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!

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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!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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”?

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Rarity Takes Manehattan"

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.]

TV Show: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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  • danbreunig

    I watched this one just this afternoon and…really nice. Real newbie here, so I can’t compare this to the whole rest of the series, but this sat really well with me without all the so-called saccharin and just a pinch of sugar.

    Interestingly, for all the lessons shown–not everyone will appreciate nor return your charity; be grateful for those who do return your charity; some truly live by “everyone for themselves” after being burned too many times themselves; you give as much of your kindness and your malice depending on how much of either is given you; know when to be the bigger man/woman/pony–there was no sense of two wrongs not making a right when they stole the hotel items for fashion materials in response to Rarity’s creation being stolen. Hm…

    • Sofie Liv

      I’m sure Rarity paid for those hotel items, she does that kind of stuff.

    • It reminds of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer gets to stay at a hotel room since he is on a trial jury and ends up taking most of the stuff in his room home with him because, his room, his stuff. The hotel obviously doesn’t need it, they can buy more!
      Dis episode though, is where a lot of bronies who were skeptical of the weird fantasy route the show was taking with Power Ponies and Bats gravitated back to it with this episode’s slice-of-life feel and relatable character traits and interactions from everyone’s favourite drama pony! Usually, a Rarity-focused episode will be a success (Hell, one of the episodes has it in the title!) and this was not an exception. The song, moral, dialogue and world-building made this a cracker. Nearly a third through the season and we’ve had mostly a great set of episodes. Let’s hope it continues!

      • danbreunig

        Nice to hear the show’s still going strong after four seasons–it’s very recently I started to actually watch the show itself (online; my TV package doesn’t include those channels), so I’m still pretty new to FIsM outright, although I had plenty of outside knowledge already going in from all the reviews, fan talk, references and spoofs, which I admit I enjoy. On average though, many hit shows that start out strong like this one have a tendency to go downhill / jump the shark / nuke the fridge / split the fanbase around season 3 or 4, and then either go out with some dignity in season 5 or drag on for another five to ten years, losing the original fanbase while maybe picking up the next one. As these recaps prove, this fandom and show won’t tire out so easily, so here’s to healthy continuation!

        • Oh this fandom has had its deserters and complainers, particularly after A Canterlot Wedding, Season 3, Princess Twilight announced and Equestria Girls! All of which have split the community almost right down the middle. But most bronies will stick with the show because despite all the drama, there will always be something in the show for them to like and stick by, like any good show would. Believe me, people have been saying the show jumped the shark in Season 3 at least 3 times but that was either reading too much into it or failing to realise the show has just begun to fight!
          Season 5 has been recently announced so here’s to another full season of the show after this one. Maybe they’ll grow stale, maybe there’s even more stuff to come out of it. Either way, I’m having fun on this ride!

          • Sofie Liv

            You know, any-thing that is big enough to even HAVE a community, and a fandomn, will have some crazies around it.

            People were absolutely furious when Twilight was turned into an alicorn princess.. but guess what that mattered to the show?

            Not a thing.. it litterately had zero impact on the show, it’s still quiality.

            People also despised the idea of Equestria girls.. but what affect did Equestria girls have on the actually show?

            NO AFFECT WHAT SO EVER! seriously, the movie doesn’t matter! It’s just.. there.. and will probably become a spin-off show soonish, which will just be kind of there, and have no affect on the mlp show, what so ever.. so yeah.. people definetely made a way to big a deal out of both of those things as they happened.

            It was kind of freaky back then, I mean seriously, people were in an out-rage!

            Need I remind you of the Derpy hoof incident?

            Wow people were angry, and on two sides back then.. and what did it actually matter in the big scheme of things.. absolutely nothing, except for being a good example on stupid parents spoiling the fun for every-one else, and being far to tight.

          • I know these things happen but it’s just infuriating for someone like me, the middle man, to get caught up in these debates and just want to watch the show without having to deal with all the drama princesses and I know it’s in other fandoms too, but having actually got fully swept up in a fandom like this, it’s pretty damn annoying.
            The thing is with the Derpy Hooves incident, that was an issue of ‘Is this offensive to the mentally disabled?’ (completely ridiculous!) brought up by uptight parents whereas the Twilicorn and Equestria Girls were actually issues regarding the show’s so-called ‘decline in quality’ by a number of flank-hurt bronies. This may be a show animated and taken care of by DHX, but it’s still Hasbro’s property. They can do whatever the hell they want with it and DHX have to treat whatever Executive Meddling befalls the show as a challenge to see what they can do with this new ‘toy proposition’ and make it fit as well as they can into the show without making it too contrived.
            As long as we have analysers and reviewers like Sofie, joshscorcher, MrEnter etc to balance out all the over-relenting negativity spewed out by Byter and CR, I’m sure people won’t get put off by changes here and there.

  • Arturo Garza Flores

    -With his previous output, I already considered Dave Polsky to be good. But now, he’s one of my top 3 writers on the show (this season or otherwise).
    -“Generosity” is to Rarity what “Smile Song” is to Pinkie Pie.
    -I just read the wiki and it says that Prim Hemline is voiced by Ashleigh Ball. That’s kinda hilarious.
    -I love how we have tons of Coco Pommel fanart.
    -That ending with the colored spools of thread….. so much D’AAAAAAAAAAW. I mean, it’s nakedly pulling your heartstrings, but COME OOOON IT WAS ADORABLE!!

    If there’s one thing that the show has proven several times that it can do very good, is take a familiar story and put its own different spin on it.
    I’m sure we’ve all seen a variant of this story sometime before: small town person with big dreams goes to the big city, only to have the big city change who they are. In this kind of story, the main character usually realizes the error of his/her ways because of an outburst from a friend, family member, love interest, etc. pointing out their shitty behavior and then the main character has to do something to make it up to that person(s). It’s refreshing how in this episode, Rarity realizes her mistake by herself; no one needs to point out her bad behavior for her. Also, her friends know how good she can be, they don’t leave and be angry at her or wait for her to do something to make up for what she’s done.

    • Sofie Liv

      I really do love, how this episode had such a warmth to it.
      That Rarity regrets hurting her friends, and genuinly feel bad, and her friends didn’t hate her for it at all, but understood.
      That just showcases such warmth and understanding, and it’s so great that they didn’t drag out the drama unnecarily, that would have been kind of stupid.

      • danbreunig

        The episode itself was very well-balanced, still playful and just enough drama to make the point; it had heart, which I love in any story. Although, if previous childrens’ animated series involving playfulness mixed with life lessons prove anything, you just know before the eventual MLP series finale they’ll have at least one episode addressing death and loss.

  • Arturo Garza Flores

    Also, I’m pretty sure that there were a couple of ponies based on characters from Mad Men.

    I also like to think that the receptionist at the fashion show is based on Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters.