD, so I really have to recommend you not buy this. It’s a Wal-Mart exclusive anyway; not like they need (or even, arguably, deserve) your money. That said, I’m going to review it anyway, because these are pretty good episodes, and I wouldn’t get the opportunity to review them otherwise.
"Feeling Pinkie Keen"
This is the episode where Pinkie reveals to Twilight Sparkle she can sense the future, kind of, and Twilight won’t accept it. Right off the bat, there is one problem with this episode that may lose it fans. Unfortunately, the episode drops the f-bomb. No, not that one. No, not, “fart,” either! What are you, five? I’m talking about “faith,” which turns this episode into a “believers vs. non-believers” episode. Technically, the moral is “be open to ideas that challenge your beliefs,” which can apply to the religious just as easily as the non-religious. Perhaps even more so. However, that word, faith, is usually the realm of one side of the aisle.
Which is annoying, because otherwise the episode is a string of hilariously violent slapstick; I know why this sort of humor for children went out of favor, but as an adult who knows blunt force head trauma is only funny in cartoons, I missed it. Besides, not all the violence is pony on pony; Pinkie isn’t Tom to Twilight’s Jerry (or would that be Pinkie’s Jerry to Twilight’s Tom?). It only happens to Twilight because she stubbornly refuses to heed the warning signs. The episode says “don’t get up on soapboxes and preach about stuff you don’t know about, or Derpy will drop a piano on your head.” That’s a good moral.
"Party of One"
In this episode, Pinkie Pie goes insane. And it is awesome. One of the best episodes in the series, if not the best. It also finds time to show how confessions given during “enhanced” interrogations cannot be trusted, because suck it Zero Dark Thirty.
Pinkie Pie lives with a family known as the Cakes, who own the SugarCube Corner where she works. I half suspect her “work” is more or less nominal, and the Cakes are just really nice ponies who have given slacker Pinkie a place to live, because in this episode, they make it clear that they didn’t hire her for her work ethic. When they need a babysitter, they only turn to her when everyone else turns them down.
It’d be easy to point out that the two baby ponies in this episode are annoying, but that would miss the point. They’re supposed to be annoying, because, let’s face it, babies are annoying. That’s the lesson Pinkie is learning; if she wants to be a functioning adult, she needs to do things that aren’t always fun.
"A Friend in Deed"
I’m glad this episode was included on the DVD; I barely remembered it on my first run through of the series, which is unfortunate, because it is a great episode, filled with inventive animation (including a bit in South Park style) and hilarious lines (Pinkie shouting, “Everypony, this donkey is really, REALLY bald!” over a loudspeaker). In the end, when Pinkie finally reunites Cranky Donkey with his long lost love, it’s surprisingly touching. Not quite on the same tier as “Party of One,” but easily top ten material.
"Too Many Pinkie Pies"
One of the worrying things about Pinkie Pie is that based on her usual persona, it can be assumed she does what she wants and either doesn’t care how it affects other characters, or – perhaps even more disturbingly – doesn’t know. However, all of these episodes show that isn’t actually the case, and this one makes it crystal clear by introducing a horde of clones who really don’t care and/or know. The real Pinkie Pie is devastated when the clones’ quest for fun devastates everything else.
I like this episode because, despite the weird premise (even for this show), we get to see Pinkie is aware of the consequences of her actions… though she may need to work on being aware of the consequences beforehand; admittedly, something pretty much everyone needs to work on. Also, this episode features a cameo by Jappleack. No, really. Well, maybe.
As always, the bonuses are threadbare. There is a sing-along to Pinkie’s “Smile” song, because of course there is, and a Party Activity Kit, which may come in handy if you need to plan a prepubescent girl’s birthday party. I’ve not had the opportunity to test that out, so I can’t back that up.
Bonus Season 2 DVD review
Seasons 1 and 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are basically neck and neck for “best season” of the show. However, some of the greatest episodes in the series were featured in Season 2; as I said, “A Friend in Deed” is, if not tippy top tier, at least still top tier, while “Luna Eclipsed” certainly is. Perhaps not on as many best-of lists, but probably my favorite episode of the series, “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000” is another great episode. I know “Lesson Zero” also has fans, though it feels like a lesser version of “A Party of One”.
The bonuses do not include audio commentaries this time, but recordings of Comic-Con panels and live stage readings of an episode, which was actually kind of hard to watch for me. There are also sing alongs and coloring sheets if you’re a little girl.