How to participate in the liveblog chat: Option 1: Whenever you watch the episodes, comment on this post as you watch with whatever responses you feel like posting! Option 2: Go to http://webchat.freenode.net/. Enter a nickname, then for the Channels field enter ##rabbitcube, and finally fill in the Captcha and hit Connect! We’ll be watching MLP there starting at 2:00 p.m. EST.
Afterwards, I’ll update this post with the chatlog.
ETA: Chatlog under the cut! (Note: We accidentally watched the episodes in reverse order)
[14:05] <@Sylocat> Uh oh, Fluttershy can’t hang out with Discord… hopefully he won’t react quite as badly as last time
[14:05] <@Sylocat> (though we did get the Smooze out of that)
[14:05] <Whammy_> -village burns-
01[14:05] <Froborr> lol
[14:06] <@Sylocat> AHAHAHA
[14:06] <@Sylocat> Oh wow, which one of them actually did that?
01[14:06] <Froborr> Opposite Fluttershy new favorite character.
[14:06] <@Sylocat> It could have been either
01[14:06] <Froborr> Is this going to be another two episodes showing the cast split between two adventures?
01[14:07] <Froborr> And I’m torn between “blech, Spikisode” and “yay, Discord ep!”
[14:07] <@Sylocat> The thumbnail for the next episode shows the Crystal Empire, not Yakyakistan, so probably not
[14:07] <Whammy_> Not that I know of.
[14:07] <Whammy_> -again, seen all the episodes ahead, don’t remember any new Yakyakistan episodes-
01[14:08] <Froborr> Allow me to explain the concept of “rhetorical question,” Whammy.
[14:08] <@Sylocat> A pony-eating Yeti?
[14:08] <@Sylocat> So it’s a gender-swapped “Girls’ Night Out” episode
[14:09] <@Sylocat> Big Mac whispered “Yup.”
[14:09] <@Sylocat> Ah, it’s RPG night, isn’t it
[14:10] <Whammy_> The title is “Dungeons and Discord”
[14:10] <@Sylocat> Yeah, but that could have meant an actual dungeon quest
[14:10] <@Sylocat> (or maybe it’s both, knowing Discord)
01[14:11] <Froborr> Tiny Discord herald is great.
[14:11] <@Sylocat> He does love an entrance
[14:12] <@Sylocat> AHAHHA
[14:12] <@Sylocat> There’s only three recurring male characters on the show, and only two joints in Ponyville that are “rowdy”
01[14:12] <Froborr> Yep, it’s D&D.
[14:13] <@Sylocat> They used the same name it has in the comics! I was expecting them to use a different name and I’d have to headcanon an off-brand knockoff
[14:13] <Whammy_> Don’t worry, you got a knockoff Rarity as the princess.
[14:13] <@Sylocat> And now Discord’s going to bring the game to life, or teleport them inside it
[14:14] <Arrlaari> It makes sense that Discord would find a game that essentially imposes a ton of rules on improv acting tiresome
[14:14] <@Sylocat> Spike’s self-insert character is Twilight? Interesting
[14:15] <Arrlaari> There’s no DM
[14:16] <Arrlaari> Spike is both running a character as being DM
[14:16] <@Sylocat> Spike is both DM and player. That is technically allowed when there’s not enough players for a full group
[14:16] <@Sylocat> Spike is good at improv DM-ing
[14:17] <@Sylocat> Spoony would be proud
01[14:17] <Froborr> I mean, DM characters aren’t uncommon even if there’s lots of players, they’re a bit of a notorious thing.
[14:17] <@Sylocat> Well yeah, but they’re usually (technically) NPCs, though they do usually get all the cool moments
[14:18] <@Sylocat> Wait, who is Discord dressed as? I know I’ve seen that outfit before but I can’t remember
01[14:18] <Froborr> Discord’s outfit!
[14:18] <Arrlaari> That’s the Mask’s outfit?
[14:19] <@Sylocat> Ah, that’s appropriate
[14:19] <Arrlaari> About time
[14:19] <@Sylocat> Whoa, he can take away horns AND bestow them
[14:19] <@Sylocat> Big Mac no longer has to dream of being an Alicorn, he can just ask Discord to turn him into one!
[14:20] <@Sylocat> Discord fudged the die roll, of course
01[14:22] <Froborr> The “Rarity”/”Shmarity” joke is the best.
[14:22] <@Sylocat> Indeed
[14:22] <@Sylocat> I was expecting that to motivate Spike to kick his ass
01[14:23] <Froborr> “I ruined your night and you don’t even think I’m cool?” sums up Discord so beautifully.
[14:23] <@Sylocat> This is a familiar experience for every D&D player
01[14:24] <Froborr> Well, at least he’s apologizing.
[14:24] <@Sylocat> I wondered if Big Mac would be the one who asked to go back in the game world
[14:25] <Whammy_> And of course Discord is an elf-race.
[14:25] <@Sylocat> Legolas specifically
[14:25] <@Sylocat> (with a dash of Link)
[14:26] <@Sylocat> Awwwwww
01[14:26] <Froborr> Of COURSE Pinkie is a Bard.
[14:26] <Arrlaari> Ok, I was wondering about how they introduce D&D as a guy’s thing. It’s a bit perfunctory that RD and Pinkie jump in at the very end but at least it didn’t go by with no comment at all.
[14:26] <@Sylocat> She’s the fourth wall breaker, it’s kind of her job to be the narrative guider
01[14:28] <Froborr> Yeah, I’m definitely glad they had the girls join in at the end. While D&D *did* grow out of the male-dominated wargaming community, roleplaying in general has become a lot more gender-balanced since the 80s.
[14:29] <Whammy_> I’m still debating on if rogue is appropriate for RD though.
[14:29] <Arrlaari> It would have been Discord’s class if they didn’t want to make him Legolas
[14:30] <Whammy_> Elf race appropriate for Discord though, especially since the Fae are usually trickster assholes in stories.
[14:30] <@Sylocat> There are rogue archers, though (like Haley Starshine)
01[14:31] <Froborr> Also IIRC Pinkie is ACTUALLY a Bard in Friendship Is Dragons.
01[14:31] <Froborr> RD was a Barbarian, though.
[14:32] <@Sylocat> Makes sense RD would either be a Fighter or Barbarian… like, she’s the one who would totally just be buried in a book all evening and going, “Oh, is it my turn? Uh, I hit whatever enemy is closest”
[14:32] <@Sylocat> Like, she’d take the same route to being a D&D player that she took to being a Daring Do fangirl
[14:34] <@Sylocat> (what class was Twilight in Friendship is Dragons? I picture her as being that one kid who raids the third-party sourcebooks and finds tis one really obscure class that didn’t get sufficiently playtested and so has a bunch of hidden exploits that she could use to become totally broken
01[14:34] <Froborr> IIRC, Twilight was the person who had read every sourcebook but never actually *played* before.
01[14:35] <Froborr> And a Wizard, I believe.
[14:35] <@Sylocat> Ahhhh, that makes sense
[14:35] <Arrlaari> Twilight could do that, but I expect she would choose instead to play a character unusually rooted in the setting’s backstory
[14:35] <@Sylocat> Well of course, like Bruce Banner in that “Guardians of the Galaxy is the Avengers playing a space-themed D&D campaign” Tumblr theory post
01[14:37] <Froborr> RD was the player constantly asking “can we kill something yet?”, Rarity was the Real Roleplayer in it for drama (and loot) with the elaborate and complicated backstory, Fluttershy was the timid newbie struggling to understand how the game works.
01[14:39] <Froborr> Applejack was the veteran who’d played a billion games before, many of them with Rarity, and Pinkie Pie was the one who took “none of this is real” to mean “have my character do the most ridiculously ill-advised things possible.”
[14:40] <Arrlaari> Wait, what does that have to do with “none of this is real”?
[14:40] <@Sylocat> Huh?
[14:40] <@Sylocat> Oh… missed the second message
[14:40] <Arrlaari> Pinkie does ridiculously ill-advised things in her baseline reality
[14:40] <Whammy_> I presume basically Pinkie was the player who thought “it’s a game so let me just do whatever silly things I want”
01[14:41] <Froborr> The premise of Friendship Is Dragons is that the ponies are D&D characters being played by unseen gamers.
01[14:41] <Froborr> So “Pinkie Pie’s player” would be more accurate I suppose, but seeing as all the visuals are of the ponies, it’s easy to elide.
[14:42] <@Sylocat> Ah, so Pinkie was THAT player. My gaming group had one of those… it didn’t end well
[14:43] <@Sylocat> Hopefully it worked out better in FiD (and now I actually want to check out FiD)
01[14:44] <Froborr> I haven’t read it in a long time–not since the first round of revisions for MLPoMo 3–but it was pretty good at the time.
01[14:44] <Froborr> So… any discussion on the actual episode?
[14:46] <Whammy_> Welp, more Spike time
[14:47] <Arrlaari> Speaking of Spike, what’s the verdict on this Spike Episode?
01[14:48] <Froborr> Acceptable.
01[14:48] <Froborr> Significantly above average for Spike episodes.
[14:48] <@Sylocat> It helped that it was also a Big Macintosh episode, and a Discord episode
[14:49] <Arrlaari> I’m a bit worried that Discord gets to them with his “I’m DEFINITELY not very sad” act after ruining their evening, but I’m a bit mollified by their interest in his ability to bring the game to life
01[14:51] <Froborr> Yeah. Also they’ve got very little experience dealing with Discord.
[14:51] <Whammy_> Yeah, for Discord they sort of need to start doing more than “I’m TOTALLY NOT SAD ABOUT NOT HAVING FRIENDS” type stories.
[14:51] <Arrlaari> I think there may be a connection to a point Froborr has been making about BTAS Joker – for a chaos god, Discord is awfully preoccupied with social status.
01[14:52] <Froborr> I was more concerned with the “we’re obligated to be nice to the asshole” Nerd Fallacy thing, but he apologized, so I *guess* it’s okay.
[14:52] <@Sylocat> Yeah… I also appreciated that the moral wasn’t, “Playing games ‘the wrong way’ leads to people not having fun, so always play by the rules”
[14:52] <Arrlaari> A lot of the tension in this episode proceeds from him feeling that “sidekicks” are beneath him and therefore their interests are also beneath him
01[14:53] <Froborr> And yeah, I was thinking he felt VERY like Mark Hamill’s Joker this episode, even the way DeLancie was playing him felt similar.
[14:55] <Whammy_> That “obligated to be nice to the asshole” thing is annoying, particularly after I criticized…forgot the episode, but the one where Discord was faking sick and making Twilight/Cadence do all these ridiculous things and then tried to pass it off as a friendship lesson.
[14:55] <Whammy_> Had so many people try and say Twilight was obligated to give him a chance and be nice and that Discord had a point and blah blah.
01[14:57] <Froborr> Yep. Similar to the problems I had with “Keep Calm and Flutter On.”
[15:00] <@Sylocat> Huh. I don’t remember that from “Three’s a Crowd,” I thought only Discord said that, and he got punished for it
[15:02] <Whammy_> You know, maintenance on that train has to be a pain, in a frozen tundra and all.
[15:02] <@Sylocat> Flurry Heart, I’d forgotten about her
01[15:03] <Froborr> Ah yes, Devilbaby.
[15:03] <Arrlaari> Whoops, I missed the start
[15:03] <@Sylocat> Ah. Shall we pause after the credits to sync up?
[15:03] <Arrlaari> thanks
[15:04] <@Sylocat> A Carrot Top wig?
[15:04] <Whammy_> Spike, having a Rarity doll kind of creepy
01[15:04] <Froborr> Paused after credits.
[15:05] <Arrlaari> paused after credits
[15:05] <@Sylocat> Okay then…
[15:05] <@Sylocat> Click
[15:05] <Whammy_> Paused on the black empty void after credits
[15:05] <@Sylocat> That’s a lot of writers
01[15:05] <Froborr> Always a worrisome sight to see that many writers.
[15:06] <@Sylocat> Spike’s adoring public
[15:06] <@Sylocat> The title kinda gives it away
[15:07] <Whammy_> Damn these voter ID laws are getting a far reach
[15:07] <@Sylocat> Of course Shining Armor would be extra worried
01[15:08] <Froborr> Changeling wants to take their baby?
01[15:08] <Froborr> Appropriate.
[15:09] <@Sylocat> Spike gets mistaken for an expert, of course
[15:09] <@Sylocat> Oh jeez
01[15:09] <Froborr> Wait, was that Patrick Warburton as the guard?
[15:09] <@Sylocat> “Let’s split up and cover more ground.”
[15:09] <Arrlaari> Way not to think about how that could go wrong
01[15:09] <Froborr> Yeah, that’s a good strategy for dealing with a shapeshifter.
[15:10] <@Sylocat> At least the guards are in teams of two
[15:10] <Arrlaari> It’s too bad for Changelings they can’t eat fear – they would never go hungry
[15:10] <@Sylocat> Ahahah, it’s a Marx Bros reference
[15:11] <@Sylocat> That voice sounds familiar
01[15:11] <Froborr> Given his “Ch-ch-ch-changeling,” likelier it’s a reference to Scooby Doo’s recurring Marx Bros reference.
[15:11] <@Sylocat> Oh, the fanfic writers must have had a blast with this one
[15:12] <Whammy_> One flaw of episode is this still implies that Changelings are “Normally” evil, but he’s an outlier.
01[15:13] <Froborr> “Thorax”?
[15:13] <Whammy_> Yeah….not great naming
[15:13] <@Sylocat> Well, their queen is named Chrysalis…
[15:13] <Whammy_> But I can’t judge cause I suck at naming
[15:13] <Whammy_> “Friendship, glorious? lol”
[15:14] <@Sylocat> (keep in mind that Victor Hugo wrote a novel about class warfare called “The Miserables” and named his main character John Johnson)
[15:14] <@Sylocat> (so, don’t feel insecure about naming things)
[15:15] <@Sylocat> Wait, can Changelings make OCs?
[15:15] <Whammy_> I believe that’s the implication.
01[15:15] <Froborr> Apparently.
[15:15] <@Sylocat> Spike has similar skill at naming things
[15:16] <Whammy_> Friendship montage
[15:16] <@Sylocat> I’ve heard this music before somewhere…
[15:16] <Whammy_> Probably in a 90s series
[15:17] <@Sylocat> Uh oh
[15:17] <@Sylocat> Here’s where it all comes crashing down
[15:18] <@Sylocat> It’s like Steven Universe and Centipeetle
01[15:18] <Froborr> You know, I actually feel for Spike in this one.
[15:19] <@Sylocat> Yeah, me too
[15:19] <Whammy_> Also, Changelings can be inanimate objects.
[15:20] <Whammy_> Yay more paranoia
[15:20] <Whammy_> And guards doing terrible job if he walked all the way to the throne room like that.
[15:20] <Arrlaari> a song?
[15:21] <@Sylocat> Is this Spike’s first song?
01[15:21] <Froborr> He has lines in some other songs, but I think this is his first solo.
[15:21] <Whammy_> Yep
[15:21] <Whammy_> -checked song list-
[15:21] <Whammy_> Only other solo is a song on the Christmas album
[15:22] <Arrlaari> This would work better if this changeling had changed instead of somehow being born ok
[15:22] <@Sylocat> I really like the music in this episode
[15:22] <Arrlaari> when ever other changling hatches a hissing love-eating monster
[15:22] <Whammy_> Yeah, like I said hat’s the main flaw is it still has a very deterministic bent to it.
[15:22] <Arrlaari> The facial expressions suggest that they are not buying it
[15:23] <@Sylocat> I was expecting Starlight to be the first one to come around
[15:24] <@Sylocat> “I’m sure all of my subjects are eager to do the same… *growls through her teeth* AREN’T they, subjects?”
01[15:24] <Froborr> Ha! Exactly.
[15:24] <@Sylocat> Something tells me Thorax’s plan isn’t going to come off without a hitch
[15:26] <Arrlaari> So has the show ever mentioned where the Changeling Queen came from? This is the first changeling episode I’ve actually seen and it seems to imply she’s the direct mother of all other Changelings.
[15:26] <Whammy_> Nope
[15:26] <Whammy_> There’s a comic though
[15:27] <@Sylocat> My headcanon is that Chrysalis was the princess in the Hearts and Hooves Day story
[15:27] <Arrlaari> When you say “there’s a comic” do you mean “there’s a comic that mentions where the Changeling Queen came from” or “there’s a comic I haven’t read so I don’t know if it answers your question”?
[15:28] <Whammy_> There’s a comic that has an origin story for the Changelings.
[15:28] <@Sylocat> Yeah, the FIENDship is Magic comic claimed to answer that question
[15:28] <Whammy_> “It is also revealed that the original changelings were born from a carnivorous plant that grew from a rotten acorn that fell into a magic pond under a cemetery. They were inadvertently released by Star Swirl the Bearded, who nailed a warning sign to the plant to keep others away, only to create a crack from which the changelings emerged. At the end of the issue, the changelings escape from imprisonment together with Chrysalis.”
[15:29] <@Sylocat> But we only have Chrysalis’s word for it even in-universe, IIRC
[15:29] <Whammy_> -shrug-
[15:33] <Whammy_> So anyway, reactions on the episode other than the deterministic implications of that hatching scene?
01[15:33] <Froborr> Surprisingly good episode for Spike.
[15:35] <Whammy_> Always good when episodes reinforce kindness and compassion as equivallently “glorious” things to beating stuff up
[15:37] <@Sylocat> Especially when it’s not automatically coded feminine
01[15:43] <Froborr> Any more commments or should I post up?
[15:43] <Whammy_> I got nothing.
[15:44] <Arrlaari> So I’m not sure how the Changling kingdom works
[15:44] <Arrlaari> Is it just a hive full of starving changlings all the time, or are they normally doing small scale love stealing to get by between big plots from Chrysalis?
[15:44] <@Sylocat> I got a Steven Universe vibe from this episode
[15:45] <@Sylocat> I think the comics established that it’s the latter
[15:45] <Whammy_> -awaits the SU universe where Steven sings about Homeworld Gems changing
[15:46] <Whammy_> -then Yellow Diamond probably tries to kill him or something
[15:47] <@Sylocat> Well, there was the musical number in “It Could’ve Been Great”
01[15:47] <Froborr> Oh hey, I just realized I get to watch more SU today!
01[15:47] <Froborr> Sweet.
[15:47] <Arrlaari> So they didn’t bring it into focus but the way the whole Crystal Kingdom was freaking out because one person saw a Changeling in the wilderness put me in mind of how the US flips out over terrorism
01[15:48] <Froborr> Oh, definitely.
01[15:48] <Froborr> The Changelings as presented owe a great deal to science fiction cliches that grew from Cold War paranoia.
01[15:48] <Froborr> That same paranoia was repurposed to substitute “terrorist” for “communist” after 9/11.