When a visiting travel writer shuns Rarity for the uninterested Applejack, the fashionista jealously imitates her friend's rustic ways over Applejack's protests.When a visiting travel writer shuns Rarity for the uninterested Applejack, the fashionista jealously imitates her friend's rustic ways over Applejack's protests.When a visiting travel writer shuns Rarity for the uninterested Applejack, the fashionista jealously imitates her friend's rustic ways over Applejack's protests.
"Simple Ways" is by no means a bad episode and has its good moments and things. It takes a lot for me to call a 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' episode bad. It just isn't a great episode either, and felt too simple, too bland and the story doesn't interest enough. Rarity has been characterised much better and one character is a big missed opportunity. If anything, my feelings on "Simple Ways" were pretty mixed and conflicted and after such a fantastic previous episode in "Pinkie Pride" this was a big disappointment.
Will start with the goood. The animation is beautiful to look at, love the vibrant colours and how rich in detail the backgrounds are. The characters are well designed, and generally this aspect has come on a lot and became more polished overtime. The music has energetic quirkiness and is dynamic, adding a lot to the atmosphere of the episode. The voice acting is terrific, with some powerhouse voice work from Tabitha St Germain in some of her best voice acting of the season, Rarity really comes to life as a character thanks to her and far from a cutesy looking pony.
There are good moments here, especially Spike's look at the camera (a little thing but a very effective and funny little thing) and Pinkie Pie's inflated head. Some of the characters are written well, Applejack comes off best with great comic timing and good intentions but Spike was also a big surprise, have not related to him this much in a long time. Really liked Rarity and Applejack's character interaction and back and forth which blisters and can be priceless. The moral is great, an important and relevant moral that one will identify with and appreciate.
Rarity left me mixed though which disappointed me as she was such an interesting and well written character in Season 4. She is compelling sure but this is an example of an episode that puts too much emphasis on its main character's flaws and exaggerates them. Rarity is just not very likeable here, quite mean-spirited at times (actually felt sorry for instance for poor Spike). Too many of the regular characters are underused or serve little point other than one or two shining moment. Trenderhoof did not work for me as a character, the episode does very little with him (so basically a just there simplistic character with no development), we don't see many glimpses of his profession, and at times he is so full of himself that one really questions what anybody sees in him.
Didn't care for the chemistry between him and Rarity, that could have been relatable as a lot of people have been there but here it was just awkward and nothing is done really with it. Much of the dialogue in this element of the story was just cringe-worthy, am aware that crushes and such can induce a lot of awkwardness and cringes but this was overkill. The humour is too little, and funny moments only come in spurts. Most of it is too forced for my tastes. The story is weak, due to being dully paced and very bland with no tension and little emotion. The middle act especially is near-interminably dull due to overlong padding and that what happens goes absolutely nowhere. The episode eventually comes to life towards the end but it feels too little too late.
All in all, very conflicted on this too simple and uninspired episode. 5/10
- Sep 28, 2020