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"Feeling Pinky Keen" Controversy



The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen" has incited some controversy on internet message boards.

Since discussion on this topic will contain some spoilers, I'll continue after the jump.

The controversy with the episode has to do interpretations of the moral at the end of the episode, which states "..there are wonderful things in this world you just can't explain, but that doesn't necessarily make them any less true. It just means you have to choose to believe in them."

Some interpret the moral, and the episode, as implying that it's bad to search for explanations for things one doesn't understand. Elisto at the MLP Arena wrote,
"If the moral really were clearly "'tolerance for things you don't understand', even if it seems unrealistic", I'd be fine with that. And it easily could have been, since clearly Pinkie has some sort of weird if unexplained ability. But that doesn't actually seem to be at all what the moral was since since Twilight's shown as being totally cynical and close minded (as opposed to just skeptical) by denying anything's even going on, shot down for even attempting to figure it out, and at the end says she learns to just "have faith". It may not have been intentional, but it all together suggests that trying to understand things isn't valuable!"
MLP News reader Stephen sent me the following message, along the same lines:
"...Twilight is cast in a very simplistic light as being driven by a blinkered agenda to simply disprove Pinkie throughout the entire episode. I feel you missed an opportunity to portray Twilights natural skepticism as being more than just a narrow-mindedness that needs to be overcome by faith....
If a real skeptic ever saw the kind of consistency that Pinkie Pie displayed in her ESP they would ideally be compelled to try to explain it, but not simply to "explain it away". If no explanation is possible that doesn't mean they'd deny the obvious..."
There are also some people who interpreted the moral at the end of the episode as having religious undertones, since the idea of "just 'have faith'", as Elisto put it, is often associated with religion.

In responses to comments on her DeviantArt page, Lauren Faust, the show's creator, has said that these interpretations were not the intent of the episode. In response to Jukashi's comment "Personally, as with others, I was a little put off by the "lesson" of the episode, which came off to me as "don't bother trying to understand things"...", Lauren wrote,
"Wow. It's so not what I ever hoped anybody would ever take away from that episode. It's a really awful message and I'd never dream of suggesting it.

I'm so disappointed, especially since it's seems to be completely ruining what I thought was one of our funniest episodes.

I'm really sorry and if I could have anticipated such a misunderstanding, I would have revised it."
She also wrote,
"From the sounds of it, I really blew it with the letter at the end---- even for people who didn't immediately jump to the conclusion that such a statement could only apply to religion. I wish I could back and clarify it further."
and
"I can't speak for others who worked on this episode, but from my perspective, it's kind of like you said: there are simply phenomenons that are difficult to explain. And I'm of the opinion that "faith" can apply to more things than just religion. For instance: are we alone in the universe or is there life on some other planet somewhere? We don't have convincing evidence that aliens exist, but it takes "faith" to say that's it's not possible at all. I've heard some pretty heated debates from smart people regarding certain cases of cryptozoology. In the end, if there is an idea we explore that leads us to inconclusive answers, we are left with a choice: believe it anyway, reject it, or wait for more answers.

Obviously rather deep for our audience, I know. And obviously up to lots and lots of interpretation. Maybe it was a mistake. Honestly, we started the process with the concept of Pinkie having that old fashioned cliche "knee's achey, it's gonna rain," Twilight not buying it and the humor we thought came out of that."
While it is nice to know that the intent of the moral was good, it's unfortunate that it wasn't more clear, and allowed negative interpretations. Hopefully future episodes will take more care to prevent any such confusion.

12 comments:

Brooke said...

I didn't take the ending to have any negative connotation. I agree with Faust, 'have faith' doesn't always mean 'faith' in the religious sense. Faith in friends, for example. I actually liked Twilight Sparkles letter because it wasn't so heavy handed and blunt. It could be left up to interpretation, yes, but a child watching the show isn't going to make as big a conclusion from it as us adults who tend to over analyze... Just my two sense (because I don't belong to the board). :-)

The said...

It's not faith v science, it's fake skepticism v unexplained phenomenon.

Ren Murakami said...

The comments show my only but big complaint about this episode: Twilight was indeed a bit narrow-minded in contrast to other episodes, in which she was still rational but much wiser. I guess the whole situation should be with her being intrigued instead of "skeptical".
And it's indeed a too deep moral. It'd be deep even for a cult animation.

trueflint said...

I did indeed find "Feeling Pinkie Keen" extremely funny. I expected it to be. Pinkie is a very funny character, and an episode focusing on her can't help being hilarious. Putting Pinkie together with Twilight, who is usually very serious, is even more comedic.

But the moral at the end was confusing. The first thing I thought was, "Uh-oh, lots of people are going to think this episode is about religion -- in fact, I'm not sure that it isn't." The message I came away with was to trust your friends and believe them when they tell you about their experiences, even if they're things you've never experienced. But I think the writers and creators of the show should have been prepared for some viewers to come at it from a religious angle.

wildrow12 said...

Hmph. Well, I'm a religious guy myself (Christian),and I sort of have a knack for noticing religious overtones and subtext in media. But until people started fussing about it, I honestly didn't have that interpretation at all.

In fact, I think "trueflint" above me said it best: the message I got was "to trust your friends and keep an open mind about their experiences (especially if you can learn something about them)".

My friends come from all walks of life (politically, religiously, etc), and have many times experienced things that I haven't or don't believe at this moment in time. I don't close my mind and turn my back on them, instead I open myself to my friends and try to understand where they are coming from in order to not only learn more about the experience (thus enriching myself), but also to share with my friends and grow closer to them.

A shame so many people got upset about it. It really was a fun episode.

Harold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
My Little Pony News said...

Harold, I removed your comment due to language. I also updated our comment policy to clarify that offensive language includes cursing.

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