We’re finally getting to one of the Mane 6. Just so you know, I’m not doing all of them at once. I’m gonna spread them out, and do each character as I see fit. For now let’s focus on this week’s topic, the one and only Pinkie Pie! Personally, I think that, despite the show not always knowing what to do with her, there is so much depth that can be minded from this unique equine, and it makes her one of the more compelling characters to discuss.
So what do we know from canon? Pinkamena Diane Pie is the daughter of rock farmers Cloudy Quartz and Igneous Rock, who were given those names in the light novel Pinkie Pie and the Rockin’ Ponypalooza Party! She also has two sisters whose names had recently been revealed to be Marble Pie and Limestone, and are supposed to be appearing in the fourth season. Her grandmother, who seems to have been a major influence for Pinkie Pie, was referenced in the episode Friendship is Magic part 2 and is most likely the Nana Pinkie referenced in Too Many Pinkies. At some unspecified point after getting her cutie mark, she ended up with the Cakes as their apprentice and tenant. The show establishes several quirky eccentrics for her, such as her Pinkie sense and the Pinkie promise, and has given her many episodes to explore the crazier aspects of her personality, as well as giving her the occasional reality check when it comes to how she can manage in real world situations.
Her design was originally based primarily on the G1 pony Surprise, but during development she grew to resemble the G3 version of Pinkie Pie. Despite losing Surprise’s color scheme and wings, Pinkie still retains Lauren Faust’s original interpretation of the character, as well as the design of her cutie mark.
Fan canon on her is pretty extensive. Her ability to break the fourth wall, while present in the show, was mostly perpetuated by the fans, which has made her a bridge of some sorts between us and the world of Equestria. Considering that she can go between Friendship is Magic and our world without anyone questioning it, it makes Pinkie Pie a character that can interact with the fans without it seeming incongruous. Not only that, but it has allowed for some interesting crossovers that has let ponies infiltrate many parts of the geek culture. This means that, as much as Derpy is the symbol of the fandom, the face of us for most of the rest of the world is Pinkie Pie.
Some fan content has also gone into exploring the history of Pinkie Pie using the brief glimpses of her past that the show has given us. Most interpretations of the never seen Granny Pie (or Nana Pinkie) have shown her to be very similar to Pinkie in both personality and looks. It’s somewhat odd considering what the rest of Pinkie’s family is like that one member not only looks like her, but also has the same optimistic outlook on life. It makes me wonder what happened with her child (whichever one of Pinkie’s parents it was) and why her influence only seemed to affect Pinkie.
There isn’t as much concerning the rest of her family. The most that tends to be out there is related to how Pinkie went from her home on the Rock Farm to Sugarcube Corner in Ponyville, with great examples being seen in A Sweet Taste of Cake, and Slice of Pony Life.
Of course, we can’t forget to mention the big, bloody, creepy elephant in the room. I’ll be upfront and say that with very few exceptions, grim dark has no appeal to me. Not only that, but I feel that Cupcakes is the biggest blight that this community has. I’m not even going to go into that piece of hateful garbage but suffice to say it’s just plain lousy, not only as a story but as grim dark. For me, grim dark only works when you can get invested in the characters and it certainly doesn’t work when all you can offer is fetishized torture. As far as I’m concerned, Pinkamena as a murderer has been nothing more than an excuse for fans to add unnecessary (and cheap) darkness to MLP. However, the interpretation of Pinkamena that I DO think has some legs is the one that was alluded to in the show. Rather than being a psychotic killer, I prefer to think of it as the manifestation of the sadness she represses with her exuberant attitude.
I always felt that there was a sad side of her that the show just barely touched on, and I kind of wish they expand upon it more if it was intentional. Early in the episode Party of One, we can see the great lengths she goes to when throwing a party for her friends. At the end of the party though, it seems less like a genuine chance for everyone to have fun, and more of a way to make sure her friends hang out with her.
It really only appears in this episode, but it leads me to think she has poor self-esteem and that her crazy antics are just her way of overcompensating. It also helps explain how easily she flew off the handle in that episode, and jumped to the conclusion that her friends didn’t like her. Think about how much she does for everyone else around her. She memorizes everyone’s birthdays, throws parties for the smallest things, and makes it her life goal to get others to smile. All of these are admirable things to do, but I get the sense that she’s trying too hard to get people to like her. She never slows down to take time for herself (as far as we’ve been shown) and we don’t really see anyone do stuff for her. In Wonderbolt Academy, she sat by a mailbox for days on the off chance that Rainbow Dash would send her a message. She was so worried that if she didn’t respond IMMEDIATELY to a message that Rainbow sent her, that Rainbow Dash would be crushed and it would be Pinkie Pie’s fault. Look at how desperately she needed Cranky Doodle to be her friend. She couldn’t move on with her life until she got him to like her which tells me that she needs constant validation from as many people as possible to feed her ego and validate her sense of self-worth. I’m also pretty sure a few of those words were used incorrectly.
This theory is further reinforced when you look at her discorded form. While a lot of people say that Discord simply reversed their good nature, in my opinion a “discorded” pony is the manifestation of the darker nature that they fear resides within them. We see that these characters exemplify the traits that made them worthy of being the bearers of the elements, but little pieces here and there have shown us that they do have demons they have to struggle with. Fluttershy fears what will happen if she asserts herself, and her experience in the episode Putting Your Hoof Down shows why. Rarity, despite being very generous, still holds material goods and status in very high regard. Despite being loyal to her friends, Rainbow Dash is very self-centered, and pretty reckless. What leads me to think that this is the case is that, excluding Fluttershy (a huge mistake in my opinion), Discord never pulls the trigger on turning them into their darker selves. We can see them struggling and failing before getting the color washed out of them which shows us that the weakness is within themselves rather than being put there by Discord’s corrupting power. Applejack’s confession after being returned to normal shows this as well.
To get back to Pinkie Pie, if you look at how easily and specifically Discord was able to turn what she loved most into her worst nightmare, it’s easy to see that she may indeed suffer from low self-esteem and lashes out in fear of being laughed at. In the dark recesses of her mind, there’s always that little bit of doubt that what she does doesn’t bring joy to others, but gives them something to laugh at, and the manifestation of that can be seen in the discorded version of Pinkie Pie. Even without the deflated hair, I think this is the form that Pinkamena takes within Pinkie’s psyche.
So despite my perfectly realized psychological interpretation of her, how does she work in the show? Being a main character, she’s had several episodes focused on her, so there’s a lot of material to look at when interpreting how the creators want us to view her. In season one, we got a lot of episodes focusing more on how people react to her than showing us what really makes her tick. For example; the first episode to focus on her was Griffon Brush Off, but despite following Pinkie Pie for most of the episode, it’s more of a lesson for Rainbow Dash at the end than for Pinkie Pie. Sure Pinkie Pie is conflicted about how to handle Gilda, but at no point does she have to learn from a mistake she’s made. The party at the end was simply her trying to extend an olive branch which is what she tried to do all along. The big revelation was for Rainbow Dash who learned how big of a jerk Gilda was. A similar situation occurs in Swarm of the Century, where the lesson was learned by Twilight who was shown that, despite Pinkie Pie’s erratic behavior, it’s always worth listening to what she has to say. Feeling Pinkie Keen has the same issue, where Twilight is the one who learns from Pinkie Pie. It’s not until Party of One that an episode of hers focused on gives us some insight into what makes her who she is.
Whether intentional or not, the show has made Pinkie Pie less of a character in her own right, and more of a jumping off point to teach the other ponies lessons on friendship. However, they have been able to sneak in some character development on occasion that is worth looking at. I find it a bit telling that, despite the fact that none of her friends understood what Pinkie was doing, she never attempted to explain her actions to them in order to save them the trouble of trying out ideas that would fail. This is probably where Pinkie Pie was given a lot of leeway with how the fans were willing to interpret her character and her random abilities. Throughout the episode, her behavior keeps getting shrugged off as “Pinkie just being Pinkie.” It’s a concept that fans have run with, and has justified just about anything they can think of the character doing. It’s not a bad thing per se, but it has led to the show not always knowing what to do with the character; case in point, Too Many Pinkies. The problem with this episode is that it wants to be one of the more serious episodes about Pinkie Pie such as Party of One and Babycakes, but the problem is that, unlike those episodes, they rely on Pinkie’s eccentric nature to move the story forward rather than giving it some genuine heart. In the episode Babycakes, she uses her usual tricks, but it’s for a purpose we can all understand. She spends most of the episode trying to take care of the kids, and the panic associated with losing control of a situation like that. Her wacky behavior is just her way of trying to handle the situation. In Too Many Pinkies, there’s no rational goal that we can grab onto that would justify her behavior in this episode and necessitate learning a lesson. I want to spend more time with my friends, so I’m gonna clone myself? Doesn’t make a lot of sense but hey, “THAT’S JUST PINKIE BEING PINKIE!” I feel the episode fall flat because of that.
So the last Pinkie Pie episode was a bit of a sour note. What can the show do to fix that? I feel that there is a huge issue that they can address and would help flesh out the character as she has been portrayed in the show. Think about all the episodes with Pinkie Pie. Aside from Party of One, when have the Mane 6 done something nice for Pinkie Pie? If you think about how often she’s doing nice things for the other characters, it seems odd that at no point do they take care of Pinkie who has done so much for them.
Have an episode where they see her when she thinks she’s all alone. Doing so much for so many people would wear anyone out, and they can see that it happens to Pinkie Pie as well. The rest of the episode would be them making up for taking Pinkie for granted, and getting the town to throw a party just for her.
So what have learned today? The thing about Pinkie Pie is that she really is up to anyone’s interpretation, so I wouldn’t argue with anyone else’s view of her. It’s just interesting to see what the fans can come up with when given such a flexible character to work with. The only thing we can be certain of is that Pinkie Pie will continue to bring a lot of joy to many of our lives.
The Petriculture Cycle (starting with Petriculture) by Kwakerjak
I’m only on the second story in the series, but it’s been quite amazing so far. I don’t want to give spoilers, but suffice to say that it really uses Pinkie Pie effectively and is great at bringing to life abstract concepts. The story (so far) has been very effective at building tension and will hopefully be able to make the payoff truly amazing. If I were to nit-pick (and I do; it’s internet law or something), I feel that the first story DID have a somewhat weak payoff considering how wonderfully it built up the mystery behind what was happening. In hindsight the first story is more of a prologue for what happens later, so going in knowing that might make your expectations for the ending a bit less lofty. That, and (as far as I’ve seen) the other Mane 6 outside of Twilight and Pinkie Pie seem underdeveloped. They’re not bad, it’s just that the story hasn’t brought anything new to the table in terms of their characters. All that being said, it’s been a fantastic read so far and I encourage all of you to read it.
Human Pinkie Pie by Glasmond (NSFW)
Let me repeat that NOT. SAFE. FOR. WORK. We clear? Okay good, because this is one of the best interpretations of Pinkie Pie I’ve seen. It’s fanciful and has plenty of the great Pinkie Pie antics that we love, but what separates it from the rest (aside from the NSFW stuff) is the incredibly dark moments, mainly when referring to her past. What I like about that aspect of the tumblr is that it makes her transformation into this the happy go lucky person all the more compelling and triumphant. Her always visible scars are a constant reminder of her past, but she never lets it get her down. Unlike the other Tumblr’s I’ve spotlighted, this one doesn’t really have a concrete structure, mostly containing art posts, fan art, and the occasional question being answered, but the way the whole thing comes together feels expertly crafted to show us something uniquely Pinkie Pie. It also has one of the best human Discord designs I’ve seen.
Ask Human Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash by scorpiORDINANCE
Similar to the above Tumblr, but has a much more concrete storyline to follow. It’s also much more SFW without being devoid of saucy content. What works about it is that the creator is able to sell you very well on the relationship between these two. While they do retain most of their characteristics from the show, Rainbow Dash in particular has an interesting humanization that focuses more on the tomboy aspects of her character. Pinkie Pie is still Pinkie Pie, but for some reason it seems that she translates really easily to human form. The rest of the cast make small appearances, but the main appeal is the relationship between these two characters in this unlikely pairing. It really makes you believe in their relationship and it’s always a joy to read about. It also has one of the more… interesting human Discord designs I’ve seen.
Ask Surprise by Zach Morris
What!? Not enough pony in the other two tumblrs? Okay then! Here’s one that’s just funny as hell. It’s a very simple set up, but the guy knows how to make it work. Someone asks a question, you get a funny comic strip. It’s been a bit slow to update lately, but there’s enough in the back catalogue to make it worth checking out. Total recommendation!
Alrighty then! This was probably the hardest one to write so far considering how many ways you can interpret Pinkie Pie, but it was a labor of love (and lack of sleep). Think I’m full of myself? I wouldn’t doubt it. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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