Today’s story puts over-the-top action on the menu.
Twilight Sparkle Gets A Free Salad
[Comedy] [Random] • 9,142 words
One beautiful morning, Twilight Sparkle decides she wants a free salad. After a small amount of theft, assault, battery, and arson, she sits down to enjoy what is sure to be the best tasting salad ever.
…Or she would have, if it weren’t for the Equestrian Intelligence Service locking her up as a potential threat to national security. Now, Twilight must escape a maximum security holding facility hidden deep underneath Canterlot. And to do it, she’ll need a paperclip, a spymare catsuit, an escape plan, and an alliance with the dastardly Drakbog, King of Frogs.
FROM THE CURATORS: While some stories achieve greatness because they invite the reader to explore hidden depths, there’s also something to be said for tales that make bold promises up front and then deliver. Twilight Sparkle Gets A Free Salad — and its protagonist’s destruction of a fast-food restaurant — is firmly in that second camp. “It’s a perfect exercise in over-the-top ridiculousness,” Present Perfect said. “It’s one of those few random comedies that really avails itself well of both tags.” For his part, Chris praised the balance it brought to that extreme approach: “Free Salad is a comedy of hyper-exaggeration, in terms of both characters and overall plot,” he said. “But while this might be an exaggerated setting, it’s a consistently exaggerated one, which lets the reader feel moored in the story even as they’re able to appreciate the absurdities on which it’s founded.”
What makes this story shine is that that exaggeration works. “It’s about Twilight freaking out in a way that’s actually funny,” Present Perfect said, while Chris praised the range of its silliness: “Even outside of its core humor, there’s a nice blend of other comedy, from cheap shots at academia to visual gags rendered (often surprisingly well) into a written medium.” Horizon appreciated that too: “Just because a comedy is random doesn’t mean it has to be dumb. This cracks some remarkably sharp jokes, like The Manager’s academic background and Twilight’s explanation for her martial arts skills.”
And while not everything reinforced that humor, even the parts which didn’t had some pleasant surprises. “For the most part, the fight scenes don’t contribute to the comedy — though gags like the salad left behind the blast door sneak in around the edges — but they are vivid and clever, especially the gravity manipulation,” Horizon said. What that added up to, as AugieDog said, was a welcome bit of whimsy: “I did end up skimming the fight scenes, but this sort of smartly-delivered silliness always has a place in my cheese-like brain.”
Read on for our author interview, in which AestheticB discusses pony-filled singularities, justified justification, and melodramatically vomiting sisters.