Sunday, 10 August 2014

Retrospective review: Party of One

We're almost done with the first season, which means it's time for one of the best episodes in the entire series.

Party of One is incredible. Even considering some of the episodes before this, it's surprising that an episode like this came out of this show. There's already been a push between more depth, but up to this point it's this episode that takes the proverbial cake-and, I suppose, the literal cake.

This can be seen best in Pinkie's characterization, which is given a surprising amount of depth. The way that she learns just the wrong bits of information to put together her friends' intentions is interesting, and the various coping mechanisms seen in her famous nervous breakdown shows a lot of unprecedented depth. In addition, there's subtleties in the actions of Pinkie's friends' actions as well. Rarity and Twilight initially seem happy to go to another party, before they remember the one they have planned. On first watch, not knowing what's up, this could easily be missed, but the pieces fit together so much more neatly on second viewing.

There's other moments like that, too. Applejack's stress while lying can be attributed to her hating having to lie to Pinkie, and even then her automatic response is to welcome Pinkie into her barn, which she quickly corrects. Pinkie's breakdown shows that her anger might just be a front for loneliness, as she finds the need to create imaginary friends to keep her company. It's also clear she might have been doubting herself, as she needs these imaginary friends to make her feel better about her reaction. Does this show low self-esteem for Pinkie? This question isn't explored, but it is there.

The episode is also genuinely funny in many parts, at least at first. Pinkie starts as energetic as ever, and some of her antics are still funny even as she gets more intimidating in her anger. However, soon the laughs give way to thrills as we see Pinkie deteriorate. The aforementioned famous scene is of particular note, being shockingly unsettling for this show. It's quite the risk, and it pays off in full. Speaking of risks, putting so much depth into an episode of a children's cartoon is the very definition of a risk. However, I think that this is an episode kids can still greatly enjoy, and as far as I know, they did enjoy it.

This is an episode that is ripe for analysis, and even ignoring that it's a highly entertaining episode of the show. However, for me at least, it's these elements of depth that raise it so high in my opinion. This episode plays like an experiment, and it is highly successful.

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