Those who know me in person know that I have a fable for mirrors in Literature and especially movies and TV shows. My first term paper was about the mirror in Dracula and Jekyll and hyde and I kept doing it (for Bloody Mary in Supernatural and Ghostwhisperer, and in my bachelor Thesis in Snow White) so of course I had to take a look at the MLP episode of „Too many PinkyPies“ and the mirror-lake she uses to duplicate herself.
This again goes also into Doppelganger theory, for that topic please take a look at my last article „What about Cadence and Queen Chrysalis“
So thinking about mirrors and theory on mirrors:
First of all: You wouldn’t believe how much there is to say about mirrors! I my BA thesis I have like 10 Pages solely dedicated to them and their different real, cultural and psychological values so I can’t simply copy my thesis here and I can’t explain everything in detail. I’ll try my hardest to put things in a nutshell as well as I can and stick only to the stuff I need for the analysis. Still this will be a rather long article.
Observations on the real mirror (I talk about the plain, not bended mirror here!):
1. The mirror works as a prosthesis in the way that they broaden our field of vision (which is the origin of many believes linked to the mirror I will come to later)
2. The mirror is expected to show us the ‚truth‘ (Umberto eco „Über Spiegel“), meaning we trust in what they show us.
3. When talking about mirrors we use a language that makes it seem as if there was another reality in the reflection (the term ‚mirror inverted‘ or saying the ‚left becomes right and right becomes left‘ for example) (again from Umberto Ecos „Über Spiegel“)
Mirrors and Culture (all infos from:Hildenbrock in „Das andere Ich“) :
1. The mirror shows the true self/soul of a person
2. A soul of a dead person can be trapped in a mirror
3. The reflections the should thus destroying the reflection equals destroying the soul
4. Show deformities in the nature of a person
Lacans Mirror-Stage Theory (Book used: Lacan, Jacques. Das Spiegelstadium als Bildner der Ichfunktion, wie sie
uns in der psychoanalytischen Erfahrung erscheint, in: Schriften I.):
The theory basically and very easily said states that children from 6 months onwards start recognizing themselves in a mirror. Children then see themselves for the first time as a whole, single being, not connected to the mother and also not only fragments of itself.
This helps building the social self (Lacan describes as „je“), the child realizes others see it like it can see itself in the mirror and so it starts recognizing that its actions have a social impact on others (Children cry to get the attention from their mothers or to get what they want). In contrast to that would be the ego, so my personal view on my self with me wanting and doing what I do without taking others into account.
Very simply put it means someone or something ‚mirrors‘ something else. Just what it sais basically. In her essay „Magic Mirror in Snow White“ Nancy Van den Berg-Cook explains how important mirroring is for children but on a smaller scale for adults. Parents need to mirror their children’s actions that they can learn what is right and what’s wrong. So when a child smiles, and the mother smiles the child will understand that it’s smiling can make others smile and it’s a good thing. If a child is neglected in this aspect it is likely to form a narcissistic personality disorder.
Ok I hope that was enough for mirrors and not too much either ^^
but let’s also check out mirrors and doppelganger ^^
1. Mirrors, like doppelgangers show the true nature of the protagonist, or rather is dark desires, which they try to hide but cannot suppress.
2. Since the reflection is the soul and the doppelganger is the reflection he represents a part of the soul.
3. Doppelganger helps in identity crisis and character growth, just like the mirror helps fixing external flaws and according to superstitions also show flaws of the soul.
4. That the soul gets a body in a mirror includes that as a reflection it has a body and can be hurt, this means smashing of the mirror will in fact attack the other self.
5. Lacans Theory: ego and Je, are now divided into first and second self. (usually the mirror is the ego and the first self the Je)
6. Additionally the moral deficiencies like the First Selfs fear to be unaccepted by society the doppelgänger are shown by mirrors. This way it works as a mirror on how others see them, or might see them if they knew about these character traits.
-> The mirror becomes a tool to help the first self to overcome anxieties and to unite the ego and the Je
Ok now let’s take a look at „Too many Pinky pies“
Sadly I couldn’t find single clips from the episode that would be helpful to re watch it if it has been some time ^^
So basically the story is about how PinkyPie figures she can’t have fun with everyone at the same time since ponies do stuff in different locations. Not being able to decide what to do she remembers a nursery rhyme from her Nana to a „mirror pond“ where she can clone herself.
The clone is all about fun but has no memory of anything, and it runs into the same problem PinkyPie ran into, not being unable to decide between two fun things. So real Pinky brings her clone to the pool and now there is 4 and 3 of those then clone again without Pinkie wanting them to do so.
In the end the Fun-Zombie Pinkies drive Ponyville crazy only the real Pinky gets all depressed because she herself has become unsure about her identity as PinkyPie. She suggests to Twilight who found a spell to send the clones back but has the problem she could accidentily send back the wrong Pinky as well a test so boring only the real Pinky could pass it. This test is watching Paint dry, and in the end all clones get send back, Pinky realizes its Ok to have to choose and sometimes even to just relax alone.
Ok now let’s take a look on what we can deduce from that!
First Pinky is in a state of crisis because she wants to have Fun (her Je talking) with all her friends but can’t do that, she needs more of herself.
Her clone is shown as a look-alike, so it’s a doppelganger and a very clearly only ego, it has not social knowledge what soever. And apparently they don’t care, all they want is to have fun.
Pinky on the other hand is in this episode described as Pony who does care about her friends well being (she is extra careful to let RD have some peace and quiet at the lake) and in „A friend in Deed“ we get to know how dependably she can be and how great her memory is. She is very much a social Pony, but in this episode her ego is about to overpower her.
The clones are her reflection so it is part of her soul… this is kind of disturbing thinking about the scene where all the clones are sent back into the Pond…but I would interpret their returning to the pool rather as the reunion of ego and Je for Pinky, her learning the lesson and solving her identity problem.
So back to the mirror: The mirror very clearly works as for Pinky as a prothesis, at least that is her initial goal. She wants to see and experience stuff she otherwise couldn’t, having Mirror-Pinky go to AJs Barn-Raise and experiencing the fun. As we see this does not work out the way it was planned but that’s at least the original goal.
The mirror also seem to hold a kind of reality, since the reflection of Pinky can just walk out of the water, like that. Also the other Pinkies are ’sent back‘ which also makes it sound like there is some actual space in the reflection of the Pond which your soul, at least the ego Part of it, enters and than can exit after saying the right words.
Now I want to come to the mirroring because this is what happens to PinkyPie when things get out of hand. In „A Friend in Deed“ we get to know how annoying Pinky can be, to Cranky Doodle she probable first felt like one of her clones, some mindless thing that just annoys everyone. Also in „Too many PinkyPies“ we start of with Twilight being very annoyed by Pinky time and again. Although she is not as over the top as the other Pinkies, sometimes, to some Ponies the real one feel probably the same (we remember in „Griffon the Brush-of“ RD’s reaction to seeing Pinky…) which Pinky hardly recognises or cares about.
Seeing her clones go on rampage in the Village that much over the top mirrors her own behaviour and she can realize how this is not always good, that there is something more important than fun. Until now her ‚having-fun-trips‘ always ended well, unlike in this scenario. She also sees the limits of mindlessly going on a fun rampage for the first time observing everyponies reactions as a bystander.
We see this realization in the very end where she, instead of trying hard to have fun with everyone simply goes to sleep.
Worst thing happening is her loosing faith in her identity
She was not really in an identity crisis before but her clones actually brought one upon her. Although to the viewer it is clear she is the real one, since she has memories of her friends and actually something else on the mind than fun, but even in the image of herself she seems to think she is nothing but a fun-zomby which is why she can’t identify herself anymore.
The Test is a way to acertain herself, and it works. Seeing how her clones are only her „Je“ which is not interested in social relatrions they have no reason to stay focused like the real PinkyPie has, wanting to keep her bonds she made with her friends.
So yeah interesting concept ^^ I LOVED the episode it’s one of my favourites (next to „Party of One“ 😉
Hope it was interesting for you guys ^^
Drydan, Linda. The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles. Palgrave Macmillam. Basingstoke. 2003. Print
Eco, Umberto. Über Spiegel und andere Phänomene. trans. Burkhart Kroe ber. Hanser. München. 1988 . print
Hildenbrock, Aglaja. Das andere Ich. Stauffenburg Colloquium, Tübingen. 1986. Print
van den Berg-Cook, Nancy. “The Magic Mirror in Snow White” cgjung- vereniging.nl. C.G. Jung Vereinigung Nederland. 2006
von Franz, Marie-Louise. Spiegelungen der Seele. Kösel-Verlag. München.