Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 65: The Saddle Row Review

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Season 6, Episode 9

This episode was originally going to share a post with Applejack’s “Day” Off, but the review turned out long enough that I changed my mind. I’ll do more paired-up posts until I reach an even-numbered episode that’s worth giving its own post—my current candidate is The Times They Are a Changeling.

Season 6 Episode 9: The Saddle Row Review

In five words: Mockumentary tells boutique’s clumsy beginnings.

Premise: Rarity has finally opened her boutique in Manehattan, called Rarity for You, and it gets off to an incredibly bumpy start because her friends all are too concerned with the question: “What would Rarity want?”

Detailed run-through (aka The Saddle Row Review Review):

“The Saddle Row Review Review” is a joke I came up with before I even started this post series.

This episode starts with five of the Mane 6 running in panic, hoping they can stop Rarity from reading the review of her new boutique. Given the highly anachronic order this episode is told in, this is quite amusing. Even after successfully setting up Rarity’s boutique and admitting they screwed things up along the way, they still feel a desire to maintain a perfect image to her friend. Normally, Rarity is the one obsessed with keeping a perfect image, but this time, the rest of her friends take this role while Rarity happily embraces her friends’ quirks.

Rarity looks angered when her friends arrive, but it turns out she was merely exhausted from waiting. Then she squeals in adorable excitement because she wanted them to read the review together.

Rainbow Dash: Um… I have an idea. How about we don’t read it?
Twilight Sparkle: What she means is, before you read it, we should probably tell you about—
Rarity: No, no, darling. Please, no spoilers.

I’ve previously talked about a pattern in Rarity episodes where the rest of her friends are clumsy but well-meaning, always trying a little too hard to make Rarity satisfied. Though I consider it a Rarity episode, this episode plays with the pattern by focusing on the rest of the Mane 6 and what they think of Rarity, rather than on Rarity herself. This episode is all about playing with patterns and unusual storytelling styles, and I enjoy it very much.

Fluttershy: But—

This episode is also full of memes, and I mean a lot of memes. If you’ve never seen someone post a GIF of this scene captioned with “NO SPOILERS”, then you’re lying. Of course you have. This face fits so perfectly with the brash, burning desire not to be spoiled.

Rarity is already adorable, but even more so when she’s wearing glasses.

When Glasses Rarity excitedly gets ready to read her review, expecting it to go into detail about how each of her friends contributed to the success, Fluttershy blasts backwards and hides under a rack of dresses. This feels like a throwback to the early season’s wacky cartoon humor, or maybe less of a throwback and more of a modernization of this sense of humor.

Rarity: (clears throat) Many a pony has tried their hoof at joining the ranks of the elite fashion trend setters currently ensconced in the boutiques of Manehattan’s famed Saddle Row. (girly laugh) Some might say it’s the ultimate achievement in Equestrian fashion, and never before has a reporter been granted such unfettered, behind-the-scenes access until now!

How many six-year-old girls—scratch that. How many grown adults do you think know what the word “ensconced” means? I had no idea what it meant until today, and the fact that such an exotic word was allowed in a show that’s ostensibly for little kids tells us how hands-off Hasbro executives were by this point. The show has come a long way since executives tried to get Lauren Faust to dumb it down as much as they could. In the middle seasons, they practically always let show’s writers do whatever, because the toys made them boatloads of money either way.

Fluttershy: I wish it had been more fettered.

I love it when the show makes wordplay out of words that kids (and even some adults) don’t know. It’s just so weirdly charming.

Now here’s where the episode’s format starts to get interesting. While framing devices—an episode format where it starts and ends in the present day, but the bulk of it takes place as flashbacks or stories—are commonplace in seasons 6 and 7, this episode goes the extra mile by having a framing device within a framing device. The newspaper review is a framing device for the interviews at the restaurant, which are a framing device for the Mane 6 setting up the boutique. The second of these framing devices takes cues from mockumentary styled shows like The Office, and perfectly blends this format with this show’s sense of humor. Even the guy on the left would be right at home in a mockumentary TV show… well, OK, aside from the fact that he’s a talking horse and also animated. He asks “any questions”, then interrupts when Rarity starts asking one and begins the interview.

Interviewer: Ms. Rarity, you’ve got shops all over Equestria, but this is your first time trying to make it in the big city. What made you think you could tackle it on your own?
Rarity: Well, I wouldn’t say all over Equestria. I just have two other boutiques. One in my hometown of Ponyville, and one in Canterlot.

It’s a common trope for interviewers to make up elaborate exaggerations about the characters they’re interviewing. I feel like a lot of cartoons of this type would have played this trope as extreme as possible, but this episode does it in a more subdued way, which I think is much more effective. This episode is filled with humor through subtleties.

Next up, each one of the Mane 6 takes a turn to describe how the store’s opening went, in truly wonderful mockumentary style.

Every single one of these scenes has a different obscure background pony(s) seated on the right side. Can you name them all?
(I sure can’t.)

Keeping an uptight image, Twilight Sparkle ordered a simple cup of tea when there were probably delicious hayburgers right on the menu.

On the other hand, Pinkie Pie shamelessly ordered a huge selection of desserts.
This girl knows what she likes and never tries to hide it. We should all strive to be like her.

I like to imagine that an Apple family member works at this restaurant, which is why Applejack trusted them to make apple pies the right way.
I also like to imagine that she’s picky about apple pies that don’t follow her family recipe.

Either Rainbow Dash solely ordered a soft drink, or she’s waiting to get the most expensive and time-consuming to cook item on the menu.
Both would be completely in-character.

Fluttershy fidgeting with silverware is so precious and adorable, I think my heart is about to explode.

Rarity: Uh, still, when I decided to open this one, I was nothing but confident.
Twilight Sparkle:
Let’s just say that if I could choose, I probably wouldn’t do it that way again.
Pinkie Pie: Well, it wasn’t the funnest party ever…
Applejack: It was a plum puckered, pig pushin’ disaster.
Rainbow Dash: After a lifetime of awesome, I think everypony’s allowed to mess up every now and then, right? … Wait, are you writing this down?
Fluttershy: Um, it didn’t go exactly how I thought it would, but, it, um, started out alright.

Every single one of these shots is memetic in its own way and says something about each of the Mane 6. Each line is brimming with characterization, summing up each of their essences with surprising efficiency. I love the brutal honesty of Applejack’s line so much, and Fluttershy’s line elegantly transitions to the flashback within a flashback that takes up most of this episode.

Rarity excitedly opens the door to Rarity for You, and she’s smacked in the face with realism when the abandoned building turns out to look like, well… an abandoned building.

Twilight Sparkle: Rarity, it’s lovely. But are you sure you’ll be ready to open tonight?

Only when you badly don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings would anyone ever describe the inside of an abandoned building as “lovely”. This is an interesting quirk of Twilight’s character: she often says polite things to not hurt someone’s feelings, but while doing so, she may accidentally hurt someone else’s feelings, especially if she interrupted them.

Pinkie Pie sneezes and gets her friends covered in dust, and they all easily shake it off except Fluttershy. This humorously demonstrates how much of a pushover Fluttershy is: she even lets a pile of dust have its way.

And then, Rarity meets the landlord of this building and his daughter, Plaid Stripes.

Rarity: Mr. Stripes owns the building. He’s a very pleasant landlord. … Although he can be pushy at times.
Rarity: Okay, all the time.

Whenever a named character’s parents don’t have clear names, fans will call their parents “Mr. and Mrs. (second word of the character’s name)”, like “Mr. and Mrs. Sparkle” before they had names. There is canon precedent for this, the Cake parents for instance, but it’s very inconsistent. I think Rarity doesn’t know her landlord’s name at all, and she’s merely assuming from the name of his daughter that it’s something Stripes. She’s much too nervous to ask for his full name, so she hopes she got it right.

I love the face Rarity makes when she accepts an offer through gritted teeth.

Mr. Stripes and Plaid Stripes both make quite a splash here—the father with his interest in miniature doll furniture and pushy demands for Rarity to hire his beloved little girl, and the daughter with her wacky ideas like glow-in-the-dark teeth, which Rarity takes a moment in her interview to freak out about. This is one of those episodes that doesn’t even pretend to be meant for little kids to relate to. It might just be me, but I’m pretty sure most six-year-old girls don’t know what it’s like to deal with a loony landlord or scramble to refurbish a building. Even the youngest character in this episode, Plaid Stripes, seems to be a teenager.

Rarity shrieks when she finds a bunch of raccoons in the stock room, and it falls into Fluttershy to sort things out. Her flabbergasted reaction shows that she has no idea how abandoned buildings work, which isn’t hard to believe knowing her.

In the future, it turns out Fluttershy took the raccoons with her to the restaurant, which they allowed for some reason. The presence of fries proves that this restaurant does indeed serve hayburgers, and Twilight was restraining herself from buying some.

Yes, Rarity, buildings in a downtown city street do indeed have different things occur on multiple floors.
It’s cute that she knows so little about how cities work.

Pinkie Pie really is a big eater.

The ponies then hear some noisy music from above, and here’s how two of them react:

Rarity: (sigh) Turns out there’s a club pony party palace upstairs.

I love, love, love that Rarity and Pinkie Pie say the same line in contrasting tones. Every time I watch this scene, I instinctively say the second line along with Pinkie Pie, and then my throat hurts a little. I love the inspiration this episode takes from live action comedies about adults doing office work, even if I was never into such shows myself. It proves that you can ponify anything.

We saw this guy in For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils guarding Sapphire Shores’ rehearsal, but that was in Canterlot.

I know the feeling all too well. Being surrounded by ridiculously loud and bassy dance music, not out of my own will but because I wanted to talk to someone, and it’s impossible to say a word to anyone. Sometimes it is out of my own will, but when it isn’t, it’s a truly painful situation. This episode takes a lot of its humor from mundane frustrating situations, in ponified form.

Rarity: Foals today listen to their so-called “music” far too loud. I realize that makes me sound like an old mare. But this is business!

Another situation adult viewers can relate to is being just barely old enough to feel frustrated with “kids these days”. I am exactly old enough to feel that, and every time I think such a remark, I then think, “is this how cranky old men feel every second of their lives?”

The hoof bump scene is memetic too.

Another one of the most memetic parts of this episode is Twilight Sparkle saying “sweep, sweep, sweep, sweep” to the beat of the dance music. In the interview, Applejack and Rainbow Dash jab at Twilight for it, deny that it was catchy, and hoof bump…

Pinkie Pie’s cartoon physics transcend the need for a broom.

… but back in the past, they’re the only ones singing along to it. With Rainbow Dash’s mention of a dance remix, this scene was practically a plea for bronies to make remixes out of it, and I know they delivered. As weird and nerdy as Twilight’s “sweep, sweep, sweep, sweep” is, Applejack and Rainbow Dash both started smiling when they sang along, showing that it did indeed make sweeping more fun. If you’ve never muttered “sweep, sweep, sweep, sweep” to yourself while giggling, then you’re a liar. I mean, if you’re reading textual reviews of this show, not even watching videos about it like a more normal person would, you must be hopelessly obsessed with it.

Rarity complains about the dance music and then is startled by a honk, and we soon learn who that’s from:

Somehow, I think fruit juice fits this pony perfectly.

Plaid Stripes: You know how most stores have a little jingle bell when the door opens? (clears throat) I thought we should have something with a little more pizzazz! So, I installed one of Daddy’s antique horns.

It’s a certified fact that honking horns make everything more hilarious. This scene cracks me up far more than it should.

This is incredibly dorky, but there’s no better time to mention that sometimes I transcribe episodes of the show dubbed in German, and I actually find it pretty fun.
(Though the dub itself is very hit-and-miss.)

After Rarity has a few more things to freak out about, the cutest character in the entire show comes in and sneezes, to which Rarity says, “Gesundheit!” It always throws me off a little when she says that, because I think for a second the language switched to German. As someone who can speak German, I think it’s hilarious and endearing when English speakers say “gesundheit”.

If they had fourth wall awareness, Coco Pommel and Derpy Hooves could bond over their names being tragically redacted.
(And also over being lovely and precious balls of fluff who can do no wrong.)

Rarity: Oh, Miss Pommel! I am so glad to see you. As the sole sales associate at Rarity for You, I hate to add to you already overflowing plate of responsibilities, but… it looks as though we have just a tad more to do before tonight than I thought.
Coco Pommel: Actually, I… a… a… ACHOO! I can’t work tonight.
Rarity: Oh, why not?

Yes, I really do think Coco Pommel is the cutest character in the entire show. Fluttershy and Sweetie Belle are the closest contenders.

Ah, the neverending pile of tissues that you leave at a table when sick. Another situation so easy to relate to that I can’t help but laugh at it, no matter how much I love Coco Pommel.

Also, I find it funny that Rarity had to ask why Coco Pommel can’t work tonight. She can plainly see that her friend is sick, and yet she asked it like she was totally oblivious. While it may be frustrating when most characters forget to use their brains, when Rarity has a brain fart, I just find it adorable.

Please note that brain farts have nothing to do with actual farts. I’m not THAT kind of brony.

Coco Pommel: A-CHOO!
Rarity: Feel better, my sweet. We’ll manage without you… somehow.

It’s lowkey sweet that Coco Pommel went to the boutique amidst her sickness to inform Rarity that she couldn’t work today. She had no other way to break the news to Rarity, and she didn’t want to leave her dear friend hanging.

Twilight Sparkle: Well, opening a store in Manehattan is a pretty big deal. It’s natural that Rarity would be a little stressed about how it was going. Since it wasn’t going well. Still, I think she handled it alright.
Rarity: The dream is doomed! Doomed, I tell you! DOOMED!

Either Twilight Sparkle was purposely understating how much Rarity freaked out for the sake of politeness, or she meant that this wasn’t as bad as Rarity’s prior meltdowns. This time, at least she didn’t lock herself in a room while eating ice cream. In any case, Twilight has NO right to critique others for having a dramatic mental breakdown.

Rarity insists that her opening must be perfect and even monologues to residents of Manehattan about how perfect it must be, even though she got annoyed with Pinkie Pie for doing the same thing in Manehattan a few episodes ago. This endearingly shows how hammy and not so above it all she is.

Rarity: POSTPONE?! Darling, tonight is the last night of the fall season. If we don’t open it tonight, it won’t be…
Twilight Sparkle: (sigh) Perfect.
Rarity: Yes. I know what needs to be done. I just need more of me! Oh, how I wish I could make copies of myself.

Pinkie Pie: Yeah… Making copies of yourself always sounds like a great idea, but before you know it, you’re locked in a room with fifty Pinkie Pies watching paint dry.

I find it hilarious how Pinkie Pie tells the wild and surrealistic story of the time she cloned herself in the exact same dry, snarky tone you’d find in a sitcom about people working office jobs. This is some beautifully done tonal dissonance…

… which is followed by beautifully done tonal whiplash. There are three reasonable explanations for the second Pinkie Pie: one of the clones from Too Many Pinkie Pies survived, the Equestria Girls version of Pinkie Pie is visiting the pony universe, or this is just a changeling. While I’m sure there are tons of fan theories about this potential surviving Pinkie Pie clone, I’m going to hone in on the Equestria Girls explanation.

Pinkie Pie loves fun, right? That’s kind of what her character is all about. And what is more fun: being trapped in a high school where people go through stereotypical high school drama, or a world of ponies and other talking creatures with cool superpowers who go on wild and exciting adventures? I don’t think it’s even a contest. I can’t blame human Pinkie Pie for sneaking away to the enthralling universe where the first version of Twilight Sparkle she knew came from.

As the loyal friends they are, each of the Mane 6 offers to lift a load off Rarity’s back. Fluttershy will deal with the animals, Applejack will deal with Plaid Stripes’ ideas, Pinkie Pie will begrudgingly turn down the music in the dance party club, and as for Twilight Sparkle…

Twilight Sparkle: I’m pretty sure I know somepony who wouldn’t mind organizing this merchandise shipment for you.
Twilight Sparkle: I’m talking about myself.
(more silence)
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, please let me organize it!

Twilight’s obsession with organization will always be hilarious. It’s so adorable that she takes such joy in organizing items, and I can totally see where she’s coming from. It really is therapeutic and calming, not to mention extremely satisfying. I’d gladly jump at an opportunity to organize a messy shipment of clothes too.

Rainbow Dash offers to help with hiring, by process of elimination. She knows what hiring the best of the best is like, given that she recently joined the Wonderbolts. Rarity will take care of the window designs, which is conveniently the job that will get her hooves the least dirty.

Rarity: We’ll show Manehattan what Rarity for You is all about! Oh, what would I do without you?
Rainbow Dash: What would she do without us? Heh, let me think.
Rainbow Dash: “Darlings, I’m absolutely doomed! Doomed! DOOMED!”
Rainbow Dash: Heh, I sounded just like her. Hey, you’re not writing this down, are you?

I think Rainbow Dash finds it a little too fun to act like Rarity. Maybe this is one of the few ways she’s comfortable showing her secret girly side, which as we’ll see in the next episode she feels insecure sharing with the world. Rainbow Dash can be sappy and girly when she wants to be, which I view as a leftover from her G3 self, and it’s one of the funniest things about her.

On the left is the closest Rarity will ever get to being an alicorn princess.
Well, that and a few animation errors.

Pinkie Pie: Oh, I can’t really stop the super fun party in the middle of mega happy fun times, can I? Oh, what would Rarity want?

Poor, poor Pinkie Pie is in another conundrum adults might find themselves in: she has to stop a bunch of people from having fun together because her boss demanded it. It makes sense that she’s the first pony to think “what would Rarity want?” because she’s all too concerned with making her friends happy—her main commonality with Rarity.

Devil Rarity: Keep that party going till the break of dawn!
Pinkie Pie: Really?
Angel Rarity: Indubitably! And as for the roof, get jiggy! Raise it, Pinkie! Raise it like you’ve never raised it before!
Pinkie Pie: Oh, if you say so!
Devil Rarity: Oh please, Pinkie Pie. Never in a million years would I say such balderdash. (disappears)
(Angel Rarity shrugs and disappears)

Angel and devil Rarity is another one of the most memetic parts of this episode. It’s a humorous subversion of the “angel and devil in your head” trope because both imaginary Rarities agree with each other. The equality of the “good” and “bad” stances represents that Pinkie Pie doesn’t know in her heart what the right solution is, so this almost feels like a G-rated version of the trolley problem. (Funny enough, the trolley problem is a recurring motif in one of the few live-action comedies I have extensively watched, namely The Good Place.)

Although Pinkie Pie felt morally conflicted about shutting down the dance party, once she made her choice, her reality bending powers and wit allowed her to do so with ease. She presents a disc to the security guard, claiming that it’s a new one from DJ PON-3, and the guard doesn’t bother to stop her as she slips under the gate. Where did the disc come from, you may ask? Why, obviously Pinkie Pie conjured it out of thin air. She really is that powerful.

I’ll talk about the pink pony in the middle in the miscellaneous notes.

Pinkie Pie presents the new disc to the DJ, and it turns out to be cheesy elevator music. The contrast between the musical style and the dance club is another great example of this episode’s sense of humor.

Placed in charge of hiring the candidates, Rainbow Dash starts by challenging them to a race, but then thinks of what Rarity would do and changes her approach.

Rainbow Dash: New plan!
Rainbow Dash: Who can be the first one to tell me what fabric this is?
Blue Bobbin: That’s organza.
Rainbow Dash: Are you sure?
Blue Bobbin: It’s a thin, plain weave, shear fabric traditionally made from silk, so… yeah.

I have to admire Rainbow Dash’s loyalty to her hiring role. No matter how nervous and uncertain she is, she stepped up to this duty and owes a responsibility to fulfill it, thinking up questions on the spot.

Rainbow Dash: I don’t know the first thing about clothes. Pretty much all I can do is look at something, and tell you if it’s clothes or not.
Rainbow Dash: This chair? Not clothes.

I said stuff like this so much when I was younger. Not specifically about clothing, but just proudly and purposely acting dumb about a subject I wasn’t familiar with, as if I was too cool to need to know anything about it. I am imagining someone familiar with old-school MLP watching this scene in confusion, thinking, “wait, but I thought Rainbow Dash always dressed in style”. I am completely sure that deep down, she still likes dressing in style. She just plays dumb when asked about clothes because she doesn’t want to seem too girly.

This episode very carefully keeps up with Applejack’s honesty in a way that I admire. Plaid Stripes’ newest wacky idea is clothing made of spoons, and Applejack says that while she would love to open a spoon clothing store, it’s not up to her and she must follow Rarity’s vision.

Though far from the most openly cute character in the show, Applejack can be adorable when she wants to be.

Applejack: Personally, I think spoon clothes ain’t such a bad idea. Useful, too. Eating soup, stirring gumbo, digging little holes.

This passage proves that Applejack truly meant it, and it’s so refreshing for the show to take Applejack’s element of harmony to heart. The later you get into the show, the more Applejack is actually portrayed as honest, which I view as genuine character development. Unlike Rainbow Dash, Applejack truly doesn’t care much for what’s fashionable. She’s firmly focused on the practical purposes of clothing, and her excitement over it is quite lovable.

Twilight Sparkle’s bright smile after organizing the dresses by color is SO ADORABLE AND RELATABLE. I know from experience that neatly organizing items all by myself feels so wonderful and satisfying, and I even had the honor to single-handedly organize a huge sloppy mess of boxes and clothes into neat, tidy shelves during some volunteering event I did in high school. When Twilight thinks about what Rarity would want, she’s excited to start organizing all over again, which again is easy to relate to.

Fluttershy breaks some unfortunate news to the raccoons: as much as she’d love for these animals to stay, she thought about what Rarity would want and asks them amidst tears to move out. In this scenario, “what would Rarity want” is the worst question you could ask, because only someone with Fluttershy’s mindset is equipped to handle these creatures.

While Rarity is happily choosing what hat to show on her window display, the rest of her friends have descended into a chaos that resembles what would have happened if Rarity made copies of herself. Pinkie Pie’s disc swap resulted in a shopping music mashup, much to her horror, which I feel is a reference to how frightfully quickly brony musicians work. Or how frightfully quickly bronies work in general.

Rarity almost enters the boutique to check on her friends, but Twilight stops at the last second and locks her out. I can’t even blame Twilight for doing this, because if Rarity saw what was going on, she’d freak out and blame it all on herself, perhaps even asking to cancel the boutique entirely. This action was for Rarity’s own good.

Fluttershy: When you write the story, could you maybe skip over the part where we locked Rarity in the window display?

That said, locking your friend inside a window display does sound pretty bad out of context. If this scene was published in the newspaper, the Mane 6 would never live this moment down.

We’re lucky this abandoned building had a spare chair laying around.

Being locked inside a window display isn’t even that bad for Rarity. She gets to be in a polished, clean room, seen by passers-by as she showcases the various hats and outfits she’s designed. She’s happily willing to keep deliberating on what outfit would look most appealing at the entrance.

When the other four ponies each explain what they did that caused this mess, that’s when it all clicks. Twilight Sparkle explains to them what Rarity actually wanted: for her friends to all do things their way. One of my favorite things about episodes with unusual formats is when they still give us genuine friendship lessons, and good ones at that. In this one, the lesson is specific but important especially for adults: if a friend trusts you to take care of a task for them, then they trust you to do it your way.

Fluttershy offers for the raccoons to stay but asks of them one favor. Pinkie Pie provides an idea to make the dance club even better, Rainbow Dash returns to her original idea of a race, Twilight Sparkle organizes the clothes in more detail, and Applejack decides to cooperate with Plaid Stripes’ ideas. This is all building up to the stunning conclusion, where we see what can happen when the Mane 6’s skills are combined.

It’s now the evening, and it looks like Rarity spent several hours at the window display just to put dresses on mannequins. Is this even logical? Where did the extra mannequins come from? Where did the pile of clothes go? Did Rarity have anything to eat?

You know what? I think it’s completely logical that Rarity did this for several hours nonstop because she was in the zone. When you’re in the zone, everything and everyone else fades into the background, and you’ll wind down hours blasting through your creative project without another care in the world, so much that it’s horrifying to get pulled away from it. No character knows what it’s like to be in the zone better than Rarity. It’s a uniquely wonderful experience.

Rarity was so deeply and thoroughly in the zone that she didn’t watch her step when exiting the room, making for an amusing moment of slapstick. And it looks like the rest of her friends all got into the zone too! But probably not as intensely as Rarity was. She gasps in wonder as she sees the refurbished boutique, showing the product of her friends each using their unique skills.

Twilight Sparkle: The whole place organized by style, cross referenced by size, and reverse indexed by fabric. She’ll be able to find anything in three seconds flat! It was some of my best work.

This is exactly what neatly and intricately organizing something feels like. It’s a unique kind of joyful satisfaction that you won’t get in any other scenario.

Rarity for You attracts quite a large crowd, which overwhelms Rarity until she learns that she has plenty of salesponies to help her out. In her interview, Rainbow Dash reveals that she hired all three candidates because they finished the race and knew way more about fabric than she did. While Rainbow Dash didn’t know the correct answers to all the fabric questions, she could sense their expertise nonetheless, which is smart of her.

Pinkie Pie reveals that she combined the boutique and dance club aspects of the building successfully, with help from a certain DJ who can mash up any concepts you can think of—a skill that’s similarly common among fans of the show.

Pinkie Pie gets a massive check at the restaurant and smiles sheepishly. I don’t even think it’s unrealistic that she gobbled down so much, because it doesn’t seem like she took any food breaks while working on the boutique. Maybe the rest of her friends paused to get food, but I bet she didn’t.

Amusingly, the only mainstay background pony here is Vinyl Scratch in the back.

Fluttershy’s skill in getting raccoons to serve as waiters is combined with the merit of Plaid Stripes’ spoon clothing idea, and the blue stallion in the middle says this is the most whimsical and wonderfully fashionable boutique he’s ever seen. This is what Rarity for You represents: the cooperation between her friends’ unique talents, and the combination of eccentric, contrasting traits to make something wonderful.

Returning to the initial framing device, Rarity narrates the ending of her boutique’s review, and it’s surprisingly sweet.

Rarity: “In the end, Rarity’s grand opening was a smashing success. True, it got off to a rocky start, but somehow this ragtag group of ne’er-do-wells…” Oh, heavens, I think he means you. “… came together and created the perfect boutique. A vision of Rarity, combined with the expertise of her friends. This reporter, for one, is a believer.”

A good Rarity episode will show us that Rarity loves her friends more than anything else in the world, and this one upholds the pattern perfectly. It’s also really sweet that Rarity held off her excitement to read the review so that her friends could all share the joy.

Rarity asks the others why they didn’t tell her about all the mishaps, and Twilight says they thought Rarity had enough on her mind and wanted the opening to seem perfect. Rarity then gives us a heartfelt message about perfection: regardless of bumps along the way, getting to accomplish something cool with your friends is perfect.

And to end this episode on a comedic note, Plaid Stripes slurps some soup with her spoon clothes then smiles at the camera. It is at this point that I realize I almost forgot to mention the merit of spoon clothes to ponies. While unicorns can carry spoons with their magic and pegasi can use their wings if they try hard enough, earth ponies don’t have a similar luxury. When you think about it, attaching spoons to their hooves fixes this problem for earth ponies, and without this idea, Plaid Stripes would have to slurp the soup straight from the bowl.

Overall thoughts:

I have seen this episode praised and memed endlessly, and I’ve seen it on lists of must-watch episodes alongside a bunch of plot-relevant ones solely because it’s fun and well-written. This episode has single-handedly made its writer a good name among fans, which is a feat considering that unlike the most popular writers, Nick Confalone didn’t write episodes for the show until season 5. I’ve never seen a single person say they didn’t like this episode, so this episode is clearly doing something right. What is it?

I think the success of this episode lies in its format and sense of humor, both of which are inspired by shows aimed at adults. Combining the dry, realistic humor of characters fixing up a disastrous abandoned building with a franchise focused on colorful toy horses leads to tons of hilarity. Combining this combination with the tried and true Rarity episode formula leads to a splendid episode that’s a delight to watch over and over again. I loved writing this review so much, and I’m proud of all the jokes I put in it.

Grade: A

There are some episodes that I only decided to give an A after really thinking about it. This one, I knew right away would get an A.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • As we see near the start of the episode, Rarity still keeps the five dresses she made for her friends’ first Grand Galloping Gala front and center in her boutique. You know when you have a creative work you made years ago that despite your great increase in skills, you still think holds up well? That’s probably how Rarity feels about these dresses.
  • The door to Rarity for You looks like it’s made of chocolate. It can’t just be me who thinks that, right? Maybe Pinkie Pie licks her lips in excitement whenever she sees the door, and she has to remind herself that it isn’t actually chocolate.
  • I have a fourth theory about the Pinkie Pie clone we briefly see. In the dance club upstairs, we see a pink pony with blue eyes who almost looks like Pinkie Pie, except with a more reddish mane. In this theory, either the clone is this dance pony cosplaying as Pinkie Pie, or one of the other three theories is still true, and Pinkie Pie’s mirror clone or human counterpart or changeling doppelganger is disguising her identity.

In terms of stakes, amount of events, and relevance to the show’s storyline, the next episode is the opposite of this one.

See you next week for an episode that portrays an existing character controversially, and an episode that introduces a new controversial character.

>> Part 66: Applejack’s “Day” Off + Flutter Brutter

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