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Addendum: I recommend reading the comments, which represent a wide variety of viewpoints and interesting thoughts. I may not agree with all of them, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth airing or hearing.


To date I generally have refrained from commenting on pony episodes, but I'm making an exception for "Wonderbolts Academy". This isn't a review, exactly, nor is it an overview, exactly—but it does contain elements of both.

Along with a couple of local friends I was mildly disappointed by the story, for reasons summed up in this post's title. That phrase is my private nickname for the funhouse-mirror treatment of military organizations by civilian scriptwriters who have little or no knowledge or understanding of how and why they work. Instead those authors create caricatures that would not look out of place on a playground littered with small plastic molded toy soldiers. It is so pervasive in the entertainment industry as to be endlessly grating, especially to one whose father and grandfather served in the United States Air Force and who personally harbors a deep respect and sympathy for military history and traditions. Those institutions, almost alone in modern society, revere the concepts of honor and sacrifice without a trace of irony or postmodern hipster disdain.

The writing staff has shorn away the cynicism, to their credit—but they failed to avoid the syndrome. Some errors could have been corrected; others could not without changing the story greatly. In like fashion, some were large while others were small enough to be quibbles.

The biggest problem is Spitfire. A commanding officer must know, at all times, exactly what is going on in her command area—down to how many ants are crawling across the parade ground, if she can manage it. That's part of why she has junior officers and NCOs; they are her eyes and ears and proxies. Spitfire cannot be unaware of the shenanigans going on among her cadets if she is to remain believable as a competent and capable senior officer.

This goes double for an academy commandant, which by the way should be a separate post. "Wearing two hats" of such magnitude is more than most organizations would be willing to permit a single officer to do. The desire to use an established character plainly trumped that consideration. On the other hand, this Spitfire didn't seem to mesh well with the glimpses given in earlier episodes, so it might have served them better to introduce a new character anyway—especially since a different voice actress read her lines. (I felt her voice in "The Best Night Ever" was much more fitting.)

The autographing gag was funny once, but it would have been nice to see her doing some legitimate paperwork or other command tasks as well, to help bolster that aspect of the character. In that vein, while a commandant might review and speechify to a new class, she would not conduct training personally. She has far too much else to do, and again, that's why she has junior officers and NCOs. Moreover, a training instructor does much more than simply yell at trainees, which is most of what Spitfire actually does.

The other major problem is Lightning Dust. With a few millennia of accumulated empirical experience to fall back on, most military organizations of any quality know exactly what signs to look for in personalities like hers. Given the history established in "Hearth's-Warming Eve", the ponies don't lack for such experience themselves. She should have been bounced out very quickly indeed, for exactly the reasons that played out in the episode, but that would short-circuit the story.

Since it all takes place in only a few days anyway, one can paper over this quibble by claiming that the purpose of the initial week is to weed out or straighten out the misfits. This is especially true if the training program is more akin to JROTC than to the "real thing", which is reasonable given that the "main six" are supposed to be in their teens.

Pairing Dust with Rainbow Dash was necessary to the story, but unfortunately that too doesn't reflect real training methods. Generally the opposite is done—strong is paired with weak, to encourage mentorship on the part of the strong, improvement on the part of the weak, and mutual support in both. Indeed, the story explains quite well why academies and boot camps don't pair strong with strong!

"So, smart-aleck, how would you do it, huh?" is a fair question at this point. Generally, my rule of thumb is that if doing it right—whatever "it" may be—takes no extra effort, or even not much extra effort, then it should be done right. If doing it right would be a lot more hassle, other factors have to be weighed (including whether the story should be scrapped).

I probably would have done away with Spitfire entirely, or limited her to an initial speech; in the latter case I would have had her finish by introducing the class's primary instructor—probably a senior sergeant. Make the instructor the hard case, going through all the "you only think you're ready" scare talk. (Wouldn't it be a hoot if they could have had R. Lee Ermey fill that role?) Of course "Sergeant Sideburns" and "Corporal Cookie-Duster" would remain; they're just fine, although I might have made them a little more active.

Strictly speaking, Dust asking for the Dizzitron to be revved up is a bit out of line, and I might put a comment to that effect in the trainer's/Spitfire's mouth. On the other hand, I consider this a relatively minor issue, and might have gone on with the response expressing a sentiment like "But now I'll give you enough rope to hang yourself." (Not literally, of course, but it gets the idea across for the purposes of this post.)

Pairing Dash and Dust as leaders to other weaker flyers could have been an interesting direction, even if the major plot elements otherwise were retained. It would resonate with Dash's foalhood friendship with Fluttershy, for one thing. The two cadet-leaders' conflict could be thrown into starker relief as their similar but not identical leadership styles would be pointed up.

Dash, for all her occasional obnoxiousness, can be an adequate mentor, and this could have been an opportunity for her to grow in that role. I'd show her trying to support her wingpony, while Dust seeks to outdo everyone else, even at the expense of her wingpony. (As one of those disappointed friends put it, "They give out an extra day of leave to the team that clears the obstacle course most quickly—but it's the fellow who goes back to help his comrade instead that graduates boot camp as E-2 rather than E-1.")

Dust's pair beating out Dash's by narrow margins, but at visible cost to Dust's partner and their other classmates, would stick in Dash's craw on several levels. If Dust's partner is too cowed to speak up, that might remind Dash a little of Fluttershy. Maybe Dash has an initial confrontation with Dust over it and the latter brushes her off, perhaps with a variation of "What are you going to do, tattle on us?" (The problem with that, of course, is the appearance of a similar trope only a couple of weeks earlier—but the dynamics would be similar if a lot more serious.)

At the end, the lecture Dash gives should come from the trainer/Spitfire, because that character is supposed to be the preceptor. I'm sure the reason Dash gave it in the episode is because she's a primary character, but other episodes have given similarly central roles to supporting characters—notably Shining Armor and Cadance in "A Canterlot Wedding". There's no reason it couldn't be used here, and to similar effect as the actual denouement.

Incidentally, DustyPony felt Pinkie's scenes were a little too prominent. While I'm ambivalent myself, I agree they probably could have been telescoped somewhat—possibly eliminating the first mailbox-obsession scene and slightly extending the previous and following scenes to cover that territory. This would pry loose an extra minute or two of screen time for the Dash/Dust conflict.
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:iconganondox:
Ganondox Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree the episode would have been a lot better if Spitfire was replaced by another pony, and most of your other points. However, first, this isn't the military, at least not like the US, it can't really be held on the same standard. Second, some level is incompetence on the officers part is required for the episode, and I don't find anything wrong with that. People make mistakes.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Professional Artist
It seems very clear—to me, at least—that the show’s staff intend the Wonderbolts to be a military formation, given the uniforms and half-accurate depictions of things like snapping to attention and other military courtesies. If they’re going to offer that broad a hint, it’s very difficult not to take it, and at that point they need to be held to some sort of standard. The episode as written utterly breaks suspension of disbelief, I’m afraid.
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:iconganondox:
Ganondox Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, your right, especially considering Cloudsadale came out of a military based society as seen in Hearth's Warming Eve. I still think most people can suspend their disbelief for this episode. There has been a lot more serious examples of error, like In the Super Apple Squeezy 2000, which made no economic sense whatsoever.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional Artist
It’s always harder to suspend disbelief for a topic one knows intimately. What sticks in my craw personally is the monotonous regularity with which scriptwriters get the military so completely wrong. It’s very frustrating, especially since getting it right is hardly a prohibitive effort.

I didn’t consider the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 to be nearly as bad, to tell the truth. Perhaps it’s because I’ve encountered machinery—and schemes—at least as harebrained that people somehow get to work.
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:iconganondox:
Ganondox Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok, from some other topics I know personally that are often misrepresented I know how you feel.

The machinery was fine in the episode, nothing is wrong with. The problem is the economics with the apples and the cider and the competition and stuff didn't make any logical sense, the Apples controlled the Apples so they had no reason to make that stupid deal and a bunch of other stuff.
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:icondraconis341:
Draconis341 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
I still can't figure out exactly why that last episode left a bad taste, but I feel that, had they adopted this attitude towards the episode, most issues would have been cleared up.
Granted, I still feel there should have been more emphasis on Dust refusing to change her style _repeatedly_ before being kicked, but that may simply be too much to portray in the time slot.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
There was some gesture toward that “pattern of behavior” idea you mention, but I agree it could have used more emphasis. There does seem to be a tendency to go lightly on bad actions and their consequences in quite a few episodes, so I wonder if there is a mandate to do so.

Twenty-two minutes including opening and closing indeed is a pretty short time to tell a complex story. In fairness to them, overall they do an amazing job given the constraints of time, content, and standards-and-practices.

I wouldn’t be surprised if your uneasiness is not uncommon. Audiences, even young ones, often can be surprisingly perceptive, albeit not always able to articulate the reasons for their reactions. One of the reasons I write essays like this one—and others in the past—is to stir up thoughts into the conscious mind where I can analyze them.
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:icontopsy-n:
Topsy-N Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I understand your point of view, and I do recognize it as a problem when considering the prominence of bronies in the military. But personally, I didn't have any problem with poor authenticity when I watched the episode. In fact, I actually quite liked the episode. Although yes, it has room for improvement, and I do like your 'version' of it.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
Alan Kay famously said that the Macintosh was the first computer that was good enough to criticize. That is exactly how I regard Friendship Is Magic: It has established a standard beyond much of prime-time television, let alone children’s television. Thus it is all the more painful when it falls short of that standard, especially in a correctable fashion.

You do bring up a very good point about so many bronies being in the military themselves. Making the effort to “get it right” would have honored them greatly; failing to do so sends a very different message.

In the end, you touch on my essential point—that accuracy and story are not enemies, that they both could have been served and a better episode could have resulted from it.
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:iconvoodoo-tiki:
Voodoo-Tiki Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
I saw it more as a summer camp than an actual training center. But I agree seeing how they would have mentored differently would make a good episode, too.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
My allusion to the possibility that the program is something like ROTC, rather than the full-fledged induction training, is essentially a grown-up version of the “summer camp” idea.

I have no idea if the RSA’s military establishment has an equivalent to the US military’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, so here’s a thumbnail description: It’s a program for university students to undertake introductory military training alongside their regular classes. This increases the reach of such training beyond the capacity of the regular military academies—West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs in the US—and requires an ROTC cadet to serve a term in exchange.

It’s easy to imagine this being kind of a “preparatory school” program for younger pegasus ponies, and gives the organization a chance to evaluate candidates before inducting them into the full program.
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:iconvoodoo-tiki:
Voodoo-Tiki Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
I suppose it's something that would have to be left to fanfic to be treated fully.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
I’m sure quite a few folks will take up that challenge! :-)
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
Yes, that indeed was much of my point: I felt the story could have been stronger and more accurate, while conveying the same lessons and remaining age-appropriate.
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:icongtx-media:
GTX-Media Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Photographer
Very well written, yes.

Being a bit critical? I think so.

You're one who is/was in the service, however you're taking shots at a kids show. If I wanted historical accuracies and wanted to better understand tradition in military service, I would watch the History Channel, not The Hub.

You just compared Need for Speed to Gran Turismo 5.

If you look at it from a "child's play" standpoint, it seems pretty "accurate" to me.

Also, since when has the entertainment industry ever been accurate on many things? If every TV Show/Movie/Production was akin to real life, it would be pretty boring.

Again, I agree with you on all the mistakes and inaccuracies, however I still think you're being overly critical of a kids show.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Artist
For a contrasting viewpoint you may want to review the previous commenter’s observations.

No, I don’t expect a pony episode to be a documentary. But I do expect it to live up to the standards the art and writing staff already have established in other episodes and on other topics.

I brought up my rule of thumb in the post because I believe, in this case, doing it right would have cost no more effort—or very little more effort—and could have resulted in a much stronger episode, in terms of both accuracy and storytelling.

In fairness to Ms. Williams, there is no information on how much the aired episode may differ from the original concept or the original script. It is possible that executive meddling or hasty editing may have altered the story; I simply don’t know. It also is true that misrepresentation of the military is so all-pervasive in the entertainment industry that there is a certain sensitivity to it. But if no protest is made, there is no hope of altering that prejudice.
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:icongtx-media:
GTX-Media Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Photographer
Oh, trust me. I've known *Fesoferbex for a fair amount of time and he and I went back and forth for awhile over Skype. He spoke quite highly of you, and I anticipated your response because of it.

The bar has been set quite high in relation to past episodes. It seems like every episode that has come out this season has gotten "better and better", but I ask, "According to who?". I see many people hating on certain episodes, and others loving certain episodes. What makes this one any different?

There are so many things I have wished for in this entire series, and in this fandom. Call it being pessimistic, depressing, or whatever sad word you have for it, but I do not believe the community has a say in how episodes are written. Yes, the brony community obviously has some kind of foot in the door when it comes to little nuances that hint at the recognition on the fanbase, but how are we to control how an entire episode is written? I thought my hopes and dreams were answered with Sleepless in Ponyville when it came to defining the relationship between Scootaloo and Dashie. I didn't have a say in any of that. Maybe the fandom as a whole did. Maybe it didn't. Believe what you will, but I believe that episode was written long before the fandom paired the two together.

Perhaps I am best to sit on the sidelines and watch, and my "protest" was simply my response by going "What's the point?" I think that sums up my initial response to you, eh?

Initially, I just feel too much thought is being put into this style of entertainment. Had this been a documentary, a reality show, or, geez, something that didn't involve PONIES, perhaps I would feel more justification in cutting down the writer's portrayal of military life.

As for my actual take on the episode? I liked it. Would I watch again? Perhaps. Was it my favorite? Certainly not. Did it have more potential to be better than it was? Most definitely. So did MANY other episodes in this series.
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:iconrindis8:
Rindis8 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
"Call it being pessimistic, depressing, or whatever sad word you have for it, but I do not believe the community has a say in how episodes are written."

So?

"Initially, I just feel too much thought is being put into this style of entertainment. Had this been a documentary, a reality show, or, geez, something that didn't involve PONIES, perhaps I would feel more justification in cutting down the writer's portrayal of military life."

Do you have any desire to write fiction yourself? (From best-selling novels to little of drabs of fanfic, it doesn't matter, it still applies.)

This isn't about 'fixing' an episode that's in the can. This isn't about railing against perceived slights. This is critique; examining what worked, and what didn't, and what might have been done differently.

If one person reads this, and thinks about it, and then writes something that's just a little bit better because he stopped to think about what he was writing... well, that is the point. Good stories have a place everywhere. In books, on TV, on the big screen... in children's entertainment. The quick way to get poor writing is to say 'good enough', instead of, 'how can I do better?'
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:icongtx-media:
GTX-Media Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Photographer
I actually have no way of responding to this... Well played.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
We shall have to agree to disagree.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012
Unfortunately, it's in kid's shows that prejudices are established. Portraying the military as authoritarian buffoons isn't what I would call "good children's television". You don't have to glorify the military, but neither need you misrepresent it.

As for what the rest of the entertainment industry is doing, so what? If that was the standard, MLP:FIM would have been just another 22-minute infomercial. They've set a higher standard in all aspects of the show... animation quality, voice acting, world-building, music, storytelling... now they're being held to it.

Weak writing doesn't get a free pass just because it's a kid's show. Meriweather Williams can do better; she HAS done better. That, more than anything else, is the real disappointment.
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:icongtx-media:
GTX-Media Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Photographer
Agreed. It's sad to say that so many kids will grow up with the feeling of what they saw in cartoons is what is actually real, however I put more blame on the parents than the actual writers of the show.

Could they have done better with the episode? Yes. Very much so. I actually feel like, on many episodes, the writers have been slacking with many aspects of the story: Weak developments, clichés everywhere, inconsistencies, drop-offs, character misrepresentations... I can go on.

I consider MLP to be "Much better" children's programming than many things out there. The higher standard? Yes. It's a tough goal to be had every single episode. Did they write a bad episode? Perhaps. I can neither say it was or was not bad. I don't set expectations of the show to be historically or currently accurate. I see it as a cartoon; As fiction. They went a little off key with this episode, but if I really wanted to start nitpicking at every mistake they made with writing... oh geez we'd be here for days.

Misrepresentation is the "fundamental backing" to the entertainment industry. It's something that can neither be controlled or changed. I've accepted that. Now, I myself have never been enlisted nor plan on it, but I know for certainty that what I saw in the episode isn't anywhere close to how it really works. Of course, I'm the type who understands that practically nothing I see on TV is 100% accurate (even stuff on The History Channel, for example), and, yes, it would be awesome if others saw it the same way.

Am I annoyed a little every time my religion, job, hobby, lifestyle, etc... are poked fun at or misrepresented in a show? Yeah, a little, but there's nothing I can do about that. The show was written and aired. It's done. Nothing more I can do.

Instead of going off about how "wrong" everything you seen just was, why not spend the time telling those around you how much different it really is, and that it's just a show?
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012
"Going off"? I don't care for the dismissive attitude, thank you.

Nowhere did I say "everything" I just saw was wrong. My argument is specifically what I said it was: the character of Spitfire was badly handled, and the representation of an academy/training camp environment was wrong. There was plenty to like elsewhere, but key elements of this episode were badly handled. It's okay to say so; MLP:FIM isn't on a pedestal that makes it immune to criticism.

And as for "the show was written and aired, it's done, nothing more I can do"... have you forgotten "The Last Roundup"?

I hardly consider this "nitpicking", to use your term. This was not a one-frame animation error or a mispronunciation of an obscure word; it was the critical element of the episode, with a critical character.

Also... "misrepresentation is the fundamental backing of the entertainment industry" is just plain false. Misrepresentation happens either deliberately because someone has an axe to grind or out of ignorance/a lack of research, but by no means is this a "fundamental backing". Many shows, be they fictional or documentary, don't give a damn about whether they get it right. But many others do. They do so because some members of their audience care, and sometimes because the show's producers care. Perhaps you don't care, but I do, and I get to say so. In this specific case, Merriweather Williams HAS done better, in her four previous MLP:FIM episodes; I know it's in her, and that is why I expected better. She just got sloppy this time.

Now, if this constitutes "going off" or "nitpicking" or some other condescending phrase intended to wrap the opposing viewpoint in a demeaning envelope, so be it. But if you're going to respond, I'm going to expect better of you as well.
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:iconganondox:
Ganondox Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
In the Last Round Up all that was changed was one line, a voice for a minor character, and the eyes. That's a minor thing. Revising this would require changing, as you said, a critical element of the episode. To expect they would do such a thing because a few people who had some involvement with the military don't find it accurate. It's not like it's even portraying the military directly, it just uses some military stereotypes to set the mood for the audience.

Anyway, I disagree with you on Merriweather. In my opinion she has always been the worst writer on the show and this is actually her best episode. Remember, this is, afterall, still a show for little girls. The important part of the show, the general plot flow, resolution, and moral, are all sound. An exam of an episode that fails miserably in those regards is "A Canterlot Wedding". The main problems in this episode are periphery details relating to the plot and are really rather minor. This show isn't about being in the military, as I said before the Wonder Bolts Academy isn't even the military. It's about multicolored horses learning about friendship.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
Is there anything you DO like?

Look, I'm not calling for redoing the show or anything; kindly do not claim otherwise. I'm not like one of those whiny "super-crip" lawyers who apparently smelled money. I do, however, reserve the right to say "it takes no more effort to get it right than to get it wrong".

And no, it had not somehow slipped my mind that this is a show for little girls about friendship. Not everyone who disagrees with you is stupid or senile, thank you.
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:iconganondox:
Ganondox Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course there is stuff I like, where did you get the idea I didn't like anything? Because I didn't Merriweather's other that much and realize that "A Canterlot Wedding" is flawed? I liked this episode, despite it's flaws. It did what it's supposed to do, that's what matters above all else.

Then why did you bring The Last Roundup up?

It would obviously take more effort to get it right than wrong ( more research and more editing stuff), though I agree a little more effort would have been worth it. However, I don't think the episode is in anyway broken or worse than Merriwheather's other episodes.

I'm not saying that you are stupid, I'm just reminding that accurately portraying the military is not the purpose of the episode, so it needs to weighed lower than other aspects. I don't even know if children are going to even make the jump, connect this the military, and assume that's how the military works.

I don't care if you don't like the episode or think it needs major improvements, but you are coming across as very condescending.
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:icongtx-media:
GTX-Media Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Photographer
I'm quite curious how you can expect better of me when you have no idea what I am capable of, or, in your case, what I lack.

And as I am no writer myself, I am unable to judge Williams as a writer, despite her apparent best of intentions. I do not know you, and so I am unable to judge whether or not you are also able to judge her. Regardless, I wouldn't want to do that anyways.

You're quick to defend. Why? A few simple choice words, and apparently you know everything about me. I appreciate the fact that instantly I have effected your emotions and now you call me out on a whimsical demeanor. Yes, I can use big words too. It's not some kind of hidden talent.

If every writer of every movie, television show, sitcom, news broadcast, documentary, or even a game show, wrote every possible iteration of their work in precise accuracies, the entertainment world would be a boring place. If the entertainment industry didn't misrepresent fact and elaborate into their own fictional universe, what would we have to watch? I can only watch Modern Marvels so many times before I know everything.

I understand your definition of "nitpicking", and I'll admit it was a poor choice of words on my part. How I meant it was moreso that I feel this journal original looked at an episode of a kids show and expected more than was deserving of it. I'm expecting, out of this series, for it to be "happy", and "fun", and "enjoyable". I actually don't believe Spitfire was THAT much "out of character" as is seemed to believe. Are real drill instructors like that? Honestly, the only thing I have to go on is the media, so I have no idea. I mean, I've talked to people who are in the service, and they say that it's no where near. "I" have never been in the service, so I have no right to nitpick, to judge, or to say what's real and what's not.

In relation to the episode, though, what is your endgame in all this? Would you have the creators re-write this episode to best suit your preferences? Perhaps a re-visit episode is warranted and Dashie goes back to the camp to earn her stripes in a more realistic fashion?

And, ah yes, "The Last Roundup". A fiasco of what's right and what's wrong, the voice of which was echoed across the fandom so loud that even those who aren't in it heard it. But who was arguing, really? Who started it all? Certainly wasn't the Brony community. We all accepted Derpy. But who did Hasbro listen to? Concerned parents of CHILDREN. That's the real audience. Then, and ONLY then, was the Brony community able to step up to the plate and have an opinion voiced. Had these concerned parents not said anything... what would've happened then?

(Mind you, I am assuming that you are referencing Derpy).

And a "Pedestal"? If I were to, (or any of us, really), seriously sit down and tear apart every facet of incorrect anythings in this entire series, we would be writing way more than we are here. Just because it's ponies or the next best thing since sliced bread to us, it doesn't mean it's the utmost perfection of the known world. I get that. There's NOTHING in this world that is like that. MLP has risen to such a high apparent standard because so many actually see it as a "Hope in a cruel, unescapable world." If it were perfection, it would be solving crime, world hunger, greed, and so much more.

It's certainly anything but immune, and you and this journal have proven it quite well... but to what end?
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
Ah, I see your pattern. Take as many points as possible that someone who disagrees with you to an illogical extreme, then represent that extreme as the disagreeing position. I'm just waiting for the accusation (in big words of course) of being a basement-dwelling manchild. That's next in the script, isn't it?

Look, if you want a fluff-show, fine. If you want a good show but fluff discussion, fine. Why are you here, on a thinking-man's journal, then? There's nothing for you here except, apparently, opportunities for escalating comments into arguments.

I'm done here. You will receive no further replies. All I wanted to do was to voice frustration of a badly-handled aspect of the episode. I don't need you to try to magnify that into a false representation of some sort of crusade. But then, that's par for the course for the Internet, where a thousand miles and a dozen routers make it okay to jump all over strangers.
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:icongtx-media:
GTX-Media Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Photographer
And I do remind you, that you responded to me initially. It saddens me that we will not be able to continue this discussion.

If my responses have escalated into an argument, then that was my intent; To determine the opinions of others, to bring them to light, to understand them, and to incur a rebuttal. I am sorry that your insecurities of your own opinions resulted in you responding with emotion. If you would rather me act like a rabid 12-year old who's just going to scream obscenities, then you should've let me know that from the get-go.

Honestly, I hope we cross paths again sometime, whether or not it is to your own dismay.

Cheers.
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:iconfesoferbex:
Fesoferbex Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you thank you thank you SOOO much for writing this up. I definitely agree the cynicism was removed, but the "caricature" effect was in full force through-out this episode. In all honesty, I was boiling mad but it was so darn hard to enjoy the episode. It just felt very very clear to me that the folks in charge of pushing out this episode likely have little experience with military life. I don't expect a raw realistic approach to military life especially from a cartoon show with pink ponies. BUT, all the same, it still comes across as slightly disdainful, and really makes the characters hard to believe. I could NEVER imagine Spitfire, Dust, Dash, or any of the supporting trainers behaving even in a mode CLOSE to what was presented. It was just too absurd. Again I'm analyzing a show with pegasus, unicorns, et al. However, the logical inconsistencies was enough to ruin this episode for me to the point that I'll likely never watch it again voluntarily. Did I hate it? no. Did I like it? no. So meh. Again, thanks for covering this. I'm still not sure that the un-initiated will grasp the frustration.
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:iconcatspaw-dtp-services:
Catspaw-DTP-Services Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Artist
I think your comments, especially your conclusion, sum up our reaction pretty well.

One of the bedrock principles of writing I have evolved is “respect your audience, respect your work, respect your material”.

The pony writing staff have the first down in spades—that’s why the show has attracted the adult audience it has and why it’s such a breath of fresh air for children’s and especially young-girls’ television.

The second I think they generally are pretty good about as well. The staff genuinely seems to care about the show beyond it being “just another job”, and that feeds back into the first point.

It’s the third that seems to give people the most trouble, and not just the pony writers. As the pointy-haired boss put it in an old Dilbert strip, “Any task I don’t understand must be a simple one.” That seems to be how a lot of writers regard anything outside their personal experience. Too few of them seem willing to expand their horizons enough to write accurately about any subject they cover.

I’ve written at least one rant touching on the last point, and may write a more pointed one, based on a professional experience, in the near future.
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:iconfesoferbex:
Fesoferbex Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional General Artist
WASN'T boiling mad****** Derped up my own response >.<
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