Monday, 29 June 2015

Episode review: S5E11: "Party Pooped"

The yak delegation eating Rarity's fabric
"You're such dears for helping me with the Hearth's Warming decorations"
As it so happens, I'm pooped right now (a busy but enjoyable weekend of ponymeets and steam trains), but like the pro that I'm not I'm still publishing this review on time. So: with "Party Pooped", we had another multi-credit episode, plus a new writer in Nick Confalone, a combination which made me a little apprehensive. On top of that, said new writer was tackling Pinkie Pie, whose character hasn't always been treated very well by the show. Does the end product work? Well...

Bits of it did. Bits of it didn't. Bits of it I'm still not sure about. This is, if you like, a more conventional version of the "throw it all at the wall and see what sticks" approach than the one M. A. Larson used the other week. We have a new race of sapient beings, a new monster, a new land, a new room, a returning side character, a returning Twilight state... and an old lack of any songs. When are we going to get a traditional sing-along song of the "Apples to the Core" type, dammit?

Pinkie isn't actually written too badly, though I do feel the episode dials her manic setting up too far, as indeed many other eps have done. I do approve of her willingness to travel to the ends of Equestria in the cause of happiness and friendship; that's very much in character. I also enjoyed the reveal of her Party Planning Bunker, although anyone who's read Fallout: Equestria is likely to find that really, really creepy. ("Pinkie Pie is watching you... forever!") Mind you, I suspect non-readers of Fo:E will, too...

Fluttershy tries to calm Twilight down
"Smile. Smile, Smile! That's what Pinkie says! Look! I'm smiling!"
Although the Mane Six all play their parts, and have their moments (eg Dash's trophy) it's Twilight who has the most to do. Even if, for a considerable part of the episode, what she's doing largely consists of panicking. It's been quite a while since we've seen Twi lose it on this scale – since she was a unicorn, in fact – and cruel though this may be, I found it oddly comforting. It's somehow nice to know that this part of the pony we've followed all this time is still in there somewhere, even if it may be a little less comforting for Twilight herself.

The yaks, then... first up, Yakyakistan is an odd name. Why not simply "Yakistan"? Were the team trying to distance themselves from real-world Pakistan? I don't know. Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of the way the yaks were portrayed. The "YAK SMASH!" thing, though amusing at first, got boring fairly fast (shades of "Hoo?") and thereby hurt the episode's pacing, and the "Me want be friends" stuff is out of sync with other civilised non-pony races we've seen. (Griffons talk pretty normally, for example.) I suspect the yaks will be background characters from now on.

Cherry Jubilee is... there. I mean, why? Okay, because she's a fairly popular character and the writer(s) clearly felt it would be fun to bring her back – but it's not as if she actually does very much considering the amount of screen time she got. Ditto the snow monster yeti thing. On the other hand, I love the Beatles parody; whoever did the designs for that knows their stuff. I'm particularly impressed by "George Harrison" having jelly babies for his cutie mark. (Also, Pinkie is Ringo. Conspiracy theories ahoy!)

Applejack reads a list in Pinkie's Party Planning Bunker
"What in tarnation? 'Final Applejack party'?"
So, not that bad an episode, since there are some pretty good bits in amongst all the filler. I'm still a little narked that we weren't allowed to see more than the outer gates of Yakyakistan itself – I mean, when the Crystal Empire turned up from nowhere that got a whole double-episode season premiere. Cadance clearly has more influence on the powers that be than Prince Rutherford! (Which reminds me: why is he called that? If there's a reference, I'm not getting it.) On the whole, fairly entertaining but rather weird.

Finally: interspecies war in modern-day Equestria is now canon. Clearly the sheep on the line are actually massing for a vast assault on Ponyville later in the season...

Best quote: Fluttershy: "So, um, do we walk back up the slide or, or what?"

  • Some interesting stuff for Pinkie to do
  • Twilight borderline losing it
  • Nice to see Cherry Jubilee again
  • The ponified Beatles stuff
  • It didn't feel all that coherent
  • The yaks didn't really work for me
  • Pacing problems, largely because of said yaks
  • Cherry Jubilee doesn't really do much


  1. A better episode than last week. I think it's kinda cool that Gary Chalk voiced the Prince yak as he was the voice of Optimus Primal from Beast Wars which is one of my favourite animated series of all time.

    1. It was certainly more fun. Poor Spike, he fails in his own episode, then this time he has a door smashed into him and a yak jump on him. :P

  2. From what I'm guessing, Cherry Jubilee is an inspiration from G1 Cherries Jubilee, though both are not the same pony. Cherries was more of a reoccurring character though than Cherry.