Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 208: Spotlight on Cheerilee's Thousand (1,000th review special!)

Ponyfic Roundup review no. 1,000! Thank you for sticking with me since 2014!

In the end, I couldn't resist spotlighting this particular fic to mark the occasion. I almost never review stories that aren't marked Complete, but I have done it once before (Proofreading Clopfics Sucks, PR 112). In both that story's case and this one's, the key point is that they're effectively anthologies, albeit with a running thread, so you don't feel you're left hanging at the end in the way you would with a conventional fic.

Read it Later story count: 327 (nc)

Cheerilee's Thousand by xjuggernaughtx et al
Comedy/Random/Slice of Life; 97k words; Nov 2013–Jan 2017; Teen
Cheerilee goes on one thousand terrible dates.
Okay, not a thousand. There are actually 59 chapters, but that's good enough. This fic has a simple premise: what if Cheerilee kept going on dates that kept going wrong? It takes a few chapters to really get into gear, but then the author hits on an idea involving ducks, and from then on it's a hoot to read. Cheerilee's dates are occasionally with canon characters (you'll feel for Caramel), but they're more often with some nicely imagined OCs. Some chapters are written by guest authors (especially in the middle part of the fic) but on the whole they fit in well. A little of the snappiness is lost late on, by which time the chapters have swollen from their original thousand-ish words to over 3,000, but on the whole it rattles along. Very entertaining, even if Cheerilee isn't your favourite pony. ★★★★

I'll talk a little more about this fic below. There may be spoilers ahead, but while there's moonlight and ponies and love and romance...

...okay, not that much romance for Cheerilee, at least not as much as she hoped. Personally, I blame the ducks – the low-key running subplot of her having made mortal enemies of a bunch of ducks is one I always enjoyed seeing return. (Odd that no explicit reference was made in a chapter containing a character called Steamer Duck, though.) Not all the recurring stuff worked as well – I found the whole D-8-R robot thing just a tiny bit overused by the end, and the wording of its last chapter suggested that, had this fic continued, so would that subplot have.

Although it's only lightly referenced after its feature chapter, there is one aspect of this fic that is a real kick in the heart: Cheerilee's date with Twilight, which comes so close to being a happy ending for her, but then goes horribly wrong when Twi "fixes" everything that's gone wrong by casting an amnesia spell on the poor earth pony. It's apparent later on that she can almost remember something having happened that night, but the connection never quite clicks.

Inevitably, a few things have been overtaken by canon: Filthy Rich's wife having died is an obvious one – though this fic's Filthy is surprisingly unpleasant in his own way, so I can't feel too upset for him. There's also a changeling reference in one chapter. That sort of thing. Considering its age (only the final three chapters are under three years old), though, there's very little that now jars. I suppose "make like a tree and get outta here" is a pretty old-fashioned Fluttershy reference these days, but still.

Then there's the word "periwinkle". It crops up often enough to be noticeable, and I don't know why. It's entirely possible that it's a clever running gag that I've completely missed; I do that a lot. There's a little LUS in the early chapters (which are, after all, the oldest) and an occasional thing that I as a Brit find confusing (eg weirdly restrictive union regulations) but they don't hurt the fic. And hey, any story where I can have a note saying "yay duck continuity!" has got to be worth reading.

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: back to the usual grab-bag. Stories reviewed will include Ceffyl Dwr's Minuette's Imaginary Friend Replacement Service.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes! Chicken feed for the likes of you, but I'm amazed I made it this far. :)

  2. Congrats on the thousand reviews! Yay ^_^

    The fic rings a bell; I might've read a few chapters back in my early days of fic reading. I might well be tempted to give it another visit after this.

    Also, apparently my computer is allowing me to use my Google profile on here again. Go figure.. :/

    1. Thanks! :) Also, welcome back to the land of the non-anonymous. ;)

      I think if you get to the ducks chapter (it's fairly early on) and it's clicked by then, you'll probably enjoy the rest.

  3. Congrats on your 1000th review!

    Cherilee's Thousands is probably my favourite comedy in the fandom. There are more than enough hillarious scenarios, but I do love that, for all it puts Cherilee through a lot, it still manages to retain a degree of appreciation for the character. It does a lot to elevate the fic.

    1. Well said! It was also a nice change of pace considering that my 999th review was also a good Cheerilee fic, but one in which she got quite badly hurt without that being in any way played for laughs.