Tooncrap #34 - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Boast Busters

A Great and Powerful Mess
Hasbro/DHX: 2010

Written by: Raymond Gallant

I think it's well known knowledge at this point that My Little Pony is my favorite cartoon currently on. Yes, I know that when it comes to story, character development, and even overall epicness in comparison to stronger cartoons currently going, it isn't as strong as a Gravity Falls or Steven Universe. But for five seasons I've stuck with the adventures of Twilight Sparkle and her friends and have been given great stories, great characters, and more fun than most shows have to offer.

But I'm also not a person who'll say that the show is perfect. There are some really weak episodes of the series, especially in the first season, better known as the Lauren Faust era. Faust served as the show's creator and executive producer in its first season run, but left the series by the time season 2 came along. And in looking back at season 1, it definitely feels like a lot of the earlier episodes are particularly weak. Either from not holding up in quality, or always suffering from pretty terrible storylines. It takes a while, but by the time we get to episode 10 "Winter Wrap Up", the show knows what it wants from its character, and there are hardly as many issues going further. Well, save for that episode where the writers accidentally tried to stick it to Atheism.

Granted, Dragonshy and Applebuck Season remain the main exceptions, the first ten episodes are in my opinion the show's weakest. Even weaker than the majority of the maligned season 3.

And in those ten episodes, I chose Boast Busters to be my representative of just why I'm not overly fond of this run of the first season. Now, of course, anyone who knows me already is saying what I think they're saying. "Oh, you just picked this one because you hate Trixie". Well, to be honest, my disliking of the character had little to do with the final decision. You'll see exactly what that reason was as we review this thing.

We open the episode at Twilight's library as she's practicing her magic tricks on her assistant/pet/sorta son/subservient slave Spike. One such spell being the ability to create mustaches on prepubescent dragons. However, despite his hopes that his enchanted flavor saver will impress Rarity, Twilight plays the role of horned cock block and removes it.

As the two go into town to show their friends her newfound abilities (much to Twilight's chagrin) they're interrupted by the real two worst characters in the series. Two unicorn colts named Snips and Snails. They're the show's token dimwitted characters, though played up to the point where even former WWE character Eugene would find them to be offensively idiotic. They're in a huff because there's another unicorn in town who is quite proficient in spellbinding spell castery.

This said unicorn is "The Great and Powerful Trixie", a boastful magician who travels across Equestria showing off her magical skills and abilities. She also took lessons from the Rock as she speaks in the third person. I don't mind the occasional arrogant character, but I've never been able to like Trixie. She's always annoyed me for some reason. Maybe its' the speaking in third person that does it, maybe that's it.

Trixie mostly boasts about her abilities and feats. One such feat mentions how she single hoofedly defeated a creature called the Ursa Major. But this amount of pyro and ballyhoo is enough to annoy even Vince Russo, and so Twilight's friends have had enough. They accuse Trixie of being a show off for... well... showing off her abilities. These comments coming from her friends cause Twilight to get concerns, which leads to my biggest issue with this episode.

Her friends (Primarily Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity) get upset with Trixie for her abilities. But what do they do in retaliation of said boasting? Go up on stage and show off. And no, it's barely a case of "Oh, you're just being a douche so we'll defend our honor". They go way overboard on trying to boast their own talents to which they get more obnoxious than Trixie. However, these boasts prove ineffective as Trixie humiliates the three of them. Even giving my beloved Rarity green hair.

Maybe THAT'S why I hate Trixie. I mean, Rarity kinda deserved it, but HOW DARE YOU!?

Another issue is that yes, Trixie is being boastful, but guess what? She's an entertainer! The entire point of someone in the entertainment business is to often be egotistical and make themselves look greater than they normally are. And really, that's all Trixie is doing here. She's the innocent party in all this. She's literally just doing her job.

Twilight continues to suffer anxiety in this whole situation, and it's made no better by Spike constantly trying to egg Twilight into a showdown with Trixie. Hey Spike, how's about shutting up? Eventually Twi just bails, and Trixie ends her show feeling more confident in herself.

Later on, the dimwitted Snips and Snails, still wowed by the ursa story, want to see Trixie capture the beast again. Because they're idiots, you see. They actually luck out on finding the ursa, and because they put zero thought into this plan, end up luring the Ursa into Ponyville, causing damage to the town.

They ask Trixie to vanquish it, but of course it turns out that the boastful entertainer was lying about catching an Ursa, and that her magic is actually particularly weak. Meanwhile, Spike tries to get Twilight to stop the ursa, but she's still concerned that her natural talents will be considered showing off by her friends, that also tend to show off. Eventually she does use her magic to turn the water tower into a giant baby bottle, sending the Ursa back to its cave. She also reveals that it was actually an ursa minor, a baby. Wow, if that's the baby, I wonder what the mother looks li...


Trixie runs off to never be seen again until season 3, as Twilight, concerned that her friends will hate her for this apologizes. Her friends are more than fine with this display of magic of course, because she's their friend, and not an entertainer only doing her job and idiotically becoming the idol or stupid, stupid children. Speaking of said stupid, stupid children, Snips and Snails, who caused the damage to the town in the first place are punished...

By getting mustaches? Really?

And we end the episode with the lesson that if you have special talents, you won't be judged if you're not being a show off about them. Unless, you know, you're an entertainer by trade, and then you know, screw you showoff for trying to run a business.

And that's "Boast Busters". This has never been one of my favorites for a lot of reasons. The story's kinda bland, the characters for the most part either act like idiots, jerks, or are whiny and annoying. Trixie's written as an antagonist, but she's barely the problem. Twilight's friends act like mostly jealous jerks, making things worse for Twilight as she has concerns about her talents. But the most annoying part of it is Snips and Snails. Terribly conceived characters who cause chaos but don't get a fitting punishment for their actions.

In the end, even for my favorite current show, it makes going back to season one a bit tough knowing that bad episodes like this exist within it. So with little boasting about it, I can easily say this is some great and powerful Tooncrap.