MLP:ER – Griffon the Brush-off

(Yeah, I know this episode is undoubtedly a source for all the debates over RD’s… “tastes” and certainly Pinkie Pie doing the “Pepe Le Pew” run after Rainbow Dash doesn’t help, but that’s a topic too serious and volatile for here.  So let’s discuss the predator/prey relations this episode conveys.)

As any good student of the classics knows, griffons are a perfection of predation.  Half eagle – considered by our ancestors as the pinnacle hunter of the air.  Half lion – frequently chosen in cultures as the top predator of the land.  If the thing was also half shark, we’d have every zone of life covered (but humans that we are, we think of air and land first).  Yet here, we have a griffon, who must associate with equine creatures.  Need I remind you that with their size and energy a griffon would undoubtedly eat primarily horses, cattle and other large herbivores to maintain their energy requirement.  In this world with pegasi, it is obvious that griffons and them would be natural enemies (like donkeys and coyotes), always at odds for living space and food.

Yet here we have a griffon associating with ponies.  Why?  The only conclusion is that at some point in the past the griffon civilization was brutally defeated by the pony one in an undoubtedly horrific war.  Now broken, the griffons must make peace with the ponies, and here we see one of their children locked in a town full of prey that would have once ran from her in fear and terror!  Yet they laugh.  She is forced to eat apples (a food her beak and digestive system were clearly not designed to process) in the midst of a steak buffet.  Is it any wonder she’s perpetually angry?  Is it any wonder she barely restrains contempt of the creatures that have so broken her historical culture?  At the end, we can hear the undertones that the griffon isn’t shouting about how lame the ponies are, but is crying “Oppressors!”  Her “attack” on Fluttershy (horrendous though it was) was in actually just a lost and confused child trying to relive, even for just a moment, the glory her very bones cry out for.  In a lot of ways, Pinkie Pie was very culturally insensitive this episode.

Or, this episode is about how when we see our friends make mistakes, we should bear the pain of it and continue being their friend.  We shouldn’t sacrifice said friendship in the name of helping our friends.  That doesn’t help anyone.


12 thoughts on “MLP:ER – Griffon the Brush-off

  1. Nate, you’re so random! Your FiM reviews are much more interesting than whatever it is that I’m planning to do. I’m focusing on the boring old friendship theme…

    Seriously, though, if you think “Griffon the Brush-Off” is volatile, then you might want to handle “Hurricane Fluttershy” with care if you get around to it.

  2. IIRC, a Griffon’s chief food was horses– I also seem to remember some theory on a “hippogryph” being an expressly fake creature on this basis. Symbolic and all that jazz, but not held to be as “real” as gryphons.
    Something about bones in the desert.

  3. Haha, I like that explanation!

    I know some people have interpreted that episode as “Some people are just jerks, no matter how nicely you treat them”, but I always saw it more as “People can have more than one friend at the same time” and “Don’t interpret everything as people hating you.”

    • I think both explanations are combinable into one lesson. Obviously, before Gilda showed up RD and Pinkie Pie were already friends with Rarity, Fluttershy, AJ, and Twilight. I don’t recall PP ever getting jealous of RD spending time with Fluttershy or Twilight (I’m guessing the mane 6 don’t always hang out at the same time). PP should have already realized you could have more than one friend at one time. What’s the difference with Gilda? Well, she is definitely a jerk. So, you can have more than one friend at the same time, as long as they’re not jerks!

      • At this point in the story, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash were only “friends” because Nightmare Moon had forced these six ponies together. They were still working out their differences at this point, so the early episodes feature a lot of conflict between them–such as when Rarity and Applejack had to endure a sleepover together. “Griffon the Brush-Off” has nothing to do with Rainbow’s supposed “tastes”; it has to do with Rainbow figuring out that Pinkie’s cool to hang with, and defending her when one of her old friends from her glory days turns out to be a bully. Reading sexual subtext into it entirely misses the point.

        Pinkie clearly has a girl-crush on Rainbow Dash, but that’s not the same thing as wanting to jump in bed with her.

  4. Of course, the later “Cutie Mark Chronicles” and “A Friend in Deed” episodes changed the back-story a bit. Now some of the Mane 6 (Fluttershy and RD) knew each other long before Twilight moved to Ponyville and Pinkie Pie apparently went to great lengths to become friends with everypony. Also, notice Applejack seems to be in most of those conflict episodes (Applejack vs. Twilight, Applejack vs. Rarity, Applejack vs. Rainbow Dash, etc.).

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