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August 28, 2011
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As you all know, Fall Weather Friends should come before Winter Wrap-Up.

There are many concerns about episode chronology when considering season one as a whole.  There are a bunch of monsters at the start of the season, while the CMC take over during the second half.  The first half is pretty AJ/RD/PP heavy, while the last half is overloaded with Rarity and Fluttershy.  The Gala episode has an Everyone Laughs ending, but to me it feels tacked on and anti-climactic, and doesn't work as a season finale as well as Cutie Mark Crusaders would.  (S2 update: we now know the Discord episodes were produced as the season/series finale.)

If we take the air order as the chronological order:
episodes 1-10 summer/fall, year 1000 of the Summer Sun Celebration
11 Winter Wrap-Up 1001
12 Call Of The Cutie 1001
13 Fall Weather Friends 1001
14-26: spring/summer 1002

This means the mane 6 got their tickets right after saving Equestria from Nightmare Moon, then 1 3/4 years later they go to the Gala.  Season 2 update: Although a royal ball may have a waiting list that far in advance, air chronology is also impossible because Secret of my Excess is focused around Spike's first Ponyville birthday.

This is my attempt to fix unbalancing issues and chronological flaws.  The season is re-ordered with these factors in mind:
- breaking up mane 6/monster/CMC clumps
- post-pilot episodes featuring most of mane 6 before Ticket Master turns them into selfish parodies of themselves
- putting bulk of apple-harvesting episodes pre-Applebuck Season
- mini-arcs of episodes that work well together
So here it is:

(revised 5/31/12)

Summer/Fall 1000:
01 - Mare In The Moon
02 - Elements of Harmony
08 - Look Before You Sleep
09 - Bridle Gossip
07 - Dragonshy
03 - The Ticket Master
10 - Swarm of the Century
16 - Sonic Rainboom
05 - Griffon The Brush-Off
20 - Green Isn't Your Color
06 - Boast Busters
12 - Call of the Cutie
04 - Applebuck Season
15 - Feeling Pinkie Keen
13 - Fall Weather Friends
30 - Luna Eclipsed (season 2)

Spring 1001:
11 - Winter Wrap Up
17 - Stare Master
24 - Owl's Well That Ends Well
14 - Suited for Success
22 - A Bird in the Hoof
26 - The Best Night Ever
21 - Over a Barrel
25 - Party of One
18 - Show Stoppers
19 - A Dog and Pony Show
23 - The Cutie Mark Chronicles

The reversal of Sonic Rainboom and Griffon The Brush-Off is something many have commented on:
Pinkie Pie: Hoof-biting action overload! She was like a stunt superstar, flying higher and higher, and then Rainbow Dash swooped down--swoosh--and right before she hit the ground--shoom-she pulled up--rrrmmm!
Twilight Sparkle: Uh-huh.
Pinkie Pie: And then she looped around and around like fwoom fwoom fwoom fwoom fwoom fwoom fwoom!

(The fwoom fwoom fwoom at the end doesn't match, but everything right before matches perfectly, although it could also describe any diving stunt.  She's Pinkie Pie, yet some accept her excited noises as exact canon for some reason.)

Sonic Rainboom/Griffon The Brush-Off: Pinkie Pie describes Rainbow Dash
Applebuck/Pinkie Keen/FWF/Luna Eclipsed/WWU: seasonal changeover is unavoidably the bulk of Applejack-heavy episodes in the season, so I broke it up.
Suited/Bird/Best Night Ever: Fluttershy may be helping Rarity make the dozen of each dress for Hoity Toity, which is why she looks through a rack of them in her home in A Bird In The Hoof
Over A Barrel/Party of One: Pinkie's least effective song is followed by her least effective party invitations

Season 2's Luna Eclipsed fits thematically in the fall following Luna's return, and Twilight pens the letter, so it need not follow Lesson Zero.

Let me know if you see anything clearly out of order.  Apples and Gala dresses don't count; this show was not made to withstand logic hammering, per Lauren.  And please let me know if this enhances (or detracts from) your viewing experience.
Has it ever bugged you that Winter Wrap-Up aired before Fall Weather Friends? Does the last half of season one feel too full of Cutie Mark Crusaders? Why does Rarity complain about running out of time... 11 episodes before the Gala?

Introducing a new way to watch MLPFiM Season One. With better character arcs and fewer apples after Applebuck Season, this revised viewing order will make you fall in love all over again.

MLPFiM is Hasbro's intellectual property, with deepest thanks to *fyre-flye AKA Lauren Faust for giving us this wonderful sandbox to play in.

Update - regarding the Gala dresses and the Suited/Bird/Gala mini-arc: I've been revising this playlist for at least three months. I tried and tried to put all the episodes with Gala dresses after Suited For Success, but other contradictions popped up, and any hope of avoiding character-focus clumping was ruined. At one point, the season had five Pinkie episodes in a row, and ended with ALL the Rarity/Fluttershy episodes. (When Lauren said this show doesn't stand up to logic hammering, she wasn't kidding.) So I ended up ignoring the Gala dresses on the racks most of the time. My excuse? They're prototypes, Rarity's house style, of which the Gala dresses eventually become the pinnacle.

The only attention I paid to the Gala dresses was A Bird In The Hoof. Rarity wore her pristine Gala dress, so it obviously hadn't been ruined yet. Fluttershy looked in her closet for something to wear, and brushed aside her own Gala dress, along with those of Twilight, Rainbow, and Pinkie. (There was a fifth dress, a blue-sleeved dress with purple parts which matched the "fru-fru, glittery, lacey outfit" Applejack briefly donned in Look Before You Sleep.) My explanation? Rarity knew she couldn't possibly complete six dozen dresses by "next Tuesday" like Hoity Toity wanted, so she asked Fluttershy to help her sew them.

As to why I put Suited For Success so close to the Gala, Rarity was stressing out about the amount of time the revised dresses were costing her. That could just have been time pressure regarding the upcoming (and presumably heavily advertised) fashion show. However, Twilight strikes me as a bit of a procrastinator, and I wouldn't put it past her to wait until two weeks before the Gala to ask Rarity to re-sew that button.

Between the first and second fashion shows, there was enough time for her reputation to get sunk by Hoity Toity's review, and for local customers to cancel their orders. (Pinkie said she hadn't come out "for days.") If she had been planning to use that time to make ultra-fashionable Gala dresses for other customers, it was all freed up to wallow in whatever it is that ponies are supposed to wallow in.

Season 2 edits: full Season 1+2 Revised Chronology coming soon!
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BejeweledApples Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Winter comes before fall, genius.
AJPart Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
This is what makes sense to me, but does NOT make sense taking the base episodes themselves.

Expecting Twilight (Mrs. OCD/shut in herself) to make friends in ONE DAY is absurd.

Expecting the Summer Sun celebration to be ready in one day is also absurd.

Celestia sent Twilight down MONTHS in advance. Obstinantly to prepare for the summer sun celebration (Because they sometimes take a looooooong time to prepare for some events (gala)) but REALLY to give Twilight time to make some real friends.

Winter wrap-up is just too critical an episode and tells the story of an utterly virgin Twilight having NO place in town, but trying to do her assignment anyway.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders utterly destroy the illusion of continuity after show stoppers, so ripping apart the show and rearranging the bits is the only way I can think of to keep happy with the show.

So, for me it's:

Friendship is Magic, part 1 (during winter)
Winter Wrap up
Friendship is Magic, part 2

The rest of my timeline is basically then in order
BejeweledApples Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hm...I guess I can't argue with that logic.
BejeweledApples Featured By Owner May 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I said to ignore the seasons comment. But what?
DuplexFields Featured By Owner May 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
If you're talking about the thumbnail, it shows the original order of the episodes, not the rearrangement.
BejeweledApples Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Ignore the seasons comment. I just realized it doesn't make sense.
BejeweledApples Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
And also; I thought the orders for the dresses came AFTER the second fashion show.
CelineSSauve Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013
And now that Season 4's premier implies that it's only been a year since Episode one, it's time to do this all over again! ;D
DuplexFields Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I've got Season 2 pretty much laid out, but it's taking some tweaking.  Also, how does S4 premiere imply one year?  Equestria Girls makes it plain that Sunset Shimmer has been on Earth for either 2.5 or 5 years, and the comic showing Twilight as a foal when Sunset was Celestia's student makes 5 years more probable.
CelineSSauve Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
I'm not sure I buy that logic on Sunset Shimmer having any influence on the length of the series.

As for the one-year: I doubt Celestia would have cut Luna out of the big Sun celebration (especially with the way she's so happy with being able to finally have Luna take part again at the start of Season 4). It's kinda like the point you made about Rarity and the button on Twilight's dress. When I watch that episode, I never think that Rarity is stressed to make the dresses before the _Gala_ but rather before Rarity's little Ego-boosting fashion show which she'd scheduled and has to be done before.
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