|My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Jayson Thiessen |
Jim Miller (co-director)
|Written by||Amy Keating Rogers|
|Featured music||"Music in the Treetops" and "Find the Music in You" by Daniel Ingram|
|Original air date||February 15, 2014|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"Filli Vanilli" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as well as the seventy ninth overall. Written by Amy Keating Rogers, directed by Jayson Thiessen and co-directed by Jim Miller, the episode centers around Fluttershy secretly standing-in for Big McIntosh in a few concerts. BigMac lip-syncs on stage to hide it, but they are caught when Fluttershy accidentally knocks the curtain down. Aired on February 15, 2014, on The Hub, the episode was viewed by 584.000 people and received praise from critics for its writing and overall message.
Fluttershy sings her animals a beautiful song in the morning. Hearing this, her friends suggest that she should perform with the Pony Tones vocal quartet at a benefit concert. She refuses this due to her stage fright, even though she is a big fan of the Pony Tones. The next morning, the group comes together for a rehearsal. However, Big McIntosh, a member of the group who is supposed to sing bass at the concert, lost his voice during a turkey call competition. Now with a member less, the group has to find a replacement for him.
Fluttershy decides to consult shaman and herbalist Zecora. Zecora says that she can cure Big Mac, but not in time for the concert. However, she reminds Fluttershy of her Poison Joke that deepened Fluttershy's voice and turned her into masculine "Flutterguy". She says that she can brew it again. Fluttershy is still nervous about singing on-stage, but Rarity suggests a solution: Fluttershy sings backstage, and Big Mac lip-syncs to her performance.
The concert goes perfectly, and Fluttershy insists on continuing to sing for Big Mac out of sight as she enjoys being able to sing. After Big Mac recovers his voice, Rarity informs her that she is no longer required to sing. Seeing her disappointment, they allow her to perform one last time. During the song, Fluttershy accidentally knocks the curtain down, which reveals her. Even though the audience cheers for her, Fluttershy runs off in embarrassment.
Her friends find her at her cottage and convince her that facing her worst fear was not as bad as she had imagined because the audience loved her performance. Fluttershy agrees to perform privately for her friends with the Pony Tones, and agrees to permanently join the band once she fully overcomes her stage fright.
Amy Keating Rogers, the episode's writer, said that she pitched the idea for the episode back in September 2012. She added that initial name of the episode was "The Return of Flutterguy", which was changed to "Flutterfear" because the previous title gave "too much information." The title was later changed to "Filli Vanilli", a reference to the German-French R&B duo Milli Vanilli, who were caught in a scandal that exposed them lip-syncing their performances.
Both songs featured in the episode were composed by the series songwriter, Daniel Ingram. The orchestration of "Music in the Treetops" was done by Trevor Hoffman. "Find the Music in You" was orchestrated and arranged by Hoffman and Caleb Chan.
On February 14, 2014, a day before the episode aired, Entertainment Weekly released a preview of the episode showing Fluttershy singing. The episode aired on The Hub on February 15, 2014. According to the Nielsen household ratings, the episode was watched by approximately 0.3 percent of American households and had 584.000 viewers.
Daniel Alvarez of Unleash the Fanboy gave the episode 4.5 out of 5 stars. He praised the writing and said that "the message of stage fright/fear in general was greatly handled." Alvarez further added that the episode "should and probably will go down as a classic." Andrea Libman, who voiced Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, won the 2014 UBCP/ACTRA Award in the "Best Voice" category for her work in this episode.
The episode is part of the complete Region 1 Season 4 DVD Set by Shout! Factory which was made available in stores on December 2, 2014. Under the title "Flutterfear", it was also a part of the "My Little Pony: Maud Pie" DVD by Amazon released on January 8, 2018.