Hey everyone. This is SofiaBlythe2014. So, Sofia The First turns 6 years old today. That’s a pretty big deal. One of the many things that attracted me to the show, besides it characters, were its lessons. Many episode either made an overdone lesson feel fresh and new, or tackled something new and bold very well. And this is my tribute for the anniversary, my 12 favorite lessons from the series. Why 12 you may ask? I was originally going to do 6 to represent the anniversary, but since the show ran for 4 seasons, it would’ve been awkward to do 1 lesson from 2 seasons, and 2 lessons from 2 seasons. I chose 12 since it’s a multiple of both 4 and 6, and it’s still a reasonable amount for me. Even then, there were a lot of choices to choose from. Here are a few rules I have.
1. I will not include the movies. I often gush about how bold the show’s movies are, but I figured I would purposefully talk about only regular episodes to show how impactful the lessons can be even without super high stakes.
2. How much I like the episode will not be a factor as to why an episode is on the list. For example, there are plenty of “great” and “amazing” episodes that may not make the list, while there could be “good” episodes that do make the list.
3. The episode’s lesson I will talk about will either be one that personally affected me, or affected someone that I personally know.
4. I will briefly talk about certain elements on why the episode works, and how it applies to me or someone I know.
5. The entries will be in airing order, not how impactful they are to me or someone I know.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
1. Just One Of The Princes
Writer: Craig Gerber
Date: January 11, 2013
Our first entry is the first episode after the pilot movie. Let me give the basic rundown. Sofia is amazed by the flying derby team, and wants to try out. However, since she’s a girl, she’s just told to just sit on the sidelines. She then decides to try out for the tryout race anyway, but has difficulty staying on, and with Hugo’s criticism. This episode is a typical girl empowerment episode, yet does so in a tasteful manner. The pilot movie helped establish how Sofia isn’t all about the archetypal princess given how she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, so to speak, showcasing her adventurous streak well. Both Amber and James are in top form. James initially has his sexist ideas, but drops them when Hugo insults Sofia, and he stands up for her, showing that he’s always there for his siblings no matter what. Amber is a little more persistent, but the talk she has later on about how she doesn’t want Sofia work is very heartfelt, and also works when you consider how the movie’s climax has her whack Wormwood with a broom. Hugo may be archetypically sexist, though the episode makes him a great antagonist by showing how he’s simply fueled by a desire to win no matter what. Sofia is then shown practicing day and night, and manages to score a victory.
Much of what happened here actually happened with my grandmother in elementary school. She wanted to try out for the track team, but was told that girls aren’t allowed. She then practiced with her father, who was once on the team, and while she didn’t win tryouts, she still made the team due to metabolism and determination, even beating out some of the school’s most accomplished runners. This episode holds a special place in my heart since it reminds me of how my grandmother overcame some of the prejudices of her time.
2. The Little Witch
Writer: Erica Rothschild
Date: May 31, 2013
My next entry is “The Little Witch”. This episode has Sofia and Ruby helping Jade prepare for her birthday when they’re pranked by a young witch named Lucinda. When Sofia goes to confront her, Lucinda then reveals that she only acts like this due to her parents, and wants to change. Of the show’s three bullying episodes (the others being Substitute Cedric and The Fliegel Has Landed), I feel this is the strongest due to its more two sided nature (The Fliegel Has Landed also makes the conflict two sided, but with slightly less subtlety, while Substitute Cedric showcases more of victim retaliation, albeit really well). It shows how you should make up for any bad you’ve done, while also showing that you should be willing to give a second chance. Lucinda is shown to simply not get how other kids are supposed to act, and her willingly saving a falling Sofia shows how she’s not all bad. I do like how the rest of the episode shows her actively trying to change. The two sided nature comes from Jade. “The Big Sleepover” showcased how she tends to be more emotionally sensitive, hence why her being more set out on getting back at Lucinda works in the story. Jade also apologizing to her also works since she never took the time to get to know her, especially since she sprung her trap AFTER Lucinda changed. The ending then works since both of them acknowledge the wrong they did.
This actually reminds me of an event that happened back in fifth grade. There was a big kid named Curtis who was picking on us, me and my friend Jenny especially. We tried telling on him to the principal, but he always put on an innocent act. We had enough, and planned a big prank on him. What we didn’t know was that his behavior was a coping mechanism due to having moved just recently. We all got punished and were asked to do community service, where we eventually bonded and became friends. I thank the episode for reminding me how events like this can shape us for the better when we know how to act.
3. Tea For Too Many
Writer: Doug Cooney
Date: September 27, 2013
My last season 1 choice is “Tea For Too Many”. Let’s talk about it. This episode has Sofia being put in charge of the Royal Prep tea party, and Amber wants to help her out to make a good first impression. However, Amber’s ideas to make everything “bigger and better” overwhelms Sofia. The episode goes for a simple yet powerful moral on how you should respect each other’s choices and not go too far in trying to push what you believe. It works well when applied to Sofia and Amber. The former is known for doing what she can to impress others while the latter is often known for going too far with good intentions. It’s like in “The Big Sleepover”, with Amber having similarly good intentions, but acts rather vain about it. Anyway, when things go awry, and the fancy party is ruined, Sofia puts together elements of both to throw a party everyone likes.
This reminds me of when my aunt and uncle were putting together my cousin Adam’s 13th birthday. My aunt wanted to hire some clowns and use a bounce house while my uncle wanted a DJ and some disco lights. Eventually, a compromise was reached and there were dancing disco clowns and a dj clown. Yeah, it was really weird, but really enjoyable, and I thank the episode for helping me remind of a time where good can still come about in unexpected places.
1. Mom’s The Word
Writer: Michael G. Stern
Date: April 25, 2014
My first entry for season 2 is the Mother’s Day episode. Let’s talk about it. This episode has Sofia feeling like a third wheel when Miranda also invites Amber and James to a Mother’s Day tradition that used to be just for them. She then asks Lucinda to help her separate them so that just the two of them can spend time together, but things go awry when Lucinda’s mother Marla wants her to follow in her evil footsteps. So yeah, we have two perspectives on motherhood, with one teaching kids how there’s still plenty of love to share (Sofia) and the other is about being able to understand how your child wants to be their own person (Lucinda). While they don’t heavily state it, we do get a strong motivation for Sofia’s behavior, in that her mother was pretty much the one person she had in her life that was always there for her, hence why you feel sympathy even when she acts rashly. As for Lucinda, she is in top form, with her character being more willing to do good, yet she still struggles to please others, just like her first appearance. I really like the ending, where Miranda tells Sofia that she will always love her unconditionally, while Marla, while a bit reluctant, actually comes to support Lucinda being more of a good witch.
The main plot involving Sofia actually has a similarity to a conflict with my mother and grandfather on her side, albeit with darker repercussions, and I have permission to talk about it. Around 15 years ago, they got into an argument on whether to tear down a historical site in the Philippines where his army achieved a victory, with my mother for it so they can build a new school and relocate it, and my grandfather against it since it’s an important piece of history. They argued, and didn’t speak for three months. Eventually, they went to patch things up and said they were both rather stubborn. She then managed to integrate the two by building a shrine in the new school dedicated to it. However, he passed away a few years before it was finished, but was happy they could at least have closure here before passing on. This episode helps reminds me to appreciate my parents more.
2. Scrambled Pets
Writer: Erica Rothschild
Date: October 17, 2014
The next episode is definitely an interesting one. It follows Sofia, Amber, James, and Vivian as they bring their pets to school despite it being against school policy. They have some trouble with the potions, and get loose, and have to be rounded up before the teachers find out. Of course, they do find out, and have to clean up their mess anyway. The episode essentially goes for a moral about peer pressure, and how everyone is susceptible to it and that you shouldn’t fall for it. Using Sofia, Amber, James, and Vivian for this works pretty well. Both Sofia and Vivian are more hesitant to go along with this idea given their level headed nature yet still wanting to impress, while Amber and James tend to go more towards impulse and desire. It helps that their behavior is called out each time.
This actually reminds me of a scenario back in 8th grade. Jenny, Curtis, and I wanted to sneak into a movie theater to watch a movie on opening day during a school day even though the time it happened was during a test. Although Curtis became genuinely good at this point, he was still prone to bad behavior, hence we were more easily influenced to follow him despite our better judgment. We were caught when they saw our faked doctors’ notes, and we got detention for a week. We never did a stunt like that again.
3. Sidekick Clio
Writer: Erica Rothschild
Date: July 22, 2015
My last season 2 choice is with “Sidekick Clio”. This episode has Clio wanting to join the school play due to her passion for theater, but is hesitant to do so when she thinks Hildegard won’t approve. Things become more complicated when she returns from her trip, and says she can’t do so. This episode’s moral is essentially about how being a good friend is about being able to be there for others, while also saying to stand up for yourself, even if they don’t approve. Using Hildegard and Clio for this works. As shown with “The Princess Stays In The Picture”, the former acts rather snobby and dismissive and snobby since she doesn’t want to feel stepped on and left out, hence why you can understand her reason for acting this way and being rather hard on her. Clio is still obviously the more sympathetic. Even though this is her first focus episode, she’s had plenty of noteworthy scenes like in “Two To Tangu” and “Tea For Too Many” that show how she’s a little different from Hildegard in wanting to express herself more. It’s like an abusive relationship, yet you can see why they act this way. The ending is what sells it, where Clio stands up to her, and does the school play, and Hildegard sees for herself, and is actually proud of her. It’s really quite uplifting.
A similar situation happened with Carla, a cousin on my father’s side, and her friend Sapphire. Though they were best friends with similar interests in fashion and music, Sapphire was often controlling of Carla. It wasn’t without reason though. Carla was known for being rather socially awkward and prone to following the crowd, while Sapphire was more controlling due to trying to cope with her father’s death. Carla eventually told her off when she wanted to take part in a talent show but was told no, and eventually, the two made up and became like sisters, most notably in how they shared an apartment in college and are more open with each other. This episode helps remind me of how lucky I am that my friends treat me well.
3. Cedric Be Good
Writers: Laurie Israel & Rachel Ruderman
Date: September 18, 2015
Our first entry for season 3 is “Cedric Be Good”. Let me sum it up. Cedric concocts another scheme to try and get Sofia’s amulet, this time successfully swapping her amulet with a fake one. However, he does not get any of the good powers it normally gets, and tries to do good in order to unlock them. Much of the episode says on how you should do good things because it’s the right thing to do. Using Cedric for this particular moral works well. He’s always been a complicated character, with one episode having him doing anything to take the amulet, and the other showing more of his inferiority complex. This episode explores that aspect well by showing that all he wants is respect. It also helps that, even in his worst days, he never tries seriously hurting Sofia, hence the added weight to the conflict, and why him giving back the amulet at the end worked.
I remembered going through a conflict like this in 8th grade with my rival Tom. He and I were both on the same intellectual and physical level, and often took part in challenges to prove who’s better. This culminated in a Thanksgiving food drive, where we were trying to outdo each other in who could collect more food. It eventually went too far, and the display went down. We both felt bad about what happened, and tried to make amends by going out of town to help collect more food, and we ended up with more than double the original amount. We also buried our rivalry here. This episode helps remind me on thinking more about others when doing good.
2. Lord Of The Rink
Writers: Laurie Israel & Rachel Ruderman
Date: December 4, 2015
This episode makes a great companion piece to “Just One Of The Princes”. Let’s talk about it. This episode has Hugo wanting to join the ice dancing team that Sofia is on. However, his father wants him to join the ice hockey team, and he does it in secret. While JOOTP is about how you can overcome gender barriers with enough persistence and practice, this episode is about how you can do what your heart desires even when others say no, and you can’t be ashamed of it. It works well with Hugo, who made a heel-face turn in “The Flying Crown”, and thus is more open. While still rough around the edges, he’s still shown as actually wanting to please others while still being true to his more sensitive, yet assertive self. He makes a great foil to the more independent and open minded Sofia. In the end, he manages to take part in the ice skating, and not only helps the girls out, and impresses his father and many of the other boys.
A similar situation happened with Curtis’ cousin Fred. He wanted to take part in his school’s cheerleading team, but was afraid of being ridiculed by his friends on the basketball team given his physical metabolism. He eventually showed that he had the skills to be part of the team, and was allowed to take part in the team. This episode helps remind me on how I can still pursue what I like even if it’s not what’s conventionally well known.
3. One For The Books
Writer: Erica Rothschild
Date: March 31, 2017
My last entry for the season is, fittingly enough, the last episode of the season, as well as Erica Rothschild’s last episode. This episode takes place on the first day of school, with Sofia’s class being put in a more advanced class. Desmond is having a hard time trying to adjust to the new subjects being taught, and tries to prove he can do things himself. The episode is obviously going for a moral on how it’s not bad to ask for help, and oh boy does it resonate with me. Desmond has always been someone who prides himself on intelligence, yet his fatal flaw lies in how he can’t unlock his true potential due to not wanting to disappoint others. It’s actually quite sympathetic. There’s also a sense of wonderment to be found, which helps ease things out. He then naturally asks for help, helped by how Professor P is actually really reasonable, if a bit quirky and unconventional.
This reminds me quite a bit of my first year in high school, where I was struggling to get by and get to all my commitments in time. Through some help from my parents and counselor, I was able to get myself on track and graduate with high honors. This episode helps remind me how I’m not perfect, but I shouldn’t be upset by that.
1. Pirated Away
Writer: Tom Rogers
Date: October 20, 2017
Well, if Tom Rogers’ work on Elena Of Avalor proved anything, it’s that he’s not afraid to take things in bold directions. Let’s examine this episode. It involves Sofia and Amber wanting to see a special meteor shower on their own, but Miranda says no unless she comes along with them. They then run into Captain Quiver and his pirates who won’t let them go unless they help them find a treasure. However, Amber is very intent on wanting to see the meteor shower. Season 4 marked the point where older audiences were given greater consideration in the wide appeal, and this episode showcases it well with its theme on independence, and how it’s good to give others independence, while it’s also good to acknowledge that you can’t do everything. Both Amber and Miranda are in top form here. While Amber is rather impulsive in her behavior, a point can be argued in that she simply wants to be able to be taken more seriously. It works since she has a take charge attitude. Miranda is also in top form, given how she’s known for being protective of her children without being too smothering. I really like their conversation on the iceberg, where they both confess their fault in the situation, and when rescued, they both help the pirates to navigate the sea.
One notable instance of this happening in my life is at the end of my last year in high school. I was invited to a pool party that had alcohol and I was underage, and I promised my parents that I wouldn’t drink any. I didn’t drink any. They were still skeptical given some of my misbehavior I mentioned before, and were sneaking around to make sure I was fine. When I eventually saw them, we argued. However, a burglar came and knocked them out temporarily, and we managed to save them, while they managed to stop the burglar from going on with his heists. We eventually agreed that we would take baby steps in how far and where I can go when dealing with social events on my own. This episode helped us appreciate each other more.
2. The Birthday Wish
Writer: Matt Hoverman
Date: January 5, 2018
Well, considering this episode aired a week after my birthday, and is also the 100th episode (depending on who you ask), I felt putting it on the list was appropriate. Let’s see why. This episode has Sofia’s birthday being a disaster when everything gets ruined (her dress, the cake, Crackle accidentally lighting the decorations on fire, etcetera), and wishes to start her birthday over again. Tizzy then grants her wish to start her birthday over again, but Sofia keeps reliving the same day over and over again due to how things keep getting bad, making her increasingly frustrated. This episode has an obvious, yet meaningful moral on how things won’t always go as planned, but it’s about how you learn from it and make the best of a bad situation. Using Sofia for this moral works given how, though she’s known for being adaptable and quick on her feet, she’s also known for not being able to handle any situations that involve too much bad happening pretty much at once. What really sells it is that she went through this 37 times. Jeez! Anyway, she then manages to change the pattern on her dress, while also brushing off Rex accidentally trashing the party, thus breaking the time loop.
This reminds me of what happened on my 18th birthday, where I was finally recognized as an adult. We planned the party for a bit, but a combination of traffic and sick friends and some food mishap really put a damper on things. However, I was able to have a happy birthday since I at least had my family on my side. I thank this episode for helping to remind me how I should be grateful for what I have, even in bad situations.
3. The Elf Situation
Writer: Craig CarLisle
Date: May 18, 2018
My last choice is both the penultimate episode of the season, as well as the penultimate episode of the series. Let’s talk about it. With Roland and Miranda out for the day honoring the staff and their coach broken down, and Baileywick sick, Sofia, Amber, and James have the castle for themselves. This proves to be a challenge when Elfabelle and Arielf, the respective leaders of the river and tree elves. However, their petty immaturity against each other makes things difficult. This episode is not subtle in its moral on not forgetting your inner child when growing up, and that it’s simply about knowing to act on it, and it’s still done tastefully. What really helps sell it starts from the beginning. Early in the episode, Sofia cleans out her closet, and finds some old toys she hasn’t played with in a while, magical jump rope and floating blocks. She then tried to play with Amber and James, but they’re too focused on their futures, and she convinced them to have some play time before they go off. This ties into the conflict later. Amber tries to stick to the list her father made to keep them happy, but she misses on the time where they actually had fun playing with the utensils with magic, and they go back to hating each other. What makes the conflict work is that everyone is spot on. Sofia, being altruistic and child like, knows how we all have the childlike feeling that never goes away, but also knows when to act on it, as does James. Amber is known for wanting to stay mature and stick to what’s best. As for Elfabelle and Arielf, they’re both pretty likable since it’s pretty clear that they’re arguing simply to maintain cultural pride, but go about it childishly in the wrong way. In the climax, all three of them bring the magic utensils and the toys, which makes them happy and willing to make peace.
This reminds me of a National Honor Society induction ceremony in my junior year in high school, and I was one of them. Two of the guests were deans of the high schools in the surrounding area who wanted to form relations with the school, and attended this ceremony to see if we were worth sticking together with. They were prone to arguing on what they thought would be the best way to make connections, with one dean being more carefree and the other dean more strict, yet acted rather petty. Eventually, I worked with our dean and the soon to be inducted president to give a speech on how we’re all different yet united as one, and appealed to their inner child by reminding them of how people were more prone to getting along due to endearing naivety. This persuaded them to make up and form relations with us. I thank this episode for helping show that we all have an inner child we shouldn’t forget.
And those are my favorite lessons from the series. Happy anniversary. Have a good day.