It’s been a while since I’ve done a reaction/review-ish piece for an MLP episode. While there have been episodes of MLP I’ve thought good, I never really got the same sort of spark for wanting to say something about them as I’ve done in the past.
Part of it is burnout for sure, and of course graduate school isn’t exactly known for giving you free time. But a lot of it was honestly just didn’t feel like the show or was offering much that I could work with as someone whose main interest is getting at it from a background in political science and ethics/political theory perspective. Sure, the return of the best background character ever, Trixie, in “No Second Prances”, got me excited, but didn’t exactly give me room to ramble on about introductory Marxist theory like Starlight Glimmer’s first episodes or the countless articles I’ve done on utilitarianism.
But seriously though, this episode alone would have been enough to make the season for me.
Fortunately for me then it appears the somewhat contentious season finale –at least from some initial reactions I’ve seen – finally gives me a chance to dig out the old MLP analysist in me. Because if there is anything that gets the urge to ramble on about something, it’s controversy. So let’s dig in to “To Where and Back Again”, and what the conclusion of the two-parter says about the nature of the MLP Universe.
After over 100 episodes, I finally found an excuse to combine two of my favorite things in the world into one: the cartoon series Steven Universe and John Stuart Mill’s utilitarian ethics. That it took so long to do so is more of a testament to the high quality of the show than anything else. The sheer expanse of the show and the topics it deals with – from basic lessons about friendship to in-depth explorations of grief, loss, and trauma in the aftermath of relationships and war – kind of makes it a bit intimidating to get a grasp on it. What finally inspired this long-awaited excuse to stuff utilitarianism into yet more cartoons (see my long, long list of utilitarian ethics inspired analysis of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) was the two-parter episodes of Beta and Earthlings, the 100 and 101the episodes according to the Steven Universe wiki.
As usual, I’m a little late to the punch in writing up a reaction to the 100th episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic entitled “Slice of Life”. The basis of the episode, a focus on the large cast of side and minor characters throughout the series getting ready for the wedding of Matilda and Cranky Doodle Dandy, seemed a rather fun idea. In practice, the episode was a big shout out to the fandom, being stuffed full of fanservice and shout outs to ideas spread throughout the fandom. For the most part, I did enjoy the episode and found it rather fun. There was something that bothered me, however, about the Lyra and Bon Bon scenes and what they mean in the context of Lyra/Bon Bon being one of the earliest and most prolific non-heteronormative ships within the fandom.
Before getting to that, however, let me start with some of the other things about the episode.
At the end of the two part season premiere “The Cutie Map”, Starlight Glimmer is exposed as having never given up her own cutie mark despite her claims that possession of a cutie mark leads to fighting and breaking friendships. This, of course, turns the entire town against her as they call out her “hypocrisy.” As she points out, however, it wouldn’t have been possible to remove every-ponies’ cutie marks without her magic, which requires her cutie mark. The town doesn’t buy it, but what if, assuming her morality was correct, she had a point? Is it possible that hypocrisy like this can be moral? In this article we’ll investigate by asking if morality must be public or can there be justified reasons for it to be secret?
The moment I saw the trailer for the Season 5 premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I figured I was going to have to do a post like this. A villain goes around talking about equality and everybody being the same? In the culture of the United States, with its histories of “Red Scares” and the Cold War behind it, this sort of rhetoric immediately equates to “communism” or “socialism”, whatever word you pick. But is Starlight Glimmer, the antagonist of the two-part premiere, really supposed to be a representation of actual communist thought? In this article I’ll be giving what basically amounts to a brief “Marxism 101” lesson as we investigate Starlight Glimmer’s philosophy.
Survey collection regarding OCs? Why did I not know of this thing before! Also, love the trend being presented here and hope to see it continue.
Lady Geek Girl and Friends
Way back in the day (okay, so it was when I was in high school) I decided to pick up statistics for my math class. While it was challenging, I completely fell in love with the idea of being able to discern trends in data and extrapolating them for a larger purpose. Though since my times at college I’ve fallen out of love with the study itself, my love for percentages and trends lives on almost as strongly as my love for astrology—if you follow my Tumblr, you know that’s a lot. What better way to re-experience this love than through other people’s original characters (OCs)?
I don’t know about other people, but I know that over the years my fan characters have managed to build a life of their own and turn into their own, multi-universe original characters. And, as I said, while I can’t be completely certain…
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I really need to make the effort at reblogging other awesome articles I find elsewhere more often. This seems like a good one to start with, addressing how grief is explored in the show Steven Universe.
Lady Geek Girl and Friends
I’m not necessarily the best at taking my own advice. So when I said more than a year ago that everyone should be watching Steven Universe, I had intended to follow suit. With the exception of an episode here and there, I unfortunately didn’t get around to watching. In a way, I’m glad for it—I’d much rather marathon a show than wait for weekly updates. With the announcement of Cartoon Network renewing the show for another two seasons, though, dreams of watching it all at once (in the near future) were all but dashed, and I finally sat down to watch the entire series alongside my brother.
Me after catching up.
We’ve discussed a couple of Steven Universe‘s elements before, all in glowing terms. Today will be no different. As much as I want to gush over Pearl’s unmistakable queerness when it comes to her relationship with…
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