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 below the cut!
[14:02] <Sylocat> Oh wow, the map sends the two ponies who would LEAST want to go to Pony Vegas
[14:02] <Sylocat> “It’s worse.”
[14:02] <mere_oblivion> But will they be traveling by map?
[14:03] <Sylocat> Apparently so, since they got there pretty quick
[14:03] <Whammy_> Oh shoot, didn’t know we started
[14:03] <Sylocat> Pause at end of credits?
[14:03] <mere_oblivion> ‘kay
01[14:03] <Froborr> Paused at end of credits.
[14:03] <Whammy_> I just skipped ahead to start of credits
[14:03] <Arrlaari> I need to restart Firefox
01[14:03] <Froborr> Okay, if we’re waiting a minute I’m gonna grab some water.
[14:03] <Arrlaari> dropping whole seconds’ worth of frames
[14:03] <Whammy_> I just paused at 1:23
[14:04] <Whammy_> -seen episode, don’t mind skipping forward
[14:04] <mere_oblivion> Mine’s dropping frames, too. Huh.
[14:05] <Arrlaari> where y’all paused?
[14:06] <mere_oblivion> End o’credits.
01[14:06] <Froborr> Back.
[14:06] <Arrlaari> ok
[14:06] <Sylocat> 1:23
01[14:06] <Froborr> Paused at 1:23.
[14:06] <mere_oblivion> yup
[14:06] <Whammy_> yep
[14:06] <Sylocat> Okay then…
[14:06] <Sylocat> Click, again
[14:06] <Whammy_> Sorry for delay on my part; got caught up tracking down a paper
[14:07] <Sylocat> Oh, are the Flim Flam Bros. gonna show up again?
[14:07] <Sylocat> This seems like their natural habitat
01[14:07] <Froborr> Oh. My. God.
01[14:07] <Froborr> Is that Pony Trump?
01[14:08] <Froborr> Oh, no, just generic Rich Southern Guy.
[14:08] <mere_oblivion> Wayne Newton meets Newt Gingrich?
[14:08] <Whammy_> Yeah, not enough Earth Pony nationalism to be Trump
[14:08] <Arrlaari> Hey, it’s those Midwestern Ponies
[14:08] <Sylocat> He looks more like Jay Leno to me, which is only slightly better
[14:08] <Arrlaari> I recognize them from the restaurant episode
[14:09] <Sylocat> What the…
[14:09] <Sylocat> A Hipster scarf and jacket?
[14:09] <Sylocat> And what’s his cutie mark?
[14:10] <Whammy_> Megaphone
[14:10] <Whammy_> He’s the director for the show
[14:10] <mere_oblivion> A slice of quiche?
[14:10] <Sylocat> Wait, what?
[14:10] <Whammy_> As in director for the acrobat show
[14:10] <Sylocat> Are these ponies based on actual celebs? Or just archetypical?
[14:11] <Sylocat> OHHHHHH CALLED IT
[14:11] <Whammy_> The ones with animals probably based on Siegfried and Roy
[14:11] <Arrlaari> Flim and Flam’s friendship with each other is on the rocks
[14:11] <Sylocat> Whoa, are they in competition?
01[14:11] <Froborr> Ooh, is the friendship problem a falling out between Flim and Flam? I love it!
[14:11] <mere_oblivion> No honor among thieves, etc
[14:12] <Sylocat> Hahah, this is like the Granny Smith issue of the Friends Forever comic!
[14:12] <Sylocat> The show is incoprorating a lot of comic continuity all of a sudden, what with Oublettes & Ogres
[14:12] <Whammy_> Ogres & Oublettes
[14:12] <Sylocat> Right.
[14:13] <Sylocat> Ahahah, this is epic
[14:14] <Sylocat> Fluttershy with a clipboard is extra-adorkable
01[14:14] <Froborr> It occurs to me that the line between running a casino and running a con is pretty thin.
[14:14] <Sylocat> Eeyup
01[14:14] <Froborr> In fact, that’s true regardless of which definition of “con” you mean…
[14:15] <mere_oblivion> Exactly! Unless you’re suggesting all Cons are actually cons?
[14:15] <mere_oblivion> “Blending genres is awesome!”!
01[14:15] <Froborr> No, not at all, they’re similar to casinos in different ways.
[14:15] <Whammy_> I’m more bothered not by the shape but by the fact that the two white with pink stripes are not together in the formation
[14:15] <Arrlaari> Ok, I think Gladmane is the problem
[14:15] <Whammy_> EVERYTHING MUST BE SYMMETRICAL
01[14:16] <Froborr> Yeah, I think he’s creating friendship problems to keep them fighting.
01[14:16] <Froborr> Yep, the show is already there.
[14:17] <Arrlaari> The animals see what Ponies don’t
[14:17] <Sylocat> And they’re gonna wind up needing Flim’s and Flam’s help to uncover the scheme
[14:17] <Arrlaari> that’s why Fluttershy had to be here
[14:17] <mere_oblivion> “The kindest, most gentle, most compassionate pony . . . ” Straight outa The Machurian Candidate
[14:17] <Sylocat> Called it again
01[14:18] <Froborr> I love Fluttershy’s smirk there. She’s really enjoying being right!
[14:18] <Sylocat> Yeah, like how Fluttershy was trash-talking in the hoofball episode
01[14:19] <Froborr> Oh, and that’s why Applejack needs to be there.
[14:19] <mere_oblivion> I’m not sure anyone could sell heat lamps to yaks, but . . .
[14:19] <Sylocat> “The Applejack-iest truth.” I love it
[14:20] <Sylocat> Is that Fluttershy in disguise!!
[14:20] <Whammy_> Only in MLP can “Impossibly Rich” be an actual pony name
[14:20] <Whammy_> see: Diamond Tiara’s mom, Spoiled Rotten
[14:20] <Sylocat> Ooh, I like that part of their scheme rests on letting Gladmane think his plans worked
[14:21] <Sylocat> Wait, Diamond Tiara’s father’s name is “Filthy Rich.”
[14:21] <Sylocat> Fluttershy looks good in a feather boa and sparkly dress
[14:21] <mere_oblivion> Indeed.
01[14:21] <Froborr> Yeah, one of the most effective strategies for conning someone is making them think they’re succeeding at a con.
01[14:22] <Froborr> Oh, they’re going to use the PA to broadcast him confessing, aren’t they?
[14:22] <Sylocat> Probably
[14:23] <Sylocat> Huh. They’re showing the microphone on the screen BEFORE revealing that that was the trick?
[14:23] <Whammy_> Because you keep doing major sales and deals every five seconds?
[14:23] <Whammy_> THAT’S the bigger reason I’m surprised he keeps things running
[14:23] <Sylocat> Ah, so that’s why they showed the microphoe
01[14:23] <Froborr> Oh well played, episode.
[14:24] <Sylocat> Ahahahh…
[14:24] <Sylocat> OHHHHHHHH
[14:25] <Sylocat> A DOUBLE-con!
01[14:25] <Froborr> Haha, and I even *said* the best way to con someone is to make them think they’re succeeding at a con!
[14:25] <Sylocat> Whoa, this is like three morals in one
[14:26] <mere_oblivion> Taping w/o permission–treading on impossibly complex moral iss-yous!
[14:26] <Arrlaari> Running the place in two shakes of a hoof
01[14:26] <Froborr> Hahaha, that’s great!
[14:26] <Sylocat> That was really, really good
01[14:26] <Froborr> That was a really fun one.
[14:27] <Arrlaari> So before Flim and Flam showed up I expected the problem to somehow be about how fake Glademane’s “I am instant personal friends with every stranger who works for or pays money to my business” act was
[14:27] <Arrlaari> But I let the appearance of F&F shake that hypothesis
[14:28] <Arrlaari> And I somehow didn’t guess that Gladmane’s insincerity would be cover for outright villainy
[14:28] <mere_oblivion> one of the best of this season, imho
[14:29] <Sylocat> (also I still need to show dad the ones he’s missed)
01[14:30] <Froborr> It’s a bit of a stretch, but I wonder if Gladmane is named for Gladstone Gander.
01[14:30] <Froborr> Both associated with luck, both wealthy, both infuriating.
[14:30] <Arrlaari> I’m pretty sure both are derived from “glad-handing”
01[14:31] <Froborr> Hmm, yeah, that makes sense.
01[14:31] <Froborr> brb
[14:32] <Arrlaari> Was it Donald or Scrooge who is always deeply offended by Gladestone Gander’s whole life?
[14:33] <Sylocat> You’d think I would know this one, but I’m blanking
[14:34] <Arrlaari> Is it both? My issue is that either is so plausible
01[14:34] <Froborr> back
01[14:35] <Froborr> He’s primarily a Donald antagonist.
01[14:35] <Froborr> But Scrooge can’t stand him either.
[14:35] <Sylocat> IIRC, Flintheart Glomgold was a more prominent foil to Scrooge
[14:35] <Sylocat> Or was that just in the comics?
01[14:36] <Froborr> No, he was probably the second most common antagonist in the show, after the Beagle Boys.
01[14:36] <Froborr> Though the show changed him from South African to Scottish for some reason.
01[14:37] <Froborr> Probably due to all the bad press/embargoes/boycotts South Africa was facing at the time
[14:37] <Sylocat> Ah, a Starlight episode
[14:38] <Sylocat> Whoa
[14:38] <Sylocat> I’m one of those nerds who always wants to know more about the mechanics/rules/limits of transfiguration
01[14:38] <Froborr> Did, did she just follow up a Captain America regerence with a Zelda reference?
[14:38] <Whammy_> And then nuked the library
[14:39] <Whammy_> Starlight OP, must nerf
[14:39] <Arrlaari> I was thinking, I’m surprised Twilight was cool with turning books into not-books
[14:39] <Sylocat> WHAT?!
[14:39] <Arrlaari> Similo Duplexis is probably forgotten because it’s hella dangerous
[14:39] <Sylocat> Oh… wow.
[14:40] <mere_oblivion> Isn’t that sort of what Hermione did in Goblet of Fire?
[14:40] <Sylocat> Prisoner of Azkaban
[14:41] <Sylocat> But yes, that’s sort of what she did
01[14:41] <Froborr> Hahah, reminds me of the first draft of my Utena panel.
[14:41] <mere_oblivion> Thanks
[14:41] <Whammy_> And that was with a time turner
[14:41] <mere_oblivion> Instead of dual identity, right
01[14:41] <Froborr> It was six hours long. For a panel that was supposed to be 45 minutes.
[14:41] <Sylocat> Oh yikes
[14:42] <Whammy_> I mean, I understand her hestitation.
[14:42] <Sylocat> It’s not surprising that no one whose chief contact with ponies is Twilight would be familiar with the term “chillax”
[14:42] <Whammy_> After befriending the Great and Powerful Trixie, every other friend fails in comparison -nods-
[14:43] <Sylocat> Ahaha, that eagle sling is adorable
[14:44] <Sylocat> Of course Rainbow Dash would say “Optimal chillaxing.” Closet nerd all the way
[14:44] <Sylocat> “No time for a song?” Songs are the quickest way to get more done in a short time
[14:44] <Whammy_> Yes, Starlight fails to appreciate the power of a montage
[14:45] <Sylocat> So, she’s gonna make copies of herself
[14:45] <Whammy_> You’d think…instead, goes for the mind control
[14:45] <Sylocat> Wait, WHAT
[14:46] <Sylocat> I know enough Harry Potter!Latin etymology to be wary of THOSE spell names
[14:46] <Whammy_> Like mentor like student.
[14:46] <Whammy_> Freaking out about friendship lessons? Mind control something
[14:47] <Sylocat> Uh oh
[14:47] <Arrlaari> Sorceror’s Apprentice
[14:47] <Sylocat> I mean, it was inevitably going to be a disaster, but…
[14:48] <Arrlaari> She turned the ponies into the brooms from that
01[14:48] <Froborr> Well, I can already see the Sorceror’s Apprentice style disaster Pinkie’s going to create.
[14:48] <Sylocat> Yep
[14:48] <Sylocat> She’s going to make everything in the cookbook
01[14:48] <Froborr> This is so creepy.
01[14:48] <Froborr> Okay, that was legit funny though.
[14:49] <Sylocat> Is this the scariest episode of the show?
[14:49] <Arrlaari> The brief frown was very creepy
[14:49] <Arrlaari> All the animals are going to be in the castle
[14:50] <Sylocat> The VAs are having a blast with the creepy zombie voices
[14:50] <Whammy_> Dang it Starlight, you issed the chance for a new line of animal fashion
[14:51] <Sylocat> *headdesks*
[14:51] <Sylocat> WHAT
[14:52] <Sylocat> Suddenly it’s Jumanji
[14:52] <Sylocat> You’d think even Starlight Glimmer wouldn’t be genre-blind enough to say “It can’t get any worse”
[14:53] <Whammy_> I don’t know Twilight, what made you think casting a Want It Need It spell to purposefully cause a fight between friends was a good idea?
[14:53] <Whammy_> Like, Lesson Zero never gets mentioned at all in this episode, which really is a missed opportunity.
[14:54] <Sylocat> I think it gets referenced thematically
[14:55] <Whammy_> Yeah, but would have been a nice point of sympathy on Twilight’s part mention it -shrug-
[14:55] <Sylocat> Rainbow Dash puts it with military bluntness
[14:57] <Sylocat> Fluttershy hanging up cobwebs reminds me of last season’s Halloween episode
01[14:57] <Froborr> Aw, the little tableaux with her and Pinkie was cute.
[14:58] <Sylocat> …Mind = blown
01[14:58] <Froborr> By?
[14:59] <Sylocat> Like, this one got at a lot of feelings that are pretty hard to put into words
[15:00] <Sylocat> The dynamics behind a whole lot of awkward social situations
[15:01] <Arrlaari> What this put me in mind of is the known psychological result that if a child’s early success is praised on “talent” grounds, the result is a brittle self-confidence that causes intense risk aversion and reacts to failure with catastrophic shame
[15:01] <Sylocat> It was quite possibly the most disturbing episode of the show (for me at least), but I also really empathized with Starlight
[15:04] <Whammy_> …I think that psychological result is based on attributing to personal characteristics and not effort. You succeeded because “you’re so smart” over you succeeded for putting in the time and effort to study.
[15:05] <Whammy_> Or is that what you were getting at just different wording?
[15:06] <Arrlaari> There’s also Starlight’s belief that magic is the hardest thing, and therefore magic expertise demonstrates ability in any easier (and therefore lesser) skill
[15:07] <Whammy_> Ehhhhh, I don’t know about that.
[15:07] <Arrlaari> I hear about similar things in academia, e.g. Mathematicians assuming Economics must be easy and they can totally turn the field on its head
[15:07] <Whammy_> Presuming things sometimes scale down from group to individual, we know in Social Identity Theory group members will often change the point of measurement to help protect self esteem.
[15:08] <Whammy_> I can imagine dynamic at indiviual level: she’s nervous about friendship so protects self esteem by emphasizing her skill in magic.
[15:09] <Arrlaari> And lately I’ve noticed a lot of Silicon Valley coders presuming that they can write an app for any problem – without guidance from existing experts in the issue.
[15:09] <Whammy_> I don’t quite get the sense of arrogance in her behavior that is present in the kind of examples you’re noting.
[15:10] <Whammy_> In a lot of her episodes and, to not spoil to much, in the finale, Starlight’s driven a lot about nervousness and concerns about friendship and a fear that she really hasn’t changed that much from when she was ruling that town through fear and mind control magic.
[15:10] <Whammy_> Magic is about the one thing she feels really confident about so it’s not surprising when panicked she turns to it.
[15:11] <Whammy_> So less “Pfft, I’m good at magic, I can do friendship” and more “Oh crap, friendship! Uhmm, well, I’m good at magic, I can do this!
[15:11] <Arrlaari> Friendship is a field she respects enough to put at a level equal to, or higher than, magic. It’s baking, scrapbooking, etc. that she’s not respecting
[15:12] <Sylocat> The two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive sentiments, I can definitely see the former growing out of the latter (indeed, that was pretty much Starlight’s origin story)
[15:14] <Arrlaari> In particular when she plans to do everything at once, the Ponies try to help her understand that the activities might interfere with each other (e.g. baking will make a mess, which will interfere with sewing) and Starlight isn’t willing to admit that she didn’t know enough about those things to plan them accurately
01[15:16] <Froborr> Yeah. Which is rooted in insecurity–she doesn’t want to appear weak/ignorant–but expressed as arrogance.
[15:18] <Arrlaari> It is less about putting herself above those things than it is putting magic above them – which serves her anxiety by making it shameful to not be an instant expert in non-magical skills.
[15:20] <Whammy_> In any case, Starlight is socially awkward as heck, turns to magic to cover for it, and we get some of the creepiest Stepford Ponies ever.
[15:20] <Whammy_> But why let a little mind control get in the way of a good friendship?
[15:21] <Arrlaari> I was surprised she didn’t go for upgrading duplexis to quadplexis and make a Starlight for each assignment
[15:21] <Whammy_> Yeah, that spell might have been a red herring.
[15:22] <Whammy_> “You think she’s going to be in multiple places at once? Wrong, she’s gonna make them zombies”
[15:22] <Whammy_> Of course we’ve done the “be in multiple places at once” storyline with Pinkie Pie and the Mirror Pool
[15:23] <Whammy_> So I think going to the mind control route due to a mistaken belief that the point of friendship lessons was maximizing efficiency in the completion of the task works better for her anyway.
01[15:24] <Froborr> It’s also her falling back on her go-to strategy from her introduction.
[15:28] <Whammy_> Also, loved the apology section.
[15:28] <Whammy_> Mostly cause it was an actual apology.
01[15:28] <Froborr> Yes!
[15:29] <Whammy_> Recognition of wrongdoing, willingness to try and change, not trying to guilt them into accepting…
01[15:29] <Froborr> Also I loved that Pinkie (of all people!) didn’t immediately accept it, took her a bit longer to forgive than the others.
[15:29] <Whammy_> Cake is serious business.
[15:32] <Whammy_> But yeah, do have to say the Starlight Glimmer episodes have probably been my favorite of the season.
[15:32] <Whammy_> And yes, that is even when controlling for the presence of The Great and Powerful Trixie.
[15:34] <Arrlaari> Hm
[15:34] <Arrlaari> Have previous seasons had as many return appearances by antagonists in which the returning antagonist is a figure of sympathy?
[15:35] <Whammy_> Was Griffonstone this season?
[15:35] <Arrlaari> On top of Starlight Glimmer’s arc, we have Trixie dealing with lingering suspicion and guilt, the Flim-Flam brothers helping to take down Gladmane. I’m pretty sure Griffonstone is an example of this from an earlier season.
[15:35] <Whammy_> Changelings returned
[15:36] <Whammy_> Have had Discord episodes
[15:36] <Arrlaari> Oh yeah, there’s The One Good Changeling, which is a weak example but it fits and happened this season
[15:36] <Whammy_> …how do people feel about spoilers?
[15:36] <Arrlaari> We feel like there should be none of them
[15:36] <Whammy_> Meh, nevermind, I can learn some patience
01[15:36] <Froborr> Negatively for purposes of these, yeah.
[15:36] <Arrlaari> Not even a little
01[15:37] <Froborr> Normally don’t care, but for the vlogs and these chats it’s part of the premise.
[15:37] <Whammy_> Fair enough.
[15:37] <Arrlaari> Discord has basically had a less serious version of Starlight’s arc since before Starlight was even introduced, but it’s true he had an episode this season
[15:38] <Whammy_> Starlight probably being handled better, but Discord had longer distance to go for reform so guess evens out.
[15:38] <Whammy_> -hard to expect being of chaos to stop being an ass right off the back-
[15:38] <Arrlaari> The main difference is that Starlight’s personality is driven by shame, while Discord is unusually resistant to it
[15:39] <Whammy_> Right.