Aug 22, 2015
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Filli Vanilli”
Oh dear, a Fluttershy episode.
You all know what that means! Get ready for a heavy dose of “D’aww,” and try not to look too pathetic while Fluttershy goes through all the hardships caused by her many anxieties.
Though, perhaps it would be good to soon give Fluttershy another episode where she learns the lesson of “You need to overcome your performance anxiety,” because most of her episodes are about that. But oh well, somehow it keeps being adorable, and you can’t help but feel for the little dear.
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We start off the episode with Fluttershy expressing her inner Disney princess, flying around and singing with all of her animals as she feeds them.
That is, until she gets busted by the rest of the Mane Six, who walk in on her singing and express their profound surprise at how good a singer she is. So, um… you never noticed this when all of you guys were randomly breaking into song in other episodes? No? So… we’re just ignoring that? Okay, good, I just wanted to make sure.
The ponies all love Fluttershy’s voice and Rarity likes it so much that she insists that Fluttershy be a part of the singing group she’s suddenly in, called the Ponytones.
Predictably enough, the moment that there’s merely the suggestion of Fluttershy having to perform on stage, she becomes terrified. She tells them she can’t do it because she has stage fright. Fluttershy, and everyone reading this article, I’m going to tell you a little secret: Everyone has stage fright! I’ve been singing in choirs and musicals for most of my life, I’ve performed on stage, done serious theatre, stand-up comedy, and sang while dressed up like a clown.
People have often come up to me afterwards to ask why I don’t get afraid doing these things. And the answer is… Dude, are you kidding me? Of course I get afraid! Every time I put something up online, I don’t know how people will react to it. If you’re a performer and you don’t have just a little stage fright when doing something new, it means you basically don’t care what people think of your stuff, which means you don’t even care about the quality of your stuff, which mean you shouldn’t even be on stage!
But what Fluttershy has isn’t ordinary stage fright, or performance anxiety. It’s performance paranoia!
And if you think about it, she’s always had it. Every time people are looking at her, or she’s supposed to perform in one way or another, she gets incredibly scared. (Well, unless it’s during Olympics-like games where she seriously has no chance of winning, apparently…)
And it certainly doesn’t help when Pinkie Pie goes all “Cupcakes” on her. To be honest, after this episode, the possibility of Pinkie Pie secretly being a mass murderer suddenly seems a lot more likely. I know she normally has a couple of screws loose, but this goes beyond the pale.
Still, Rarity and the others accept Fluttershy’s trepidation without pressuring her about it. And that’s already a great lesson. Good job, episode.
But then things starts going wrong the next day, as the Ponytones show up to sing at Fluttershy’s animal fair, and Big Mac (the always important bass voice in the group) has lost his voice in a turkey call contest the day before.
Speaking as a singer myself, that’s really unprofessional of him. I don’t even have a beer in the evening if I know I’m supposed to sing the next day. And I’ve lost out on so many prime partying opportunities because of that! Damn you, beer! You delicious golden brew!
So the singing group that was supposed to be the main attraction at Fluttershy’s event can’t perform without their bass voice. What to do? First, they try to fix Big Mac. Luckily for them, there just happens to be a voodoo witch doctor living in the nearby woods.
Wow, it’s been a while since we last saw Zecora, which is actually a shame, because I really liked Zecora. Unfortunately, she can’t fix Big Mac’s voice in just one day, but she reminds them that the poison joke (a plant introduced in Zecora’s first appearance, and a play on “poison oak”) has a peculiar effect on Fluttershy: it gives her an amazing bass voice that makes her sound like a large black male.
They come up with a plan to have Fluttershy stay behind the curtain and sing for Big Mac, while Big Mac just lip-syncs to her voice. Fluttershy is of course nervous about this, but she eventually agrees, since she’s quite literally willing to do anything for her animals.
They do it and not only is the experiment a big success, but Fluttershy ends up enjoying it a lot. And I don’t blame her, because singing is fun. In my opinion, it should be socially acceptable to burst into song at any given moment, because it’s impossible to sing and not be happy. If everyone could do it, we would have a lot less miserable people. Well, except for those who would have to endure lots of off-key voices drowning each other out on the street.
Fluttershy enjoys secretly singing backstage so much that she gets Rarity to let her do it again and again, and soon she’s doing it every time someone asks for the Ponytones to sing for their special event. And we all know how this is going to end, don’t we?
Soon, Big Mac gets his voice back, but Fluttershy has come to love singing so much that she asks if they can do it one last time. Of course, as you’d expect from a story like this, the last time is always the time where things go wrong. The curtain falls down to expose Fluttershy singing in her Flutter-guy voice.
People are elated, and praise Fluttershy for her talent, but all Fluttershy can see in her mind is people laughing at her, and she runs off in tears.
Man, it’s always so heartbreaking when Fluttershy cries and Pinkie’s not helping, especially after having gone all psycho on poor Fluttershy earlier in the episode. Pinkie Pie really is one of those characters who changes personality depending on the writer. She’s not always this bloody crazy, I swear!
I do believe that “Pinkie Pride” would have gone a lot differently if the writer of the current episode had written it. I mean, Cheese Sandwich is already the name of something edible, and just use your imagination and go from there. Wait… That was the same writer? Damn, woman, you need to have your head examined!
At last, the ponies manage to calm Fluttershy down, and she can finally admit to herself that she actually really wants to sing, but is letting her own fears control her. So she starts doing something that, in actual psychiatric terms, is called “exponering” (though I think English speakers might know it better as “exposure therapy”).
It’s for patients suffering from anxiety, where you expose yourself little by little to the things that scare you, until you build up a tolerance to the fear that comes with them. I’ve done this myself, except in my case, it’s been about talking to people in large groups… which still makes me shudder. Damn those family get-togethers with family members I would never otherwise feel the need to talk to. What is the point?
So Fluttershy starts out small, and slowly works up the courage to sing for an audience again. Good job, Fluttershy!
This was a slightly above average episode for this show, and of course it’s always very adorable when Fluttershy takes center stage. But we have had this kind of episode a couple of times before with Fluttershy, where she has to overcome her fears to do something, so… it’s not really anything new.
But the story was well told and well written regardless, with some very funny jokes, some good musical numbers, good character interactions, and well, it was just a very enjoyable watch. That would be three out of five ponies for this episode, and a Fluttershy Disney princess for the people.
[—Editing/cleanup/revisions to this article provided by Dr. Winston O’Boogie and Elliot Hodgett.]