Best "Starting Episode" of MLP:FiM
Read the rules carefully before accepting.
This is a debate concerning the show "MLP:FiM"; meaning "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."
You must choose an episode, ONE single episode, NOT TWO, NOT THREE, NOT A SEASON, NOT A MOVIE, but ONE EPISODE from the show. All the episodes are listed here: http://mlp.wikia.com.... However, as stated before, you MAY NOT chose any film or any short for this debate.
This debate considers all the episodes up to "Appleoosa's Most Wanted", including that specific episode.
Best: The highest quality.... we may debate over the definition and what makes an episode of "high quality", but the episode should be directed toward the missions of:
-Introducing the mane six ponies
-Entertaining the viewer
-Making the viewer want to view more episodes of MLP
Starting episode: This is assuming that the viewer knows little to nothing of MLP. Or even a viewer who is skeptical about the show and is doubtful, judging by the logo or perhaps what other people said about the show. We are also assuming that the episode we debate about will be the viewer's first episode, thus, the "Starting episode".
I have chosen "Party of One". You can NOT choose "Party of One".
Within Round one, you must ACCEPT ALL THE RULES STATED here, accept the debate, and choose the one episode you will argue that is a better STARTING EPISODE for viewers of MLP:FiM. You WILL NOT make any arguments in round one.
Round two we both make our cases, round three we refute each other, round four we wrap up and not make any new arguments.
The voters will decide the punishments if we break any of these rules.
-PM me if you have any questions or problems.
Welcome, my good friend and opponent! [How ironic!]
Dragonshy, a good choice, a tough choice to fight against--it is one of my personal favorite show.
But enough chitchat, to the debate! We have equal burden of proof--my opponent cannot simply dwindle down Party of One, he must also support Dragonshy and raise it higher than Party of One in order to win this debate!
A quick summary of the episodes in case you don’t watch the show, or don’t remember the episodes:
-Party of One: Pinkie pie, the pink fun pony who normally bounces around happily and plans party, goes practically insane when she found out that they planned a party without her and did not tell her…(At the end it turns out it was her own birthday party)
Now then, let’s start with my first argument then, eh? Why did I choose Party of One, you ask? (Other than the fact that it’s ranked number one on a poll about best starting episode of MLP, but that’s rather irrelevant to this debate).
One word: Pinkamena.
Or rather, maturity.
Why this is good:
We’re trying to present the show in the best way possible. People look at the logo, they look at the theme song, they examine the animation, and it really doesn’t speak anything but childishness and girliness. I admit it, I was fooled too. However, the reason Party of One dismisses this issue so well is a look on Pinkie’s dark side. While the episode doesn’t get off too much of a great “non-girly” start with Pinkie’s Singing Telegram, it’s rather cute and comedic, providing a little entertainment while dropping the audience’s guard in preparation for the creepiness. Through Pinkie’s interrogation of Spike, to spying on her friends, and finally voice-acting with inanimate rocks, the show quickly descends from happy-go-lucky to darkness--but not for long, all is solved with a logical explanation which was foreshadowed all along! Because of the seemingly innocent beginning, along with the childish theme song, but quickly showing of just how dark the show can be (this is indeed, one of the darkest episodes in season one and season two). It dismisses the audience’s thoughts about how the show is childish and naive, and replaces it with a sense of maturity and “not exactly 100% meant for children and young girls…” (Not to say children and young girls won’t enjoy this episode, just that this episode’s plot is made on a level above them)
On the other hand, Dragonshy has…. well….really nothing much to dismiss the girliness of the show or the childishness. Fluttershy is scared from the very beginning, their montage is a bit silly and colorful, but doesn’t do any good other than having comedy and confirming the theme song’s “giveaway” that this show is childish. The scolding of the dragon seems good, but even still, it’s still a bit childish. In fact, the entire scenery from after the avalanche until the dragon finally flies away: The silly “Twilight and her friends do not have the time for this” Hop-Skip-and-Jump song, Rainbow Dashes’ arrogant kicks, Rarity’s greed/generosity, Pinkie’s party cannon, you see what I mean? Although good comedy slapstick humor, it really doesn’t do justice for the show, being rather light on the true complexity and darkness that other shows constantly have.
Now let’s look at each episode’s development of the characters so we know them better to prepare for possible future episodes. Let’s present them in reverse this time.
-Fluttershy [MAIN FOCUS]: -Nervous, but willing to stand up to her friends when it’s necessary; Scolds the dragon but comforts when the dragon is in tears; a kind “animal mother” figure all-around
-Pinkie Pie: she’s silly. (H.S. And J. Song; go in with the party cannon)
-Rainbow Dash: She’s brave (dodges the avalanche, goes and kick the dragon)
-Rarity: she’s posh. (Look at her clothing and the way she faced the dragon…)
-Apple Jack: ...nearly absolutely nothing. Saves another’s life, but doesn’t really have depth into her character in this episode.
-Twilight: She is focused on the task ahead.
-Spike: There’s a little part about his taking care of the animals which does lead to another episode from his point of view, but really little personality development.
Party of One:
-Pinkie Pie [MAIN FOCUS]: A complex character--she enjoys planning parties for her crocodile and is silly, along with being hardworking. However, when she is suspicious, she goes to extreme lengths to find out what is going on, and eventually grows insane from thinking that her friends are partying without her.
-Twilight: Clever, she strategizes and plans the party, while trying to not let Pinkie know of the party.
-Apple Jack: She’s not good at telling lies….very penetrating look to her character, really.
-Rarity: She’s polite and does not want to offend Pinkie.
-Rainbow Dash: She’s quick and fast, and quite bold too, but apparently she can’t outrun Pinkie because of Pinkie logic.
-Fluttershy: This episode shows more of her shy side. She’s surprised by Pinkie’s “totally inconspicuous” disguise, and nearly gives away the surprise party.
-Spike: He is interrogated by Pinkie. It shows he’s a little egotistical, but he can be broken and bribed easily, even saying whatever Pinkie wanted him to say. He’s technically the main cause of the problem in this episode, but it’s really Pinkie’s paranoia.
As you can see Party of One arguably, even just slightly, has more development to the characters than Dragonshy. Party of One forms a complex personality with the pony you’d think that is the happiest, deceiving the audience and letting them be eager to watch other episodes to see complex personalities and more haunting episodes. Dragonshy simply can’t achieve this.
Leading to other episodes…
This is important because of the layers added upon the episode making the audience transforming into a fan, being able to watch more and more episodes. Dragonshy centers on Fluttershy, and has a nice side plot with the animals, which is another episode, and of course Fluttershy’s stare within the Stare Master. Those are both excellent episodes, but Dragonshy branches out rather sparsely to pretty much any other episode. On the other hand, Pinkie Pie’s episode leads into looks of her other episodes-- Notably Baby Cakes, Feeling Pinkie Keen, Griffin Brush Off, A Friend in Deed, and perhaps the best single-part episode released yet, Pinkie Pride! [It has the highest rating on imdb out of all the single-part episodes...http://v.gd... --And note that it is also the third best episode of all time in MLP based on the ratings!] As you can see there are much more that can be gained due to the amount of detail they give within Party of One, in contrast to the rather low personality (in comparison) of Dragonshy.
I believe I have made my points. Party of One is more mature, able to dismiss any viewer’s original thoughts of how Pinkie makes the show girly and childish, how the plot of a “party” seems lame, because the plot takes a twist to a dark side, resolving quite nicely and making the audience want to view more. On the other hand, Dragonshy may be a good episode in general, with plenty of comedy and action available to show that “MLP is a good show”, it does not show that “MLP is a good show for children and adults”, failing to really stop the viewer from thinking “eh….I suppose children/young girls will like this show…”. And furthermore, Party of One has more development of characters than Dragonshy. This leads to the ability to have more connections to later episodes and a good base to branch off from.
Thank you for reading. I now turn the floor toward my opponent for his turn.
Pinkamena is hugely funny. Those new to the show could easily get the joke, as Pinkie's personality is well-covered. However, it's even better if viewed after having seen Pinkie Pie be the constantly upbeat comic relief for a few episodes, then see her personality unhinged. Part of the episode's joke is that fans think they know Pinkie Pie, but it peels back a layer to reveal hidden insanity.
Before I go into detail as to why Dragonshy is superior, I must argue: is Friendship is Magic really mature or dark? I disagree; most episodes (I'd say about 85% of the ones I have seen) are lighthearted and fun. I will venture to say that the show is definitely childish and girly, being (originally) aimed at small female children. It makes clever nods and homages, yes, but in the end, it's always child-friendly. Some do have a "dark" outcome, like A Canterlot Wedding and The Return of Harmony, but these are few and far between.
Dragonshy, I'll admit, is friendlier to small children than Party of One. However, it would work better as an introductory episode because it captures quite well the show's usual tone. You can condescend it as "childish" if you choose, but that is only to be expected from a children's show. I enjoy this show for what it is, but I wouldn't quite label it "complex". It has its moments, when Lauren Faust's original vision is allowed to shine through. This episode focuses on what I think the show is really about: the characters. Throughout the episode, characters are constantly working their personalities off of each other, not allowing a dangerous journey to dim their interactions. In Party of One, the characters seem more like devices, only working off Pinkie when needed. Though Fluttershy is the focus of this episode, other characters get their own moments too.
I'll now look at the development of characters throughout the episode as you have, because I have some differing opinions.
--------------------Party of One--------------------
Pinkie Pie: Fantastic in this episode. Starts out upbeat, hyperactive, and oblivious to her friends' reluctance to attend her party. Spirals into rage when she suspects her friends of betrayal. After she discovers the "double-crossing", she snaps and goes psychotic from her jealousy. Not exactly Shakespearean character development, but excellent for a cartoon meant for young children.
Twilight: The craftiest out of all the ponies, the only one not to fumble when lying to Pinkie.
Applejack: You could argue that her being a bad liar puts insight on her honest character, but Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity are all just as bad.
Rarity: Discreetly gets rid of her punch to avoid offending Pinkie, but openly thrusts her head in a garbage can to avoid attending her party. This is slightly contradictory.
Rainbow Dash: Doesn't do much in this episode. Is pretty goofy, and slightly out of character, being more easily frightened.
Fluttershy: Again, doesn't do much to differentiate herself from Rainbow Dash. Helps make up a ridiculous lie with her.
Spike: This episode is better at showing Spike's character. His greed and weakness to temptation is shown. He is shown to be rather selfish and unaware of Pinkie's angst, showing how bad he is at reading people/ponies.
Fluttershy: She's hilarious in this episode, being such a cowardly nervous wreck, and she is easy to root for, being the loner of the group in this episode. And when she finally confronts her fears and faces the dragon, it manages to be one of the most awesome moments of the entire series. She is adorable, of course, and watching her stand up for her friends is both silly, with the dragon's reaction, and cool, with her steely resolve against a creature hundreds of times her size.
Twilight: The leader of the group who tries her best to hold everypony together. She understands that Fluttershy is a burden, but knows her presence is a necessity. Keeps the group in check and focused on the mission, in spite of her rapidly fraying temper.
Applejack: I disagree with your analysis. In this episode, her tendencies to be the "mom" of the group really shine. She is the only one comforting and encouraging Fluttershy.
Rarity: She is crafty and selfish, only tagging along on the mission for her own purposes of greed and lavishness. She uses flattery well to win over the dragon (or try).
Rainbow Dash: In this episode, she barely hides her disinterest and contempt in Fluttershy around. She clearly resents her meekness and being a burden, and is rather annoyed and grumpy for the duration of the episode. This marked a change in her character where she would from then on treat Fluttershy with more respect. She is reckless and choleric as usual, ramming into the dragon without thinking.
Pinkie Pie: Though she helps Fluttershy alleviate her fears of jumping across a gap in the mountains (through a very silly song), everything else is simply comic relief.
Spike: Gets a brief cameo. Doesn't really do anything.
In short, I rebuke your claim that Party of One has better character development. Pinkie Pie has one of the best episode-wide character arcs, but the other main characters are put to the side for that occasion. Dragonshy is more even, giving each character a different motivation, and introduces them better. It's a good episode when compared to a lot of children's TV, and I disagree that it needs to be "haunting" to make the viewer want to watch more.
Dragonshy succeeds in subtly developing some character, with Fluttershy being less cowardly and RD's that I mentioned. Party of One shows Pinkie's insecurities that are touched upon in later episodes, which is an interesting idea that the show understandably never quite addresses. Dragonshy is better at showing the personalities of characters, and Party of One portrays the personality of just one character great while the rest are just written to fit the plot. The theme of overcoming fear serves as a better moral, too, unlike Party of One's core "misunderstanding" plot. As for the production itself, they are both some of the series' better episodes. Both were written by Meghan McCarthy [http://mlp.wikia.com...], a great writer for the show who has also done A Canterlot Wedding, Green Isn't Your Color, and Lesson Zero. Storyboard artists Sabrina Alberghetti and Nicole Wang were better in Dragonshy, with good wide views and varied angles, than Tom Sales and Sam To, who did Party of One, mostly keeping the focus on characters, sometimes for a little too long. [http://raveneesimo.deviantart.com...]
In short, one may believe Party of One gives the show a more "mature" vibe, but the show itself is not that mature to begin with. Dragonshy, though more like a standard episode, does it very well, and shows more characterization than Party of One. Party of One could be seen as more intriguing for the shock value of going one step farther than most shows for that age. However, it misleads the viewer from the show's actual tone. Dragonshy matches that tone and portrays it very well. Though it doesn't show that "MLP is a good show for children and adults", I contest that it certainly isn't for all adults. Many adults do like the show, but it takes a certain attitude and openness. I won't pretend that MLP is a great show or one of my favorites, but I simply happen to enjoy it and understand if somebody else does not.
Thank you, and I will now await Pro's rebuttal.
9spaceking forfeited this round.
I am terribly sorry about that forfeit; it was my first forfeit.... ever.
After thinking it through, I've supposed that my opponent is correct. While Party of One is indeed good for adult or mature viewers to first watch (which I was supposing), the general audience probably outweighs the amount of 15/16/18+ viewers, considering what the show is for, Dragonshy does manage to space out the development better, and while I still do not drop my opinion that Party of One opens up for the third best episode of all time, it does seem that Dragonshy has better plot and equals Party of One in every other perspective. Thus, my opponent has won. Congratulations. Vote for him, judges.