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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 64: Newbie Dash + A Hearth’s Warming Tail

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Season 6, Episodes 7-8


Season 6 Episode 7: Newbie Dash

In five words: Nickname ruins Rainbow Dash’s dreams.

Premise: Rainbow Dash has finally gotten into the Wonderbolts, but at the cost of regaining her old embarrassing nickname: Rainbow Crash. She is not happy about it.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with Rainbow Dash flying over Ponyville, with everyone’s favorite middle-finger-shaped castle in the background. The shape of the castle is clearly meant to indicate how Rainbow Dash will feel when she gets her new nickname, making this one of the cleverest pieces of obviously completely intentional foreshadowing the show has yet done.

Rainbow Dash has a little chat with Scootaloo about her supposedly small role in the Wonderbolts’ next performance, but then three of the Wonderbolts come in so that Spitfire can drop the news: Rainbow Dash isn’t just a reserve, but now will be flying with the Wonderbolts full-time. Scootaloo’s reaction is how Rainbow Dash would have reacted to this news back in season 1, while Rainbow Dash has the face of someone who was just told that something they have waited years for has finally happened.

Then Rainbow Dash’s face turns into that of someone who has processed that something they have waited years for has finally happened. Surely nothing will go drastically wrong on her first day, right?

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 63: No Second Prances

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Season 6, Episode 6

My first MLP post written inside my new house that I own is a MASSIVE doozy. Are you prepared for lots of words about a love/hate triangle between three magically oriented mares? You better be.


Season 6 Episode 6: No Second Prances

In five words: Twilight Sparkle demonstrates double standards.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle wants Starlight Glimmer to make a new friend, and she’s shocked and infuriated when that new friend turns out to be Trixie, even though she’s forgiven Starlight Glimmer for much worse actions than anything Trixie ever did.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a low-stakes slice of life scene between Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer, which is possibly my favorite way to begin Starlight’s episodes. I should clarify here that I’m not just OK with Starlight Glimmer being reformed, or tolerant of how much screen time she gets in this season. I massively enjoy her as a character, both before and after reformation, and she’s one of my favorite characters in the entire show. She’s a character whose name I’d eagerly put between the phrases “I love” and “so much”. Or put more concisely: I love Starlight Glimmer so much.

Twilight Sparkle: First lesson of the day: we very carefully set the table without using magic. So that—YIKES!
Twilight Sparkle: Did you— how— when— WHAT?!
Starlight Glimmer: What?
Twilight Sparkle: I said, no magic. You were supposed to do it by hoof so I could work in a friendship lesson.
Starlight Glimmer: Oh. I heard “set the table” and just kind of went for it.

Part of making a good reformed villain is to make them frequently miss the point when someone tries to teach them a friendship lesson, and no character does this better than Starlight Glimmer. She might be even more impulsive after reformation, because she wants to impress her mentor at all costs. Sounds like another purple unicorn well-versed in magic, doesn’t it?

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Why is trans Trixie so popular?

If you’re familiar with transgender headcanons from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—wait, did I seriously just TYPE that?! There seriously is no hope for me.

Anyway…

Let’s try this again.

If you’ve heard of only one transgender headcanon from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, it’s probably the headcanon that Trixie is a trans girl. As you know if you’re aware I wrote a trans fic about Rarity, I have had a change of heart about transgender headcanons over the past few months and now find them more fascinating than ever before. A friend of mine suggested I talk about trans Trixie in my review of No Second Prances (which I haven’t started writing yet), but I decided to make a separate blog post about it instead. And it’ll be my own earnest explanation of why I think this headcanon is so popular, without any of that patronizing attitude a lot of trans headcanoners have (cough cough Vylet Pony). I mean seriously, you won’t get people to respect your headcanon if you’re going to be a jerk about it.

I think I know why Trixie is so commonly thought of as transgender. She hits the perfect storm of qualities to make this headcanon appealing:

  • She first appears in season 1, meaning just about every fan knows who she is, and she’s considered one of the MLP characters even though she only appeared twice until season 6. The sad truth is a lot of fans have only seen the early seasons anyway.
  • She has a distinct mix of being self-absorbed and insecure about herself, which I think a lot of trans people can relate to.
  • She seems to have a difficult upbringing and rocky history, flitting between unfun jobs and a shoddy reputation after Twilight Sparkle initially outmatched her. A lot of transgender people live difficult lives too, because it unfortunately isn’t easy for everyone to accept that they’re real.
  • She has a human-sounding name, which means that a good amount of trans people will name themselves after her.
  • And finally, she’s a fun and unique character with a lot of depth! This means there are a lot of aspects of her character to explore if you interpret her as trans, and fans clearly love doing so.

I think as far as MLP transgender headcanons go, trans Trixie is a pretty basic choice. But I promise I don’t mean this in a bad way! There’s nothing wrong with liking something so popular—typically, such things are popular for good reason.

Now with that said… Rarity being a trans girl is the best MLP trans headcanon by far, because it requires you to rethink her upbringing, her ladylike mannerisms, her complex dynamic with Spike, and so much more. It may be weird to say, but I think it suits Rarity really well to be transgender. Her character has always been meant to subvert gender roles, and if you assume the most ladylike of the Mane 6 was actually born as a boy, that truly changes everything about her. Well, not quite everything—it doesn’t change that she’s incredibly cute and lovable.

I should stress that you don’t have to agree with the above paragraph. If you think trans Rarity makes no sense, that is perfectly fine.

Wait, this post was supposed to be about Trixie. So I’ll end it by saying this: if you headcanon Trixie as a trans girl, that is totally understandable and you have no need to feel embarrassed about it.

Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 62: Gauntlet of Fire

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Season 6, Episode 5

Fun fact: this will be the last MLP post I write before moving out of my parents’ house. I get the keys today, and I’ll spend the weekend moving all my stuff. Exciting, right?


Season 6 Episode 5: Gauntlet of Fire

In five words: Spike’s second chance befriending dragons.

Premise: Spike goes to the dragon kingdom for the second time in his life, this time by force. He’s sent to participate in a competition to inherit the throne from Dragon Lord Torch. He’s reluctant at first, but eventually he gains a supportive ally.

Detailed run-through:

Knowing this episode’s premise, it’s interesting and fitting that it starts with Spike in his comfort zone: exploring a cave with a girl he likes to help her find gems.

Rarity: The last time I was here, I woke them and ended up with a mane full of bats. (sigh) Thanks for being my basket holder, Spike.
Spike: Basket holder? I thought I was your bodyguard.
Rarity: What? Oh, haha. Yes, yes, that of course, too.

I should say right off the bat that I see nothing creepy about Spike’s crush on Rarity. It’s a totally believable thing for a pre-teenage boy to do, and passages like this show that while Rarity has some special affection for Spike, she clearly views him as a kid. There are some episodes where one of them goes far enough to raise an eyebrow, but this isn’t one of them, and the crush in itself isn’t weird to me.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 61: On Your Marks

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Season 6, Episode 4

Exactly two weeks from today, I will move out of my dad’s house and into my own place for the first time. I’ve spent much of this month preparing to move out (though I prefer to think of it as moving in, so it feels more like a beginning than an ending), and now that the date is closer, things are ramping up. Because I’m getting ready to move and preparing for MAGFest 2023 (January 5-8), this might be my last MLP post for the next several weeks. It’s likely my next episode review won’t be until January 20.

Moving into a new house is incredibly bittersweet for me. It’s an exciting and long overdue big step, but at the same time, I’ve lived in the same house since November 2012, and in the same neighborhood since March 2004—almost the entirety of the portion of my life I can remember. The neighborhood I’m moving into is only two miles away, but this will still take a ton of adjustment. And what do you know: this episode is also about adjusting to a new phase in life! Convenient timing, I must say.

Also, sorry this post was again about an hour late. I finished writing it last night, and I spent this morning copying the contents over to WordPress. Since the start of season 5, I’ve switched from writing the posts directly in WordPress to writing a Word document and then pasting the contents into here, and I always need to upload the images manually.


Season 6 Episode 4: On Your Marks

In five words: Crusaders experience post-victory rut.

Premise: Now that they’ve earned their cutie marks, what are the Cutie Mark Crusaders going to do each day? Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle have some good ideas, but Apple Bloom feels a void she hasn’t experienced since founding the group.

Detailed run-through:

The intro of this episode reminds us that even after earning their marks, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are still a bunch of goofy kids. Apple Bloom starts a club meeting, but Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are distracted admiring their cutie marks, much like a kid who won a chess tournament staring at their trophy, or someone watching in glee as their newly popular video’s views surpass a million.

Apple Bloom: Look, I know our cutie marks are amazing. But is that all we’re gonna do now? Just spend our day staring down at our own flanks?
Sweetie Belle: (sigh) I guess not.
Scootaloo: (staring at her mark) Yeah. I suppose that could get real boring.
Apple Bloom: Yeah…
Apple Bloom: (rattles her head)* This is ridiculous. We need to go out and do something.

As the firebrand spirit who got the Cutie Mark Crusaders together, Apple Bloom is reacting to victory differently from the other two. Unlike her friends, she isn’t one for stopping to appreciate her victory…

* I totally could have used the phrase “rattles her head” to transcribe Derpy Hooves snapping out of her spacey attitude in Slice of Life, rather than the clumsy phrasing I had used.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 60: The Gift of the Maud Pie

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Season 6, Episode 3

Matching with the content of the episode I’m reviewing, I wrote the middle half of this post during a short trip to a major American city. The city is Chicago, and I went there to get a new German passport—the first German passport I’ve gotten since I was a baby.

(Pointless trivia: Brotherhooves Social is one of few reviews I’ve written entirely away from home, on a little trip to Michigan.)


Season 6 Episode 3: The Gift of the Maud Pie

In five words: Gift exchange reveals Pinkie’s insecurities.

Premise: Pinkie Pie goes on a trip to Manehattan for her family’s annual gift exchange, where she goes to great lengths to find the perfect gift for Maud Pie. Rarity comes with her and helps find a gift while searching for the perfect location to open her newest boutique.

Detailed run-through:

You know how fans of just about any work of media analyze it in excessively rigid and methodical ways? One observation that has arisen from methodical, data-oriented analysis is that throughout the first five seasons, Rarity and Pinkie Pie were the pair of Mane 6 members who interacted the least. While there is nothing to indicate that Rarity and Pinkie Pie are a weak link among the Mane 6’s friendships, like Rose and Jade are in Homestuck (see miscellaneous notes), not until now has an episode paired them together. Season 6 gives us not one, but two episodes pairing Pinkie Pie with Rarity, which is really smart. It redeemed the issue of fans perceiving them as a rarepair, and now I see them as an ordinary pair of friends like any other.

Anyway, this is the third episode where Rarity goes on a trip to Manehattan, and since three is the minimum number of times needed to recognize a pattern, this episode is the perfect time to subvert the pattern of Rarity bursting in excitement about this city. This time, Pinkie Pie is psyched about visiting Manehattan, while Rarity keeps her composure and says this is just a simple business trip. This feels a lot like a brony around the time this episode aired, insisting that new seasons of MLP are just a routine and that they aren’t that excited for season 6 to start…

… but when this metaphorical brony watches the beginning of season 6, they’re swept in excitement all over again, exactly like Rarity is. I think most people who have a dorky obsession have an instinct to downplay how much they like it, until they’re hit in the face with whatever it is they’re obsessed with. Once her eye catches the pony Statue of Liberty, she pops off in adorably goofy joy and ends with saying Manehattan is “everything ever”.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 59: The Crystalling, Part 1 + 2

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Season 6, Episodes 1-2

How did this blog post come to be, you may ask? Oh, you know… the classic tale of me getting bored out of my mind one evening and thus deciding to bring a personal project out of hiatus.

Until mid-January, my MLP posting schedule may be a little sporadic because I’m preparing to move into a new house. After that, things will ramp up! As with season 5, this season will be a mix of one-episode posts and two-episode posts, probably with an increased portion of one-episode posts.


Season 6 Episode 1: The Crystalling, Part 1

In five words: Baby brings everyone’s lives chaos.

Premise: The Crystal Empire is hosting its the ever crystalling of a baby alicorn princess named Flurry Heart, and Twilight Sparkle uses this visit as an opportunity to teach Starlight Glimmer her first friendship lesson: reconciling with Sunburst.

Detailed run-through:

Every season since the fourth, I’ve REALLY taken my sweet time analyzing the first few minutes of the first episode.

Since I so strongly associate this season with Starlight Glimmer, it’s no surprise that season 6 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic begins with her exploring Twilight’s castle. Starlight tries to find the library in this enormous building and snarks that the castle looked a lot smaller from the outside. Right away, this remark makes it clear what Starlight’s new role in the show will be. She’s going to fill the niche that Twilight Sparkle had in the first few seasons—a snarky student well-versed in magic but inexperienced with friendship who reports to a princess. This role matches very nicely with the middle and late seasons’ theme of passing the torch.

Wait… you expected me to go off about how surprised I am that I’ve already made it to season 6, right? While it’s certainly a nice milestone, I knew from the moment I conceived of this post series* that I’d easily have it in me to make it this far, so it doesn’t feel that huge to me. Perhaps this sounds like I’m bragging about myself, but I am really just putting into perspective how hopelessly obsessed I am with this show instead of normal people things that normal people like. I tried suppressing the fact that I love My Little Pony for six years, and you can see how well that turned out. Eventually, the lid burst, and now I have no choice but to own up to this painfully dorky obsession.

Honestly, the real exciting milestone of season 6 is not the premiere, but rather its sixth episode: No Second Prances. Imagine me popping off Pinkie Pie style about how excited I am to analyze that episode; that’s how much I am looking forward to it.

* I conceived of a video series reviewing every episode back in 2014, but when the idea came back to me in 2021, I decided a blog post series would be more fun.

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What’s next for my MLP episode reviews?

It’s been almost a month since I released my review of the season 5 finale, and for once in this post series’ history, my hiatus between seasons has actually lasted without being artificially extended by delaying posts’ releases. While my reviews of the season 3, 4, and 5 premieres had all been written several weeks before their releases, I still haven’t started writing my review of the season 6 premiere, and I’ll release it on the first Friday after it’s finished because delaying posts under the illusion of a hiatus is silly.

It’ll be a while before I get bored enough to resume my episode reviews, or probably work on any significant creative projects at all. This is because I got an offer for a new house accepted a few days ago, and I’ve spent the past few days and will spend much of the next month preparing to move in. This is going to sound dorky, but writing my review of Castle Sweet Castle early in season 5 has genuinely helped me prepare for this inevitable future event. Once I’ve moved and settled in, presumably around mid-January, then I can think about starting the next leg of my journey through MLP:FiM.


OK, I’ll admit it: everything after this point is just a bunch of random rambling. 2022 was in many ways a difficult year for me: my parents got separated, I went through many periods of frustration with a job that I want to quit but am not sure how, I caught COVID-19 for the first time, and I felt increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. The two main good things that happened took months of stagnation to even become possible: I got my own car and, after a miraculous stroke of luck, I got a new house to move into. Aside from this, ponies were the main thing that helped me get through this year, and for that I am very grateful.

One inevitable annoyance of working on a long-term project is looking back on the earliest installments and going “ugh, this sucks”. The further I progress through my reviews of the show, the more I will need to restrain myself from rewriting my early reviews. Whenever I look back on my review of a season 1 episode, I keep thinking about how I barely glossed over most of it and could have gone in a lot more detail and said more intelligent things. But the rational part of me knows to accept imperfections in my old work, as begrudging as it may be. It’s like I said in a Homestuck post from 2016: “I’ll probably look back on THESE posts and think they could’ve been a lot better, but for now, as far as I’m concerned they are supreme masterpieces that I am totally in love with.” 2016 me was wrong about many things, but that wasn’t one of them.

Aside from episode reviews and a few chiptune covers of songs from the show (like this), there’s one more MLP project I made this year that I never thought I would make. Two weeks ago, I finished my first ever MLP fanfic, one that’s on a topic I had never expected myself to write a fic about: Rarity being transgender (specifically, male-to-female). It was a difficult fic to write, but I also had a lot of fun with it, and people have told me it’s both accurate to the experience of being transgender and accurate to the show’s presentation and style, which is good because that’s exactly what I wanted this fic to be. I used to scoff at transgender headcanons, but now I think it’s really cool when people have them, and they’re fun ways to connect to or give further insight into a character. This likely won’t be the last fanfic I write, because that’s the sort of person I’ve chosen to become.

While my thoughts on transgender topics have long been complicated and mixed, I’m now at a point where I pretty much get what it means and have fully accepted a difficult truth: Transgender people are real. I know it’s hard for many people to accept, but they are real, and they’ve always been real. Anyone who denies they’re real either doesn’t know any better or actively suppresses things that they know deep down are true, and I’m proud to say I’m now at a point where I could rant about how mind-numbingly stupid it is when people try to deny that transgender people are real.

Wow, this post got way off topic. But I guess it’s in my nature to write unfocused walls of text at any opportunity.

Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode: Navigation Post

Here is a list of links to every episode review I’ve written of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. These links used to be on the introduction post, but I’ve decided to expand the list to include links to each episode and not just each post. Some posts cover only one episode, whereas others cover multiple, and WordPress luckily lets you create links to specific sections of posts. This new system of navigation should make it easy to find the episode review you want!

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