by Mjax Majoran
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Season 4, Episode 21: Testing Testing 123 Review
Testing Testing 1....2....3....
The Best Episode So far
As Always this Review will contain Spoilers, and is Context Sensitive (duh!) so watch the episode BEFORE READING THIS, since I won't be transcripting the way I usually do!
This episode got some flak, I honestly don't understand why, I think those people misunderstood the episode a little bit.
To quickly summarize:
Rainbow dash is slacking off, and Nerd Twilight (YAY) is quite frankly annoyed by this, since Rainbow dash really should be studying for the PLOT DEVICE aka wonderbolts history exam
Twilight decides to pull a trick on Dash, by using her new ability of flight, to do something she couldn't do in the previous seasons (ooh throwback) chase after and give rainbow a piece of her mind!
Rainbow dash explains (to twilight's surprise) that she already knew twilight was coming, explaining that she noticed twilight on the ground, and heard her mumbling all while doing her tricks, this surprises twilight and impresses her (for a moment) before she gets back on track and decides that rainbow must also know what she was mumbling about
Dash treats her warnings about studying and the exam as "no Big Deal" the regular rainbow way. Twilight treats it as any Nerd would, but in that particularily twilight sort of way ITS A TEST< BIG DEAL MANG BLOODY TEST BEEYETCH
New Canon: Wonderbolts Reserves - Apparently the Equestria equivalent of New Recruits and Fortification Backup stuff... basically a step below being on the official Team.
Rainbow shrugs off the fact that this is The Most important test of her life at least for the moment
Now I can see why going into this, the beginning seems just a bit off... however, this is not exactly UN-expected of rainbow, her character is still that of an easy going type that like she says, doesn't freak out like other ponies, Plus the way she does this is done perfectly in a combination of nostalgic homage, in character style, and sets up what comes next, the fact that rainbow sees twilight coming is actually a pretty stealthy plot device in itself which I will go into later.... The main upset of this probably stems from rainbow dash seeming to "Not care" about something that in her personal story arc has been established as being VERY IMPORTANT, again... this is not unexpected, because rainbow dash is confident and always ready for anything in her own eyes, She does know it's Important, she just doesn't see it as being a BIG DEAL to study....yet!
Transcript time while I lay down some nice events
Freak out aria's about freaking out (in regards to twilight's attitude toward tests) honestly a funny throwback to the season 3 opening. and Lesson Zero
Did i mention before how amazing the expressions and animation progression is; in comparison to season 1-2, well it's 11/10
Time for a Humorous Teacher Ms. Sparkle study montage,
Swag glasses, make their return, this time as a way of showing the sleeping uninterested student trope
Most Complete (TWILIGHT DAFUQ, LEARN GRAMMAR SON!) *and Ginormous* Book on the history of the wonderbolts, slammed on her desk, I remember having teachers that would do that, heh, always funny even when it happened to me!
How do i get what's in Here (a book) into what's in here (my brain)...dialogue presented in laymans terms...except, thats the literal line dash uses.
AND NOW MISS SPARKLE PRESENTS: The CHECKLIST OF STUDYNESS:
1. Reading and Highlighting
I Had a teacher who found this to be the best study trick ever, actually I have had many, and I sort of sympathise with both Twilight and Rainbow Dash here, sometimes Highlighting everything Or almost everything seems more logical than the little tidbits a teacher would expect, sure it's difficult to separate the important bits from the flak, but on the other hand sometimes it's hard to understand the important bits WITHOUT THE FLAK! (also doodling in your notes, I admit I do that a lot, I also tend to make annotations... some teachers like it others find it distracting)
2. History Lecture
From Elementary to High-school/College in 10 seconds FLAT!
also raising of the hand(or hoof) I understand the whole bit about it being easier, and less rude, to put up ones hand instead of blurting
but when teachers, outright ignore your hand or say stuff like "questions afterward" or "what did you want to ask" after an entire lecture, and you're forced to state that you didn't have a question, you wanted to add a point, (which was relevant only at the time you raised your hand) or after the lecture, you finally get to say that you needed the bathroom, or that if you didn't understand one part early on so the rest of the lecture made no sense OR- but I digress, as annoying as that is
WE NEED TO REFOCUS ON THE EPISODE!
Is it snack time? (preschool)
Recess? (elementary and Jr high/Middle school)
Can't we just watch the movie?
I laughed so much at this since, often in class these three things came up often and still do to this day,
alternatives now being people asking me when class ends, eating or drinking mid class, or even playing ipod once theyre done their notes
and if the idea of a movie is even hinted, you can be sure 75% of the class is gonna be asking about it XD!
Squeaky a** stools/chairs or rickety (unbalanced) desks/chairs and The TurnBack Protocol
Man DO I Hate when this happens, Unlike dash though, I don't take advantage of it, and invertedly, Usually I'm looking for the quickest seat I can switch with, or stealthiest way I can rebalance what I have.
This scene also reminds me of those moments in class where hilarity is going on when the teacher turns their back, from conversations to jokes about the current lesson, it's usually always the one dude that doesn't stop quick enough... in this case it's Rainbow, in this ever humorous scene that has owlicious and spike comedically join in on the Sound-Music, creating a Background theme tune, which matches the current lesson, and twilight gets into it, obliviously until she turns around and realises exactly what is going on. oops.
Never in my life have I understood, how Flash cards were supposed to help, and they're usefulness isn't proved to me by twilight either,
but before we go into that:
The classic Whoopee cushion on teacher's chair joke, replaced by a bike horn here, I have never experienced that actually happening, but the dash laughing outloud and attempting to get highfives from her fellow goofoff "peers" only to be brushed off, (not wanting to get into trouble) I can relate to.
Arriving late, but when your attendance is called you're present/Full Name or I didn't hear you; I experience this ALL THE TIME, it's always a lucky break if the teacher doesn't notice you come in late, and they do attendance later, there was also this one kid [I'm changing his name for protective purposeses] Neil RAVIO and in grade 4, the roll call was that they would call your first name, and instead of saying "here" you would say your last name, he would always be on time, but when his name was called he'd never hear it, the class would then collectively shout his name at him and to his surprise he would be like "huh? OH! RAVIO!" I still wonder if he did it on purpose... IN the episode this trope (not the particular event) is parodied by rainbow dash appearing on the second call of her name, this time in full *Rainbow....RAINBOW DASH!* and her satirically chiming in "Here!"
Spitballs/ Fool me twice shame on me, fool me thrice...well nope I fooled you!
4. POP QUIZ
AND NOW THE EPISODE MAKES SENSE
Yep, here we have rainbow dash, in her confidence be put to a pop quiz, and fail it 0%
also she it's hinted at she missed breakfast, due to her answers being all Breakfast related Puns, and jabs at how pony stuff is named.
but in the end Rainbow finally figures out that "OH SHIT I WOULD'VE FAILED, GAME OVER DASH GAMEOVER!"
and finally begins to take stuff seriously, it's just that, none of the ways twilight has been teaching her, have worked out.
and now heres a surprise, were only 7 minutes into the episode. (yeah...woah)
*This concludes Miss. Sparkles Checklist Of Studyness and the first Act of the Episode*
Act Two: When All Else Fails, Blame The Government
Of Course I'm joking, but in this second "Act" we do begin with Dash being peeved at everyone but herself, because she can't learn the stuff, lashing out at twilight and even going a bit racist by saying that Needing to know history is probably just something non-flyers made up to keep those who can fly down! coincidentally fluttershy watches this entire thing unfold managing to separate the two mares (now bickering like school children literally) after Rainbow Dash says "Just because you have wings doesn't mean you can Fly!" (conflicts, making sense only in context since 1999)
The Documentary Method: (Fluttershy)
This Part explores the idea of learning via, examples or by visual cue rather than literary teaching.
It works for some people, while others, like rainbow, won't really get the whole idea or Big picture,
through this kind of learning, the idea is parodied here with silent characters in a Playwright, mockumentary, rather than a movie or other form of visual aid. also, Rarity's voice actor also plays Luna, hence the stealth pun of having opalessence (Rarity's cat) play Luna in the play. Also spike is back to being his director/narrator/musicplayer self, as is a trope of the show.
The Rhyming/Musical/Abbreviation/RAP/Etc Method: (Pinkie Pie Style)
Of course pinkie comes out of nowhere, and suddenly is a genius, explaining that fluttershy's method was amazing, just not all ponies (people) learn the same way! and to represent the above method, she breaks the fourth wall "literally" swiping her hoof causing a Flip Transition effect into a lower res BOX view, 80's style RAP song, reminiscent and referential to such greats as Flava Flav, Mc Hammer, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, this is by far the biggest fourth wall breakage in the show (that retains the same animation style) with it's cheesy filters, Old Style Transition caused by an onscreen character and the Forced lower resolution and PpSI (Pixels per square inch i.e 800x800 vs. 8bit (4x4) 16bit (8x8) 36bit (16x16) etc) Mainly though this serves it's purpose, examplifying the Rhyme/Acronym Method in a unique and funny way.
The Visual Aid/TimeLine Method: (Rarity)
Next we have rarity, who attempts to teach rainbow dash in her own unique take on the visual aid method, which combines Verbal Explanation and Visual Representation often seen in museums, aside from the hilarity that spawns from rainbow dash not realising the "Manequins" are actually the rest of the mane 6 and, rarity putting her own spin on the style (no pun intended) I have not much else to say. One gripe viewers may have, is that the same ideas are repeated over and over, which is considered bad in most literature, because if the characters know, and the audience knows, there shouldn't be any need to repeat the process...
This gripe can be overshadowed though if you take a moment to realise WHY this is actually done
The Repetition/Practice makes Perfect Method: (stealthily put into the writing)
Yep, The repetition itself is it's own form of Teaching, and this annoying taboo (repeated ideas when clearly established) can be overlooked
if one realises that A: Rainbow Dash doesn't KNOW the ideas B: the entire plot requires these idea's to be repeated in different ways to make their impact C: the repetition itself is one of the many ways portrayed and D) just get over it
The Applejack Method: (or more accurately yet played for laughs: Hands On Method)
This one is sort of another stealth Method, as it's played for laughs via, Aj knowing nothing about the history, but being able to tell you anything about apple farming via her own personal experience, This is the way I best learn, and is commonly refered to as the Hands on Method, as it involves learning through doing rather than seeing, hearing, or memorizing.
The Unique Method: (Rainbow Dash)
Even with all these types of learning and teaching methods, not everyone learns the same way, and almost everyone is unique in the way they learn, The ending, uses a bit of doctor who trickery, to show this, via Rainbow Dash, implying she may have a LD (subtle) and giving up, whereas twilight notices exactly what the problem they've been having is, as in the begining, Rainbow Seen and heard everything twilight did, before twilight even got to her, all while doing what she already planned to do, this hints a bit at ADD, as rainbow dash unconsciously picks up information as she flys, through instinct, demonstrating to twilight, that she seen a lot of things happen around her, and could remember them clearly enough to analyze later, while still keeping a conversation with twilight and knowing where she was going,
a skill she picked up through necessity, and natural ability. This is where the episode resonated for me the most, as this is exactly the way I learn, and see the world, and it often takes time for people to realise this. I used to think I was stupid, like dash, untill somebody realised that they needed to try teaching me "My" way, as Twilight soon puts together and explains to the other four, "We tried to teach her in so many different ways, but we never tried her way "rainbows way"
So like I said via doctor who trickery, we have depressed rainbow dash, and twilight go for a fly once again, as they discuss random things,
and ending with twilight asking rainbow dash the same questions that will be on her test, which rainbow answers 100% with ease, then promptly has a mindfcuk since she has no idea how the heck she did it. thus we go back, and see what was happening on the ground, as they flew, and the other four, with help from some friends, are stationed periodically and giving her the information. Which Dash picks up unconsciously, and is therefore able to remember. an altogether Great episode, with many great lessons, about lessons, with a lesson, and a likable enough cast and presentation to keep you into it throughout
I Loved this episode, 100% it, may just be one of/ or my Definitive favorites in season 4.
I would give it a 4.7/5 or a Good Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star [Half] Rating Star
This was My Review/OverAnalysis of:
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
Season 4, Episode 21:
Testing Testing 1...2...3.
Written By: Amy Keating Rogers
This is a Fan Review of the a Pre-Existing Work stated and in no way is intended to represent the opinions or thoughts of anyone besides said Review's Writer. This Review is not Endorsed or Affiliated with Hasbro LLC, DHX Media Group, DeviantArt.com or their respective subsidaries.