The Horseshoe Finale (Wood, 2015) is a feature length film that was released for free on YouTube on the 6th of June 2015. It concludes Endless Jess' drowning in horseshoes saga, is an hour and 46 minutes long and was written, directed, edited and made almost entirely by Jesse Wood, with some additional material from other now members of the PCP. It wraps up the story arc of the Horseshoe King, consisting of rants about his fans and detractors, homages to other PCP members' style of making my little pony reviews, clips from his older works from the Footwear era and home videos. The film discusses themes such as artistic integrity, social stigma, fanaticism and professional wrestling character arcs and is as much about Jesse Wood and his struggle as an artist as it is about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and it's tumultuous fandom.
On August 7th 2016, Endless Jess released Horseshoe Finale: One Year Later, a Sequel which explored the reaction to the Finale. He explains in detail the process of making the film and attempts to get across what it means to him. It also delves deeper into the ideas of what it means to be an artist, as they were presented in the Finale. At the end of the film another film to conclude the trilogy "The Kayfabe Coda" was announced, though there has been no mention of it since.
In Horseshoe Finale: One Year Later, Wood says of the finale "I'm sure I'm going to revisit it a lot because [Horseshoe Finale] ...is the autobiography of a 25 year old me." The narrative it presents is a non-linear account of Wood's artistic development since staring his Demon's Souls review in 2010 up until the Finale's release in 2015.
The film opens with a montage of the previous Horseshoe Reviews. The majority of the film centers around several different rants, scripted in the style of wrestling promos, that always return to the main shot of the film wherein Jesse sits cross-legged on the floor with a microphone addressing figurines of the Mane Six characters from MLP. The first rant is him describing how all MLP analysis content creators detest their audiences and pander to them, at the cost of the artistic merit of their work, so that they can be popular within a niche community. Jesse describes that he shows more respect for his audience by telling them the truth and focusing on creating compelling content, as opposed to making milquetoast content to gain a wider appeal. Throughout, he is continually ranting about how great he is to further his pro wrestling character arc.
He then ceases to see the point in making the finale and we cut to old clips from the first drowning in footwear videos and a few clips of him with his friends. The next segment is an homage to Best Guy Ever and Ben Saint's TBBBAP series where Jesse and his friend The Cine Masochist talk about the old community they used to be a part of on the www.thatguywiththeglasses forums, comparing it to the brony fandom as being a "hugbox" where nobody was criticised or challenged to make good content. Jesse describes meeting some of his best friends amongst the terrible creators on the site.
Whilst also putting down those who despise him, the horseshoe king also remarks poorly on those who adore and attempt to imitate him, misinterpreting his well-placed and satirical promos for genuine malice and seeking to recreate such intentions.
Towards the end of the film, Jesse delivers a final maddened blow to the audience, stating that the entire saga was one long Aristocrats Joke with the viewer becoming invested in such a stupid idea as My Little Pony reviews being the punchline.
- Jesse Wood as Drowning in Horseshoes, Drowning in Footwear and Himself
- The Cine Masochist as Himself
- Colt Corona as Himself
The last Horseshoe review before the finale was "Horseshoe Review: Magical Mystery Cure" which was released on the 16th of November 2014. After this he released a horsecast on the 4th of December, and then a video entited Gibbon Gives up on the 3rd of February 2015, in which Jesse makes a song out of a conversation he had with Gibbontake (now Hippocrit). In the song he reveals that he has been working on the finale for "like a year." Upon the release of
Themes and Meaning
Recurring themes and motifs tie the finale together and create a focus despite the non-linear narrative. Here I attempt to explain what I think is the meaning behind them but of course this is my own subjective opinion, should be taken with a grain of salt, and is only useful in the context of this article as a framework from which to understand the film, not a definitive guide.
The film features many scenes of Jesse dressed in full pirate attire in front of a Jolly Roger flag and other pirate memorabilia. He speaks using pirate slang and uses the metaphor of pirate crews to demonstrate how his fans are more loyal than most due to the emotional connection he forms. He cites this as the reason why he makes more "booty" off his "crew" than anyone else does from their "sorry bunch of bilge-rats and brigands."
In an old horseshoe review, Jesse states that fans of My Little Pony complain at the intricate characterisation because what they really want is "Pro-Wrestling character development". As explained towards the end of the finale, this is exactly the kind of development he portrayed throughout the Horseshoe saga in order to prove his point. He also makes constant references to wrestling characters in the finale, using phrases such as "Here's the truth, Ruth" and quoting Macho Man Randy Savage's "Cream of the crop" promo. He also parallels CM Punk in the scene where he describes the nature of his pro-wrestling character arc, for instance his catch-phrase "Am I the Devil?" which he repeated non-stop in the Magical Mystery Cure review, is a catch-phrase of CM Punk's.
In one of the cutaways to an old Drowning in Footwear review, Jesse jokes that he's going to become a real man: a pirate, a wrestler and an alcoholic. He calls the cutaway in which he explains the pro-wrestling character arc "Lessons to Manhood with Jesse Wood". These manly elements of his personality contrast the inherently girly nature of My Little Pony, but he is unwilling to hold back these aspects. This honest expression is part of what set him apart from the rest of the analysis community, and something he inspired his fellow creators Digibro and Hippocrit to do.
"I'm not one of you! I don't fart!" Jesse screams at his camera-operator as he violently assaults her with a squeegee mop. Many of the home video segments feature him being silly in front of his friends and hyperbolically claiming to be extremely normal despite his occupation as a content creator and his reclusive nature. The conclusion he ends up drawing is that, while he is strange, he is the best at it; he is "The lord of shit mountain."
Jesse explains his love for the vision of My Little Pony gen 4's creator Lauren Faust. She broke the "girly" stigma and proved that a show "for little girls" was not "just for little girls". However, then goes on to explain that the girly stigma has since been heavily outweighed by the brony stigma, and that any positive effect the show could have had on animation and culture was negated by it's abrasive and creepy fan-base. He calls fans of his reviews "marks" because Bronies are an easy target for ridicule, as such his Pro-Wrestling arc heel turns are directed at bronies.
As the work is autobiographical, Horseshoe Finale could be thought to only be understood by it's creator. Jesse is constantly trying to get the audience to understand the meaning behind his work, but describes the effort as fruitless, comparing it "beating up the ocean" only to end up drowning.
The film concludes with the message "Thank you, friends. Goodbye footwear. And to everybody else, fuk u." Throughout there are clips of Jesse with his real life and internet friends, and at when he proclaims the horseshoe king dead, he is brought back by a small dog that runs up to him. After slowly getting up and petting the dog, he proclaims "Well that was fucking stupid" and packs away posters, shoes and other set pieces to an acoustic cover of Baltimora's 'Tarzan Boy'. Jesse Wood did not stop creating content after releasing the finale, but it is implied that he values friendship over art and has sometimes found his devotion to creating to push people out of his life. In the sequel, One Year Later, he explains "[obsessive artistic work ethic] is not a healthy life style... I gained weight, I pushed people away, all in the name of my art." Whether it was his old friends from the thatguywiththeglasses forums, his real life friends or his new friends with whom he would later form The Procrastinators, it is clear that these connections with people are what keeps him sane and helped him to improve as an artist. In the end, friendship really was magic.
Jesse did say once in a podcast that there are a few people who seemed to understand what he meant by the finale but, as he explains in the sequel Horseshoe Finale: One Year Later, he believes only he can truly understand all the contextual meaning behind the film. However, the point is that people should think about it. He said that there were some things he left unexplained even in One Year Later because he wanted people to theorise, re-watch the film, and truly think about the entertainment they consume.
The MLP Analysis Community
In the Finale Jesse states that he killed the community by making better videos than anyone else, leaving no need for any more My Little Pony analysis to ever be made again. Despite this, channels such as ILoveKimPossibleAlot still make videos, but with many of the more entertaining MLP analysts now in the PCP, it could still be argued that #JessWasRight.
Formation of The Procrastinators
Just before the Finale was released, the members of the Horseshoe Crew quit the Brony analysis community to pursue other videos and later became the founding members of the PCP. They embody many of the views on art that Jesse talks about in the film.