MLP:FIM season 4, episode 13 – “Simple Ways” – thoughts and review

The beginning of this episode makes it seem like might be something along the lines of season 1’s “Suited for Success” or season 2’s “Sweet and Elite”, i.e.: a classic Rarity episode. And it kind of is that, but not in the same way as those.

The episode opens with the fashonista being chosen as the pony of ceremonies for the “Ponyville Days” event, meaning she will head up the preparations for what is essentially a big celebration of everything Ponyville.

Amethyst Star: "Will you be my special so- um, I-I mean, uh, congratulations!"

Amethyst Star: “Will you be my special so- um, I-I mean, uh, congratulations!”

Speaking of this: this episode was kind of hilarious from a shipping standpoint. I’m not going to delve too deeply into this, but depending on your precise interpretation of everything that went on, this episode could actually be viewed as either supporting or destroying the idea of a Rarijack pairing. The above caption itself, of course, was just a joke.

Since we all know that Amethyst really only has eyes for Twinkleshine.

Anyway, soon enough, Rarity is dazzling her friends with her latest creation, which she intends to wear at the big event.

That's actually a pretty sweet ensemble, but having a ring on the horn just looks goofy to me.

That’s actually a pretty sweet ensemble, but having a ring on the horn just looks goofy to me.

At the end of this sequence, Rarity tells the others about “Trenderhoof”. That’s just a nickname, though – his real name is “Hipster Pony.”

Nobody'd heard of "Ponyville" until I wrote about it, of course.

Nobody’d heard of “Ponyville” until I wrote about it, of course.

He’ll be coming to Ponyville to cover the PD events. But before he is even physically present, we learn that Rarity is rather…smitten with this guy. Alarmingly so.

I'm sorry, but this is downright creepy. Is that a lock of HAIR?!

I’m sorry, but this is downright creepy. Is that a lock of HAIR?!

Upon his arrival, Rarity immediately turns on the charm, though he doesn’t seem to notice. While showing him the preparations for PD, she takes him to Sweet Apple Acres.

My, the acres sure do look... sparkly today.

My, the acres sure do look… sparkly today.

Soon enough, Trenderhoof, too, is quite smitten, but there’s just one problem. He’s not smitten with Rarity, but with another pony.

To be fair, she IS charmingly rustic.

To be fair, she IS charmingly rustic.

The middle portion of the episode is devoted to Trender stalking a rather annoyed (and possibly slightly disturbed) AJ, while a frustrated and jealous Rarity follows close behind.

This, too, is a bit creepy. Hot damn, ponies, chill.

This, too, is a bit creepy. Hot damn, ponies, chill.

Rarity doesn’t take this too well. After crying about her plight to Spike and bemoaning the fact that he can’t know “what it’s like to be totally obsessed with a pony, only to find out they’re obsessed with somepony else?!”

Spike's expression accurately conveys the reaction of the audience.

Spike’s expression accurately conveys the reaction of the audience.

she resolves to pull Trender’s attentions away from AJ and back onto herself. So, she hatches a plan – of sorts. She changes the theme of the PD celebration to “life on the farm”, or – more precisely – “life on the farm as seen through the lens of Rarity’s misconceptions about it”. She calls it “Simply Ways” (oh, I mean, “Simple… WAAAAIIIIIIS!”). It’s pretty much the most ridiculous thing imaginable.

Twi and Dashie's expressions accurately convey the reaction of the audience.

Twi and Dashie’s expressions accurately convey the reaction of the audience.

Rarity’s “accent” was something else. Tabitha St. Germain did a better job with this than probably anyone else in the world could have, and there were definitely some amusing moments, such as when she tries to “recruit” the CMC for the event’s doomed new theme, dropping a rather unholy ensemble onto poor Applebloom.

Not that Rarity's own outfit through this whole sequence is any better.

Not that Rarity’s own outfit through this whole sequence is any better.

Applejack seems alternatively amused and irritated by this idea, and soon hatches her own counter-ridiculous-plan to bring Rarity back down to Earth.

You guessed it - she becomes the ridiculous frou-frou to counter Rarity's ridiculous darn tootin'. Though, shenanigans aside, on its own merits this outfit is a heck of a lot better than Rarity's.

You guessed it – she becomes the ridiculous frou-frou to counter Rarity’s ridiculous darn tootin’. Though, shenanigans aside, on its own merits this outfit is a heck of a lot better than Rarity’s.

The ridiculous-off that follows is funny mainly because – while AJ certainly doesn’t like dressing up all fancy like, generally speaking, she doesn’t have the viscerally psychotic reaction to it that Rarity often does to getting overly dirty. So this whole time, as they each try to one-up the other within their respective opposite themes, I couldn’t help but feel like this was all hilariously lopsided. AJ was doing something that is slightly outside her norm but is really no big deal, while in order to keep pace, Rarity must murder her own sanity. I’m watching and just waiting for Rarity to totally, completely lose it.

SANITY BREACH IMMINENT! ALL HANDS TO EMERGENCY ESCAPE PODS!

SANITY BREACH IMMINENT! ALL HANDS TO EMERGENCY ESCAPE PODS!

It takes mud getting on AJ’s outfit to finally snap her back into being the Rarity we all know and love (and were really beginning to miss!). Things progress well from here, with Rarity coming back to her senses and apologizing for her antics. She then declares a state of emergency after hearing that the outfit in question is actually one of HERS. Which does serve to explain how in the world AJ of all ponies was able to put together a fancy outfit that actually looked decent – she didn’t, she just stole one of Rarity’s!

Meanwhile, Trender, having hinted at the idea of moving to “a farm”

He means THIS one - he didn't say it, but he didn't have to. Just ask AJ and Rares.

He means THIS one – he didn’t say it, but he didn’t have to. Just ask AJ and Rares.

is shot down by Applejack, who tells him in no uncertain terms that moving to Sweet Apple Acres is just not gonna happen. But even this moment of despondence is turned around, as Rarity goes back to her original idea for a theme and manages to put on a grand event. And Trender, for his part, gets to do what he came here to do: cover the story of Ponyville’s special event and… be trendy.

Okay, honestly, this was pretty classy.

Okay, honestly, this was pretty classy.

Overall, this episode – while still generally amusing – was definitely not up to par with most of the rest of the season so far. It wasn’t bad, and it definitely had its hilarious moments, but it just wasn’t as fun or interesting on the whole as several other season 4 eps. I give it a 5.5.

-Saito S

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