This week we get another Cutie Mark Crusaders episode and, surprisingly, one that focuses on Scootaloo, the least developed Crusader of them all. It also means that we get an episode all about Scootaloo idolizing Rainbow Dash and trying her hardest to gain her admiration. Yay. Putting my own dislike for Rainbow Dash aside, what we get is an episode about what goes bump in the night. The Crusaders and their big sisters all go on a camping trip and there are plenty of spooks and ghouls abound.
At least, that’s what Scootaloo believes. Applejack, Apple Bloom, Rarity, Sweetie Bell and Rainbow Dash are all venturing into the wilderness to camp, to which Scootaloo begs Apple Bloom and Sweetie Bell to let her come along so she can show Rainbow Dash just how totally awesome she is. Being so close to her idol give Scootaloo a severe case of stage fright and she continues to fail at every attempt to sway Rainbow Dash’s eye.
I feel as if this is my punishment for always wanting to know more about Scootaloo and for once, it’s not about Rainbow Dash. “Sleepless in Ponyville” felt far too contrived and cliched for what I’ve come to expect of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I understand that this is a traditional facing your fears episode, but it hit on almost every tried and true formula outside of the monster in the closet. Spooky woods? Check. Scary campfire stories? Check. The one who’s afraid goes out into the woods alone? Check.
At the very least, they put an interesting twist through dreams and nightmares, but even that wasn’t enough to keep my interest in this fairly mundane episode. They really should have focused more on Scootaloo trying so hard to impress Rainbow Dash. Yes, kids are going to be afraid of what goes bump in the night, but meeting and interacting with people you highly respect is a much better lesson to teach children and I think that should have been the focus. Maybe it would have spiced up the episode a bit more.
I also realized one of the big reasons Rainbow Dash, and now Scootaloo bother me. As a friend pointed out: “why do all the ponies that like traditionally boy things sound like dykes?” Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash are tomboys, that’s completely fine, but giving them such stereotypical voices is a huge oversight for a show so focused on teaching young girls lessons. It’s making the ‘Asian’ character use r’s instead of l’s. We’ve moved beyond these hurtful stereotypes and we shouldn’t be teaching them to our children.
With that said, that’s a problem with the show, not with the episode. I did actually enjoy Princess Luna showing up to reassure Scootaloo. Luna is woefully underused ever since she moved over to the ‘good’ side. I’m glad she used her power over dreams to help Scootaloo when she needed it most. And yes, Rainbow Dash was actually good in this episode. “Sleepless in Ponyville” isn’t going to make a best episodes list, but it’s not the worst the series have to offer.