Tuesday, 3 December 2019

My Little Repeats 9: "Bridle Gossip"

This is a noticeably detailed and colourful episode for so early on
S1E09: "Bridle Gossip"
Written by Amy Keating Rogers
10 Dec 2010

My original rating: N/A
IMDB score: 7.7

The one with "Appletini" riding Rainbow Dash.

Thoughts: Hasbro's veto on exploring more of zebra culture means Zecora, who debuts here, is the only one in show canon, and indeed nearly the only one in all official stories.* One oddity near the start: AJ tells her sister not to mention the name Zecora, then almost immediately does so herself! Anyway, Twilight is pretty solid in this (and amusingly S1-snarky), though her Super Naturals stubbornness feels a little forced. It's also a notably good pre-CMC ep for Apple Bloom – but the other Manes are pretty thick: not even knowing what a zebra is? One of my favourite bits of lore, though: the Everfree forest "ain't natural" because its plants, animals and clouds move without pony intervention. A real shame that stuff got left behind later in the series. It's the Poison Joke stuff that everyone remembers, of course. Probably fair to say the show team wouldn't have risked Twilight's floppy horn problem if they'd known about the fandom at the time! Flutterguy is funny to this day, especially her song. First mention of "Rainbow Crash", too. And Applejack gives us a "Thank Celestia" at one point – one for the "Is Tia a goddess?" debate, I guess. Still, overall I think this episode has dated slightly. It's still amusing, and "Don't judge a book by its cover" is a fair, if hackneyed, moral – but it doesn't fit together quite well enough to feel like a classic. Three stars, then.
* Braze, the male zebra in the Rainbow Dash and the Daring Do Double Dare chapter book, is the only other one I can think of who gets a speaking part.

Choice quote: Spike: "I got nothin'. Twilight Sparkle. I mean seriously, I can't even work with that."

New rating: ★★★

Next up is "Swarm of the Century", the debut of one M. A. Larson. Another I haven't rewatched for years and only vaguely remember as "a bit silly".


  1. In a way I can see why this episode wouldn't be considered a classic to some and yet if it weren't for this one episode alone, we wouldn't even receive an appearance by Zecora (And sparking all this talk of wanting to see her homeland). A character like Zecora could've just as easily been a one-shot character for the series, heck she was cast aside of the role of Twilight Sparkle and instead we'd get Princess Celestia. While there's nothing wrong with the whole 'Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover' plot, as it's a classic in any television series, to me this was not the Mane Six at her best (Heck Spike spends part of the episode heckling his own friends for their mishaps with the Poison Joke). And one thing that REALLY bugs me is how Applejack downplays on Apple Bloom and doesn't bother to listen to her just because she's older than her, I get that at this stage this is pre-CMC Bloom where she's more cute and adorable but I feel it isn't right to downplay on kids if they know something is up.

    Not to say this episode wasn't enjoyable. Even though I wasn't crazy of how the ponies treated Zecora (Which I get that they'd never seen a Zebra before, but still it was a bit unfair), but there are some moments that get a chuckle out of me. Flutterguy's rendition of the Zecora song (Which is more entertaining than Pinkie's rendition) and even the Poison Joke aftermath itself. Even the moment when Applejack is shrunk down to the size of those plastic figurines can we get away with a joke on an adult beverage and make it funny for a young audience (Especially the parts when the girls think they 'sat' on her, a style of humor that becomes relatively common in this series). In a way, I consider this a guilty pleasure episode, maybe not the greatest, but I'd say the few enjoyable moments in this episode keep it from being bad.

    1. can we get away with a joke on an adult beverage

      Considering what applejack-the-drink is, they've been doing that since episode 1! :P

  2. I'll never forget being extremely confused by Apple Bloom the first time I saw this. Why was this little pony following Applejack around? 8 episodes since the pilot, and I'm expected to remember who this one-off character is? XD

    Of course, it also took me a considerable number of years to realize there was a physical component to Rainbow's transformation. :B

    1. Yeah, I didn't notice Rainbow's altered wings for ages either. It was a nice touch, actually.

  3. Ah! Another old school classic, as far as I'm concerned. Zecora was largely wasted in the series overall, but her aura of mystery at least made her fascinating and the fandom was rife with speculation about her and her homeland. And she's a pretty eccentric if amusing character, one I thought gave the series a boost.

    Also, apart from one scene, this was the episode where I first started to appreciate Apple Bloom. It's a pity we didn't see more solo operations by her, because here she took initiative and stood out among the cast for her gumption and frankness. The fact that she was the first to befriend Zecora, and took Twilight's scepticism to heart where Twilight herself blundered, definitely put her in my good books.

    As for problems... Eh, I can buy the ponies not knowing what a zebra is - I always saw Ponyville (at least, in the early seasons) as a pretty insular location, focused mainly on local concerns. Exotic faraway lands with different species probably don't feature much in the lives of townfolk obsessed with parties and farm food. Just look at their tiny school compared with the Canterlot complexes Twilight presumably studied at.

    Myself, I think the biggest problem with the episode is the scene where Apple Bloom abandons her shrunken sister in the middle of the goddamn Everfree Forest. What the actual hell!?

    Second biggest is how Twilight turns against Zecora over the course of the episode. It fits the plot structure fine, but for her to go that far rather than just falter in her confidence, and to go so far that she's outright making accusations before Apple Bloom intervenes? It didn't feel right, or convincing, that the biggest rationalist in the series ends up making pretty hefty judgements based on such circumstantial evidence.

    And I love the little background character touches in this episode, like Berry Punch grabbing Ruby Pinch and getting her indoors, the Flower Trio getting their second most prominent panic moment ("Daisy. We need to talk."), and the first (I think?) appearance of the spa ponies ("It's simply luxurious!"). Just a good episode I'll happily revisit.

    1. Apple Bloom abandons her shrunken sister in the middle of the goddamn Everfree Forest.

      Good point! I'm not sure why the bizarreness of that action didn't occur to me as I watched.