Hey! It looks like you're new here. You might want to check out the introduction.

It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
Friends Need Not Apply
Nobody was better at being an adult than Ocellus. That’s what she told herself every morning, staring in the bathroom mirror of her drafty studio apartment in downtown Manehattan. The first of her friends to move out of her parents’ house, the first of her friends to score an actual job interview—the first of her friends to learn how to change a lightbulb on her own! A real lightbulb!

But the job interview was what had her most excited this week. It only took three weeks of applying to every job in the Classifieds section, but she’d finally earned an invite to the top floor of Haruspex, Equestria’s leading magical science firm. With any luck, she’d be walking out as the newest member of their Transmutation Research lab.

She walked down Second Avenue with her head held high, barely yelping when a dead leaf crunched under her hoof. Her years spent at the School of Friendship had given her many things, but most importantly, it had given her confidence. She’d grown from a quivering child into a hot twenty-something with a chip on her shoulder and a host of suppressed anxiety issues. Just like in the movies!

She would ace this interview for sure, and she would make her friends back at the School of Friendship proud.

The interviewer slapped Ocellus’ resume back down on the desk. “Ms. Ocellus, I’ve been through a lot of job interviews in my life. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anypony so young with so much experience!”

Ocellus hid her blush. “I’m flattered, sir. But it’s nothing special; I’ve just always been taught to do my best wherever I can.”

“A five-year position interning at Ponyville Hospital, all the while tutoring grade schoolers in biology and chemistry, balanced out with an honorary position on the New Changeling Empire’s scientific research council... and that’s not even going into your research credits.” The interview chuckled. “Talk about a good first impression, missy.”

“Thank you,” said Ocellus, bowing her head. “And thank you to my alma mater, as well. Without them, I wouldn’t have had any of these opportunities.”

“I suppose that’s a perfect segue into reviewing your educational history, yeah?” asked the interviewer with a grin. He picked Ocellus’ resume again and scanned down the page—only for his smile to fade. “Eh, Ms. Ocellus... where exactly did you earn your degree?”

Ocellus beamed. “The School of Friendship!”

The interviewer stared.

“The School of Friendship,” Ocellus repeated, her beam dimming. “You know, in Ponyville? Headed by Princess Twilight Sparkle?”

“Didn’t that place get shut down by the EEA for illegal practices?”

“Only once.”

“Uh-huh.” He squinted at the paper. “And you earned your degree in...?”

“Friendship Philosophy!” Ocellus sang.

The interviewer pursed his lips. “Could you explain what exactly that means?”

Memories of her old school rushed back to Ocellus. Wings flitting in excitement, she explained, “Friendship Philosophy is the study of problems related to the theory of friendship: What is a friend? How do we make friends? What is the value of friendship? If one friend is tied to a railroad track and five friends are tied to another, is it moral to pull a lever and sacrifice the first friend, or leave the five to die? You know, basic things like that.”

The interviewer just blinked a few times.

Ocellus blinked right back. “If it makes any difference,” she added, “I never pulled the lever. Even during my final exam, when I had to go through the problem in real life.”

Putting the resume back down, the interviewer narrowed his eyes. “You do realize that this is a science lab, right? Do you know what that means?”

“Of course! I made friends with plenty of scientists over the years.”

The interviewer gaped—then smiled. “I’ve got just the job for you!”

Ocellus tried hard not to squeal.

Ocellus tried hard not to groan.

For the third hour in a row, Ocellus walked up and down the Haruspex mailroom, sorting envelopes and hauling fragile packages. Occasionally one would fall and she’d hear something crack, only to pull it back upright and keep on moving. Minimum wage wasn’t enough to deal with that sort of hassle.

She finished that morning’s load of outgoing mail—only for a whistle to blow, and another two-ton bag of mail to fall from a chute and onto her desk.

She sighed. “Is it too late to get a degree in Friendship Biomedical Engineering?”
« Prev   25   Next »
#1 · 4
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
…the first of her friends to learn how to change a lightbulb on her own!
Including Sandbar? Though I suppose that can’t be easy for a single earth pony.

I’m split on this one. It has a salient point, but it just feels mean-spirited. I guess I don’t like this much real life getting my ponies. Still, well put-together.
#2 · 3
I agree with FOME that this feels mean-spirited, not to mention more like a gussied-up rant than a coherent narrative, but Friendship School is the worst thing since G 3.5 and deserves to be mocked I can't help but find it funny nonetheless. I don't think this is a terribly good story, but it mixes screed and humor well, which is something.
#3 ·
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
The interview chuckled.

That's quite a feat for little Ocellus.
#4 · 1
How did I skip over this one the first time around? How did it manage to escape my clutches?


Anyway, I'm really feeling the satire here.

I feel like this entry would leave a sour taste in my mouth if I liked the whole Friendship School concept, but since I have no respect for that part of the show I find this to be a good little piece of catharsis.

That said, though, there are some problems I have with this.

First, and this has been pointed out already, some more proofreading would have helped a good deal, with both the phrasing and also the occasional typo. This looks rough. Not terrible, but it needs some work in this area.

Also, the setup for the interview is kind of awkward, and the exposition on the interviewer's part also struck me as forced.

The interview itself though, while I didn't laugh I had this devilish grin as I saw Ocellus slowly dig her own grave.

The ending is priceless, of course. I can re-read that part repeatedly.

I'm feeling a strong 7 to a light 8 on this.
#5 · 1
Could've been worse. She could've ended up in HayDonald's...
#6 · 1
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
This is kind of cute, but too sad for me to get any comedy from it. You picked the most pathetic character possible and I just end up feeling bad for her at the end. :fluttershysad:
#7 ·
I remember having this discussion in a thread over on Fimfiction. The whole “I’m sorry, but your ‘friendship credits’ are non-transferable” bit. It was mostly something discussed as a knee-jerk reaction to the whole poorly planned mess that was the school of friendship. In practice, it’s kind of depressing...
#8 · 1
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
Me likey. All right, so I'm like a couple of others up above and ain't no fan of the Friendship School concept. Everyone whose bias inclines them to like this fic, please raise your hand. (Raises hand).

But let's set that aside for a moment and concentrate on this fic as a fic. Ocellus is the perfect target for this; she's not a hate sink, so you do kinda feel bad for her when she gets stuck in the mailroom, but on the other hand her sweet naivety is practically asking for the universe to pull a fast one on her, like she's Charlie Brown and she's finally gonna kick that damn football this time. So good choice of character to pull this off: sympathetic and well-meaning, but just foolish enough to be an ideal target for a no-nonsense world.

I thought the dialogue did its job well, leading us from optimistic beginnings to the moment when it all goes wrong. Can't fault that cut and the parallel sentences in "Ocellus tried hard not to ______". You do shown signs of someone comfortable with arranging little comedic asides and setpieces too, and boyo, I found this comedic!

Obviously, 'tain't flawless. There is a rough quality to the prose, and one or two gags don't work in context. For instance, the third paragraph has a great joke about growing up into the sort of neurotic, sullen teen you see in the movies. In isolation, that's laugh-out-loud. Here? We've already established her as hypercompetent, and Ocellus is a nice girl anyway. Simultaneously calling her someone with "a chip on her shoulder" is inconsistent, and saying she has "anxiety issues" when the fic does virtually nothing to show that just empties the gag of any kind of payoff.

I loved the trolley problem reference, though. Philosophical jokes are my jam.

Solid entry, because it did make me laugh and in broad strokes it's an excellent piece. It just needs to sand off the rough edges.
#9 ·
I'm not sure why, but I kinda bounced off most of these jokes. I did smile at the last scene, but for most of the rest of the story I found things mildly pleasant but not quite humorous.

As for why, I'm sorry but I'm honestly not entirely sure. Comedy is a genre that I personally find harder to write and review for some reason. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that maybe the mash-up of the MLP setting with real-world job-searching woes isn't playing well together in my head. Or maybe it's just because I hate being reminded of the existence of the Friendship School. In any case, it's probably something super subjective and personal, so I don't hold it against the story.
#10 · 7
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
Congratulations, Ocellus! You just graduated from one of America's absolutely worthless colleges on an equally worthless liberal arts degree! Don't worry, your value as a worker was determined the instant you decided to study something nobody needs in a field nobody cares about from a school known more for its political correctness and adherence to diversity at the cost of properly preparing you for the real world. Enjoy your lifetime of minimum wage, and be happy you're at least getting that.
#11 · 1
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
Genre: <img src="thats_the_joke.jpg"/>

Thoughts: Behold, the futility of S8 Twilight's accomplishments! Huehuehuehue!!!


I dunno here. There's a central joke, or at least a focus of the satire. It's pretty one-note, though. It's dressed up all pretty with technically solid writing and a premise that seems ripe for comedy, but right now it isn't working for me.

...and cribbing from other reviewers helps me see why. Right now this is a finger in the eye of the Friendship School and its silliness, but it feels rather a bit light on story beyond that, and rather a bit mean to boot. It's solid but I can't really get into it.

Welp, I guess there's a tier for that...

Tier: Abstain
#12 ·
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
I thought for sure it would be a degree in Friendship Studies, because PhD's in Studies majors make the best mail clerks and baristas.
#13 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>georg >>PaulAsaran

Ugh, I sorta feel bad about writing this. The satire I was going for didn't come across well—hell, I don't know if I can even really say that I was going for satire.

Ever since the Friendship School became a thing, I've been asking the same question that I ask about places like Hogwarts: do students ever have time to learn really banal, normal things? Like, does Ocellus have math class? Does Harry Potter take foreign language courses, in between learning how to repel Death Eaters? So, this leads to the question: when Ocellus graduates from the Friendship School, is she prepared for post-school life?

And then the prompt came in, which made me think of a bad job interview—the sort of thing that makes you sigh and say, "Well, that could have gone better," after it's over.

The only episode of the new season I've seen is Horse Play, which doesn't really even involve the school. I don't watch the show anymore, and really don't have any opinions on the school itself. It should also be noted that I've just graduated from university as an English major, and am currently in the middle of applying for a new job, so it's not like I'm taking shots from some ivory STEM tower.

That said, when I'm getting comments like >>georg and >>PaulAsaran (the only comment I've ever received that legit made me regret writing a fic), it makes sense that some felt the story was mean-spirited. I need to refocus what I'm trying to poke fun at here—luckily, I've got some ideas already about how to do that.

>>FanOfMostEverything >>Trick_Question
I have to admit, I haven't actually seen a single scene with any of the Young Six talking, let alone showing off their personalities. I just skimmed their Wiki pages and asked Pascoite for a quick rundown on what they're like, and Ocellus seemed like the best choice.

Oh goodness. Thank you for pointing out this typo.

Yeah, the intro was basically me trying to tell jokes while also exposition-ing. I agree, a lot of the jokes don't fit/are irrelevant.

Not a response to your review, but how did I not guess that you wrote the Octavia & Vinyl fic? Looking back at it, it seems so obvious.
#14 · 1
Lol, Moose guessed it was mine too. I'd be curious to know what I do that's evidently so distinctive!

(Though granted, Moose and I have worked on GOBS of each other's stuff...)
#15 ·
>>Dubs_Rewatcher No, no, no. I *like* the idea. It's wonderful. No buts. (because that's where I normally expect to find a 'but' in a comment)
#16 · 1
the only comment I've ever received that legit made me regret writing a fic

Geez, that's not what I was going for at all. I just saw the parallels to the real world that I'd never associated with the School of Friendship before and felt the urge poke at one of my major annoyances: the modern American racket education system. I actually really liked the story.