Friday, 15 November 2019

My Little Repeats 3: "The Ticket Master"

Enough G4.5 speculation for the moment. Let's get back to the show that's the reason most of us are in the MLP fandom in the first place.

The sort of expression we got so much less of from later-series Twi
S1E03: "The Ticket Master"
Written by Amy Keating Rogers and Lauren Faust
29 Oct 2010

My original rating: N/A
IMDB score: 7.2

The one with oatmeal.

Thoughts: This episode started out as an 11-minute script in the Show Bible, then was expanded with AKR's help to 22 for broadcast. (Thanks to Mike Cartoon Pony for that.) Anyway, it's a pretty stupid setup, really: why would Celestia send Twilight just two tickets in the first place? For the Grand Galloping Gala, no less, which first appears here. Early Instalment Weirdness applies: Spike doesn't want any of that "girly, frilly, frou-frou nonsense" and there's some odd levitation right at the end. Still, Fluttershy singing the theme tune (the start of the then-unreleased extended version, at that!) is adorable. Two rather forgettable little Pinkie ditties, too. We get our first sight of Prince Blueblood in Rarity's vision, though (perhaps thankfully!) we learn nothing of his character just yet. This episode does contain a favourite early scene of mine, though: when Twi is picking the petals off the flower, her stomach rumbles... and she eats the petals. A nice reminder that in S1, these were very much horses; see also the restaurant having piles of hay instead of chairs. The Benny Hill-esque chase scene is actually quite funny, and it ends with Twilight first teleportation – awkwardly, and apparently not even knowing it would happen! Overall, though? It does feel a little stretched at 22 minutes, and the plot is all a bit obvious. I think a high two-star rating is about right.

Choice quote: Rarity: "Twilight! It's raining." Twi: "No. Really?"

New rating: ★★

Next up is "Applebuck Season", which many fans cite as their first hunch that things were really going to come together on this show.


  1. Snarky Twilight was amazing and it was a shame to lose that aspect of her character, albeit a necessary sacrifice to her journey to becoming a better person. Pony. Whatever. 'Not Moondancer', anyway. And it opened up a vacancy for Starlight and Trixie, so it's all good.

    I first got into the show via the medium of DVDs my daughter got for Christmas, and didn't realise the episodes were out of order - this one came (I think) 18th and started a whole disc dedicated to the Gala arc, and I remember it already feeling jarringly out of place even then.

    The 'intended as a short' thing is new information to me! And it makes sense, absolutely. Also it's something Lauren was used to from Powerpuff Girls and would revisit on Wander Over Yonder, both of which almost exclusively used that structure (two minisodes bundled together as an episode). Fosters hardly ever did that, though.

    1. And it opened up a vacancy for Starlight and Trixie, so it's all good.

      I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here, but "Boast Busters" is an episode I'm especially looking forward to rewatching. I really didn't like Trixie when I first watched it, but I wonder whether knowing her much more enjoyable (to me, at least) future will soften my feelings a little.

      I first got into the show via the medium of DVDs my daughter got for Christmas, and didn't realise the episodes were out of order

      That's interesting -- I hadn't realised there were out-of-order DVDs, at least not for the whole season. My UK-spec S1 box set is correctly ordered,* though given the general standard of distribution I probably ought to give a round of applause for that!

      * It's only looking at the S1 box now that I remember that a few episodes had (rather uninspiring) audio commentaries. I wish they'd kept that up into the era when they were a bit more comfortable with the fandom.

    2. The first (2014) issue of a complete UK box set was just the 5 individual themed collection discs that had been released up until then, only... together in a box. I didn't realise until about halfway through that we were clearly watching them out of order.

      (I did write a really, really lengthy blog detailing my responses to the first 7 episodes (as I saw them), which I won't link to here!)

      The episode order was...

      1 Friendship is Magic 1
      2 Friendship is Magic 2
      3 Griffon the Brush Off
      4 Look Before You Sleep
      5 Swarm of the Century
      6 Owl's Well that Ends Well

      7 Call of the Cutie
      8 Fall Weather Friends
      9 Stare Master
      10 The Show Stoppers
      11 The Cutie Mark Chronicles

      12 The Ticket Master
      13 Winter Wrap Up
      14 Suited For Success
      15 Party of One
      16 The Best Night Ever

      17 Applebuck Season
      18 Bridle Gossip
      19 Sonic Rainbom
      20 Over a Barrel
      21 A Bird in the Hoof

      22 Boast Busters
      23 Dragonshy
      24 Feeling Pinkie Keen
      25 A Dog and Pony Show
      26 Green Isn't Your Colo(u)r

      A quite different first pony experience than the canon order!

  2. Oh, also, on the subject of ponies doing horse things, as a yokel/country boy I remember shouting quite loudly that daffodils are in fact poisonous to horses! Twilight, you cannot eat that sandwich!

    1. That's a point I hadn't thought of! Ah well, I'll just have to put it down to one of:

      1) Equestrian daffodils having been selectively bred over generations to be edible by ponies, who after all do control Nature here;
      2) Unicorns having a natural magical resistance to lycorine;
      3) Pervasive earth pony magic in this earth pony town protecting its inhabitants;
      4) Early-series Twilight being spectacularly naive, and spending the post-credits sequence being violently sick.

      Take your pick!

  3. The one "early episode syndrome" thing that always stood out to me in this episode was, when Pinkie starts singing "Twilight is my bestest friend", she's just... standing there. Staring blankly ahead with a slight smile on her face. She doesn't exactly exude "whoopee" at that moment in time. Thank goodness the animation only ever improved over the show's run. :)

    1. Oh gosh yes, it's so eerie compared to the Pinkie we know! We're already past it now, but another "once seen never unseen" early animation non-feature is the house party in episode 1, where the entire crowd of background ponies stand completely immobile behind the mane 6, like cardboard cutouts.

  4. I honestly really like this one. What I like in particular is that it gives us another glimpse into the motivations of these characters - some reinforcing what we already knew, some with new angles of approach - then gives Twilight an ethical conundrum with no easy solution.

    I also think it has a touching ending when the others realize they've pushed Twilight too far and respectfully back off to take the pressure off. I really sympathized with Twilight and them in that scene. I even like the subtle ongoing hints as to which way Twilight's decision might be going, like her speculating over if she gave both tickets away yet left three ponies disappointed, and the order in which the ponies apologize to her.

    Of course, it had to have an "everybody wins" true ending, but that lets us get to the finale, so I'm not too bothered by it. I sometimes wonder how this show might have been if it occasionally took a chance and eschewed happy endings, but that's by the by.

    Overall, I always like rewatching this one. It's not spectacular; it's simply a comfortable, enjoyable ep, and those are generally my favourites.

    1. I sometimes wonder how this show might have been if it occasionally took a chance and eschewed happy endings

      I suppose the closest they really got to that was Gilda's story, up until S5 at least. Of course, it depends on whose perspective you consider "happy" from.

    2. It'd have been a little more like the S4 finale, I'd say. :)

    3. The Best Night Ever wasn't exactly an unhappy ending, but it was a great subversion of expectations. One of the things that sold me on the show.

    4. They seemed to do that a bit more in the early days. Twilight's fifth place in the Running of the Leaves in "Fall Weather Friends" is another one I've always liked.

  5. As to Celestia only giving Twilight 2 tickets, I think there are several plausible explanations. One is that she assumed Spike would use the other, as she wasn't aware of his disclaimer for all things girly. The other is that she underestimated the bond Twilight had already formed with these girls and was hoping she could find just one she wanted to bring. Then it caught her off guard when Twilight wanted to bring more of them. That's basically the premise to my story "Friendly Correspondence," which RBDash47 is including in the S1-ish feel-good anthology he's going to print.

    1. "Here are two tickets for you and Spike" would have made things clearer, even so. Celestia being caught off-guard seems more plausible, I think.

  6. While it is true to argue that the overall plot is pretty much predictable as we've seen this story in many forms of media before, at least as a set-up for what the overall season has in mind we get a chance to explore the desires and reasons why each of Twilight's friends should get a ticket. Now I do question why Celestia would give Twilight only two tickets (Unless it was all part of a big test to determine how much she cares for her friends), we get a piece of the story of why each member is justified for wanting to go to a Gala that not just any pony in Ponyville can attend. Whether it's boosting a business to raise money, meeting your idols or finding true love, exploring a garden that hosts all its animals... Or in Pinkie's case, it's the biggest party of all time. Course, the lengths they all go through to push Twilight into giving them a ticket is a bit much and it's clear we can see how oblivious they are of how much of a pain it is for Twilight to choose. As someone who hates choosing with a passion, I share her pain in that regard.

    While I'm not a fan of predictable plots, at least in this episode's case it does offer enough moments that make the episode forgivable. The 'Benny Hills' style chase sequence was arguably a funny highlight for me, with Twilight Sparkle being chased by a whole swarm of ponies and not to mention when she snaps at Pinkie while she does that one song where she briefly goes Timmy Turner (The song may be forgettable, but the moments in between are worth noting). It's funny to think that this episode was considered the 'pilot' amongst some fans and in comparison to the two part opening at least we are given more time to actually get to know the girls that we'd grow to love. If I can name one other highlight, it's when Twilight is considering giving away both of her tickets at this little restaurant we see the three ponies she'd feel would be the most disappointed which almost made me think, 'Wow, she must only like Applejack and Fluttershy to exclude those three' (It's cruel to say this but I get a chuckle seeing Rarity's crying face because that's exactly how I'd think she'd react). And yes this was indeed part of the series where we see more of the 'Equine' side of the show's lore as later on we start to notice they become more... Humanized (But we'll get to that later).