I’m probably the only psychopath that works this constantly, but I don’t know how else to be and nobody is stopping me.
–Trial of the Golden Witch, “Fallen to Pieces”
Horseshoe Finale isn’t very much like a Horseshoe Review or a finale. It spends possibly 10 minutes of 106 discussing the season finale of My Little Pony. I watched as a finale; I watched every Drowning in Horseshoes video to ensure I would understand it as best as I could, but was struck by the film’s overwhelming effort to stand alone.
Horseshoe Finale is like explaining a magic trick. In the reviews, you can see a slow descent. A desperation to be optimistic about the franchise and about the protagonist’s lifestyle. Then you watch this video and it shows how scripted and planned it all was. The film flashes back to key quotes from the reviews, and Jess’s other videos, screaming “These were the themes! This was the plan! How didn’t you know this?” Because of this, I can recommend watching the film by itself. Do watch the Horseshoe Reviews; they’re great, and my criticisms of them are 1. In comparison to this amazing finale, and 2. A reference to something else. But if you watch one Endless Jess video, this is the one.
This is a film about an artist who became a professional YouTuber. Its protagonist has to balance his artistic vision with his monetary dependence on his audience, and ultimately falls in popularity to fulfill his conscience. It’s also a YouTube vlog of the highest quality, by a man who has been broken by the incompetence of his audience. Is it fiction or nonfiction? It’s narrative. It’s art.
Creating art is a struggle; you either pour over your work for hours, tweaking every aspect until it’s exactly what you imagined, or you finish and look back only to see your painful mistakes. Usually it’s both. When you’re a public figure, a recognized talented creator, you also have an image chasing you around. Who does your work make you out to be? Play your cards wrong and your art can be used to hurt you. Will anyone care about your work as much as you do?
These questions are important and there is real entertainment and appreciation to be had in how The Endless One addresses them. He addresses YouTube comments sections’ demand for politeness and conflict avoidance by declaring “If I offend you, you should feel grateful. It means I’m not lying to you.” He stands self-assured in his competence and his art, while scrambling to fulfill his own expectations. He moves past the audience. He is a paragon of independent artistic spirit – everything people fear doing, and for good reason. For some YouTubers, this video could be pure wish fulfillment.
I’m struck by how personal it all is. Endless Jess’ love of anime, professional wrestling, Hey Arnold, and even the My Little Pony fandom he puts on blast is on full display. The Horseshoe Finale can be seen as a criticism of a fandom, or an exposé of the grim realities of YouTube fame, but its foremost priority is that it’s Jesse Wood. His passions, his fears, his wishes. It doesn’t just teach you to be an artist; it is an artist.
Watch this movie. Then watch the follow-up film, Horseshoe Finale: One Year Later. It’s a frank, direct commentary on Wood’s masterpiece and a captivating film/vlog hybrid in itself. It has more focus on YouTube life than it does on My Little Pony culture, or expounding on Endless Jess’ personal interests, so a lot of what I have said applies to it as well, if not more.
If you’re wondering where to start though, Horseshoe Finale is a great place.
If you’ve ever cared about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, this is the movie for you. If you are an artist, this is the movie for you. If you have ever felt afraid to express your ambitions or frustrations out of fear for backlash or misunderstanding, this is the movie for you.