So there's been some contention at the Pony forum again. This one person still tends to only say anything positive on Rainbow Dash episodes. They're silent on most others, but I think any time they've said something about an episode featuring someone else, they say how awful it is. (Except possibly one time, and that surprised me.) It's like Rainbow Dash is the only reason they watch. I can understand only watching a show for a favorite character, but putting down any episode without them seriously makes me roll my eyes. I've never been able to decide whether they're a troll or whether they're just obsessed with Rainbow Dash. They seem to think she can do no wrong. Although it does seem like once they acknowledged that she didn't always make the best decisions, but it certainly made the episodes interesting.
Well, the other day I was reading the discussion post for a Rainbow Dash episode that aired a few weeks ago. The person posted, of course, and this time got mad saying that Rainbow Dash is so unfairly hated on the forum while Starlight Glimmer is so praised. Actually, there's other people who like Rainbow and hate Starlight, but that did get me pondering, because I too would usually rather watch a Starlight episode than a Rainbow one. However, I won't just blindly dismiss any Rainbow episode as bad just because I don't like her. It just ends up that most of them ... really aren't very good. (And that may be how the other person honestly feels about the episodes that don't focus on her.) But there have been exceptions and I've liked her better in said exceptions.
Of course, there's absolutely no argument that what Starlight did was infinitely worse than anything Rainbow did. But I think for me and maybe others, the problem stems back to something I tried to explain before, that when a character is inherently a "good guy", i.e., has never been a bad guy, I tend to hold them to a higher standard. Naturally I don't want a perfect character who never does anything wrong, but if one sees the flaws more than the good side, I tend to get very irritated and not like the character. That's often the case with Rainbow Dash. She's so full of herself and rude and can be so selfish that it's often the driving force behind her episodes. She has improved somewhat, but depending on the writing, sometimes she backslides even worse.
Then with Starlight Glimmer, she was a bad guy who has been trying to reform. And I'm a sucker for repenting bad guys. I love seeing her journey and how she's trying to be good. I tend to be a little more forgiving of some stumbling (within reason) with a character who has already walked a dark path, because they're trying to turn their life around and naturally it won't happen overnight. Starlight is not a supreme favorite character like Sunset Shimmer is, but she is a similar character in the fact of being a repentant bad guy under Twilight's tutelage. I am still a little skeptical of having her reform, honestly, after what a disturbing and obsessed villain she was, but since I love showing a bad guy character's journey to changing their life, I was willing to give her a chance and I do basically like how they've handled her as good.
Now, is it right to have this distinction? I don't know. But at least they're both female characters this time, heh. For me personally, Rainbow Dash tends to tick me off way more than the reformed Starlight Glimmer, except on certain occasions. I definitely didn't like when Starlight used the spell on Twilight's friends when she was panicked about not being able to get everything done that she was supposed to. And if she did stuff like that a lot, I'd probably like her less than Rainbow Dash. But she really is trying and seems to learn from her mistakes, instead of constantly repeating them like Rainbow Dash does.
Conversely, there were some people who actually liked that Starlight used the spell in that episode, and I believe their reasoning was that they liked that she wasn't completely good. Maybe things like that were what made the Rainbow Dash fan mad. The only thing I really liked about that episode was that she learned she screwed up big time. And she hasn't repeated any such mind-controlling antics since, to my memory.
In the end, if Rainbow Dash really fully abandoned her obnoxious behavior and could be more humble, I'd probably enjoy her journey as well. But since she keeps reverting back, it makes it very difficult for me. I also find it hard to fully connect with the 87 Donatello because he's rather arrogant, unlike other Donatellos. (Also because I'm not used to so many Donatello inventions failing, heh.) At least with Donatello, though, his arrogance isn't constantly in your face like it usually is with Rainbow Dash.
Then there's the issue that, well, 87 Baxter and Barney both believe themselves to be pretty awesome scientists and yet I like them. Baxter I felt deserved redemption after his life turned upsidedown, and then I wanted to redeem Barney after I wrote him into the position I did. But here's the thing with them: we don't even see much of them in canon, and not much at all of Baxter when he's stable and trying to be good. Even after he becomes more unstable and goes with Shredder, he only makes a comment now and then about his genius. As with Donatello, it's not constantly in your face. Then he says it a lot more after Shredder abuses him one time too many and he snaps and leaves, but that was in one episode and Shredder really had been treating him rotten. We don't really see much of what he'd be like had things not gone so downhill for him. Suppose he had been redeemed and was an ally, but there were many episodes focused on him being arrogant and he never seemed to learn much of anything from it. I think that would miff me a lot. I don't tend to focus much on his arrogance in my stories; mostly he's been humbled. And with Barney, as I fleshed him out it seemed that a lot of his arrogance was a mask; he hates himself.
With any fandom, I usually end up writing one or two characters with some traits that I have, when I feel they fit the characters. (Either that or I'll latch onto a character with some traits that I have. Or both.) I am both Baxter and Barney, albeit I think Barney has more of my traits than Baxter does. Luckily I've never hated anyone the way he started out hating Baxter, but I know other aspects of that anger, that frustration. I know what it's like to be so upset by someone's stupidity that you're mad at them because you love them and you don't want them hurt. I know what it's like to be blunt, to say things that probably shouldn't be said. I know what it's like to have an extreme self-hatred because of things you've done wrong. Of course, nothing I did compares to what Barney did, but I've hated myself for anything I've done that's hurt someone. I struggled with it for years before I could finally start forgiving myself, and sometimes I can still get upset. I know what it's like to abhor feeling vulnerable and to not want it. Not to cry in front of anyone (and often not when alone, either, although I've certainly worn down on that in recent years). To be so shaken by something that the only thing I can say is something not directly about the scene. To try not to show I'm shaken or feel bad and probably succeed.
But I am also shy. I have been a doormat. I often take things until I just can't anymore. I can be gentle and quiet and do stupid things.
I am both of them.