Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Sunday, May 4, 2014

FiM Fiction (Collab) Review: Mother May I?

Welcome back, internet travelers! As the post banner may suggest, we are spicing things up a little bit around here. You see, I love it when another critic wants to try something new with me so when Fantasia Archmage came to me looking to collab on a review, I quickly read up on his own reviews and decided “Why not?” So here we are! Head below the break to find our reviews on Moabite’s Mother May I? and make sure to check out some of Fantasia’s stuff as well! 

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Mother May I? by Moabite
Complete! (Completed on 13th Feb 2012)

Derpy explains her medical condition to her daughter.

Tags: Sad, Slice of Life - Rating: Everyone

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So this is how it works: Fantasia and I will present our own reviews and give our own score. Then average the scores at the end. Fair enough? Good. So without further ado: 

Hello everyone and whatever time of day it is for you good to see you. This is a Fantasia Archsage Review, and I'm here to present to you guys, “Mother May I?”.

I’m sure most of you read it. But going in my now currently 302 Read Later list I decided to start from the back, aaaand this was one that caught my eye, so I looked at the title and well it was pretty normal, I mean at least it may me want to find out what Ditzy would want to do.

Looking down at the description, I was rather amazed at the fact that it was just one sentence. 

“Derpy explains her medical condition to her daughter.”

I don't really see a lot of descriptions for one-shots this small, but it also shows that the descriptions for one shots do have to be long if you could tell everything with revealing much anything in one sentence.

It got the point across and had you immediately thinking “What could be Derpy’s medical condition?” without being too wordy or anything, which I think was really nice. Given the level of audience this story I feel was written for I feel that was the appropriate length for a description not saying that it’s not good for it to be longer.

Now overall I feel the story was written pretty well, It was a generally small loving Mother and daughter story which I quite enjoyed.  However, I felt the author could have elaborated and better fleshed out the mother-daughter relationship between Derpy and Dinky. Moabite would've made the characters more relatable by showing the role Derpy plays in strengthening and reassuring her daughter. 

I can't really say so much without spoiling any part of it, since the story is that short. My only real negative comment on this story is if you're looking for a story with great depth, it might feel lacking by quite a bit both in length and feel. 

I also felt the tone of the story wasn't well established. I feel the author didn't put enough behind the story to give off the feel that most of these types of stories would give which is what I wasn't flowing well for most of the story. I was deeply impacted in short.

Mother May I? could have been delved deeper into its characters and the emotions they were going through. That’s what I feel the author didn’t successfully pull off with this story. So the impact of this story wasn't executed to the best but… all in all it’s still reads pretty good short read, and I still think it is worth a read if you don’t really feel like reading anything serious and rather perfect for like a child bedtime story if I might add. 

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As you'll see soon enough, Fantasia and I share the same opinion but I feel it goes a bit deeper than that. Mother May I? is the shortest story I've ever reviewed and I can't say I would recommend it to anyone. Its almost non existent plot doesn’t develop but instead can be described as a groups of similar events depicted in “short stories.” The characters give off the telltale signs of a story made specifically to puck at your heart strings. The few lines of dialogue between Dinky and Derpy are offensively stereotypical at worst and uninteresting at best. Moabite's Mother May I? can be best described as a horribly shallow semi-sadfic and I wouldn't recommend it, even if it would take you about five minutes to read. 

Probably the most glaring issue in Mother May I? would be its plot, or therefore lack of. Rather than having the standard succession of introduction to conclusion, Mother May I? is just of set of randomly “connected” short stories with no substance on the bones of the conflict. There’s conflict but no context or real weight behind it. All of Mother May I?’s story elements are affected negatively as a result. We do not see the daily life of these characters the story wants us so desperately to care about. The story crawls along because it’s starving to death. Where is the part where Derpy is severely devastated by her embarrassing condition? Where is the long road she has to take to push passed it? If Moabite really wanted to tug at the reader’s heartstrings, Mother May I?’s 1,500 words isn't going to cut it. 

As much as I hate to say it, the characters were lackluster at best. They follow your stereotypical description of how someone acts around disabled family members. In some scenes, the cast was straight up offensive; minimizing the true distress that comes with being disabled to some cursing and embarrassing moments. Aside from that, Derpy and Dinky are glued together haphazardly to bring a grieving and saddened act to the story. That’s really all they are. The most character development we see out of either of them is, like I said, stereotypical and shallow at best. It’s hard to expect any emotion from the reader when there’s so little to relate to in the cast. 

Subsequently, the dialogue is also rather lacking in depth and development. As Chris wrote in his fabulous article, How to Write a Horribly Offensive Sadfic, one of the key features of a horribly offensive sadfic is to “parrot actions and dialogue without any comprehension.” Not to be passive aggressive, but guess what Mother May I? does?! Most of the lines of dialogue spoken by Dinky and Derpy are exactly what makes this story so cliched and offensive. They're what make this story so shallow and uninteresting. Frankly, this isn't even what displeases me the most in Mother May I?. 

While the issue pertains mostly the plot and how it progresses, I felt it was important to touch on how Mother May I? concluded. Even though the story is a five minute read, I must warn you: there are spoilers ahead. We see Mother May I? open with a brief discussion between Derpy and Dinky in their home, then it moves to some embarrassing moments when Derpy disability (that being her lazy eye) dramatically affects her day-to-day activities , then another brief discussion with Derpy and Dinky at home and the end. The problem is: while there is conflict, it’s hard to tell exactly what it is nor is it concluded. The opening scene’s dialogue and the majority of the story relates to how Derpy’s disability affects her, but the closing scene is about Dinky and if her mother would still love her if Derpy’s condition was passed on to her. Suddenly, I’m rather confused. If the story was about Derpy’s condition, why end with a dialogue about motherly love and leave the “conflict” unresolved? Spoilers end here. Mother May I? doesn’t elaborate on the conflict and instead feels comfortable concluding with a moment of happiness knowing that Dinky will never be unloved. Jumping to another conflict and resolving that one doesn’t resolve the original one. It just avoids it. I can't say that is anywhere close to acceptable for a conclusion and storytelling in general. It’s not acceptable for real life conflicts either but that’s beside the point. 

Mother May I?’s underdeveloped characters, shallow and uninteresting dialogue, and confusing and unresolved conflict just make this another story in a growing pile of offense sadfics on FiM Fiction, unfortunately. I personally believe a story with Derpy’s “condition” as pretext for family and everyday stress is a fantastic stage for some deep and moving characters and story elements, but that kind of depth just isn't here. One day, my friends. Thanks for reading! This is Amy Clockwork, wishing you a wonderfully week. I'll see you next time.

Read Mother May I? here

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