I'm pretty sure that "Read It and Weep," the first Daring Do episode, was the one that really made me into a fan. I didn't start watching from the beginning and go to the end and then stop. I'm pretty sure that what happened was that a few students mentioned they liked it, and then I read a
. In fact, I think I might have been the anon who wrote this:
I hope you realize that by writing this, you've made me curious about the brightly coloured ponies. I intend to go and google and/or youtube them now. If no one hears from me ever again, let this be my testament: YOU made me do it.
I'm not positive that was me, but I have the feeling it was. I know I didn't start watching until very close to Canterlot Wedding, and maybe not till after it, so I missed all the fan drama of the first two seasons. (I "missed" it. I know!)
Anyway, I do remember watching Read It and Weep and thinking "Good Lord, this is so good! It's so unnecessarily good for a kid's show!" Probably the popping in and out of reality appealed to me, plus I am a sucker for those old-fashioned archeology stories: less Indiana Jones, and more Elizabeth Peters. Jostled next to my tons of tweed, which I wear un-ironically, is a lot of safari-type garb, which I also wear un-ironically. So I have a big soft spot for Daring. She and Babs Seed (and My Little Remus) are the only custom ponies I own, and certainly the only ones I commissioned. (I won Daring in a giveaway and ordered Babs from the same customizer.)
You can imagine how excited I was when I heard that Daring would be coming back! I really don't like the word "headcanon," because it implies a level of official that my personal backstories don't reach. But the backstory I always had for Daring was that her novels were really her own adventures written under a pseudonym. (Actually, mine is that she's an archeology professor in a dry as dust department, and that she has one pseudonym for her novels, which is based on her exciting double life as Daring Do. But close.)
And you can imagine how excited I was to see this picture!
--which pretty much confirmed that yes, under the dowdy glasses and hat and cloak lurked:
And come to think of it, Daring is my wallpaper, too. I just haven't seen it in a while because I don't keep it as tidy as I should. Whoops! So neutral I was not.
And I wasn't disappointed! Oh, my gosh, it had nearly everything I could possibly have wanted. Isn't that great? I anticipated something great and I was more than happy with it.
Then people started to bitch about it, and I started to get mad. OK, I get it, mileage varies. I didn't like Magic Duel, and boy is THAT a minority opinion. But let's get some of this out of the way.
First, there are the people who say, "what a horrible moral! Stalk your favorite author, and you'll be rewarded?" Personally, I didn't get that at all. I thought it was clear that Twilight said over and over, "not cool," and that things cleared up when Dash started to act as herself, i.e., when she started to treat Daring the way she'd treat anybody else. Does she normally swoop in and rescue other ponies at great personal risk?(DUH.)
But I could see that as a legitimate interpretation.
And I'm aware there are people who hate Dash because she's braggy and cocky and arrogant, or because she's popular (which has never made sense to me. My liking something isn't going to wear it out for you. It's not like I finished your ice cream.) But this, at least, makes some sense. If you don't like Dash, chances are you aren't going to like a Dash episode. If you hate the CMC, you're probably not going to like a CMC episode. De gustibus and all that.
Opinions that make NO sense to me:
1. Wahh nothing is good enough for me or it was by Dave Polsky and Twilight's an alicorn now wah. Frankly, I think if you've watched four episodes this season and you still don't like it, maybe the show isn't your bag anymore. I've seen people talking like this since the beginning of Season Three! Geez! "The food is really terrible here!" "Yeah, and they have such small portions!" Also, if you write your commentary thus:
i dont know the season is week i didn't you know belleeeve it and can't beelive not like the comic wtf just because not refeer to box and Twilight not alicorn doesn matter id ont know it jsyt locks somthin
--deep, deep down, way below my generous English professor's heart that is used to helping, not judging, I am judging you. Use punctuation, for Celestia's sake, and take a second to proofread. You have some balls, complaining that somebody else's writing is "week!"
2. "The comic books say Twilight's mother is the author of Daring Do!" First of all, no, they don't. It's a throwaway background gag in one of the comic books. It's cute as anything, but that's all it is. Even the comic book author and artist don't claim that it's canon. Secondly, the comic books don't share a continuity with the cartoon. No, sorry, they don't. The heavily implied Sparity, the "nightmare forces," Shining Armor as a D & D playing dork? Those don't work with the cartoon. And if you think about it for a second, you shouldn't want continuity between the cartoon and the comic books. It means the comic books aren't straitjacketed by the cartoon, which generally they don't get to know about nearly soon enough anyway. If Ted Anderson and Tony Fleecs, or Andy Price and Katie Cook want to send the ponies off on a pirate adventure or do a hilarious Harry Potter crossover or an eighties movie parody, they're free to do that! It's fun!
3. "It's unrealistic!"
It's a cartoon about candy colored ponies with heavy pop culture references, and you just decided NOW it was unrealistic?
Anyway--rant out of the way. It did throw a damper on my enjoyment, honestly. I should just steer away from that.
Dash as a fangirl: hilarious. Obviously, the name of the Daring Do author--"A . K. Yearling"--is a shoutout to JK Rowling, and the excitement as RD counts down to the book release should be really familiar to any Potterhead, as should her complete freakout when she finds out the book publication date has been pushed back. Some people were saying "oh, it's making fun of the fandom." THE fandom? There's only one fandom now? If anything, it reminded me most strongly of this:George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.
Also, nerd fight!(Twilight got you into the books in the first place, Dash!)
By the way, I love Pinkie's cheerful expression here. She has no clue what they're talking about and it does not bother her one little bit. She's even nodding as though she knows what they're talking about! Contrast Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack's confusion and discomfort. If you're not going to be with other geeks, someone who just brings cookies and smiles as you enthuse is your bestest best friend. Gosh, I love Pinkie. She was also thoughtful enough to bring along a can of red paint for the little Indiana-Jones "travel map" line.
The Daring Do insert: everything about the style changes once we're in Daring Do territory. Even William Anderson gave us a John Williams score. You're welcome!
Daring Do's whip! Good lord!
Dash's repeated hoof-slaps to the face as she tried to get a grip.
Also, this face:(Source)
in response to this line:
"Now, Ahuizotl, you know I love you, but I can't give you the ring 'til I've properly proposed."
God knows what THAT was supposed to be. Is Dash a shipper now? And what about the giant hugfest with Daring at the end? Man, this thing is packed with Shipping Fuel even if you are not a shipper.
(Incidentally, no, I've never thought Daring is really Dash's Mom. I've always liked Lauren Faust's original idea that Firefly is Dash's Mom. She couldn't do that because of trademark, but it's too bad.)
The joint work dismantling Ahuizotl's fortess? Awesome. It really was cool that actually, no, Daring would not have been able to foil Ahuizotl for good without Dash's help. And Dash's saving Daring's hat? A damned good thing, even if it seemed stupid at the time, because Daring ain't zilch without her hat. As Dash knows.
Wow, the art style is so much better than it used to be! They actually can do a full-out action/adventure movie parody and have it look like something now. Speaking of which, Ahuizotl is so much more fully realized than he was before. AND, as someone on EQD remarked, "oh, my God! He's responsible for global warming!"
And Dash gets to be written into her favorite author's book and on the cover, which made me really happy for her, and no, I do not give a darn that it is supposedly a "bad message." If my nephew wants to know if he can go bug JK Rowling, I'll tell him he can do it when he's a cartoon horse.
Final comment: Dash's whole personality revolves around hero-worship. I know I mentioned this in my reviews of Sleepless in Ponyville and Wonderbolts Academy. With Dash, it goes:
--and you'll notice, this has been evening out a bit? Scootaloo, back in Season One, was eager to take out Dash's trash, which made me rather sad for her, but Dash is willing to cook and clean house and shop for groceries for A. K. Yearling. She is ---was--in awe of Spitfire. And this was Twilight's explicit lesson: you are not less than other ponies, and you are not more than other ponies. You are still you. YOU happen to be a Big Damned Hero, but it kind of doesn't matter, since Daring is just a pony who needs help and you're going to be there for her the way Fluttershy was there for those baby birds at the beginning of the episode. Hero worship/hero-worshipping is not the most healthy way to pattern your life. And what's slowly adjusting this is Daring on one end and Scoots on the other. Scoots isn't just the president of the Rainbow Dash fan club anymore. She's Dash's surrogate little sister.
Do I think it's an accident that the Daring Do episode is placed right before the Scootaloo episode? Do I think it was an accident that the Wonderbolts episode was right after the Scootaloo episode last season?
No, I don't.