Thursday, 13 November 2014

Second chance: Maud Pie

This is a little more like it, but ultimately I just don't get it.

"Maud Pie". Since this episode aired, it's been a fan favourite of the season, yet it has never clicked with me. Certainly, there's some very good elements to it, but I get this pervading feeling that there's something I'm failing to pick up on. That's a difficult thing to really express as a concrete opinion, but at least there are other things for me to talk about my thoughts on.

A lot of people refer to Maud as a "funny" character. I agree most in the beginning, where the humour is based mainly on comedic timing between a character's comment and Maud's response. This manner of writing the character is the most common in the episode, and it's indeed best when it's based on a dry reaction. Unfortunately, this specific joke doesn't have much added to it over the course of the episode, and what is added doesn't really work. The thing is, reflecting on the episode, there are parts that I think I should have found funny that I just didn't. They were well-crafted, clever gags, but they didn't click with me.

As for what's added to the formula, this comes mostly from Maud's interactions with Fluttershy, where she isn't paying attention and thus comes off as somewhat rude, Twilight, where she recites bad poetry that really isn't that funny, and Applejack, where she bizarrely uses a rock to juice an apple, something that doesn't really seem to work with her previously established characterization. All three of these incidents have the common thread of painting Maud as a rock enthusiast, which is fine, except that all three cases bring it to extremes. The poetry at least seems like it might come from her living on a rock farm, but smashing an apple with a rock is just odd. None of the three are especially funny, however, and by the last of them the never-changing comedic timing gets a bit old.

At the end we see how much Maud cares for Pinkie Pie, which is a nice, touching moment. It ultimately establishes her as a nice, pleasant character, albeit one which has absolutely no more potential for major roles. The message didn't really work for me, though that's probably just me. Looking back, I think a lot of Maud's eccentricities might come from her life on the rock farm. She's not familiar with social cues, with Pinkie being her only experience with anything outside of her rock farm drudgery, and given that Pinkie understands her, there's not much need for Maud to learn social cues.

So, I dunno. I still don't love this episode. I think it's alright, but not as good as other people suggest. Even the much-lauded humour often doesn't hit home for me, which leaves me a bit confused as to why this episode is so loved. Yet, I also feel like I'm just missing something. I can't really put a finger on what it is that isn't clicking, but something feels off. It certainly doesn't feel like a filler episode, so that might be part of it, but it's not a bad episode. Not a favourite for me, but it's decent enough.

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