Monday, 20 June 2016

Episode review: S6E12: "Spice Up Your Life"

Saffron Masala meets Pinkie and Rarity
"I know smiles – and Rarity's smile? It's just not right"
At last, I have the time to write a review of the final episode of My Little Pony to go out before the mid-season hiatus. This ep was written by Michael Vogel, the guy who absolutely nailed it with "A Hearth's Warming Tail" a few weeks ago, so I was pretty optimistic going in. As I'm a week late, it's probably a bit silly using a break to protect people from spoilers, but I'll do it anyway – so come along with me for a (short) review of the episode.

"Spice Up Your Life" is a pretty good, but not classic, episode – something Season Six has had a lot of. It's a little quieter and less hectic I expected it to be, but not so much as to harm it too much. What does harm it a bit is Zesty Gourmand, who's so one-note as to be really pretty boring. She's like Ms Harshwhinny's duller, more annoying cousin. Frankly, Zephyr Breeze is a breath of fresh air in comparison. Rarity is a bit of a pain too in the early stages, but she and Pinkie do eventually work quite well together.

Zesty Gourmand at the Tasty Treat
Mind you, those Whinneapolis ponies do grate a bit
As for the main plot, it's simple in an almost S1-type way, but the whole "Indian restaurant" setting provides a different veneer to the traditional underpinnings. I'm not a huge fan of the way Twilight and Starlight did the "Look, we've mended the map" bit at the start: can you say "plot convenience"? Also, why on Equus does Minuette – who knows Pinkie Pie well – behave like such a ridiculous snob when Pinkie invites her somewhere? Also also, I'm fed up with Gordon Ramsay, equine or human.

I was a bit surprised to see that Coriander and Saffron's accents had come in for a bit of criticism. Maybe these things are touchier on the other side of the Atlantic, but I don't have any problem with them. As for the song, it reminds me a lot of some of the Indian/British fusion music I hear quite a bit. It's nice and catchy, but I so, so wish that the episode had taken the opportunity to turn it into a really huge-scale dance number – Pinkie has the "Summon Parade" spell down pat, after all!

And there it is: we round off "S6A" with yet another three-star episode. Over on UK of Equestria, ranking voting is currently open and several people have opined that the half-season has been much of a muchness. This episode falls into that category for me. If it hadn't been for the novel elements (the setting and, particularly, Saffron and Coriander) then it might have been a real "meh" ep. It escapes that fate and is perfectly watchable, but I really doubt that many people are going to see it as an all-time favourite. It's... nice.

Coriander, Rarity, Pinkie and Saffron during the song
"Not gonna work, those ships ain't gonna work. Oh fandom, why won't you listen to me?"

Best quote: Rarity: "Culture, couture, cuisine"

  • Saffron and Coriander are entertaining characters
  • The last few minutes (and the moral) are strong
  • Nice to see a bit of Canterlot, rather than Manehattan
  • Zesty Gourmand – a less nuanced Ms Harshwhinny
  • Minuette? Stuffy and stuck up? Hard to believe
  • I still wish we'd had that massive dance number


  1. Some intersting points. A massive dance sequence for the song would've been entertaining, (and certainly better than the recycled animation we got for the chorus), although it would've felt a tad strange in relation to the story, seeing as Saffron and Corianda are a very small minority in Canterlot.

    Zesty reminds me more of Prim Hemline than Ms Harshwhinny. As for Minuette, all I can say is that despite her staring role in 'Amending Fences', she's still a true background pony, unlike characters like Vinyl who have always been purposely placed. Therefore she sometimes has to serve the story. And in any case, despite her bubbly personality, she's still always been a unicorn of Canterlot, who are steriotypically more stuffy.

    Gordon Ramsey pony; I didn't notice him on first viewing, and after hearing about his appearance, I still didn't spot him on 2nd viewing, I had to go back and find him. So he's hardly worth mentioning.

    Overall, I think you're sharing a lot of peoples' disappointment (includng mine), that we haven't had many standout episodes so far this season.

    1. Yeah, thinking about it, Prim Hemline is a bit closer -- but she wasn't the pony that initially came to mind when I watched. Though I have to disagree about Minuette: I don't think she can work quite the same as a background pony now as she could before "Amending Fences". She's one of Pinkie's good friends, and I don't think that would work for a stuffy pony, Canterlot or not.