My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Rarity Takes Manehattan”
We’re a good ways into season four of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and things have really started to pick up, in spite of a slow start. These last couple of episodes have been both solid and entertaining, and this episode is no exception. “Rarity Takes Manehattan” looks to be another fan favorite, and possibly the best Rarity episode the show has produced so far.
And you know what? I agree with that. So let’s not waste any time and get right to the episode!
We start off with the Mane Six (plus Spike) arriving in “Manehattan”, a big city meant to be the equivalent of the upper class neighborhoods of New York City, which I’ve neither been to nor seen, but I’ve seen lots of movies and TV shows that take place in Manhattan, and it looks pretty good to me!
Spike, who back in “Power Ponies” felt he wasn’t making himself useful enough, now gets to be really useful carrying around Rarity’s bags. You must be so happy now, Spike!
They’re all here to support Rarity taking part in Fashion Week, where Rarity is going to show off the dresses she’s designed and hopefully win a prize. To surprise her friends, Rarity managed to get them all tickets to the hit musical Hinny of the Hills, which I guess is the pony version of The Sound of Music.
The musical is supposed to be so good that even Rainbow Dash is excited about it. As she explains here, she usually doesn’t like the idea of ponies randomly breaking into song, because that’s just stupid. After which, Rarity randomly breaks into song. Hooray for meta-humor!
The song in question is simply called “Generosity”, and it really showcases how Rarity views the world. Her possessing the element of generosity and all that, she does in fact enjoy giving other people a helping hand, or a little extra of what they need. In her mind, this just makes the world a better place, allowing ponies to come together by helping each other out. It’s a sweet and mostly true sentiment, even though it can sometimes backfire, as we’ll see later in the episode.
The music is upbeat and catchy, and it’s one of those songs that can stick with you for a long time, without being overly saccharine. Also, the visuals compliment it well, showing Rarity just being her own generous self all over Manehattan. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and hey, we even get a random Grumpy Cat cameo as some pony’s cutie mark!
Sometimes I think the people writing this show are on something weird.
But all of this singing makes Rarity late for the fashion show meet-up, and she gets chewed out by the judge, Prim Hemline. As punishment for her lateness, Rarity will have to showcase her dresses last. But that’s okay, because Rarity has developed an entirely new and unique fabric just for the show, and based her entire clothing line around it, which is sure to win her the prize.
Suddenly, she runs into an old acquaintance named Suri Polomare, who’s also here for Fashion Week with her assistant, Coco Pommel. You’ve just got to love these pony names. You can call me “Coco Pommel” anytime.
Suri expresses how very impressed she is with Rarity’s fabric, and asks if she can borrow some of it to put finishing touches on her own clothing line. Of course Rarity, always being generous, lets her use her special fabric. This is a nice thing to do, but sometimes, being nice can come back to bite you.
The next thing we know, Suri shows up with an entire clothing line of her own, all made with Rarity’s fabric. And because Rarity will be the one to go on last, the judges will surely think that she’s the one who ripped off Suri’s designs.
So yes, Suri has basically taken Rarity’s kindness and generosity and stomped on it hard, and all she has to say about it is that it’s “Every pony for herself.” Rarity completely breaks down, and runs back to the hotel room crying.
But then she looks around the room and is struck by inspiration. She asks the other ponies to help her make an entirely new clothing line for the show in just one night. Of course, all her friends agree to help, but their patience wears thin when they all miss their salon and dinner reservations, and on top of that, Rarity has suddenly become quite the manic dictator.
When it’s time for the ponies to go and see Hinny of the Hills, Rarity snaps at them and reminds them that she got them the tickets in the first place. She completely guilt trips all of them into missing the show and working the entire night so that her clothing line can be finished by morning.
The next day, Rarity barely makes it to the fashion show on time. The only reason she makes it is because of a cab driver and bellhop she was generous to earlier, who are both willing to return the favor.
The judges seem to like her new clothes, but suddenly Rarity is stricken with guilt, realizing that she was a total jerk to her friends. She looks at the chairs reserved for her friends and realizes they’re not there, and she assumes they’re all angry with her.
We get another song here, where Rarity sings about her sorrows, and quite frankly, this scene with all the rain and Rarity expressing her regrets is quite touching.
Eventually, she returns to the fashion show to thank the judges, but runs into Suri instead, who says that the judges are furious because Rarity left the show, and thus she’s been disqualified. Though, for obvious reasons, Rarity doesn’t really care at this point.
Then she gets a nice surprise when her friends also show up and explain they didn’t mean to miss her show; they simply overslept because they had worked so hard all night. I love how all the ponies are so understanding. They knew the whole time that Rarity was under a lot of pressure, and angry due to Suri, and had mistakenly ended up directing that anger towards them.
Rarity has already realized that she let Suri get to her by using her generosity against her, which made Rarity into a bit of an unlikeable person for a while. But she manages to arrange a private performance of Hinny of the Hills for her friends as an apology. It turns out she was able to set up this performance because she had previously helped out the show’s costume designer.
As the show ends, Suri’s assistant—again, the awesomely named Coco Pommel—steps in and tells Rarity that Suri lied and that Rarity did in fact win the fashion show. Also, Coco quit her job as an abused assistant, and gives Rarity a spool of rainbow-colored thread to thank her for her kindness. And the spool of thread begins glowing for some reason. Are they setting up something for a future episode, perhaps? Like Fluttershy’s fangs in “Bats”?
I love this episode. The message is absolutely spot-on. The dangerous thing about being generous (and being naive about it, as in Rarity’s case) is that some people will use you and abuse you. I think we‘ve all experienced being used like this at least once in our lives.
The important thing is what we choose to do with those feelings of being betrayed by someone we trusted. Do we let it get to us and make us angry at the world? Or can we be the better people and not let the jerks out there change who we are and how we treat other people?
This is the best Rarity episode so far. The message is clear and well-executed. They way they’ve animated Manehattan is great. The ponies are in top form, being kind and admirable, and both songs do a good job of setting the mood as well as telling the story.
It doesn’t get better than this. Five out of five ponies, and a very happy internet critic.
[—Editing/cleanup/revisions to this article provided by Dr. Winston O’Boogie and Elliot Hodgett.]