Thursday, 9 May 2019

Text Review Roundup: "Common Ground"

It's time to return to the buckball rink pitch court field! As it happens, Griffish Isles will be having a buckball session, though as I'll have to go home before it I'll have to rely on others to tell me how it worked. For the moment, let's have a look at how "Common Ground" was received by the text-based reviewer contingent.

I've dropped StarGiantProductions from TRR, I'm afraid, since it's fairly pointless when someone gives an episode 100/100 and still says it's not as good as some others! And that's what SGP did this week. Instead, there's a new name to me in Dramamaster829, who seems to write pretty detailed reviews (on Fimfiction) that are quite copiously illustrated.

The reviewers' opinion of this episode was mostly positive. DrakeyC and (unusually) MLEEP were the only ones who came down negative overall. Even though I was quite positive, I was still below the midway point. I'll need to watch this again sometime to see what I may have missed that so many others saw.

Cuddlepug – fairly positive (graded B; "“Common Ground” is something a bit different and unexpected, which is the best fans can hope for from the final season of Friendship is Magic.")

DrakeyC – negative ("Frankly this whole episode bored me. It isn't funny [and] the plot is stock cliche movie tropes we've had since the 80s")

Dramamaster829 – positive ("a very simplistic story with a sweet, touching moral families can relate to [...] notably cute [...] the special guests clearly had fun")

JDPrime22 – very positive (rated 9/10; "a fairly mature lesson for kids [...] MLP tackling divorces is pretty unique [...] Fantastic episode.")

Lightening McQueen – very positive ("It was great! [...] great to see Wind finally get along with Quibble [...] nice cameos [and references]")

Louder Yay – positive (rated 3/5; "a solid episode [...] plays things a little safer than it might have done [but] a good moral, and the action rarely flagged too much")

Mike Cartoon Pony – positive with reservations ("[Quibble's epic fails are] equal parts funny and cringey [...] Wind captured perfectly the feelings of a kid going through a tough time [...the Oswalt family's performances are lovely, but] there's just no getting around that segments of it are either cringe, boring or repetitive")

MLEEP Reviews – rather negative (rated 6.5/10; "continuity with Season 6 [...] I loved the moral [but the episode] falls victim to two of the most cliched plots in the entirety of film and television")

Present Perfect – very positive ("this did what so many episodes fail to do: humanize the characters [...] pretty much the only [episode] that treats a romantic relationship anywhere close to good")

The Railfan Brony – very positive (rated Excellent; "the best episode since What Lies Beneath [...] the right mix of comedy, charm and heartwarming moments, and a good moral to boot")

TheDragonWarlock – broadly positive (rated 8.5/10; "The plot overall is pretty predictable [and] Seeing Quibble constantly screw up over the most simple things is just uncomfortable [but t]he writing is great, the characters are well written, and it handles a serious matter in a great way.")


  1. I've started really looking forward to these posts. :D

    The thing that gets me about this episode is that it's like Amending Fences: filled with adult feels. But whereas I often wonder if the episode I still consider the show's best had anything to offer the target demographic, this one absolutely does. Yeah, it focuses on Quibble for a lot of the time, but Wind Spring is definitely an audience POV character for young kids, and she gets her moments. I hope this one helped someone.

    1. I've finally worked out how I want to do them... just as the show's in its final season. :P

  2. I'm kinda surprised on MLEEP being the most negative this time around. He's usually one of the most positive ones.

    Then again, when I look to how TwilightIsMagic, one of the positivest bronies in the fandom, has become over the disappointment for S8, this is literally nothing in comparison. I really feel bad for him (especially since I never thought S8 was bad as much as people pointed it to be)....

    1. It surprised me too. Still, it's always tricky to know how to summarise these. For example, categorising MikeCartoonPony's review as "positive with reservations" is (as he fairly pointed out) perhaps a little tough. He suggested "a good episode, not a great one", which would be more like a simple "positive". It's a judgement call.

  3. Well, not only do I have to deal with a quote for my review that didn't come out as I intended, but also with a notable character typo, immortalised despite me cleaning up the review itself.
    Eh, there's been worse. I'll live!

    Dramamaster829's style was neat, kind of reminds me of the Episode Followups down on EqD, except less of a jokey style (though there's still some of that). Not slighting the EqD articles; I wouldn't read them if I didn't enjoy them, after all. But yes, I liked the new reviewer quite a bit.

    Pretty good reactions this time around, though it's little surprise this episode charmed the fandom as much as it did. While I don't think time will judge it as a classic in the fandom's eyes, it'll do more then fine given time, I reckon.

    1. "Clear captured perfectly the feelings of a kid going through a tough time" is the typo I was referring to - that should have obviously been Wind.

      This is why doing reviews so soon after an episode isn't always easy - there's often something I write down that I don't agree with even a few days later when I do it up so soon after an episode. And, well, errors slip through.

    2. Typo fixed -- thanks for pointing it out! Always appreciated.

      And I know I keep saying this about episodes, but I really will be fascinated to see how things turn out when I rewatch this in the moderately distant future.

    3. Since S9 premiered, I don't think I've written a single review I haven't gone back to to add things to afterward. :P I try and put a moratorium on that after I start reading others' reviews, just for my own sanity.

  4. The Cloptimist9 May 2019 at 22:46

    As I said at the time, this one - for reasons I can't explain - went right up my flagpole. I adored Stranger than Fan Fiction (partly because Quibble was just such a great character, partly because it helped to retroactively 'fix' a lot of the things I really didn't enjoy about Daring Don't), but Buckball Season has always been firmly in the lower middle of my own personal pack. So I'm not sure why this one got me, especially when I didn't find the extended comedy sequences all that funny, but I was just gripped by both the premise and the 4-way dynamic throughout, and when it was over I turned to my family and said I thought it was my favourite episode of Season 9 so far. What I absolutely didn't expect was for so many reviewers to take the same things away as I did, and to feel so happy with it.

    Just one of those episodes that made me feel warm and happy inside. "Tomorrow, spring is here", indeed.

    (I still think British Quibble would nerd out over cricket stats, and end up a fellow tragic who collects Wisdens too. One of us, one of us, etc.)

    Anyhow. These text review roundup posts are excellent, I look forward to them as much as the ponyfic roundups now.

  5. Cuddlepug is not a very easy to please and MLEEP is usually positive, but it look like their roles are switched this time. ;)