>The problem with Fluttershy here is that she is used as a tool for the storytelling.
Usually this is a good thing. In fact, I believe that it's one of the best ways to create a story: make story first and attach characters later, so that the characters suit the story, not the other way around.
I'm used to say that are the characters's desires which make the story, their actions and their objectives, not otherwise; but is the same concept wrote in a different way.
I ever thought that your points are correct, but until now these errors were not irreparable (even in S5, that is late) becouse they don't make heavy contradictions on the main theme. Many of these can be put aside without affect (too much) the story's meaning or the role of the characters; just is not the best way to write, but still doing its work.
However this episode makes this contradiction on Fluttershy. Before I would not say that FiM was "broken", maybe "cracked", but now I must. The fans can be fooled by Discord and fun stuff, but who cares for the story and characters not.
It can be an error that don't happens anymore, but if they didn't saw that in writing/revision phase, they ignore what they really done. And I can expect that happens again.
>I would say that Fluttershy has grown up, or has evolved, or whatever. Maybe the Elements/Rainbow Power/something else has affected her magically to no longer be a timid person, because FiM absolutely loves juggling character traits around using unexplainable magic. Least we forget, everyone in the main cast has been brainwashed by Twilight twice, and they remain brainwashed to this very day.
I find the changes in the characters is a good thing: it give the impression that their friendship affects them in better. With time they gained new traits, and a general concept is that more details has a character, more defined become his personality.
What I agree is that this was badly done in FiM: some characters gained much, others remained (or became) flat. Fluttershy has lost and gain something: now she is more self-confident, with a more evident conflict between her inner strenght and the exterior weakness; but she losts also that common thing with Rarity that bond her in the group, making her an aquaintance than a friend. Twilight has more common things and experiences with Zecora that should be her one of her true friends.
Same thing for the other girls, Pinkie losts her clever in favour of randomess without gaining nothing, AJ remains a flat character as in S1. Dash is one of the few that really gains something, she is more valorous than before (but she remain someone who acts without thinking). Twilight overall I like what is became, from a snobbish, arrogant and introverted girl to an affectionate and responsable individual unsafe of her future, but willing to face it. She gain a good theme; unfortunately, seems the staff is unable to develop it as she deserves.
Anyway, the original concepts hidden by Lauren were more interesting than what I see now, expecially for Pinkie Pie: a "free spirit" that seek to do things in her own ways, caring few of what other thinks. She is really deteriorated very much...
>And this is one of the biggest problems of the entire show, from start to finish! If you pay attention, you can see that it virtually never shows how to make friends from scratch and on your own.
Unfortunately, that's true.
I think also lacks of more two-characters only episodes with couple few or never used. Those are ones that makes the "intimate moments" you need to bond the character between them. The S2 has settled some internal couples and forgot how to forge others: Pinkie/Twilight, Dash/Fluttershy, Rarity/AJ, and now they very rarely break this scheme. Actually they seems being more friend with someone and less with the others.
If only they managed to mix better the couples in the episodes, they could had created the feeling that the six share an intimate reason to stick togheter.
Let's track a "lost occasion" in Hurrican Fluttershy. In the middle of episodes Fluttershy runs away, seeking confort with her animal friends. Why is a waste? Becouse no one of her "friends" worries and seeks her. No one seems try to help her anyway. What good friends she has, they never being there when she really needs! Again, Rarity could had worked well here: she knows what is the stress when anybody expect the best from you, and show that Rarity, which is very different, can share something with her.
>This episode would've been a great opportunity if they replaced Treehugger with someone from the main six. This would make the friendship seem stronger, and would give other main characters stuff to do, apart from just being there in the background. But I guess this would require Fluttershy to invite one of the main six to the Gala, which would imply that this one memeber of the six wasn't invited, which would be very odd.
Changing some details, that could have been a better approach.
The "compagnon" that any character brings to the party is just an excuse to put the Smooze in the scene, but changing this don't affect the moral of the story. Pinkie Pie could have been the right candidate, becouse she's seems one of the few character that appreciate him, but Discord for some reason wants avoid her. What could have happened if Discord tried to stay away from Pinkie, while she continuously follow him all time, thwarting all his efforts to shake off the pink mare (and Pinkie can do that)? And if Pinkie undestands to being only used, probably she can also doing something to teach Discord how rude he is. Discord and Pinkie have potential to make crazy and stupid stuff togheter, is strange that they waste this possibility.
Yeah, probably would have been a better episode indeed.
> It's highly unlikely that FF will repeat the mistake, at least early on. Usually early on the focus is on the main characters, since the story has to explain who they are. FiM is failing in this sense because FiM has already explained everything about the main six, and now it relies on adding more and more side characters.
Is an error that any writer can falls in any moment of its career. I can hope that the Funtasia's staff is able to avoid this, becouse it has some old writers. Also, looking the four synopsys of Funtasia episodes, those seems focus on few characters at times. Excluding "Liar Liar" that cointain near all cast (Rose-Bella-Willow and maybe Lynn, we will see for Cedric), "Alone at Last" focus on Lynn-Rose, and "The Crush" on Rose-Cedric (with Lynn in a supporting role). "The Missing Student" is around Rose-Zack-Fabian, that make me think that Fabian could be more recurring than we imagine.
Sounds more plots focused on struggle between the relationship of the characters, than against a common difficulty.
>Go and watch any episode of season 4: almost all of them feature at least one new character who at one point or another stands forward to progress the story.
I would blame more Megan McCharty that suffers the "Add more stuff that you can and don't care to explain" syndrome that is a curse for a fantasy setting (and for any story too). They showed so few things of Equestria and their characters that there still a lot of material to use without putting new one.